We’ve reached that time of year when spring fever takes hold. Old Man Winter releases his grip, the trees start to pop with bright green leaves, and we squirrels and humans become more active.

One of the big events up here on the mountain — the fifth annual Beech Mountain Metric — returns Saturday, May 19. Clocking in at 61 miles with 8,000 feet of climbing, the Metric is a doozy of a ride and requires some serious cycling skills.

The Beech Mountain Metric starts in Banner Elk, our neighboring town down the mountain. The route circles north of Beech Mountain, joining up with the Elk River and Watauga River. Clearings along the way offer views of our beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Some of my animal buddies make appearances, like fellow squirrels, black bears and deer.

The route circles back to Banner Elk before making the final climb up the switchbacks to Beech Mountain. The finish line lies in downtown Beech Mountain, and you can bet there will be a crowd of our friendly residents, volunteers and visitors there to celebrate with you.

An interesting side note: the famed ascent up Beech Mountain was often the closing stage for the Tour DuPont, which featured riders like Lance Armstrong, and Lance came back to Beech Mountain to train on that ascent in preparation for his first victory in the Tour de France.

For less-experienced riders – or those looking for a lighter challenge – a secondary route travels 43 miles with a mere 5,600 feet of climbing.

After all that effort, I say you should make a Beech Mountain weekend of it by staying in one of our condos, cabins lodges or inns. If your friends want to come and ride together, our accommodations work great for groups.

Several properties offer discounts, such as 10 percent off, 20 percent off, or stay three nights for the price of two. Local restaurants know cyclists will be ready to refuel after the big ride, so they’re offering discounts, too. For discount lodging, click here.

Online registration is open, and the ride is limited to 300 participants. So if you’re up for the challenge on May 19, go ahead and register now.

I look forward to seeing you pedaling up Beech Mountain soon!

Yours truly,
Boomer the Squirrel


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