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Six Gap Century & Three Gap Fifty Sep 30th

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Six Gap Century & Three Gap Fifty Sep 30th

Old 08-03-18, 10:29 AM
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skipm
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Six Gap Century & Three Gap Fifty Sep 30th

I'm thinking about doing the Three Gap Fifty but just curious as to how tough it is. Anyone done it and has some good training advice?

-Skip
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Old 08-03-18, 11:26 AM
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Looking at the profile, you're climbing from 1500 ft elev to 3100 ft from about mile 18 to 26. 8 miles is a long time to just be pedaling uphill if you're not used to it. That's about a 4% average grade, but it looks lumpy, so I'm guessing plenty of double-digit sections in there. Then after a short respite the course hits you with another ~3 1/2mi climb.
About 110' overall per mile, which is a challenging course just in itself, at least for hill-allergic riders like me.
No, I haven't done it, but I would look for the longest climbs you have in your vicinity, and do them, repeat.
Enjoy the challenge.
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Old 08-03-18, 01:11 PM
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Difficulty is relative. If you are from Florida doing 20 mile rides then it will be tough. If you are doing 80 miles and 8000 ft every weekend then not so much.

The climb to Neels Gap will be longer but the climb to Wolfpen Gap will be steeper. Just sit down, put it in a lower gear and conserve energy on the climb to Neels. You will be there for a while. Wolfpen will require some muscle and will likely be more painful.

Be very careful on the descent from Hogpen as the DOT has used very slippery pavement patches and crack sealers in years past. There was one year where it was treacherous to the point where motorcyclists were talking about it.

It is late to be talking about proper training - base, build and taper phases with proper recovery. That should have been started two months ago. The thing to do now is go out and ride hills. The longer and steeper the better. Practice seated climbing and heart rate management.

Many locals don't do this ride anymore. It has become a cottage industry complete with high prices and tourists. There were a few years when it was very poorly run - running out of food at rest stops, broken timing and so forth. I hope that has changed and I might try the century this year. Distance won't be an issue but 11,000 ft climbing will be a challenge. Hogback isn't as bad as the Winding Stair Gap gravel climb so I'm not super worried.


-Tim-
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Old 08-03-18, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Difficulty is relative. If you are from Florida doing 20 mile rides then it will be tough. If you are doing 80 miles and 8000 ft every weekend then not so much.

The climb to Neels Gap will be longer but the climb to Wolfpen Gap will be steeper. Just sit down, put it in a lower gear and conserve energy on the climb to Neels. You will be there for a while. Wolfpen will require some muscle and will likely be more painful.

Be very careful on the descent from Hogpen as the DOT has used very slippery pavement patches and crack sealers in years past. There was one year where it was treacherous to the point where motorcyclists were talking about it.

It is late to be talking about proper training - base, build and taper phases with proper recovery. That should have been started two months ago. The thing to do now is go out and ride hills. The longer and steeper the better. Practice seated climbing and heart rate management.

Many locals don't do this ride anymore. It has become a cottage industry complete with high prices and tourists. There were a few years when it was very poorly run - running out of food at rest stops, broken timing and so forth. I hope that has changed and I might try the century this year. Distance won't be an issue but 11,000 ft climbing will be a challenge. Hogback isn't as bad as the Winding Stair Gap gravel climb so I'm not super worried.


-Tim-
I agree with Timothy H. I've done the ride five times, I think. The Hogpen descent scares the living hell out of me. It is all you can do to keep it under 55 mph. It is curvy and not well paved. (at least it wasn't the last time I did it) The Hogpen climb is serious business. It is a tough ride, no doubt, and I am used to climbing. I would rank it third in difficulty, of the rides that I have done, behind the Cheaha Ultra and The Assault on Mount Mitchell.

It was well organized the years I did it. There are about 2,500 riders in all. The mass of people breaks up pretty quickly, as there is a good bit of climbing before you even get to Neel's Gap. I will probably never do it again. I'm not as daring as I used to be. If you decide to do it, I would suggest going up some weekend and riding some of it, if you can. Every weekend of the year, there are so many cyclists up there, you'd swear an event was going on.
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Old 09-18-18, 05:14 AM
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I did 3 gap the past two years and am doing 6 gap this year. Hogpen has been re-paved so no issues there.
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Old 09-18-18, 06:14 AM
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I've had this one on my calendar all year, but there is a local ride the day before, so I'm kicking it to next year. Would be interested in post ride observations if anyone were to post. Enjoy!
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Old 09-18-18, 09:32 AM
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Lots of sitting and spinning. Riding the ridge up to Woody Gap is my favorite part.
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Old 09-18-18, 05:31 PM
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Forgot to mention Woody's descent has also be paved. Much better now compared to how it was...
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Old 10-03-18, 08:51 AM
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Does anyone have a ride report they would like to share from Six or Three gap?
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Old 10-08-18, 05:06 AM
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This was my 3rd year doing the Gaps, first year doing 6 though so spent the year building endurance to better suit that ride. I've only done 2 centuries before but not like this. Most of my rides are metrics and less so I was a little concerned. Weather was perfect for me but I like it a little on the warm side. Decided before the ride, two weeks previous in a 6 gap from the rockpile practice ride, that I would stay well below threshold as much as possible, to better handle the second half of the ride. That feels incredibly easy and slow on the first 3 climbs, but pays off once you hit Hogpen. They had a rest stop half way up Hogpen but it was in the middle of the second section, which is the steepest, hardest section on that climb, so you'd be foolish to stop there, I didn't. I planned on stopping at the 38, 66 and 87 mile rest stops for water and pee break and that is what I did. After Hogpen descent I got massive cramps in all the muscles in both legs so had to get off and walk a few minutes while I downed an entire 24oz bottle of electrolyte mix. That help me stay 'just' under the cramp zone for the rest of the ride. Pee'd like a race horse 3 times in during the ride so I don't think my hydration was in question. While staying at my own pace I passed many riders, but was also passed by many as well. I made quick work of the rest stops just to fill bottles and relieve myself, no time for BS'n. I had a goal of 7 hours total time and made in in 6:44:56 so was very pleased.
I've had a fantastic year and this concludes my 3rd year cycling. Looking forward to the next with great anticipation (of what may be) and a little fear (of how do I improve).
Next year let's see if I can break the 6:30 mark.....
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Old 10-11-18, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Harvieu25 View Post
This was my 3rd year doing the Gaps, first year doing 6 though so spent the year building endurance to better suit that ride. I've only done 2 centuries before but not like this. Most of my rides are metrics and less so I was a little concerned. Weather was perfect for me but I like it a little on the warm side. Decided before the ride, two weeks previous in a 6 gap from the rockpile practice ride, that I would stay well below threshold as much as possible, to better handle the second half of the ride. That feels incredibly easy and slow on the first 3 climbs, but pays off once you hit Hogpen. They had a rest stop half way up Hogpen but it was in the middle of the second section, which is the steepest, hardest section on that climb, so you'd be foolish to stop there, I didn't. I planned on stopping at the 38, 66 and 87 mile rest stops for water and pee break and that is what I did. After Hogpen descent I got massive cramps in all the muscles in both legs so had to get off and walk a few minutes while I downed an entire 24oz bottle of electrolyte mix. That help me stay 'just' under the cramp zone for the rest of the ride. Pee'd like a race horse 3 times in during the ride so I don't think my hydration was in question. While staying at my own pace I passed many riders, but was also passed by many as well. I made quick work of the rest stops just to fill bottles and relieve myself, no time for BS'n. I had a goal of 7 hours total time and made in in 6:44:56 so was very pleased.
I've had a fantastic year and this concludes my 3rd year cycling. Looking forward to the next with great anticipation (of what may be) and a little fear (of how do I improve).
Next year let's see if I can break the 6:30 mark.....
Sounds like a well thought out and well executed ride. Well done, especially for only three years of cycling. I definitely like the "below threshold" idea. I tend to fair much better when I pace myself and don't let others influence my pace. I have yet to break seven hours personally, but I could do better by not spending as much time at rest stops. Good luck next year with a sub-6:30 ride time.
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Old 10-12-18, 06:44 AM
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From what I have seen, most people don't have appropriate gearing to be able to pace themselves and stay under threshold. I can do that ride on a compact with 11-28 but it is much easier to pace and stay under threshold with an 11-34. Going easier on the climbs allows a better pace elsewhere since you aren't recovering between them.

Must be an ego thing since most riders, probably 90%, don't even have a 3w/kg ftp much less something useful on big climbs. My best riding buddy thinks anything lower than a sub compact with an 11-28 is wuss territory, but yet he was so burned out I dropped him on Hogpen and then finished 1h35m ahead. Been trying to tell him all year...

Oh, and I did PR 32 segments all along the route.

Wasn't planning on doing 6 again but now that I have recovered I just might.
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Old 11-12-18, 10:13 AM
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I live in the area and obviously the Gaps are all very challenging. To be honest, I sort of enjoy the the looks on the faces of first timers who were
sure that 11-28 was going to be "just fine" for any hill they could imagine. Since they had been riding a lot of "overpasses" in FL and Louisiana to prepare.

But still, once they recover they realize they had a good time none the less.
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Old 11-14-18, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by smoore View Post
Since they had been riding a lot of "overpasses" in FL and Louisiana to prepare.

But still, once they recover they realize they had a good time none the less.
Many, many years ago I was living in Southeast Georgia (Coastal Plains) and tried to prepare for a multiple day Gaps ride in the best way I possibly could. Our industrial park had a railroad overpass that was much steeper and considerably longer than any climb in the area so I did repeats on the overpass and eventually built up to doing them in the biggest gear/fastest pace I possibly could. I want say I did great in the Gaps, but I managed pretty well. Of course I was much, much younger at that time. There is no replacement for actually climbing steep grades, but sometimes your options are limited and you just gotta do what you can.
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Old 11-14-18, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Bikedud View Post
Many, many years ago I was living in Southeast Georgia (Coastal Plains) and tried to prepare for a multiple day Gaps ride in the best way I possibly could. Our industrial park had a railroad overpass that was much steeper and considerably longer than any climb in the area so I did repeats on the overpass and eventually built up to doing them in the biggest gear/fastest pace I possibly could. I want say I did great in the Gaps, but I managed pretty well. Of course I was much, much younger at that time. There is no replacement for actually climbing steep grades, but sometimes your options are limited and you just gotta do what you can.
It sounds like you did the best with what you had. But I agree, when you get older you start to realize what was possible in your 20s and 30s just because your WERE in your 20s and 30s. I've watched my son who is an average athlete, do some amazing bike rides and his first marathon with only a very moderate amount of training. But he was in his later 20s and nothing seems to hurt much at that age.
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