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You really need to ride in BikeWNC's territory

Old 08-18-13, 10:44 AM
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You really need to ride in BikeWNC's territory

I did this organized ride yesterday. It's my favorite mountain century-third time I've done it. There are several long climbs but all with grades 6-8%. There is a nice 11 mile climb up the Blue Ridge Parkway and then 30 miles of riding on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The views are the best you'll find anywhere on the Parkway.

There is a legitimate 9600 ft of climbing. It agrees with what I've measured.

Plus it's over a 10 mile downhill from the Parkway to the finish. The descent down Hwy 19 is a scream unless you get behind a freaking dump truck.....we rode hard for 90+ miles and were looking forward to bombing it down Hwy 19 only for a dumptruck to pull out in front of us at the top of the descent.

They've expanded the rest stops and they have a great variety of stuff. The thing that really worked for me yesterday was some Cape Cod salt and vinegar potato chips.

Even you if you don't do one of these routes let BikeWNC give you some local roads to ride (when he's not on one of his Alaska or Midwest excursions). Really super areas for rides and views.

https://blueridgebreakaway.com/hawk.html


Here is the fella that I rode the last 20 miles with---really nice fella from Atlanta:

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Old 08-18-13, 11:02 AM
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Ha, I didn't see you there, both NealH and I did this ride too. Only we rode straight from the start to Clyde, cutting off the first 30 miles north of I40. We got the best of the ride but didn't have to be out there all day, especially when the weather was uncertain. As it turned out, the weather was the best I could have asked for. My average temp was in the 50s, in August! How great is that!

+1 for the salt an vinegar chips! The fresh peaches were really good too.
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Old 08-18-13, 11:10 AM
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BTW, I hit 45mph on the descent from Soco Gap to Maggie Valley! Just coasting. I had an open road and a local sheriff's deputy behind me keep any traffic at a safe distance.

We lamented the loss of the Tour de Tuck ride a few years ago. The Blue Ridge Breakaway has replaced it with even better organization and a great course. Neal and I didn't see any traffic at all until a bit on the Waterrock climb and then near the end in Maggie Valley.

It's a challenging ride for sure. The climbs are long. Some of the shorter climbs are steep in places. The scenery is about as good as WNC has to offer. These are my local rides. Just wish I was in better shape right now!
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Old 08-18-13, 02:14 PM
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You will have to show me that "short cut".......maybe that is a route option they should consider offering???? The other miles are okay but certainly not anything as scenic as the route you did. I agree with the weather. The temps were perfect for riding. We got rained on for about 20 mins early on but I was pleasantly surprised about how it cleared up after that. I only drank 3 bottles of fluids over the full 7+ hours. I drank 3 bottles in less than half that time last week.

I had done more riding over the past week and was worried how things would go. I did a really hot 100+ miler around the house last weekend, a recovery ride, the TT Wednesday night, 45 miles with my regulars on Thursday and then the BRB on Saturday. I actually got stronger as the ride went on. I was able to climb the 7+ mile climb on BRP in my 26 and didn't need to stop at the last rest stop.

Going down Hwy 19 was a real bummer.......the other guy me were braking pretty much the whole way down into Maggie Valley. He grabbed my wheel and we went as hard as we could into a little headwind until we got to the finish. Only got slowed at the last traffic signal.

They put me in one of the apartments right there at the start finish. I was able to walk out the start a few minutes before rolling off and they let me stay long enough to grab a shower afterwards. A very nice setup for the ride!

The volunteers, police and sag vehicles out on the route was very impressive. They are doing some great things to continue to improve things around the safety and overall support of the event.
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Old 08-18-13, 02:37 PM
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The shortcut leaves around the lake out to 209 then onto Old Clyde Rd. You rejoin the course in Clyde at mp 35.6. The shortcut itself is about 5.6 miles so it cuts out about 30 miles off the 106. We did 76 miles which included everything from Clyde onward, Stamey Cove Rd, NC 215, the BRP etc. We had just under 8000' of elevation gain.

We told the rest stop vol. what we did, as we were always the first to each SAG, until the one near the top of Waterrock Knob when we had been passed by the first couple of full century riders. They thought it was a great idea. It certainly doesn't require any more organization from the BRB staff as we are less than 6 miles off the official course at the start of the ride. Neal was going to mention all this in his feedback comments . I suppose I should too. We told the timer what we did so we don't appear in the century results. We didn't wear a timer chip anyway.
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Old 08-18-13, 02:43 PM
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On second thought, Neal and I were so far ahead of the riders on the official course that we were out there on our own without sag, for a while anyway. The Lake Logan rest stop, at the church wasn't open yet but the one on the BRP at 215 was. We don't need sag as we know the course and ride these roads all the time. We're pretty self sufficient. Other riders might feel more comfortable with some kind of on course sag vehicles nearby.
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Old 08-18-13, 04:47 PM
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Beautiful area. We've stayed several times in the Almond area, near Bryson City. Great mountain biking at Tsali, and similarly great rafting/kayaking at Nantahala Outdoor Center.
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Old 08-18-13, 08:04 PM
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Hah! I wonder what percent of folks here could do 9600 ft of climbing. I've improved a LOT In five years of riding but I doubt I will ever lose enough weight to do climbs like that. Never say never but.... Probably never. (Just a note of reality ).

lovely country though.

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Old 08-18-13, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by billydonn
Hah! I wonder what percent of folks here could do 9600 ft of climbing. I've improved a LOT I five years of riding but I doubt I will ever lose enough weight to do climbs like that. Never say never but.... Probably never. (Just a note of reality ).

lovely country though.
Well you'll never know if you don't try! I'm in horrible shape, having been off the bike, eaten too much and traveled a lot lately. I took it slow and did ok. I didn't set any records, slowest I've ever done a ride like this, but I finished and would have been back on the bike today had the weather been better.
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Old 08-18-13, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by BikeWNC
Well you'll never know if you don't try! .....snip......
Apparently you have not seen my recent posts from Italy... My Passo Gavia attempt.
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Old 08-18-13, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by billydonn
Apparently you have not seen my recent posts from Italy... My Passo Gavia attempt.
As great as our climbs are, they are not the Passo Gavia. I'll check out that post though.
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Old 08-18-13, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by billydonn
Apparently you have not seen my recent posts from Italy... My Passo Gavia attempt.
The beauty of BRB is the climbs while longer than normal are really not terribly steep. It reminds me a lot of Riding in Colorado (which you have done very successfully I might add!). We can also put you on some stuff that is at least twice as steep as these climbs and not too terribly far away either. Those are NOT FUN!! I don't care what gearing you might have.
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Old 08-18-13, 08:49 PM
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We do have plenty of valley rides too. Still plenty of climbing but usually shorter in length. It's a pick your pleasure kinda place.
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Old 08-18-13, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by BikeWNC
As great as our climbs are, they are not the Passo Gavia. I'll check out that post though.
Originally Posted by jppe
The beauty of BRB is the climbs while longer than normal are really not terribly steep. It reminds me a lot of Riding in Colorado (which you have done very successfully I might add!). We can also put you on some stuff that is at least twice as steep as these climbs and not too terribly far away either. Those are NOT FUN!! I don't care what gearing you might have.
I should try to get back to NC next year to do some easyish rides with you guys... I do need to challenge myself a bit and that would be motivation to show some discipline and drop some weight. I look good for an ordinary guy but for a serious cyclist... not so much. I think that if I tried Gavia on another cooler day and had a little more experience with it I could do it. It would not be exactly "fun" though except for the scenery. For me the jump from 7 to 9 percent slope is a very big step on a long climb.

You guys really MUST get to northern Italy.... Bormio/Santa Catarina. You would be in climber's paradise.


Edit: it is descenders paradise too.
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Old 08-19-13, 06:41 AM
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Hey Andy and Neal, there is a ride in Southern Ohio , Ohio Fall Challenge you guys might like 2 days something like 16,000 ft. of climbing and 100 miles each day.I have cycled in the area but at a more relaxed pace, it is very nice.
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Old 08-19-13, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by freedomrider1
Hey Andy and Neal, there is a ride in Southern Ohio , Ohio Fall Challenge you guys might like 2 days something like 16,000 ft. of climbing and 100 miles each day.I have cycled in the area but at a more relaxed pace, it is very nice.
Looks like a good ride. Maybe some year I'll make it up there. This year though I'll be hiking into Mt LeConte Lodge in the Smokies for the weekend.
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Old 08-20-13, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by BikeWNC
Looks like a good ride. Maybe some year I'll make it up there. This year though I'll be hiking into Mt LeConte Lodge in the Smokies for the weekend.
Did that 30 years ago when our big kids were little. Great hike.
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Old 08-20-13, 03:40 PM
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Just did a search on LeConte lodge, I did not go to the Lodge which looks really cool but did hike Newfound gap.That looks like it would be a nice hike almost anytime of year.
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Old 08-20-13, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by freedomrider1
Just did a search on LeConte lodge, I did not go to the Lodge which looks really cool but did hike Newfound gap.That looks like it would be a nice hike almost anytime of year.
It's a great hike, one of the best and most popular in the Park. It can get dicey in the winter though. LeConte can often have 3-4 ft of snow sitting on the ground. But, most any other season it offers fantastic views while it travels through lush temperate rainforest. We choose to go in September because historically it is the driest time of the year in the area. There are several ways to approach the summit so loops are possible. There is a shelter nearby too for those that want to backpack through for a few days.
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Old 08-23-13, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by BikeWNC
The shortcut leaves around the lake out to 209 then onto Old Clyde Rd. You rejoin the course in Clyde at mp 35.6. The shortcut itself is about 5.6 miles so it cuts out about 30 miles off the 106. We did 76 miles which included everything from Clyde onward, Stamey Cove Rd, NC 215, the BRP etc. We had just under 8000' of elevation gain.

We told the rest stop vol. what we did, as we were always the first to each SAG, until the one near the top of Waterrock Knob when we had been passed by the first couple of full century riders. They thought it was a great idea. It certainly doesn't require any more organization from the BRB staff as we are less than 6 miles off the official course at the start of the ride. Neal was going to mention all this in his feedback comments . I suppose I should too. We told the timer what we did so we don't appear in the century results. We didn't wear a timer chip anyway.
Some weeks ago, I saw a mention of the Blue Ridge Breakaway in another thread, and found this ridewithgps route map.

It's probably on my list for next year. But for me, it's either: 8000-10000 feet of climbing OR 106 miles, I can only choose one. I saw the short gap between mile 10 and mile 30, but your shortcut is even better. I figured I would hang out at the next ride stop, and let the fast riders go on by. Maybe they'll make an official shortcut next year.

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Old 08-23-13, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by BikeWNC
It's a great hike, one of the best and most popular in the Park. It can get dicey in the winter though. LeConte can often have 3-4 ft of snow sitting on the ground. But, most any other season it offers fantastic views while it travels through lush temperate rainforest. We choose to go in September because historically it is the driest time of the year in the area. There are several ways to approach the summit so loops are possible. There is a shelter nearby too for those that want to backpack through for a few days.
Good call. Most of the time there are no views because it's totally socked in. That's why they call it the "Smokies".
Gatlinburg was sooo awesome when I went there about 55 years ago with my parents.
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Old 08-23-13, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by rm -rf
Some weeks ago, I saw a mention of the Blue Ridge Breakaway in another thread, and found this ridewithgps route map.

It's probably on my list for next year. But for me, it's either: 8000-10000 feet of climbing OR 106 miles, I can only choose one. I saw the short gap between mile 10 and mile 30, but your shortcut is even better. I figured I would hang out at the next ride stop, and let the fast riders go on by. Maybe they'll make an official shortcut next year.
Well Jim, just let me know and we'll ride it next year. I had to take my time on this one. I'm just not in the shape needed to ride it any other way. You probably have ridden most of the course at one point or another over your visits down here. I know we've done the 215 and some of the BRP sections together.
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Old 08-23-13, 08:13 PM
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From the BRB website:

This is a very difficult 105 mile ride with ~10,000 feet of climbing, steep inclines and very fast descents. This is an advanced ride for strong climbers and not a beginner or first time century route.

Sounds like a century ride I should avoid!
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Old 08-23-13, 09:24 PM
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I do want to get up there and ride some day. I'd love to meet some of you folks, though I have no illusions of being able to keep up your pace.
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Old 08-24-13, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by BluesDawg
I do want to get up there and ride some day. I'd love to meet some of you folks, though I have no illusions of being able to keep up your pace.
Neal is riding the best I've ever have seen him ride at this time. I guess retirement is letting him get out on the bike more. I'm pretty slow right now but have hope that I can get back in shape and be able to at least draft Neal. I can't hold his wheel for long right now. Regardless, we ride to whatever pace. Every ride for me is a chance to lose a few ounces of weight. lol

I think Neal and I are probably heading down to the Tour de Tugaloo in Toccoa, Ga. We usually ride the metric. Come on and join us!
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