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6 Gap Century - CycleCentury

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Dahlonega, Georgia
United States
81F / 27C
Total Time = 7h 35m
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
  • 7h 35m
  • 100 miles
  • 13.19 mile/hr

It's done! Another 6 Gap ridden, another set of sore legs.
A great ride with chamber of commerce weather, highs in the low 80's, humidity about 40% and crisp, clear blue skies. The scenery was amazing against the blue sky with the moon hovering.
The trip up included the annual pilgrimages to the Performance Bike store in Roswell andthe Pearl Izumi store on the GA 400 near Dahlonega. Art provided an array of tunes that well, let's just say much improved on last years production...from his hospital bed.
Saturday night dinner in Dohlonega with Heywood, Sluggo, Breden the McLambs & me as we watched the Seminoles torch the Tide. Heywood kept an eye on the small screen for Ducks v Bears updates...unfortunately the Ducks went down.
Sunday morning up at 5:45, bagel & a chocolate drink. Heywood is wearing the Liquigas green uniform...just stunning!
Off we go the the Lumpkin County High School, as we get there the parking lot is jammed so we keep moving along & low & behold end up with a parking spot at the front door.
7:30 & we're off, temps are about 55 degrees calling for sleeves and vests. I have some mechanical issues right off the bat, rear brake is rubbing. Heywood & I stop, he does some adjusting & we continue on. Well, the brake starts rubbing again so, we stop again to adjust it & ended up basically loosening it to the point I have no rear brake, not a good thing for descending the upcoming gaps.
Neels Gap is the first climb you get to after about 18 miles of warm ups on some rollers. Neels is a about a 6-7 mile, moderate climb with no real steep sections and some gradual corners as you work your way up the mountain. The morning sky is just gorgeous, the moon over the mountains, spectacular scenery. I catch Art on the way & we come upon a gorup at the side of the road who look like bike repair guys. I asked if they could look at my rear brake, reluctantly he did & noticed I had put the skewer spring on backward causing the wheel to be out of align...he quickly repaired it and now I had a rear brake...I don't know how I could have made any descents without that fortunate little stop to fix a brake.
Descending Neels - I can't tell you what a thrill it is to descend each of the gaps at 6 Gap, Unbelieveable! Off of Neels is a 3 or 4 mile downhill approaching 40 mph+ navigating some sweeping turns. I head off the top in front only to find Marino & Breden screaming by me in the tuck position.
Jack's & Unicoi are next, moderate climbs again & not as long as Neels. I think the descent off Unicoi is amazing, it's a long descent and once again speeds reach 40 mph+. I'm flying downhill thinking I'm alone when all of the sudden Breden screams "on your left!" Startled, I about jumped out of my new Performance bib shorts. Then Marino again just flies by me, Art is staying back playing it cool but having a blast.
Going up Unicoi Marino has an incident with a car that cuts him off! He slams the guys rear panel, the guy slows down & starts yelling at Mike through a CLOSED WINDOW! Just glad he didn't get overly aggressive with the car.
Hogpen - Painful, exhausting, demoralizing...take your pick when it comes to climbing Hogpen. 7 miles of pure pain, grades in the 15% plus range and for some reason today more traffic than previous years. Climbing this monster my emotions run the gamut from, I feel pretty good to I want to cry...I'm not kidding! There is a rest stop about 2/3 the way up & we had discussed before the climb agreeing to press on & not stop. I couldn't make it, I had to stop getting off the bike my legs are quivering. I'll never do this again without a compact crank (ORDERED IT TODAY!) I pushed 39-29 & kept looking for another easier gear, no luck there. So, all 4 of us regroup & complete the climb...did I say it was painful?
As much as the ascent on Hogpen is the most painful thing you can do on a bike, the descent may be the most amazing thing you do on a bike. Pure downhill speed with turns included. Marino reaches 50 mph! I got to 48 mph.,..WHAT A RUSH!!!!!!!!!!!!! You just want to go back & do it again..without the climb. It's here we lose Art, apparently he had a flat & we rode away from him. Stopped at the base of Wolfpen & waited a while until he came pedaling in...good thing it didn't happen on the descent but it puts us out on the course a little longer.
Wolfpen - Only a 3 mile climb Wolfpen is steep and has some nasty switchbacks to navigate. Climbing Hogpen makes this climb seem even harder, your legs are fried from Hogpen yet have to get up some really steep grades on this hill. Breden comes in to the rest stop at the top & looks like crap, not feeling well this is just a small low point in otherwise great ride for him. The descent is fun & then it's off to the last small climb of the day at Woody's Gap.
Descending off Woody's - 13 miles of cycling euphoria! 30 to 40 mph the whole time nailing some tight turns as we head back into Dahlonega. If there is any reason to endure 6 Gap it is the descent off Hogpen and then Woody's! You can do Woody's on 3 Gap but to descend both Hogpen & Woody"s...It doesn't get better than that folks.
After the descent we're finishing up on some rollers when at about the 4 or 5 mile mark, Art makes a great move to overtake & gap us. Breden takes off after him as does Marino & me only Marino & me get caught behind cars slowing for cyclists just passed by Art & Breden. Breden finally catches Art near the end...just a great move on Art's behalf! Finishing at the high school we eat a great plat of spaghetti & re-live the day...great stuff!
So, it's a hard ride, no question but I had a blast! Enjoyed the time with Marino, Art & Breden, the Litespeed did well, just a great weekend. Everytime I climb Hogpen I tell myself never again...well, I can't wait to register for next year...R U IN?

Post race

Last updated: 2007-06-13 12:00 AM
07:35:00 | 100 miles | 13.19 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Course: 6 Mountain Gaps 10,700 feet of climbing (& descending)
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2007-10-03 12:13 PM

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Extreme Veteran
Jacksonville, FL
Subject: 6 Gap Century

2007-10-03 2:50 PM
in reply to: #989749

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Vestavia Hills
Subject: RE: 6 Gap Century

Great race report ... and good job on completing what is arguably one of the toughest Centuries out there.

Climbing this monster [Hogpen] my emotions run the gamut from, I feel pretty good to I want to cry ...

The drama associated with Hogpen for everyday cyclist belies the feat of the pro's as they literally fly up the mountain.

Congrats again on gaining a jersey worthy of the trip.  Wear it with pride.

2007-10-03 3:29 PM
in reply to: #989749

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Subject: RE: 6 Gap Century

Sounds challenging!

You'll enjoy your compact next year...they have a new cassette too designed for rides like this...11-28...just got mine...Sram makes it.

Congrats on a tough ride~ 

2007-10-03 8:43 PM
in reply to: #989749

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: 6 Gap Century

Great report; makes me feel like I was there!  (Well, without the sore legs..)  

Sounds like everyone had a great time with much better weather than last year.  Congrats on finishing the hell ride; I hope you got a jersey! 

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