Our 3 day planned riding event with friend Jim Artis, of CyclingExperiences.com fame, is now well into our second day and we’ve just returned home from our second ride of the weekend. Jim arrived yesterday after getting about 30 minutes of sleep over the past 48 to 72 hours. It was interesting for me to be aware of how we have developed a friendship over the past year and yet yesterday was the first time we had actually met face-to-face.
Jim did an excellent job of speaking to my local Rotary club on the upcoming Tour of Discovery – Ride for the Republic. His presentation garnered lots of interest and many questions from his audience. His slides and the “show and tell” of the PowerBox and Fargo’s trailer had mouths agape at times. I feel very confident that there will be at least one Rotary Club monitoring the upcoming Tour!
Our Friday ride was to be a warm up of about 18 to 25 miles depending upon the route we chose and was to occur after the Rotary Club meeting. I had extended an invitation to local cyclists to join us. Two riders accepted that invitation and joined us as we rode from the site of our meeting (Laurel Ridge Country Club) to our home in Canton. You can see Jim’s write up and the map by visiting Cycling Experiences.
(Cross Country Stan, Dr. J., and Jim Artis enjoying some shade!)
(Artis ascending roller along Hyder Mountain Road)
Our day 2 ride was to be somewhat more ambitious with plans for a 70 mile out and back ride to Asheville. As with all things, plans get changed and modified and today was no exception. We departed Bethel, NC at our planned 10:30 a.m. time and proceeded to warm up and shake out the legs from yesterday’s ride as we spun our way down NC 215 to Canton. We were joined on today’s ride by local cyclist Brandon Anderson and my friend Nick Nicholson, who agreed to be our photog of the day. (Images to be uploaded later). Our climbs for the day started on North Main St. and continued as we made our way up and through Newfound Gap.
(Photog Nicholson, Anderson, Artis at Hominy Community Center)
Weather predictions for today had improved slightly from the 50% chance of thunderstorms to only 40% chance. The mid morning weather couldn’t have been better. Despite a chain that kept jumping the ring, Artis did an admirable job of taking on the mountain and cruised on through the gap to the long descent into the adjoining valley. Traffic was moderately heavy this day. Fortunately, we were treated quite well by all but one passing vehicle who chose to “buzz” us.
At the intersection of Newfound Road and New Leicester Highway, we reached a consensus to change the route and ride to a local eatery for lunch. We also decided that day 3’s planned climb from Bethel to the Blue Ridge Parkway might be done better on fresher legs on the morrow. Being the “wizened and experienced cyclists that we are”, we called for support and cut our ride in half of the planned distance.
I’m pleased with the decision that we made as it increases the odds that Artis will get to see yet another aspect of our great Haywood County cycling as he rides himself into shape for the upcoming tour. The ride on Sunday will take us from the bottom of the Pigeon River Valley to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Along this route, we’ll cross the West Fork of the Pigeon a couple of times, ride by Lake Logan, Sunburst Camp Ground and ascend past waterfalls as we enjoy what will still be early spring flora on the mountain.
More images and tales to come! Now, I’m heading out to the store to get some fresh Salmon steaks and veggies for grilling tonight!