Adventures in the South
By: Margaret C.
Greetings from North Carolina! Today was our last ride in Ashville, NC. Contrary to what most of us were told, there has not been a lot of down time, not that anyone here is complaining! We’ve done a lot, a lot of hills. Everyday since our stop halfway down from Maine we’ve climbed a minimum of 1,000 feet, and for the last two days we climbed 2,000. Our drive down was long, and a stop at a teammates house (Madison ’14) helped us catch some sleep to round off the 17 hour journey.
Well, it would have been 17 hours if there hadn’t been a massive snowstorm and we hadn’t gotten a bit lost. That said, it seemed for the first few days that we brought the snow with us from Maine! There were some seriously cold days, especially when we rode on the Blue Ridge Parkway (at over 4,000 feet!). Fortunately, the last two days here have been gorgeous, allowing us to explore the roads from out house here instead of driving to somewhere else. The weather has changed from 26-30 degree days to a balmy 48 degrees and sunny!
We have also been able to meet up with a few Gould alumni! After briefly visiting Warren Wilson College, we picked up Robbie Leeson (’12) and met Catherine Harnden (’10) at a local ‘melodrome’ race (it’s called The Ring of Fire!). Melissa (’15) Kyler (’15) and Max (’15) all raced in the high speed lap race, making for an exciting show. Kyler placed highest of the three, fending off college riders and people several years older to finish in the top twenty, and Max was also in the main pack with him.
This morning we took a tour of the Biltmore Estate, constructed for George Vanderbilt at the turn of the century. It was a nice ‘detour’ from cycling and a fun way to be tourists just once before we leave North Carolina. We got a lot of pretty sweet pictures (to follow later) of the whole team and Catherine who tagged along. Afterwards, Max and Kyler headed off with Catherine to explore the local mountain biking opportunities (I’m told they’re plentiful- though personally I don’t mountain bike), and the rest of us went out in search of some more hills to climb.
North Carolina has been more than friendly, and there have been endless mountain views and fantastic food (some brought from Bethel in boxes). It’s always fun to ride in new places, especially with your team! For some riders, this trip was their first real road cycling experience- a relatively strong way to start off the season. For the rest of us, this trip was a way to get off the rollers, onto the roads and remind ourselves how to ride with a group.
Tomorrow we head start our trip back north, with a stop in Banner Elk to visit Hailey (’12) at Lees-McRae College and then back to Gould! It’s been a great pre-season training trip and we are all excited for the season.