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  1. #1
    Rawwrrrrrrrrr! wolfpack's Avatar
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    AoM(M) Ride reports

    Post your AoM(M) ride reports/pictures here. I'll start.

    First thing I want to say is I don't think I will do this ride or AoMM next year, if the temps are what they were today. No amount of training can prepare you for that (unless you train in it, which I didn't) and no amount of training can help you overcome severe cramping at mile 52. So friggen severe, it brought tears to my eyes and once I had stopped, I could not move an inch for almost 5 minutes. This ride assaulted both me and BikeWNC big time.

    The ride started off well, lots of riders, and it was awesome hearing everyone clip in and get started this morning. My plan was to hang with BWNC until Bill's Hill, where I knew for sure he would drop me. Those plans went out the door about 10 miles (+/-) into the ride. First medium climb and he was gone. I decided at that point to just ride my ride and not try to blow up just to keep up with him. My friend NealH also just took off. He told me later that he had a great ride. Glad someone did.

    Rode with several different groups up to the first rest stop, including a tandem that pulled me and and others for a long time. After this rest stop, I hooked up with Colavita guy and rode with him for a long time. I've got some nice pics of his calves and will up load the pics later. I didn't get any pics of BWNC's legs. Shame on me. I always get pics!

    Anyways, the heat was starting to play a number on me. I was feeling drained and didn't seem to have any energy, tho I was eating my gel and eating at the RS. Final rest stop before Bill's Hill, I got water and headed out. Turn up BH. I had dumped most of the water on myself or just out so I wouldn't have to carry it. Not far into this climb I got a mild cramp in my right inner thigh and had to stop. Back on the bike, make it to the top, refill the bottles and head on down.

    I think we made some turn maybe and it was a really nice decent around 50mi. But, after this descent when I started climbing, I could feel the cramp coming on. About a quarter of the way up hte climb, I had to stop. I couldn't move. It hurt so friggen bad. Never had a cramp like that before. The sag guy came back and asked if I needed a ride. No, I'm not riding, I'm not quiting. I asked how far to the next rest stop and he lies to me....says, oh, about 6mi or so. I knew the rest stop was at 64mi and here I am cramped up at 52mi. Right.

    I continue on - now in limp home mode because once I start cramping, they won't stop. That was the longest 12mi. During this time, I'm trying to decide whether to abandon when I get to the next RS. DNF. I cry 'cause I didn't train all friggen winter to friggen DNF. But, I say to myself, you don't want to get injured, so do what is best for your health. OK. I'll sag back to Marion. But....

    While at the rest stop, WheresWaldo & his daughter, Bittersweet, come up on the tandem. He had planned on going on to Mitchell, but told me he was going to abandon because of the heat and he just didn't have any legs left. I'm sooooooooooooo glad they showed up. Someone I knew and that I could finish the ride with. Only 8 more miles.

    We head out, I drop them on the hills, they catch me on the descents and pull me till we hit another hill. Wash, rinse, repeat. A long climb....WW tells me it's only maybe a mile after the upcoming stop sign. I say great cause I want this to be over. He lied! More climbing, then about 5mi of descent. We finally get to the last turn and he says here it is...I tell him you're lying to me again and Bittersweet says no - look. There's the friggen campground!! Brings tears to my eyes again - I've never beeen so happy to see the end of a ride.

    I made it just under 5hr, 4hr57min, 75mi. I could have made it in 4.5hr had I not cramped. I think I can do it in 4-4.5hr next year (to Marion) if I ride it. Have no idea how long it would take me to get to Mitchell...

    I got some bbq, beans, & beans, ate that and then tried to call BWNC. No answer. He calls me back while I'm in the shower and says he has just got to the BRP - at like 1pm-ish. Said it was very hard. I figure he would be done around 2:30-3pm. Talk to him again after 2pm and he's suffering big time - climbing at 5mph. Unheard of from this mountain goat. I'm hanging around waiting on him and he finally calls at 4:15 to say he's at Mitchell! WTH? Poor guy - the heat was awful to him (and to me). I just decided to go on home since it's prolly gonna be a 4hr drive.

    So, that's it in a long nutshell. My legs hurt, I'm tired, sunburned too I think. Prolly gonna take at least half a day off work tomorrow. I wish it was winter. I hate this heat. I am going to revise my thoughts on this high temp stuff. I'm with BWNC - give me cool temps cause I just can't deal with the heat. You just can't take enough clothes off to be cool.

    Next??
    Last edited by wolfpack; 06-09-08 at 08:44 PM.
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  2. #2
    Rawwrrrrrrrrr! wolfpack's Avatar
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    a few pics, before the ride:




    BikeWNC, me, NealH:


    Somewhere along the ride:




    Colavita guy:


    and, finally, me afterwards. i'm laying on the ground under a tree, all hot and sweaty and very tired. i look awful, but hey, i just completed 75 brutal miles:
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  3. #3
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Copied from the other post:

    The story was probably the hot, hot temps. As we were coming back down I've never seen as many riders huddled in any shade they could find along the BRP. Plus there was just no breeze to speak of at all. I used most of my water externally-squirting my jersey and neck. Last year I stopped 4 minutes total. This year it was at least 17 mins-not counting the 15 mins for the road paving.

    Hwy 80 wasn't that bad temperature wise as it was mostly in the shade when I came through-but it was still pretty warm. But the BRP and Hwy 128 in the Park was mostly in the sun. I think the temps broke a little the last 2 miles to the top but they were replaced by flying bugs. I was covered with the little suckers and even had them in my teeth. I've seen those little critters up there before but nothing like that. I wiped them off with a damp white towel and the towel turned green.

    I think I came in around 7:20 ish including the 15 minutes we stopped for the road paving. Other than the first time I ever did it, this one felt like the hardest one I've done. I cramped from about mile 40 to the end. My ride time was around 30 mins longer than last year with the bulk of that being the time from Marion to the top.

    Other than cramping my feet got really, really hot towards the end. I even stopped for a couple minutes just 2 miles from the end as the soles of my feet were so hot.

    I sure wish folks would get bottle cages that keep their bottles on their bikes. I must have dodged a dozen water bottles the first 20 miles. There's just nowhere to manuever when you're already 4 wide in a lane and the water bottles are moving around more unpredictably than a squirrel darting around the road.

    Just saw one crash-very early in the ride when the group was very large and I think someone's chain dropped .......and 2-3 others ran into him. I think everyone was able to continue riding though.

    There were lots of broken spokes-kept the mechanic at Bill's Hill really busy. My brother broke his rear derailleur cable-tied it off and limped along on the early climbs in his 12 gear. He climbed to the top of 80 but made a wise choice and turned around and headed back to Marion. First time he's never finished a ride.

    My hats off to anyone who finished AOMM today. It was definitely one for the books.

  4. #4
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    I will say the views up on the BRP were about a good today as I've seen them in a long, long time. Every once in a while I'd pick my head up from it's drooping, sagging position staring down at the pavement to look around.

    It was so hot it didn't feel much cooler riding in the tunnels today. Usually there is a little breeze coming through those but there just wasn't much air stirring around today.

    Cramps-I used 6-8 electrolyte capsules and they just didn't seem to have much affect. I sucked on over a pack of the Cliff's shot bloks and they just didn't help much. Hot Gatorade and water just didn't seem to help. I did notice some difference a little after eating a banana and that helped a little......but only for a short period of time.

    Anyone take water from the little kid and his Dad in the last couple miles on Hwy 80? What Angels they were!! And it was cold water at that!!! What a welcome, welcome sight they were.

  5. #5
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    Wolfpack will tell you how I tried to keep a positive outlook for this ride in spite of the temps. My wife helped us with the shuttle down to Spartanburg so that we had cars in Marion and didn't need to return to the start at the end of the day. When we arrived at the Marriott in Spartanburg, SC it was a balmy 102F! Dang that is some heat. We picked up our registration packets and soon after met Neal for dinner. We hung out watching the USA/Argentina soccer game until it was time to get some rest. Unfortunately, the BB game was on and I managed to stay up a bit later than I had planned. I woke up earlier than planned too but really didn't feel tired as I was eager to ride.

    We met in the lobby and headed out to drop our bags in the trucks that would take them to our final destinations, mine to the Mitchell summit and WP's to Marion. We caught up with Neal and lined up at the start with a 6am temp of 74F.

    So the first few miles are always a bit tense with the large crowd but things seemed more laid back this year. Perhaps the heat took some of the exuberance out of the group. But really the first hour was ok. I settled into an easy pace and averaged 20.6 mph in the first hour. By the 40 mile mark that was down to 20.1 and the majority of the climbing was yet to come. In years past I have maintained anywhere from 19 to 20 mph ave for the 74 miles to Marion. That wasn't in the cards today. Two hours into the ride the heat was on and I was stopping at every sag stop to get fluids and maybe a cookie or banana. I started my regular consumption of Enduralytes too with my Perpetuem and water.

    So my ride time to Marion was a conservative 4:14 which is at least 15-20 minutes slower than my usual time but I was happy with that. Oh, we also got stopped for 13 minutes when the DOT had a road closed for resurfacing. We just stood on the road in the sun until they let us through. That sucked. Of course my total time was more like 4:40 with all the stops.

    I stopped by the truck in Marion to drink a coke, fill my bottles with ice water and put on more sunscreen. I headed out to start the long climb to Mitchell.

    Once the road pitched up it all fell apart. My head throbbed and ached. I had chills. I continued to drink but I was climbing at a snails pace 5 mph and at time slower than that! I passed the sag stop with 3 miles to go to the BRP because I just didn't think I would want to start again. When I finally got to the BRP at mile 87 I had to sit in the shade and try to eat though I just wasn't hungry. I drank a bunch of fluids though it really didn't help much. The temp here was still about 97F! I was told by the volunteers.

    Once on the BRP I began what became a slow climb at 5.8 mph. I can't remember the last time I climbed that slow on this ride. Anyway, it was survive to the next sag stop, rest, drink, eat if I could and move on. The steep 2 mile section on the Mitchell Rd boiled down to just trying not to cramp. Once through the park gate it was almost over. After a shallow grade the road pitches up one last time to the parking lot at the summit. My left quad was twitching trying its best to cramp with less than a quarter mile to go. Eventually I rounded the bend in the parking lot and the day's effort was over. My ride time was 7:58, a full hour more than the last time I did this ride. My total time was 9:38! or 9:25 if I take out the DOT stoppage. That is my worst time ever even in the 2005 year when the ride was 15 miles longer and had 2500' additional climbing. I use to consider that my all time worst bonk ride. I guess I need to reevaluate that.

    The bus ride took an hour to get back down to Marion. Unfortunately, my bike was one of the first loaded onto a van and had to wait until the van was full to make the trip down the hill. I waited at the campground for over two hours in the heat for my bike to show up. Once loaded, it was an easy 1:20 minute drive home. I seriously think if I ever have a ride in these temps again I will just not start or at most cut the ride short.

    So, yes, I finished Mitchell this year. You can bet the thought crossed my mind to join the many riders I saw that had turned around and headed down the hill back to Marion. If I hadn't had the tendinitis last year that made me abandon this ride I seriously would have considered it. I just didn't want this ride to beat me two years in a row.

  6. #6
    Senior Member kokomo61's Avatar
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    I'm still hurting. I was doing great up until NC-80. Bill's Hill was tough, but once it 'leveled out' to 5%, it wasn't bad at all.

    Once the sun came up over the trees (about 10AM), It just got hot. Every rest stop after that, I was dousing my head with water, and wiping down my arms with whatever cold water I could get. I was OK eating the Shot Bloks, but I tried eating other things, and really didn't feel great about anything that was offered (the watermelon was good, though).

    I was cramping up NC-80, (and almost in tears myself). but took a longer rest there, and was able to stagger on. (STAGGER was the operative word). I finished somewhere around 10:30 or so (i really can't remember at this point). I was glad I came down and did it, but I never want to ride in this temperature again. If it's this bad, I'll just stop @ Marion and call it a day.
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  7. #7
    Rawwrrrrrrrrr! wolfpack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kokomo61 View Post
    I'm still hurting. I was doing great up until NC-80. Bill's Hill was tough, but once it 'leveled out' to 5%, it wasn't bad at all.

    Once the sun came up over the trees (about 10AM), It just got hot. Every rest stop after that, I was dousing my head with water, and wiping down my arms with whatever cold water I could get. I was OK eating the Shot Bloks, but I tried eating other things, and really didn't feel great about anything that was offered (the watermelon was good, though).

    I was cramping up NC-80, (and almost in tears myself). but took a longer rest there, and was able to stagger on. (STAGGER was the operative word). I finished somewhere around 10:30 or so (i really can't remember at this point). I was glad I came down and did it, but I never want to ride in this temperature again. If it's this bad, I'll just stop @ Marion and call it a day.
    +100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

    I'll try to get a pass for Mitchell next year, but if the temps are any where near what they were today, I may just pass on the whole damn ride. I hate the heat.
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  8. #8
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    Here's my ride report. We drove up (from Greenville, SC) yesterday to pick up our packets. Which made this morning nice because we got to the start line with 5 minutes for the start. I planned to ride with a buddy and kind of cruise to Marion, see how he felt & then decide if he is going on to Mitchell. Well about 5 mins after the start, I lose him, wait for him; can't find him & decide it's time to go. So now I'm in the back of the packing looking to go somewhere. So yes, I was the idiot passing people on the wrong side of the yellow line; but I needed to go. I operated extremely safe at all times & did not danger anyone.

    I finally got up to a group that was running a pretty good pace & settled in until 2 miles later the construction mess. Not sure how long I was there, but I had time to go to the bathroom & make 3 phone calls. When they finally opened it up there were about 500 riders waiting to go, so it was like the start all over again.

    Worked my way through the traffic, decided to skip the 42 mile rest area (which a ton of people stopped at) and went on to the 47 miles stop. What I really liked was the volunteers who stood on the side of the road with water, so you didn't really have to get off your bike. I rode with a couple pacelines. It seemed that several of the leaders enjoyed being up front & didn't want to share responsibility (which really hurt my feelings as you can imagine). So I did a lot of wheel riding to Marion. Arrived at Marion in 3 hrs 34 minutes (ride time) & feeling a little sore from riding too hard too early.

    Basically like everyone said before, it was hot & miserable. I didn't do a great job eating at SAG stops; basically lived off gel & cytomax. Really wanted to quit at one point & then told myself; what else would you be doing today; just enjoy your ride. That helped a lot.

    I ended up finishing at 6 hrs 47 mins (chip time; 6:27:27 ride time). I was hoping to break 6:30 on the chip, but the construction and the heat just didn't help. So I ended my ride, changed & checked my cell phone expecting to hear my buddy stopped in Marion & I needed to pick up his bag. Instead, I got a note that he had made it to the parkway & was gonna finish this thing. So I sat at the finish line to wait for him (in the freakin bugs) for 2.5 hours. I really needed to eat some food & I think I would feel better now. However, duing my 2 hours, I got to see a lot of the guys that wanted to lead those pacelines finish much further behind me

    A couple general observations: 1) I could not believe how many flats that I saw from people. Some people were flatting in the first 5 miles. Talk about bad luck. 2) I thought the route was well supported (SAG stops) and the attendents went more than out of their way to help make your stops fast & friendly. 3) I am in no rush to sign up for this thing again next year. 4) I was amazed at how many people were cramping & walking. I had one guy coming into the rest area, cramp up, couldn't unclip & fell over missing my bike by inches. 5) Also, I impressed with a lot of the riders that willed themselves to the finish. On the ride down I saw a ton of people still grinding away & this like 10 hours in the saddle. Impressive.

  9. #9
    Senior Member NealH's Avatar
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    Except for dropping my water bottle and, going back to pick it up and, dropping my chain twice when downshifting half way up on a climb I had a great ride today. I stopped in Marion and, its probably a good thing. I just don't think I could have made it to Mitchell, especially in this heat. But, I did kick the idea of continuing around once in Marion. I actually felt pretty good. My ride time to Marion was 4:01.

    Surprisingly, I did not have too much of an issue with heat (not usually the case) on the Marion route but, I was constantly hydrating myself and, eating lots watermellon and oranges at the rest stops. Like Kokomo61 said, it wasn't until after about 10:00 that it started getting hot. I was also wearing a solid white summer jersey which, possibly helps reflect some heat away. However, I am sure that if I had headed on to Hwy 80, then I would have been suffering in short order. Anyway, I'm left wondering if I'm Mitchell material or not for another year.

    Looks like I have some adjusting to do on my front derailleur. I hate throwing a chain off and, its something that rarely happens. I changed my rear wheel before this ride and, adjusted the RD but, this should not affect the FD....I don't think. Anyway, getting this adjusted is my first order of business on Tuesday.

    Overall, I enjoyed the ride and, especially that final descent into Marion. The ride was well supported with plenty of volunteers. I especially liked not having to stop at any turns or intersections (excepting the road construction issue). And, that spaghetti dinner that BikeWNC, Wolfpack and I had Sunday evening was excellent. BWNC had picked this restaurant out from past experience and, it was a good one.

  10. #10
    Free Velo Vol! Velo Vol's Avatar
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    It sounds like they should have been awarding trophies at the end of the ride. This June heat wave has been something to experience. Congrats on surviving.

  11. #11
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    Well, mostly the same for me, except for a flat at about the 50mi point. My replacement tube was bad, so I waited for a helpful rider to give me a spare and some air to make it to the next stop, where I finished filling it up. That, plus the paving operation added over 30 min to my planned Marion time. Not a big deal unless you consider that it pushed the whole ride further into the hottest part of the day. On 80, major cramping started. It was pretty hot. I stopped at all the rest stops to fill water and get some of those electrolyte tubes they had, but it did not seem to help. I was stopping alot to deal with the cramps and I was on the edge of quitting for most of that stretch. I just couldnt bear the thought of all my hard training preparing for this ride, going to waste, so I kept going. Slowly, painfully, but methodically. Finally finished with a 9:30 time althought my ride time was closer to 8:30. I was hoping for inside 8:00 but I threw that out the window and was just glad to finish.

  12. #12
    Rawwrrrrrrrrr! wolfpack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kostritzer View Post
    ...I was stopping alot to deal with the cramps and I was on the edge of quitting for most of that stretch. I just couldnt bear the thought of all my hard training preparing for this ride, going to waste, so I kept going. Slowly, painfully, but methodically....
    +1.

    It just blows that the temps were what they were yesterday. I had such big expectations going into the ride, had trained well and was ready for 75mi. I wasn't ready for the heat. Oh well...maybe next year. Or NOT.

    Big Congratulations to all that finished Marion and Mitchell yesterday!
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  13. #13
    Member Kostritzer's Avatar
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    Well, I made it a goal to conquer Mitchell at least once, so I could say I did it, so I don't think I will do it again. I know I can't improve my time too much and it takes so much effort to plan, train for, register for, travel to, etc.. Besides, it seems like there is more to gain from taking on new or different challenges. At least that way, I can leave some flexibility in my cycling calendar, which leaves room to enjoy the experiences.


    If you have not ever done the Bridge to Bridge ride I would recommend that one. It's a little more manageable overall, and the feeling of accomplishment for reaching the top is just as good if not better than Mitchell, in my opinion.

  14. #14
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    Short and sweet.

    First ever assault for me. I was shooting for under 6:00 hours. I stayed with the lead group till I flatted at mile 44. From there on I was by myself. The climb up the mountain was a completely new experience for me. Coming form Indiana, we're lucky to find a hill longer than a mile.

    Finish time was 6:26 and I was completely exhausted. Were it not for the construction delay and my flat tire, I think I would have reached my goal time. I'll be back next year.

  15. #15
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Well... this'll probably be long, so pull up a chair, a lemonade & some popcorn...

    Preface
    My goal for this AoMM was to do better than the last time I finished (1988). I was new to cycling at the time and managed to finish at 6:20pm for a total of 11:45. It was a suffer-fest and I just barely survived. I'm much more experienced in cycling now, and was hoping to stay with the leaders into Marion for a first-half ride time of 3:30. From then on, I was hoping to take about a 10mph average to the top, for a total of somewhere around 6-1/2 to 7 hours. Although I would accomplish my first goal of finishing better than last time, and getting to Marion in 3-1/2 hours, the heat and climbing would conspire against me over the last 25 miles and dash my hoped for finish time.

    Unfortunately, the heat was one of the defining factors in the ride. Sweltering and very humid. The time on the Parkway didn't help, either: it was hot there too. I don't usually notice heat too much, and certainly don't attribute it as a factor in my rides. I'm sure it does, but I just don't notice it, or pay any attention to it. Same would hold for today, except in a few instances.

    Getting There
    Saturday...flew out from Cali, arrived about 9:30pm local time. Got to bed about 11pm and managed a solid 8 hours sleep. Sunday, pre-reg'd at 2:30pm. I had originally reg'd with just myself being there, so I had bought a ticket from Marion back to S'burg. But, my wife later decided to join me. So I run around a bit at the auditorium looking to exchange my ticket to S'burg for a ticket for her to the top & back down. Finally, I'm pointed to John Byron (legend..ooh...ahh...Nice t'meet you--seriously) and he says, "Wait here" comes back w/a ticket for wifey. Awesome!!

    Monday arrives early. We're staying in Greenville, so get up at 4am, leave at 4:30, arrive at 5 and get ready. Krispy Kreme across the street is mighty tempting, but I restrain myself to a PowerBar (with a granola bar before leaving the hotel). I don't usually eat alot before a ride--even centuries--so I didn't want to experiment now. I'm feeling good, though. My legs always seem to have a little bit of fatigue in them, even on easy days or off days. So I really hadn't ridden at all since Wednesday, trying to give my legs a total rest. I felt good now.

    The First Half
    About 20mins to go, I head over and line-up, about 4-5 rows back. Good spot--not too forward, not too far back, I hope. And then... we're off. The pace is pretty easy for the most part, which is a good thing as I hadn't warmed up at all. About 5 miles in, I notice some guy on my left moving forward and he's not paying attention. Sure enough, he hits the wheel of the guy in front of him. For a second or two, it looks like he might pull this one out, but he's too off-balance, he swerves to the left and falls across the yellow lines. He takes at least one guy behind him down, too, maybe more, but it's behind me now and I can only hear the crash. There was also a truck oncoming in the other lane, but I'm pretty sure it stopped in time and didn't hit them.

    All the while, I've slowly been moving up in the pack in anticipation of the coming climbs (like Bill's Mountain) where I'm sure I'll get spit out. After awhile, I'm back about 40-50 riders or so. Not bad. The pace has either accelerated or I'm feeling the distance, though. Looking back on my data, we covered about 23 miles in the first hour and 22 the second. Good paces, but not the 25mph I was expecting. Fine.

    At some point, during this 2nd hour, we ran into some hills--longer ones that caused a detonation in the pack. There were riders all over now, so it was still easy-enough going. We're trying to work hard and get back to the leaders. We climb a smallish hill and round a corner...and there everybody is, waiting for us at the road repaving. How nice. So, the leaders go from like 50-75 to now 3-400 during the 20mins we stood there. Classic moment: some guy goes off to the bushes, but doesn't get back in time. He's running back to his bike as we leave.

    After this, it's more rollers, longer and slightly steeper. So, the pack is all over again. I manage to get into a group I can ride with, and even up the hills, I climb more toward the front. Maybe they're all just pacing better than me. We round a right-hand turn--hey! there's my wife taking photos!! I thought I wasn't going to see her 'til the top?! Awesome gal!--and we turn onto Bill's Mountain. From the right-hand turn to the top, my Garmin shows 0.9-miles at 6.4% avg with a max somewhere at 10.3%. It was over fast and I actually enjoyed it. I can handle these 1- or even 2-mile climbs. I'll suffer on the longer ones, though. There were people at the bottom and top cheering us on. Nice. I felt fine going up and managed to pull-away with a small group by the top.

    From then on, it's working together 'til Marion. Our small group slowly grows as riders catch up to us from Bill's Mountain. Now we're pretty big, 30+ riders. I'm still riding strong, but definitely feeling it and can't push the pace as before, but still move up on the rolling hills. This third hour, I cover only 18 miles. Part due to me, part to the group I was in--we had gotten dropped, and we knew it, no sense burning all the matches before the climbing starts.

    Still, I managed to get to Tom's Campground in 3:32--my one major goal for the day. Mission accomplished. I didn't see wifey at the campground so I continue on. The rest of the group, however, must've stopped cause now I'm in a group of 3 riders. We cross onto Rte 80 and there's the wife. I slam the brakes, get some cold water, quick kiss, and I'm off. And at this point, I didn't want to. I felt good about covering the 75 miles in this time and was already tired. I knew I was going to suffer the remaining 27 miles.

    Route 80
    Climbing up to the BRP definitely slowed me down. I was doing good on the early (shallow) slopes, but my knees were already hurting, probably from the fast ride into Marion. When the pitch steepens up, it's tough. The father and little girl on the way up were great. And their water was cold! Yahoo! I had to put a foot down on the steepest switchback. Man, that hurt. When I get to the Parkway, I have to stop at the SAG. I had been skipping all the stops prior to this, carrying my own water & food, but now: wow, I hurt. Legs, back, chest, everything! I sit down for a couple minutes and try to massage my legs and stretch my back into some sort of shape to continue. I have to force myself to eat as my body has shut down a bit and doesn't want to know from anybody! I took in way too little food here, but tried to replace fluids. I won't see my wife 'til the top and I don't have a cell phone to call her, so I have to continue, but I don't want to. from the base of Rte 80 to the Parkway takes me a little more than an hour, for a total of 4:47 to this point.

    The Parkway
    Onto the parkway: for the first half-mile, easy enough. In fact, the last time I did this, I don't remember the first stretch being slightly downhill. Thank God it is though. These 11 miles would hurt, squashing any chances I had for a great (for me) time. I averaged a hair over 8mph for a total of 1 hour, 22 mins in this section--that's just riding time, too. Actual time was much longer, I'm sure. Every couple miles, I would stop, put a foot down for 1-2 minutes and try to catch my breath, then go again. The tunnels were a god-send, as they were shelter from the burning sun & heat. This would be the hottest part of the day: around noon to one o'clock for most of the Parkway. The eleven miles averaged only 3%, but that includes about 2-1/2 miles of downhill. Take those out, and you've got 8-1/2 miles of 6% average! That's tough, especially after 85 miles of fast riding.

    I stopped at the rest stop just above the 2-mile descent, about 10-miles from the finish. I was close to quitting. A SAG truck pulled in loaded with riders and bikes: no room for one more, though. I sat on the grass here for a good 20-minutes to half-hour. My legs were incredibly sore. I forced myself to eat (again) and tried to load up and replace fluids as well. Off I went, down the hill, taking it fast (maybe too fast as I almost crossed the yellow line coming through one corner), and onto the last bit of climbing before the Park. I catch up to a group of others and we start climbing again. It was hot, here, with little shade. Some of us crossed to the other side of the road to ride in the shade there, taking our chances with oncoming traffic (never was any). We stop again at the entrance to Mitchell Park. And then only 5 (hard) miles left.

    The Final Push
    The first 2.7 miles to the next rest stop would average 7% with a couple 10% sections thrown in. I covered this in 32 minutes for a wonderful 5mph average pace! I was moving too slow to and hard to drink while riding, so I stopped and put a foot down just about every mile to rest my legs and drink some water.

    I get to the stop and rest some more. Here I run into a guy who has broken his pedal. He's riding on the spindle as the body is in his jersey pocket. How he managed to get up that steep pitch, I don't know.

    The Finish
    The last remaining bit is much easier as it flattens out to 1-2% and even a couple downhills. I remember it being easy the last time I was here, so I push the pace. I climb one little hill and round a switchback and it rears up again. The last mile was at 6.4% for a nice little sting in the tail. Ouch!

    I round the corner and the finish line is there. There's wifey, I think. Hooray! Done! I finish in 8:42 total time. Ouch, that's not 6-7 hours! The first-place rider must've finished 3 hours previous. Three and a half hours to Marion, five hours to Mitchell. Nuts.

    Stats
    Ride Time: 6:56
    Total Time: 8:42
    Distance 102.5 miles
    Elevation Gained: 10,324 feet
    Avg Speed: 14.8mph
    Heart Rate: Avg 149bpm. 81% of the ride was ridden in Zone 3 or less, only getting into Zone 4 (18%) and 5 (1%) occasionally.

    I now do not ever have to do any hill-climbing again. I have completed the California KOM Challenge and the Assault on Mt. Mitchell. I am done. I can now concentrate on flat crits!

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  16. #16
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Pix to come soon...at work now & don't have access...
    Last edited by mkadam68; 06-11-08 at 07:55 AM.

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  17. #17
    Ride it like you stole it WheresWaldo's Avatar
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    Bittersweet and I made it to Marion. She in much better shape than me. If it wasn't for joining up with Wolfpack at the last rest stop I don't think we would have gone on. Since I completed Mitchell last year there was little incentive for me to suffer any more this year. We both wrote up our ride report on my blog.
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    Rawwrrrrrrrrr! wolfpack's Avatar
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    hey WW!! i am soooo glad i saw y'all there at that last rest stop too! i was resigned to SAGing in at that point, but when i saw y'all, i knew i could finish if i could just stay with you guys.

    Mark - great report! glad you didn't suffer too bad!
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    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfpack View Post
    hey WW!! i am soooo glad i saw y'all there at that last rest stop too! i was resigned to SAGing in at that point, but when i saw y'all, i knew i could finish if i could just stay with you guys.

    Mark - great report! glad you didn't suffer too bad!
    Oh....I suffered. Was going to SAG at Marion w/my wife. SHe said she wouldn't talk to me if I did.

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    Rawwrrrrrrrrr! wolfpack's Avatar
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    well, at least we finished our respective rides. not sure i'll do AoM next year tho. logistics of getting to spartanburg and leaving a car in marion are a pain plus, i now have "been there, done that, got the t-shirt"....
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  21. #21
    Cycling Skier songfta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkadam68 View Post
    I now do not ever have to do any hill-climbing again. I have completed the California KOM Challenge and the Assault on Mt. Mitchell. I am done. I can now concentrate on flat crits!
    Oh, c'mon! There are plenty of worthy climb rides left to do!

    - Mountains Of Misery (Newport, VA - 10,000' of climbing over 103 miles that finishes with a 1er categorie climb)
    - Either of the two Mt. Washington climbs in New Hampshire
    - The Mountain Mama Road Bike Challenge (Monterey, VA - over 13,000+' of climbing over 9 passes and 100 miles)
    - Shasta Super Century (Mt. Shasta, CA - 16,500+' of climbing over 135 miles - a TdF stage, closest thing we get here in the states to a proper sportive)
    - Death Ride (Markleeville, CA)
    - and so on, and so on....



    Actually, the two rides you've done are tough 'uns. Add to that the weather this past weekend, and it's like riding another century on top.

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    OCP (Second Generation) BitterSweet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WheresWaldo View Post
    Bittersweet and I made it to Marion. She in much better shape than me. If it wasn't for joining up with Wolfpack at the last rest stop I don't think we would have gone on. Since I completed Mitchell last year there was little incentive for me to suffer any more this year. We both wrote up our ride report on my blog.
    Pardon my fathers mistake. He was ready to Sag in, whereas I was not.
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  23. #23
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    A few pix... (sorry if you don't see yourself, I concentrated more on the scenery as opposed to riders as chances were good I wouldn't know them )
















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  24. #24
    Rawwrrrrrrrrr! wolfpack's Avatar
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    nice pics Mark!
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  25. #25
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Approaching Bill's Mountain climb...


    Starting up Bill's...


    Starting onto Rte 80 in Marion...


    The lower, easy slopes of Rte 80...


    The hardest switchback on Rte 80...


    The rest stop at the entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway...


    Suffering up the Parkway...


    Mt. Mitchell in the distance(?)...


    Climbing the last 5 miles to the top...


    The bicycle transport trucks, staging at the top of Mt. Mitchell to bring equipment down...

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