First day, heading for Burnsville NC via some new roads that didn't exist the last time I rode there - Testing my aging body and a new two battery setup on my V-Rex - CycleBlaze

April 4, 2022

First day, heading for Burnsville NC via some new roads that didn't exist the last time I rode there

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I mounted two large Orlieb panniers on the rear rack, one with my camping equipment and the other with clothes and food supplies. I didn't expect to need to camp, but I wanted to have the ability to wild camp if I needed to.  The extra battery is carried in a small Ortlieb pannier on the left underseat rack  and tools and supplies were in a large under seat bag mounted  to the right side  underseat rack. Two water bottles were in holders mounted to the seat back. At a guess, total bike weight was less than 100 pounds, but not much less ;-}. Having e-assist makes that weight not much of a problem while riding, but still a big issue when handling the bike when not riding it. 

Heading north from Asheville to and through Weaverville  was pretty much just like the hundreds of times I had ridden to Burnsville before, but now, a few miles north of Weaverville,  it was quite different because US 19 was routed on and replaced by, the new I-26 and I had to cross I-26 and make my way north on the  roads on the other side.  I crossed back over at Stockton Rd, which was familiar to me and stopped for my first break at the service station on the other side of I-26. I had coffee and a honeybun there before continuing through the Forks of Ivy area where I  usually have  turned east and rode near Beech Glen to get on Paint Fork Rd.

The route to Burnsville via Paint Fork is really nice riding but getting over the Paint Fork  Gap (gaps are what we call passes here) requires climbing a fairly long 20% grade.  Interestingly, the riding distance and climbing required for getting to Burnsville by the new route are essentially identical to the same as  the route going over Paint gap.  I took the new route since I wanted to try it.

The new route used Calvin Edney Rd to get most of the way to the place where US 19 now leaves I-26 heading east towards Burnsville. It is really quite nice riding, but not as nice as Paint Gap Rd.  I turned off of Calvin Edney Rd onto a new road called  Crossroads Parkway to get to US 19.

US 19 is a new expressway  with excellent shoulders- it used to be a two lane highway with narrow shoulders - and the route of the new road is different from and hillier than the old road. It wasn't bad riding, but there is now a big hill that is almost as steep as Paint Gap and longer than Paint Gap so, even on my e-bike, it was a hard ten minutes of steady climbing.

When I got to Burnsville, after about four hours of riding, I rode to the Carolina Country Inn, which is currently the only place to get a room in Burnsville and, at 5:30 PM found that they  were full. The closest place for me to find a room was 12 miles with 500 feet of climbing away. My legs were shot but I figured I could probably make it before dark. I figured, if they didn't have a room, they would let me camp there.

I headed out on 19E and then turned south on NC 80.  Roughly half way to the Inn, the muscles in the back of my right thigh started cramping. I pulled off the road to massage them and to figure out what to do next.  A few minutes later, a small SUV stopped and the driver asked if I needed help. When I explained that I needed to get to the Celo Inn, the driver said "Let me drop my wife and kids off at our house and I'll come back and give you a ride." He did and 20 minutes later my bike and I were at the Inn.

I went in and met the new folks who are running the Inn for friends of mile who own it and ran it for decades. They confirmed that I could have room there and my new friend who gave me the ride had unloaded my bike without my help. He is a big strong guy who used to make his living as a bodyguard! Hopefully I'll meet him again on other rides  through Celo.

If I hadn't been helped, I think I would have ended up in the woods. The weather forecast was good so that shouldn't have been a problem, but the forecast was wrong and the next morning I woke up to rain.

Today's ride: 45 miles (72 km)
Total: 45 miles (72 km)

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