We parked at the Grove Park Inn and rode from there with the climbing starting immediately. Sunset Parkway, Old Toll Rd., Town Mountain, Blue Ridge Parkway. The ride went really well and we had quite the experience on Town Mountain Rd. Riding along, we saw a big black object enter the road from the woods about 200 meters in front of us. It was a black bear... no big deal right, well it was as she had three little cubs with her! Kelly and I both stopped and as I watched, Kelly turned around and threw down one of her trade-mark 'barking dog' sprints in the other direction... The foursome crossed the road and proceeded down the incline into the woods on the other side of the road. The whole experience was surreal. What if we'd noticed them say 50 meters away? I don't want to know what fighting a mama black bear would've been like!
The rest of the ride was normal so-to-speak. We rode to the picnic area atop Craggy Gardens. Kelly climbed well and it was time to descend back to the GPI. I figured about 1 hour (took us 2 hours to get up there). I was pleasantly surprised with Kelly's improved descending skills though and we made it back in about 45 minutes. She was taking corners much faster than I've ever witnessed.
Great day of riding!
Sunday morning presented us with a little rain but it cleared by 9:30 a.m. and we got out for a 1 hour spin.