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  1. #1
    Up on the Down Side CyLowe97's Avatar
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    Riding in Georgia in August - What's it like?

    Southeasterners, perhaps you could indulge my Great Lakes curiosity about road riding in Georgia in the dead middle of summer. An Atlanta friend of my wife is getting married in August and I might bring my bike along to get a little riding in while down there.

    In particular, how is the heat/humidity factor? I'm used to Midwest hot/humid, but obviously try to temper the effects by riding at dawn.

    I'd love to give a go at some of the climbs done in the TdG. Wolfpen Gap, Hogpen Gap, and (maybe) Brasstown Bald. Are these areas reasonably close to Atlanta for, say, day trips to ride? Are there good places to base the ride? Closer places outside of Atlanta to get some good hilly riding in? Suggested routes? Anyone want to play the role of tour guide to a Northerner? Etc?

    I don't know Georgia except for driving on I-75, so I'm just dipping my feet here a little to get a good sense of the potential.

    Thoughts? Thanks!
    Last edited by CyLowe97; 02-28-08 at 11:18 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member kpumpy's Avatar
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    CyLowe, I recognize you from all your posts in the GL region, which is where I live now. (I'm fishing here for places to cycle in the SE because I'm a little weary of the latest Wisconsin winter). Anyhoo, I lived in Georgia (Macon) for 10+ years, and I'll be brutally honest. The humidity in August, even at 6 a.m., will rip your hide off coming from the Midwest without any sort of acclimation. We have no kind of heat or humidity in our part of the world that compares. When I lived in Georgia, I either exercised in July, August at dawn or near dusk, and a lot of times after dark...I wasn't crazy enough to go out mid-day and that was with a decade of living there under my belt. (But dang I'd like to be riding there today! )

    All of those places you mentioned are fairly close to the ATL and easily doable on a day trip. It's a couple hours up to Brasstown Bald from the ATL. Another good ride closer to the city is the Braswell Mountain area northwest of town. You can get in some great rides starting in the Brookstone area in Cobb County and heading away N-NW from there. Some of those spots will be a bit cooler than where I lived, but anywhere Georgia in August is likely to be sultry.

    Enjoy the riding and hydrate a lot...you'll need to.
    Another century in the bag.

  3. #3
    slow as I ever was Ex Pres's Avatar
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    I live in next door in B'ham, AL. We usually start our weekend rides early, 7am or earlier, but if you're on a longer one and out at noon, the sun straight overhead w/no shade on the road, beating off the hot asphalt, and tackling a hill (not huge here but plenty of 6%+ grinds) you're gonna be suffering.

    To give you an idea of the hydration needed, on routes that I can normally get away with 2 bottles, and come home with some left, in the spring, it takes 6-8 in the summer, and I've weighed myself before and after rides and still lost 6# or more.

    But come on down. We ride anyway. You kinda get used to it. Take your trainer into a sauna to prep.
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  4. #4
    NYC Maggie Backstedt fan
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    Hot.
    "I can't believe we still have to protest this crap." - courtesy, Johnny Monkey

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  5. #5
    NYC Maggie Backstedt fan
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    Miserably hot.
    "I can't believe we still have to protest this crap." - courtesy, Johnny Monkey

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  6. #6
    Up on the Down Side CyLowe97's Avatar
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    You all are making my planning much much easier.

    I guess forewarned is forearmed.


  7. #7
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    You would probably be better off heading to North Carolina and the Smoky Mountains. The southern section of the Blue Ridge Parkway has some relatively high elevation sections (for the eastern US), 5000 to 6000 feet. Elevation is your only relief from summer heat in the SE. Depending where you are in Atlanta, you are about four hours from this part of the Parkway.

    Rough rule of thumb is 6 to 8 degrees cooler for every 1000 feet in elevation. So when Atlanta is 94F, parts of the parkway will be more like 70F. Waynesville at about 2800 feet elevation has average high in August of 82, low of 56, versus 88 F high, 70 F low in Atlanta. The mountain areas you refer to in GA are not as hot, but the mountains of Georgia do not have the elevations of North Carolina.

  8. #8
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    I am an Atlanta native and cycle about 10,000 per year when I am there. The heat and humidity were not much of a problem for me, but I was used to it and currently am working in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (Now, that is hot!!!). The big thing is to keep yourself hidrated and you will be fine. There are a lot of group rides in the area.

    Check out www.bikesbl.org for more information. The ride calendar is excellent.

    Tommy

  9. #9
    Senior Member gapowermike's Avatar
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    The ride that you speak of in the N. Georgia mountains will be doable if you get up early enough on the day of the ride. I would recommend driving to Helen, Georgia (<1.5 hours) and parking at one of the larger (free) parking lots on Edelweiss. From there it's a quick, flat warmup to the foot of Hogpen. You can suffer up that for an hour or so then ride over Jack's Gap. The next big challenge will be Brasstown Bald but if you're feeling puny I'd recommend skipping BB and finishing up with Unicoi Gap which will put you right back in Helen. I don't know the exact distance....my guess is ~50 miles. It will be hot. There won't be much wind and there aren't many stops for water or supplies. The good news is there will tons of cyclists up there in that time frame....as well as tourists, RVs, motorcycles... They tend to drive reasonably slow and give you plenty of room.

    Good luck and have fun,

    Michael
    RIP Stacey. =3.

  10. #10
    Senior Member skiffrun's Avatar
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    When I moved to North Carolina direct from northern Illinois, I described encountering the humidity upon walking out the door early on a summer morning as about like getting hit in the face by a large fist.

    Later, living in Kansas City, it was amusing when someone would complain about the humidity there.

    Back in NC again, I start my summer rides @ 6 am (or as close as can as the sunrise slips later in July and August). I shake my head in wonder when i'm finishing at 9 or 10 and I see others just starting their rides.

    I give similar advice I used to give to fellow runners from the GL: back off your perceived effort just a bit, be sure you have at least 2 bottles of fluid, be willing to ride shorter than you would back home.

    Oh, and of course, start EARLY.

  11. #11
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    well, you gotta remember, the devil came down from georgia... so it must be hella hot.

  12. #12
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    That would be "The Devil Went Down to Georgia". He was looking for some "cold" to steal.

    Tommy
    Last edited by TLupo; 03-03-08 at 12:11 AM.

  13. #13
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    "-_-

    ****.

  14. #14
    the Route Wizard crispx's Avatar
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    CyLowe --
    There are virtually no major organized events in August because of the heat.
    As Tommy (hi Tommy) and the others pointed out it can be oppressively hot and stagnant in August. If you camp I suggest you consider a stay at Vogel State Park which is at the base of Wolfpen Gap and the backside of Neels Gap. Some of the best cycling in the area is on some of the roads north of this area. I've camped at Vogel many times, Wolfpen Gap in the evening is an incredible ride (treacherous descent too) it is one of my favorite rides. I'd often arrive Thursday evening go over Wolfpen to Lake Scott, backover to Vogel, then back up Wolfpen... I call these weekends Gapfesting.

    Back to your question, you can ride easily until noon. The real problem with August weather is it takes forever to cool down (sunset). I soloed one of my routes I call Circio de Roma (Circle of Rome) ~112mi. in mid-summer but as the temps rose, finishing the ride turned into death march back to Rockmart where I started. Not at all like SoCal where I grew up, where the temps would taper off faster and usually more wind.

    If your are interested in what the area is like I have route maps and many photos of the North Georgia area on my site, http://atlbike.org . There are some very active groups in the Atlanta area so you won't have any trouble finding routes, maps, rides, etc.

    Check out SBL as Tommy mentioned: http://bikesbl.org many weblinks there too. Forums with some very knowledgeable riders too.

    If you or anyone else has questions about cycling in North or West Georgia I'd be happy to try and help you find what you're looking for.

    HTH
    Chris aka "webgeek"

  15. #15
    Science Fanboy KrisPistofferson's Avatar
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    Stay hydrated and listen to your body. You get acclimated to the heat to some extent when you live down here, but you won't really have that luxury. Yes, it's hot as heck, but it doesn't really stop any of us from doing stuff, and even if it's completely horrible for you, you'll always have a funny suffering story to tell.

  16. #16
    Up on the Down Side CyLowe97's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crispx View Post
    CyLowe --
    If your are interested in what the area is like I have route maps and many photos of the North Georgia area on my site, http://atlbike.org . There are some very active groups in the Atlanta area so you won't have any trouble finding routes, maps, rides, etc.

    Check out SBL as Tommy mentioned: http://bikesbl.org many weblinks there too. Forums with some very knowledgeable riders too.

    If you or anyone else has questions about cycling in North or West Georgia I'd be happy to try and help you find what you're looking for.

    HTH
    Chris aka "webgeek"
    Excellent! Thanks for the post and the helpful links.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Pedal Wench's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crispx View Post
    CyLowe --
    There are virtually no major organized events in August because of the heat.


    If your are interested in what the area is like I have route maps and many photos of the North Georgia area on my site, http://atlbike.org . There are some very active groups in the Atlanta area so you won't have any trouble finding routes, maps, rides, etc.

    Check out SBL as Tommy mentioned: http://bikesbl.org many weblinks there too. Forums with some very knowledgeable riders too.

    If you or anyone else has questions about cycling in North or West Georgia I'd be happy to try and help you find what you're looking for.

    HTH
    Chris aka "webgeek"

    Wow! Look who came to play in our sandbox! Hi Chris! Welcome!!!!

    PW (formerly known as 3C'dales!)

  18. #18
    the Route Wizard crispx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pedal Wench View Post
    Wow! Look who came to play in our sandbox! Hi Chris! Welcome!!!!
    PW (formerly known as 3C'dales!)
    Hi Leslie. (I still call her 3CDs)
    I saw all those Atl-eastside names, so I thought I'd lend a north/west perspective to things or as some folks call it "the Land of Barking Dogs".
    Which it probably deserves as we've had so many dog problems lately.

  19. #19
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    Riding in the Georgia Mountains is nice. Of all things, take some allergy medication because in the spring, the bees come out in full force.

    I got stung in the face in Suches and had to climb Wolfpen, descend Wolfpen (my face blew up like a water baloon...it kept expanding) and then I had to climb Neels and descend it to get to my car at the rockpile.

    At the top of Neels, I got some emergency medication from the folks at the store (nice folks) and was told to be extremely careful descending Neels. I almost fell asleep on the descent but thankfully, my handling skills and will to stay awake helped.

    After that, I have vowed to take some allergy medication after that incident. It was extremely scary.

    As for the humidity, just drink lots of water.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Pedal Wench's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crispx View Post
    Hi Leslie. (I still call her 3CDs)
    I saw all those Atl-eastside names, so I thought I'd lend a north/west perspective to things or as some folks call it "the Land of Barking Dogs".
    Which it probably deserves as we've had so many dog problems lately.
    It's okay. I still have the 3 C'dales, so it still works.

  21. #21
    Daily Commuter-Tampa, FL drew55's Avatar
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    Got too comfortable riding in the Atlanta area, had to move to Florida. but both places it's such a joy riding at 95F with 97% humidity - the train in a sauna isnt' that far off. Key thing is keeping yourself hydrated. gets tough when you get just as soaked after you leave the shower as you did while in it.
    It's always windy - just get out and ride

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  22. #22
    Senior Member TimArchy's Avatar
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    I grew up just north of Atlanta and spent several years riding the area. The middle of summer isn't all that bad. Dress well and drink water.

    Come over and ride with me in Bangkok in April. Then we'll have something to talk about. (of course, I think even this doesn't have tommy beat for SA)
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  23. #23
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    epi pen

    Quote Originally Posted by NeelsGap86
    I got stung in the face in Suches and had to climb Wolfpen, descend Wolfpen (my face blew up like a water baloon...it kept expanding) and then I had to climb Neels and descend it to get to my car at the rockpile.
    You could have just done the short side of Woodys and been back at your car.

    I always carry a epi-pen. I do worry about the times I leave it in my car in the sun. It's suppose to be stored in a cool place. It has saved me from bee stings and fire ants

  24. #24
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    I wish I could cycle here, but I have not been able to find a bike large enough for me. All the mountain bikes are 18" or less for the frame size. Road bikes are even worse for sizing. I could not use the bike for commuting, since it is far too dangerous*, but I would like to do some desert rides.

    *You can only imagine what it is like if I say it is too dangerous to ride here.

    The heat??? Well, I did see it get above 50C (122F) a few times last summer, but it's a dry heat!!! It's a rare day if the humidity is more than 7%. Kind of the equivalent to an oven.

    Tommy

  25. #25
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Atlanta in August is awesome. I'll take a 90F+ day over a cool/cold day anytime.

    <edit> I always use my Camelbak and one or two water bottles on any day the temps are over 85F. </edit>
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