Mini Assault on Mt Mitchell
So, BikeWNC, did one of these "be there, 10am, ride to Mitchell" messages the other evening and, well, it is the mtns and you know me....I was there...
Met BWNC in Marion, we found a place to park over by the campground, unloaded and got our gear ready for the Mini AoMM. We saw several groups of riders as we were getting ready, probably doing the same thing we were getting ready to do. It was a little chilly, but not too bad at the start, but would get colder the higher we climbed. When I left Clayton, it was pretty nice and there were blue skies until I got closer to Marion. It was overcast and cloudy, with wind when I arrived. We both wore arm warmers and carried a vest/jacket, knee warmers, extra bottle and other stuff.
Heading down (or up, which ever way you wanna look at it) Hwy 80, it's not all that bad for the first, 7-8mi. Here's a few pics towards the beginning, with the requisite leg shot I always have to get. :)
This was the view I would have all day, when BWNC was even in sight. I don't know how he does it. I can never keep up with him. Maybe one of these days, some year, I will, but it's not looking promising..
Initially, it's a little bit flat, but then you start to go up a bit, climb around the dam for Lake Tahoma and not long after that, you see this:
I drove up this route last year and thought, ok - this isn't so bad, I can do this...until I got to that sign pointing left. :eek: Then I thought, OMG, there's no way in hell I'll be able to do this. That was last year and last year, I would've been correct. Anyways...this is where it really pitches up and the serious climbing begins.
More along Hwy 80 (at the first really sharp pitch up):
continued in next post....