Date: April 11, 2015
Race: Assault on the Carolina's
Location: Asheville, NC
Rider(s): Teresa DiSessa-Johnson, Alli McCabe, Audrey Wendolowski and Bonni Schervone
Bonni, Teresa, Audrey, and Alli packed the cars and headed to Bevard, NC to tackle the annual ride known as "Assault on the Carolina's" which had reached it's max of 1,000 cyclists. Upon arrival, the town was buzzing with bikes and many were in line to receive their bib numbers and a bag of goodies. The stations were strategically placed and very organized allowing the line to flow through smoothly and quickly. Great goodie bags too! There were 3 routes to choose from, 40k, 60k or 100k. We all came prepared to ride the 100k that encompassed 2 challenging climbs, Walnut Hollow (one mile steep climb) and Caesar's Head (6-7 mile 5%-8% endurance climb) as well as other lumps and bumps since we discovered no where in the Carolina's is flat. The ride started off slow and congested, but many spectators cheered us on as we rolled off to start the day. Police and many amazing volunteers guided the way and controlled traffic at intersections and sharp turns. This made for a safe and easily navigated ride. Around mile 8 was our first climb, Walnut Hallow. This is where riders started spreading out and some people even walked. We all made it to the top and started the decent of long swooping switch backs until we hit our first pit stop at mile 30. After regrouping we started our journey towards Caesar's Head, which would begin around mile 42. There was another rest area at the base of Caesar's Head, some of us stopped to fill our water bottles before starting the hour long ascent. The climb started at a steady 6%-9% for 3 miles before leveling out for a tiny break and then kicking back up to 6%-9%. Some cyclists took breaks along the guard rails, but I knew stopping was not an option. We all found our rhythms and chugged along up the mountain. On the ride we encountered many different varieties of riders. One lady was attempting the 40k and it would be the longest distance she has ever ridden on her bike. She was a local and sweet as can be. I met another cyclist from Maryland who was participating for his 4th year. He gave me great tips about Caesar's Head at the rest stop right before the climb. One man, Rich, who used to be a pro in southern California and is now in his 60s along with his girlfriend, Carol, completed the 100k on their tandem. Another man, Marshall, a 78 year old national Time Trialist that still races (and is fast!!!) and not to forget Danielle, a local rider who was kind, welcoming and a strong climber. It was a very successful day for Team Riptide and we were very happy to be a part of such a wonderful ride!