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I lowered my cholesterol!
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I am travelling up to Waynesville for a week's stay. I traditionally travel over to Tsali to ride the loops there, but this time, in honor of the TDF, I was thinking of riding on the Blue Ridge up to Waterrock Knob. It's 5.5 miles from the highway and about a 1900 foot altitude change. I am worried I'll die doing it. I train on the paved trails in Tampa, both road and MTB. My longest road rides are 60 miles. What will it be like? I'm 52 in good shape, but used to very thick oxygenated air.:eek:
 

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You're Not the Boss of Me
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That's not that high. I mean some folks head to Colorado from the flatlands and climb Mt. Evans. 1900 ft. in 5.5 is not that bad. Just take it slow and easy... keep that MPH down to 6-7 mph (heck, less if you want) and keep turning over the pedals in a low gear. Just don't push the pace or you will blow up and need to stop.

If you've got much fitness at all (sounds like you do) it is totally doable! Have fun with it.

PS -- do you have a triple? Not that it is a "must have" for a climb like that, but the low gears can help you climb walls...
 

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Here in Tampa we get to push into the wind. Last weekend the suncoast trail felt like the wide was in my face both up and back. Anyway climbing kinda similar just gear down and spin like you do into the wind. You'll do fine. For motivation both Eddy and Lance come from flatlands. See... flatlanders rule the cycling kingdom.
 

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I lowered my cholesterol!
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
True...

rounder said:
Here in Tampa we get to push into the wind. Last weekend the suncoast trail felt like the wide was in my face both up and back. Anyway climbing kinda similar just gear down and spin like you do into the wind. You'll do fine. For motivation both Eddy and Lance come from flatlands. See... flatlanders rule the cycling kingdom.
I am well acquainted with the wind. Last year I rode with a hurricane out there in the gulf and had a fun ride--one way! Five miles can't be that bad if I just keep my head. If I go to Tsali I am going to be gassed anyway.
 

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You'l be fine...

I live near Chicago and we sit at about 600' above sea level. Last summer we rode MTB in upper elevations in Colorado (10K'-13K') and had no problems, just slip it into the granny gear and spin. Blue Ridge Pkwy down where you're going maxes out at 4500', when we ride down there I barely notice the air being thinner.

Like you, my training method to simulate climbing is riding into the wind (as sick as it sounds). I'm just 4 years younger then you.
 

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M.J. said:
what's your rear cassette?
+1.

Just make sure you have the gearing and you'll be fine.I am a Floridian too and I have had no troubles going to the mountains.I go to western NC a few times a year to ride and have no trouble climbing even the really steep stuff up there on a 39X27.

If your fitness is good and you have the right gearing you'll be able to grunt it out and have fine while doing so.:thumbsup:
 

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Believe me, the air is thick and oxygenated in the NC mountains! Humidity is generally very high. The biggest thing you do to help yourself is having enough gears. If you've got a triple on your roadbike, no problem. If you have a double, get a cassette with at least a 27 for largest rear cog. Other than that, just pace yourself. Don't try to push a faster pace than you can sustain. I find that I actually do better on long climbs because I can pace myself easier. In the rolling hills of the Piedmont, I often go into the red zone trying to keep up with better climbers. In the mountains, I don't even bother trying to keep up with good climbers. I just go my own pace and sometimes end up catch and passing some of the climber dudes who try to go to fast and blow up.
 

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rickreyn said:
I am travelling up to Waynesville for a week's stay. I traditionally travel over to Tsali to ride the loops there, but this time, in honor of the TDF, I was thinking of riding on the Blue Ridge up to Waterrock Knob. It's 5.5 miles from the highway and about a 1900 foot altitude change. I am worried I'll die doing it. I train on the paved trails in Tampa, both road and MTB. My longest road rides are 60 miles. What will it be like? I'm 52 in good shape, but used to very thick oxygenated air.:eek:
you'll be fine. as others have said, you're not that high up and if you go at your own pace you shouldn't have any trouble at all....especially if you're running a cassette with either a 25 or a 27 (actually, a 27 will probably be overkill) on it. (excuse my ignorace but i didn't know what a +1 cassette was equivalent to in terms of teeth).

oh and the BRP is a gorgeous ride. enjoy the scenery.

spring near Tsali...


western NC summer view


rt
 

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I lowered my cholesterol!
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I will give it a go!

tarwheel2 said:
Believe me, the air is thick and oxygenated in the NC mountains! Humidity is generally very high. The biggest thing you do to help yourself is having enough gears. If you've got a triple on your roadbike, no problem. If you have a double, get a cassette with at least a 27 for largest rear cog. Other than that, just pace yourself. Don't try to push a faster pace than you can sustain. I find that I actually do better on long climbs because I can pace myself easier. In the rolling hills of the Piedmont, I often go into the red zone trying to keep up with better climbers. In the mountains, I don't even bother trying to keep up with good climbers. I just go my own pace and sometimes end up catch and passing some of the climber dudes who try to go to fast and blow up.
All have convinced me to try it. Got to to become a "complete" road biker! Perhaps I will be a Floyd Landis or Michael Rasmussen, being a mountain biker to begin with. All this means is two bikes on the rack instead of one!
 

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Off the top of my head, that's about a 5-6% average grade, which will sting a little for a flatlander, but it sounds like you have plenty of fitness, so you'll do fine. The only concern is that, as a flatlander, you might be running an 11-21 cassette, and you'll probably want to replace that with a 12-25 or 12-27.
 

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Just enjoy it... Don't kill yourself.

I'm a 35 yr old guy with an ex-smoking habit ... who lives in Indianapolis...
FLATLAND, and CORN is about the best I can hope for most days...
I rode up out of the Nantahala Gorge, west of Bryson City about a month ago... It's a 2.7 mile climb at an avg of 9%... I didn't use my triple... and that was at the end of a 50 mile
day... Make sure you don't overheat, (shouldn't be a problem for somebody from FLORIDA).

Aside from that, just ride at your pace, enjoy it... take it all in and dream of the day when you can ride those mts. daily... That's how I rode while I was in that area... and I'm
gonna be back down there in less than a month... to do the Road to Nowhere...
And if I'm lucky, I'll get in a ride from Brevard up to the Blue Ridge Parkway...
Same mountain... southern side instead of Waynesville which is the north side...
 

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Its okay to go that slow?!?

jtolleson said:
That's not that high. I mean some folks head to Colorado from the flatlands and climb Mt. Evans. 1900 ft. in 5.5 is not that bad. Just take it slow and easy... keep that MPH down to 6-7 mph (heck, less if you want) and keep turning over the pedals in a low gear. Just don't push the pace or you will blow up and need to stop.

If you've got much fitness at all (sounds like you do) it is totally doable! Have fun with it.

PS -- do you have a triple? Not that it is a "must have" for a climb like that, but the low gears can help you climb walls...
Dang. Everytime I ride somewhere hilly I feel like I need to keep above 12MPH or someone will whiz by and laugh. I always blow up a some point, then pretend to have some sort of mechanical failure. :)
 

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A favorite climb among locals

The climb up the parkway from Balsam Gap to Waterrock is a favorite among the Waynesville locals. To add a nice warm-up & some additional miles, start from the bike shop Waynesville Bicycle Co., near the intersection of main street & US 276, and ride out old Balsma Road to US 74, then up US 74 to the Parkway. The advice to use a lower geared cassette is good, a knee saving neccessity for some!
 

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Once a year, I spend a week at the Outer Banks, and I always bring a bike. To me, it takes more focus and effort to keep going at a target HR in the flats, particularly into a headwind, but I'm used to lots of hills. If you're fit enough to ride 60 miles on the flats, you'll do fine in the mountains.

In addition to the others offering good advice about gearing and taking it easy, don't focus too much on average speed on your cyclocomputer, or if you do, expect it to drop 4-6 mph from what you can do on the flats. You don't make it all up on the downhill!
 

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I live in Austin and have seen several flatlanders, including a few from Florida, show up on group rides. To be honest, their problem isn't so much climbing (though they don't do that as fast as the natives usually) but actually decending. They're scared to death of the downhills. I remember being timid myself when I first started riding. Now I try to squeeze every free ounce of speed out that gravity will give me. :D
 

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Consider a compact crank set.

I'm in Illinois and have found that training in the wind seems to have prepared me for some serious hills. No idea about longer, steeper grades yet. That's still to come.

Iceman
 

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walleyeangler said:
I'm in Illinois and have found that training in the wind seems to have prepared me for some serious hills. No idea about longer, steeper grades yet. That's still to come.

Iceman
It'll prepare ya. I live in central Illinois, and I can climb pretty well. I'm 150 pounds, which might be helpful, but I can climb mountains pretty easily. The wind is good in that you can hammer into it for 20, 30 minutes, as opposed to mountains/hills, which are more hammer/coast/hammer; more consistent. On not insanely steep gradients that are reallly long, an Illinois flatlander can be better because they're just used to going long, at least in my experience
-estone2
 
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