Today, I was able to do my favorite ride in Southeast Tennessee. I thought I'd share a little of it with you.
Getting ready to roll out of Webb's Store
This was an advertised club ride and 17 riders showed up, even though many had to drive over 50 miles to get there. We met in Reliance, TN along the Hiawassee River, at a little place called Webb's Store. It's a gas station, bait shop, general store, outfitters, etc. That's pretty much all Reliance is made of. They let us park in the field behind the store.
Climbing and climbing and climbing...
The first 14 miles of the ride are HUGE rollers. Some of them are at least a mile climb with fun, screaming downhills. Now, I've been on vacation in Northeastern Wisconsin for 2 weeks and wasn't able to do much riding. The rides I did there were pretty flat, too. This was a huge initiation into Tennessee hills again!
After a short stop at a service station, we continued on to Tellico Plains, TN. This is a resort town, known for being the gateway to the Cherohala Skyway and the Tail of the Dragon. Motorcyclists from around the world come to challenge the Dragon. It's an 11 mile road which has 317 switchbacks! We didn't ride the Skyway or the Dragon, but we rode a quieter, picturesque road that follows the Tellico river. This brought us up to Bald River Falls.
Me, standing by Bald River Falls
We took some time at the falls for some pictures and a rest and then followed the river back towards town to have lunch at Tellico Kats. This is our favorite restaurant in the area. I've been there so many times, the ladies know my name! By this point, we had about 40 miles on. Lunch was delicious!
We filled our water bottles at a gas station in town and took off for our return to Reliance. My legs were screaming!! Part of the reason was from being out of shape from vacation and some of it was from sitting still too long to eat. Sometimes, you just have to work through the pain, though. As long as I kept pedalling, I was fine. If I stopped to coast, they cramped. After about 10 miles of this, they finally felt normal again. Just tired.
The last 10 miles of the ride, were a reverse of the first ten miles of gargantuan hills. I was riding near the back, with the sweep, but enjoying the beautiful day. It was in the low 70's and sunny. The azaleas are blooming and the kudzu is starting to throw its tenticles out in the road to grab us. It was truly a great day to spend pedalling through the beautiful countryside with friends.
Total mileage was 62.4 miles. Whew!
So, that is my favorite ride!