We're spending the weekend in the NC Mountains and I did my annual Assault on Mt Mitchell from Spruce Pine. The Park Ranger at Mitchell said they got 5 inches of rain overnight so I had to wait to let the weather clear. Fortunately the roads were okay with minimal tree limbs, rocks and water on the roads.
It was 1pm before the weather cleared enough to ride. Less than a mile into it I was chased by a pretty nasty dog that nipped at my heels. A little further up the road a 3 legged dog chased me. I felt sorry for it so I slowed to let it run alongside for a spell to hopefully help restore his confidence!
The route is an out and back on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I rode from East to West to Mitchell and the wind was swirling and gusting very strongly--mostly headwinds over to Mitchell. As I got closer to Mitchell the clouds were building, winds picking up and the temps dropping. The 5 mile climb in the park went okay but I had wished I had put on my toe covers and had long fingered gloves. I knew the descent would be very chilly.
There were two ladies at the top of the Park and they wanted to talk. I let them take my picture at one of the signs. They seemed really concerned with the weather, how far I was riding and really wanted to take me back to Spruce Pine where I started. I just smiled and said I'd be okay.
The worst part of the return leg was the gusting winds on the descents. At times it was all I could do to keep the bike stable at speeds 40+ mph. I feared being blown over into an oncoming lane with cars coming at me.
All told it was a 70 mile day and 8600 ft of climbing. It was the slowest I've done that trip but I'll blame it on the wind, the extra weight I'm carrying plus Father Time pushing me well into the late 50's.
On the return leg I thought a lot about all the different ways the story could have gone if I had gotten in the car with the two ladies!!