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  1. #1
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    Six Gap Century-Who else is doing it and how to prepare

    I just registered for the Six Gap Century on Sept 28th. I know it is still 3 months away but I wanted to get some feedback from others who have done this before so I can make sure I am prepared.

    I'm relatively new to the area, having moved here from Chicago in the Fall of '06. I got serious about riding while in Chicago but there aren't many hills in the area so moving down here was a revelation as far as climbing goes. I enjoy the hills and am a decent climber so I am excited to see how I do. I have been getting in decent (for me) miles each week and will be doing a few centuries before the six gap. I did the 3 State in May and finished in just over 6 hours but Burkhalter gap was a real challenge. I am doing the "front 3 gaps" this weekend and am planning on doing the back 3 a couple of times before the event.

    For those of you that have done this ride, what kind of training have you done prior to it and what were your experiences on the ride, both good and bad?
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  2. #2
    Elite Fred mollusk's Avatar
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    I'm sure that lots of others will chime in, but I'll start off. I'm from Gainesville, FL, but originally from Chicago. Gainesville is hillier than Chicago, but neither one is anywhere near as hilly as the mountains in northeast Georgia.

    I have never done the "official" ride, but in early May I did ride all of the 6 gaps on the same day in the directions that the 6 Gap ride takes them. Hogpen is by far the most difficult of the climbs. It is long (7 miles or so) and has a couple of short steep sections (well over 10% grade). Wolfpen is fairly hard, but it is so pretty that it doesn't seem so bad. Neel's Gap just seem to go on forever, but none of it is too horrible. Jack's Gap is a relief knowing that you don't have to make the left turn up Brasstown. The very last bit is a little steep. Unicoi is a relatively short and steady climb and the descent down toward Helen is AWESOME! Woody Gap is almost nothing (in the direction you will be going) but you will get a LONG downhill back to the start.

    I did the ride with no specific training, but I do ride over 200 miles per week and participate in a couple of "racer" group rides per week.

    I wish that I didn't live so far from there because I'd like to do these climbs on a regular basis.
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  3. #3
    gtd
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    You're going to die.

    But the ride along the way will be really cool!

    Lance complained about the North Georgia mountains.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by gtd View Post
    You're going to die.

    But the ride along the way will be really cool!

    Lance complained about the North Georgia mountains.
    I certainly hope not. That would really suck

    I managed to get up to the mountains this past weekend and did three of the gaps (Neels, Wolfpen, and Woody) in the direction they will be done on the six gap. I had a good ride and really pushed the pace on the climbs. I think I will be OK as long as I get a practice run or two at the back gaps. I plan on doing that sometime in July.

    I think if I keep riding as much as I am now and toss in a few trips to the mountains for climbing I should definitely not die, which would be a good thing!
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  5. #5
    Road Nazi Hunter Donegal's Avatar
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    Six Gap

    I ride the North GA area. I am not a good climber, heavier, better on the flats and rollers. I will be doing the ride this year if I am healthy. Ride the gaps a few times and you will be prepared as well as possible. The gaps are as challenging as any ride in GA. While up there, try Brasstown. Depending upon how hard you are going, you will probably be sitting down to dinner and a beer well before I finish. I have done both sets of 3 gaps, but never the six for the ride. Last year was the first time I was going to ride and I was on Hogpen Wednesday before the race and folded. It was unlike anything I ever felt before. It turns out that the Doc thought I had Epstein Barr, I missed the ride. I was as weak as a kitten. Took 3-4 Months to shake. I bounced off it again this year but intend to ride in Dahlonega. I am currently starting over my winter base miles and hope to be in tune before the ride. Good luck, save a spot for me at the finish.


    P.S. The back side of Hogpen allows for speeds questionable for the sane. I got on the brakes at about 50 mph, just to preserve what little dignity I had left.
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  6. #6
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    If you do the ride, be sure to have plenty of water. They have run out of water for the past 3 years at some of the sag stops.

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    I am going to be a student at North Georgia College, which is located in Dahlonega.

    I will have almost over a month to get ready for Six Gap when my school starts. With that said, I am lucky.

    To me, the MOST important thing is staying in form and staying hydrated. At one point, having a can of coke to boost your energy toward the end will help...a lot.

    Other than that, just savior the ride.

    BTW, are any of you going to do the Dahlonega Road Race?

  8. #8
    simply bikin' dobovedo's Avatar
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    I was going to do it this year, but couldn't find any traveling companions. So I will be doing the Columbus Fall Challenge up here in Ohio. However, I plan to do the equivalent of 6 Gap when I am down there for ToG next spring. I go down every year with a group of friends and send 3-4 days riding the area and watching the race. I'll alter the start/finish location to avoid driving all the way to Dahlonega, but it'll more or less be the same.

    There will be one other difference between the normal 6 Gap route and the way I do it. When getting to the 'top' of Jacks Gap, I will be turning and going UP Brasstown Bald. This ride goes to 11.

  9. #9
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    My brother and I have signed up. Guess it's time to start logging a few miles and get in a little climbing.

  10. #10
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    Have fun. Be careful on the descent of Wolfpen. They've "repaired" a bunch of cracks with Tar. The resulting tar snakes can be very slippery if its hot enough to get them bubbling (think Joseba Beloki.) nothing to be afraid of, just be aware, and be cautious.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

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    Wolfpen so far seems fine. It is Woody's gap you have to watch out for when descending toward the rockpile. Right now, it is raining in Dahlonega, so it's cooling off the roads.

    I'm not so sure what the status of Unicoi or Jacks gap is. I think most of the tar snakes have been seen in lower 3 gap.

  12. #12
    Road Nazi Hunter Donegal's Avatar
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    The tar snakes are prevalent on the road descending to the rockpile. The hill after wolfpen is still rideable and without problem, but the tar snakes after Woody's ride crazily until noon and are slick as snot afterwards. I have done the lower gaps and finished before and after noon. I was hoping beyond hope that they were going to resurface that part of the road. I feel that a lot of people are going to go for one hell of a ride if temps are up the afternoon of the ride.

    After you climb wolfpen and ride into suches, you will climb Woody's which is a much smaller climb but precedes a great descent and that is the one full of the tar strips. In the past, we would run down that one has fast as our gearing would let us only slowing down for the last tight bend. Now it is a veritable minefield with lots of opportunities to bust your behind. My riding partner thought his wheel bearings were bad, he didn't see his wheel slipping all around. I actually stopped and checked both of my QR's and then the bearings for slop. I was sure I had a mechanical problem.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Dubbayoo's Avatar
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    I was too afraid to do it all the time I lived in GA. Now I might go back and give it a try one day.

  14. #14
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    I rode up there last week and the tar strips on Woody Gap were still there but they were not near as bumpy. They still will require some caution while descending. It looks like the weather is turning more Fall like so maybe it won't be too hot for the ride. I just hope there is no rain. I've got in a lot of riding the last month so if I rest properly the week of and the weather cooperates It should be a good time.
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    Crank Crushing Redneck SamDaBikinMan's Avatar
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    I will be there. Not sure about my form. The last time I did the ride was 1998 and I was 20 pounds ligter and better conditioned.

    Should be a interesting haul over Hogpen.
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  16. #16
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    Well, there's four days to go til the Six Gap and the weather looks like it will be pretty good. Might need some arm warmers 1st thing but that's about it.

    I'm taking it easy this week and hoping to get enough rest, food, and hydration before Sunday.
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  17. #17
    My idea of fun kensuf's Avatar
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    I attacked the hell out of our Tuesday night group ride and outsprinted Kerry for "the win". Today I'm doing nothing but resting, tomorrow I'll do an easy ride then drive to Georgia. Friday & Saturday I'll do a few hill climbs..

    Be careful about gas.
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  18. #18
    Vino 4-ever FastFreddy's Avatar
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    I'm in.

    For all of you from out of town: don't roll into the Atlanta/Dahlonega area on an empty tank. Many stations are out of gas so you can't assume that you'll be able to buy some right away. The situation is getting better every day so don't panic.
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  19. #19
    Elite Fred mollusk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kensuf View Post
    I attacked the hell out of our Tuesday night group ride and outsprinted Kerry for "the win". Today I'm doing nothing but resting, tomorrow I'll do an easy ride then drive to Georgia. Friday & Saturday I'll do a few hill climbs..

    Be careful about gas.
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    Have a great ride, Ken.

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  20. #20
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    We are staying in Gainesville just off 985. Is Hwy 60 an "ok" road to drive into Dahlonega on or is taking Hwy 53 a better option/time saver. Hwy 53 looks to be 7-8 miles further. It is always hard to tell what secondary roads are going to be like just looking at maps.

  21. #21
    Senior Member smoore's Avatar
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    I live here and Hwy 60 is just fine into Dahlonega and yes, shorter than taking 53 in. However, keep your eyes peeled for stations with gas...we are in the midst of a shortage and it can be pretty iffy. There is a station on the right hand side about a mile before 60 intersects 400, they might have gas and if so, fill 'er up.

    Have a great ride!

  22. #22
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    Well, I'm back from the ride, refueled but definitely very tired. It was a very tough ride but I am glad I did it, all 104 miles of it. It was just about perfect weather wise with temps at the start about 65 and 80 or so at the end.

    I managed a ride time of 6:30 with a total elapsed time of 7:02. I heard that the "winning time was 5:02 by 3 guys who crossed the line virtually together. That is a very fast time.

    All of the gaps seemed just a bit longer taken in the course of a century compared to the typical 40-50 mile rides I do up there. I managed to keep a decent pace on the climbs which I was happy with.

    This was a very well run and organized event. The rest stops were well stocked and everyone was super friendly. I was impressed. This is definitely on my list of rides to do in the future.

    How did everyone else do?
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  23. #23
    Member jerseygirl's Avatar
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    I also live up here -just outside Dahlonega - Thanks for joining the ride.

    and Just for Road Bike Guy we moved each gap about a mile or two north east.

    So what did you think of the new route? Other then a few riders asking for Cups at the rest and Ice? did we fall short? at the rest stops. (no gels)

    I am not sure if i can post links to Photos, I was a marshall at the bottom of neal's/vogel park - for all those that did the 100 I was filling your water bottles as the rest stop there also. I did a lot of talking.

    here is the link - enjoy (photos coming off Neals and the turn to Wolf Pen.
    http://seamorelilfoot.smugmug.com/ga...82301983_HejnV

    also THANKS to all that came, you make this ride more successful each year. this year they say the back side of hogpen was bad, we did have an incident there and on Wolfpen, I have no other details.

    The ride started in 2 groups - 6 gap out at 7:30 - temps were about 60 with some high fog that burned off. the first group was over Neal's/Blood Mountain and off to the split by 8:50. The main 3 gap - came into the area about 10:30.

    Several riders (6 gap) retired due to cramping at the 129/180 area on the 100. From there Wolf Pen and Woody's were left. The last group of riders was on Woody about 4:30.

    Due to the fuel issues there was less auto/motorcycle traffic.

    IT was a pretty day, warm weather and wonderful riders.

    See you next year.

    JZ -
    Last edited by jerseygirl; 09-28-08 at 06:44 PM.

  24. #24
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    I thought the route was fine although the little rollers the last 6 miles or so were tougher than I thought. Tell everyone that I definitely appreciated the support volunteers. Everyone else I rode with was very happy as well. The spaghetti at the end was tasty although the salad was a little dry (I had to find something wrong).

    I hope those that were involved in accidents heal up fast. There were definitely some fast descents of Hogpen. I was going 40-45 and getting passed.
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  25. #25
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Road Bike Guy-I bet we crossed the line about the same time. I was in the yellow Gaston County jersey.

    This was my first time doing it and just loved the route. I'll have to look at my Garmin but I bet it's the least percentage of flat riding of any century around. The climbs are very reasonable and the descents are terrific-long and not too technical.

    Now that I know what to expect I would think I could shave a good bit of time as I took it very easy from the start to the top of Hogpen.

    You folks really did a terrific job and only offer an idea as a suggestion and not to be critical at all. Some rides have more folks doing handups at the rest stops.......bananas, water, etc. With the way your stops are arranged at the tops of the climbs it would take a lot more volunteers so that might be a challenge but sure would be nice for some of us. I did get a handup from the rest stop going up Hogpen and that was super. There were lots of folks stopping so it might not be as practical-especially Unicoi with it being on the other side of the road.

    I was afraid we would not find any gas to get back home but we lucked out after the ride.

    Some folks that had done the ride before told us it was downhill all the way from Woody to the end. Needless to say we were surprised by the hills the last 7-8 miles but we sure got our money's worth.

    There was one gap where the road was rougher than the others-might have been Jack's. Can you get that paved with smooth asphalt!!!! Just kidding.......

    You guys really did do a super job.

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