Although I frequently join the Monday Asheville Bicycle Racing Club Women’s Ride that leaves from Youngblood Bicycles, this was the first time to lead a Velo Girl ride from this location. Youngblood and his staff were very accommodating and we enjoyed some shopping after the ride.
As I mentioned in the last weekly update, David and I had never climbed Elk Mountain although we had descended it many times. Kelly and PJ joined the ride to make their first attempt as well. Jeff, Susan and Carrie joined as seasoned EMPs (Elk Mountain Professionals).
After winding our way out of the city, Jeff stopped the group at the start line for the Elk Mountain time trial…that was the last the we saw of him until he doubled-back to rejoin the group. Congratulations to Jeff for setting a PR on the climb.
While Elk Mountain did not replace my latest favorite climb (Doggett Mountain), I did enjoy the experience from start to finish. I completely understand why so many cyclists who live or work in Asheville use it as part of a frequent, relatively quick training loop.
The elevation begins at around 2,117′ and finishes at 3,538′ a little more than 5 miles later (per David’s Strava activity… forgot my gps again). At various points the grades are 7%, 9%, up to 12.5%. We all enjoyed the grade markers on the pavement. I assume that these were added for the enjoyment of the TT participants. For more, see David’s Strava.
PJ, Carrie, Susan, David and I finished the climb at about the same time and we all chatted briefly about the Redneck Bojangles Broken Down Car experience (a harmless and friendly group) while we waited for Kelly.
Allow me to introduce you to Kelly. She is from CHICAGO…home of one of the flattest (and friendliest) marathons. Did I mention that it is FLAT in Kelly’s home town? Kelly is in the process of moving to WNC and she decided that there was no time like the present to start embracing our hills and climbs. This took a lot of courage and she had plenty to spare. Kelly completed the climb and the ride in style. There wasn’t even a bead of sweat on her brow. All transplanted Floridian cyclists, take heart! This Midwestern girl can show you that it is possible enjoy riding here.
Another first for many of us — a trip to Dough for lunch. Dough offers soups, baked bread, cookies, desserts and sandwiches. They also have an impressive line up of cooking classes. And did I mention cookies?
And, while enjoying our lunch, a little trash talking about Mountains of Misery (MoM) ensued…Jeff’s in, Susan and PJ are nearly over the fence and ready to join us. David will be driving his motorcycle as SAG/EMT. Great route, good company, excellent support…what’s not to love?
If you’re interested in this challenge, get in touch with me… we’re taking a group to Virginia, and more importantly, we’ll be training hard for this ride which comes up soon… end of May!
Good thing another little climb is accessible from Youngblood Bicycles… Ox Creek will be coming to ride near you SOON!
What a great ride… fantastic group!