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  1. #1
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    Tour de Cashiers ride report

    With all the dire weather forecast for today's ride, it really is a wonder anyone decided to show. It turned out to be a much smaller crowd than usual for sure and I feel bad for the organization. Living so close to the start I was able to watch the radar and updated advisories issued by the weather service. It turned out that there was a window of decent weather, for the metric anyway, that made the ride possible, for me.

    The metric century is a little over 63 miles and has right at 7000 ft of climbing. If you ever want an early season ride to test your legs this is it. What's notable about the course is that there is very little fluff elevation gain to be had. Most of the climbs are sharp, steep and some are long. It seems that all the hills feature grades of 8% or better, with several sections over 10%. For much of the ride you either are going up or down and even the rollers require low gear efforts.

    The ride started on wet roads, uphill of course, in balmy low 50 degree calm conditions. That would change as the day progressed as the temp at the finish was 41 with a strong wind building. Up on the last couple of gaps the temp had to be in the 30s. But, it never rained. Fog was a brief problem on the top half of the long descent of Walnut Ck. The wind pushed me around a few times but really when it finally started to rev up it was mostly from behind.

    Other than this ride being my first real hard climbing effort of the season it went fairly well. My time was a little better than last year, though my total time up the two big climbs was a little slower. Probably due to the extra pounds I'm carrying right now. After the ride we all enjoyed a buffet lunch while the band played on. It was a 45 minute drive back home and by the time I got out of the shower it was snowing. I hope the guys doing the full century had made it in by then.

    My time for the metric was 4:39 riding and 4:50 total.

  2. #2
    VFL For Life Velo Vol's Avatar
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    That sounds like a challenging ride, and I'm not just talking about the course.

    Being on the wimpy side, I haven't ridden in the mountains when it's below 50 F (in the valley); too cold coming down the hills.

  3. #3
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velo Vol
    That sounds like a challenging ride, and I'm not just talking about the course.

    Being on the wimpy side, I haven't ridden in the mountains when it's below 50 F (in the valley); too cold coming down the hills.
    It was really hard to decide what to wear. Not knowing when the weather would deteriorate I took the gamble to go pretty light. Toe covers, knee warmers, bibs, base layer, arm warmers, light long finger gloves and a vest. I think I hit it right on, though if you notice I didn't linger at the sags. And yes, the descents were very cold but it wasn't long before another hill came along. It's a great ride. I just wish the weather would cooperate one year so that more riders could exerience it.

  4. #4
    VFL For Life Velo Vol's Avatar
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    Mid-April seems a bit early for organized rides in the mountains. I guess the calendar is kind of limited?

    I didn't realize there were so many rides in Western North Carolina until I read about more of them on this forum. We don't have as many on this side of the mountains.

  5. #5
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    If you want to do a nice ride in WNC, the Burnsville Metric, April 28 is the ticket. It's about 59 miles and has some climbing though really not too much. Most of the climbing happens in the second half of the ride. Last year my ride time was 3:06 which surprised me. Much of the time was made in the first 25 miles after which the pace slowed a bit due to the hills.

  6. #6
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeWNC
    If you want to do a nice ride in WNC, the Burnsville Metric, April 28 is the ticket. It's about 59 miles and has some climbing though really not too much. Most of the climbing happens in the second half of the ride. Last year my ride time was 3:06 which surprised me. Much of the time was made in the first 25 miles after which the pace slowed a bit due to the hills.
    Did they do the ride "clockwise" last year? I talked with the organizer a couple weeks ago and he said they planned to have it clockwise so cyclists were doing right turns. They have gotten so many riders they felt like they needed to do that for safety. Plus it allows folks to stay together in groups longer that way.

    I've done it a few times but only ridden it in the counter-clockwise direction. Gotta love the 10 miles along the river in a group........

    Glad you had a good metric. I can't imagine trying to tackle the Century this early.

  7. #7
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    Yes it was clockwise. It was my first year but I think, knowing those roads, that it is best clockwise. As you say, the group gets to stay together longer before the climbing starts.

  8. #8
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jppe
    Glad you had a good metric. I can't imagine trying to tackle the Century this early.
    It's not the distance but all the climbing on the TdC century. Over 11K easy, and that is no exaggeration. It is tough with two big steep climbs late in the ride. The metric is tough too, but there seems to be an end to the fun whereas the century would seem like forever.

    Great ride with very low traffic and nice scenery.

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