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ride report: 3 mountain metric, NC(7 posts)

ride report: 3 mountain metric, NCtarwheel
Aug 8, 2003 11:18 AM
Here's a good route for anyone looking for a nice loop in the mountains of North Carolina. It's known by various names in this area -- 3 Mountain Metric, Triple Hump and some that can't be repeated. The route climbs three peaks in the NC foothills: Pilot Mountain (pictured below), Hanging Rock and Sauratown Mtn. The town of Pilot Mountain (Mount Pilot to Andy Griffith fans) sponsors an organized ride there in May, with directions posted on their web site.

My local bike club also has a couple slightly different metric routes posted on its web site, under cue sheets and ride summaries.

I rode the Triple Hump last weekend for the first time with 5 friends. Although billed as 8600' of climbing over 67 miles on the 3 Mtn Metric web site, our actual measurements were about 6200' of climbing over 69 miles (one of my riding buddies has a computer with fairly accurate altimeter). The route is a loop with spurs that go out and back to the top of each mountain. The spur roads range from about 5-7 miles round-trip for each one. I completed the whole route with 39/27 as the lowest gear on my rather heavy Merckx Corsa, but had to stand in my 27 gear in many places for extended periods. The weather was far from perfect but acceptable -- foggy when we started, in the clouds for the first mountain top, but clearing later. Fortunately the temperatures were moderate for this time of year in the South, highs in mid-80s.

This is a very scenic ride, even under less-than-ideal weather conditions, and would be spectacular on a clear day with great views from the mountain tops. The climbs are pretty brutal, but not overly long or steep (15%+ in places), and the roads were pretty good for descents. We got quite a few admiring remarks from tourists on the mountain tops, which was humorous. The route is easily acceptable from I-74, which runs north from Winston-Salem, with plenty of nearby lodging and camping. Check it out.
I am jealoustxcross
Aug 8, 2003 12:02 PM
I used to live in Raleigh and spent quite a few college weekends backpacking up around that area. I did not do any cycling at the time, but as you said the scenery is beautiful. Stuck in Houston for the time being, hopefully will get back to NC in a few years.

On a side note, I am thinking about riding the Blue Ridge Parkway next spring. Starting in NC and ending at Skyline Drive. Do you know of any good resources to help plan such a trip.

here's a good booktarwheel
Aug 8, 2003 12:33 PM
Get a copy of "Bicycling the Blue Ridge," by Elizabeth and Charlie Skinner. You can buy it through Amazon for $12.95. The book has good descriptions of routes and facilities along the way. There are very few places to buy food or gear right on the parkway. You generally have to cycle down from the parkway on crossroads to nearby cities and towns for lodging, food, etc., although you can camp in certain areas.
re: ride report: 3 mountain metric, NCTarheel71
Aug 8, 2003 1:24 PM
Rode the inaugural Blue Ridge Tour de Gaps from Mt. Airy about 3 weeks ago, and it was very similar, just add 14 miles and one more major climb. They claimed about 10000 feet of climbing, just know you pretty much were either going up or down. Also turned around at the top of all the climbs, even though the road went down the other side unlike the 3-mountain metric ride. All the gaps are in Virginia. If you liked the ThreeMM route, you would love this one.
2 years agoLone Gunman
Aug 8, 2003 5:11 PM
Cycle NC had the route go past the spur roads to each climb, we chose to climb Hanging Rock. It was all I could handle, as tough a climb as anything in W.PA. Passed on Sauratown did not have enough time that day.
you picked the right one to climbbianchi boy
Aug 8, 2003 5:36 PM
Hanging Rock was the "easiest" of the three climbs and a nice smooth road. Sauratown had few redeeming features. It was a long steep climb, with few nice views, and rougher pavement. Of course it shrouded in clouds at the time, so that might have influenced my perception of it.
re: In my backyard...Mike Prince
Aug 9, 2003 8:34 AM
I live in Mount Airy and have done the 3MM the last two years. Great ride. Couldn't do the inaugural 4 gap ride as I was recuperating from getting hit by a car. Also, we do a ride at the beginning of May, the 'Tour de Mayberry' that is 85 miles and goes up Pilot Mountain (the most difficult of the 3MM climbs) at about the 35 mile mark and has nearly as much overall climbing as the 3 Mtn Metric.

Lots of great rides out there. I ride a different mountain just about everyday I ride at home, which is not too much this year.

If anyone's in the area, let me know ( and if I'm around, would love to show off some of the better climbs - we have a few that go over 20% in places.


PS - Anyone up for the Bridge to Bridge on Sept. 21? Look for a tall guy suffering on a yellow Steelman - that will be me :)