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Soggy Climbing

Well, the weatherman was a bit misleading.  Again.  Last Wednesday and Thursday, it was forecasted for a bee-you-tee-full weekend in the mountains.  Since it looked like good weather, we hatched a plan for a Saturday ride of the Blue Ridge Parkway from Linville Falls to Mount Mitchell… and back.

Friday night, before we hit the hay, the forecast changed a bit, with it now forecasted to be raining the next morning.  It didn’t seem like a big deal because the infamous forecasters said it would be ending by 8am.  As luck would have it, 8am came and went with it was still raining.  Re-checking the forecast, they again changed it claiming it would stop around 9.  Once again, 9am came and went with a newly updated forecast stating the rain would be ending even later.

We threw caution to the wind and headed out anyway, hoping that it would eventually taper off with the sun peaking through and thus creating a great ride.  It never happened.

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A little over 3 hours into our ride, we ascended (literally) into the clouds, howling wind and pelting rain to make it to the entrance of Mount Mitchell State Park at 5,190 feet.  Needless to say, given the very, very windy conditions and rain, we decided not to make the final 4.5 mile, 1400 foot climb to the top of the mountain.  Instead, we turned around and headed back to get below the clouds and wind.

With a quick stop over in Little Switzerland to grab a cup o’ joe, in an attempt to warm our cold bones, we were greeted by passersby telling us how crazy we were for riding in the cold rain.  It wasn’t an insult since I think they meant it in jest.  I think.

We finished up the ride in a little over 6 hours, much longer than it should have taken, given the conditions.  We didn’t break any speed records, but we did get in a little over  12,000 feet of climbing.  There were small sections that were dry, so we did get a couple of nice, speedy descents, but for the most part, it was wet and slick.  We also didn’t do many fast ones, because with speed and temperature, there was a fine line between fun and frozen.  The ride seemed even longer than it was given the cold rain and the duration of butt-in-saddle time, even with my comfy Cobb Saddle.  Butt wasn’t sore, but I was tired..  We still had a good time and I’m thoroughly glad I went.  Ice bath anyone?

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