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  1. #1
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    Triple Chainring Challenge

    It's gonna be a great ride during a great time of year in the mountains of NC. More info at www.noc.com

  2. #2
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    Looks like a beautiful ride, though a bit intidimating for me at this point. Maybe next year, assuming it's a yearly event. I'll be on the SEBF ride in May, which will be punishment enough!

    Oh, what I wouldn't give to already have my climbin' laigs!

  3. #3
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    There's no reason for everyone to be scared of our ride. Don't worry we'll help you out if you need it. Believe me our rides are extremely well sagged and supported. Have a little faith in your ability. Don't miss out on the best ride you'll do this year. See the profile on www.noc.com

  4. #4
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    I'm planning on being there Ben. See you there.

    Andy

  5. #5
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    From the profile it looks like the last 8-9 miles are "downhill" or flat with some small rises. Is there really 15,000 feet of climbing in 82 miles? Geez.........

  6. #6
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    I think we used National Geographic mapping software for the map and profile. I'm not convinced it is actually 15,000 ft, my guess is more like 12,000. Anyone out there have more acurrate software?

  7. #7
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    My polar measured 3000ft of gain of the Yellow Ck loop part of the ride. I would be surprised if the total ride had more than 8500ft - 9000ft. That's just a guess, but those mapping programs just have too much jitter that adds to the elevation gain.

  8. #8
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    I did NOC Triple Chainring Challenge this past Sat. as part of my training for the Assault on Mt Mitchell in June. Being the first year for the event there was a small field and perhaps the weather forecast scared a few more away. The website indicated the 92 mile loop had 15K' of climbing, but the good news is that my altimeter only recorded 8700'. Not to say the climbs were easy. For the most part the course was either up or down with very little true flat to be had. The one notable exception was the section after Fontana Dam along the lake.

    The ride started promptly at 9am, personally I would have like a ride of this length to begin a little earlier to avoid afternoon issues with weather or traffic. Neither were a problem on this day. There was a brief light shower after the first hour which made some of the descents tricky but otherwise it was comfortable all day. The ride started off with a climb, of course, out of the Nantahala River Gorge and continued on rolling terrain until the first sag at 21 miles.

    After the sag the ride began a series of climbs on NC 28 which led to the base of Fontana Dam. From there the only section of truly flat road, 6 miles, ended with the climb up to Deals Gap. Yes there were many motorcycles at the Gap, most parked waiting out the rain to run the Tail of the Dragon. For the most part though, I had the road to myself at this point as I was between groups of riders. Only the NOC sags came by with regularity.

    Through Deals Gap the course followed NC 129 down to the base of Cheoah Dam then up the Cheoah River. After a quick sag at mile 42 I pedaled alongside the river for several miles at an easy grade until the turn into the Yellow Ck valley. The thing about Yellow Ck is that while the ride through the valley is generally a mellow rolling road through pastures and forests it ends abruptly at a wall of a climb which tops out at the Appalachian Trail. While the climb isn't long at 1.2 miles it has two very steep pitches. As bad as the climb seemed, the freefall down the other side was worse. About a quartermile after the crest a hairpin 180 degree off camber slick curve made it feel like I was circling the drain on the wet road. I survived that turn and a few other corners on the rest of the runout to the third sag.

    The third sag was the same as the first sag having completed a loop, the Yellow Ck loop, it was back on NC 28 for the climb up Stecoah Gap. Normally, Stecoah Gap isn't too difficult but my legs were feeling the steep grades on Yellow Ck. The 4 mile climb averaged over 7% and was a grind. But once at the top of the Gap, crossing the AT yet again, it was mostly down to Robbinsville. The fourth and last sag was located at the HS. From there it was an 11 mile gradual climb, 800' gain, to Topton.

    The section on NC 129 from Robbinsville to Topton had the most traffic on the entire route. The DOT had just put rumble strips in the shoulder leaving inside the lane the only place to ride. I do have to say that the traffic though this area was for the most part very considerate, though I wish the DOT would widen the shoulder for safety reasons.

    Once at Topton, the work was done. After a quick descent to the Nantahala River the road continued down the drainage back to the NOC for the finish. The Triple Chainring route was very scenic passing waterfalls, lakes, dams, and many rivers along the way. I live in the area and never get tired of riding out there.

    The support was also very good. I bet I was passed by a sag vehicle at least 20 times over the course of the day, though I never needed anything it was nice to know they were there. My ride time was 6:09, total time 6:25 for the 94 miles and 8700' climbing. The fastest time of the day was 5:08/5:13.

  9. #9
    Free Velo Vol! Velo Vol's Avatar
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    Good report, BikeWNC.

    You don't break for very long.

    Did you use a triple to fit in with the theme?

  10. #10
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    I did use my bike with the triple. While I can use a standard double for most rides the triple helps out on the really long rides that have a lot of climbing. Especially when the climbing is steep.

    On this ride I actually stopped more than I needed to. I could have easily cut out two sags but I really just wanted to get the miles in and time wasn't critical.

  11. #11
    Free Velo Vol! Velo Vol's Avatar
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    If I get going with the food, I can spend that much down time at one rest stop.

    Are there any organized rides in that area later in the summer?

  12. #12
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    You probably know about the Cherohala Challenge which rides through Deals Gap and over the Skyway.

    NOC sponsors another ride in Nov. called the Nantahala Nightmare. It takes a slightly different route but is longer and probably has more climbing than the Triple Chainring does.

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