Professional Cycling For the Fans - Tour of Georgia
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03-06-08, 02:01 PM
Has anyone ever seen the Brasstown Bald climb in the Tour of Georgia? I'm thinking about attending and it appears to be in the middle of nowhere. Can you park and climb the mountain or can you drive to the top for the finish? Any suggestions are appreciated.
Seen it 4 times.
You park along 180, at the base of the Brasstown climb.
You can't drive up.
You are not allowed to cycle up once roads are closed.
All American 6
03-07-08, 08:12 AM
Here's a plan:
03-12-08, 10:57 PM
All American 6 - Do you actually get to climb Brasstown to watch the competitors or is just a ride around the area until the competitors get near?
All American 6
03-17-08, 04:53 AM
I've never done the ride. My take from their web site is you don't get to ride the hill but could park your bike and view the race from that location.
I'm "abroad" and missed last years race and will miss this years too. :eek:
03-21-08, 10:28 AM
I've been the last three years. First year it was nice at home -- near Athens -- so I wore shorts. On top of B Bald it was about 30 degrees, and actually snowed a bit. I nearly died. The next year it rained hard and I got nice and wet. Last year I got sunscreen in my eye, but that's not the fault of the hill. :) I mention this just to say be prepared. The weather conditions up there can be very different from the base. The year it was cold there was perhaps a 20 degree difference. Last year it was nice and sunny.
You can go to the top of Brasstown Bald. Basically you park at the bottom on the highway which runs past the road up BB and you can walk up, ride your bike up, or take a shuttle bus up. On foot you can go up to the very top where the finish line is. If you ride your bike up you can only go as far as the parking lot which is one K from the finish line. (Well, you can always leave your bike in the parking lot area and walk up.)
The parking lot area is where the giant Maxxis Tire, signifying one K to go, is located, and also where the big matrix board is located. If you are there you can watch the riders as the race unfolds.
You do miss the finish from there, though you can see it on the board, but watching the battle up Brasstown Bald on the screen beats sitting and waiting for some guys to ride across a line. At least to me. It takes the pros a good long time to ride up so on the board you get to see a great battle. At least the last two years.
Oh, get there early or else you'll have to park a mile or two away from the turn up the mountain.
Oh, no, wait, get there late. real late. I don't need the competition.
Also, crowds have thinned out since Lance quit. A lot of the fans wanted to see him, I believe, and didn't care that much about the actual racing.
Finally, if you do ride your bike up, be very careful riding back down. A guy died last year riding down, and every year people crash and get hauled off to the hospital. The problem is people walk down and the shuttle vans are on the road and you're heading down a very steep, curvy road at 40 mph and suddenly, there's some fat lout in your way (I'm a fat lout, too) and your choice is to die on this side of the road, or that.
All of this said, it's a great day of racing and well worth seeing. Now I shut up.
Can't wait for the TTT. Been there many times for races 2 & 4 wheeled, but noisier. I was standing in the parking lot at Lanier Speedway across the street this past Sat. watching cars blast down the hill that will be the first climb of the TTT. That's gonna hurt! I'm betting there'll be some teams in trouble right from the get-go because of it.
03-28-08, 09:57 PM
Yes you can climb Brasstown Bald before the race. It's the hardest climb I've ever done, one of the hardest in the US (at least the eastern half that I know of). It's actually quite a blast since there are people already camped out and cheering for you. Well... it would be a blast but it's so hard you don't even notice the people.
If you want to ride up, you have to start up early enough before they close the road to cyclists. But you can also park at (or near) the base and hike up. I think there are shuttles as well? Don't know.. I've only ridden. FWIW, you can't go all the way to the top like the racers do, only to the parking lot which is a 2.5 mile climb and believe me... that's plenty!
Last year me and some friends went down there. Some of us climbed up to the parkin' lot, then rode back down and 'camped out' just below 'The Wall' (steepest part), watched the race come through, and then rode the rest of the way down and then finished our route with the 'back side' of Hogpen Gap (2 miles at 15%). Some of the other guys rode earlier in the day, then hiked up. The guys who hiked were more sore from walking than we were from riding. It's the going down that gets ya, BTW. The advantage was they carried jackets up for those of us on bikes.
Here's how they're doing it this year:
We go down and stay in Helen for 4 days.
Evening of day 1, ride the valley roads as a warm up.
Day 2, ride a loop that consists of: Unicoi Gap, Brasstown Bald (which goes from Jack's Gap), Hogpen Gap.
Day 3 (Brasstown stage of TDG), ride the 'other' loop: Woody, Neils and Wolfpen Gaps early. Then head over to the base of Brasstown and hike up.
Day 4 optional valley riding or more climbing if you have the legs left, then head home
Unfortunately I'm nursing a knee injury and probably won't be going. Which really sucks because after last year I went on a mission and have lost 25 pounds in anticipation of going up again. And the more I think about it with this thread... the more I may go anyway.
03-28-08, 10:07 PM
We got to Brasstown about 7:00am last year. Parked about 1/8 mile from the park entrance. We unloaded the bikes and went about 2 miles downhill away from the park so that we could turn around and get warmed up a bit before the serious climbs. For the record I was already in my 39-25 for the warm up with no lower gear left. I will admit that I failed to make it to the top non-stop. I had to stop midway up the wall to give my legs a rest. After starting again it was smooth sailing to the top. In fact we came back down to just below the wall and climbed it 3 more times. After that we rode back down and changed our clothes and locked up our bikes in the truck. We then grabbed our coolers and took the shuttle back to the top parking area and watched the race come to us on the big screen. As soon as the racers turned into the park we headed up to our spots about half way up the final part of the climb. Yes, we will be there again this year doing the same thing.
How far is it from the entrance to the park to the top?
We beat the crowds. Southern Bike League chartered a tour bus and crammed it with food, wine, beer, and babes and dumped us all at the base of the Bald about 1:00. We ate and walked up (I used the really cool hiking trail). Afterwards we napped all the way home.
Btw, for $5 you can park your bike in a guarded enclosure at the parking lot level and go cow bell crazy without fear if someone scratching the paint.
The back of the parking lot looking up, over the only ambulance that can get in or out.
The front of the parking lot, with the bike park next to the flame rouge.
Turned about 90° right from the flame rouge.
Above the parking lot it gets even steeper - and crazier.
Watch the riders from your chair whilst sipping a brewski.
Watch other things whilst there are no riders.
05-13-08, 08:47 PM
It's the going down that gets ya, BTW.
One of my favorite cycling stories is about crashing in the first corner after the parking lot. I was going 35 with the brakes on as hard as I could without locking up. I had to release them for the turn which my tires just couldn't handle. So I slid out while going around 45 or so, then vaulted over my bike when it hit the grass and stopped with me still moving. My buddy went straight into the shrubs which could have been more dangerous than what happened to me. Fortunately there was no car coming up the mountain.
My shorts and jersey were pretty torn up, but all I got from it was a sore hip.
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