Get high: Every U.S. state has its highest point, from Delaware's paltry 450 feet above sea level to Alaska's mammoth Denali, which pierces the clouds at 20,030 feet. Falling somewhere in between is our own Mount Mitchell and its crown of blighted firs, at 6,684 feet. Well, file this one under "obsessions": An organization called the Highpointers is dedicated to putting its members atop all 50 states' highest points. Beginning Thursday, Aug. 3, the club will hold its annual conference here in Asheville, centered at the Super 8 and Blue Ridge Conference Center on Tunnel Road. The itinerary includes day trips, visits to craft shows, evening socials and a "Konvention Banquet." (The organization's motto is "Keep Klimbin'," to which we say, "Kan you please work on that?") Gate-crashing is dicey since the registration deadline was July 15, but for more information about the club, visit www.highpointers.org.
Hell to pay: Sign up now for the Hilly Hellacious, an annual fun ride sponsored by the Blue Ridge Bicycle Club and the Western North Carolina Bicycle Dealers' Association. This year's ride takes place on Sunday, Aug. 27, and costs $35. A full century (100 miles) and a metric century (62 miles) are planned, departing from the Cane Creek area and taking in Bat Cave. Starts will be staggered to fit different riders' paces. The club's Web site, www.blueridgebicycleclub.org, has entry information as well as elaborate tips on pre-ride nutrition. Take heed, lest ye bonk. Registration forms are also found there, as well as information about volunteering.