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Discussion Starter #1
So I'm taking my own brasstown balds in hand and trying this ride while in town for the TDG. I'm an experienced rider, Clydesdale, in decent shape for this time of year, but I live in flat, flat, flat Hampton Roads, Va. and can't travel anywhere before the trip.
Any training tips for this long, sustained climb?
For that matter, anyone who's been to the race - I'm staying about 8 miles from the finish, plan to ride from there up the mountain and back down before the race starts, then get back to spectate. Is that doable?
Any tips on these issues would be appreciated.
 

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Just...

JimW said:
So I'm taking my own brasstown balds in hand and trying this ride while in town for the TDG. I'm an experienced rider, Clydesdale, in decent shape for this time of year, but I live in flat, flat, flat Hampton Roads, Va. and can't travel anywhere before the trip.
Any training tips for this long, sustained climb?
For that matter, anyone who's been to the race - I'm staying about 8 miles from the finish, plan to ride from there up the mountain and back down before the race starts, then get back to spectate. Is that doable?
Any tips on these issues would be appreciated.
I take it you're just doing this for fun and all?

Just ride it. If you ain't racing it, don't worry about "training" for this ride. It'll be fun no matter what you do methinks. If you're in decent shape, it shouldn't really be a problem, although you'll probably want to throw on a 25 or a 27 in the back.
 

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Got any multi-story parking garages in town? Try asking the attendant if he'll let you ride up & down several times late at night.
 

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I was there last year

I did not have my bike with me last year. But, my recollection (which is hazy given the conditions up there last year) is that on race day bikes were not allowed above the parking lot that is about a km from the top.

I really want to go back do the climb. It is a hell of a climb; parts of it even hurt when you are walking up. Some of the other climbs that the TdeG does in that part of the state (e.g., Hogpen Gap), also looks like a lot of fun.

Good luck.
 

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JimW said:
So I'm taking my own brasstown balds in hand and trying this ride while in town for the TDG. I'm an experienced rider, Clydesdale, in decent shape for this time of year, but I live in flat, flat, flat Hampton Roads, Va. and can't travel anywhere before the trip.
Any training tips for this long, sustained climb?
For that matter, anyone who's been to the race - I'm staying about 8 miles from the finish, plan to ride from there up the mountain and back down before the race starts, then get back to spectate. Is that doable?
Any tips on these issues would be appreciated.
I went last year and I'm going back. Two thumbs up!!! I've thrown away my pride and have one bike set up with a triple (11-23 cassette) and made it up last year without problems, albeit in the 30-23. My normal ride is a 25 mile loop that includes an 11 mile loop with 1200 feet of accumulated climbing that I usually ride on another bike with a 39-23 for the low. No hill is longer than half a mile, but I did some repeats. Hampton roads, hmmm. Any bridges around there you can do repeats on? Barring that, try some hard intervals into a headwind.

Watch road closures. Last year I wanted to ride up Brasstown bald, Friday, but a ranger wouldn't let me, which I thought was ridiculous. Something about security. Whatever. She said I could ride up anytime Saturday. Saturday I didn't try to take my bike to watch the stage, I don't know whether they actually let people up that morning as she said, but there were plenty of people that rode their bikes to the stage that afternoon. I personally would recommend against that. Park and walk to the stage. There's a lot of mayhem when the stage is over with racers, team vehicles, and spectators coming down the mountain. It is incredibly steep (23% in some spots), so unless you are super confident of your handling, on hills, ride up it another time.

One other word of advice. Be prepared for any kind of weather. We rode up Friday to watch the Woody Gap climb in pleasant 75 degree weather, and a front came through and it hailed about 10 minutes after arriving. Saturday on Brasstown Bald was mid-thirties and spitting out snow and sleet. It is Georgia, but it is also the mountains.
 

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Bikes are normally never allowed on the last section between the parking lot and overlook at the peak. (Except for the stage race, anyway). If you want to do that last section though. . . give it a go in the winter on a nice day. Everything is pretty much shut down so there is nobody minding the gate. I've done the entire thing five times now. For some reason it's not getting any easier.

Hogpen is a great ride, in both directions. Makes for one heck of an out/back ride! Wolfpen is my favorite for some reason though. Something about it. . . I guess the trees just seem thicker and the road is smaller and less traveled. Brasstown is steep most of the way up, with the wost section being at about 1.4 miles from the turn. I ride it with 53/39 and 12x27. If you are not used to climbing, a triple with a big cassette is advisable.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
thanks for the input

This will indeed be a just for fun, or more accurately just to see if I can do it, ride. We have friends coming up behind with clean clothes and beer, so it's all good.
I'm riding a Raleigh Team bike with Dura Ace 10 speed. I see a lot of talk of cassettes, ratios, etc. Let me say that "experienced'' does not in my case mean "mechanically inclined'' or "smart.'' I'm not even sure what ratio I have on the bike (it's new), but it's a double. I have an old Lemond Tourmalet witha triple, but I can't imagine that would be a better option that the light, fast, and cool-looking Raleigh.
Anyway, should be a great time for all. :)
 

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Eat

If you are a Clyde, and used to riding on flat ground, be sure and bring plenty of fuel. As a big guy you are going to use exponentially more energy than usual. Bonking on the Bald would be bad. Lots of bars, gels, whatever. Just hydrate and eat regularly, and stop if you start seeing double(or triple if you are hard core...not that I want to set off another double vs triple debate). You will be fine.

FYI a lot of folks are riding 3 Gap on Friday as well, which is a cooler ride in my opinion.
 

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Where are you staying?

In case you don't know, there is an org. ride out of Hiawassee the a.m. of the race. it goes past the base of Brasstown, but they are not allowed up. No idea if NO ONE is allowed up in the morning, or just not a huge org. ride. Anyhow, it was a fun ride, much more difficult that you might expect out of a 36 miler. We did it in '04 and had no trouble getting back to Brasstown(in the car), WALKING up, and watching the race in plenty of time.

Be prepared. Lots of people had to get off and walk. I saw people on mountain bikes that had to get off and walk. I have not yet ridden BB, last year it was too freakin' cold for sensible people to get on a road bike. I'm hoping to this year. Possibly ride from Blairsville (the start). I posted that on another thread, but if anyone has ideas about how best to accomplish the trip from the start to BB on a bike, please chime in.

Do watch the weather. We spent 5 hours shivering on the top of that mountain after we were lucky enough to catch a shuttle. (you have to go early to get a shuttle) I was wearing everything I owned, and still bought a charity T shirt to have an extra layer. Wisconsin born husband shivered right along with me. It was miserable. It sleeted. They ran out of hot water for coffee. We caught the hail storm on Woody's Gap too...but that was pretty cool, especially since I missed getting struck by lightening.

Good luck!
 

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It's easy

After doing the Hiawassee ride in '04, I continued on the couse and climbed BB in a 39-23. It was actually pretty darn hard but doable. I made it the whole way without stopping but there were times I was only doing about 3mph.

I had someone to take my backpack to the top so my wife and I would have walking around shoes and a bit of food. I do wish I had also packed a lock so we could have left the bikes and walked the section between the parking lot and the top but oh well.
 
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