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  1. #1
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    Assault on Mt. Mitchell?

    I'm training with the eventual goal of riding in the Assault on Mt. Mitchell on my own registration in 2018. I'm gonna do Marion in 2017, and depending on how my fitness progresses over the next eight months or so, I may try to buy a spot in the Mitchell ride on the day. Probably not though. I've got a ways to go.

    I've always wanted to do this ride especially since I live so close. I am interested in personal accounts of this ride of any kind. If you've ridden this ride, how'd you do? Will you do it again? What happens to the 25% who don't make it to the top?
    I'm just excited about training for such a tough ride. Anybody who has done it or wants to do it, let me know what you think... if you want.

    thanks,

    Josh

  2. #2
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    I did it back in '89 before I moved west. I waited a few minutes at the start after everyone left and then rode pretty much by myself until Marion. Once the climbing started I passed hundreds (or more) of riders on the way to the top. Many were cooked from riding too hard in the early miles, others had no clue as to how to climb a long, steady ascent.

    My advice? Don't go into the red. Find a pace that you can handle riding all day.

    My second piece of advice is to go ride some big climbs. Learn how to read the road and minimize your effort on the ascent. Some decades ago I learned that the secret to climbing the monsters is to be the one who gets up the climb with the least effort.
    Life is short... enjoy the ride.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judgment View Post
    I'm training with the eventual goal of riding in the Assault on Mt. Mitchell on my own registration in 2018. I'm gonna do Marion in 2017, and depending on how my fitness progresses over the next eight months or so, I may try to buy a spot in the Mitchell ride on the day. Probably not though. I've got a ways to go.

    I've always wanted to do this ride especially since I live so close. I am interested in personal accounts of this ride of any kind. If you've ridden this ride, how'd you do? Will you do it again? What happens to the 25% who don't make it to the top?
    I'm just excited about training for such a tough ride. Anybody who has done it or wants to do it, let me know what you think... if you want.

    thanks,

    Josh
    You're approaching it wrong, you'll end up like the 25% with your mentality.

    Listen to the above. Mt. Mitchell is not a big deal, neither is Clingman's or anything in the area, they're all super easy actually.

    The above advice is totally correct. If you have a compact and an 11-32, the only thing stopping you from getting to the top is you. If you ride as slow as you can, take it as easy as you can, you can make it up no problem, just about anyone can.

    I find, as I've been clear about, the climbing to the top to be the easy part by a large margin. I find that getting down is the hardest part.

    On the top of the mountain it's going to be about 55 or 60 degrees or so. You're also going to be completely saturated in sweat. The wind is also going to be whipping. You're going to want to rest, look around, take 360 pictures, you know. Then you'll have to descend.

    This is where most people I know get into deep trouble. Hypothermia in July/August is a real thing around those peaks. 40 mph wind in your face at 50-60 degrees, short sleeves and shorts, it's a recipe for disaster if there's still sweat in the mix.


    More training isn't going to help much at all, it might help you go harder up to the top but really... who cares about that? It's the same with the long distance believe it or not. If you go easy and slow, like actually feels a little slow to you, you can make it no problem.

    And yes, I ride the Smokey's a lot, I have lots of experience there, I do quite well thank you. Oh, get a device with GLONASS, GPS sucks hard in that area.
    use a torque wrench

  4. #4
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    Thanks. Good information.

  5. #5
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    In my experience with Mt. Mitchell, Marion is considered the "halfway point." Not in terms of mileage, but in terms of time to complete. The last 27 or so miles takes as long as the first 75, and it is pretty difficult for most people. I've done climbing rides all over the south and it's hard to climb for 3 straight hours plus.

    Also, I don't think you have to do Marion before you do the whole thing anymore. You don't have to buy someone else's pass, unless they have gone back to that since 2012 when I did it. I say take you some climbing gears with you and go for it. Just do it at your own pace.

  6. #6
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    Hmm... I've been digging around on the net and I thought that was still the procedure due to the rider cap on Mt. Mitchell... If not then how do you get the registration packet?

  7. #7
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    In 2012, I just registered for Mt. Mitchell online. It used
    to be you had to do Marion first. The ride used to sell out in a matter of
    hours I understand. The price went up drastically at some point. In
    2012, there were still spots available a few days before the ride. It is quite
    the experience; Unique to say the least. The shuttle back to Marion
    or Spartanburg is not fun and you have wait forever on your bike to get
    back down the mountain. Still, I will do it again soon. I've weighed
    too much until recently, when I have just gotten back to a good weight.
    I will do better next time because I know how to approach it.

  8. #8
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    I did Mt. Mitchell this past May, fantastic experience. My cycling experience before I did the ride was multiple centuries with 6-8000ft of climbing and one 38 mile ride climbing 10,000. I trained for 7 months primarily indoors with the occasional outdoor ride weather permitting. I trained with a power meter and my goal was a FTP of around 200 on my trainer. That translated into about 220-230 on the road. It was spot on for me. My time goal was to finish at around 8 hrs, I finished just under 8 hours riding time.


    The first 75 miles were easy, basically flat. In a group you could easily do 20+ mph if you rotated off the front. I managed 16-18 by myself most of the time. The mountain took me 3 1/2 hours with a stop or three. For reference, the first to finish did it in just over 5 1/2 hours.

    I was tired at the top but I still had some left. To do it again I would have pushed myself harder before the climbing started.

    The day was perfect, cool (45 F) in the morning and the sun was out all day. I met some people on the bus ride down the mountain who had participated in previous years and were telling stories of riding in lousy weather. To me, weather was my wild card. Nothing worse than riding in a cold rain for 8 hours.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flexnuphill View Post
    I did Mt. Mitchell this past May, fantastic experience. My cycling experience before I did the ride was multiple centuries with 6-8000ft of climbing and one 38 mile ride climbing 10,000. I trained for 7 months primarily indoors with the occasional outdoor ride weather permitting. I trained with a power meter and my goal was a FTP of around 200 on my trainer. That translated into about 220-230 on the road. It was spot on for me. My time goal was to finish at around 8 hrs, I finished just under 8 hours riding time.


    The first 75 miles were easy, basically flat. In a group you could easily do 20+ mph if you rotated off the front. I managed 16-18 by myself most of the time. The mountain took me 3 1/2 hours with a stop or three. For reference, the first to finish did it in just over 5 1/2 hours.

    I was tired at the top but I still had some left. To do it again I would have pushed myself harder before the climbing started.

    The day was perfect, cool (45 F) in the morning and the sun was out all day. I met some people on the bus ride down the mountain who had participated in previous years and were telling stories of riding in lousy weather. To me, weather was my wild card. Nothing worse than riding in a cold rain for 8 hours.
    Thanks. I enjoy reading these accounts.

  10. #10
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    I did the Assault on Mt. Mitchell in 2003, so it's been a while since I rode it. However, it was my very first century ride. Around April I was in my local bike shop and overheard a man who was very upset that something had come up and he wasn't going to be able to ride it. I had never heard of the Assault on Mt. Mitchell as I had only been riding for 5 months. He said he had to find someone to buy his ticket, so I offered to buy it. After the shop owner and the man both tried to talk me out of it, I convinced him I wanted to try and he sold me his number.

    The ride was not near as hard as they made it out to be, since the first 75 miles or so is flat as a pancake and you can draft most of the way. The climb to the top only has a couple steep sections that only last a minute or two, so all you have to do is pace yourself and it's no sweat. My time was around 6:30, but that included a stop in Marion and a couple short stops for water/food on the Parkway. All in all it was a good ride, but if it's a challenge you're after, there are definitely more challenging rides in the area.

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