Yesterday, cyclists gathered in Dahlonega, GA for the 21st annual Six Gap Century. For some reason, Jim and I decided we would participate, though on the drive up at 4:30am on Sunday neither of us could figure out why. What could be more fun than 100+ miles climbing over 6 gaps in North Georgia totaling over 11,000ft of elevation gain? Probably a lot of things...
With a "our only goal is to not be so slow that we get cut off and are forced to do the 50 mile route" mindset, we started the loop at 7:30am with either hundreds or thousands of other people on bikes. Things started out pretty slow and, well, stayed that way. We made the cutoff point with plenty of time to spare and for pretty much the entire time that the sun was up, we rode along the course:
The crowds thinned out and at some points we were the only two people that either of us could see, and for the vast majority of time the time rode pretty close to each other so that we could try and figure out why we were doing this ride. I took off the front on the two timed climbs, if you can call 8mph taking off the front. Jim got to the top of the 10k and 5k climbs just a few minutes after me. These two climbs were pretty ridiculous, enough that some people were walking faster than others were riding, and at 8mph I was _flying_ past some people. Heres what the elevation profile looked like overall:
Jim and I finished before the sun went down, with less than 10 hours of wall time and I came in at right under 8 hours of wheel moving time with Jim a few minutes more. Not bad considering he hasn't really done anything since his Ironman Triathlon a few weeks ago, and I haven't really been on a bike much at all over the past 3 weeks due to the crazy rains in Atlanta, and the fact that we took our sweet time. Overall, Jim and I share the sentiment that we're glad we did this once and don't really need to do it again. The only "terrible" part were the rolling hills at the end of the course because each of our computers and my GPS all had different total mileage numbers and each time we thought we were going to come around the corner to the finish, there was another rolling hill to climb.
We finished off the day with a Bloomin Onion and some grilled meat at Outback Steakhouse and headed home, meeting our two goals for the day: 1. finish the 100 mile route and 2. eat a Bloomin Onion. I also didn't have any nutrition related issues which caused problems the last two 100+ mile rides I completed.
I won't be doing this ride next year, but given my policy of "pay to ride one century each year and don't ride the same one twice" I'll probably end up doing a flatter century like MACC One Love or something else, and maybe I'll set a finishing time goal too. Today, I'm feeling pretty good aside from some minor leg soreness, and it's kinda neat that I can do a ride like this without any real planning or preparation other than finding someone to drive up there with!
105.8 miles on the bike computer
7:58:54 time on the bike computer
10607 ft of climbing on the GPS
7169 calories burned according to the heart rate monitor
905th of 999 6-Gap finishers, with several hundred that did not finish
9:42:34.426 finishing wall time. Fastest was 5:22:17.679, slowest was 12:54:53.980
311 of 999 in the King of The Mountain timed hill climbs