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FYI - Some Fun Spring Rides in My Area

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FYI - Some Fun Spring Rides in My Area

Old 01-27-13, 04:30 PM
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FYI - Some Fun Spring Rides in My Area

For those interested in some fun but challenging rides in the Western NC area, here is a short list of events I try to make each spring.

April 6 - Tour de Lure - a very nice ride starting in Marion NC and riding around Lake Lure and back. Very well attended, great support. 71 miles.

April 13 - Assault on the Carolinas - Ride begins in Brevard NC and descends into the wastelands of SC (lol) and climbs back over the escarpment to Brevard. Very well attended, great support. Ride sells out early. 100K

April 27 - Issaqueena's Last Ride - The first leg of the Blue Ridge Double, begins in Wahalla SC and climbs up and over the tough Wiggington Rd back to Wahalla. 62 or 100 miles but a 80 is also possible. Well supported, smaller ride ~ 200-250 riders.

May 4 - Tour de Cashiers - My local ride. Second half of the Blue Ridge Double. Ride begins in Cashiers NC and depending on the route chosen, leaves town either east or north to head down off the plateau. This ride offers amazing climbs and descents, steep grades and beautiful scenery. A real challenge for sure. 64 and 100 mile rides offered but a 80 is also easily done. Very good support with a fine lunch afterwards, ~ 400 riders is average.

The Assault on Mt Mitchell usually gets all the hype among spring rides in NC, and while every rider should give that icon a try at least once, these other rides I've listed have as much to offer and without the logistics issues of the point to point AoMM. Even so, they make an awesome training plan if you are doing the Assault (May 21). If you can plan to be in the area this spring and want to challenge your climbing legs, come out and take on one of these rides. Each one has so much to offer in scenery, climbs, low traffic and great support during a fantastic time of year to ride in this area. Hope to see you out on the rides! Let me know if you are riding so we can meet up! If I can help with any other info, just ask.
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Old 01-27-13, 06:11 PM
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I noticed you didn't mention Fletcher Flyer. Is it not a fun ride?
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Old 01-27-13, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Dudelsack
I noticed you didn't mention Fletcher Flyer. Is it not a fun ride?
I just went into May, there are a bunch more rides through the summer. The Fletcher Flyer is a good ride. It's not my favorite ride in the area though. I usually ride it, often doing the Murray Mill Metric the day before. The Flyer route is chosen to try to minimize total elevation gain. Nothing wrong with that of course, but it means in this case staying in the French Broad River Valley and crossing RR tracks many times. The scenery is nice for the most part but sometimes suburban. The last few years I have noticed an increase in car traffic on the ride. The Asheville area has really grown and it shows. The traffic isn't horrible, just more than I'd like. Being a Sunday ride there is the normal release of church traffic around 11-12 in the morning. The ride is also a Team in Training event. So expect lots of enthusiastic riders that are not always the best bike handlers. It's well supported, very well attended ~ 1000+ riders. It's worth doing if you are looking for a century ride with around 3800' of climbing in this area. It can be hot, though last year was great. There is a metric route too. The lead pack comes in around 4:20 on the 100 if you can believe that!
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Old 01-27-13, 06:38 PM
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I'll compile a list of summer rides I do in the area in another thread. My season usually works out that I do the longest rides early in the year and stick to metrics mostly in the summer. I don't handle heat very well and it's never been pretty when I've tried. Ever since my scare with heat stroke on the 115 mile Cherohala Challenge I just don't ride when the temps get over 85.
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Old 01-27-13, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by BikeWNC
I'll compile a list of summer rides I do in the area in another thread. My season usually works out that I do the longest rides early in the year and stick to metrics mostly in the summer. I don't handle heat very well and it's never been pretty when I've tried. Ever since my scare with heat stroke on the 115 mile Cherohala Challenge I just don't ride when the temps get over 85.
Those rides sound great, wish I lived closer On the heat it was 87 here yesterday, kinda hard to get away from the heat in south Texas. Only 82 today with wind gusts of 40+, still got 60 miles in on the bike.
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Old 01-27-13, 09:37 PM
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Thanks for the reminders. Right now I'm planning on doing the first three on your list but the climbs on Cashiers have always seemed way more work than fun. Maybe the 80 mile option might be in order?? I have not done Brevard in a few years but signed up for it yesterday. I usually just ride over to Caesars Head from Tryon and make it a 100 mile training ride but 65 miles sounds better. It's amazing that ride has more than doubled the number of riders since I did it last. I really enjoyed Issaqueena when I was able to ride with the faster groups---the first 40 miles was a blast on the little ups, downs and curvy roads. I might even have to sign up for AOMM one last time. Hopefully it will be full and I cannot get registered......I saw where they had really dropped the price for just riding to Marion......
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Old 01-27-13, 10:09 PM
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Yeah, Cashiers is always an eye opener. I love the roads though and since it's local I always show up for it. It's a challenge though. I'd do the Assault on Marion but again, the logistics of ending the ride 74 miles from the start come into play. I'm never in the fast front group so these rides are all just training, have fun events.

The 80 mile option at Cashiers follows the century route until the turn onto the Tilly Ck climb. The 80 would go left (the metric also goes this way) instead onto Cullowhee Mtn Rd, itself a 4.4 mile 1850' climb. It then meets up with the century route at the base of Norton Rd. and both routes ride in together. You would sub CMR for Tilly and skip the long climb over Walnut CK.
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Old 01-28-13, 06:22 AM
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I had big plans for doing some riding in NC last summer, but they got side-tracked when I got sick last spring. Now I'm waaaayy in the hole on sick and vacation time. I'm going to try to make it down this year if I can, but probably later in the summer. I'm not so sure I'm up for these real early season "test" rides, like Mountains of Misery. I need more time to get some work in my legs and fat off my gut
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Old 01-28-13, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by BikeWNC
For those interested in some fun but challenging rides in the Western NC area, here is a short list of events I try to make each spring.

April 6 - Tour de Lure - a very nice ride starting in Marion NC and riding around Lake Lure and back. Very well attended, great support. 71 miles.

April 13 - Assault on the Carolinas - Ride begins in Brevard NC and descends into the wastelands of SC (lol) and climbs back over the escarpment to Brevard. Very well attended, great support. Ride sells out early. 100K

April 27 - Issaqueena's Last Ride - The first leg of the Blue Ridge Double, begins in Wahalla SC and climbs up and over the tough Wiggington Rd back to Wahalla. 62 or 100 miles but a 80 is also possible. Well supported, smaller ride ~ 200-250 riders.

May 4 - Tour de Cashiers - My local ride. Second half of the Blue Ridge Double. Ride begins in Cashiers NC and depending on the route chosen, leaves town either east or north to head down off the plateau. This ride offers amazing climbs and descents, steep grades and beautiful scenery. A real challenge for sure. 64 and 100 mile rides offered but a 80 is also easily done. Very good support with a fine lunch afterwards, ~ 400 riders is average.

The Assault on Mt Mitchell usually gets all the hype among spring rides in NC, and while every rider should give that icon a try at least once, these other rides I've listed have as much to offer and without the logistics issues of the point to point AoMM. Even so, they make an awesome training plan if you are doing the Assault (May 21). If you can plan to be in the area this spring and want to challenge your climbing legs, come out and take on one of these rides. Each one has so much to offer in scenery, climbs, low traffic and great support during a fantastic time of year to ride in this area. Hope to see you out on the rides! Let me know if you are riding so we can meet up! If I can help with any other info, just ask.
I'm doing Bike Virginia in May. Climbing is not a forte, coming from the flats of the Outer Banks. I did manage to ride the Moutain to Shore ride for Cycle Carolina last fall. Do you see any of these rides as good training rides possibly for Bike Virginia? I would probably stick to metrics.
Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 01-28-13, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by curdog
I'm doing Bike Virginia in May. Climbing is not a forte, coming from the flats of the Outer Banks. I did manage to ride the Moutain to Shore ride for Cycle Carolina last fall. Do you see any of these rides as good training rides possibly for Bike Virginia? I would probably stick to metrics.
Thanks for your thoughts.
I see that Bike Virginia is being held in Buena Vista. I've ridden in that area and it can offer pretty much whatever the organizers choose to throw at you. Some of the climbs in that area can be exceptionally steep. There are also some very nice rolling valley roads. I would think any of the listed rides with perhaps the exception of the Tour de Cashiers would be great training for Bike Virginia. The Tour de Lure is really nice but it is 71 miles, a bit longer than the standard metric. It's also the closest ride to Eastern NC. That ride starts with a steep but not too long climb that is always a shock but after that the grades are more steady. My Garmin recorded about 5400' of climbing in the 71 miles. The one big climb has 1100' in 4.5 miles, not bad. There are many short climbs though that really add up over the whole ride.

The Assault on the Carolinas is a shorter ride at 65 miles and 5100' of climbing, but there are a couple climbs that are harder than those on the TdL. Caesars Head is 2100' in 6 miles. It's a good ride and would be great training for BV but, be prepared for the long climb.

Both rides are well attended and supported. Either would be worth doing but present challenges, but that's what training is about!
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Old 01-30-13, 09:09 PM
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I might try to do Tour de Cashiers 64 mile option.

BikeWNC, does the ride do a mass start right at 9am, or do riders take off in smaller bunches as they are ready?

~~~~~~~~62 miles~~~~~~~~~~~~

The official route is posted on mapmyride.com, but that site is pretty useless for route information.
Instead, here's the 2012 route on ridewithgps.com It looks like they are repeating the same route in 2013.

Click the Map pulldown list at top right, and checkmark Terrain, then zoom in. You can drag the little orange Street View guy and drop it onto the route to see the view there.

from the Metrics tab:
7880 feet of climbing in 62.4 miles. (This counts every small rise and dip in the road, just like a Garmin recording does. mapmyride averages out the smaller elevation changes, so they say 5600 feet)

The larger climbs. (ridewithgps can over-estimate short,steep climbs in the mountains, though)
I got these by dragging a section of the red graph to get Metrics statistics for that part of the ride.
at mile 4, 450 feet in 2 miles.
at mile 14, 350 feet in 1 mile.
at mile 31, 1500 feet in 5 miles, average 5.5%, some 8-10% sections, max 12%
at mile 44, 1800 feet in 4.5 miles, average 6+%, some 10% sections, max 14%
and some of the smaller climbs are steep, too.

the first big downhill at mile 15 is 6 miles, -1900 feet.
the other one at mile 36 is 5 miles, -1700 feet.

~~~~~~~~~~~100 miles~~~~~~~~
This ridewithgps route matches the official 100 mile route.

14,750 feet in 100 miles!

Last edited by rm -rf; 01-30-13 at 09:44 PM.
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Old 01-30-13, 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by rm -rf
I might try to do Tour de Cashiers 64 mile option.

BikeWNC, does the ride do a mass start right at 9am, or do riders take off in smaller bunches as they are ready?

~~~~~~~~62 miles~~~~~~~~~~~~

The official route is posted on mapmyride.com, but that site is pretty useless for route information.
Instead, here's the 2012 route on ridewithgps.com It looks like they are repeating the same route in 2013.

Click the Map pulldown list at top right, and checkmark Terrain, then zoom in. You can drag the little orange Street View guy and drop it onto the route to see the view there.

from the Metrics tab:
7880 feet of climbing in 62.4 miles. (This counts every small rise and dip in the road, just like a Garmin recording does. mapmyride averages out the smaller elevation changes, so they say 5600 feet)

The larger climbs. (ridewithgps can over-estimate short,steep climbs in the mountains, though)
I got these by dragging a section of the red graph to get Metrics statistics for that part of the ride.
at mile 4, 450 feet in 2 miles.
at mile 14, 350 feet in 1 mile.
at mile 31, 1500 feet in 5 miles, average 5.5%, some 8-10% sections, max 12%
at mile 44, 1800 feet in 4.5 miles, average 6+%, some 10% sections, max 14%
and some of the smaller climbs are steep, too.

the first big downhill at mile 15 is 6 miles, -1900 feet.
the other one at mile 36 is 5 miles, -1700 feet.

~~~~~~~~~~~100 miles~~~~~~~~
This ridewithgps route matches the official 100 mile route.

14,750 feet in 100 miles!
It would be awesome if you could come down for the TdC! From my Garmin data, my 800 recorded 6700' on the metric. However, my 800 always has the lowest elevation gain of any Garmin I've seen. Generally, the accepted gain for the metric is around 7300-7400'. The century ends up with around 11,000'+.

The ride starts in a mass start with the century getting off a few minutes before the metric. The 62.6 miles on the metric start with a climb right from the go, about 2 miles which is both a leg burner and a indicator of how the day will be. I love this ride! I also hate this ride! lol It has some great climbing on small roads, fun descents and not enough flat ground to help with the overall average speed. Low gearing is essential. My days of doing this ride in a 39/27 are long gone. I usually ride a 34/32 on this one. Last year, Neal and I got around in just under 5 hours ride time. I've done it in under 4:30 before but that won't happen this year for me.

The long climbs are Elijay and Cullowhee Mtn Rd. Elijay is 4.8 miles and climbs 1450' while CMR is 4.4 miles and gains 1850'. Grades over 10% are common with a max over 16% in a couple switchbacks. Elijay has 3 steeper pitches with recovery sections while CMR starts with 2 miles at 10% ave then gradually eases to an overall 8% for the whole climb.

But those 2 big climbs only total 3300' so there is plenty of shorter but still steep sections sprinkled over the course.

I was hoping several 50+ members might give this one a try. Besides NealH, you'll be the first. Maybe a few others will join in! Hey billydonn, you reading this?

Here's my Garmin file from last year. https://connect.garmin.com/activity/175047465

rm -rf, let me know if you need any info. We can do a cool down ride on Sunday if you have the time.
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Old 01-31-13, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by BikeWNC
It would be awesome if you could come down for the TdC! From my Garmin data, my 800 recorded 6700' on the metric. However, my 800 always has the lowest elevation gain of any Garmin I've seen. Generally, the accepted gain for the metric is around 7300-7400'. The century ends up with around 11,000'+.

The ride starts in a mass start with the century getting off a few minutes before the metric. The 62.6 miles on the metric start with a climb right from the go, about 2 miles which is both a leg burner and a indicator of how the day will be. I love this ride! I also hate this ride! lol It has some great climbing on small roads, fun descents and not enough flat ground to help with the overall average speed. Low gearing is essential. My days of doing this ride in a 39/27 are long gone. I usually ride a 34/32 on this one. Last year, Neal and I got around in just under 5 hours ride time. I've done it in under 4:30 before but that won't happen this year for me.

The long climbs are Elijay and Cullowhee Mtn Rd. Elijay is 4.8 miles and climbs 1450' while CMR is 4.4 miles and gains 1850'. Grades over 10% are common with a max over 16% in a couple switchbacks. Elijay has 3 steeper pitches with recovery sections while CMR starts with 2 miles at 10% ave then gradually eases to an overall 8% for the whole climb.

But those 2 big climbs only total 3300' so there is plenty of shorter but still steep sections sprinkled over the course.

I was hoping several 50+ members might give this one a try. Besides NealH, you'll be the first. Maybe a few others will join in! Hey billydonn, you reading this?

Here's my Garmin file from last year. https://connect.garmin.com/activity/175047465

rm -rf, let me know if you need any info. We can do a cool down ride on Sunday if you have the time.
There's more 8-10% grades on this ride than I expected. I'll have to go do my local 1 mile long 10% grade road for practice on climbing slow and not pushing too hard. With my 34-29 low gear I can handle 8% grades pretty easily If I do them at a slow speed.

I won't know if I can arrange to do the ride until a few weeks before May 4th. But even with all the climbing, it still sounds doable. I won't be as fast as you were last year, but they keep the course open most of the afternoon, so there's plenty of time to finish.

A Sunday cool down ride? That sounds good, but I didn't know there were any flat rides in your neighborhood!
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Old 01-31-13, 09:12 PM
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I'm hoping to make them all - assuming gas doesn't keep getting any more expensive. The AoTC in particular will sell out so if you think you might go, my advice is to register now. It has really grown over the past few years and it a nicely executed event with a good post ride lunch and social.

The Big Walker Century hailing out of Wytheville is a good warm up to Bike Va also. It is one week prior and provides a good taste of what you will see on Bike Va. If I am not working in June, I will also ride Bike Va.

The MoM event as mentioned by Jim is a good one too. I wouldn't call it a warm up since you will probably need a couple weeks to recover from that final climb up to the Lodge. This event will sell out too.

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Old 02-01-13, 05:37 AM
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Hi Neal. Don't know what I was thinking. I just signed up for MoM again. Had to miss last year because I was sick.

I'm doing Bike Virginia again too. If you decide to make it be sure to let me know, and maybe we can ride a few miles until you leave me in the dust

I love the riding around Buena Vista. I'm really looking forward to it.
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