|The weather looks alright.|
|Too many hotdogs.|
|Eric bunny-hopping; not letting the hillbillies get us.|
Change of plans: we were now going to tackle the infamous Brasstown Bald. Now I'm not going to claim that I know a lot about the hardest climbs in the country, but I have gone over several climbs used in both the Tour of California and the Pro Cycling Challenge (including Independence Pass) and although Brasstown is only 3 miles long, it's average gradient of 11% with max gradient of about 24% make it harder than any other climb I've seen. The two groups met up and ascended Jacks to the base of Brasstown, with John and Zach pushing the pace at the front while the rest of us tried to save energy for the steepness ahead.
|The whole group together and yes, Tim has a plaid jersey.|
Let's fast-forward to halfway up the climb when the effects of the previous night have worn off and I'm starting to feel good - that is until I hit the wall (the 24% section). I've ridden up this thing three times before and each time there was a moment when I thought I wasn't going to make it; "Why the hell didn't I bring a 34t cog!?"
The fourth time is no exception and as I start to contemplate slashing my own tire I look back to see Hani just 20 meters off my wheel. Now we all know how silly it is to compete during training rides, but on the other hand there's no such thing as a race that doesn't matter so I sucked it up and just hammered the rest of the climb.
|Eric at the top. If the Appalachians are the Pyrenees of North America then Brasstown is the Col d'Aubisque?|
|Marleigh said she just wanted "to see how far I can get." Yeah right...|
|The last few icicles melting off the top of Hogpen. These were completely gone by the end of the trip.|
|Classy jersey Zach. And nice shorts - did we win the Brasstown Strava segment?|
|And maybe I should mention the aquarium and its huge whale sharks.|
There's no MWCCC race next weekend, but on the 17th and 18th we've got Lindenwood so expect some good news then.