This Bike/Run/Bike route starts at Packs Tavern located next to Asheville’s historic Packs Square park in downtown. It climbs up Town Mountain Rd to the Blue Ridge Parkway and follows the BRP to the highest point in the east (Mt. Mitchell) for a 33mile ride with about 6,000 feet of climbing. At some point during the event, you must reach the actual summit of Mt Mitchell. From here you will take the notoriously steep and technical Black Mountain Crest Trail for the 12 miles or so down to Bowlen Creek Bridge. Then you can refill your water and do it all in reverse. The crest trail will send you over several 6,000 foot peaks and reach well over 7,000ft elevation gain during the out and back. For the final leg, you get to enjoy a “mostly” downhill ride back to Packs Tavern. There are public taps that sometimes work at Craggy and Mitchell. Streams are available at many points during the event but scarce on most of the BMCT though there is some down a trail at deep gap.
Trippin Billy and I started the route at 3:25 AM and finished right at 4:28pm. We carried everything from start to finish. We stashed food in our bike bags and our running vests. We had our running shoes stuffed in the bike jerseys. We summitted Mitchell first because of the possibility of storms later in the day. We stashed our bikes in the woods off the crest trail, locked them to a tree, and threw on the running gear. It was hot and humid most the day. We were able to fill up at Craggy Gardens public tap but the Mt. Mitchell tap was cut off to our surprise. So we had to conserve water till we reached Bowlen creek. There is a stream off deep gap, but we chose to power through and fill at the bottom. We got caught in storms at mile 19 on the run, it then remained an on/off downpour for much of the bike ride back to town.
Both the ride and run are bucket list routes for many cyclists, runners, and hikers in the Southeast. So here is a way to blend them together for an epic day.