30 Years Of Assaulting Mount Mitchell

1986 Photo By Walter Ezell

Micky Dee, Richard Dunn, Ed Anderson, Kirk Clark-1986-Helmets weren't required!
Micky Dee, Richard Dunn, Ed Anderson, Kirk Clark-1986-Helmets weren't required!

Assault On Mitchell

As of this May it's a 35 year-old bicycle ride up the tallest mountain east of the Rockies.

Located in a 1,855-acre North Carolina State Park, Mount Mitchell is 6,684 feet. The summit of Mt. Mitchell is located 5 miles up NC 128 right off the Blue Ridge Parkway.Mile marker 355 is where you leave the Parkway to ascend into the North Carolina State Park.Mount Mitchell is about 35 miles north of Asheville, NC.

The ride was started mostly by John Bryan and Bill Carlisle. The first "Assault" was in 1976. The bike ride leaves Spartanburg and accumulates close to 12,000 feet of climbing before the riders collapse at the top.

The Assault remains one of the hardest and most beautiful cycling events in America. At one time the ride attracted 1800 riders and easily surpass that today. The number of riders is now limited because of the small "park" facilities and number of automobile drivers on the Blue Ridge Parkway and inside the Mitchell State Park. The number of riders today is limited to 1000.

Mt. Mitchell and the Black Mountains

A Short Summary Of 30 Years "Assaulting Mitchell"

I have ridden the Assault 29 times now. This year of 2010 will be number 30. With that many completions a guy can run the gamut of stories.

My first was the day after riding from Columbia to Spartanburg. I had missed the first 5 Assaults by being out of the loop. The year was 1981. I've done every Assault on Mitchell since then. I've completed every one, including on with a broken clavicle.

In 1981 for my first Assault, I had ridden over the mountains near Asheville and Waynesville to see a young lady earlier in the year and thought there would be hard but no big deal. My smallest chain-ring on the front was a 43. My largest on the rear was a 22 tooth sprocket. Today I use lower gears and I’d feel really silly to use anything larger on the front than a 34 and nothing smaller than a 27 on the rear. But way back then I was young and dumb. Those gears back then were too big.

There was wailing and gnashing of teeth but I made it. I believe I was seventh in my first one. I ran out of fluids in Marion, about 30 from the top, and had to stop and gas up. I also stopped at a stream and got water on highway 80. I never saw a rest area that first year. A van stopped and gave me water once.

I’m 60 now. I’ve ridden Mitchell 29 times total. Kent Clary who died years ago, and I rode it many times other than “the Assault Day”. Kent would talk me into doing "training rides up Mitchell" and "one more ride" until we had an absolutely terrible ordeal. We would almost freeze to death on our last one for the year.

There are many actual Assaults On Mt. Mitchell that stand out. Maybe they are all equal. I suffered on everyone.

The first three years I thought I’d retire after each one. There were many Assaults I’ve felt slighted a bit until I get down the road a piece and look back.

The first I saw no rest stops. I was given water on highway 80 around Haynes Eyebrow, the hard spot. I had gotten water out of a stream. I limped in. For a couple weeks afterward I had flu symptoms.

In other rides I’d get to the top and then help hand out food to the finishers. After riding, getting to the top almost dead on one ride, I got a little joy when after giving food to one rider he asked,”you know this is hard don’t you?” Yeah buddy- I knew.

The ride changed courses maybe a dozen times.

The riders changed. Peter Springer used to finish first every year. Umpteen-time state champ Chris Hardwick of Columbia finished first once. Don Hartke finished first several times until he lost a friend cycling and hung it up for a while. Jim Doyle finished right in front of Glenn Thrift once. Glenn trained Jim Doyle so well that Jim beat Glenn. Glenn Thrift is/was an exceptional racer and now a coach and USA Cycling official. George Meyers won it 5 times. George is one of the nicest winners ever.

Pros have ridden the Assault and set really high standards. The pros are always smarter than the rest of us. Peter Springer didn't like to draft. There were many of us who "pulled our weight. We actually pulled at the front. We took our turn. The "elite" don't do this. They bring their "hench-men" who allow the "extra" to pull before the hench-men" take over. Occasionally rogue riders have jumped in at the beginning to shed and shred the "extras" off and out of the field. The "hench-men" always protect the "chosen", the "elite", the winners now.

I tried to finish first every year. I just wasn’t up to it. I finished in front of some of the region’s best riders. Yes it was a fluke. But there were some days when I rode with some of the best.

I pointed out the sharp curve at 45 miles out to John Howard and Pete Penseyres on different Assaults. Other riders were schmoozing and I just rode up-side them and told them the facts of life about the bad curves ahead. They both thanked me.

I’ve finished before a national team member and other great riders before.

I’ve also almost finished last. About a quarter mile from the sharp curve at 45 miles, a rider hooked handlebars with me and we did some brake dancing on the highway. Right away I knew my streak of Assaults had ended. I couldn’t move my arm. The left clavicle was a mess. My clothes, helmet, computerized speedometer/altimeter, heart monitor, and bicycle were gone.

I had to go to the hospital. I had to see if this broken clavicle was life threatening. Besides, I couldn’t just sit on the road.

The bones were not life-threatening. I called my bicycle shop that I built from scratch, ProBikes, in Asheville, NC. I arranged for a new bike, clothes, and helmet to be brought down to St.LukesHospital. I sat outside of the emergency room waiting for days it seemed. I was taken back to the spot of the crash. I started from there to finish.

News of my crash traveled quickly through the riders. Nick Dolby was one Assault behind me. If I didn’t finish we’d be tied. For a short while we were tied.

A friend who rode the “Assault on Marion” rode out to meet me and ride with me, to give me shielding from the wind couldn’t keep up.

I couldn’t change gears much. It was painful but I was an ex-infantry Marine in Vietnam and I’d been married twice so the pain was very do-able.

When I got to the Blue Ridge Parkway I thought I’d be turned around and back to the Campground in Marion. They turn people away after some time because, mathematically, the riders can’t finish. I was so late getting there that the ranger wasn’t there to turn me back.. The finish line was bare. Most riders were well on their way back to Spartanburg by bus or car. The buses were all gone. I finished ahead of 2 riders.

This wasn’t my worst day. My worst day on the bike was on Mitchell since then. Maybe it was also one of my best. I was in pain. My lower back and neck were awful. When I stood to relieve the pain I became dizzy.

I don’t like to stop at rest stops or to pee. This “worst day” I lay down twice on Highway 80. I lay down twice again on the Blue Ridge Parkway. That means I was bad enough to lie down four times in the last 25 miles. People who I had finished in front of for decades were looking at me from the buses as I had looked at them for decades riding down on the busses as they were still struggling.

I rode with the flu one year Came down with the flu the eve of the Assault.

We’ve ridden with horses running in our peloton.

I’ve been sick on my stomach, run over a dead cat, lost a water-bottle and cage, had a flat, and crashed all in one ride.

On another ride a year or so ago I was with the lead group going over Bill’s Hill and saw a young man with his chain in his hand. I gave up a better finish to help him with his chain. I had a repair link and a conscience.

Years ago, when allowed, I rode back to Spartanburg after riding the Assault. It was torture, dangerous, and a thousand degrees with no “rest-stops” on our trip back. I crawled into the bed of my truck and slept throwing up intermittently.

A few years ago I had an extraordinary ride when the route went around Asheville because of a rock slide. The distance was 115 miles that day. It was the best ride I had in years and my daughter was able to see me ride.

My fastest finish was 5:38 in 1988. This was the year my daughter would be born.

There were years when I finished ahead of great cyclists and there have been years when I felt the agony of defeat. To many of us it has been a gut check the first Sunday in June, The third Saturday in May, or the first Monday in June. It’s been the world championship or the NC/SC State Championship. It’s been a test to see what condition our condition is in.

Nick Dolby-29 Assaults This year of 2010

The Assault On Mount Mitchell 2009

Last year, 2009, the day before the Assault On Mount Mitchell, I went to see Mrs. Clary in Gaffney, South Carolina.
Mrs. Clary is the 87 year old mother of my friend Kent who died 12 years before.
I saw his bike in the enclosed patio area just as he had left it 12 years before.
I left feeling sad, but I was glad that I saw her once again.
She calls every year before the Assault on Mitchell to wish me luck.
I stopped at a rest stop between Gaffney and Spartanburg.
I didn't want to see anyone else today/tonight.
I slept in the back seat of my 94 Caddy with rain falling.

Music filled my head-

"Lay your head upon my pillow.
Hold your warm and tender body close to mine.
Hear the whisper of the raindrops,
Falling softly upon my window,
And make believe you love me,
One more time, for the good times."

Leaving Sparkle City

The rain cleared and so did the roads long before we left Spartanburg.

I hadn't ridden a century in months.

I tried to ride a century (100 miles) twice in the last several weeks and pain forced me to quit at 80 miles. The increasing pain is forcing to shorter rides. I purposely, but without any choice as well, took it easier starting out. I wanted to spin all day and save my legs as much as possible.

This is the spot where Peter Springer and I dropped a pack once while riding a local century. Peter and I rode together all day. It was my greatest cycling achievement to that point.

The rolling hills are so pretty in this piedmont. I was dropped. No one in front-no one behind.

All at once the Calvary arrives. They run over my teepee and shoot my horse.

I spin. Bob Scofield has joined the lead pack. I'm joining new packs as well.

It's nice to have some of that wind blocked.

I'm glad these guys have something to smile about.

Eat, drink, and survive!

This spot was indeed so beautiful but you'll have to imagine the light show.

This is past Bill's Hill. I could only take pics occasionally as I wanted to breathe and what-not.

Large group, fast, and plenty of cover from the wind.

A Straight line of riders booking down the road on a beautiful day.

Whoops. A hill came up.

We're getting very close to Marion- probably Sugar Hill Road or closer.

Tom Johnson's Campground in Marion is always a welcome sight.-30 miles straight up to go.

These folks thought it was funny that a rider was taking photos of them.

Highway 80 and a calm before the storm.

This will be the real battle and will last for hours.

Climbing without much relief is the agenda.

I needed to take some pics of the hard climb on 80 but I'd rather someone else do it.

Ouch. The road really pitches up here at Hayne"s Eyebrow. Arrrgh!

Chris Boone, Parkway record holder, left a coke with a lady at 80. She noticed me, my clothes, my hair, she handed it off. I sat. I drank. I wanted to quit.

Thanks Chris. I was doubled over with pain. The coke brought back a little life.

Some pics were too washed out because the setting slipped. I repaired as possible adding gamma.

That's where we're going but I died about 30 miles ago. I wish the pain had.

My back is torturing me. My stomach hurts. There is a pain in my right breast I've never had before.

Some of the pain in my lower right hip switches over to the left.

My neck is terrible- pushing pain through the shoulders and down the arms.

There's a pain from the bad discs in the middle of the back.

The view is majestic.

My legs want to cramp when I stand. I nurse them.

This is just before the 2 mile downhill at mile marker 352.

5 miles to go. You can see 2 riders on the climb off the Parkway. Below is an inset of the above.

Arrrgh. The grade steepens like heck!

Double Arrrgh!

The parking lets you know the end is near.

There is now a person directing you into the cones and finish line.

I'm not crazy about the time but it beats coming in later.

We get shuttled down to Marion and Tom Johnson's Campground by buses and then on to Spartanburg. Some folks may not make it back to Spartanburg before midnight.

The Assault On Mt. Mitchell makes a very long day!

Bob Cutler & Nick Dolby

Bob Cutler-Cyclist Extraordaire & Nick Dolby-29 Assaults In 2010

I thought I'd include this photo that contains some interesting history for me if no-one else. I captured these two in Saluda, NC which isn't far from Furman, SC. Often there is a bike ride that comes up the Greenville, SC and the "water-shed". Cyclists stop at the "bakery" there in Saluda. Cycling shorts are a tool. A real pair of cycling shorts have a chamois in the seat to protect the "seat" of the cyclist! Notice Bob Cutler's "shorts". The shorts he wears in the picture are very much like the shorts he has worn in tremendously long rides like Bike Across Missouri. I've done that ride. Bike Across Missouri is near 600 miles. Bob has done BMB which is 750 miles in shorts like this. I've also seen Bob ride into a bike shop with ice hanging all over him and his bike. He was wearing "sweat-pants".

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Comments 58 comments

Unchained Grace profile image

Unchained Grace 6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

Mick, I for one am extremely impressed. I actually never knew about rides like this and for sure have got to really want it to keep going. What I noticed also is the beautiful scenery you get to see along the way. You clearly are motivated.

Recently, you a Hub breaking down the kind of food you eat. Have you found you vitamins and current diet plan to benefit your riding?

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

Hey Bud. I have an over-all, day to day, diet that really works. The inflammation that was eating me up is lessened quite a bit. A lot of the inflammation was self induced I suppose with the fructose, coffee, and other stuff. I guess I need to do a hub on my injuries. I've been hit by 2 cars and a truck. The truck bowed my spine, pushed the right hip down, broke ribs. Somewhere along the line my neck has been straightened. I don't have the natural curve that should be there. It's a "red neck" to boot. Last night I stayed up late with this hub and finished around 1 am. I managed to bring back a pinching nerve in the right side of the neck. I have pain this morning in the lower back and right hip, etc. blah, blah. It was really terrible with the inflammation. I tried over the counter meds and finally hydrocodone. This would work for an hour or so on the bike. Not much more. It interfered with digestion. It would help me sleep. It would not help me on the bike for a long time. I took the hydrocodone with me on bike rides. It interfered with "eating properly on the bike". I would "up" the dosage. The pain kept wanting more and more. I finally stopped taking it.

The best food for me to take on the bike is some type of energy drink which you shouldn't drink just as a daily habit. I like some "gels" (GU, Carboom)as well. solid bars like "Power Bars" are too hard to digest. Quite often the "group" is going so fast that I cannot unwrap one of these "bars" much less eat one. Then digestion would not be quick enough.

Sugar is not good for us- as well as many processed foods. However- if there is a hill or finish line in the near future- put some in. Fructose or sugar can be a temporary "buzz" to get over that hill or finish line but there will be some type of crash from it as well.

Glucose is what we need to "stay in the ride or event".

I could ride the Assault On Mount Mitchell, if the weather was right, any day of the year. I could ride the event on what I ate last night. I wouldn't have to eat today. But to be efficient and keep up with the animals that mix it up with me I do need fuel. To finish well and keep your body from devouring itself too much, you need to eat or drink and put calories in regularly. For the first hour on the bike, in an event, one doesn't need anything but after that hour it must be regular. On the "Assault" half of the ride is to Marion, NC. That's the first 70 miles. The next half of the ride is getting to the top of Mitchell. It takes about 3 hours for a lot of folks to get to Marion. This means the water you've brought (2 bottles on the bike, 1 in a jersey pocket) should be gone. You need a hand-off here or you have to stop. When you stop- you're dropped. I'll be dropped somewhere. I just hate it.

Ghost Whisper 77 profile image

Ghost Whisper 77 6 years ago from The U.S. Government protects Nazi War Criminals

This was a great hub Mickydee! I learned much more about what you love to do! This is just crazy! I don't think I would make 10 miles! WOWZIE!!!!!! You are going to do the #30 this year????? 7th place is great..I hope you get #1 this year!!!! I do! I do!

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

Hey Ghost. I can never get first. I would never want the earthquake or whatever disaster that that "placing" would require. I am told by Victor Selenov that he and I have finished 3rd and 4th as well but there are no reliable records. Riders would jump in at Marion or somewhere- or there could have been riders that were not registered so I have no idea really. I am not the best and the records should reflect that. I've ridden with the "kings of the road" though. I've merely been an "extra in someone else's movie". To finish in the top 100 is an honor now. There are so many great riders out there. I used to finish in the top 1% or 2%. Things change. I'm 60. Thank you very much though. You are very kind.

50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 6 years ago from Arizona

Mick, I salute your resolve! Having ridden similar mountains on the opposite end of the shining seas on my Bikes, all Harleys I can attest to the fact that having to drop a couple gears on 125hp Hogs on mountains like Mt. Palomar with a 5125ft elevation where the observatory sits atop a winding road having passed you pedal pushers there just isn't and never was, even in my 6 minute mile running days as a rock hard Marine that I could have accomplished what you have at 60 on a bicycle. I have bore witness to bicycle crashes, one on Ortega Highway coming down, where I heard the "POP" of a rear tire and saw the puff of black smoke that I thought the guy had been sniped off the bike before careening all over the black top loosing more hide than I at a 137mph fall down at the all Harley drag races in California. I just gotta salute anyone who plays that game and finishes much less wins. I say 137mph 'cuz I tripped both lights at the end of the strip sans a motorcycle, it was hung in the guard rail before the 1st light as I slid through on my back at the 1991 Bakersfield Winter-nationals. A sport up until that race I attacked with a vengeance to win and I have it on tape thanks to a fellow watching through a view finder. It was the insult to injury from a Uh1 down that nearly ended me as the race did, at 41 I ended my career at trying to kill myself that day, not out of fear as I continue to this day riding over powered drag bikes on the streets where the advantage of all traffic moving the same direction and limited to 2 scooters at a time is lost. If it were not for the loss of my pilots license I'd still be doing foolish maneuvers in someone elses whopper chopper as I suppose we, like all warriors default to the next best high we can obtain after holding the most exciting job one can have, where most folks would think a "bouncing Betty" was a chick with big tits running. You Sir are one tough dude.

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

Hey Bud. I know what you're saying. I have a friend that still races motorcycles in the "Vintage" division. Ed Salley. He has his femur fused to his foot. Imagine a guy named Salley winning a race.

I keep a motorcycle license but I hope I don't get another. I had to lay mine down a couple times to avoid worse. They're dangerous but motorcycles were keeping me off my main love- bicycles.

Many Vets now do dangerous things. Even those from the recent wars. there are some medal of honor winners that "quit" the service and are illegible for any benefits. That alone should be an example of why they're worthy.

Riding a bicycle is work but it's so much play.

I'm small. I intentionally remain small to ride better. You and I have been to Nam. I'm sure you as I have faced some desperadoes right here on our own turf too.

I've seen big guys trying to push a small man and his family around.

I've had to stand up and be counted too many times.

Screw this life. Shovel some more damn coal! Let's get this train rolling!

Thanks Dusty. Bouncing Betty ain't got no tits!

Ten Blogger profile image

Ten Blogger 6 years ago

Micky .. wonderful..detailed and touching story again.. Good luck with your 30th Assault!! Way to go !!

Drwibble profile image

Drwibble 6 years ago from UK

Wow, Micky Dee you have reached to the stars and cycled into outer space.

29 Assault * 12,000 Feet => total 348,000 Feet

348,000 Feet => 106,070 Meters => 106km

The Kármán line lies at an altitude of 100 km (62.1 miles) above the Earth's sea level, and is commonly used to define the boundary between the Earth's atmosphere and outer space.

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

Thank you again Ten Blogger. I do appreciate your continued kind words!

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

Drwibble -No wonder I feel high all the time! I didn't know that a metric century separated us from outer space. Cool beans! I do appreciate that info. Did you measure this yourself?

Sage Williams profile image

Sage Williams 6 years ago

Hats off to you Micky Dee, what a tremendous accomplishment. I really enjoyed reading about this ride. I am trying to get in shape to do some riding this year. The furthest I have ever ridden in one day is 50 miles and was along the coast, pretty flat.

You my friend are a great inspiration. Loved the pictures as well.

Enjoy the ride, till next time.


Drwibble profile image

Drwibble 6 years ago from UK

Didn't measure it myself. But my engineering brain tries to make weird connections sometimes. I know privately funded spaceship one reached 100km to enter the official edge of space. Mount everest is ~9,000 metres (~30,000 feet), therefore space is about 10 mount everest high. In your hub, you mention 12,000 feet assent, which give or take a few is near enough 1/3 of a Mount everest. You mention you are coming up to 30 assaults on Mount Mitchell, so roughly 10 mount everests.

So, approximation meant you were in the correct ball point, this meant I just had to run the maths to see if you managed to cycle into space.

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

Thank you Sage. Try to "spin" 32 minutes every day possible. It's amazing what that seemingly small effort can do for you. It's good to know another cyclist!

Drwibble my cycling friend-here you are again and it seems like you have a great mind for figures. I've probably ridden around Mount Mitchell on training rides to have gone into outer space dozens of times considering Mt. Mitchell alone. I lived in Asheville and had a bike shop there. One year as I was training for the "Assault" I rode a loop around Mitchell twice a week for six weeks. that was over a hundred miles twice a week round Mt. Mitchell. Once was on Wednesday and once on Sunday. It rained every Wednesday. I had one of my best finishes that year. It was the first time that it ever rained on the day of the Assault. Thanks Drwibble I appreciate you. Take care.

callmefoxxy profile image

callmefoxxy 6 years ago

Hi Micky Dee. First off, I love the name of the story, "...assaulting Mount Mitchell," and love its double entendre, lol. Then, I enjoyed the story. The ongoing narration really put me right there as you rode; every fun-filled and agonizing step of the way on the ride up. I could feel the wind in my hair, feel my heart pound in my chest looking at those steep drops, be awed by the majesty, and empathize over your aches, strain and pain as you pushed yourself onward. I knew there had to be a reason my butt was hurting today. I was channeling your ride, lol!

A very enjoyable and informative piece Micky Dee; thanks. Maybe next time you'll consider inviting me along. I just know I could squeeze-fit somewhere on your bicycle!

callmefoxxy, my pen is a mighty sword!

creativeone59 profile image

creativeone59 6 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

Thank you Micky Dee for a great trekkiing up the mountains hub, I enjoyed the hub. Thanks for sharing. Godspeed. creativeone59

Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 6 years ago from Michigan

Micky Dee, Wow you are a driven and determined man. To accomplish such a feat takes much drive and courage. Though I can see you actually thrive on the challenge.

The pictures are gorgeous -what a ride. I'd like to sit on the back and let you peddle me through those mountains. :0) But then again ... we probably wouldn't make it with the extra weight. lol

Great Hub Micky, thanks for taking me on a virtual trip on Mount Mitchell. I really enjoyed this hub and it is very well written too. ((HUGS))

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

Hey there Callmefoxxy. It's a hard ride. There are many hills between Spartanburg, SC and the "hill of all hills". It's very hard to ride the last 30, the last 15, the last 5. Thank you so much for riding alone this time. Thank you.

Thank you Creativeone. Thanks for coming by again!

Mekenzie, I hope I can take you folks on another virtual tour at least after May. Thank you very much.

prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

I don't give long comment. As you usual, you impressed me with your beautiful picture. Two thumbs up for you. Thanks, Micky.

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

Thanks again Prasetio. I appreciate your coming over and commenting. Thank you.

prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

Lovely awesome, stories and work of courage to just have those "assault" hehe. I see that your first assault was to go to Asheville and Waynesville to see a young lady, hmmm thats an assault hehe, just kidding, You take care then so you can have another assault this May.

GO GO assault Mitchell again, bikers like you are great even with pains they never surrender YEAH. Thank you, awesome share original pics and nice experience to share. Mitchell is a lovely place looking at afar, Even if you finsih LAST, you will still be my MIck hehe, but go for it and finished top three, YAY, Thanks Mick, Maita

Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 6 years ago from Great Britain

All the intelligent things have been said before I got here, Micky!!! So, I'll just say 'well done''. It looked amazing from those gorgeous photos. Thanks. x

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

Thank you Prettydarkhorse. The first Assault was a surprise. I thought it would be hard but not as hard as it was. When I went to see the young lady -that was a surprise. There was snow on the mountains I had to cross to get there. I didn't know. I was very naïve. I didn't take enough warm clothing. It would be nice to crack the top 100 riders. I don't really care though. It's so dangerous riding with so many other people. There will be 1000 entries for the "Assault" plus maybe another 500 riders "Assaulting Marion" The "Assault on Marion" gets your name "in the hat" for possible riding the actual "Assault On Mitchell". So we could start out with 1500 riders. It's crazy. I may start toward the back. I'm not sure. I've never played it safe before. There are a lot of crashes in the first 10 miles. Thanks Maita.

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

Thank you Dim Flaxenwick. The scenery is tremendous. It's a beautiful but hard event. I just hope for no crashes this year. I have no back-up strategy. It would be nice to keep my streak alive. Are you getting "moved" toward family? Thanks Dim!

lender3212000 profile image

lender3212000 6 years ago from Beverly Hills, CA

Looks brutal and beautiful at the same time. A pretty impressive accomplishment!

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

Thank you Lender. I appreciate your stopping by to read. The name "Lender" is unique as all the avatars on hubpages are. Thanks for commenting!

Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 6 years ago from Great Britain

Yes please! No crashes this year..

Do you mean my move back to Britain ? Or am I emotionally 'moved ' at the thought of all your injuries? Of courseI'm 'moved' ...love you like a brother....

I'll be moving close to my daughter but away from my son and granddaughter, who live here on the island. Take care. x

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

Thanks Dim. I woke with old man's pains in my lower back today. I don't feel as confident about a "great finish" (just my definition) but I can finish. I hope things work out for you okay. You sure are a dear heart. Thank you.

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ralwus 6 years ago

You're an amazing feller Mick, yes you are indeed. My age as well. I bet yer as tough as thirty year old jerky! So tough a Grizz would spit you out. LOL I wish you many more years of this delight you have in grueling self inflicted punishment. Enjoy every delicious ache of it all while you can my friend.

My good friend used to have spinal shots for his pain as medication just quit working for him. He now does acupuncture and swears by it. Something you might would consider. Keep riding now and be safe. Peace, CC

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

Ralwus, you are a treasure. There has been some pain involved. Thank you sir, very much, for coming by.

Chris Eddy111 profile image

Chris Eddy111 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Micky, that's beautiful scenery along the way. How's your behind and legs during and after such a long ride? Does it go to sleep? Gotta say, you are one talented guy. Really enjoyed your ride. Thanks

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

Chris Eddy!-The behind and legs hurt- but honestly -sometimes EVERYTHING HURTS. Sometimes I wish more things went to sleep. Sometimes my hair hurts. Sometimes parts that you didn't know you had hurt! Thank you for enjoying my ride. I appreciate you! You take care!

nomoretrucks profile image

nomoretrucks 6 years ago from scotland

Sut ydychi heddiew MD? (how are you today MD) Its Tour de France time, so i am riding a chair whilst surviving the mountains and making over age boasts like 'could of if i was twenty..' and such like. Its carnage this year. The tour always passes through the places ive ridden (and benches ive slept on and p*%"d next too) so i guess its got an emotional atachment for me, i get close to tears -like a wuss, as the Peleton finnishes another day of pain. The first pic on this here brilliant hub is like the images i had of one of my uncles, he rode in the 'Milk Race' it was like the brit version of the T de F, One of em gave me a green jersey which i rode an old Eddy Mercx racer at twelve until i discovered motorcycles and girls a few years later ( both were worse rides compared to the EM racer!) I wish i realised the relavence of that green Jersey! Right wheres my tyre inflator, im going for a ride! I look at your older hubs, and sometimes never finnish reading em before i have to ride. You are a constant inspiration young man!

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

nomoretrucks! You're a mess Dude! I can imagine you getting a little teary eyed about places as you're saying. I've not looked at a single stage. I hardly ever see the "Tour" while it's on! You ride brother! I just got back from 70 sweet miles.

PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Unbelievably beautiful scenery. I admire your determination and strength. Thanks for sharing your voyage! We traveled Mt. Mitchell many many years ago in a car and that was scary enough. Love those Blue Ridge Mountains.

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

Yo nomoretrucks! This one slipped under the radar! Brother- I never watch the "Tour" while "it's on".

It is more important for "us" to ride our bikes than for those guys to ride theirs. Ride on Brother!

Hi PegCole! The Blue Ridge Mountains are so beautiful! They can be treacherous sometimes too! Happy trails!

theythinkitsover@aol.com 6 years ago

really enjoyed your story.i can understand you being in the forces,but getting married twice.you must be bonkers

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

Hi theythinkitsover. I'm not sure why I've taked the road I have. It hasn't been easy. I'm not sure how we go down some roads we do. It's natural to love "love", I suppose.

mandatory retirement 6 years ago

The country side is beautiful. I did not see any seniors riding until I scrolled down and saw Bob Cutler who seems to a senior and not knowing if he did ride or not.

I heard that many cyclists take a tablespoon of olive oil to give them stamina. Is this true. Keep on cyclin'

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

Yo mandatory retirement! A lot of seniors ride. I'm 62. The Assault is 1000 riders strong. The parks put a limit on how many can ride. The Assault on Mount Mitchell had close to 2000 riding at one time. I know olive oil is good for gall stones and different things. I don't take it without food though. I eat a lot of "green foods". I take supplements. Haven't heard of Olive oil for stamina. If it would help, I'd eat dirt. God bless mandatory retirement!

Bob Kirtley 6 years ago

Thanks for the memories. I remember a lot of what your story told. The horse, Pete Penseyres (1988), Don Hartke, Jim Doyle, Glenn Thrift, what riders. Peter Springer would get to the finish line and do a 180 to head back to Spartanburg. I rode the assault 5 consecutive times in 1985-89. Rode it again in 2004 at age 53. The miles were longer and that mountain got much steeper.

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

Yo Bob! You know the guys! Peter and I rode a century together once. I thought I'd moved up a few notches. Peter was always strong. I told Peter before we got in that I wouldn't sprint him for the finish. He pulled most of the day. It's cool to have you remember the guys and comment. God bless you Bob.

Bob Kirtley 6 years ago

Hey Micky, I am sure we probably weren't too far separated in a pack during some event back then. Glenn Thrift and a dozen or so would ride from Furman to Gatlinburg and back on a 3 day ride. We scheduled Gatlinburg two weeks before Mitchell. Anyone who completed that Gatlinburg trip didn't have much trouble with Mt Mitchell. It was 150 miles each way including Caesar's Head, Pisgah Forest on Hwy 276, Soco Gap near Maggie Valley and Newfound Gap in the Smokey Mt National Park. Back then the gears were 52X42 and a 24 on a 7 speed freewheel was large. I love riding in the mountains.

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

Yo Bob! It's all true man! Caesars Head! 276! Soco Gap! It's all true! If we could do all that we could do Mitchell. I've ridden Caesars Head so many times! My first Mitchell was on a 43 front and 22 was my largest cog in the back. Pain city. There have been a lot of hard times on Mitchell.

We used to ride the Parkway a lot, end to end occasionally, to get into better shape. Bring those memories in here as much as you can! God bless!

Bob Kirtley 6 years ago

I remember the guys and gals from those days. Neil Turner, Larry Wtson, Scott and Bryan Hoffman, Victor and Susan Selenow, Ed Timmerman, Bart Thompson, Harold Jennings and Kristie Spears, Jennifer Klein. I could go on. We rode long and hard. How about Team Alberto? Remember? The annual Brutal 120 ride that turned into an unofficial race each year. Hard hard rides but enjoyed them all. At least looking back they were fun. We rode to Maggie Valley twice a year a knew all the all you can eat spots enroute. Highway 215 out of Rosman NC

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

Oh man! You're waking up some memory banks in the old noggin, Bob! Victor Selenow (not sure about the spelling) had a nice place on Awanita Valley. Victor said he read that he and I finished 3rd and fourth one year. I have no idea. I always counted more bodies in front of me. You never knew if they were all registered or not, or if they started in Spartanburg. Susan was a strong woman. They were/are triathletes.

I worked for Bryan and Scott Hoffman at the Bicycle Gallery. Bryan and I were like best friends in Spartanburg. Wonderful guys!

Kristie Spears was always in the mix! My girlfriend, Mary Ann Kramer finished 2nd or 3rd for the women one year.

Chris Hardwick was a South Carolina state champion a dozen times or more in some fashion. He and Vick Moose battled it out one year that Peter Springer didn't ride. Vick was like Raymond Poulidor. He had flats, trysts before the rides, whatever - but he was never first. His time lapsed Peter and then Chris, as Poopoo's lapsed Anquetil and Eddy Merckx.

We've left out one of the nicest winners of course - George Myers. George pulled every year he won. I think I saw George at the front for every one of his wins. Five? Six? Amazing.

Oh- I lived near Rosman on East Fork Road. Yes sir I climbed 215 to the Parkway many many times. Also up that 178 to Rocky Bottom. Yes sir Bob!

Bob Kirtley 6 years ago

Just read where there will be two pro teams this year. Hang on for your fastest time to Marion. 3 hours is normal for the front group. Will the pros work to get there quicker?

And John Howard. What was his record? 153 MPH behind Vesco's streamlined auto. Good crowd. Wish I was there.

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

Hey Bob. I dislike the "teams" idea really. I've seen some of the "teams" show up and they've often created a different ride. Some of the teams have only entered the Assault on Mitchell to "pull" their race leaders to Marion and they drop out. The pace at the beginning is close to 30 mph or even above. This changes the dynamics of the ride. I don't have the same respect for the first finishers as I would for great people as George Myers who for years, not only won Mitchell, but took his turn at the front. The pros- (I'm not naming names, but I can) and many others- didn't take their turns.

With the "old school of Mitchell" - we took our turn at the front.

Yep, it's too big now, I guess. But for many who want to know if this is the ultimate "rating of a rider's worth"- it isn't. Many riders will cross the yellow line to get better positioning. Other careless acts will take place. A guy I was drafting in a chase group broke wind in my face. Needless to say- I stopped drafting. With thousands of participants though, it is not a true test of fitness. The true test is finishing and I know I'm speaking to the choir.

If there are two pro teams there- I will be relegated, immediately to chasing groups. I'm a has-been-that-never-was anyway. But the mayhem in the first 20 miles will be terrible. God bless you Bob!

Bob Kirtley 6 years ago

3 of my sub 6 hour times were when I hung onto the lead group to Marion. One time I had to stop for a nature break and a friend had a mechanical. We still made it in less than 6 hours. Once I even managed to get to the front and take a pull. But I hardly won.

There have always been people that while providing a good draft are not pleasant to be behind. Selenow was as spitter. It was like taking a shower riding close behind him.

I don't know. If I was capable of hanging with those guys, I would. If it was less than fun, you can always let them go.

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

I once had a string of rides that were sub-six. I can't get back there. Out of 30 Mitchell Assaults, I'm not sure how many were really personal successes. The best memory is finishing in 5:38 and riding back down to mile marker 350 and riding back with my ex-wife. She was pregnant with my daughter. I held my hand on her back and pushed her up the rest of the way as a friend held an umbrella over her head.

But I've crashed, been sick. I've had some uncomplimentary times. This year I'm weighing less than in decades but I ave operations coming up. April 5 will be two root canals. You just never know how it all will shake out.

Let's be safe out there most of all Bob. God bless.

Bob Kirtley 5 years ago

Are you ready? I guess these days the important thing is to not break anything. One year I fell off a skateboard right before Mt. Mitchell. My wrist was sprained and every bump hurt. Another year I crashed at a skating rink and know my collar bone was cracked. I couldn't pull on a jersey on my own. Rode anyway and did okay. I hurt myself playing with my kids, not on the bike.

God Speed to you and all the riders.

nomoretrucks profile image

nomoretrucks 5 years ago from scotland

Hiya MD, -puff!, Pant!- sorry but i always get out of breath when looking at the pics on this hub. I am here to needle you- Hope you are going to do a hub soon for that mad ride you did a few weeks back, i'm looking forward to bothering it to death. I am still amazed you did 170 in one day, Whata' guy. I want some MD for my next birthday- Godwilling i get there!

Please- no more break dancing on the tarmac with other riders, its very selfish of you to damage the tarmac others have to ride on MD!

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 5 years ago Author

Bob Kirtley -I know what you mean with that collar-bone. Did that 44 miles out. I had already broken one and knew what to expect. It's a dangerous sport.

I'm not "signed up" in actuality. I was given a special "log-in" with "pay-pal" but that didn't work. I finally sent them a check. Haven't heard back yet.

I hear you nomoretrucks! Let's keep that "rubber side down"! I'm too old to spend so much time at the ER! God bless brother man!

Bob Kirtley 5 years ago

Tell us about it.

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 5 years ago Author

You know Bob - trials and tribulations brother man. I'll write a "tome" about it. I'm working on the pics now. It was 7 hours. It's like a hand on a hot stove though. I'll put something up soon. Thank you so much Bob.

loren 5 years ago

just wanted to tell you Don Hartkey is misspelled, its Hartke

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 5 years ago Author

Oh- thank you Loren. You know- it certainly jogged some memory circuits because I can see Don's name clearly now. Thank you! He is a great man from all I've seen. I remember his having a flat on the Assault on Mitchell. He made the repair and caught up- to tell me about it. He has always been a leader from my eyes. He has always been cordial and a great example. Thank you.

Bob Kirtley 5 years ago

I know you've recovered by now. Where are the pictures?

Bob Kirtley 5 years ago

Are you riding this year?

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