6 Gap 2007

So for the third time, I decided to stress my body to the max in September 2007 by riding the 100 mile, 6 mountain, 11,000' of climbing, 8 hour bike ride in lovely Dahlonega in the mountains of North Georgia.  Having done the full 6 Gaps last year, and going back to totally stuff your body again tells you what my sense of humour is like.  Zero.  The good thing about the ride this year however was that I did it twice (double zero sense of humour this guy).  I went up to the mountains in August with my cycling coach, John Josephs, his wife Tara, and another client Greg.  All of whom have better engines than I, but hey I can drink more red wine.  Well, except Tara.....

  The intrepid group, Greg, io, John and Tara before our first day's ride.  We did 2 x 3 Gaps over three days, and interspersed it with a day of white water rafting.  John looks like he was the medic, but it is just a Swiss jersey making him look uber cool.


  The climb profile is on last year's page, and you can see the Gaps there.  Here is proof that we crested Wolfpen at 3000+', it is the second worst of the 6, Hogpen being the worst both in terms of grade going up, length of climb, and speed of descent.  As in straight down.  You hold your breath, feather the brakes and try not to look at your speed.  Or else you would have a heart attack.  I held back this year over last, and feathered till they burned.  Only clocked 36mph (60kph).


  Coach John and Greg doing a respectable speed.  Note extra water bottle in the back of John's jersey, you didn't know where water might be available in the mountains, so we took extra.   Being 90F didn't help either, unusual so late in the summer for the mountains.


  Our relax day on the Chattahoochee river, it forms the border between Georgia and North Carolina.  For those of you with a good memory, yes this was the river where Deliverance was filmed.  We rafted past the same beach where 'the love scene' was filmed, but didn't hear any banjos.


  Its funny, we sweated till we were 110% wet on the 2 ride days, and got wet again on our day off.  I think John has a thing for water...........


  Did the second 3 Gaps on the next day, 55 miles or so and this was the end.  Unfortunately we don't look very convincing at being in pain, but trust me, we were.  Hardly managed to get back into town, have a shower and crawl to dinner at the Oyster Bar (funny in the mountains, I know), but we needed to have the owner Trish's trashy rice again with the fish.  She does the most amazing food and her son Jason, is attempting a level 2 Master of Wine.  So there you go, Dahlonega has better food and wine than Jacksonville!!


  This how we ride when we are waiting for Greg to do Brasstown Bald.  This punchy little ride is at the top of Jack's Gap, and heads up so steeply (20%?) that even the pros weave all over the road going up it.  Kudos to Greg for doing it, and thanks for the break.


  This looks like I did the Bald, but of cousre it is a trick.


  And so to the real ride in September where I stitched the lot together to do the full 6 in one go.  I was pretty p*ssed off that I was 6mns slower than last year (8hrs 12mns total time, 7hrs 6mns ride time) given I had done so much work for it, and given I thought I was riding better than last year.  But there you go.  I went up with Walter Campbell from JAX, and he did 5hrs 30mns, non stop.  Now that's a ride.  (I just want to know if he used a catheter instead of stopping for a pee..............)


  This doesn't do the top of Hogpen (the hard one) justice, but it is 3500' high and that means you have to go down, and then go back up again.  There are still 2 other mountains after this one, so you want to be conserving your last bit of energy at this stage.  


  After it is all over with my trusty steed.  I returned to find Walter enjoying several bottles of his Belgian beer and wondering what took me so long.  Below is my Garmin output, green is Elevation, red Heartbeat, and blue is Speed.  Power meter stuff is too complicated for here but my 20min best was 206W, which is about where my LT threshold is, so the summary of my ride was - pedal harder next time!!





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