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BikeWNC 04-18-09 04:30 PM

Burnsville Metric Recon Ride
So I met NealH up in Burnsville, NC for a ride on next Sat. Burnsville metric course. The ride changes a bit this year to relocate the second rest stop but we hung on the old course which saved us a couple miles and a trip through the big town of Bakersville, NC. (lol) The weather was about as perfect as one could ask for. We started the ride in sunny low 60s and finished in the mid 70s with very low humidity and mostly low traffic. The only traffic of concern was on Hwy 19 which we had to start and finish the ride on. Come next weekend we'll be escorted out of town by police until the first turn, or is that until we cross the County line. Sometimes I think that's the real objective. Get them Italian underwear wearing cyclists out of our County. :roflmao:

Once off Hwy 19 the traffic faded away, and the few cars we had to deal with more often than not waited patiently for our permission to pass. I mean some people really needed an invitation! But at least they are very respectful of us riders on the road. I'm very much appreciative of that.

The loop is really two rides in one. The first 36 miles roll out of town and then follow the Cane River to the confluence with the Toe River. So generally the ride is down river grade until the turn up the Toe but even then the grade is mild as the river isn't steep here. But at 36 miles the climbing begins and in the last 23 miles of the 59 mile course there is 2400' of gain.

Neal riding down the Cane River.

Then up the Toe River.

The wide Toe. Both upstream and further downstream are good kayaking whitewater sections.

It was around here we passed a firehouse BBQ and man did it smell good. But climbing on a stomach full of pork BBQ didn't seem like a great idea.

On the NC 80 climb we got a good view of Mt. Mitchell in the distance. Both Neal and Wolfpack have a date with destiny on that mountain very soon.

The descent on NC 80 was tricky in spots due to sand the DOT laid down when it snowed last week. Anyone reading this that does the BM next week be advised. Unfortunately NC 80 dumped us back onto Hwy 19 with its narrow shoulder, rolling hills and traffic. Neal led me out after I blew up on the last climb on 80 appropriately named Cemetery Hill. I just held too high a power until I had more fun than I could stand and pretty much limped home the last 6 miles. Lots of fun!

Once back in the town square, which required a little quartermile 11% climb to the car we found that Neal had left his key in the car with the ignition in the on position which drained the battery. We had lunch and he found someone to jump him. My Prius is unable to jump another car. Didn't know that until today. Great ride, 59 miles, 3:30 ride time and 3000' of climbing. Funny thing is we had the wind in our face the whole way around the loop. Go figure. :notamused:

wolfpack 04-18-09 04:45 PM

great pictures! wish i could have been up there to ride with you guys, but i had a date with 100mi (only 87mi completed). trying to take pictures during that ride is not too safe while riding at the pace that the group goes at on the actual ride.

make sure to rest up this week so you'll be strong enough to pull me around for the first 30-something miles. :D

NealH 04-18-09 07:57 PM

Good ride report and pictures Andy. It was a near perfect day for cycling and, I got to see and appreciate parts of this route that I missed last year due to the frantic pace in a large peleton (that included one bad wreck and put everyone's nerves on end). I should have a couple pictures to add but, will have to wait until I get home to upload them.

You missed a good one today Karen, it was very enjoyable - at least until the last few miles when we were pretty zonked. I hope next Saturday's weather is similar to what we had today.

wolfpack 04-18-09 08:09 PM

i wanted to get up there and ride, but figured i needed to do a long ride this weekend. plus, i'll be gone for the next 2 weekends and didn't want to be gone for 3 in a row; then it's AoMM. :)

jppe 04-19-09 07:16 AM

I've always enjoyed the Burnsville route-if you can get in a group along the Big Toe it can be a really fun and fast section. The last time I did the event they sent us out in a Counter Clockwise direction but I've heard they now do it in the clockwise direction-sound correct???

I'm sure you know this, but Harmon Field in Tryon is a terrific place to park and get in lots of climbs plus all the miles you'd like. Would be easy to meet up with Karen and others there as well. There is also a really nice bathroom which always helps!!

I went over there yesterday and did most every climb in the area on a perfect riding day-Howard Gap, Skyuka Mt Rd, Green River Cove Rd, Watershed, Callahan Mt Rd, Climbs around Saluda, etc. There are also some stores in Saluda (also the bike shop) where it's convenient to fill up bottles. My route was only 72 miles but it did have 7200 ft of climbing. It would be easy to make it a Century by doing the loop up through Tuxedo like the Tour de Leaves uses-I was ready to quit at 70 miles so didn't opt for that yesterday.

There was a group of 3 that pulled up as I was getting ready and they were going to do an out and back over to Caesars Head which would be around 90 miles. There were also tons of riders doing the watershed as you might expect.

BikeWNC 04-19-09 07:53 AM

Yes, Burnsville is now run clockwise. The logic is to get the group off Hwy 19 quickly and keep it mostly together until the climbing starts at Red Hill. Last year we averaged almost 24mph the first 36 miles. This year I intend to cruise this ride because I just don't want to get caught in a crash. I have to leave two days later for my Grand Canyon trip. Well that and I'm not in very good shape for riding right now.

Tryon is a great place to ride for sure. I only seem to get down there twice a year for the 4th Metric and the TdL. We have some good riding close by so it just never seems to come up to drive down there. But I like the roads and the climbs out of Tryon, some of which are pretty steep as you know.

NealH 04-19-09 05:12 PM

We will have to try and meet up for one of the Tryon rides sometime. I've only ridden in that area once, and that was on last year's TdL with BikeWNC. The climb up Saluda was memorable. A nice route and we saw a considerable number of cyclists during that ride. I suspect its a popular riding area for the Greenville crowd. I'm looking forward to Fab 4th this year.

A few more pictures from the Burnsville ride Saturday:

Early in the ride on 19W.

We were not the only cyclists riding in this neck of the woods.

Mountain Church. There are many like it.

We pick up the Toe River (I think).

Andy on cruise control along the Toe.

Yours truly on a photo break.

Another shot of majestic Mitchell.

On the way back to Town Square.

Town Square, Burnsville.

The shops in town. The Hilltop Restaurant (seen in the pic) is where we had lunch and it was very good.

Now we get to do it again next week!

wolfpack 04-19-09 05:20 PM

yea, Andy looked like he was on cruise control. :) i'm looking for you two to pull me around the first 36mi! :D

great pictures BTW...i won't have time to take very many next week until i get to the climbs...

norskagent 04-19-09 06:10 PM

I was up on the parkway out of asheville on sat., took this pic of mt. mitchell? on the way to craggy gardens, perhaps when you took your pics?
The parkway is still closed, but the construction crew waved me through the cyclocross zone!

NealH 04-19-09 06:13 PM


Originally Posted by wolfpack (Post 8760657)
yea, Andy looked like he was on cruise control. :) i'm looking for you two to pull me around the first 36mi! :D

The way you've been hammering the flats here lately, perhaps we should be hitching a ride on your rear wheel. Heck, you might drop us :).

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