AKA the “Down with Mount Mitchell Edition”
The second day of our annual camp is always dedicated to this epic quest: the full ride to and from Mount Mitchell. For those of you who don’t know, Mount Mitchell is the highest point on the eastern seaboard and is one of the many jewels in this incredible part of our country.
In years past we have seen fog– A.k.a., we saw nothing!–Snow, hail, rain and even ice forming on trees in front arise. Today, after warning all of our campers to bring cool year, we had our warmest ascent yet.
72° might seem fall me to you, when you’re riding a bike for four hours at 12 miles an hour up a massive hill… Well it’s downright hot!
What Made 2017 Different?
This year was a little different as we picked a new starting point. Our goal this year was to create conditions where all of the campers could complete the full ride. Not just the climb of the mountain, but all the work associated with coming back down.
Granted, part of that work is going really really fast on the defense – and they should, they earned it! To make this happen we partnered with the blind squirrel brewery to host our cars and the “after party” to start our recovery.
I’ll told this route was approximately 94 miles long with more than 10,000 feet of climbing. Nothing for the faint of heart here!!
We split into two groups to make sure everyone had a fair shot at the mountain. Over the course of the day, groups began to split and reunite across the terrain based on strength and fatigue from our Day One ride.
We have multiple SAG points, what’s for incredible. But given the heat of the day, we could’ve easily used 27 of them. Or at least that’s my story, as I cracked at least 19 times today during this epic ride.
Ride Baby, Ride!
Summiting Mount Mitchell is truly an accomplishment. Despite the long lead up to the park entrance, the final 6 miles to the top is just brutal. The combination of grades and ever-changing conditions make four a righteously challenging ride.
Having your picture taken at the top is the best possible reward… that, can of cold Coke™ and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
With a climb behind us, it was time to quickly bundle up and start the descent. Because the Parkway is “standardize,” no client is greater I know decent is more than 8%. All of the turns are sweeping, clear and wide. In other words, you can let it fly!
And this is in your best interests, because when it’s time to go back up again your legs will likely revolt. Or your lower back. Or, quite possibly, your brain.
Every pedal stroke brought us a little closer to the finish — the Blind Squirrel Brewery (www.blindsquirrelbrewery.com). There we enjoyed some incredible hospitality, food, and of course…beer!
Everyone is guaranteed to sleep well tonight before tomorrow’s assault on Snake Mountain our ride over into Tennessee!