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Assault On Mount Mitchell 2010-A Virtual Tour
I bought this rig just to carry my bicycle and tofu. My driver, Dave, drove us down to Spartanburg, SC where the Assault On Mount Mitchell starts. These semis actually make great SAG wagons. You can carry all of your friends' bikes in there.
The dealer who sold me this rig customized it for me right down to the square inch. He said there would never be another mural on the side of a truck like mine.
It was actually supposed to read, "The Silver Meteor" after a train that ran really fast decades ago. When the truck was delivered the "moniker" had been changed.
We found a good deal staying at this Comfort Inn right off I-85 at Boiling Springs. We were a few miles from Spartanburg. It is so much better than sleeping in the back seat of my Caddy at a rest stop on I-85 as I did last year.
Well, I was strolling around the parking lot and just look!
Travis Tritt has copied my design! I paid extra for a one-of-a-kind truck!
Pink Floyd. Fearless
But first- I like to start off on the Assault On Mount Mitchell with stopping by to see Mrs. Clary over in Gaffney, SC. Mrs. Clary is 87 this year.
She is the mother of a friend named Kent, who died 12 years ago.
Mrs. Clary still keeps Kent's bicycle where he left it the last time he rode it. Kent rode the Assault On Mitchell 18 times. It was his favorite ride.
It's on her "patio" right off from the den. She can see it plainly every day.
These are some Seyboro cycling brethren. Dave, on my left, was beat up pretty bad from an incident with a motorized vehicle. We are so lucky to have him. He has some titanium parts. I need some and sealed cartridge bearings in my shoulders.
We walk down from the parking lot to the Spartanburg Auditorium's lower level where we will register. A bike repair service is to the left of course and there are rental trucks. One goes on up to the top of Mount Mitchell with bags for the riders. One truck stops in Marion at Ben Johnson's Campground for the Assault on Marion riders. The bags are pre-packed by the riders. They should contain at least warm clothing for the very top of the tallest mountain east of the Rockies. - just wait around. It will get cold and wet. If it is not cold or wet on top of Mitchell
The Assault on Mitchell is 102.5 miles and 12,000 feet of accumulated elevation gain.
The Assault on Marion is 72 miles. The Assault On Marion gets your "name in the hat" to be eligible for the Assault On Mount Mitchell the following year.
Both ride follow the same route to Marion.
All riders must take a bus down from Mitchell. Cars for "personal SAGS are not permitted.
Most riders will take a bus to Spartanburg too. The bikes are carried by rental trucks down to Marion or Spartanburg.
Immediately inside the Auditorium there will be vendors selling clothing, bicycles, art, nutrition, memorabilia, and could be anything.
In this sectioned off area is the rider packet pick-up and registration.
Here is Jeremy Walthrop with is brother-in-law and parents. Jeremy has finished first on Grandfather Mountain's Bridge to Bridge Ride (with George Myers).
Here's Katie Malone, the ride director and dang good one too!
Mount Mitchell SWAG can be found here on the left.
Here's a young girl from the Carolina Tarwheels where I hail from now.
This gentleman was selling small heavy duty zip-lock bags for phones or anything you could fit in there to hold and protect. It's good for keeping your "spent" gel packets too. These little gems are called JerseyBins. www.JerseyBin.com - Very pleasant fellow! Her gave me two at no charge because of my 30th Assault.
There held a pre-ride meal here between 5:30 PM and 8:30 PM. There was also a program.
Re-cycle Jewelry has candle holders made from bike parts! I had to get one! The base of mine is a sprocket and Sturmey-Archer three speed hub casing. Mr. Sturmey and Mr. Archer were employees for the Raleigh Bicycle Company and invented their three speed hub. It has been the best.
Here's brother Dave and brother Bob.
Scofield will knock the ride out in 6 hours and 6 minutes. Bob was the first finisher over the age of 60 (and excellent for any age group).
Eddie Gwaltney is on the left with Nick Dolby on the right. Nick has 29 Assaults On Mitchell under his Chamois! Eddie is 70 years young and finished in 8 hours and 44 minutes. That's a great finish for any age! He's strong as an ox!
Early on ride day Dave puts my bag on the "Mitchell" truck.
The ride leaves at 6:30. It's almost time.
We have to have a number on our jersey and bicycle.
Diana Krall, Elvis Costello & Willie Nelson - Crazy
Xavier's cousin, Ashley Ruppe, worked for me about 25 years ago. Xavier is wearing one of the most popular designs of the "Pro-Bike" jerseys. The jersey is about 25 years old!
And isn't he a rock! He exudes "this is a done deal"!
God bless you Xavier!
Xavier is on the left and is the present and future.
Nick Dolby has 29 Assaults behind him and maybe 29 more.
A sea of riders is ahead of us. I can't see the front.
This is one happy couple!
If anyone would want their photo that I have here I can send them the "big" picture if they email me or "comment" down below!
I have some "magnesia" or something- I can't remember this lad's name. He is in the Army. He's done two or more stints in Afghanistan where my grand nephew is now. This fellow was very kind. I like his tattoo a lot. I hope he emails me about the origin again. A pirate was hanged and spliced and there was a woman involved. It's a legend around St. Augustine, Florida. (Maybe)
And we're off!
There are about a thousand people who are "OFF" today. If not now - later!
There will be a bunch of photos like this one. The camera didn't have time to focus - maybe. Often I will take a shot to the front and then hold my camera over my shoulder in a smooth movement to get a rear shot of faces.
I'm very sorry this picture didn't come out. This young lady is one of the most pleasant people I can see on the bicycle or running. She's a great athlete! She's also a Tarwheeler!
Here's my Army buddy with the great tattoo!
There's that tat again!
Here are some brothers and sisters from Marion, NC,
I love the Army jerseys. There is one that is mostly black with yellow writing that says "ArmyStrong"!
So I took another pic from his front - below.
Everyone is feeling great!
I love it when the cyclists see I'm taking a picture and they get a little animated.
This is the first "rest stop". These are at least every 15 miles more and even more frequent.
I believe this is called Green Creek. The course comes onto Hwy. 9 for about a block and veer right onto Cox's Road.
The hills are still moderate at 25 miles and more.
We see more and more of the mountains.
This view is toward Tryon and Hogback Mountain. I've ridden mountain bikes over that.
There was one lady in a pink or red jersey (kit) who pulled into the wind and pulled the big peloton apart. There were about 7 of us at one point. I was fine just sucking wheel and spinning at the back.
Hit the road Jack!
One spot where it was particularly fast was Pea Ridge. Cox turned into Pea Ridge.
There were many women today who could climb and ride the flats.
Sometimes I take a picture of where I'm getting dropped.
I would catch most of my "droppings" by descending faster than all I was around.
Many fast ladies riding hard and they weren't going to wait for a man to pull.
Rest stop here!
Years ago a rider came up from behind at about 45 mph and locked handlebars with me. We did a little break-dancing on the highway and I broke the left clavicle. This happened about a mile beyond this rest-stop. It took a trip to the hospital, a new bike, clothes, and helmet but I finished that Assault too.
We're out on Highway 64 for a few miles before turning on Bills Creek Road.
This is Micky Dee getting dropped on Bills Hill.
The top of Bills Hill and a rest-stop is below.
We are now on Sugar HIll Road.
I love the beauty of a long paceline!
This corner and every left turn or questionable turn was marshaled.
I was dropped again. I was dropped by the same people over and over again. Some riders would pull off at these rest-stops, eat, drink, smoke, and then chase me down and drop me again.
I tried to get this barn into a picture.
Cycling- Descending Old NC 10-Assault On Mitchell 2010
Tom Johnson's Campground and MARION! 70 miles done.
Lake Tahoma on Lake Tahoma Road (Hwy. 80).
This is always a very friendly bloke here. We chatted a bit climbing 80 today and before.
It's getting harder as we approach Haynes Eyebrow.
This is a hard grade.
The legs ache right here. The road goes up hard!
Passing this rest-stop was a mistake for me. I don't like to stop at all. For decades I never stopped. Today I screwed up a bit by not stopping here.
The grade eases some - but the damage is done. It doesn't ease up enough either.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is just ahead. There's a rest-stop too! I'm fried!
I didn't spend a long time here maybe - but it was long for me. I drank like crazy. Water first. Then Gator-Ade! My back was killing me! The legs are enough problems!
Rolling again! These are the "Twin Tunnels". This is the 1st tunnel.
As we get on the Parkway immediately there are two tunnels together.
This is coming out of the second tunnel.
Leaving the rest-stop and getting on the Parkway, I'm cold and my knees ache.
I take pictures where I can. It's sprinkling.
I contemplate putting my camera in my seat bag.
It's coming down now! There was "El Diablo" at this "pullover". A cyclist had dressed up as the devil for the benefit of the riders. I missed the best shot.
Creedence Clearwater Revival - Have you ever seen the rain?
I feed the squirrels and birds back home and I try to shoo the crows away because they have that annoying sound and eat too much. As I was climbing this God-awful grade, I envisioned a crow racing me on foot and winning. I almost put my camera on video mode to record the event! Anyway, I took this to be an omen that I would die a thousand deaths on this mountain or I needed to share some seeds with the crows back at home. I still died a thousand deaths!
This is the last but very treacherous climb. after 98 miles it is excruciating!
This is very steep for 2.5 miles.
The grade is going to ease up considerably right up here!
This pretty girl befriended me because I told her how the rest of the ride went.
I was just lucky to catch the sign okay but I was aiming for the lady and a view of the distant mountains.
This is the last "stop" before the very summit!
There are spectacular views off to the south or west here.
Yep- I knew everyone would want to see the top-tube of my bicycle and my right leg and some pavement!
Just around the curve! I can't stand it!
Through the cones and we're done!
I am too fried for words! Everything hurts. My back, neck, shoulders, legs, hair- yes my hair hurts!
These are our bags that were brought to the top for us. Warm clothes! Dry clothes!
Hot soup and soft drinks are right over here.
Trucks are loaded with bikes and will be heading to Marion and Spartanburg!
I stop and and speak with Rusty the Chief Park Ranger on Mitchell.
Dave and other folks took one of these buses to the top of Mitchell to see the finishes. Now we take a bus back to Marion.
The parade of cyclists will continue until 6:30 PM.
Riders who did not get to the Parkway by 3:30 (I think) will be sent back to Marion as, "mathematically", they cannot finish.
I am on the back of the bus and cannot speak correctly. My voice is weak. Something temporarily happens often with my voice when I torture myself with a bicycle.
We did manage to talk with the riders on the bus. The general consensus is- the Assault on Mount Mitchell is the hardest single day event east of the Rockies. Riding the Assault On Mount Mitchell is harder than a marathon.
The last few hours and more are just straight up and full of pain.
This lasted me 8 hours and 11 minutes.
I wasn't pleased with the time but at least it wasn't 8 hours and 12 minutes!!!
AND- I got to have dinner with my daughter Josie.
that was so cool!
She will be graduating from Appalachian State University soon if the courses are available.
She made all "As" this last semester!