Last Saturday, BobH, Martin, RedRocket, and Iva did Martin’s Bahama Beach route. This Saturday, Ags, BobH, Norris, JohnD, and Iva did the same route backwards. Ags was a surprise welcome addition. He had planned on the rando brevet, but didn’t get enough sleep the night before and decided to join us.
One may ask is one direction “better” than the other Not surprisingly, it’s not a clear call. Both are equally difficult but differ in the way the difficulty is achieved.
The route ranges in elevation from 270 feet at various points near Falls Lake to 520 feet at Bahama, the high point of the route. The route has four high points:
Kemp at Carpenter Pond
Little Mountain Road near Stem
This is the order the rider reaches these points for Bahama. Reverse these for Bahama Backward. Obviously, the route direction determines from which direction these high points are achieved. This is the basis for comparing the two routes – the direction which determines the nature of the climb and at which point in the ride the climbs are encountered.
Mt Vernon Church leaving PUE to get to Carpenter Pond
Stagville Road to Bahama. I think this is the toughest of the climbs.
Lake Michie east of Bahama to Ellis Chapel (riding towards the east)
Brassfield Lake (SE of Creedmore) up Lawrence to Grissom
Our old favorites Ghoston, Peed, MVC
New Light from Falls Lake to Grissom (we bypassed GPMVC to go all the way on New Light)
Brassfield Lake to Creedmore
Brogden Road from Creedmore to Stem (we usually go the other way)
Lake Michie to Bahama (riding towards the west)
Patterson to Kemp at Carpenter Pond.
The two Lake Michie climbs are about the same. Going east is steeper but shorter than going west.
I think the main difference between the two is Stagville on Bahama and the tough Kemp, Victory Church Road climbs at the end of the ride on Bahama Backwards. Of course, you do Kemp on Bahama but at the beginning.
Summary, Bahama you get the tough Stagville Climb and the famous GPeedMVC finish. Bahama Backward you get to the high point of the course later in the ride – at 39 miles vs 26. I kinda like that. It’s easy high speed cruising after that especially on Red Mill going into Durham until you get to Kemp. Bahama backward gives you the difficult Kemp Road climbs at the end followed by a cool down stretch on Norwood back to PUE.
In conclusion, both are fun, difficult routes where one shouldn’t be considered “better” than the other.