Monday, May 20, 2013

The assault

As I write this, about 1,000 cyclists from around the world are huffing it up the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi River.

The annual Assault on Mt. Mitchell, a 102.7-mile ride, began at 6:30 this morning in Spartanburg, S.C., ending at Mount Mitchell's peak--that's an elevation of 6,683 feet.

The pros finish in about five hours. I know a guy who once took 12 (talk about masochism), and if I remember correctly, he was the last finisher.

The ride contains 11,000 feet of climbing--4,000 in the first 70 miles and 7,000 in the last 30. Check out this graphic half way down the page to make sure you're properly impressed. Whether first or last, cyclists usually take the same amount of time to ride the first 70 miles as they do the last 30.

Several hundred riders signed up for The Assault on Mt. Marion, stopping at the 70-mile point, a respectable ride no matter who you ask. They have barbecue and showers at Marion's summit--who in their right mind would agree to ride 30 more vertical miles?

So if you know someone who has ridden either assault today, or if you see any sweaty people in spandex looking tired, think about how many miles you didn't ride today and give them a pat on the back.