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Old 06-26-05, 07:41 PM   #1
jppe
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Beech Mt Climb

I was unable to get signed up for the Blood Sweat & Gears Century in Boone, NC which was yesterday so I went on up and did a 60 mile loop of my own in the same area. Part of the route I did included a climb up Beech Mountain (it is not a part of BS&G). I'm guessing it's about 2.5 miles and about 1500 feet of climbing. I have an altimeter and was watching some of the grades as I was climbing. The grades were 8-12% with some stretches reaching 14%+.

If you've read some of Lance Armstrong's books you might recall that after he was recovering from his treatments, he went to Boone to do some riding. While climbing Beech Mtn and the areas around there is where he says he fell back in love with the bike.

Well, being in love with the bike was not anything close to what I was thinking struggling up that darn hill.......

Terrific day to ride other than that climb. Crisp day with temps mostly in the 70's with bright sunshine, calm winds and gorgeous views. Other than Beech most of the 6000 ft of climbing was in the shade through forests so I really enjoyed that part.
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Old 06-26-05, 08:01 PM   #2
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Beech is a great ride. I sometimes park at the top, then do a loop through Banner Elk, out the Hickory Nut Gap road, into Newland, then left around to Valle Crucis, up past the Mast Store, and climb 184 back to Banner Elk. Finishing with the climb on up to Beech and the welcome vehicle at the top. The section where the Beech climb widens to three lanes always tests my resolve to get to the top, I would guess that's where the 14% comes into play. I remember seeing Lance coming down Beech with a coke in one hand, and the other gripping the brake ever so lightly. I still come down Beech with both hands firmly gripping the brakes and usually end up with stiff shoulders for the first part of the Hickory Nut climb.
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Old 06-26-05, 08:16 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by serotta
Beech is a great ride. I sometimes park at the top, then do a loop through Banner Elk, out the Hickory Nut Gap road, into Newland, then left around to Valle Crucis, up past the Mast Store, and climb 184 back to Banner Elk. Finishing with the climb on up to Beech and the welcome vehicle at the top. The section where the Beech climb widens to three lanes always tests my resolve to get to the top, I would guess that's where the 14% comes into play. I remember seeing Lance coming down Beech with a coke in one hand, and the other gripping the brake ever so lightly. I still come down Beech with both hands firmly gripping the brakes and usually end up with stiff shoulders for the first part of the Hickory Nut climb.
Sounds like you know that area well. The 3 lane stretch is exactly where the 14% grade was. Being a Saturday there was a lot of traffic as well. I can't imagine coming back down Beech one handed. As hard as the ride was going up I think I enjoyed it more than the ride back down. To make matters worse, right at the end of the 3 lane coming back down a German Shepard darted out in the road (he also ran out as I was going up). At that poing I don't now if I was smelling the brakes of cars or the pads on my bike.........

I started in Blowing Rock, rode Shulls Mill over to 105, then over to Valle Crucis, 194 to Banner Elk, Up and Down Beech, Hickory Nut to Newland, Back to Linville and then 221 back to Blowing Rock. I also did a short stint on the Parkway to get it over 60 miles. That's a nice climb going from Valle Crucis to Banner Elk by the way-I would guess it's about the same going the other direction. Shulls Mill Rd was a hoot going from the Parkway down to 105. I think I'd let it roll a little more now that I know the road.

I look forward to going back up and doing some of the loops again some time this summer.
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Old 06-27-05, 05:17 AM   #4
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You people are in en entire different class from me. I felt really good Saturday riding from Winston-Salem to Greensboro, 29 miles. It is my longest ride in years. Usually I just do a 6 mile excersize ride here in Winston 3 - 5 times a week. It was great to be out riding in the country though and while the ride was tough I enjoyed it. My average time was 14.2 mph which I felt was pretty good for a first long ride considering my excersize runs are about 15.2 mph. My congrats to those of you who can manage hill climbs, century rides etc. I'll just keep pedaling.
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Old 06-27-05, 05:35 AM   #5
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You people are in en entire different class from me. I felt really good Saturday riding from Winston-Salem to Greensboro, 29 miles. It is my longest ride in years. Usually I just do a 6 mile excersize ride here in Winston 3 - 5 times a week. It was great to be out riding in the country though and while the ride was tough I enjoyed it. My average time was 14.2 mph which I felt was pretty good for a first long ride considering my excersize runs are about 15.2 mph. My congrats to those of you who can manage hill climbs, century rides etc. I'll just keep pedaling.

Great job p8!! Keep up the riding. The whole key is just finding the right niche and variety of activity that you enjoy. Four years agao I never, never would have imagined me doing mountain rides, epic centures, etc but it just kept growing on me. I'm on my 4th bike already and can't get enough of it. Enjoy your time on the bike!!
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Old 06-27-05, 06:14 AM   #6
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You are correct p8rider, the 60+ miles that jppe did puts him in a different class than us. My tongue would be draggin' on the front tire, my butt on the rear one and my stomach on the top tube after doing that 60! Of course, the great views, great roads, and fassstttt downhills really make you ride better than your normal around the house rides.

jppe, you are a brave cyclist to try that route on a Sat. or a Sun. I usually try it mid-week when the tourists aren't flocking to the mountains. I have limited access to a house on the Beech climb. Right turn at the Christmas Shop, then a gated private road to the house. A friend bought the house years ago and offers a standing invitation to me whenever they are there.
I don't know the German "person" you described at the three lane section, but you can be sure I will be on the lookout in the future. I'm usually going 3 or 4 MPH at that point, so the dog would be able to limp along and still feast on my exposed parts.
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Old 06-27-05, 01:30 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by p8rider
You people are in en entire different class from me. I felt really good Saturday riding from Winston-Salem to Greensboro, 29 miles. It is my longest ride in years. Usually I just do a 6 mile excersize ride here in Winston 3 - 5 times a week. It was great to be out riding in the country though and while the ride was tough I enjoyed it. My average time was 14.2 mph which I felt was pretty good for a first long ride considering my excersize runs are about 15.2 mph. My congrats to those of you who can manage hill climbs, century rides etc. I'll just keep pedaling.

If you ever attempt some of these long rides, you would be surprised at what you can do. You are currently doing 29 miles at an average of 14.2mph. That means you are on a 2 hour bike ride. That is a fair speed for a lot of us, and for a fair time.
In the UK we have a charity ride from London to Brighton-- 54 miles. Not my type of ride but it is for around 33,000 others each year. Of course you have the fit blokes that try and do it in 3 hours but the majority just try and do it. Last time I did it, I was with some postmen. All shapes and sizes, but one bike- a postman special- 3 speed sturmey archer gears and a big box on the front that normally carries the post bag. They all did it and they all climbed the big hill that is on the ride. I used my bike and stayed with them taking photo's (My excuse for not having to ride one of their bikes).Not all them were fit, not all ride bikes, and some vowed never to sit on a saddle again, but they were all back the next year, along with a few more people that fancied it.

If you are not the type to attempt a longer ride, then ok, but look around for a few Organised charity rides, and you will find out that long rides are an achievement, and they are contagious. They are also great fun, so have a go.
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Old 06-27-05, 02:34 PM   #8
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thanks for all the encouragement folks. As I said, I'll just keep pedaling. I do enjoy it.

STEPFAM
I used to spend alot of time in the UK particularly in Brighton. I know those hills you are talking about, beautiful big rollers.
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