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Cheese is my copilot
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Having blown off the Shenandoah Mtn 100 trail ride earlier this month due to life issues, I needed some redemption -- something that would push whatever fitness I've been able to develop. This weekend was the 6 Gap century, a brutal day of climbing near Dahlonega, in the North Georgia mountains. Its a classic ride, and I've been surprised to see no discussion of it here. The Tour de Georgia hits several of these climbs, and there's still a lot of paint on the road left over from that. Pretty neat seeing the names there.

<img src ="https://forum.bikemag.com/photopost/data/500/medium/6GapProfile.jpg">

First (and longest) climb of the day. Not too steep, but almost 7.5 miles long. Coming down the back side was a 40mph descent, and with lots of bunching still on the road it got a little hairy on occasion. It wasn't helped out by the fact that the sister ride (3 Gap 50) turned hard left towards the bottom while the rest of us went straight. Fortunately no one in my group had to make that turn.

<img src ="https://forum.bikemag.com/photopost/data/500/medium/6Gap1.JPG">

The view from the rolling hills leading to Jacks. This wasn't much fun, but I hooked up with a guy I know from another board, so at least I had someone to talk with on the way.

<img src ="https://forum.bikemag.com/photopost/data/500/medium/6Gap2.jpg">
<img src ="https://forum.bikemag.com/photopost/data/500/medium/6Gap3.jpg">

The climb up Unicoi wasn't quite as foggy as this pic makes it look. A lot of that is my camera lens misting up from sweat. The weather was perfect though. The roads were dry and clear, and it was maybe in the low 80s at the bottom of hills and low 70s at the top. I'd zip up for the descents, but never thought I needed more clothes.

<img src ="https://forum.bikemag.com/photopost/data/500/medium/6Gap4.jpg">

Top of Hogpen. I like to climb -- in fact I love to climb -- but Hogpen was very nearly my undoing, and had me wishing for a triple. Well, at least a 39t ring. ;)

<img src ="https://forum.bikemag.com/photopost/data/500/medium/6Gap5.jpg">

Dropping in from the top of Hogpen. Fastest descent of the day. I don't know those roads and so took it easy, but I still clocked 50 coming down here easily. Nearly lost it in a corner at about that speed as well. That would have been ugly.

<img src ="https://forum.bikemag.com/photopost/data/500/medium/6Gap6.jpg">

In a fog of pain near the top of Wolfpen Gap. That's misting on the lens again, but its about how I felt as well. This was another tough climb, although it was nothing compared to Hogpen. Hogpen has long and demoralizing straight sections. Wolfpen is at least much prettier.

<img src ="https://forum.bikemag.com/photopost/data/500/medium/6Gap7.jpg">

Post ride, completely shattered. At the base of Woody's I realized I could finish in under 6 hours if I pushed it. So I did, passing and dropping the guy who'd led me up both Hogpen and Wolfpen, and then hammering for all I was worth on the long descent back into town. After the finish it took me about 10 minutes to get the energy just to loosen up my shoes.

<img src ="https://forum.bikemag.com/photopost/data/500/medium/6Gap8.jpg">

All in all, a good day, although I must say the sheer brutality of this ride took me by surprise. I felt I was ready for a 100 mile ride on my trail bike, with about the same amount of climbing, so a simple little road ride would be a piece of cake. But nooooo..... Much of the day was just about survival. I'm glad to have done so.
 

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Not easy -- even in a car

wooglin said:
All in all, a good day, although I must say the sheer brutality of this ride took me by surprise. I felt I was ready for a 100 mile ride on my trail bike, with about the same amount of climbing, so a simple little road ride would be a piece of cake. But nooooo..... Much of the day was just about survival. I'm glad to have done so.
Last year, I was in that area for the penultimate day of the Tour de Georgia. The rental car that I was driving was wheezing as we climbed Hogpen Gap. I really wished that I had had my bike with me. The climbs looked like great fun. And the area was quite beautiful. I have finished several centuries with 10,000+ feet of climbing. BUT, DOING IT IN LESS THAN SIX HOURS!!!! You are an animal. My hat goes off to you.
 

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can't remember what euro pro it was, but at the (first?) TdG, he hit >70mph coming off the backside of hogpen.

i did the six gap a few years back. took my 9,000 pound surly crosscheck with 700x25s and a 30/32 low gear. took the fenders off for that ride, though. i was spinning up hogpen while 120 pound tri girls from florida were walking their 14 pound $5000 colnagos.

hard to believe how difficult riding up hogpen makes the next climb (wolfpen).

someday i hope to ride it again.

edit: went back successive years and met with RBR community members (not an "event" ride, just casual). once, to ride up brasstown. ouch. later, to ride up hogpen gap. backwards. OUCH.
 

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Do you remember what road Hogpen Gap is on? I did a short org. ride before TdG last year('05 was too fing cold), and the road that goes past the entrance to Brasstown Bald had a nasty little climb on it that saw a total cluster of people walking and switchbacking the road. I was never sure if that had a name or what. Any ideas?
 

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Cheese is my copilot
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
litespeedchick said:
I did a short org. ride before TdG last year('05 was too fing cold), and the road that goes past the entrance to Brasstown Bald
That was near the top of Jacks if I remember right. I remember seeing it, I'm just not sure where I was at the time.
 

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Hogpen is 348. Brasstown Bald starts from Jacks Gap, which is 180, I think.
 

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wooglin said:
That was near the top of Jacks if I remember right. I remember seeing it, I'm just not sure where I was at the time.
i think you're right, the climb up to the start of the BB climb is jack's gap. think it's steep, then you start brasstown bald, and BOOM it REALLY gets steep.
 

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J's, talking about it is the first step. . .
 

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Wooglin, under 6 hrs is a great time! Thanks for posting.

I have passed on this ride for the last two years because there are just too many people; rode it in 2002 and 03 though. I go down there to ride once every month or so and enjoy it much more without so many other wheels of varying speeds around.
 

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I'd like to do this ride. I became aware of those hills through the TdG, and was planning to go down there and ride solo someday. I didn't know there was an organized ride for it.

Next year I just might make the trip down.
 

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2nd photo leading to jacks

I'm the skinny guy in the Bicycle Works team kit, #270, and riding the 6/13. We must've hooked up a few times. The wind had to be worse than any other 6 Gap and I've ridden all but a couple since about '94.
 

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Cheese is my copilot
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
12x23 said:
I'm the skinny guy in the Bicycle Works team kit, #270, and riding the 6/13. We must've hooked up a few times. The wind had to be worse than any other 6 Gap and I've ridden all but a couple since about '94.
We did indeed. I saw you on and off all day. In fact we were parked next to one another.
 

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You may have passed me

I was there too, aiming for the same time you got. I realized on the first climb that it was not going to happen, ended up around 6:30. If you have seen a guy wearing a 2005 Bridge to Bridge jersey, that was me going off the back. Maybe that B2B ride last Sunday had something to do with my dead legs. I still had great time there, I think only Mountains of Misery is a harder ride for that entire region (of course that depends on how hard you go). Congratulations on a great time!
 

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Ranking the Rides

spin150 said:
I was there too, aiming for the same time you got. I realized on the first climb that it was not going to happen, ended up around 6:30. If you have seen a guy wearing a 2005 Bridge to Bridge jersey, that was me going off the back. Maybe that B2B ride last Sunday had something to do with my dead legs. I still had great time there, I think only Mountains of Misery is a harder ride for that entire region (of course that depends on how hard you go). Congratulations on a great time!
I have done the Mountains of Misery several times, but I have not done the others. Based on the elevation profile of the 6 gap, it looks harder than MofM to me. Although, the five mile climb at the end of MofM is in a class by itself. I would be interested to hear how others who have done 6 Gap, B2B, MofM and Mt. Mitchell would rank them.
 

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6 Gap

North Georgia is a great area to ride. I rode Hogpen Gap the day that the Tour de Georgia did that course. I started very early and there were no other riders on the ascent. That is the way to ride Hogpen. No cars either. I would not enjoy it nearly as much with 1000 other people on the mountain. In fact, when I did Hogpen, I had no idea where I was, how long the climb was or where I was going. I just turned right down an interesting looking road and started climbing. That's the best way to experience a climb like that. Seven miles later I was finally at the top of the climb! It was a great experience. Rode it again the next day for fun. I didn't intend to ride the whole thing again but once you get started, it is hard to stop. I can't wait to get up there and ride it again. I'll bet that it is a quiet road during the middle of the week when no tourists are around.

Mike
 

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mprevost said:
North Georgia is a great area to ride. I rode Hogpen Gap the day that the Tour de Georgia did that course. I started very early and there were no other riders on the ascent. That is the way to ride Hogpen. No cars either. I would not enjoy it nearly as much with 1000 other people on the mountain. In fact, when I did Hogpen, I had no idea where I was, how long the climb was or where I was going. I just turned right down an interesting looking road and started climbing. That's the best way to experience a climb like that. Seven miles later I was finally at the top of the climb! It was a great experience. Rode it again the next day for fun. I didn't intend to ride the whole thing again but once you get started, it is hard to stop. I can't wait to get up there and ride it again. I'll bet that it is a quiet road during the middle of the week when no tourists are around.

Mike
indeed. last time i met deadlegs to ride it (turkey day a couple years back), he dropped me hard on the climb :) and nearing the top (riding it backwards, remember?) i do believe i heard a bear reading me on the appetizer menu. i was cooked by that point, but didn't want to be served, so i quickly upped the pace to the top. LOL
 

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Maroon Tacoma ?

I hit a bad patch after Hogpen and got over it about the time I started Woody. That cost me and I finished, 6:01 - 16 minutes worse than last year.

Congratulations on bustin' six hrs. With the wind I think this is the hardest 6 Gap I've done.
 

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Cheese is my copilot
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hmmm, maybe not

12x23 said:
I hit a bad patch after Hogpen and got over it about the time I started Woody. That cost me and I finished, 6:01 - 16 minutes worse than last year.

Congratulations on bustin' six hrs. With the wind I think this is the hardest 6 Gap I've done.
Don't you hate those bad patches? I swear I'd be so much faster without them..... ;)

There were 4 guys (including a Cdale rep) in a Subie next to me in the parking lot, all on 6/13s. I thought one of them was wearing your kit. Guess not. :( I was in an Element.
 

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Hey now, MarkS, don't forget cherohala. . .

Don't get me wrong here. . . I like the 6-gap ride and ride the area fairly often. BUT, it's just not as tough as Cherohala. I have not ridden the others you mention but hope to next year.

6-Gap and Cherohala both have around 10k feet of climbing but the sufferin' is larger at cherohala. Here's a little profile view of the the main climb at cherohala along with hogpen gap. And, yes, the two profiles are to scale.
 
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