Sponsor of Timed Section #2 Bearwallow Mountain
If you Google Bearwallow Mountain, you will find that it has a well-earned reputation as a hiking destination. If you love hiking, you should definitely put this on your list of hikes in Western North Carolina. You can see pretty much the entire state (and South Carolina) from the summit. A short walk takes you to that summit from the parking lot.
But, let’s face it, Bearwallow Mountain isn’t included in the Bookwalter Binge Gran Fondo because it’s a walk in the park. This beast will make you cry for yo’ mamma.
During cycling season, the mountain plays host to a steady stream of cyclists approaching from both the south and the north, as there are two different ways to get up there. And while both are challenging, the approach from the north is widely known as the “steep” side… and that’s why Brent and Jamie picked it for the Binge.
Here’s a preview of the climb from Brent Bookwalter:
I discovered Bearwallow Mountain a couple of years after moving to Asheville. The first time I climbed this brute, I remember feeling the unparalleled excitement of finding a new world-class climb… which was quickly tempered by feeling like someone smacked me in the face.
The turn onto the climb reveals a gradual and generally gentle start, but within minutes riders are confronted with increasingly steep, irregular pitches and a few switchbacks which rival any of the steepest climbs in Western North Carolina. The false summit, which comes just past the halfway point, lulls you into the temporary feeling of accomplishment… before the final, and twisty, even steeper pitch to the top… which requires a powerful push.
When I include Bearwallow Mountain in a training ride… and I am able to attack the lower wall of this climb, recover in the middle and again hammer over the top, I know that I’m on some good form, giving me a boost of confidence for my next race where the road will tilt up.
|Sponsored by||Park Ridge Health|
|Total Elev Gain||887'|
|Comes at mile||Piccolo - N/A
Medio - Mile 30.5
Gran - Mile 38.8