2014 Breakaway From Afar

Wes and Julie complete the climb up Waterrock Knob.

If you had told me after my January 31st surgery date that I wouldn’t be back up to full speed by August, I might have punched you in the mouth. Honestly, I thought there was a chance I could recover quickly and be ready for Mitchell in May. Alas, that didn’t happen. I put two rides on my calendar as goals for the fall, one of which is my favorite century ride in the mountains, the Blue Ridge Breakaway. While I’ve made progress and should be back on the bike soon enough, to my disappointment, I don’t have the fitness to even think about Blue Ridge Breakaway this year.

How much do I love the ride? As some might remember, last year when the weather report was sketchy at best, I woke up in the middle of the night to see if it had cleared out. It had, and I drove in the wee hours of the morning, rode 100 miles, and drove home later that evening. You can read about that experience here. It was not something I’ll want to do again – the driving that is. I’ll certainly do the riding again.

I am particularly envious this weekend, because the weather may be the best the event has ever had. The low is in the 60s and the high is in the 80s. I imagine that once you hit the higher elevations, you’ll be in perfect temperatures with the sun on your back.

Instead, like I’ve been doing lately, I’ll be living the event through others. Kevin Dobo has a blog called Dobovedo that I have read occasionally. Like me, he has a thirst for the higher elevations. He used to live in Sylva and has migrated to Asheville. We’ve corresponded a couple times on rides, and he seems like a good dude. He has ridden in four of the five Breakaways, and I am officially dubbing him my surrogate rider. I’ll live the experience through him. He’ll post what I’m sure will be an excellent ride report on his blog, and I’ll post some of the high points here, maybe with some commentary. If any other readers want to chime in about their experiences, feel free to drop me a line and I’ll include you in the recap post.

Highest point of the Blue Ridge Parkway

Richland Balsam Mountain, highest point of the Blue Ridge Parkway

I’m particularly interested in the ride this year because they have two rides that reach the Parkway this year. In year’s past they have experimented with the shorter routes. At one time the metric was nearly an out-and-back, and the century riders would cross paths with the metric riders about when the big climbs start. This year the “Trout” is a comparable challenge to the full century dubbed the “Hawk.” Rather than 106 miles, is is a mere 76 miles, but with nearly 8,000 feet of climbing, some on the Parkway. The “Hawk” is the granddaddy, which I can personally attest is a tough century and it has some tough, longer climbs and two of my favorite descents in the world. As curious as I would be about the “Trout,” my personality is go big or go home, and I’d be all over the longer route.

Thanks for riding for me again. I look forward to hearing about and envying your adventures. Soon enough I hope to be back up in elevation. Armchair cycling is for the birds.

To all those riding, Godspeed and have a terrific ride!

2 responses to “2014 Breakaway From Afar

  • Ed

    We’ll miss you! Will make for an even sweeter ride next year.

  • Dobovedo's Journal of Journeys » Blog Archive » Blue Ridge Breakaway 2014 – the ‘Trout’ Experiment

    […] For a couple months leading up to the event, I had debated back and forth whether I was going to ride the Breakaway this year. I have done the ride in three of four previous years since it was started in 2010, missing 2012 for reasons I can’t recall. It’s a terrific event but as anyone who knows me can attest, I hate getting out of bed early on weekends to do organized rides (or unorganized ones for that matter). I prefer to sleep late and do things on my own schedule. Not only that I had just done 105 miles on a solo ride two weekends prior, including the climb up 215 to the Parkway, and wasn’t feeling the need to do it again. But then I got an email from Aaron West of steepclimbs.com, wondering if I would be riding and would I be interested in writing a story about the event for his blog. Aaron and I are acquainted with each other through a mutual friend, Scott Baker, a local Sylva rider I’ve known since my very first ride upon moving to Western NC. Unfortunately neither Aaron nor Scott were able to do the Breakaway this year due to injuries and fitness issues, so I told Aaron yes, I would indeed do the ride and would be happy to contribute an article in his absence. Aaron posted a pre-ride article here: 2014 Breakaway From Afar […]

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