After three solid days of riding and incredible weather, the group was torn. Some folks wanted to go ride one more mountain. Other folks wanted the safety of a simple out and back on the Parkway. And a handful of others wanted something off the Parkway but not insane. Sometimes you lead, sometimes you just get out of the way. Pick-Your-Own-Ride was born!
The Parkway Out and Back
Campers chose to drive up to the Parkway (roughly 7 miles) and then go south. It was the one section of the Parkway we hadn’t actually seen yet, and folks were surprised to find the Linn Cove Viaduct — an elevated roadway that literally hugs the mountains as it heads south.
The viaduct was the “middle” road, a compromise to complete the Parkway and still preserve the ecosystem that surrounded Grandfather Mountain (more here). For the campers, it meant incredible views — and a great descent! — that really brought the majesty of the Parkway alive!
The Beech Mountain Gang
There were two brave souls who were looking to get in one more epic ride — Beech Mountain. While the final climb (above courtesy of Strava) is 3 miles at 9%, there is another 9 miles of climbing to the base of that climb, making for a handy 12-mile effort. No shortage of TT work here!!!
It was just a quick hop by car to the start of the climb, and then a solid 24-mile adventure complete with a pit stop at the general store on top of Beech Mountain. This ride will definitely be a part of our 2015 camp, potentially as the double Beech climb — up both sides in a single ride!!!
The BSG Gang
The third and final group wanted some climbing but nothing off the charts epic. They settled for the Blood Sweat and Gears 50-Mile route, which had a manageable 3500 feet of gain across 50 miles. Nothing like picking a ride with just 3500 feet of gain for your easy day!!! Some sections of the road were freshly paved and apparently the climbing was “just right” to make this group really happy.
Wrapping the Camp
Our final dinner was on Saturday night, with another fantastic meal this time with a Mexican theme. I would have eaten more if I hadn’t gone out for a late lunch (at 3pm!). We finalized plans for Sunday, went out for a few beers and bluegrass music and said goodbyes until 2015.
This was our biggest camp yes, with 20 riders…and it was a blast! Plans are already underway for the 2015 edition of camp, to be held April 29th through May 3rd in Boone, NC. You can learn more about the camp and make a deposit to hold your place on the.
Hope you can join us for four amazing days of riding and fun!