Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Roan and Beech

 Friday we drove up the Little Switzerland to spend the weekend with Mike and his wife Rhonda.  (yes, we both have wives named Rhonda).  We were planning on a social paced ride with 100 or so other friends at the Roan Moan.  We chose the metric century route so that we would have something left to climb Beech on Sunday.

The gun went off and we were towards the back with some sketchy riders,  weaving, hitting brakes etc.  I decided this wasn't for me and I started threading my way through the cyclists, making sure Mike was on my wheel.  After a few minutes, we were at the front of the group, and I was pushing the pace a little bit.   I caught a glimpse of a group of 12 ahead, and then as the road turned I lost them.  As we crested a small climb, Mike sighed.  Having ridden with Mike quite a bit, I knew that this sigh meant we were going to fast at this point.

Without looking back, I clicked a few gears and upped the pace some more,  then I was alone, in no man's land.  I was looking forward to the Iron Mtn Climb and made it my mission to be the first to the top.   I slowly reeled the group of 12 in and greeted each person before holding my pace and cruising by.  I got a small gap and held it for a while until Jim (from Asheville ) bridged up.  After chatting, we slowed the pace and let the group catch us just at the bottom of the climb.  I rested for a couple of minutes, a couple of guys going off the front, and then set a pace that I hoped I could hold to the top.  I wanted to test myself and push my limits.

As far as I know, I was the first to the top of the climb,  I pulled over and waited for Mike. 
 We rolled through the course, chatting, meeting new friends, seeing old ones,  we passed Sibyl who was pulling a group of guys.  Up the Doe River Gorge and then through Roan Mtn State park.  We made a short stop at the rest stop at the bottom of the climb and then headed up.

The climb up Roan is one of my favorites.  After getting up the steeper bottom miles, the climb levels out to about 5 % avg and the views are amazing.  I rolled to the top,  staying just ahead of a group of 3 that was trying desperately to real me in.  I held the gap to the top and greeted them when I sat up and they passed me.  They ignored me....

We got some Coke and headed down the hill back to the start for a shower and a meal.  Awesome day and I was cooked. 
Sunday we had to choose if we wanted to ride to Asheville or to Beech.  The day was a little cooler and we chose Beech.  Mike had been studying the map and found some backroads that we tried out.   It turns out that Hickory Nut Gap Rd is a hidden gem and was well worth the trip.  Tight, not too steep winding mountain road with almost no traffic....perfect. 

And then a picnic on top of Beech with our families.

Another great weekend!!

No comments: