Sponsor of Timed Section #3 Point Lookout Trail
Before Interstate 40 was constructed in the 1960s, Old 70 was a busy road which included a small grocery store and the “attraction” of a caged bear. The Royal Gorge Overlook is where the store was located and when the kudzu lies dormant, you can see the stone stairway leading to the original lookout point located adjacent to the flag pole.
After Interstate 40 was opened, activity on the original portion of U.S. 70 significantly declined. The interstate was new and faster! With diminished use, this tract of Old 70 was closed.
In 2008, a joint collaboration was created between McDowell County government, the town of Old Fort, the newly created McDowell Trails Association and the U.S. Forest Service to re-open this section of road as a paved, non-motorized trail that is open to the public year-round. Volunteer Julie White was instrumental in making this trail possible, so look for her at Rest Stop 2 and shake her hand to show your gratitude.
Enough with the history lesson…let’s talk about the Binge Throw Down. Rumor has it that, after taking one year off from Bingeing with Brent, George Hincapie is planning to attack on this final climb. Little does he know that the PRO riders established a Throw Down on this climb last year and he won’t be the only one gunning for KOM on this timed segment.
Here’s a preview of the climb from Brent Bookwalter:
Point Lookout Trail is a prime example of why Binge country is my favorite place in the world to ride. It’s a rare treat to have a “road” this beautiful that is completely closed to cars, and I relish every chance I get to soak in these few miles of narrow serpentine bliss.
The grade is consistent and moderate enough that this climb can make for a smooth, easy spin as you take in the dense surrounding forest and sporadic long range mountain views. It’s also long enough with just enough bite in places to make for a great power climb. I often throw this into the later half of a training ride to test my form after multiple hours.
This obstacle serves as the Last Chance Saloon for anyone looking to stamp their authority of strength on the Binge Gran route, and it hasn’t disappointed in making my legs ache and lungs burn in recent years of the Binge. Usually a rude reminder that my race form has left me, but an inspiration to get it back as there is no better climb to enjoy and share with a great crew of Bingers. Looking forward to seeing you out there!
The Point Lookout Trail timed section is Sponsored by Blue Ridge Traveler, the information source for all outdoor activities in McDowell County. Ever heard of Camp Grier, Curtis Creek, Heartbreak Ridge, or Kitsuma? All located in McDowell County, so if you want to combine some epic mountain biking with your Binge experience, check out the Blue Ridge Traveler website for lodging options. And, look for Carol Price of Blue Ridge Traveler at Rest Stop #4, and give her a fist bump for sponsoring the Binge!
|Sponsored by||Blue Ridge Traveler|
|Total Elev Gain||900'|
|Comes at mile||Piccolo - N/A
Medio - N/A
Gran - Mile 73.2