Assault cyclists heading this way: Sheriff’s Office urges caution as riders share the road on Monday

On Monday, hundreds of cyclists will ride into Marion, many going on to Mount Mitchell.

Monday is the 44th Assault on Mount Mitchell and the 26th Assault on Marion.

Approximately 900 cyclists are expected to make their way through McDowell County beginning at 9:30 or 9:45 a.m. on Monday, May 20.

“Be patient with the riders and with law enforcement,” said Deputy Ricky Crisp of the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office, who oversees traffic control for the event. “Our objective is to get everyone through safely. Traffic will be backed up and stalled at times. We want people to be mindful of the riders and other motorists, as well as the officers that will be directing traffic at intersections.”

Most of those riders in the Assault on Marion usually complete the race by 2:30 p.m., and those traveling on to Mount Mitchell are usually out of the county by 5 p.m.

The Assault on Marion route will be as follows: Montford Cove Road to Old Fort-Sugar Hill Road to Zion Hill Road to Nix Creek Road to Tate Street to Old Highway 10 to Old Greenlee Road to Resistoflex Road to U.S. 70 West to Tom Johnson Camping Center.

The Assault on Mount Mitchell riders will travel the same route, except they will not stop at Tom Johnson Camping World. They will continue up N.C. 80 to the Blue Ridge Parkway to Mount Mitchell.

“2018 was my first Assault,” participant Greg Miller wrote on the Assaults Facebook page. “The level of support from the volunteers, police and staff was amazing. The route is just magnificent.”

According to the event’s website, The Assault on Mount Mitchell is a 102.7-mile self-paced ride from Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium in downtown Spartanburg, South Carolina, along the Blue Ridge Parkway, to the summit at Mount Mitchell State Park in North Carolina—a total vertical ascent of more than 10,000 feet.

Riders have 10 rest stops along the way, to refill refuel, and make mechanical adjustments as needed.

Last year, Corey Davis, a 25-year-old cyclist from Greenville, South Carolina, placed first overall in the male division, finishing the ride to the top in five hours, nine minutes and 46 seconds with a pace of 19.89 mph. In the female division, Jenny Leiser, a 38-year-old cyclist from Charlotte, placed first with a time of five hours, fifty-one minutes and 43 seconds, a pace of 17.52 mph.

There were 559 participants in last year’s ride to the top. The oldest cyclists to complete the grueling ride were two 71-year-old men, Robert Scofield-Friedman of Asheville and Dennis Buckner of Moore, South Carolina.

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