Saturday, August 28, 2010

Asheville Ride Report - Metric Century!

Last year during training for Vermont I dreamt of cycling from my house in Jonesborough to Asheville.  Jessica and the boys would drive down, and we would all meet at one of our favorite pizza joints.  It never happened last year, so I was really excited when it was clear we'd have a chance this Saturday. 

I rolled away from the house while the family was still asleep.  The weather was great: the temperature was 66, and the sun was trying to climb over the mountain tops.  I made my first town--Erwin, TN--in a flash.  A couple of people were setting up for what looked like a farmer's market, but nothing else disturbed the waning repose of this cool little town.  The climbing increased gradually after I left Erwin, and I was soon pedalling nearer Flag Pond, where Jessica and the boys met me with water and snacks.  After my refueling, Jessica, with the boys, played cat-and-mouse with me to snap some pictures.  Each time the boys saw me, they would yell, "Rock on me hearties!"  I love that.

The road between Flag Pond and the NC state line seems to barely hang on to the steep pitch of the mountain.  If the road had fingernails, it would dig them in.  Going was slow for the last 3 miles especially (except for the brief time I was being chased by a dog, when I still couldn't go fast enough).  But, the top soon came and offered me a chance to work with gravity rather than against it.  I hurtled down parts of the NC side at speeds over 40 mph.  The new bike never quivered, and it tracked solidly the whole way. 

Crossing the NC/TN State Line - no chance that trooper was going to ticket me!

The rest of the trip was more navigating exercise than real workout.  Many road signs have been removed from their posts between Mars Hill and Weaverville.  Someone must be doing a little interior decorating with highway hardware.  My strength faded well before I reached this flatter section of the ride, so I piddled up hills and watched my average fall.  Oh, it would have been so nice to have someone to draft!

I rolled into Asheville a few minutes after 12:00 and found my family and in-laws waiting on me at an outdoor table.  That was a good sight!  And just like that, it was over.  A dream finally realized and really enjoyed!

63.41 miles; 4 hours, 23 minutes; 14.4 mph average, 4080 feet of climbing

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