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  1. #1
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Assault on Mt Mitchell quick update

    PAlt rode well and finished about 7-8 mins ahead of me. I saw him at a rest stop at the 87 mile mark and he is riding so well he just motored on away up the Blue Ridge Parkway. Neither one of us had times we were hoping for but considering everything it was very respectable 7+ hours.

    Weather was incredibly perfect-temps were in the 50's-60's with bright sunny skies-quite a contrast from the 100 degree temps and no breeze from last year. They were calling for some stiff winds for today but after Marion or about 75 miles it was pretty much a nonissue.

    I was in the lead group not long after the start-and it was a huge pack. One of those deals with folks 3-4 across in a lane. Not sure if someone overlapped wheels or water bottles dancing around on the pavement-but just 4-5 miles into the ride folks to my right and just in front of me starting yelling. Next thing I know riders and bikes are falling over from right to the left. I was pinned against a concrete median and did not have an out. There were 3-4 riders and bikes down directly in front of me and riders jammed up against my right so I TRIED to ride over the bikes because I could not get stopped.........that didn't work and I became part of the pile and fell on the bikes and the median. Fortunately no serious injuries on my end so I jumped back on the bike and chased back to the lead group.

    About 30 miles later I heard a loud sprong noise........you know the sound when a rear spoke breaks......

    I had hoped I had just run over some metal but a few miles later we were doing a climb and the guy behind me gave me the bad news of the terribly wobbly wheel........no wonder I was having trouble keeping up on the climb. I'm guessing the spoke was damaged when I fell. Fortunately there was a mechanic at the top of the climb and he took out the broken spoke and trued it up best he could. He didn't have any spokes so after about 10 mins I jumped back on and took off.

    After the spoke issue I had planned to stop at the 75 mile mark so as to not push the wheel any more than I needed to.......but it was such a nice day and I was feeling pretty good so I just keep riding and managed finish the darn thing.

    My wife was supposed to meet my brother and me at the 87 mile mark with our favorite beverages for riding........but she wasn't there. The combination of all those events just took all the wind out of my sails. It was such a gorgeous day, I took it really easy the last 16 miles (14 of which are uphill) and enjoyed the terrific views riding up the Parkway and the climb to Mitchell-I made it a point to take in some views I've missed when I've had my head down trying to ride for time.

    I was able to improve my spirits and actually enjoyed the day overall. Contrary to last week-I didn't have the first cramp either. They even gave me another little patch at the end I can add to my collection.

    I've done this ride enough now. I most likely will not do it again. I kind of like stopping while I have all the terrific scenary etched in my brain.

    My wife took lots of photos after catchin up with us on the Parkway and even some video. Will see about getting that uploaded.
    Last edited by jppe; 05-19-09 at 07:51 AM.

  2. #2
    Banned. DnvrFox's Avatar
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    You amaze me!!

  3. #3
    Senior Member CrankyFranky's Avatar
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    That's a bummer about the crash and subsequent wheel derangement, and I can understand how you've had enough of it now - but what an accomplishment! Good for you - and especially for your decision that you should concentrate more on enjoying the view. Congratulations!

  4. #4
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Sounds like a great ride - and that is pretty country
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
    If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

  5. #5
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    Congrats to you and PAlt for the good ride.

    We're waiting for the pics.

    Not due to a collision, but last year after having climbed up and over my favorite mountain, I heard the snap/sprong of the broken spoke myself. A sinking feeling. It was about 25 or 30 miles back to the truck and back up and over the mountain to get there. I was sweating bullets the whole way back.

    It's good that there was a mechanic in the crowd.

  6. #6
    Ranzak
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    Did you have any issues getting your bike once back in Marion? I heard that this became a major issue later on...

  7. #7
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ranzak View Post
    Did you have any issues getting your bike once back in Marion? I heard that this became a major issue later on...
    We've done the ride enough to know "the system". When I finished there looked to be way too many bikes ready to be put on the truck (also told me I had finished way deeper in the group than before). My brother had just finished ahead of me and suggested we walk our bikes over to truck to be loaded rather than have the volunteers lean them up with the "hundreds" of others.

    Fortunately they were able to get them loaded and ours were waiting on us in Spartanburg-we had then shipped back to the start instead of Marion. It worked perfectly for us as we stopped and had supper on the way back and before we went to pick up the bikes.

    However, there were people in Spartanburg waiting to pick up their bikes-they were hoping they would be on the next truck........I think we got really, really lucky.

    Based on what I saw on top of Mitchell I can only imagine how long it took to get the bikes down to the Campground. Because of the way they were staging bikes to go onto the trucks, I suspect the earlier finishers might have gotten their bikes even later as the volunteers would have to pack the later finishers first.

    We run events using volunteers like this so you're at the mercy of planning, numbers of volunteers, resurces etc. They do a terrific job with this event using volunteers and past practices. They also have racks in the trucks to hang the bikes and put bubble wrap between them. I'm sure this takes more time but with the price of bikes these days they're very focused on keeping the frames from getting dinged up and damaged.

    Another observation-I've never seen so many people ride back down the Parkway and also take their bikes back on their own......both big no-no's for this ride.

  8. #8
    Ranzak
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    My friend, a first time rider finished at approx 8hrs, rode bus back to Marion got there at 5PM, finally got bike at 8:45 PM and only after reported chaos and he actually "bent" the procedures to get his bike from the corral to avoid even further delays. My question is why does a ride generating $96,000 just off entry fees (not including club membership, jersey, sock, etc sales) rely on volunteers to handle Millions of dollars worth of bikes? Let me make it clear that in no way am I critizising the Boy Scouts who (as far as I know) have always done a tremendous job) [In 2006 I finished in same time as my friend this year and my bike was available as soon as I got off the bus in Marion.]

  9. #9
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    What bike did you ride?
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  10. #10
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    What bike did you ride?
    I wondered how long it would take for that to come up!! I rode the 5900. It was literally a last minute decision as I had both bikes ready to go and just went with my gut as I was loading it in the van. As you know, I've done lots of climbing centuries on the 5900 so it is tried and proven. I think I have the Prince dialed in after only 200+ miles......but just didn't want to take a chance on the saddle not being correctly adjusted creating some knee and/or hip pains-especially with all the climbing late in the ride. The Prince is lighter and feels like it accelerates and climbs faster .....thus, I really wanted to use it but felt I needed to get in some hilly training rides first.

    After going down I was really glad I rode the 5900......but looking forward to getting back on the Prince!! I saw a couple out on the ride though.

  11. #11
    The guy in the 50+ jersey PAlt's Avatar
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    Thanks to jppe for the kind words, I think his riding on a wounded wheel is pretty impressive on it's own! I heard the commotion just in front of me that took him down, nothing makes a sound like carbon fiber breaking. The dominoes flowed back toward where I was in the pack, and I was able to bunny hop the median and scoot around the chaos. Word we heard floating about was a broken stem on someone's bike, know it took down numerous riders. Had a close call of my own when about 30mi in, riding in the middle of a group, on a slight climb, rider in front and to my right (I was in the "slot" between 2 riders) stood to get a little power to crest the hill, must have either dropped or broken a chain, but did his "bicycle repair man" imitation, and tipped to his left into the rider directly ahead of me. I managed to scoot around and avoid disaster.
    I was disappointed in my time, as I hoped to finish "all in" in under 7 hours, though my saddle time was well under that. Learned a few more lessons as to better improve my times for this and other events. All told, it was another great ride, almost perfect weather, and a safe result for both of us. The best reward is the sense of accomplishment I feel from simply being able to still participate in events like this .
    Last edited by PAlt; 05-19-09 at 08:28 PM.

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