Well, I am back from Cherokee and alive. I didnt get hit this year; makes for a good story, but painful. I did manage to ride into what we now know was a tornado in the Smokies? Chris and I headed up to Clingmans Dome (the highest elevation that you can ride on a bike on the east coast-6500 or so ft.). Halfway up the winds picked up and the hail ensued and we were not in a good place. 3500 ft up the mountain and 14 miles downward to any respite. Ever try to race down a mountain at 40+ mph in hail, rain and 70 mph crosswinds along with limbs and debris? I dont recommend it. http://app.strava.com/rides/12596200 We were coming down and about 300 yards in front of us a tree had just fallen. We barely missed that one! I think what saved us was the fact that we saw taillights around the corner, so we had to slow down. It was the most frightening encounter with nature to date. As we descended, we could hear trees and limbs snapping in the forest. Now, 441 is one road up and down, no shortcuts, once you are on your on. Luckily for us, we sought refuge in a bathroom at the mill near the OconalufteeVillage. after few very close lightning strikes made it too dangerous; too dangerous?
So, for 45 minutes, two guys in bike outfits hanging out in the bathroom-nevermind.
I will catch up with other stories later, but I thought this one would get you started.