Sunday, June 12, 2011

North Georgia Ride

I received an e-mail from Lt. Dave describing a ride he did yesterday, Jun-11th.  With his permission:

I have always had respect for the pros, but I now have a whole new respect for them after riding part of the most difficult stage of the Tour of Georgia. The portion I rode included a Cat 1 climb, a Cat 2 climb and a Hors Cat (beyond categorization) climb.  

I started the ride Sat. AM at 6:30 (it gets light later there and was still too dark at 6AM).  [Clearly an oblique reference to "he-that-rides-at-6".]  Temperature was 69. 

The Cat 1 climb came 5 miles into the ride.  It was listed at 10 miles but I considered the first 3 miles to be foothills and believe the real climbing was only 7 miles.  It was described as long, steep and unrelenting.  Let me just say that it makes Pilot look fairly easy.  There was a 2 mile section that they say averages 12 to 14% (non stop).  It felt like 2 miles of the steeper part of Pilot.  Did you ever wonder how slow you can go without falling over?  At least 3.8 mph in my case. 

I was able to ride all the way up without stopping.  The climb was about 2000 vertical feet.  I was greeted at the top by a group of younger riders with a table set up with drinks but no bikes.  Never could piece together exactly what they were doing.  They immediately converged on me and said "you are the man!"  I think they were just making sure the old man was not in cardiac arrest.  In any event they inspected my gears and gave me some gel before sending me on my way. 

The ride down was terrifying to say the least.  Not to mention that I froze due to being wet (from sweat) and being in the shade with temps in the lower 60’s and speeds of 30 to 40 mph.

I continued on to the next destination:  Brasstown Bald (Hors Cat).  After a 3 mile climb (not to ugly), I arrived at the base of the spur road to the summit about 9 AM.  It is similar to Pilot in that you turn off the main road and it dead ends at the top.  ...  That is the end of similarities. 

The climb is 3.5 miles and the signs at the base tell you to uncouple your RV if you have one and leave it at the bottom!  I looked at my watch and knew I had to be back at the start at 10:30 to make it to the family reunion (the real reason for the trip – no, really it was).  With 20 miles still to go, including one Cat 2 climb, I reluctantly had to by pass Brasstown Bald.  I guess that gives me something to look forward to at next years annual gathering.  Here are the stats on the climb, off of the Tour of GA link: 

1800' climb
3.5 miles
9.8% avg grade
24% steepest grade
200 meters @ 24%
400 meters @ 20% 
I continued on, reaching the Cat 2 climb 10 miles down the road.  It was about 3 miles long and similar to the BRP grades.  Nice climb with 2 lanes in the uphill direction which allowed traffic to safely pass.  Crossing the summit I was treated to a 7 to 8 mile descent to the finish. 

Total ride stats were 45 miles, with 5800 vertical feet in 3.5 hours.  Very nice ride, though I am disappointed I had to pass on Brasstown Bald.   I wish it was not a 6 hr drive to get there.  I have not found any climbs in NC that are comparable.  I will keep looking!

Lt. Dave

1 comment:

  1. Nice work, Lt. Dave. I, myself, have no desire to find anything any steeper than Pilot. Why ? Because I couldn't turn the cranks which is the idea of bike riding.