Originally Posted by jppe
Normally I look forward to doing different rides but with my lack of conditioning I might be in over my head this Sunday.
Anybody done this route before??
Hey Jppe, tough route. I'm going to be up on the mountain with you Sunday. Look for me, Old, Fat and Fredly..... I've run the front or the rear 3 several times, never all 6. This year my business has kept me off of the bike and I know I will pay for it Sunday.
There are 20 miles of up and downs to get to the first hill, Neal's. 7.5 miles, 35-45 minutes to the top. Not too steep, averages 7.5%, false flat 1/2 way up. Don't work too hard, more to come. Ride comfortably, don't dig too deep. Fun downhill to follow, safe and easy, turn right at 180. The roads become rougher, and hillier.
Jack's is the second gap. The entry to Brasstown is on the top of it. You have to know it is somewhat steeper. Long enough to put some pain into the legs, steep as hell. The downhill after is a blast and lasts for a really long time.
The next is Unicoi, Steep also, slightly longish but new pavement makes it pretty manageable. Again, conserve, the fun is about to start. Another great downhill.
When you turn uphill, you run up and down a bit, don't be fooled. You will turn right again and begin hating life almost immediately. Up and around the bend is the first wall. 13-15%. It will finally let you go and you have a small downhill respite. When you turn up again, just concentrate on turning the pedals over. It's gonna be steep and seems to go on forever. There is a water stop on this wall, but It's hard to get going again. If you can, keep going. You get to an overlook, but be careful, it's not over yet.
You will be in your lowest gear, struggling to turn it over. I was told to keep your head down, there will be carnage all over the road on this hill. Recover at the top, stretch and enjoy a downhill that is steep enough to cross 50 mph. On a 14-15lb bike, it is like flying on a leaf. After a small road ride with a few ups and downs, you turn back towards Neals, uphill to a right turn to Wolfpen.
Wolfpen is pretty steep with steep ramps in the corners. The best part is "It is shady". It will be cooler and thereby is a good climb later in the day. Great downhill after, lots of fun. Pretty long ride with lots of rollers into Suches, where you turn at the convenience store up to the last gap.
The last gap is Woodys and is it really just a bump after all the climbing you have done. It is a pain nonetheless. Put your head down and it goes away fairly quickly. The downhill after is one of the longest and is now very dangerous. It is covered with the tar snakes and later in the day they will be melted. Don't push the corners too hard while watching your traction. I was hoping that the tar snakes meant they were going to pave it. You run downhill 2/3 of the way home. Watch the last corner calling for 20 mph, it tightens up. I've almost missed it a couple of times.
I am going into this thing with one thought. Conserve. I have the tendency to mash up the hill in a bigger gear all the way to failure. That won't work if I intend to go 100 miles. I will be riding a 50/34 compact with a 12/27 rear cassette. I am generally a flats and roller rider and climbing is definitely not my thing. With my cardio conditioning, my heart rate runs up quick and I will do everything but take valium to keep it down. I had my longest ride ever this weekend, 120 miles on the Comet Trail. We rode to Alabama and back. It was a great endurance ride, flatter and more in my ballpark. I can assure you, Sunday I will be suffering'.