In hot and humid conditions riders rolled out from the Palmetto Cove RV park to tackle either the 33, 62 or 102 mile option of the Caesars Head Challenge. The route had been slightly modified from the previous year to eliminate some of the busier roads. One element remained the same for those choosing either the 62 or 102 mile routes: the 6.4 mile climb to the summit of Caesars Head.
The two longer options rolled out together at 7:30 followed by the 33 mile group at 8:00 AM. Just a mile into the course the riders hit the first incline of the day. While this event is technically not a race, the riders at the front of the group obviously didn’t get that memo as the pace, while not all out, was rather brisk and riders who were not quick to respond to the surges were dropped.
At a fork in the road the 102 mile group started the ascent up the water shed, while the 62 mile group did a loop which included the climb of Camp Old Indian. If you’re in the front group and want to remain there make sure you have brought along plenty of water as typically no one stops at any of the rest areas. The only exception was a very fast water break at about the 50 mile mark and you need to be as fast as a NASCAR mechanic to not get dropped when refilling your bottles. However, if you push on there is one last pit stop on the Caesars Head climb at the 4.5 miles remaining mark. If you’re hankering for some local cuisine, a couple was selling boiled peanuts and pork skins as well. However, this author does not recommend eating those before summiting the climb.
Once at the top cool beverages were on offer and a chance to catch your breath and talk with your fellow riders.
At the Palmetto Cove RV park just a quick descent away, a BBQ feast was on hand for all the riders as many eat their way through pasta, hamburgers and sloppy joes.
To a rider everyone was impressed by the organization and the route of the course as not only was it challenging physically but beautiful to see as well. Also a portion of the money raised went to the GlobalBike cause.
A challenging and beautiful course coupled with a good cause – there is no reason not to attend the next Caesars Head Challenge. And next year I’m riding the 102 mile route.
One of the riders maintains a blog called Crank Zombie and he posted about his Caesars Head Challenge experience.