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Like to climb? Try Mt. Mitchell(5 posts)

Like to climb? Try Mt. Mitchellridgerider
Jul 11, 2002 5:34 AM
It's not Alpe d'Huez or Mont Ventoux, but some buddies and I got in the Tour de France spirit last week with a ride to the top of Mount Mitchell, the tallest peak in eastern America. Our ride retraced the final portion of the Assault on Mount Mitchell event, held annually in May. We started in Marion, NC, down in the Carolina foothills at elevation 1270. Twenty-seven mostly uphill miles later, we're atop Mitchell, 20 degrees cooler and 5500 feet higher up. There's lots to recommend this ride...outstanding scenery, wide-open descents and the sheer challenge of grinding your way to the top. We saw lots of cyclists, including a couple on a tandem, several folks on touring rigs, and a gang of strong riders from Quebec. If you live in or are visiting this area and want to test your limits, you gotta try it.

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It's a great ride!madstork
Jul 11, 2002 6:30 AM
I've done the Assault twice, this year and 1990 - education, kids and career in between. The climb is like you said - grinding! The Highway 80 portion just kills me!

I also followed your up and down route. A group from my club and I went to Marion in April for the climbing part of the Assault, sort of a training/"what have we gotten ourselves into" ride. The descent is great fun. Saw several riders that day also.

If you're a member of the Brushy Mountain Cyclists, hats off to you and the club for the Ride Around Wilkes (RAW) that you host. IIRC, I rode it in 2000. You have a great area there and the constant climbs/descents are a challenge for someone like me from the Piedmont (Burlington). Couldn't make it this year, but maybe next time.
re: Like to climb? Try Mt. MitchellGalibier
Jul 11, 2002 6:49 AM
My in-laws have a summer home near Burnsville, NC, midway between Mt. Mitchell and Roan Mountain. I've ridden up Roan Mtn. several times from their home (~72 miles roundtrip), but have never attempted Mt. Mitchell because I can't tell how busy the roads are from Burnsville to Mt. Mitchell. It looks like I would take 80 south to the BRP. Does anyone know if that would be the best route from Burnsville to Mt. Mitchell? How busy is that stretch of 80? Any idea of the round-trip distance? Thanks --
re: Like to climb? Try Mt. Mitchellridgerider
Jul 11, 2002 7:52 AM
NC 80 from Burnsville to Buck Creek Gap (jct. Blue Ridge Parkway) is rideable. You'll have Mitchell and the whole Black Mountain range to your right as you ride up the Toe River valley. I stayed at Albert's Inn on NC 80 about four miles from the Parkway one Labor Day weekend, and the traffic on 80 was not too bad. It's about 16 miles from where you enter the Parkway to the top of Mitchell, so your total mileage would be in the 60s, I'd think.
Great! Thanks -- (nm)Galibier
Jul 11, 2002 11:20 AM