Have you ever climbed further in a day?
Now THAT looks like a ton of fun!
Dang!!!! You're like a machine totally impressed your energy man.
Monster ride!! Amazing effort! :)
Thanks y'all, this ride was a lot of fun, but very difficult. It ended up being my second most day of climbing ever. Here is the ride I did back in 2012 where I climbed over 42,000 feet in one day (the Garmin glitched on that ride and I lost 3 hours of climbing I did after dinner). Nearly full moon for the last bit, rode most of the climbs with no front light on and toyed with the idea of doing one of the descents without a light because the moon was so bright it was casting shadows. The thought of hitting a pothole or stray rock kept me from doing that, though.
Outstanding even by your high standard
Ride recap - I had not slept at all Thursday night getting ready for the conference, so even though I went to bed at 8pm Friday night I couldn't drag myself out of bed until 3am. I drove the hour out of Gatlinburg to the top of Clingman's - this ride could be done from Gatlinburg itself as a 500km ride with well over 40,000 feet of climbing but as it turns out I'm glad I didn't try that because even this shortened version took over 23 hours elapsed time when I was expecting it to be in the 18-20 hour elapsed time range. Adding the climb from Gatlinburg would have made the ride take closer to 26 hours.
After the ride was over, I had a hotel reservation in Chattanooga that I had made a few days ago. I didn't even finish the ride until 3:15am and was falling asleep on the drive back down the mountain so I pulled over in the Alum cave parking lot and slept for an hour. Not wanting the hotel reservation to go to waste, I still made it to Chattanooga by 7:30am and they gave me a 2PM late checkout so I got a few hours of sleep.
I'm going to walk around Chattanooga now for a few hours before driving over to Huntsville to speak at Alabama Wheelmen annual meeting about RAAM and riding in Alabama.
About the ride itself, I believe Strava limits the length of these comments now, so I'll put that in the next comment.
This ride was tough mentally. I was thinking starting from about mile 200 that I had bitten off way more than I could chew, but I just kept plugging along thinking of how extreme my rides have to get before they take me to the breaking point now. Probably the hardest aspect of this ride was the uncertainty of finishing it. When I first ran into the heavy smoke from the forest fires I was not sure if it was going to get worse or better or what it would mean long term for my health. It lasted for maybe 50 miles(?) from the high point on the parkway to Asheville and started to clear on the climb back out of Asheville. I was dreading riding back through it, but the day's winds had blown the smoke north of the parkway for the most part and I only had heavy smoke from Asheville until about halfway up the climb to Mount Pisgah on the way back.
The other uncertainty was the weather - whether I had risked the cold temps with not enough clothing. I knew it was going to be cold, but I also knew that it would warm up during the day. Since I was carrying all my stuff with me I went with what turned out to be the bare minimum level of clothing - shorts and jersey plus long sleeve insulated reflective rain jacket, leg warmers, ear warmers, short finger gloves and thick winter gloves. I've done this kind of ride enough times now to know the problems that you run into - hands too hot on the climbs, too cold on the descents, feet too cold on the climbs and neutral on the descents. The clothing was perfect until it got colder than expected and earlier than expected on the second night. I was freezing by the bottom of the long descent down into Asheville where I stopped to eat and bought coffee and hot food. Ironically, as soon as I started riding again I was overheated but hesitant to stop and take the warm clothes I just put on back off which led to some sweat which led to the next few problems of the ride - absolutely freezing even before making to the high point on the parkway (temp down in the 20s). So needless to say, the descent from the high point was awful and it was one of a couple times now that I've had whole body shivers on a descent. Thankfully, though the temp warmed up into the lower 30s by the bottom. I was fine for the climb back up to waterrock and the temp didn't even dip below 30 (as far as I can remember). I was dreading the next descent, though from the mile high campground down to the end of the parkway at the entrance to the great smoky mountains national park. It would have been bad except there a bunch of tunnels and each tunnel had a nice warm pocket of air in it. Still, it was late enough by this point that cold air had startled to settle into the valley. The start of the climb up clingman's is very gradual so I was stuck in the cold upper 30 deg temp until I had climbed about 1000 feet where it oh so slowly climbed up to about 32 or 33 before it started to go back down again by the top. There was frost on the cars at the top!