Saturday, May 16, 2009

Getting PSYCHED for the ASSAULT!

So, what to do with myself on a somewhat dreary, overcast / rainy day, two days before the biggest bicycle ride of my life? GET PSYCHED!!!!! For sure, I'm spending a lot of time drinking water. I found with one of my off-road triathlons that getting hydrated for the event doesn't really start the day before, but a couple days before. I need my body to be saturated when I awake at 4am on Monday morning! I'm also reading up a little on the ride. I finally found a cool description of the ride. I'll extract it because it is too cool:

{quoted from Bicycling Magazine - original found in the link above}
The Assault on Mount Mitchell cruises rural rollers before an epic stretch of climbing along the Blue Ridge Parkway to the highest point east of the Mississippi. of the nation’s most popular challenge rides, and it fills up fast. The big draw is the iconic, 6,578-foot summit of Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River. The first 80 miles of this well-supported century roam the rural flatlands and rollers north of Spartunburg, SC. Once the ride reaches, Marion, NC, the challenge begins: nearly 8,000 feet of climbing in roughly 30 miles. The hardest stretch of climbing kicks in on Route 80 after the route passes Lake Tahoma. The switchback-heavy approach to the Blue Ridge Parkway is sure to take some of the bite out of your legs. The Parkway itself is no slouch, but the countless succession of overlooks, road tunnels, and butterflies is sure to distract from the effort of climbing. Along this 11-mile stretch, views of Mount Mitchell (the big ridge above the Parkway and the eastern Continental Divide) foreshadow how much more climbing remain. The final approach to the summit up Route 128 is steep, steady, and relatively straight as it passes more roadside overlooks en route to the top. Savor the accomplishment and the 360-degree views at the top before hopping on the end-of-ride shuttle down the mountain.

Everything I can find indicates a total cumulative climb of just over 11,000 feet! That's a lot of climbing. I also found this elevation map:

That is about 80 miles where the curve begins to go straight up! Just outside the town of Marion, NC.

I'll be going up for the ride with my friend Kip who has made this trek 11 times (or so). His experience is pretty comforting to me. I really can't believe how psyched I'm getting for this ride. I'm already nervous, and I'm still two days out!

Tomorrow we'll pick up our registration packets. We talked about driving up to the mountain to check it out, but I don't think that is going to happen. No need to blow my own mind until I get up there! We'll also get the bicycles and gear loaded up on Yukie's car so we'll be ready to depart early on monday morning. Probably leave about 5am!

I'll be in the first wave of riders that depart Spartanburg's Memorial Auditorium at 630am. I'd like to think I can do the ride in less than 8 hours, but I'll be satisfied with less than 9 hours. The total ride distance is 102 miles. I know it's going to be a mental game once I begin the climb. I think I'm going to have to go back to the old Ranger days and pull out a trick or two to keep me rolling up that hill.

I'M PSYCHED!!!!!!!

1 comment:

  1. SO how did you do?!!! I love the Marion route. It was not bad at all.

    Details please...


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