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climb 'til ya puke: 6 gap revisited (long)(32 posts)

climb 'til ya puke: 6 gap revisited (long)JS Haiku Shop
Oct 1, 2002 5:20 AM
(aka "it was the best of climbs, it was the worst of climbs")

nice to meet you, mike P.

a shout-out to all ye florid-ia peoples. p.s. to the FL girl on the carbonissimo with record carbon cranks...wassup, yo! nice to share hogpen gap with ya.

6 climbs, 10k feet give or take. one (sh!tty climber, LOL) rider's perspective:

first gap was about like suck creek mountain in chattanooga: easy grades and easily powered over, but long. i don't recall the second, or third gaps. when the pics come back from the camera shop, perhaps it'll jog my memories.

hogpen came at around 56 miles. it's a 7 mile climb that peaks at the 63 mile mark. dumped my gatorade out at the bottom, and half my water. someone with a nice sense of humor spray painted "climb time" on the road at the entrance to the climb. the first five miles are steep, with a few false flats, actual flats, and some downhills (don't tease me!). each mile is indicated with a dept of transportation mile marker on the roadside. watched my mates ride off at the entrance, where i phoned down to the engine room, and my 30x32 was engaged.

hogpen, mile 5, kicked up to between 10% and 15%, and didn't relent. there was a SAG in a parking lot at mile 6 (a looong way from mile 5), where i stopped for a half-bottle of water. pushed on to mile 7, where the 15% grade was *SUPPOSED* to level out some. i don't remember much after that, 'til the SAG at the top. the last 2 miles of climbing hogpen were all head-down, so who knows what lay up there, waiting. steepest stuff i've ever seen. saw innumerable people walking, but at least they had lightweight bikes to push (with additional weight savings in the form of double cranks). in retrospect, the climb didn't have any fun mountain road features like switchbacks, curvy roads, or sharp was pretty much straight up.

the backside of hogpen resembled descents off some of those huge mountains i remember from the early and mid-90s TDF tapes. someone wrecked within the first 1/2 mile (very very steep descent), and many emergency vehicles were summoned.

gap 5 was steep, long, demoralizing, with many switchbacks and extended grades. bunch of folks caught pickup trucks to the top here. it wasn't all that hard to climb, but was long, with some steep parts, and after 4 gaps and extended time climbing, i got pretty sick of going uphill at low speeds. no matter, though. 30x32.

gap 6 was unremarkable, a bump in the road.

support was good, but they expected 700 folks and got 1000+. they had 1000 rider numbers printed, and ran out. the jerseys were nice, but the website advised buyers to order larger, if in doubt. i ordered an xxl and it was too big. they're printing another batch and will mail one my way. some of the SAGs ran out of supplies, but all had water, which is fine if you are neurotic and carry your own food. :)

all in all, the #1 most scenic and beautiful ride i've evern done. also the most difficult i've done, yet. but, honestly, not as hard as it's reputed, in my humble opinion. then again, 30x32...

stats: 100.2 miles, 7:51 ride time, 9 hours and change actual time, 12.7 mph average.

ps. 12x23 did this ride in total time of 6:30 or so, the monster. he's a climbing machine, specifically programmed for the 6 gap. and, for pitcher drinking...we hit the buckhead brewery in Cumming the night before the ride, drank 6 pitchers between 3 of us, and stayed out 'til 12:30. it's a tradition.

here's haiku finishing the ride, for my loyal fans:
correction:JS Haiku Shop
Oct 1, 2002 5:40 AM
hogpen is steep to flat to rolling to false flat from the start until mile 3, where it gets challenging, and holds upwards of 15% until mile 5, where it returns to just painful and insulting until the top, mile 7.

Oct 2, 2002 4:25 PM
I enjoyed the Six Gap. It was hard but not as hard as I thought it would be. I did it in 6:58 ride time 7:40 overall. I thought that was you I asked you before the ride if you where from Alabama. I had the impression you where from Alabama I guess it was your writing about the Bham double. Anyway thanks to you and 12-23 for encourageing me to do it. The 12 27 was fine on all but hogpen I needed a couple more but I made it up with out getting off. Thats me in the bottom right. I too need to learn how to borrow pics from that other site.
Natchez pics...JS Haiku Shop
Oct 3, 2002 4:50 AM
I was wearing a blue/white/black/yellow 3 state/3 mountain jersey with "Chattanooga" on the sides, and riding a green Surly. I don't recall, but then again, I was severely hungover (eyeballs still swimming), and wishing for a swift death.

Natchez...7:49:30 on the clock...I'm pretty sure that's you, no?



Natchez pics...Natchez
Oct 3, 2002 9:03 AM
Thats me looking glad to be done. I only slept like 2 hours the night before so I felt bad like you at the beginning and the end.
If ever there was a man that could wear a kilt well......nmMB1
Oct 1, 2002 5:57 AM
alright, now i'm dense and lost. please elaborate. nmJS Haiku Shop
Oct 1, 2002 6:13 AM
Just look at yourself.MB1
Oct 1, 2002 9:02 AM
If nothing else at least you don't have the dreaded "Chicken Legs".
hey, don't make me come up there. nmJS Haiku Shop
Oct 1, 2002 9:27 AM
Don't make me sic Miss M on you!. nmMB1
Oct 1, 2002 3:34 PM
btw, how does she look in a kilt? :) nmJS Haiku Shop
Oct 2, 2002 5:00 AM
good job!_rt_
Oct 1, 2002 6:19 AM
congrats on the finish. i felt your pain the whole way!

and, i see you are as adept at stealing photos as i am:
me at the finish:

and my wonderful climbing companion without whom i'd be sitting in a ditch somewhere on the gap 5 climb waiting to be found:

rt - photo thief extraordinaire
sounds like a good time!wonderdog
Oct 1, 2002 6:20 AM
was it harder than the back to back double(ish) you did a month ago?

one really long monthJS Haiku Shop
Oct 1, 2002 6:30 AM
but then again, it's all relative, eh? the following looks like do(u)g sloan's recovery month (LOL):

8/31 clarksville TN double century (200 miles)

9/7 birmingham AL double century (180 miles ridden)

9/14 memphis TN century (125 miles ridden)

9/21-22 MS 150 (100 miles day 1 at 19.5+ mph, 70 miles day 2 at 19+ mph, that's pretty damned fast for slow guys like me)

9/29 dahlonega, GA 6 gap (100 miles, ~10-11k feet climbing)

dahlonega was more difficult than either double, and more difficult than two doubles in one week. the drive was a b!tch, too. 6hr 30m each way. still, i was prepared for it to be twice as hard. there are a couple mountains in the area (including brasstown bald) that go up at least 1000 feet higher than the highest we rode. it could have been much, much more difficult.

btw, climbs like pavel tonkov and goes down like a (censored!). he was waiting for me at the top of every climb. he climbed gaps 1, 2, and 3 in the big ring. who'da thunkit?

more than the rest, the most difficult part was realizing that there the ride packet contained 20% off coupon for the pearl izumi outlet that we stayed directly behind in dawsonville, but only after i arrived home, 434 miles away. i was lucky enough to spot the one in park city, utah, and spend my son's inheritance there, in november 2001.
I remember red shorts on the left, Colnago on the right.Mike P
Oct 1, 2002 7:00 AM
_rt_, I was with you guys for much of the ride. Sometimes ahead, sometimes behind. I was on the white/blue raleigh, wearing a Park Tools jersey.

js, it was good to meet you. Sorry I rolled off without talking much. I was trying to keep my riding brain turned on and wasn't really thinking about anything else.

Funny thing. . . for some reason I thought hogpin was the 3rd climb; gotta look at the profile right before the ride next time. When I got to the top of the 3rd hill I was wondering what was so bad about the infamous Hogpin Gap. Then the 4th climb started. . . and it went on forever (even longer than a pigs orgasm). I was really wondering why they claimed Hogpin was the terror when this one was much worse. I stopped to release used water and gain new water and happened to trip on a rock stuck in the ground with a little metal plate on it. "Hogpin Gap" is what it said. For a second I could't figure out why the f' they put that marker there, but then it dawned on me Hopin was the 4th. And the view on the way down was worth the trip up.

I felt good the entire day and managed to finish in 6:21, 6:10 ride time. My planets were in line for sure. The temp. was perfect; nice and cool, not much direct sun. I was on a new bike I had just finished building a week or so before the ride. And most of all, there were just so many people and I wanted to pass all of them, well maybe not. I have to say I found the 6 Gap to be easier. . . no, I'll re-word that. . . not as hard as the Cherohola Challenge. I think the 6 Gap was more fun though. And all the people!

no kidding! i remember you!_rt_
Oct 1, 2002 7:34 AM
which is a major feat considering i've managed to block out a good portion of the ride from my memory! ;-) the world is so small sometimes.

congrats on the strong finish & it's a pleasure to have met you & ridden with you.

Q. What goes through the mind going down hogpin gap?Mike P
Oct 1, 2002 8:37 AM
A. I'm glad that is behind me. . . ohh, what a view. . IIIIEEEEEEEE-HAAAAA. . . oh sh1t, gravel. . . AAAAOOOOOGAA (the horn sound Jim Carey makes in "The Mask") while passing another rider . . . what a ride. . . grin!

Oct 1, 2002 8:43 AM
funny, everyone describes how scary that descent was for them. i don't remember being scared. in fact, i'm not sure i remember the descent (i was deep in my misery at that point)!;-) all i remember is passing people and feeling like i was flying.....

the pay off for every brutal climb should be a screaming 55mph descent!!

Isn't that the Australian guy who won worlds on a track bike? nmnoveread
Oct 1, 2002 8:57 AM
also programmed for time-telling.12x23
Oct 1, 2002 10:25 AM
We didn't get back from Buckhead's 'til 1:00 am.
d'oh!!JS Haiku Shop
Oct 1, 2002 10:34 AM
I "liberated" three pint glasses from that brewery. In my pants.

so, where's your finish line pic? post it, please! or, what was your time, and i'll find it...

Oct 1, 2002 2:09 PM
6:33:13, throw it up there. How'd you get the picture anyway?

Ya know .., carboweiser-loading on light, amber, and dark until all hours kinda' makes you, John & I europros. We even had the two Bosnians' and the Russian's respect.
europrosJS Haiku Shop
Oct 2, 2002 5:25 AM
yeah, i figure euro-trash has about 1/4 inch of hair on their legs right about now, so that's just in line with my unshorn stumps. :) i keep getting asked why i shave my legs but let my facial hair grow. haven't an answer yet. although, i'm getting to look more and more like a young(er) sheldon...

btw, i have a full 24-shot roll of film taken on that ride. when it's developed, i'll either scan 'em or take e-pics of each and post them online for the board's viewing pleasure. i'm hoping this will be by next week.
hogpen gap pics, and others...JS Haiku Shop
Oct 1, 2002 12:28 PM
these pics are from the website of a guy we encountered on the ride. he said he'd ridden this one for many years. the base page of his pictoral is here. i took the pic of him on the last page, with his camera (middle bottom pic, under "assorted photos", last page.

below: the stop at mile 4 of hogpen gap, after climbing 7% avg for three miles, then the last mile at 12-15%. the parking lot to the right is somewhat level, showing the climb still to go...more 12-15% pave.

the descent off hogpen...mucho steep. if you could pan right and up, it's nothing but mountains, valleys, and sky, and everything below looks like it's in miniature. note the mountains in the background.

carnage atop wolfpen gap (the 5th gap). that's actually haiku there in front of the tent--tallest in the pic, white helmet. that table was covered with bees or yellow jackets or something.

here he is, Mister 12x23!!! :)JS Haiku Shop
Oct 2, 2002 5:06 AM
12x23Mike P
Oct 3, 2002 5:33 AM
Hey, I think we talked a little going up either hogpin or the next hill. Good to meet you!

Yeah? .., what were you riding?12x23
Oct 3, 2002 9:35 AM
I was on the 2001 5900, and wearing an orange and yellow 3s/3mtn jersey.
White/blue Raleigh. Park Tools Jersey.Mike P
Oct 4, 2002 6:10 AM
I can't remember for sure which hill but I am pretty sure we chatted a bit nearing the top of one. Seems like there was a tandem nearby. I made a remark about the terrain and asked if we were done with the hills; some idle babble falling out of my ride induced haze.

White/blue Raleigh. Park Tools Jersey.12x23
Oct 4, 2002 8:50 AM
Sound's like you had a strong ride. Do you make it to 3s/3m and Cheaha?
Ok, now you've done it.look271
Oct 3, 2002 5:17 AM
I want to do this ride. I checked. It's only (!) a 13 hr drive, according to Mapquest. You Southern boys have all the fun rides!
hey, that's only double my drive...JS Haiku Shop
Oct 3, 2002 6:12 AM
my advice to you: don't drive home post-ride.

this one makes the 3st/3mt look like a sunday flatland spin.

burkhalter gap is still a b!tch, tho.

Wouldn't think of it.look271
Oct 3, 2002 9:29 AM
3mtn/3 state ain't really all that bad. I think that I would definately opt for a triple on the 6 gap, though. 3/3 is definately doable on a double (I used a 39x27 low gear for that one. Burkholder did hurt a bit, though!).