Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ocean to Mountain

The ocean-to-mountain road ride has gotten into my head. I'm thinking of sometime when the days are long, in June or July. With the highest point east of the Mississippi just 300 miles from the Atlantic shore, there's obvious elegance in a route from the sea to the summit of Mt. Mitchell. Uphill all the way.

Trying out routes with the new bicycle route mapping on Google Maps. I can already see that I have some issues with Google's idea of where I should ride my bike. In its favor, though, the bike mapping does keep telling me to use some of Pisgah's finest gravel, Curtis Creek Rd, to get up to the Parkway. I could hardly argue with that.

So here are four route options for the Ocean to Mountain. Please weigh in if you have any opinions about one route over another, or want to come along, or know someone who's done this, or know that some road that looks good on the map is actually a scary trafficky death zone.
  1. bikepacking style. three days of 123, 100, and 101 miles, camping in state parks each of the nights. Pros: camping is cheap, and it would be cool to bikepack this trip. Cons: fear of the unknown-- I've never been on any of these roads or at these parks. Also, I would have to start in Myrtle Beach, a town I am not that fond of.
  2. creature comfort style. three days of 141, 97, and 87 miles, sleeping at my place in Columbia and some motel or something in Spartanburg along the way. Pros: sleeping in beds. Cons: it would be extremely hard for me to get out the door for day two after sleeping in my own bed.
  3. insanity style. two days of 193 and 120 miles, sleeping in Sumter National Forest for the one night. Pros: a truly revolting amount of miles the first day. Cons: would probably not be able to convince anyone to come along with me due to the truly revolting amount of miles the first day. This route would also carry a significant likelihood of a sudden decision to get a motel room in Old Fort.
  4. low stress style. two days of 141 and 125 miles and a third short day of 53 miles, sleeping in Columbia one night and at some undetermined place over the NC state line the next. Pros: this is the only option without a lot of stress about getting to the summit road to Mt. Mitchell before it officially closes at 9pm. Cons: I have no idea what, if anything, is around that stateline area.
There are other options too, some more stupid, some less stupid. Hell, at FM24 I rode 310 miles in 24 hours, and I said afterward that if I was going to ride 300 miles in a day ever again I better end up 300 miles away from where I started. But I doubt I'll resort to that here. So one of these four routes is probably the way to go... which one, though?


  1. i've done a few atlanta to savannah rides. you don't want to do number 3 in the summer. number 2 is the way to go in my opinion, with 4 a close second. access to showers, beds and washing machines is nice. decreasing mileage each day is great for morale.