So I met NealH up in Burnsville, NC for a ride on next Sat. Burnsville metric course. The ride changes a bit this year to relocate the second rest stop but we hung on the old course which saved us a couple miles and a trip through the big town of Bakersville, NC. (lol) The weather was about as perfect as one could ask for. We started the ride in sunny low 60s and finished in the mid 70s with very low humidity and mostly low traffic. The only traffic of concern was on Hwy 19 which we had to start and finish the ride on. Come next weekend we'll be escorted out of town by police until the first turn, or is that until we cross the County line. Sometimes I think that's the real objective. Get them Italian underwear wearing cyclists out of our County.
Once off Hwy 19 the traffic faded away, and the few cars we had to deal with more often than not waited patiently for our permission to pass. I mean some people really needed an invitation! But at least they are very respectful of us riders on the road. I'm very much appreciative of that.
The loop is really two rides in one. The first 36 miles roll out of town and then follow the Cane River to the confluence with the Toe River. So generally the ride is down river grade until the turn up the Toe but even then the grade is mild as the river isn't steep here. But at 36 miles the climbing begins and in the last 23 miles of the 59 mile course there is 2400' of gain.
Neal riding down the Cane River.
Then up the Toe River.
The wide Toe. Both upstream and further downstream are good kayaking whitewater sections.
It was around here we passed a firehouse BBQ and man did it smell good. But climbing on a stomach full of pork BBQ didn't seem like a great idea.
On the NC 80 climb we got a good view of Mt. Mitchell in the distance. Both Neal and Wolfpack have a date with destiny on that mountain very soon.
The descent on NC 80 was tricky in spots due to sand the DOT laid down when it snowed last week. Anyone reading this that does the BM next week be advised. Unfortunately NC 80 dumped us back onto Hwy 19 with its narrow shoulder, rolling hills and traffic. Neal led me out after I blew up on the last climb on 80 appropriately named Cemetery Hill. I just held too high a power until I had more fun than I could stand and pretty much limped home the last 6 miles. Lots of fun!
Once back in the town square, which required a little quartermile 11% climb to the car we found that Neal had left his key in the car with the ignition in the on position which drained the battery. We had lunch and he found someone to jump him. My Prius is unable to jump another car. Didn't know that until today. Great ride, 59 miles, 3:30 ride time and 3000' of climbing. Funny thing is we had the wind in our face the whole way around the loop. Go figure.