Sorry its been busy here down in North Carolina the last couple of days to make sure things are going well for everyone….But this is what has been happening the first couple of days of break….
Thursday: We left on Thursday 25th at about 4pm. That was a little later than we wanted. We were planning on leaving at 2pm, but I had work, Lindsey got a haircut and I had to pack still and pack the whole car. We were finally on the road and went smoothly until about 10pm or so. I ended my 4 hr leg just after Indianapolis and the weather turned. Rain to snow to rain back to snow. I already did my turn so I just slept through the bad weather until we got to our hotel in Sellersburg, IN just outside of Louisville, KY.
Friday: Well we got a good nights sleep…however we woke up late and didn’t get out when we wanted to…but we did make it to continental breakfast. Almost missed it, but you just can’t miss continental breakfast. But we got back on the road (now its Friday). The drive wasn’t really the most epic or event-filled. So there’s really not much to say about it…it took about 14 total hours. We got in to the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) in Bryson City, NC at about 3pm on Friday. Lindsey and I headed out for a ride immediately just to wake up the legs a little bit. So we headed up to Winding Stairs. The ride is a total of 30 miles: A 4 mile gradual climb up to the beginning of Winding Stairs and then a 2-2.5 mile climb up to the top of Winding Stairs. Not too bad for an easy leg opener.
After the ride we headed over to the local Ingles supermarket to buy some food for everyone that would be coming. Well we filled up 8 carts, surprised the locals…again, and charged a bill of over 1200$. Thing is…the registers went down right when we got in line. Well crap! But thank god the registers went back up about 20 minutes later. At night we were only a group of 10 people or so, because most people leave on Friday and get in at about 5am Saturday morning. Went to bed….[total: 1hr 40min, 50km]
Saturday: Today everyone got in and slept while some of us rode. For our group we decided to go all the way up Wayah (17 mile climb with some little downhills to recover on) and then 711 (an unkept fireroad…MOST. FUN. EVER!). So there were 7 of us but that turned into 6 of us halfway up Wayah. I decided to attack a little bit on a downhill. I took a blind corner at about 35 mph…don’t worry I was fine. We someone trying to follow my line some how put so much force/gravity/torque on his front wheel that he exploded one of his spokes. There was no way he was able to go any farther on that wheel. Problem: no cell phone service…he’ll have to get a ride from a stranger or we climb to the top and then call there. Well we continued climbing and right when we got to 711 a car drove by and we were able to wave them down and get them to go pick him up.
We started up 711. 711′s road is completely torn up. Its road and then sand, potholes, mud, tree branches. Just throw everything you can on one road and you gots 711. I enjoy going downhill so when the downhills came I went fast and lets just say the downhills are not the safest, but its so damn fun. So I just took off from the group. People tried to stay with me but I was taking super risky lines and holding them off. When the 711 climb is done you get back on Wayah and go downhill from there. Wayah is my favorite descent so I went again and attacked. I was able to hold a group of 5 off all the way to the bottom (7 miles later). My descending/flat power output is crazy high right now, but my legs just don’t want to work uphill. Interesting. That was Saturday….[Total: 3hr 10min, 90km]
Sunday: It rained. A group of us decided to climb Junaluska, a 6 mile @ 6% average gradient climb. I was fine all the way to the climb and then about 1/4th the way up my legs just didn’t want to turn over like they were before. I finished 5th up the climb out of a group of 10 of us. So 50th percentile. Eh. Did the same thing down Wayah again on the way home, but I could feel a little bit of fatigue in the legs. Got back just soaked, but it really wasn’t that bad of a rain. [Total: 2hr 50min, 85km]
Monday: Today was damn epic. I decided to do a solo ride. I was planning on 4-5 hrs but that was definitely cut short. Well, the weather lady said it was a 30% chance of rain and that it was going to come more in the evening…I bet you have noticed by the way I’m writing this that this was not the case at all. I got out and the legs felt great…I got about 12 miles into the ride and it started misting. Well that’ll pass…nope I had rain for the rest of my ride. I got to Stecoah Gap and the climb wasn’t that bad. It was foggy up at top. Its a 2 mile climb @ 8% gradient. The downhill was what got me. It started raining harder and wind whipping past me was not helping. The rain just didn’t stop and it was a cold rain with it only being 43 deg F. When I got to Robinsville I was going to stop at the local gas station, but then I thought for a second “if I stop, I’ll get cold and then I’ll even be worse when I get outside again”. So I just kept on trucking. The next 12 miles was a constant and gradual uphill that I was able to hold 19mph on just to try and stay warm. I got to the top of the climb and the rain started slowing. On the main road back to the cabins it stopped raining, but thats when the cold really hit me. Being soaked in 43 deg weather trying to haul ass at about 30 mph just to get back was horrible. I finally got back to the cabin and was definitely in a hypothermic state. Just a little out of it, numb hands and tripping over non-existent items.
However right when I get back to the cabins I get a call from a 6 person group that needs a pick up because they are cold, wet and just don’t have the energy to go on. So I drive all the way back to Robinsville at the gas station I WAS going to stop at to pick them up. Drive them back to the cabins and then get another call for a group of 20 requesting assistances from the cold and wet conditions. I assemble two more cars and head back out to save them.
In the end I rode 76 km, 2 hrs 45 min….I drove 160 km for about the same amount of time. Double the distance on the drive than the bike. I wanted to throw in Junaluska, but that would have just been dumb for my health and safety.
The rest of the week its suppose to be in the low to high 70′s with sunny skies! I can’t want to not actually wear leg/arm warmers and actually start my tan lines.
I’ll try and get some pics up soon. And try not to put 4 days all on one post….