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Old 04-16-11, 08:31 PM   #1
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Dogs, Hills and Wiind + 2 Ladies tried to pick me up--All in one Ride

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!!
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Old 04-16-11, 08:35 PM   #2
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Sounds like a lot of fun! Especially the dogs and gusting winds! You know how to have fun!
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Old 04-16-11, 09:07 PM   #3
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IDK how cold it was on Mitchell, but we had snow flurries on top of the Smokies this afternoon. The wind was swirling down in the valley too. Even down there I was pushed around some. You have to watch those winds on the descents! We made it to 60 briefly but then it became more overcast and the temps really dropped later in the day. That's April in WNC!
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Old 04-17-11, 12:44 AM   #4
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Mayby you are getting old and desperate and mistake friendliness for a Pick Up. On the other hand maybe they were discerning people and wanted to get you out of the way so they could have your bike? Or, if you are married, is your wife devious enough to send somebody to check you out? Maybe a romantic dinner is in order?
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Old 04-17-11, 05:28 AM   #5
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When I lived in Charlottesville VA I did an annual solo ride to Skyland in late March, a few times I was snowed upon. When I went to my aunts funeral in Wytheville in mid April 15 years ago it snowed. Those Mountains can still have nasty weather late into the spring. I miss riding the parkway, fond memories of beautiful climbs and fast descents on decent roads. Not so fond memories of the traffic in the mid summer.

Never did Mitchell - sounds like a great ride.
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Old 04-17-11, 06:41 AM   #6
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You seem to be recovering well from your recent medical issues.
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Old 04-17-11, 06:53 AM   #7
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What, no pics? Just kidding. Sounds like it was a great ride.

I still have my sights on climbing Mitchell in mid-june. I had not thought about auto traffic, but I'm sure it will be an issue by then. I'm only concerned about dealing with traffic on the descent, since I have no prior experience. Any tips, jppe? I plan to ride Paris Mtn in Greenville soon, and will probably use it to practice descending. Just local traffic there (and upstate roadies!)
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Old 04-17-11, 07:10 AM   #8
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I haven't found the traffic on NC 80 to be an issue. If you get an early start it shouldn't be a problem. The BRP traffic will depend on the weekend. Again earlier in the day is better. In June, the rhododendron blooms bring people so be aware of that, but generally it's never bad unless it's a holiday. The problem I have on descents is the cars go too slow! You just have to watch them because they will often do unexpected things, like stop to take a picture!
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Old 04-17-11, 07:37 AM   #9
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taken in July of 2009 (all in a 1/2 hour period) .... for those who like pics
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Old 04-17-11, 07:42 AM   #10
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He is a kind man who is concerned about the self-esteem of a 3 legged dog.
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Old 04-17-11, 07:57 AM   #11
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I was riding my bike back from Washington D.C. to here in Florida and on my last day my trip was interrupted by a bridge that was out due to maintenance -- forget the name of the bridge, but it was on Hwy 17 south of Kingsland, Ga. and crosses the St Mary's river. I found out not from signage, but from cues about maintenance up a head, so I stopped in a little park and asked a local lady what all the maintenance signs were about (I just had a feeling that the bridge might be closed). Turns out it was, so I had to go a good ways west to cross the same river on Hwy 301.

That lady that I asked was well into a few drinks and offered to give me a ride, but by the tone in her voice I knew she was offering a bit more than just a ride. I was somewhat tempted, she wasn't that bad lookin'...and I am a guy that's been on the road for a while...and she was getting pretty persistent in cajoling me, but something told me, "NO, do not get in that car". But damn, if I wasn't tempted... I often wonder, what if I did get in that car...
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Old 04-17-11, 08:03 AM   #12
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Maybe the bike Gods were testing your dedication. First dogs were sent to frighten and slow you down. Then women were thrown at you to make you change your exercise of choice. ;-)

Seems like you passed with flying colors! Well done!
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Old 04-17-11, 09:13 AM   #13
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He is a kind man who is concerned about the self-esteem of a 3 legged dog.
I think the ladies noticed that and were charmed by his consideration.

Great ride, an embarrassment of riches, in terms of experiences.
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Old 04-17-11, 09:13 AM   #14
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Maybe the bike Gods were testing your dedication. First dogs were sent to frighten and slow you down. Then women were thrown at you to make you change your exercise of choice. ;-)

Seems like you passed with flying colors! Well done!
Of course! an Oddyssey!
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Old 04-17-11, 01:10 PM   #15
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Here are a couple pics from yesterday. They were taken from my blackberry which has an older camera so the clarity is not that great. The first one is where I'd stopped to do some clothing rearranging and the second is at the top of Mitchell.

I was laughing too hard to get a pic of the 3 legged dog.



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Old 04-17-11, 01:16 PM   #16
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What, no pics? Just kidding. Sounds like it was a great ride.

I still have my sights on climbing Mitchell in mid-june. I had not thought about auto traffic, but I'm sure it will be an issue by then. I'm only concerned about dealing with traffic on the descent, since I have no prior experience. Any tips, jppe? I plan to ride Paris Mtn in Greenville soon, and will probably use it to practice descending. Just local traffic there (and upstate roadies!)
There was a car full of sightseers that were taking their time going down the BRP and had to brake to keep from running into them. However there have been plenty of times I haven't seen many cars. Just be prepared for any type of weather at the top of Mitchell. While it's not as high as some of the western peaks the heat and humidity differences up top versus 3000-4000 ft can create some challenging weather in the summer-especially in the afternoons.
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Old 04-17-11, 03:01 PM   #17
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Hey jppe, what did they ever find out was wrong with you a while back ?
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Old 04-17-11, 06:48 PM   #18
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Hey jppe, what did they ever find out was wrong with you a while back ?
I got food poisoning---and the virus created a condition called "reactive arthritis". About a week after the food poisoning my joints swelled and became severely inflammed. It mimics the pain and swelling Rheumatoid Arthritis of but hopefully mine is only a temporary condition. I'm still on med's as I there is some minor inflammation in one foot and also one knee "talks" to me occasionally. I had a similar episode in my late twenty's which was created by another virus. However this episode was much more debilitating. My rheumatoid doc says the next one could be even worse.....
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Old 04-17-11, 08:21 PM   #19
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I really hope you don't get RA. I wish your doctor was a little more optimtic. I don't like to hear that, even if it is the truth. I was taking one medicine and it just stopped working and now I'm on another. My hematologist said that's how it works. Some people can take one drug for 20 years and keep it in remission, while others have to keep looking for the right combination. I was wondering how you bounced back so fast. I wish I were that Lucky. It's good to read about your climbing and your rides. Stay well and good luck.
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Old 04-18-11, 12:26 AM   #20
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I was riding my bike back from Washington D.C. to here in Florida and on my last day my trip was interrupted by a bridge that was out due to maintenance -- forget the name of the bridge, but it was on Hwy 17 south of Kingsland, Ga. and crosses the St Mary's river. I found out not from signage, but from cues about maintenance up a head, so I stopped in a little park and asked a local lady what all the maintenance signs were about (I just had a feeling that the bridge might be closed). Turns out it was, so I had to go a good ways west to cross the same river on Hwy 301.

That lady that I asked was well into a few drinks and offered to give me a ride, but by the tone in her voice I knew she was offering a bit more than just a ride. I was somewhat tempted, she wasn't that bad lookin'...and I am a guy that's been on the road for a while...and she was getting pretty persistent in cajoling me, but something told me, "NO, do not get in that car". But damn, if I wasn't tempted... I often wonder, what if I did get in that car...
I'm going waaaay off-topic here, but your story reminded me of one from my major professor from the '70s. A cute pre-med was failing his metabolism course.

Pre-med: "Dr. Segel, I would do anything to pass this class."
Dr. Segel: "Anything?"
Pre-med: "Oh, anything" (with knowing wink)
Dr. Segel: "Really, anything?"
Pre-med: "Yes, anything."
Dr. Segel: "Well, how about studying?"

Decades later he was still kicking himself for not being able to resist delivering that line.
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Old 04-18-11, 12:51 AM   #21
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So even with the extra weight you are still attractive to women Wish I was that lucky.

On 3 legged dogs-Up on the hills in the middle of nowhere and I saw a Jack Russell with a severe limp. Was just about to tell the owner when the dog ran past me and I saw it was missing a leg. Besides the fun the dog was haveing- it was obviously not affecting it as we were 3 miles from the nearest road.
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Old 04-18-11, 04:48 PM   #22
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I was laughing too hard to get a pic of the 3 legged dog.
Will a three-legged cat do?



That's 'Wobble', our born-that-way three legged tomcat, back when he managed to break his only good rear leg. No worries - He healed up just fine. However, I've yet to ask him to ride with me.
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