2016 Major Taylor Mountain Summit Ride Report
My thought, in general, are Wow! I really enjoyed myself again. This was my ninth year at the MTMS and I always have a great time.
This year was special because Philly MTCC represented with 11 riders:
The MTMS includes cyclists from Major Taylor clubs from around the country. This year two women even came from Montana. This report is a recap of the Summit from my perspective.
Thursday’s ride was 56 miles with a challenging 6-mile climb that was tougher than the 10-mile climb we did the year before. Imagine climbing and looking up and seeing a switchback in front of you then looking up hirer and seeing a switch-back above that. But, when you reach that high switchback you are still climbing. At some point, it seemed that it would never end. And despite staying within myself, my legs were aching at the top.
The 6 to 9% climb seemed to have endless switchbacks that feed sorrow for those anticipating less steep grades around the corner. Even in crowds, the climb was suspiciously devoid of conversation as folks suspended conversations for breath. My report is from the middle of the pack on the climb.
King of the Mountain KOM
Dan Yeich was the only Philly’s climber to show up for the Thursday KOM. Correction the only Philly climber who could represent at the KOM. Bruce and Erven showed up after the ride. Dan represented Philly well with the strong riders.
So the KOM, I heard… (You don’t expect me to tell you anything that happened in the front of the climb first hand I was solidly representing Philly in the middle)… Ahem, I heard, that some riders caught Greg (the Great) from Atlanta off guard on the one mile lead into the start of the climb, which was a climb too. Greg was expecting a start at the official base of the climb but was surprised when they kept rolling (gotta read the fine print). Greg managed to pull most back and take second in the KOM competition. This was the first time I remember Greg not taking first on the KOM and this is my 9th year at the summit.
We learned about Prince on the road back. I had about 19 miles to finish We shared our remembrances. Until Dan got tired of slow-rolling. At that time I was lucky to get even 10 mph on an incline.
That evening we met at happy hours at one of Asheville’s many, many, many brew houses. Reggie and I were awarded a 5-year MTMS headset cap. Very Cool. I guess they don’t have a 9-year cap.
It rained mostly Friday in the morning and late afternoon so the MTMS organizers announce on the website that riders should make their own rides since trying to coordinate a ride with 100 + riders to avoid rain in the mountains would be folly.
Erven and Bruce came down Thursday night missing the big ride so they were itching to go despite the rain. Vernon took them up the Parkway. I was thankful for the recovery rest day. Hung out in Asheville eating some good food. Well… too much good food… and drink. Also, we checked out some nice bike shops.
Beer and Bike
If you go to Asheville you have to check out the bike shops. Two shops, in particular, stand out. Hearn’s has been in business since 1886. If you are anyway in the market for an alternative bike but you are not ready to buy the newest. Hearn’s has the best selection of used bikes rebuilt to high standards and with great deals. The owner is knowledgeable and will work with you. Our own Claire forgot her bike shoes and was able to get a great deal for a loaner pair on a handshake. I was so tempted to buy this nice single speed Hearn’s had for $499. A guy from Pittsburgh ended up getting it for $400.
Beer and Bikes is a bar that is a bike shop or a bike shop that is a bar. Whatever it is it carries high-end beers and bikes. Check out the Dirty Little Freak in my hand. I picked her up for the thrill but she was nasty (to my taste in beer) and I had to leave her. Claire traded me for a Pauli Girl.
SRAM presented its newest products for MTMS attendees At this event.
“Bill I can’t come down here and not do Mt. Mitchell” Erven repeated, “but I want to do the MTMS ride too”. “Hmmm, does he know what he is asking for?” I thought. I am a glutton for long punishing rides and if Erven and Bruce are down I’m down. So Friday night I mapped a ride that would include the first 40 miles of the MTMS ride and add an additional 75 miles that include the 30-mile climb to the top of Mt. Mitchell. Told Erven and Bruce about it in the morning. Erven’s response “Cool!” Ambitious ain’t we.
I told them “Look if we are going to do this I am not beating up my legs chasing you and you have to be with me when we make the turn of the planned route”. “Yeah, yeah” Erven assured me. When we regrouped at the rest stop I repeated “We need to be together at the turn-off. The Mt. Mitchell excursion is another 90 miles from this point”. “Yeah” Erven repeated (with a little less enthusiasm, I noted). I rushed to fill my water bottles and the lead group left before I could get finish and Erven stayed to pace me… kind of. About 5 minutes in Erven was gone! The next time I saw him was at the bar at the end of the MTMS planned ride.
Saturday’s ride was beautiful. I took the A option. It began with a series of climbs. It was one of those rides where you could randomly take a photo and put it on your wall, so beautiful, which took a lot of the sting off the legs. The rest stop was in a quaint town at a bakery. The ride back was mostly flat. The ride ended at an outdoor bar. Where we met up and shared some food and drink.
“It was Saturday night I guess that makes it alright”
That evening the Philly MT’s met shared a Japanese meal in Asheville sharing our stories. Before that, we were in a bar the MTMS reserved for a diversity round-table and drinks.
Philly was asked to participate as a co-host at next year’s MTMS in West Virginia. I told the organizers we would get back to them but we have members who are interested in volunteering to help.