Blood Sweat and Gears 2009
So, who's in? Who's done it? and how tough is it... really?
The guy in the 50+ jersey
I'm in. Since it's my first attempt, I'll say... tough
Anyone know of an entry that someone isn't going to use for the century? I waited too late to sign up and would like to ride. Thanks, Mark
4th year doing it, it's a tough ride right from the start you get to start climbing then some rollers, mile 68 you get Snake mtn (careful on the decent) then more rollers finally you get George's Gap and rollers to the finish line. 13,000+ of climbing is never an easy day.
I need to move out of Florida so I can ride events like this. I'm lucky if I break 1,000 ft of climbing in a ride.
Let's do a Century
Good ride that is well supported. There are several route changes this year so I'm not sure how it will mimic past year's routes. We don't ride as much of the BRP so I'm not sure what the hills will be like on the new roads we'll be taking. Last year I showed the total climbing at around 9000 ft which seems about right. It looks like we might hit Snake a little earlier in the ride this year from just looking at the route sheet-but if we do I don't understand where we will make up the additional miles after Snake. BTW, once the really steep part of Snake starts don't plan on any relief until you get pretty close to the top......and watch for folks either walking or zig zagging across the road.
Last year we had a couple short sections of hard packed dirt roads so you might expect that so you don't get surprised-although this year's route might not take us on those roads again. Have fun and wave as you ride by me......
anyone rode Bridge to Bridge? I did it in 2006. Is it harder than B2B?
Let's do a Century
Originally Posted by lung
Overall it is very similar. I usually finish the two rides in just about exactly the same amount of time. The biggest difference is Snake itself is harder than anything on BtB-even Grandfather.
Holy crap... I though the last 2 miles of B2B was as bad as it gets.
Originally Posted by jppe
One week away from the BS&Gs, just thought I would try again to see if anyone knows of a 100 mile ticket? I am on the wait list too. Thanks for any help. Mark
I did both last year and I think they are very different. B2B you really have about 40 miles of warm up before you start going up hill. BSG you seem to start going up hill at about mile 2.
Originally Posted by jppe
What caught me off guard last year was after george's gap i thought I was home free........well I ran into a 2 mile long death march up 321 where you can see the hill for literally 2 miles. it looks like a death march with bikes going super slow and people stopped on the side of the highway.
Pace yourself and don't get above your LT very much or you'll be pulled off on the side of the road.
Hopefully it will be cooler than last year.
+1 all around. I don't know if one is harder/easier than the other but the efforts were very different for me.
Originally Posted by SigNC
That plod along the Blue Ridge towards the end of B2B seemed to be never ending. I actually didn't enjoy B2B as much but more than likely because there was much lower participation so lots of stretches of suffering alone.
The event today was very nice. Good weather, though it was very hot in the afternoon, and the route was mostly very good. The gravel stretch was a real pain. I saw several flats while on the stretch (about 3/4 mile). Its not even a good dirt/gravel road. Hardly suitable for the typical road bike. There were a couple other detours too, but the roads were generally Ok.
I would guess about 2500 cyclists at the starting line. Maybe a few more. It was really crowded. The organizers annouced 49 states were represented and several foreign countries. I did not have my camera unfortunately, so no pictures. I have apparently misplaced it and, after getting so many blurry pictures at the Cherohala event I've pretty much decided to get another one. So I won't spend much time trying to find it.
I also forgot my heart medicine so, it went in and out of sinus rhythm the first half of the route and this was a royal pain. I was close to abandoning the ride at both the first and second rest stops. I spent a lot of time at these stops hoping it would drop back in SR. Then I would ride on at a slow pace and pray that it would correct. It kept going in and out. As I started up Snake it dropped back in SR and stayed there the remainder of the ride. Whew! I would not have made it up Snake if it had not corrected. For some reason, strain sends it out of SR and, strain can also put it back in SR. Go figure.
Snake Mountain is a difficult climb - no bones about it. That last mile and a half is simply brutal. All climbs on this route pale in comparison. Fortunately its no longer than it is. I was actually expecting it to be longer since I overhead cyclist indicating that it was 6 miles. I also heard a cyclists say George's Gap was 6 miles too. Its not the case with either. Frankly, it was the small climbs/rollers over the final 10 or 15 miles that took their toll on me. After George's Gap, I was pretty wore out and wanted to get some lunch - but the climbing was not over.
The most scenic part of the route is after Snake, in my opinion, the Parkway vistas notwithstanding. There was some very nice mountain valley riding following the Snake descent. No doubt the individuals who brought their bikes with aero bars brought them for this particular stretch. There were about 10 or 15 miles of relatively flat roads following the Snake descent and this was a good place to put the hammer down.
The rest stops were well manned but, only fair with respect to food. Bananas, Oreo cookies, pretzles, water and poweraid. That's just about it - at each stop. I got tired of eating bananas. Lunch was the usual pizza with plenty of drinks. They had plenty and it was pretty good - though about anything is good after a strenous century. There were a lot of volunteers in geneal and, traffic directors at most all intersections. The route was also superbly well marked.
My Garmin reports 8700' of elevation gain. That's a pretty far cry from the advertised 13K'. I suspect it is overstated and, in addition the detours probably took a few feet off. I am interested in knowing what other Garmins report.
I guess they will continue to limit the participants otherwise, this event could get out of hand. The sheer number of riders in that small community was almost mindboggling. Given the number, I think the organizers did a pretty good job with everything. As I said earlier, there were lots of volunteers.
Let's do a Century
I missed seeing you Neal! Sorry to hear about the med deal.
This was the first year they sold out both the 100 miler and the 50 miler. Believe it or not it's 1300 total-it sure seemed like a lot more packed in at the start line though.
Did you mention the wind?? You would think that a route that is circular, you would have some tailwind somewhere along the route??? Snake was hard enough without 10+ mph winds blowing you back down the road!!
I think my Garmin indicated 8200+ feet-maybe you did the upper part of Snake Mtn twice??
I had 8700 ft last year but that included a longer stretch of the BRP (2nd detour) so I could see how last year would have more climbing than this year. There were no detours in 2007 and it was about 9300 ft of climbing that year.
Maybe you're in one of these?? I wasn't too far from the start and it still took me 3 mns to cross the mat.
Pic at the start looking forward:
Did you see the fellow laying in the road at the first rest stop? My guess is he broke his hip. Very unfortunate-he was trying to get a hand up when his aero bars got hit and he went sideways....asphalt won again........
Nice pictures Joe. I missed my camera.
Actually, my Garmin also registered a little over 8200' but, when loaded into Training Center it reports 8700' (actually, 8690').
I thought the 1300 rider figure was for the century alone. But yes, it seemed like a lot more than 1300. Perhaps the reason is that its such a small area that we are assembling around.
The ambulance had already retrieved the cyclist by the time I got to the rest stop. I was pretty far back due to my heart issues. I did not expect to see so many aero bars on this event. I am assuming this is primarily due to the stretch following the Snake descent, I don't know. But I saw quite a few.
And yes, the wind. I should have mentioned it. It seemed like we were always riding into it. At times it was more like 15-20 mph.
It was also nice having so many bystanders cheering us on. Obviously this is a pretty big event for this area.
I plan on riding the 50 mile route tomorrow as a recovery ride.
Let's do a Century
Be careful coming down Hwy 194 tomorrow-Pat said the pavement it was all torn up.
Results are up:
Had a blast this year. This was my second year doing it and I felt like I knew what to prepare for SO much better. That along with knowing my LT paid off a lot.
If you did it last year, you will know that the gravel road was WAY WAY worse this year. Last year it had a pretty good packed line. This year there was no packed area and it was like riding over a washboard.
I think my garmin showed around 8300 on the 705 but when I loaded up in garmin connect it shows 8803ft.
Can't wait to do it next year.....hopefully with the bridge on the blue ridge finally fixed!
I rode the 50 mile (actually 48 miles) route today for my recovery ride and, am glad Joe brought up hwy 194 because indeed, its in very poor shape. Pot hole and rut ridden, and plenty of gravel. Its not really suitable for a road bike, especially on a descent, and if they don't do something about this section then I expect the organizers will have to modify the 50 mile route next year. I had to ride the brakes all the way down in order to provide time to maneuver around the holes and ruts. As it stands now, its more of a mountain bike road.
Otherwise, it was a nice ride today. The temperature was great and visibility was good. TC reports 4150' of gain.
Anybody know why they don't start the 50 milers after the 100 milers? Seems like that would just make sense.....
Oh one more thing..........why do they do the results based on time instead of chip time?
i rode the 50 saturday. i woke up late and had to rush to the start without a warm up/stretching or breakfast. i cramped up bad leaving banner elk on 194 and that just did me in. 194 was in terrible condition for the decent into town but still as fun as ever. i had fun and was happy with my results. i can't wait until next year.
going roundy round
I did the 50 also. I hate descending on wet roads. I was getting blown by everyone coming down Grandfather, Hickory Nut(?) and 194. I have no spine but man, it was fun. Great day.
Originally Posted by CastIron
Let's do a Century
Kudos to the folks that run the event. They're doing a terrific job year after year with this one. Even though they were faced with multiple detours of the route used in years past they managed to find a more than adequate replacement. Except for the gravel section-which is pretty much unavoidable-I actually like this route better than staying on the BRP so much-and also Big Hill Rd.
I would second the many folks out on the route cheering and all the stuff the volunteers did. Now if they can just corral some folks to jump behind and do a little pushing up Snake!! Some of the many highlights:
Cost is very reasonable for this event.
TShirt and water bottle are above average
Lots of assistance very early in the morning helping with parking
Route is just terrific-hard to beat a loop versus point to point
Intersections were well manned-I can't believe they stopped traffic on Hwy 421 for us. Wow!!
Course was extremely well marked this year
EMS seemed readily available-saw them on the route (unfortunately) several times
Lots of handups available with water, bananas, etc
Canned coke at some of the rest stops--incredible!!
Variety of food and drink available afterwards
The event is timed with results available that night/next day
In my opinion these folks have pushed their event past most others in the area in terms of catering to the cyclists. I sure hope they are able to sustain it for several years and avoid some of the pitfalls some others have fallen into.
The only thing I couldn't figure out is why they took the chips off our shoes. Seems like extra work.
I'm sure the organizers have debated starting in two groups but seems like a good idea-especially with the numbers reaching sellout levels for the first time. It could possibly hold up traffic a little longer on Hwy 105 and it it also makes timing a little more challenging but still doable.
Great job guys!!
Anybody know what company was taking pictures going up snake? All i know is http://www.birdseyeview.net/ which was taking shots going down BRP which aren't very exciting.