After the epic trip to Mount Mitchell, we all needed something really different. Ups and Downs were approved, but it couldn’t be gargantuan…no ten mile climbs, please! On Day Three of camp, we opted for a modified version of the Blue Ridge Brutal, with either a 51 or a 74-mile option.
As the elevation chart above notes, the really tough climbs — and there are four of them — are all in the first half of the ride. And these were legit, heart-pounding climbs, including some 12% to 16% grades.
However the way we mapped the ride meant that while the climbs up were insane, the descents were awesome…you got to descend almost as long as you climbed. And it was worth it to pick up some speed because there were more than a few dogs lurking around the side of the roads.
There was even a 3-mile packed dirt / gravel section to test your bike handling skills!
The nicest part of the ride was that it was over by 1:30, allowing folks to get out and explore the local area. While some folks opted for EarthFare and the all natural food there, more than a few went out to get some serious BBQ ribs. No one came back hungry!!!!
Doing My Time
I had to head out to Tater Hill Road after the 74-miler to put in my time on the climb I made everyone do despite never having seen it. This thing is a beast, as you can see above, with more than a few 20% sections. Literally was popping a wheelie with every pedal stroke in my 39 x 27.
The real kicker is that the last .75 miles is all on loose gravel. You can’t stand up as your rear wheel will spin out; you can’t stay seated as your legs are fried. I actually had to dismount to move from in front of a car coming down the mountain; turning my front wheel had no effect. It took me four tries and almost 5 minutes to get back on my bike to head up hill.
Of course, there is an incredible 12-mile sweeping descent to help you recover and appreciate all the hard work you’ve done.
Time to rest up and get ready for tomorrow’s final ride!