Rich Mountain Ride 08

Rich Mountain Ride 08

18 Oct 08
Altitude at start, 1100 ft
Altitude at Top of Rich Mtn, 2861 ft
Temp: 46 deg at start
58 deg at Queen Wilhelmena Lodge
68 deg at finish in Mena
Clear Blue Skys,perfect temps for climbing mtn
25 miles

I'll have to say this was my toughest ride so far, only 25 miles, but the climbing was really tough due to the extreme grades.

We left BBB at about 6:30 am and arrived in Mena, AR around 8:45am, I started my ride at 9:05 and the first thing I encountered was a tough little hill and not being warmed up made it a killer.

Basically you go up, up, up but at about mile 7 you have some down and ups, really down and really up. I stopped for a few pics, but even tho I thought I might have to take a break because of grades, I managed to make them all without pushing.

I arrived at the Queen Wilhelmena Lodge on top the ridge at 10:25am, and I was sure proud to be there.
My support crew, Teresa, arrived about 15 minutes after I did and she begin to show me all the items she had scored at Garage sales in Mena. It works out fine for both of us on these rides, I ride, she shops, we both have a good time.

We didn't realize it before we went but this weekend was the "Christian Motorcycle Association" rally, 3000 motorcycles who gather at Iron Mountain just south of Mena. Needless to say there are Motorcycles everywhere. As I was climbing I met 3 of these gents at a vista pulloff as I was getting a picture. We talked a bit and then I was off, of course they passed me but then as I got to the next pulloff I see they had stopped again, but I kept pumping, here they come passing me again. It was this way all the way up the mountain until I finally saw them at the top at the Queen Wilhelmena Lodge, where I got a photo. One of the Motorcyclists, Tom, asked how old I was, I told him 61, he smiled and said you'll probably live to be a hundred, I told him I hoped not or I'd outlive my money.

Coming down the mountain was a blast as usual, at least once you get past the first 3 or 4 miles from the lodge, those first 3 or 4 miles or as tough as climbing up the hill, but once I got to the serious downhill I was rolling, at one time I had a Van behind me and I was doing about 45 or 50 mph and hitting the curves, leaning into them, having a ball, and the folks in the van were enjoying it too, they passed me as soon as I hit a grade and they were waving and smiling, we both enjoyed it.

On the way down I saw three other Masochists on the mountain, two runners, who I admired, and one cyclist, who I had great sympathy for when I saw him pushing his bike on one of the lower grades on the mountain, I don't think the Lodge was an option.

Teresa stopped at the pullouts on the way down and got some photos as I would pass by, I couldn't ask for a better support crew.
I got back to Mena at about 11:30am, so it took me 1 hr and twenty minutes to climb and 40 minutes to come down, which I think was pretty good for an old man.
Teresa and I headed for Wally World to get some Rotisserie Chicken and other munchies and then headed home.

A great day, a great ride, next year I would like to have some folks join us even if they don't ride, it really is a beautiful spot to spend a weekend.

The photos below are pretty much in order of the day, first ones climbing up the Mtn and then at top and the last ones are of the descent. See how many of the photos you can find that have a picture of the moon in them, one of my favorites is the pic, no.5, climbing up Mtn with moon overhead, maybe you had to be there!

Here is a good link for info about the Talamena Scenic Drive and Rich Mtn.