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July 28, 2011 – Asheville, North Carolina

Ride Mt Mitchell, West Side











Today was to be one of our classic rides of the trip and it lived up to it's billing. We drove to Asheville and parked in the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor's Center and started the ride. The climb up Mt Mitchell is classic as the mountain is the highest point east of the Mississippi river. It isn't a steep climb, but the ride is very long, 33 miles to the top. It was warm out, but not horrible when we started. That would change before we were finished!


The road up the mountain was in great shape, and the views were awesome. As with everywhere the "smoky" mountains were living up to their name. It must be beautiful in December when the haze isn't as bad. This view was from the pull off near the Craggy Mountain area.


The climb turned out to be very daunting not because of steepness but because of the warm temperatures and the the extreme length. Us flat landers from Rhode Island and Connecticut aren't in shape for that much climbing! Still, I made it to the top in about 3 hours, 11 minutes.

There were great views at the top of the mountain and we all made it to the top. Tom first as usual, then me and finally Bill and Paul. Tom and I decided to leave the summit before Bill and Paul got there as the weather looked to be deteriorating. It never did, but it was a long descent so we got a head start and decided we'd fly down the mountain to get the vans and then drive back to pick up Bill and Paul.

The short descents we enjoyed on the way up really were annoying as we tried to get down the mountain, but where we did have descents, we really let it rip.


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Tom did his video thing as usual and took this as we were coming up one of the short ascents that were part of the descents.

There were three tunnels on this ride that we had to go through on the way up and then on the way down. Here Tom captured our descent through the one furthest up the mountain.

After this tunnel we had a 11 mile descent on good roads so we had some fun, except to be honest, every part of my body ached from this ride.


As I previously mentioned, Tom and I got back to the van and the drove up to offer Bill and Paul a ride back from where ever we found them, which turned out to be with about 9 miles to go. When we found then, and pulled into a rest area, Bill and Paul decided to continue on to finish the ride and decided to not take the ride back to the visitor's center.

It was a tough day though as it even inspired Bill to let go of an F-Bomb regarding the length of the ride. That is very very uncharacteristic of Bill, so after some discussion, Tom and I decided to get some soda for us and a beer for Bill before we went back to the center to wait for them.

Eventually they came into the lot and finished this monster ride.


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Here is Tom presenting Bill with his souvenir beer which he proceeded to enjoy immensely! All I will say is that a long day in the sun, dehydration, exhaustion and beer leads to a good time! lol.

We went to REI to see if we could get a RAM mount for my GPS and also so Tom could buy another pair of short shorts for riding. No luck on the RAM mount, but Tom did get his shorts.

We stopped for Italian for lunch at about 4 PM and then drove back to the rental house where we broke open a couple more beers and all proceeded to get very tired. Not tired enough to watch the Hangover before going to sleep.

Great Day, Great but long ride and very satisfying!

Mt Mitchell 7-28-2011, Elevation - Distance Mt Mitchell 7-28-2011