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  1. #1
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    North Carolina 15 Mile Hill Climb

    I went to Asheville, NC last week for a wedding. I was able to rent a road bike and go for a ride. The LBS gave me several maps of routes with lots of different roads, turns, etc. (in very small print no less ), so I opted for the easy route, straight out and back on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Ms. PB dropped me off at the Folk Art Center and I rode northeast towards Mount Mitchell.

    For 98% of the next 15.5 miles I climbed, from about 2000 feet above sea level to somewhere over 5000 feet. There were only two slight descents that couldn't have lasted more than 1/2 mile combined. While it was never a steep grade (compared to many of my much shorter NH climbs), it just kept going up, up, up! Needless to say, my speed was not all that great.

    Finally, Ms. PB called on the cell phone, "I have dinner reservations at the Grove Park Inn, come on back." I took a big swig of water, zipped up tight, and pointed the front wheel in the opposite direction. I felt as if I was in the TdF coming off of the Alps. Brake for the turns, accelerate out onto the straights, hit speeds above 45 mph, and 35 minutes later, I was back from where I started! What a ride!
    Bob
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  2. #2
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    That is a great ride PB. I hope you enjoyed it as much as those of us that live around here do! Next time, go over to Marion and do the Route 80 climb to the Parkway, then over to Mitchell and back. 30 miles up (with a couple of short descents), and 30 blazing fast miles back down.

  3. #3
    sch
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    Had a similar experience the first time I did the Cherohala out of Tellico, 30mi up from 900' to 5400', of which 3mi were 'downhill' and 27 mi uphill. Rarely steep, just unrelenting and pretty wideopen with no hairpins. The slope up on the NC side is worse, not quite as much elevation change but compressed to
    about 20mi with perhaps 1-1.5mi downhill in there. About 3hrs to go up from Tellico, 40min to return back to Tellico. Great ride but be prepared for the thermocline that hits around 4000', and have some extra top layers for that and especially for the ride back down at 4-5x the uphill speed. Main drawback these days is the unrelenting motorcycles, the word has gone out in motorcycle circles and swarms of them are all over the mountain roads. Not fun slogging up a 10% slope section when 20 Vtwins blatt by belching smoke and fumes.

  4. #4
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sch
    Main drawback these days is the unrelenting motorcycles, the word has gone out in motorcycle circles and swarms of them are all over the mountain roads.
    The motorcycles were out in full force which was amazing for a Thursday afternoon. Probably 3 or 4 for every car that I spotted and easily 100 for every bicyclist! I would have climbed higher and further but there was that reservation for dinner!
    Bob
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh
    I would have climbed higher and further but there was that reservation for dinner!
    Glad you enjoyed your intro to riding in the Carolinas. Your final sentence sums up the usual quandry here, do I ride further, or do I stop to eat! perhaps a bit of Carolina cobbler!

  6. #6
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    When you are ready, check out Highway 74 out of Palm Springs. 4,500 foot rise in 10 miles. I never did it, not from fear of climbing, but rather that the road has no shoulders and drivers blitz around the curves taking the shortest line.

    However it was fun to drive my Chevy Nova up that hill. Vroom!

  7. #7
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    The enjoyment of a ride like this is the adrenalyn rush of speed downhill. The downside is that it takes a lot of effort to get it.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  8. #8
    sch
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    Art: I was out in Palm Desert last June and while I only had a rental car, I noted that biking would be limited to relatively few roads around Palm Springs and adjacent towns and you would have to contend with the constant wind from the coast. The valley is a desert, but it is surrounded by hills, upto 7-10k
    feet to the north and 12k or so immediately south, passes less of course. It was odd to see snow on the range to the south of Palm Springs in mid June. Palm Springs is close to sea level.

    I started my biking career while in school in LR in the early '70s. Used to enjoy circumnavigating Lake Maumelle from Joe T school on hwy 10, about 38mi usually went CCW. Also recall starting at the same site and going out 8-10mi, then turning south on the ridge above Lake Nimrod and riding nearly to Hot Springs on Hwy 7 before looping around and back on Hwy 9. Short route would be through the forest past lake Winona and Sylvia, long route would be nearly to Hot Springs. That was an adventure in the pre cell era on tubular tires as the forest road was gravel.

  9. #9
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Sounds like it was a hoot. Sometime when the climbing seems to never end, I need to remind myself "what goes up, must come down." Your post gives me another mental image to help keep this in mind. 15 miles downhill......
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright
    Favorite rides in the stable: Indy Fab CJ Ti - Colnago MXL - S-Works Roubaix - Habanero Team Issue - Jamis Eclipse carbon/831

  10. #10
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    To PastorBobnlnh
    Ya'all come back now, ya' hear.
    Roccobike BF Official Thread Terminator

  11. #11
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Glad you had a great ride PB!! I'm willing to bet you rented the bike from Liberty Bikes that is really close to the Parkway.

    That is a nice climb up the BRP through Craggy to Mitchell-although it is a just about all climbing for 30 miles. Two years ago we did the Assault on Mt Mitchell using that route. The BRP was closed coming from the north towards Mitchell due to the road being washed out from the Hurricanes the previous Fall. So, just imagine that you had 85 miles under you when you hit the Folk Art Center and thus you only had 32 more miles to go!!! It was 117+ miles total that day under really cool and wet conditions. That was one really tough day that tested both the mental and physical aspects of cycling.

    I've done that climb and gone from 65 degrees at the Folk Art Center to riding through fog and sleet and high winds closer to the top. I only had on shorts and a short sleeve shirt and it wasn't too bad going up as you had to work pretty hard with the climbing. I just about froze coming back down as there was not way to keep the cold wind from cutting right through everything I had on.

    BTW, my sister-in-law lives just a few miles from the Folks Art Center so I've found several excellent loops up that way. I hope you can come back and enjoy NC's roads again soon!!
    Ride your Ride!!

  12. #12
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roccobike
    Ya'all come back now, ya' hear.
    Hope to! Aw yep! (New England speak)
    Quote Originally Posted by jppe
    I'm willing to bet you rented the bike from Liberty Bikes that is really close to the Parkway.
    That was the place. But get this: Working the floor that day in Liberty Bikes was a fellow who helped me--- and I had conducted his wedding some 7-8 years prior in Atlanta. While on the BRP ride I met a guy from Nashville whose cousin owns the pub down the street from my NH church. And the next day at a pre-wedding lunch, I met a couple from NC who have been friends with members in my church for the past 40 years. Small world indeed. I'm now guessing Stapfam knows every British ex-pat in my congregation.
    Quote Originally Posted by NOS88
    Sounds like it was a hoot. Sometime when the climbing seems to never end, I need to remind myself "what goes up, must come down." Your post gives me another mental image to help keep this in mind. 15 miles downhill......
    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    The enjoyment of a ride like this is the adrenalyn rush of speed downhill. The downside is that it takes a lot of effort to get it.
    I always enjoy my downhills. But this particular 15 miles of downhill was the best yet!
    Bob
    Dreaming of Summertime in NH!

    Visit my websites:
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  13. #13
    don't try this at home. rm -rf's Avatar
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    I just finished a 30 mile ride last Wed, starting at Julian Price Park, then 1000 feet up and over Linn Cove Viaduct, down the other side, and back again. There was hardly any traffic. The return from Linn Cove was 3 miles downhill, and I didn't have to touch the brakes, since there were no sharp curves. The grades are not too steep, so not much standing is needed. It was great.

  14. #14
    Are we having fun yet? Prosody's Avatar
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    I was in exactly the same area in July, but since we flew in, I did not have a bike. Also, Ms. Prosody does not ride, and we were on a togetherness vacation, but I gazed wistfully at all the cyclists riding the Blue Ridge Parkway, and I failed to get a photo of the crazy crashing cyclist road sign before a couple tunnels. Next time I visit the Asheville area I'm driving in and bringing my road bike.

    I hope you visited the Folk Art Center. Some of the turned wood vessels there were exquisite.
    You're east of East St. Louis
    And the wind is making speeches.

  15. #15
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prosody
    I hope you visited the Folk Art Center.
    Unfortunately I didn't have time to go in. We had to go to dinner and the next day wedding festivities began. The LBS I rented from is just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Rental for a nice Specialized road bike was about $25 + tax. I brought along my own clothes, helmet, shoes and pedals.
    Bob
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  16. #16
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    Do you have any more info on the rental store? I love that part of the world and go up there several times a year.

    Thanks, John

  17. #17
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 67walkon
    Do you have any more info on the rental store? I love that part of the world and go up there several times a year.

    Thanks, John
    Liberty Cycle on Hendersonville Rd (US 25 I think) on the south side of Asheville. On the left as you head south of I-40. It's in a shopping center with Harris Teeter grocery and a Starbucks in the parking lot. Ask for Ben, and tell him Pastor Bob sent you.
    Bob
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  18. #18
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rm -rf
    I just finished a 30 mile ride last Wed, starting at Julian Price Park, then 1000 feet up and over Linn Cove Viaduct, down the other side, and back again. There was hardly any traffic. The return from Linn Cove was 3 miles downhill, and I didn't have to touch the brakes, since there were no sharp curves. The grades are not too steep, so not much standing is needed. It was great.
    You were riding on a small section of the Bridge to Bridge or Grandfather Mountain ride that we completed on Sept 17th. We come up from the South on the BRP from Hwy 181. Normally we ride past Julian Price and go up a nice 1 mile climb to the turn off to Blowing Rock and then circle back 10 miles to Grandfather on Hwy 221. Since the bridge is still out at Julian Price we turned off on Holloway Mountain Rd. The 8 miles we missed were made up down around Lenoir in the first 60 miles.

    If you camping at Julian Price I hope you were lucky enough to get a spot along the lake!
    Ride your Ride!!

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