Over and Around the Mountain

Eighteen riders showed for the regular Saturday ride. The plan was to ride from Shannon Hills to Caraway Mountain and back.

We split early, with a couple of folks deciding to hang back and ride at an easier pace. The early part of the ride is flat to rolling, with a few sharper climbs. Nothing too strenuous though.

The real climbing starts as you approach Caraway Mountain – a road sign indicating curves ahead is what I consider the start of the climb. It’s not a particularly difficult climb – perhaps a couple of miles averaging 7-8%. There are a couple of slightly steeper pitches mixed in, too. Spinning a 42×21 was about right.

As you crest Caraway Mountain Rd your’re presented with another opportunity: Caraway Summit Trail. Turn left, shift down, and start cranking, ’cause it’s a workout. I immediately went into my lowest gear and got out of the saddle, mainly because it was too difficult to keep the front wheel planted while seated.

The road climbs for about half a mile, with a couple of minor breaks from the steep grades. Of the eight of us who climbed it, only one did it without stopping. I blew up a couple hundred yards from the top, stopped to catch my breath, then finished the climb. I have no idea what the actual grade is, but the consensus seemed to be 20%+. I’ll buy that.

After descending we stopped at a convenience store to refuel, then rolled home. The rest of the ride is flat to gently rolling. Several guys went off the front in an effort to get home early, while the rest of us formed a paceline and rode a steady 20, plus or minus.

Want to try it? Here’s the cue sheet:

R…Old Randleman
L..Burnettes Chapel
R..Coltrane Mill
Coltrane becomes Cedar Sq
X..Davis Ctry
L..Elmer Beeson rd
R..Spencer Rd
X 311
S..Edgar Rd
R..Beeson Rd
L..Flint Hill Rd
S…top of Caraway..Store at top past left turn to steepest climb. U turn to go back..Or another way back
L..Old Ctry Rd
L..Plainfield/Lake Lucas
R..311 go about 100 Ft
L..Island Ford Rd
R..Walker Mill
L..Earl Johnson Rd
R..Branson Davis
L..Davis Ctry
R..Cedar Sq
X 62
L..Burnette Chapel
L..Old Randleman
L..Rehobeth..Back to Church

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