I've received a few messages asking about the totals on my short spring break training trip in the NC mountains. By my normal training standards, it was huge. In three days I ran 40 miles with 11,200 ft of climbing and I rode 84 miles with 12,400 ft of climbing. Combined with the training I completed at home that week, the totals were 53 miles of running and 116 miles of cycling.
I also visited some interesting tourist destinations, including the Folk Art Center on the BRP, the Biltmore Estate, Maggie Valley, NC, several art galleries, and 4 microbreweries. The Folk Art Center is a component of the original vision of the BRP, which included "points of interest" spaced approximately every thirty miles along the parkway. It is worth the visit. The Biltmore is costly ($29+ dollars per head), but most worthy because of the quantity and nature of the continuing history of the estate. I found it most fascinating that a small fraction of the Vanderbilt fortune was used to create and preserve this 8000+ acre estate and the Pigsah National Forest, which was the first nationally protected forest.
In short, I saw a variety of regional art, listened to talented musicians playing alternative and Old Time music, drank great bear, and trained long and hard. It was a memorable trip.