Training update: They're ready!

 The crew enjoys a break while riding to the highest point east of the Mississippi.  

The crew enjoys a break while riding to the highest point east of the Mississippi.  

Hardcore cyclists know the names well: Mount Mitchell. Hwy 80. The Blue Ridge Parkway.  Sections of road that offer tough climbs, exhilarating descents, and spectacular vistas along the way. After completing our two day training event that featured 8,000 feet of climbing at grades on 7-9 percent with full panniers, one thing was clear: The crew is ready!

Hwy 80: Marion to The Parkway, with a basketball? 

I never thought I'd get dropped on switchback riddled Hwy 80 by a cyclist that had a basketball strapped to his bike, but it happened. We must have been quite a sight lumbering our way up to the Eastern continental divide. Total climbing for the day was 3,500 feet. 

 The crew celebrates their arrival to the eastern continental divide. 

The crew celebrates their arrival to the eastern continental divide. 

Day two: Mitchell.  

After spending the night at an idyllic campsite along the Toe River, the crew departed for our 27 mile ride to the summit of Mount Mitchell. The milage may sound modest but those in the know understand that all but about 7 miles of this ride is uphill on serious mountain grades.

The final five miles to Mount Mitchell is humbling, as the pitch never ceases and ranges from seven to eleven percent. Many a cyclist has been forced to walk to the top, but not this crew. All finished strong under their own power, to the cheers of the Memorial Weekend crowd. 

 

 

 What a day. Riding along Hwy 80

What a day. Riding along Hwy 80

 On the way to Mitchell. Yes, that's a basketball making the ascent.  

On the way to Mitchell. Yes, that's a basketball making the ascent.  

 Who needs a camp chair when you can do the lean? Taking a break along the Blueridge Parkway. Mt Mitchell looms in the distant background. 

Who needs a camp chair when you can do the lean? Taking a break along the Blueridge Parkway. Mt Mitchell looms in the distant background. 

 Atop Mount Mitchell. Well done.  

Atop Mount Mitchell. Well done.