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wolfpack 04-12-09 06:53 AM

Mini Assault on Mt Mitchell
So, BikeWNC, did one of these "be there, 10am, ride to Mitchell" messages the other evening and, well, it is the mtns and you know me....I was there...

Met BWNC in Marion, we found a place to park over by the campground, unloaded and got our gear ready for the Mini AoMM. We saw several groups of riders as we were getting ready, probably doing the same thing we were getting ready to do. It was a little chilly, but not too bad at the start, but would get colder the higher we climbed. When I left Clayton, it was pretty nice and there were blue skies until I got closer to Marion. It was overcast and cloudy, with wind when I arrived. We both wore arm warmers and carried a vest/jacket, knee warmers, extra bottle and other stuff.

Heading down (or up, which ever way you wanna look at it) Hwy 80, it's not all that bad for the first, 7-8mi. Here's a few pics towards the beginning, with the requisite leg shot I always have to get. :)

This was the view I would have all day, when BWNC was even in sight. I don't know how he does it. I can never keep up with him. Maybe one of these days, some year, I will, but it's not looking promising..

Initially, it's a little bit flat, but then you start to go up a bit, climb around the dam for Lake Tahoma and not long after that, you see this:

I drove up this route last year and thought, ok - this isn't so bad, I can do this...until I got to that sign pointing left. :eek: Then I thought, OMG, there's no way in hell I'll be able to do this. That was last year and last year, I would've been correct. Anyways...this is where it really pitches up and the serious climbing begins.

More along Hwy 80 (at the first really sharp pitch up):

continued in next post....

wolfpack 04-12-09 06:55 AM

The climb up Hwy 80 wasn't too terribly bad, but I also didn't have 75+ miles already in my legs. I think come May 18, I better make sure I have that "sheer determination" packed away somewhere because I think I'm gonna need it.

It took me about 1:20 or so to get to the BRP, where, as usual, he was waiting on me. :rolleyes:

So, that was around 12mi from Marion to the BRP. We had another 12mi to go on the BRP before we got to the entrance to Mt Mitchell (17mi to the summit). All climbing, except one or two decents. This, wasn't especially hard, but I had a little trouble just finding my pace and settling in for the climbs. I managed though. It really started to get cooler as we went further on the BRP, we got rained on a little too. When we got to the first long descent, we stopped at the top to re-assess...BWNC tells me that it's probably a 2.5mi descent, then 4-5mi more of climbing before we reach the entrance.

Pics along the way...
Hwy 80:

My normal view:

At this point, it's either finish the ride or turn around. I really hate to not finish what I've started and there's been very few times that I've told him we need to turn around on rides. Maybe I haven't said that. My hamstrings were hurting a bit (don't know what's up with that...) but, I didn't drive 3hr to quit. So, I told him let's do it. OMG. can you say BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR??? We descended for a short distance and I saw an overlook...pulled in to put the knee warmers on. It should've been a hint when I saw the other riders meeting us - they were all decked out in much warmer clothing! Knee warmers on, finish the descent.

Jigglywatts became shivery/frozenwatts after that descent. I don't know what the temp was, but it was damn cold to me. I wanted to turn around then and find some place warm, but not quiting. I finally reach the overlook that's just before the entrance and I don't want to go any further! It was very foggy, slight drizzle, and cold. And snow on the ground. BWNC had talked to a couple of the riders and they told him it was all closed at the top - no hot chocolate, nothing to see. We opted to turn around and not go on up to the top.


I was so damn cold. And we had a 4-5mi descent. In the rain, that felt like it was ice pellets on my face. A couple of climbs later, we are back at Hwy 80 and I'm ready to get off this mtn! Descending 80 was a blast!!! I was behind a van initially, but he pulled over and let me pass him. Not a lot of traffic on the way down, so the turns could be taken wide, when you could see that far ahead.

So, it was a good training ride, I'm glad I got to do it before AoMM. My friend NealH and I may ride up Hwy 80 from the other side after the Burnsville Metric and then up to MM, depending on the weather.

Ride Stats
2:57hr total climbing
4:15 for total time
~6000' climbing.

aham23 04-12-09 07:25 AM

that looks like an awesome ride. thanks for sharing. later.

pgoat 04-12-09 07:43 AM


Originally Posted by wolfpack (Post 8714785)


That is the sight that gives me palpitations....and nightmares. Damn, gal, you did it, survived, and managed to take photos while doing it. I'd say that's pretty damn good!:lol:

pgoat 04-12-09 07:44 AM


Originally Posted by wolfpack (Post 8714793)

The results, of course, are well worth it;)

wolfpack 04-12-09 07:48 AM

:lol: i had to take pics on this trip, cuz when it's time for the real ride, i doubt i will be able to do more than just hold onto the bars and barely turn the pedals over...

Suzie Green 04-12-09 08:00 AM

I think I'd have to ride up that on my MTB! :lol:

wolfpack 04-12-09 08:04 AM

well, it's actually not that bad of a climb, only about 3-4mi of steeper stuff and i managed on a 34/28 (or is it 36/28...i need to check that). i did pretty good for the Hwy 80 climb, keeping the cadence in the 60's. same for the BRP climbs.

pgoat 04-12-09 09:58 AM


Originally Posted by wolfpack (Post 8715067)
well, it's actually not that bad of a climb, only about 3-4mi of steeper stuff and i managed on a 34/28 (or is it 36/28...i need to check that). i did pretty good for the Hwy 80 climb, keeping the cadence in the 60's. same for the BRP climbs.

I was gonna ask if you had a compact. No way I am getting up that with a 39t. Probably a 36 on yours; either way I am humbled and impressed at what you guys did - in the freezing cold, to boot!

Suzie, even with a triple on my mtb, I'd have issues there....this goat no like the mountains:o

Velo Vol 04-12-09 10:08 AM

Is that route a similar climb as coming up from Asheville (the folk center)?

wolfpack 04-12-09 10:39 AM

the part on the BRP is probably similar, but not on Hwy80.

BikeWNC 04-12-09 06:17 PM

The Asheville approach is generally less steep. There are a couple sections at 7% but most average 4-5%. Of course as Wolfpack said, NC 80 has a 4 mile section at 9% average.

If we had a car at the top of Mitchell there is no doubt we would have finished up there. But the thought of having to descend through that weather and the fact we were already cold made us turn around when we did. There will be other opportunities in the future. For some people, that future will be very soon. :innocent:

Kostritzer 04-13-09 06:30 AM

Could have used some of that snow on Mitchell last year during the Assault.

Velo Vol 04-13-09 03:06 PM

I'm thinking of climbing Mitchell sometime this summer. I gather this is the only route up, because of a BRP closure?

Good job hanging in there, wolfpack. A climb like that is bad enough without the cold weather factor. That's one reason I'm a fair weather mountain rider. :)

wolfpack 04-13-09 03:36 PM

yea, i think this is the only route, unless you come up hwy80 from the other side of the BRP. i may come up that way after the Burnsville Metric.

thanks VV...i think i'd rather have it cold than hot. the heat just drains all my strength during climbs..

PAlt 04-13-09 05:57 PM

Great Job! And I thought it was tough doing the 3 Mountain Madness route for AOMM training Saturday. I only had to deal with a faulty front dérailleur 45mi. in with 5 dropped chains, 6 angry dogs, and 15mph winds that couldn't decide which way to they mostly blew in my face. Wouldn't trade for snow though, and I'm the guy who predicted to our forum mate jppe that snow would be the payback for the blast furnace last year...

wolfpack 04-13-09 06:16 PM

well, i think i'll take the cold over the heat of last year. i can put enough clothes on (generally) to be warm, but you just can't take enough off to ever be cool. :rolleyes:

skiffrun 04-14-09 07:44 AM


Originally Posted by wolfpack (Post 8715067)
... and i managed on a 34/28 (or is it 36/28...i need to check that). ....

Wolfie muxt be suffering after-effects of her last birthday. Even I know that she has a compact with a 34 small chainring.

wolfpack 04-14-09 01:04 PM

:lol: must be. :)

wolfpack 04-26-09 04:43 PM

since i didn't get to make the climb up to the summit on the ride with BWNC, NealH and i planned on doing the BRP to MM the sunday after the burnsville metric.

it was a beautiful day for riding!!! i guess it was around, maybe 80F, during the climb, but i could be totally incorrect....i thought it was hot tho and searched the shade out when i could.

we started at the BRP & Hwy80 around 9:30 or 10am. granted, fresh legs, i didn't think it was all that hard on the BRP, but the 5mi up to the summit parking lot was a different story...i thought parts of it were pretty hard, but once past the visitor's center, you get a respite for a little bit....then it's back to the hard climbing. i think i did ok. i'm gonna have to remember how i felt today and for the other climb up 80 in a couple of weeks and just keep telling myself "you can do it" when the real ride gets here. omg. climbing 128 after 90-some miles....i think i'm gonna die....

well, Neal gets his groove on and leaves me on the 128 climb....that's ok with me...once i get up to the parking lot, he's no where to be found. i see that the pathway up to the actual summit is paved....i'm like, what the hell, i didn't ride up this to not go ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP!! wow. the first section, i take standing up out of the saddle. take a short break for a picture, then head up the last bit...all the way to the top of the tower!! freakin' awesome!!!!

here's some pics from today's ride...the climbing just goes on forever on the BRP:


wolfpack 04-26-09 04:46 PM


BikeWNC 04-26-09 04:50 PM

Awesome. Wish I could have rode with you guys today.

Velo Vol 04-27-09 08:56 AM


Originally Posted by wolfpack (Post 8804185)

When I rode up there you couldn't go beyond the parking lot. They were working on what I assume is a new observation deck. But it didn't look this far from the parking lot. Or is that just they way the camera makes it look?

Wasn't it chilly up there yesterday? The wind gusts where I summited at 5,300 feet were bad enough that I think I would have been cold had I gone much higher.

wolfpack 04-27-09 09:05 AM

it could just be the camera's not that far up there from the parking lot.

64F yesterday and pretty windy, though it was not cold up top. i actually thought it was pretty warm climbing up the brp and the road to MM. enough so, that i was looking for shade. :o

Velo Vol 04-27-09 10:02 AM

Are you saying that I need to HTFU or something?

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