I posted recently that I had chosen Six Gap Century as my Fall challenge. It looked to be a tough ride, maybe comparable to Tour de Cashiers. I hoped it would be a good Fall event to motivate me to push my training further.
Unfortunately, after a bit of failed juggling, the scheduling will not work. Instead of doing Six Gap, I will be doing the MS Ride that weekend. That will be a challenge since it is a Saturday and Sunday double century, but not the type of climbing challenge I was looking for.
Now I have directed my focus towards Bridge to Bridge (pictured above). The overall course is similar to the Assault on Mount Mitchell, but nowhere near as difficult. As I understand there is a tough climb at the end up Grandfather Mountain that could get up to a 20% grade (not sure), but it is a more gradual climb to get to that point. The problem is, like many of these popular climbing races, there is a chance I will not get registered. They offer initial registration only to those who rode either of the prior two years. It then goes on sale to the public in July. I’m not sure how many spots will be left, but I will need to get in early if I’m going to have a chance.
If Bridge to Bridge does not work out, one possibility is on the extreme side — The Assault on Pikes Peak. Yes, that’s the iconic mountain that was discovered by Zebulon Pike many years ago. The ride is similar to the last part of Mitchell. It would only be 24 miles with about 7,000 feet of climbing, most of which is gradual highway riding, probably comparable to riding the Blue Ridge Parkway. Since it is a well-known peak, it might be an interesting challenge to finish climbing season. Of course it is on the other side of, well, America, not something I can commute to in the wee hours of the morning. Not to mention, I have not ridden in elevation like that. So even if Bridge to Bridge doesn’t work out, I still may not be able to try Pike. My interested is ‘peaked’, however, and regardless what happens, I might pencil it in as a 2012 possibility.
Until then I will try to do one big ride each month. Here are my plans:
Bee Buzzin’ Bike Ride – For some reason June is a quiet month for grunt challenges. This is in Greenwood, SC. I understand it is flat and fast. It is only a metric century, but we will try to at least add a few miles to get it closer to a full century.
Hot Doggett 100 – This leaves from Mars Hill, NC. It is a century with 9,000 feet of climbing that skirts the state of Tennessee. Always nice to ride in a new state.
Blue Ridge Breakaway – This leaves from Lake Junalaska in NC, close to Waynesville. I believe it will have some climbing, but not quite as extreme as other rides. It is beautiful country out there, so even if it isn’t a challenge, I’m sure I’ll enjoy it.
June 12th, 2011 at 7:26 am
Aaron, you should check out Tour De Gaps in Mt. Airy, NC – http://www.tourdegaps.com/ This ride is only 85 but in my opinion harder than any century around.
Also you just missed 3 Mountain Madness in Pilot Mtn. NC. http://www.3mountainmadness.com/
I did Mountains of Misery in Blacksburg, VA a few week ago. This is the most beautiful route I have ever been on. The last 5 mile climb is like the Skyuka Mountain road up White Oak in Columbus, NC.
June 12th, 2011 at 10:55 am
Appreciate the links. I did hear about 3 Mountain Madness, but it conflicted with Fletcher Flyer.
That Mt. Airy ride looks like a great option. It is the same weekend as Pikes Peak, which would be great, but a major pain and expensive. It’s not a realistic option at this point. If I don’t get into Bridge to Bridge, this might be a better alternate for me.
I hear a lot about these Northern NC/VA rides from the Weekly Rides mailing list, but usually find about them too late to register in time and make plans. That’s an area of the BRP I would love to explore more.