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Old 08-05-05, 07:41 AM   #1
va_cyclist
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Riding Blue Ridge Parkway tomorrow

After thinking about this all season, it looks like I'm going to get my chance. Tomorrow I'm driving out to the northern head of the Blue Ridge Parkway to do some riding. No real plan other than to just get on the parkway headed south and go as far as I can, then turn around. Depending on the degree of climbing difficulty I hope to get in at least 50 miles. I consider myself a decent climber, but this will be my first experience climbing mountains, so wish me luck!
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Old 08-05-05, 07:48 AM   #2
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Good Luck!
Watch the heat. Even up in the Blue Ridge it may be debilitating. For every up, there is always a recovery down.
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Old 08-05-05, 08:29 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by va_cyclist
I hope to get in at least 50 miles. I consider myself a decent climber, but this will be my first experience climbing mountains, so wish me luck!
Good luck and more power to you. Get out early and beat the heat. I took a look a the elevation profile and you're more man than I am. This makes my usual rides look like a pool table.

In case you're interested...it's attached.
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Old 08-05-05, 08:48 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by va_cyclist
After thinking about this all season, it looks like I'm going to get my chance. Tomorrow I'm driving out to the northern head of the Blue Ridge Parkway to do some riding. No real plan other than to just get on the parkway headed south and go as far as I can, then turn around. Depending on the degree of climbing difficulty I hope to get in at least 50 miles. I consider myself a decent climber, but this will be my first experience climbing mountains, so wish me luck!
Dude, I do wish you luck, as that sounds like a great ride. (Heck, I wish I was going with ya! ). I've always wanted to go up and do a ride on the parkway, and I plan to before much longer. But because of my location, I would likely go up to somewhere around Rocky Knob (about 150 miles south of where you're starting from).

When you say you "hope to get in at least 50 miles", are you talking round trip, or are you talking about going down the parkway for 50 miles, then back? (Just thinking about that return trip... wow). Just out of curiosity, I did a little map in Topo USA of the area you're talking about, mapping out just over 26 miles or so from the northern head. That looks like a great ride. (Sorry if the attachment looks a little grainy; had to shrink the original image down quite a bit to fit within the 100kb attachment restriction).

Give us a follow-up report on how it goes. I'm curious as to how much traffic you'll encounter on the parkway, along with what the temperature will be like up there tomorrow.

Take care, and have a blast.

Burke

(edit: Man, psuaero already beat me to the punch with an image of his own .)
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Old 08-05-05, 08:54 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burke Wells
When you say you "hope to get in at least 50 miles", are you talking round trip, or are you talking about going down the parkway for 50 miles, then back?
I meant 50 round trip, (25 out and 25 back). But it all depends on the hills! I'm not totally sure how I'll do on the climbs, so I'm game for 10 miles or 80 miles, whatever I can handle. I'm bringing a loaded 100 oz. Camelbak, two bottles, and a camera. I'll post pictures here Sunday if I get any good ones.

Wow, thanks for those elevation profiles. This is gonna be fun!

Last edited by va_cyclist; 08-05-05 at 09:37 AM.
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Old 08-05-05, 09:10 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by va_cyclist
I meant 50 round trip, (25 out and 25 back). But it all depends on the hills! I'm not totally sure how I'll do on the climbs, so I'm game for 10 miles or 80 miles, whatever I can handle. I'm bringing a loaded 100 oz. Camelbak, two bottles, and a camera. I'll post pictures here Sunday if I get any good ones.
There ya go. Good plan. That sounds like my kind of ride, too. Looking forward to seeing some pics when you get back.

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Old 08-05-05, 09:15 AM   #7
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I figured you probably meant 25 out and 25 back but I took the elevation profile out the full 50 just in case you wanted to see what was out there. Once you get to about 22-23 miles you'll be in for a serious mountain or two. At least the top is around the point which you were planning to turn around 25 to 27 miles.

Good luck and post a trip report with a few pics... Are you riding this solo? How are the cell phones out on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Seems pretty remote by looking at the map.

John
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Old 08-05-05, 11:11 AM   #8
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Pics will be great! Take care. I get to take my 12 year old to Carowinds for his birthday, (he deserves it)
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Old 08-05-05, 02:07 PM   #9
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Good luck, I have ridden the parkway in my area in NC many times and its a blast.it will be killer on the legs.
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Old 08-05-05, 02:50 PM   #10
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When I rode out there years ago, I camped out. I got up very early in the morning before many cars came out. The road surface was so well maintained. Six mile climbs and descents. Go as early as you can. After the motorhomes and cars come out it isn't as fun. On one long downhill a deer got caught between me and one of those retaining walls so just ran alongside me for a while before jumping the wall. The bike is so quiet you can see wild turkey before they fly into the woods. If you are in shape the hills aren't that bad, just relax, spin mostly and standup in a higher gear every once and a while for diversity. I didn't set a mileage goal I just drove out until I thought I was "half-tired", turned around and arrived back at the campsite "completely-tired". The first part of the ride before the cars came out was the best so get on your bike at first light.
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Old 08-06-05, 05:47 PM   #11
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What an awesome ride! I ended up doing 60 miles (30 out, 30 back). In hindsight that might have been a little much, because it seems I'm perhaps not as strong a climber as I thought! But I'm not too awful either. A triple ring would have come in handy today. I spent most of the day in my 39-25 grinding up the hills. The downhills were awesome -- there's just nothing like a four mile descent. Certainly not around central VA! Gotta love coasting at 35 mph on the hoods.

I started out at about 2400 ft. and basically climbed up and down between 2400 and 3300 all day. I don't have a way to measure, but I'd guess total climbing between 4000 and 6000 ft.

The very first climb of the day almost broke me -- 500 ft. climbed in 1.5 miles -- more than I was ready for without a warmup. Things got a little easier after that until the return trip. The hilly highlight was one descent around the 20 mile mark where I set a season-high speed of 43 mph. That same hill almost broke me on the return trip, it was so damn long and steep. And the last two miles were all downhill, sweeeet.

Not a lot of fauna out today. There was a deer grazing on the side of the road during one descent who looked up at me and didn't register me as a threat, but then did a double-take when he realized I was hurtling toward him at 36 mph. He scampered off into the woods. Saw lots of butterflies, a few soaring hawks, and a few chipmunks.

I didn't get very good pictures because it was overcast and kind of foggy for the first 4 hours, but I'll attach what I got.

If you ever get a chance to ride this road, take it. It's beautiful and well-maintained and a real challenge for the legs.
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Old 08-06-05, 06:13 PM   #12
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Wow, congrats on a great ride! Beautiful pictures you have there. I actually thought about you this morning, and wondered how your ride was going up there. Man oh man... A four mile descent... I can only imagine the rush. To me, there's not much that compares to doing 40+ down a hill.

How much traffic did you see? Just curious...

Thanks for the great update on a great ride.

Burke
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Old 08-06-05, 06:20 PM   #13
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Great pics,looks just like home.
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Old 08-06-05, 06:31 PM   #14
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How much traffic did you see? Just curious...
Very little traffic at first. I got started around 8:30 am, and saw maybe one car every 15 minutes or so for the first 3 hours. After 11 the traffic picked up a bit, but never was a problem. I didn't see any other bikes at all for the first two hours, then a couple, and on the last hour of the return trip I saw quite a few. Mostly serious roadie types out there (I guess you have to be). On the very last climb I passed a couple on fully loaded touring bikes in the small ring on their triples just spinning away at 90+ rpms, doing like 3 mph as I ground past at 40 rpms @ 9 mph. They were the only people I passed in the same direction all day. But nobody passed me! Bwah ha ha ha ha.
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Old 08-06-05, 07:51 PM   #15
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The parkway is one of my favorite places to ride. I've never been that far north, more around the Waynesville/Asheville area.

Good job on that ride. Thanks for posting the pics, it's getting me excited about heading down there next weekend.
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Old 08-07-05, 07:13 PM   #16
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Thanks for the pics. Your ride sounded great. Makes me want to head up there!!
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Old 08-07-05, 07:58 PM   #17
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Awesome pics! Hey psuareo - how did you do the elevation profile?
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