Cycling events across the nation can boast tough hills, phenomenal views and worthy causes.
But there is something special about Blood, Sweat and Gears that even organizers can't quite figure out.
The combination of alluring factors will again draw 1,250 cyclists and dozens of supporters to the High Country this weekend for the 14th annual ride.
"They keep coming back," said Scott Nelson, president of BSG Events. "It's our volunteers, it's our sponsors, it's the mountains, the law enforcement agencies, it's our volunteer fire departments " all of this combined creates this Blood, Sweat and Gears magic."
That magic leads to more than just a rider's high for the participants " it also raises thousands of dollars annually for the Watauga County Red Cross chapter and injected about $892,000 into the local economy last year, according to ASU research.
...John Greeson, now a graduate of Appalachian State University, studied the economic impact of Blood, Sweat and Gears in conjunction with Professor John Whitehead last year.
The survey of BSG participants asked each how much they spent in the High Country during the event as well as during training trips beforehand. About 30 percent of respondents said they had traveled to the Boone area earlier to test-ride the hills, Whitehead said.
Greeson extrapolated the results and came up with a total of about $892,000 brought into the High Country by out-of-town participants, Whitehead said.