|Mt. Magazine hillclimb report||JS Haiku Shop|
Jul 7, 2003 6:01 AM
|Alternate title: "Puking Our Way To Greatness"
Last week this was thrown together after some communications problems with Arkansas cycling clubs thwarted my attempts to layout a route/s encompassing Mt. Magazine (AR highpoint), Mt. Nebo, and Pettit Jean Mountain. We were lucky to have had these problems. Read on.
Seven RSVP'd for the Friday 5:30 AM drive-out from a neutral point in Memphis. Two showed, but canceled (thoughful). One called after we waited 10 minutes late for him to show, and canceled (thoughless). Four of us went.
We arrived Havana AR 25 minutes ahead of schedule after two stops on the road. Havana = population <1000. We parked in a bank lot with a digital time/temp sign. Temps were in the low/mid 80s when we left.
Immediately from town (AR 309) we were climbing, but only a little. First 1-2 miles were false flat. Road kicked up inside Mt. Magazine State Park. Was steepest at the bottom, with long, sweeping switchbacks in the middle, and more gentle grades near the top. My computer had ~11 miles from parking lot to visitor's center near the highpoint. I climbed it at a little over 7 mph.
The crew was comprised of RC (posts here in a blue moon as "memphis"), JK (lurking, methinks), TNSquared, and yours truly. JK is our U23 sensation--actually 23, so he'll be O(ver)23 soon. He's about 9 feet tall and weighs 10 pounds less than your faithful narrator. I think he climbed this thing and was finished 30 or so minutes faster than me. :) RC was just behind JK.
Naturally I climb like a wet bag of cement, so I cut JK loose early, and set my own pace. It was not a "long gentle grade" as per the arkansas.com website description. Perhaps in a car. My 39/29 was more than sufficient.
TNSquared--let me tell you guys--he's only been riding a few months (but has bad marathon habit in his past), has never ridden any mountains, and took 39/25 as his low gear. I packed a 12-27 and tools, and made the offer, to no avail. He went ahead at the bottom of this climb and seemed to be towed along with JK's enthusiasm. I pulled TN2 back after about 15 minutes of grinding, though.
It was hot, and got hotter. The road climbed around and up and around and, well, up. It was only shaded in bits. TN2 gave a champion's effort, but the mountain seemed to have finally triumphed at just over 6 miles into the ride (it was tough, believe me!). We rode together for a bit, then TN2 stopped and considered his options. He was dehydrated and perhaps a bit sick from the heat (it was in the mid 90s when we finished this ride), pushing a fairly large gear, and I think had some severe cramps between his ears.
J's goal for this ride was to reach the highest paved point in Arkansas. I left TN2 with the intent of riding to the top, then back down to collect him at the car, and drive SAG for the other guys. After only a few minutes at the top, we all decided to ride back down. As we rolled out of the parking lot, here comes TN2 over the last little roller atop Mt. Magazine. He'd collected his gray matter and suffered through another 4 miles of climbing. This guy's a champ, folks. Lotsa heart.
The U23 sensation (JK) and our #1 suffering rider (TN2) didn't care to hang their tails out on the line for the descent, so RC and J made a few efforts and were a bit liberal with the corners on the way down. We actually caught a few motorcycles, rode with them briefly, but were dropped on the gentler grades near town.
All four of us drove as a caravan to Mt. Nebo next, then Pettit Jean, scouting for future rides. Pettit Jean was nothing to write home about. Nebo was a monster. I was happy to have all wheel drive. RC's van was spinning tires going up the switchbacks. There's a sign at the top (one way up/down) when you're coming down that says "caution: 18% grade next 2 miles". There was recently a road race that climbed Pettit Jean, Mt. Magazine, and finished atop Nebo after >100 miles. They closed only the Nebo
|(the rest)||JS Haiku Shop|
Jul 7, 2003 6:02 AM
|They closed only the Nebo roads, as it was **impossible** to climb the insides of most of the switchbacks in the uphill lane. I'm guessing 30 percent, easily. I was concerned about driving it.
Thanks for reading. I hope to better organize this one and perhaps offer it as a club & RBR ride next year.
|Hey J is July 18th ride still on??||abicirider|
Jul 7, 2003 6:14 AM
|Just wanted to see if the northern GA ride was still on for July 18th really want to try to make it hopefully ribs will be somewhat healed.
Be Safe Out On The Roads!!!!!!!
|Thanks. I'm marking my 2004 calendar ...||AllUpHill|
Jul 7, 2003 6:22 AM
|for the road race you mention. Never heard of it before, but think I found it at http://www.tri-peaks.org/. Sounds crazy by your account, J.|
Jul 7, 2003 8:21 AM
|I sucked. J definitely put the best picture picutre on it, but my ride was *UGLY*. I'm talking vultures circling overhead ugly (literally.) Next year, though, I will be ready.
J, JK and RC all rode strong, and without my implosion would have done another 50 miles.
J put together a great road trip and ride plan for us. It's a shame that more Mempho folks didn't take advantage.
If J expands this to an RBR ride next year, I highly recommend it.