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3 State 3 Mountain Century ride - CycleCentury

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Chattanooga, Tennessee
United States
Chattanooga Bike Club
60F / 16C
Total Time = 6h 50m
Overall Rank = ?/2450
Age Group = 45-49
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Spent the night in Chattanooga. Woke up at 6am to a raging thunderstorm. Ate breakfast at 7am. Loaded up the truck and drove to Finley Stadium.
Event warmup:

Did some light stretching.
  • 6h 50m
  • 100 miles
  • 14.63 mile/hr

What a ride. It had quit raining by the time we started but the roads were wet. I've never seen so many bikes at one time. We started out in a huge pace line out of Chattanooga. Within 15 miles we were up the first mountain. 5 miles of 6% grade without a break. Everyone was stopping at the top for a break. 1st sag was at the bottom of this mountain. Another 30 miles later and we were at the split for the metric century riders. We continued on. Within miles was another short climb and then into Alabama. We got to Sand Mountain and it reminded me of a route I ride a lot because of the switch backs and scenery. 3.5 miles at 6%-8% grade but it had little breaks in it. After riding the plateau for 17 miles we had a nice downhill. Into Georgia we went and stopped at the sag before the big climb. We started up right after the sag. 2.4 miles straight up. By a 1/2 mile my brother was asking can we walk. I said sure. (I thought he was joking) I tried riding in the saddle for 5 or 6 peddle strokes and out of the saddle for 5 or 6 peddle strokes. Was working great at a 5mph pace. Then the "are we having fun yet" signs appeared. 2 miles in the sign changed to "here we go". I had to stay out of the saddle the last 1/4 mile. Then I heard the cowbells and I knew I had it made. Lots of people are walking around me but I powered it to the top. I waited 10 mins for my brother who said he had to walk about a mile of it. We loaded up at the sag at the top of the mountain and enjoyed the ride back into Chattanooga.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing..I really enjoyed this ride.
Post race
Warm down:

Ate lots of pizza and drank lots of Coke.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I rode this ride as I had trained and it went as planned.

Event comments:

This ride is awesome. If you only do one century in your lifetime, this one is it. Breathtaking views, very well supported, lots of volunteers, and someone at every turn on the course.

Last updated: 2007-05-11 12:00 AM
06:50:00 | 100 miles | 14.63 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/2450
Performance: Good
Wind: Little
Course: Started in Chattanooga, TN..Rode over Suck Creek Mountain..into Alabama over Sand Mountain..into Georgia over Lookout Mountain..back to Chattanooga.
Road: Smooth Wet Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Post race
Weight change: %3.2
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2007-05-11 8:57 AM

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Extreme Veteran
Crossville, TN
Subject: 3 State 3 Mountain Century ride

2007-05-16 7:59 PM
in reply to: #796932

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Extreme Veteran
northeast Ohio
Subject: RE: 3 State 3 Mountain Century ride
Congrats on doing your first century ride!  Just reading about the hills makes me tired.  Great job!   
2007-05-17 10:03 AM
in reply to: #796932

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Alpharetta, GA
Subject: RE: 3 State 3 Mountain Century ride

Great job!!  I've heard nice things about this one.  If you enjoyed it, you need to come to Georgia in Sept. and ride the Six Gap Century/Three Gap Fifty.

It's another great ride (loop that'll take you back to start) that's well-supported.  Despite the nasty weather last year (started raining about 5 miles out from the school and kept coming for most of the ride), close to 1500 people rode.

A few links: (6 Gaps profile, the peaks, in order - Neels, Jacks, Unicoi, HOGPEN, Wolfpen, Woodys) (3 Gaps profile, the peaks in order - Neels, Wolfpen, Woodys)

(links with pics) (some good pics from last year here)

Descriptions of each Gap:

Gap 1: Neels

This is a seven mile climb of moderate grade. Use it to get your legs and
CV system running well and to get the feel of what it's like to go up hill
for an hour. Watch your energy output rate (preferably with a heart rate
monitor) and keep it moderate. There will be plenty of opportunity to push
harder later in the ride, should you find the workout inadequate.

The descent from Neels is fast but straight enough to be relatively safe,
with good pavement. (For the 3-gap folks, the left turn to Wolfpen Gap is
easy to fly by if you are not looking for it.)

Gap 2: Jacks

After some fairly good Havana-hills-like rolling terrain, this climb goes
for about 3 miles at a moderate+ grade. This is where you get the
experience of making a long climb that is not the first long climb...

The descent from Jacks is long and moderate - let it fly. Beautiful scenery
and lots of free miles on this one. It takes you all the way to the start
of the climb to Unicoi Gap, no hilly stuff in between: just descend and
start the next climb.

Gap 3: Unicoi

Unicoi is about 3 miles of moderate++ climbing. The main problem with
Unicoi is that it is unshaded and can be very hot facing into the sun.

The descent from Unicoi is great. While the climb is relatively short, the
descent is over 10 miles all the way into Helen. The grade is steep enough
to be fun, but the pavement is good and the curves are well banked so again
this is not particularly dangerous. There may be a lot of traffic, the only
"down side". But the roadway is wide enough to accommodate autos and bikes
in most places. Stay aware of the traffic behind you.

At 1445 ft above sea level, Helen is the lowest elevation on 6-gap, thus
explaining why the descent is so long. (Dahlonega is 1880 ft.) And you WILL
pay a price...

Gap 4: Hogpen

This is the big one. Seven miles at a steep grade, averaging around 7% but
with some sections well above that. There are also a couple of false
summits. There's a rest stop at mile 4, with 3 to go. (The mile markers on
the highway actually correspond to miles on this climb.) Try to skip the
intermediate rest stop. If the weather is hot, though, you may need to just
get some fluid here.

The descent from Hogpen is dangerous. It is very steep. There are sharp
blind curves at the end of steep strait sections. The pavement is bad: old
chip-seal, broken in places, and loose gravel possible anywhere. The road
is narrow, and the camber of the turns is not adequate. The grade is such
that speeds in excess of 50 mph are possible just using gravity.

Someone said that if you don't brake, you won't flat: well, tell that to
all the people who have flatted on, say, our St Marks Trail. You can also
come up on wildlife, potholes, stopped leaf peepers, wet roadway, loose
gravel, pavement cracks, hickory nuts, crashed motorcycles, motorcycles
ascending in your lane, and any number of other hazards that require a very
rapid change of plans. Bad stuff CAN happen. I have personally seen
everything in my list above on the 6-gap course. It is unwise to descend at
a speed that allows for no margin of correction.

It is also unwise to brake too much, especially to ride the brakes. You
want to avoid heat buildup in your rims - eventually, this will cause a
blowout by melting your tube. (If you have plastic rim strips, failure will
occur at a much lower temperature. Change to cloth rim tape before 6-gap.)
And keep in mind: the heavier you are, the faster gravity will accelerate
you and the more heat you will put into your rims when you slow down.

There's no simple recipe here, just make sure you control your speed to
something that gives you some wiggle room in case of unexpected events.

Gap 5: Wolfpen

The second toughest climb on 6-gap. About 2.5 miles (depending on where you
define the beginning) with grades on par with Hogpen. The roadway is shady,
however, which is great if the weather is hot. (It's been known to sleet up
here, if the weather is wet.)

The Wolfpen descent is twisty but on good pavement with good camber to the
curves, so not too dangerous. It is often damp, though. Stay out of the paint.

Gap 6: Woody

The descent from Wolfpen takes you only down to Suches, home of the highest
elevation school in Georgia. Consequently the climb up Woody is a paltry
1.5 miles of moderate grade. From the top of Woody it's a 15+/- mile
descent of mild grade all the way back to Dahlonega. Try to have enough
energy left to enjoy it.



2007-05-17 11:12 AM
in reply to: #804514

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Extreme Veteran
Crossville, TN
Subject: RE: 3 State 3 Mountain Century ride
LHablas - 2007-05-17 9:03 AM

Great job!!  I've heard nice things about this one.  If you enjoyed it, you need to come to Georgia in Sept. and ride the Six Gap Century.

Good friend of mine rode it last year. He said it was awesome and I needed to have ridden with him. He's a lot stronger rider than me and he said it made him hurt.
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