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  1. #1
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    Western North Carolina Folks

    Hello all,

    So I'm coming down to North Carolina, staying in Maggie Valley, and will be around for a full week to train. I've google mapped a whole bunch of routes, and put a post up on the road forum, where I got a recommendation to post here. Just wanted to ask a few questions in hopes that some locals could guide me in the right direction.

    Since I'm staying in Maggie Valley, I figured most of my rides would be up the Blue Ridge Parkway and around that area. I'd like to keep driving to a minimum if i could, so I'm just wondering if theres any trouble spots I should look out for in the area. I was thinking of going up the BRP, turning on 215, and then coming back on 19, being a ride I would do a few times, are these roads moderately bike friendly? I'm planning 4-5 hour rides every day, except for one day, where I'd like to do a real long 6 or 7 hour day which would include a trip up to the top of mt mitchell, so if anyone has favorite ride recommendations they would like to share, I'd love to hear them.

    Hows the weather down there at the moment? I just looked at the 10 day forecast and its predicting snow showers pretty much every day. Are these snow showers that are going to ruin riding during the day, or do they tend to melt during the day and then get a bit more snow at night? I've never been down there before, so I'm not exactly sure what to expect, but I'm used to riding in CT, so the cold won't be an issue I don't think, I'm just a little worried about really bad road conditions.

    And on an entirely different note, any thing people would recommend doing while I'm there? It will just be me and my dog, and while relaxing and riding sounds amazing, I'm also young (22) and will probably want to go out at least one night and explore. Waynesville and Asheville sound interesting, any good bars or anything? I'm not a drinker, but places that had some good music going on would be cool. I haven't given much thought to this, and might not even wind up wanting to go out, but it'd be nice to hear what spots are around.

    Thanks a lot!

    -Daniel

  2. #2
    Rawwrrrrrrrrr! wolfpack's Avatar
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    there's a great route, from the junction of BRP & 215. take the BRP to 276, down 276 to 215, 215 up to the BRP (this is an awesome route, around 50mi, IIRC and the climbs aren't bad at all). The locals around there call it the Pigeon Loop and if BikeWNC checks into the forum, he can probably give you some better routes.
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  3. #3
    Free Velo Vol! Velo Vol's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dc1215 View Post
    Hows the weather down there at the moment? I just looked at the 10 day forecast and its predicting snow showers pretty much every day. Are these snow showers that are going to ruin riding during the day, or do they tend to melt during the day and then get a bit more snow at night? I've never been down there before, so I'm not exactly sure what to expect, but I'm used to riding in CT, so the cold won't be an issue I don't think, I'm just a little worried about really bad road conditions.
    I'm on the west side of the mountains at a lower elevation. The week ahead looks to be colder than average, but from what you say you should be able to handle it. Here it looks like rain on Tuesday but with temperatures in the 40s. At that temperature range, I don't think snow accumulation will be a threat below 4,000-5,000 feet. Wednesday just looks like possible snow flurries. The rest of the week looks dry.

    So, unless a shot of cold air settles in on Tuesday, you should be OK for riding.

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    Great, glad to hear it will be rideable. I'll be getting there on Saturday the 13th, so hopefully a big cold front doesn't move in or anything.

    Are there any fast group rides that happen on Sunday? That might be a great way for me to get used to the area and possibly meet a few people.

  5. #5
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Trying to go up to Mitchell could be challenging this time of year. The weather varies pretty dramatically daily-and hourly. I've started in 60 degree temps in Asheville only to see the temps in the freezing range-with moisture above 5000 ft. Sometimes they even close the BRP.

    Good luck.
    Ride your Ride!!

  6. #6
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    From what I know right now, the BRP is snowed over. I haven't been by it in a few weeks but we've had snow above 3000' this past Thurs/Fri. Besides, there was snow up there before that. It will just be wait and see for the BRP, it never gets plowed. As for the other roads in the area, most are open but black ice is a possibility any morning. The roads are a bit messy with sand or chat from the road treatment used during the snow, so be careful.

    US 19 in Maggie Valley is a 4 lane road that gets constant traffic. I wouldn't say it is un-ride-able but be careful. It might have less traffic because I40 is closed nearby and it is the offseason. But, the ski area gets traffic so just pay attention. I would normally recommend the ride up to the ski area for a great hill climb but this time of year the traffic might be heavier and the road shoulders are snow covered making the road narrow.

    Here is a link to the local rides at MotionMakers Bike shop in Sylva.

    http://www.motionmakersbikes.com/area_ride_maps.html

    Call the shop and ask if there is anyone looking for a ride partner. Ask if Josh or Scott is able to ride. Josh is a cat1 and Scott is one of the local fast guys too. They may know of others that want to ride.

    Remember, weather conditions vary greatly by elevation. Go prepared for anything this time of year.

    Hope that helps.

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    Thanks so much for the info guys, it helps tremendously. I guess it will be a hope for the best, plan for the worst sort of deal. No matter what I'll figure out ways to ride a ton, it might just be a bit more complicated conditions wise than I had hoped. If anybody has anything else I'd love to hear it. Thanks again.

    -Daniel

  8. #8
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    You can forget about riding up Mt. Mitchell as the snow depth up there today is 38". That will also be true of most of the BRP which is snow covered at this time and will be for the foreseeable future. We might get more snow this weekend. You should plan to stick to rides in the valleys and open roads perhaps to 4000' max IMO.

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    Thats unfortunate, but it happens. It will still be warmer down there than it will be here. Any recommendations for rides to check out in the valleys? I had sort of just planned on the BRP/the mountains and not realized how much snow it could get/that it might not be plowed or open. Even just areas to check out and I'll google map routes from there. I plan to do three 5 hour days, a 2 hour day, then a 6 and a 4 just to give you route distance ideas.

  10. #10
    Free Velo Vol! Velo Vol's Avatar
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    I didn't realize that they just let snow sit on the BRP. I've never been over there in the winter.

    If you really want to get in a climb, they do keep U.S. 441 open most of the time. I imagine the traffic is annoying even this time of year, however.

  11. #11
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    I would skip 441 Brian. Just too much traffic to be worth it. There are plenty of other climbs that will probably be fine that are closer to Maggie Valley. I'll post some suggestions later this evening. Right now I'm cooking dinner.

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    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    It might be best if you had access to a car and could drive to the start of your rides. It is possible to start in Maggie Valley. One ride would be to head north on 276 to I40. I40 is closed at exit 20 (276) and you might be able to ride west but IDK if you would get hassled or not. I'm not familiar with the roads north of I40 but there are loops out that way if you can find the info.

    If you could drive out to Bethel west of Waynesville on 276 and park at a church, ride up 215 down the other side to Rosman then to Brevard and back up 276 and then down to the car. It's a great loop and if I can find the cue sheet I'll post it.
    http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/united...evard/20979598

    There are lots of rides posted on mapmyride.com

    Another loop would be to start in Cullowhee and ride the ring of Scott.
    http://www.motionmakersbikes.com/ring_of_scott.html

    Checkout map my ride for more rides in the area. Just search for a town name.

    Hope that helps.

  13. #13
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    I will have access to a car, I'm driving down there actually, I was just hoping to keep driving at a minimum once down there, but if that can't happen, so be it. Both of those map my rides routes look really great. I'll look for a handful more, and I'm going to call the motion maker shop and check in with them as well. Thanks so much for all of the help, its been great. I'll be down there in about 36 hours. Can't wait.

  14. #14
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dc1215 View Post
    I will have access to a car, I'm driving down there actually, I was just hoping to keep driving at a minimum once down there, but if that can't happen, so be it. Both of those map my rides routes look really great. I'll look for a handful more, and I'm going to call the motion maker shop and check in with them as well. Thanks so much for all of the help, its been great. I'll be down there in about 36 hours. Can't wait.
    It's snowing again this afternoon. Hopefully, by early next week the weather will get back to more normal conditions. Just remember, be extra careful for ice in the mornings (or even afternoons in shady spots) and watch for sand or chat left from the DOT. Also, the routes I posted are remote. There are very few services to be found so go prepared. Temps will be cold at higher elevations and descents can be painfully cold. Go prepared. Hope it works out and you can get in some great rides. We have some of the best riding to be found anywhere if the weather cooperates.

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