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  1. #1
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    In Asheville Aug 13-17 and looking to ride

    I will be in Asheville for the first time the 13th-17th of August and I want to do some riding, hopefully with lots of climbing. Thursday and Friday mornings are the best days for me to get in good rides (30-60+ miles) as my wife will be in meetings. I am looking for some routes and maybe fellow forum members to ride with those days. We will be staying at the Grove Park Inn if that matters at all. On Saturday and Sunday my wife would like to ride but nothing too hard so if there are some suggested easy routes with low traffic that would be great.
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    I'm sure some of the Asheville folks will be more detailed when they check in. I haven't been in several years, but the riding is great from the Grove Park Inn. You can get up on the Blue Ridge Parkway pretty fast, then go north towards Craggy Gardens, or even a nice long pull past Craggy G. to Mount Mitchell State Park. The climb to Mitchell is one of the most popular on the East Coast. Be aware of weather changes and carry a rain jacket at least. The Parkway has some nice climbs, and some nice overlooks to reward the climbing. If you are into steeper longer climbs, do a few of the roads that leave the Parkway for the flatter lands, then reverse and climb back to the Parkway.

    Liberty Bike in Asheville is a good source for road rides:

    http://libertybikes.com/

    If you end up spending more time in the area after you leave the beautiful Grove Park, the Celo Inn on Route 80 in Burnsville, NC is owned by a cyclist that will probably join you on day trip bike ride. His name is Randy.

    http://www.celoinn.com/
    Last edited by serotta; 08-06-08 at 01:34 PM.

  3. #3
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    + 1 Start with Liberty. They can give you a lot of info.

    As far as climbing, it is readily available. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a common choice.

    +1 Most roads connecting to the Parkway have the most serious climbs, as the parkway follows the top of the ridge.

    Mt Mitchell is directly off the parkway.

    I will be out of town all next week.

    You can also ride in the Biltmore Estate, but you have to buy a bike pass (along with a pass to see the estate). Not so hilly compared to the parkway.

    One negative is that most/all of the roads around here are pretty narrow, no shoulders. Parkway during the week will have less traffic than the weekend.

  4. #4
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    is the brp still closed to bike traffic from craggy gardens to mt mitchell?
    wolfpackcycles
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    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfpack View Post
    is the brp still closed to bike traffic from craggy gardens to mt mitchell?
    yes

  6. #6
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    For a nice loop (~17 mi.) from the grove park inn, turn left (old toll rd.) and head uphill. Keep heading up until you get to NC 694 (town mtn. rd.). Turn left and head up to the parkway. Turn left (north) and ride a short ways until you see ox creek rd., turn left there. Short hard steep climb up to elk mtn. scenic hwy., turn left. Descend the nice switchbacks until you T into beaverdam rd. Turn right on it and ride a short ways, take a left on Kimberly ave. Follow it through nice neighborhoods until you see the grove park inn up on your left, several options from there. Have fun!
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    Good catch on the Parkway closings WP.

    I should have included this link:

    http://www.nps.gov/blri/planyourvisit/roadclosures.htm

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    Liberty's a good shop. So are Biowheels and Hearns, both of which are downtown (Liberty is out in a shopping center). The shops will be a good place to start.

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    the dog ate my earbuds KirkeIsWaiting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tulip View Post
    Liberty's a good shop. So are Biowheels and Hearns, both of which are downtown (Liberty is out in a shopping center). The shops will be a good place to start.


    I stopped in Hearns yesterday.
    What a neat collection of vintage rides.
    Super staff too, and very typical of all that we've met here, very friendly.

    Do I really have to go back to NJ?
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    Quote Originally Posted by KirkeIsWaiting View Post
    .....................
    Do I really have to go back to NJ?

    I left Jersey in '64, only been back 4 or 5 times since. The whole family followed me down here!

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    I left Jersey in '68 at the age of 5 months. Never looked back.

  12. #12
    Rawwrrrrrrrrr! wolfpack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeWNC View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by wolfpack View Post
    is the brp still closed to bike traffic from craggy gardens to mt mitchell?
    yes
    dang. i'd like to get back up there this month and ride it...just to see how much difference a year of real training and weightloss has made...
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfpack View Post
    is the brp still closed to bike traffic from craggy gardens to mt mitchell?
    Does this mean I won't be able to go up Mt Mitchell, or just that I can't get there from the BRP?
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  14. #14
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    What that means is the only way up Mitchell now will be through either Burnsville from the North side, or Marion from the South side of the Parkway. Up route 80, then turn Southwest on the Parkway and ride the climbs, do the tunnels, and turn right at the Mitchell entrance for a nice tough climb to the vistor's center. Be sure not to cheat yourself and stop at the Park entrance gates after the first couple of miles of climbing, go on past the restaurant, and all the way to the upper parking area.
    I'm not sure of the mileage from the Burnsville side, but from Marion at the junction of 70 and 80 it is about 28 miles up to the top of Mitchell and about 28 back down. On the way up there probably isn't 3 or 4 miles of downhill, but the ride back is a blast, especially on 80 with all the twists and turns. Actually, the best place to park is probably at the 221 and 70 junction. There's a shopping center, fast foods, and a big parking lot. Parking there will add about a mile one way, so the round trip will be about 30 miles up, and 30 miles screaming back down for a 60 mile ride total.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by serotta View Post
    What that means is the only way up Mitchell now will be through either Burnsville from the North side, or Marion from the South side of the Parkway. Up route 80, then turn Southwest on the Parkway and ride the climbs, do the tunnels, and turn right at the Mitchell entrance for a nice tough climb to the vistor's center. Be sure not to cheat yourself and stop at the Park entrance gates after the first couple of miles of climbing, go on past the restaurant, and all the way to the upper parking area.
    I'm not sure of the mileage from the Burnsville side, but from Marion at the junction of 70 and 80 it is about 28 miles up to the top of Mitchell and about 28 back down. On the way up there probably isn't 3 or 4 miles of downhill, but the ride back is a blast, especially on 80 with all the twists and turns. Actually, the best place to park is probably at the 221 and 70 junction. There's a shopping center, fast foods, and a big parking lot. Parking there will add about a mile one way, so the round trip will be about 30 miles up, and 30 miles screaming back down for a 60 mile ride total.
    This sounds like a fun ride! What kind of climbing numbers are we talking about?

  16. #16
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markman View Post
    This sounds like a fun ride! What kind of climbing numbers are we talking about?
    Marion is a bit below 1200' and the parking lot at Mitchell is about 6600'. There is one 600' downhill on the BRP and another of maybe 200'. The first part of NC 80 is rolling with several up and down sections before the real climbing begins. The total climb is near 6500' in 28 miles from the intersection of 70/80 to the top.

  17. #17
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    hwy 80 takes a serious turn UP after about 10mi from the shopping center on hwy 70. i mean UP. and, there isn't much downhill to that ride on the way to MM, as the guys have stated above.

    after driving that whole section from marion to the top of MM recently, i question whether i can do it. but......i just did around 33mi and very similar amount of climbing in socal, so maybe i can do it. put another climb on my "to do" list.
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  18. #18
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    Many years ago I used to do the Marion to Mitchell climb 5 or 6 times per year. I always did it on Weds. because the traffic was very light after 9 AM. We used to say, the climbing on 80 takes place after the TV dish on the left. I'm not sure the TV dish is still there because I haven't been in three years or so. According to Mapitpronto, the total mileage from HWY 70/221 parking lot to the Parkway is 13.65 miles, but 90 percent of the climbing in that 13.65 is the last 5 miles to the Parkway. I have done the climbs on everything from a 42x21 to a 39x26 and cannot tell the difference in the pain levels. It all hurts all the time. My first smile comes at the top of Mitchell 2 1/2 - 3 hours after beginning the ride. The smile is short-lived, because the downhills also take their toll on your shoulders, neck muscles, and legs.


    Stats to the Parkway from 70/221 up 80:

    Distance Ascent Descent

    13.65 Mi 5036 Ft (368 Ft/Mi) 2709 Ft (198 Ft/Mi)

    Total climbing

    3553.14 Ft

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by serotta View Post
    Many years ago I used to do the Marion to Mitchell climb 5 or 6 times per year. I always did it on Weds. because the traffic was very light after 9 AM. We used to say, the climbing on 80 takes place after the TV dish on the left. I'm not sure the TV dish is still there because I haven't been in three years or so. According to Mapitpronto, the total mileage from HWY 70/221 parking lot to the Parkway is 13.65 miles, but 90 percent of the climbing in that 13.65 is the last 5 miles to the Parkway. I have done the climbs on everything from a 42x21 to a 39x26 and cannot tell the difference in the pain levels. It all hurts all the time. My first smile comes at the top of Mitchell 2 1/2 - 3 hours after beginning the ride. The smile is short-lived, because the downhills also take their toll on your shoulders, neck muscles, and legs.


    Stats to the Parkway from 70/221 up 80:

    Distance Ascent Descent

    13.65 Mi 5036 Ft (368 Ft/Mi) 2709 Ft (198 Ft/Mi)

    Total climbing

    3553.14 Ft
    Sounds like I'm in for a few hours of "fun". I actually love to climb so this is exactly what I am looking to do. I have a 50/34 with a 12/27 on the back so I should be OK. This will be a great ride for me on Thursday since my wife is in meetings all day. Friday will have to be a shorter ride but I still want to do some climbing. I'm doing the Six-Gap century here in GA on 9/28. It has nearly 11,000 feet of climbing in the 100 miles so Mt Mitchell should be good prep.

    Is there a place (store, etc.) to refill water bottles along the way from Marion?
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  20. #20
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Road Bike Guy View Post
    Sounds like I'm in for a few hours of "fun". I actually love to climb so this is exactly what I am looking to do. I have a 50/34 with a 12/27 on the back so I should be OK. This will be a great ride for me on Thursday since my wife is in meetings all day. Friday will have to be a shorter ride but I still want to do some climbing. I'm doing the Six-Gap century here in GA on 9/28. It has nearly 11,000 feet of climbing in the 100 miles so Mt Mitchell should be good prep.

    Is there a place (store, etc.) to refill water bottles along the way from Marion?
    There may be a store just as the climbing starts on NC 80 but it is too early in the ride to be much help. Carry a third bottle. I'm pretty sure you can fill your bottles at the visitor center in MM State Park. If not there then at the restaurant or the campground.

    If you're interested, and you are not some Cat 3 or above that is going to whip me, I might be able to join you on a loop off the BRP on Friday. It's about 45 miles with a good sustained climb. The ride takes about 3 hours. PM me if you want more info.

  21. #21
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    bikeWNC is correct, the last store will be at the 70/80 intersection and the next opportunity will be at the top snack bar or the restaurant. Carry two or three bottles, a few GU packets or some poptarts. In dire emergency, there is a small water source flowing right out of the rock about 100 yards before the second tunnel. I have seen construction workers repairing the tunnel a few years ago collect water there and drink it. Of course, once on the Parkway you can always stop in an overlook and beg water and food from passing tourists.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by serotta View Post
    bikeWNC is correct, the last store will be at the 70/80 intersection and the next opportunity will be at the top snack bar or the restaurant. Carry two or three bottles, a few GU packets or some poptarts. In dire emergency, there is a small water source flowing right out of the rock about 100 yards before the second tunnel. I have seen construction workers repairing the tunnel a few years ago collect water there and drink it. Of course, once on the Parkway you can always stop in an overlook and beg water and food from passing tourists.
    I think I'll carry three bottles
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  23. #23
    Member Kostritzer's Avatar
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    Might be cool to set up a 'ride' for anyone who wants to do the 80/Mitchell route.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by tulip View Post
    I left Jersey in '68 at the age of 5 months. Never looked back.
    Quote Originally Posted by serotta View Post
    I left Jersey in '64, only been back 4 or 5 times since. The whole family followed me down here!
    I beat one of ya' outta there. Left in '66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Barker View Post
    I beat one of ya' outta there. Left in '66

    I'll bet tulip forgot to cut off the lights!

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