Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Tunnels and Mt Pisgah
Day 4 in Asheville.... Yesterday (Day 3) while we were relaxing mid-ride in the town of Marshall, we ran into a nice man (Mike) who said he was going to do a bike ride with some of his local friends and invited us along. We agreed so this AM (Day 4) we met up with Mike and his posse at a lookout along the Blue Ridge Parkway. We had a group of nine. The plan was to was to pedal up Mt Pisgah and then back down on Rt 151 and then meander through the valley back to town. An easy 40 - 50 miles. A rough estimate. Loosely planned. We'll see where we end up after we drop down into the valley. Sounded good to all of us.
The start of the ride was straight up the mountain for about 15 miles. The road (BRP) is awesome, very quiet and well maintained. The incline is never more than 6 - 7 percent, it may bump up a bit in some spots. The views are incredible. What was most interesting this day were the tunnels. The first time through was scary. In the middle of the first tunnel it was pitch black and after entering under bright sunshine, it was a bit disorienting. There were a total of 7 tunnels to traverse to get to the top of Mt Pisgah.
Along the way we regrouped and snapped some pictures. The weather continues to be brilliant sun and warm temps. Today was high 60's. (sorry about that...for you upstate NY folks that may be reading) The climb to the top was a blast, with spectacular views on both sides of the road.
We did some sightseeing at the top and then we descended approximately 3 miles to the intersection of Rt 151. This road was wicked cool... steep descent with about 50 switchbacks to navigate. The road was banked nicely too so that you could sweep through the corners. I had to ride the brakes for nearly the entire trip to the bottom. Some of the corners had sand from the snow storm from ten days ago and were a little sketchy. At one corner there was a massive dead tree that appeared to have fallen into the road from way up the Mt. We all had to pick our way around the branches and debris. This was a hoot. After the ascent and descent of Mt Pisgah it was some more of tooling around the NC countryside .... lost. Even the locals get lost. No matter, it was a great day to be lost in the hills of NC. Another successful 4 + hour ride. Here is our official photographer with most of the crew in the background, taken at the start / finish on the BRP at the FBR overlook.