Tom Droege: SR 600k Ride Report

Tom Droege – RUSA #7794

Start time: Saturday June 14, 2014 – 4:00 am

Finish time: Monday June 16, 2014 – 1:52 am

Ride report for the Southern Appalachian SR600 – a Super Randonnée 600km permanent.

We were joking that doing this Super 600k ride was like doing the Assault on Mt. Mitchell 6 times, and then doing it again. Which is an exaggeration, but after doing 6 hard climbs in 38 hours on 3 hours of sleep, I was not sure that I would make the right hand turn off the parkway and climb it at night, but rather just ride my bike back to Asheville. But I was feeling pretty good and made the turn and enjoyed a nice tailwind right up to the top. We were required to take pictures at each “control” to prove that we were there, and so this is a picture of the elevation sign on the top of Mt. Mitchell at about 11:30 (43.5 hours in) after 340 miles of road, about 30,000 feet of climbing on 3 hours of sleep.

Here are the ascents in feet, lengths in miles and average grade over the entire climb for each of the climbs.

Pisgah – 5800 ft in 39 miles. 2.8%
Caesar’s Head – 1400 ft in 11 miles. 2.4%
215A back to the Parkway – 5700 ft in 34 miles. 3.1%
Betsy’s Gap – 2164 ft in 11 miles. 3.7%
Hot Springs — sleep 3 hours.
Sam’s Gap – 4128 ft in 29 miles. 2.6%
Roan Mt (Carver’s Gap) – 4981 in 21 miles. 4.4%
Mt. Mitchell – 6674 in 40 miles. 3.1% (from Marion AOMM it is 7051 ft in 61 miles. 2.2%)
Climbing down to Asheville! was still 1936 ft of climbing in 32 miles. 1.1%

In order of difficulty. Which matches my perception, I thought that Roan was the hardest, and then Betsy’s gap and 215A.

Roan Mt (Carver’s Gap) – 4.4%
Betsy’s Gap – 3.7%
215A back to the Parkway – 3.1%
Mt. Mitchell – 3.1%
Pisgah – 5800 ft in 39 miles. 2.8%
Sam’s Gap – 4128 ft in 29 miles. 2.6%
Caesar’s Head – 1400 ft in 11 miles. 2.4%

For Comparison the Assault on Mount Mitchell from Marion is 2.2%. So we weren’t really joking, each of the 6 climbs we did before climbing Mitchell was harder than the traditional Assault on Mt. Mitchell coming from Marion. Which matches my perception, because I’ve climbed Mitchell before, and it just seemed so easy this time (did I say I had a tail wind?)

The Southern Appalachian SR600 was developed as a part of the ACP’s new Super Randonnée 600km permanents. These permanents are sanctioned by the ACP only. Therefore, RUSA credit is not available for riding an SR600. Elevation Gain: 10,192 meters / 33,438 feet. Distance: 373.6 miles / 601 km. This is one of the first such rides in the US, and no more than a couple dozen people have done them.