Assault on Mount Mitchell
Last Post 05/25/2013 05:18 PM by Evan Solida. 13 Replies.
Author Messages
Bernie

Posts:7

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05/23/2013 07:40 AM
Somehow I let myself get talked into doing this ride last Monday. About 105 miles, over 11,000 feet of climbing amongst 1600 of your riding buddies. It hurt, lots! The first 70 miles are mostly rolling, then it pitches up almost continuously to the finish line gaining over 7000 feet in the last 30 miles. I needed more gears! I now have a new appreciation for the spectacular efforts the pros have to make on those mountain stages. I just kept repeating Rule #5, HTFU. My time was mediocre but at least I made it to the end.
ChinookPass

Posts:403

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05/23/2013 09:12 AM
Sounds like a beast! How was the weather? What gearing did you use?
Bernie

Posts:7

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05/23/2013 10:36 AM
first 2 1/2 hours out of Spartanburg the weather was foggy with temps in the 70s. Then overcast till the sun broke out in Marion and the temps rose to the 80s for the climb to the parkway. After that mostly cloudy and temps in the 80s with occasional sun and lower temps on the summit. I put a compact crank on 50/34 and ran a 12/27 cassette. I spun out at about 33 on the downhills and didn't have enough gear for later in the day when the legs got tired. If I do it again I'll use at least a 30 on the back.
ChinookPass

Posts:403

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05/23/2013 02:15 PM
Yeah on those days with extended steep climbing, you can either put an easier gear like a 30 on there or just muscle it up and get it over with. When I did the Everest Challenge a few years ago I thought if I had a 30, I might never finish. You have to keep going forward! Those NC roads are another flavor of steep though. As long as you are going faster than the folks who are walking!
Bodynazi

Posts:51

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05/23/2013 02:46 PM
wow, impressive ride. congrats. I wouldn't ride that far on my motorcycle
longslowdistance

Posts:582

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05/23/2013 04:54 PM
Congrats. Truly a beast. What's evil is that you make it up to the Parkway from Marion, then climb a lot more, then descend (!) for a ways on the Parkway before the final haul, losing a lot of hard won vertical.
Orange Crush

Posts:1138

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05/23/2013 05:30 PM
Sounds like a nice ride and some awesome climbing. What kinda grades are you looking at for considering a 30? Seems that a 34x27 should be good for anything but the scary steep stuff.
C2K_Rider

Posts:168

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05/23/2013 05:48 PM
I did that in 2001. Good ride. Too bad no descent!!

That last 20 miles is not steep , just a long, long slog. And hopefully it's not raining!
Bernie

Posts:7

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05/23/2013 08:17 PM
orange crush, wasn't that the grades were so steep, some were for short sections but most were just steady up and up. Consider that the average grade for the last 30 miles was 6%, but there was a two mile section of downhill where you lost at least 500 feet. Everything else for the last 30 miles was constant up, save a 100 yard stretch about a half mile from the finish. On the short steep sections I really felt like I needed to spin, but just pushing over the pedals was about all I could do. This came after 70 fast miles of mostly rollers. Legs were just too tired to push so much, and I didn't want to cramp by trying to stand and power it. Wasn't so much of an issue with breathing but more of an issue with putting out continuous power. Put into context I'm 60, 6' 2" and 200 lbs, not particularly a climbers frame I carry around. I also live at sea level and haven't ridden as much this season as I would like due to a number of issues. I was just happy to finish!
C2K_Rider

Posts:168

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05/23/2013 10:39 PM
The general wisdom on that ride is that you are half way done at 75 miles...0f 100 miles.
Orange Crush

Posts:1138

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05/24/2013 11:18 AM
Posted By Bernie Farmer on 05/23/2013 08:17 PM
 Put into context I'm 60, 6' 2" and 200 lbs, not particularly a climbers frame I carry around.

For some reason I associated the name Bernie with a young bloke...funny. Being 60 is no excuse though...I was passed by someone who looked around 60 going up Seymour yesterday; I've always figured it's us 40-something's with stressful jobs, young kids and big mortgages who are at the bottom of the pile

Other than being around 60, that guy looked like he could be a twin brother of Hesjedal though, lanky and clearly superfit.

But yeah, you're hauling 40 extra lbs compared to me (dropped below the 160 lbs threshold for first time this week @ 6'), that's a big difference on the vertical. My wife's Italian cousin weighs in at around 220lbs and uses a triple to get himself over the big Dolomiti passes. He's like Tomba la Bomba on the downhills though.
cabron fiber

Posts:17

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05/24/2013 08:20 PM
Average grade of 6% for 30 miles with 500 ft of downhill?
That's 10,000 ft. of elevation gain!
Bernie

Posts:7

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05/25/2013 09:24 AM
I knew somebody would do the math. I was estimating (and apparently exaggerating some!) Here is the info from the ride website

Switchbacks on Route 80
Location: 35.761418, -82.156277
The last four miles of Route 80 leading up to the Blue Ridge Parkway are a steady 8- to 10-percent grade: probably the hardest stretch of the ride.
The Blue Ridge Parkway
Location: 35.739128, -82.188721
There are several overlooks along the parkway--most have spectacular views.
Riding the Blue Ridge Parkway
Location: 35.715995, -82.231636
The 11-mile stretch of the parkway traversed here is mostly uphill. First, a 4-mile section (passing through three tunnels), then a 2-mile descent, followed by a 3-mile climb. The climbs average about 6 percent, amping up to 8 percent in several spots.
Entering Mount Mitchell State Park
Location: 35.743447, -82.278328
After turning off the parkway, the first two miles up Route 128 are stiff (8-10 percent). From the park entrance, the road nearly levels out before the final climb to the top. From the parkway to the summit is 4.7 miles.

If you do the math from about mile 78, where the real climbing up to the blue ridge starts you go from about elevation 1500 up to about 5100 at mile 92 (roughly), that's right at a 5% average. You then drop 500 feet in around 2 miles and go from elevation 4570 up to 6578 in the last 7 miles, again right at 5%. There are sections of climbing where it is steeper than 5%, sections where it is slightly less. Any way you put it the near constant climbing for the last segmenst is tough.
6ix

Posts:113

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05/25/2013 05:18 PM
Congratulations BERNIE!! I really want to do this event next year but I doubt I'll be in shape even by then. This is one seriously tough ride/race. I live just a little bit south of Mt. Mitchell and had never even driven up there until a week ago. The views are absolutely spectacular. It's actually hard to believe that it's real.

Right now, I'm having difficulty with the steep climb that goes from my house up to the Parkway, just a bit south of Craggy Gardens. Eventually, I want to be able to ride all the way up to Mt. Mitchell State Park...just the entrance though. I doubt my legs would get me home if I tried to tackle the climb up to the summit.

Again, congrats!!


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