Thursday, September 30, 2010

Georgia report

Friday Joe and I were on the road by 6:30am on our way to Georgia for the Six Gap century ride.
Arrived at our motel (Best Western) which had nothing that was "best" or "western".
We walked into the lobby and the place smelled, then he couldn't find my reservation even though I kept telling him to look at my paper with the number on it. Finally we get a room and we go check it out and walk out of it with a headache, it smelled worse that the lobby. I told the "ho" to call the Comfort Inn across the street which is where I wanted to stay but were booked. Guess what, they had a cancellation 30 minutes before I called, went back to the front desk and cancelled at BW and moved across the street to CI. My niece and her husband flew in to Orlando and drove up to do the ride and were staying there too. They also did the ride and finished it in spite of the conditions, great ride guys.
Saturday we went to the registration place at the Dahlonega Square, nice smalll town with hundreds of bikers riding all over the place. We walked and purchased a few last minute things at the bike expo had lunch and went back to the motel to get ready for Sunday.

Saturday night into Sunday morning, rain and lighting. Got up got ready and the rain had stopped by 6am. On our way to the ride venue the heavens opened up and the roads and streets were like rivers. We waited in the car for 20minutes thinking they would move the start time back, but no, promptly at 7:30 the horn went off and we were off. Within 10 miles into the ride the rain started again and never let up.
Temps in the high 60's to low 70's made it better. It did get cold on some of the downhills but when you are going 30+ and at times 40+ in the rain you are bound to get a bit cold. Yes, a couple of times I did hit 40+ on wet roads going downhill. For the most part you could see the turns coming and you could gage how fast you wanted to hit the turn if you could slow down. I ned to buy new brake pads, I have less than and 1/8 left on each one. The climbing was excellent but I feel that if I knew how the course was, I  could have done it in 20 minutes less the way I felt and with dry roads. It was a hard ride but the description makes it look worse than it is. When we made it to the top of Hogpen Gap, the "ho" and I looked at each other and said "is that it". It was hard believe me, but we thought it was going to be worse. After that we pushed it a little more and were able to make up some time, my finishing time was
7:33.08. good for 342 out of 793 finishers with almost 25% DNF's. Under 7 is a possibility with the right training for the ride. With the little riding I've been doing comparing to previous years I think I did good.

On the way back the "HO" had to stop at the original KFC to visit the Coronel. And yes, I'm ashamed to say it but I had a 3 pc original and it tasted good.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Masses of Midges

Thats' the Plain Dealer front page today. And they are 100% correct. Muster the energy to get up at 4:25am this morning and out the door by 5:15.
With the helmet light the midges just kept coming by the thousands. Too much protein to ingest early in the morning. It was a very quiet ride, not too much traffic and only a couple of cars through the Bedford reservation. The temps were perfect in the mid 50's but very windy and blowing in the wrong direction. I had a very stiff head wind all the way in. As soon as I left the house I knew, the flags in the neighborhood were as stiff as a pc. of plywood.
One more long ride in to work on Thursday before heading down to Georgia Friday morning.
Have a great day.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Use this stress relief when you want to kick a drivers a...


Race Across The Sky 2010 from Citizen Pictures on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

6 Gap ride Description

I nearly soiled my pants when I read the description of the 6 Gap ride I'm doing in Georgia next week.
Wow, 2 posts in one day, I nearly did...
They describe "moderate climb" with +++. What could that mean???????


The course consists of an "approach" from Dahlonega followed by six climbs
with some rolling hills between the gaps. Each climb culminates at a "gap",
or mountain pass. The climb is named for the gap. There are refreshment
stops at each gap and an extra one about half way up Hogpen (gap 4). (There
may be more, but you won't need them.)
The approach is rolling, with some very sharp (but short) hills. It's
roughly comparable to a loop around the Havana Hills race course in Gadsden
county. You want to be very careful with your energy on these first few
miles. It is easy to get caught up in the moment and push hard enough to
effectively ruin the rest of the ride before you even get to the first
climb. Forget the group - ride your own pace and get warmed up. You
absolutely have to ride your own ride on the climbs anyway. Keep in mind: a
ride like 6-gap is more about energy management than anything else. You
have only so much, and you're going to need a lot of it on the latter part
of the ride.

Gap 1: Neels
This is a seven mile climb of moderate grade. Use it to get your legs and
CV system running well and to get the feel of what it's like to go up hill
for an hour. Watch your energy output rate (preferably with a heart rate
monitor) and keep it moderate. There will be plenty of opportunity to push
harder later in the ride, should you find the workout inadequate.
The descent from Neels is fast but straight enough to be relatively safe,
with good pavement. (For the 3-gap folks, the left turn to Wolfpen Gap is
easy to fly by if you are not looking for it.)

Gap 2: Jacks

After some fairly good Havana-hills-like rolling terrain, this climb goes
for about 3 miles at a moderate+ grade. This is where you get the
experience of making a long climb that is not the first long climb...
The descent from Jacks is long and moderate - let it fly. Beautiful scenery
and lots of free miles on this one. It takes you all the way to the start
of the climb to Unicoi Gap, no hilly stuff in between: just descend and
start the next climb.
Gap 3: Unicoi

Unicoi is about 3 miles of moderate++ climbing. The main problem with
Unicoi is that it is unshaded and can be very hot facing into the sun.
The descent from Unicoi is great. While the climb is relatively short, the
descent is over 10 miles all the way into Helen. The grade is steep enough
to be fun, but the pavement is good and the curves are well banked so again
this is not particularly dangerous. There may be a lot of traffic, the only
"down side". But the roadway is wide enough to accommodate autos and bikes
in most places. Stay aware of the traffic behind you.
At 1445 ft above sea level, Helen is the lowest elevation on 6-gap, thus
explaining why the descent is so long. (Dahlonega is 1880 ft.) And you WILL
pay a price...
Gap 4: Hogpen

This is the big one. Seven miles at a steep grade, averaging around 7% but
with some sections well above that. There are also a couple of false
summits. There's a rest stop at mile 4, with 3 to go. (The mile markers on
the highway actually correspond to miles on this climb.) Try to skip the
intermediate rest stop. If the weather is hot, though, you may need to just
get some fluid here.
The descent from Hogpen is dangerous. It is very steep. There are sharp
blind curves at the end of steep strait sections. The pavement is bad: old
chip-seal, broken in places, and loose gravel possible anywhere. The road
is narrow, and the camber of the turns is not adequate. The grade is such
that speeds in excess of 50 mph are possible just using gravity.
Someone said that if you don't brake, you won't flat: well, tell that to
all the people who have flatted on, say, our St Marks Trail. You can also
come up on wildlife, potholes, stopped leaf peepers, wet roadway, loose
gravel, pavement cracks, hickory nuts, crashed motorcycles, motorcycles
ascending in your lane, and any number of other hazards that require a very
rapid change of plans. Bad stuff CAN happen. I have personally seen
everything in my list above on the 6-gap course. It is unwise to descend at
a speed that allows for no margin of correction.
It is also unwise to brake too much, especially to ride the brakes. You
want to avoid heat buildup in your rims - eventually, this will cause a
blowout by melting your tube. (If you have plastic rim strips, failure will
occur at a much lower temperature. Change to cloth rim tape before 6-gap.)
And keep in mind: the heavier you are, the faster gravity will accelerate
you and the more heat you will put into your rims when you slow down.
There's no simple recipe here, just make sure you control your speed to
something that gives you some wiggle room in case of unexpected events.

Gap 5: Wolfpen

The second toughest climb on 6-gap. About 2.5 miles (depending on where you
define the beginning) with grades on par with Hogpen. The roadway is shady,
however, which is great if the weather is hot. (It's been known to sleet up
here, if the weather is wet.)
The Wolfpen descent is twisty but on good pavement with good camber to the
curves, so not too dangerous. It is often damp, though. Stay out of the paint.

Gap 6: Woody
The descent from Wolfpen takes you only down to Suches, home of the highest
elevation school in Georgia. Consequently the climb up Woody is a paltry
1.5 miles of moderate grade. From the top of Woody it's a 15+/- mile
descent of mild grade all the way back to Dahlonega. Try to have enough
energy left to enjoy it.
below is the graph for Hog Pen Gap

North Georgia
GA Route 348
West of Helen, GA
White County


1959' climb
9.6 miles
4% avg grade
2 mile 12% to 14% section
Long, steep and unrelenting!

What a great year

1955 was a good year, no, make that a Great year. The year I was born, 55 today born in 1955 or born in 1955, 55 today. I thank my Mom and Dad for conceiving me. If it's a sign of years to come, my dad just turned 92 in August and my mom is 75 and strong as always. Whatever the future years bring it's all in Gods hands. I'm thankful and happy for everything I've gone through, good or bad, smart or stupid. Many lessons learned, many more to be learned. Thankful for the family and for what I have and acomplished the first 55 years of my life.
The ladies here at work gave a me a Solon Bicycle gift card and cheese cake. Wonderful group of ladies they are.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Manatoc came and went

Kind off late to blog about Manatoc but nevertheless here it is.
Saturday started  kind off gray with a brief shower flying by but it cleared and the day turned out great. Quite a few people said that it was pouring in Cleveland and they almost didn't make it but were glad they did. The trails was dry, fast and dusty. Lots of bikes to demo from different manufacturers and even a women specific van. About time the manufacturers get smart and start offering more womem specific bikes and products. Kids races and many other things to do.
Even the University Hospitals helicopter paid a visit on Saturday and Sunday.
Sunday came and the races went on without any problems.

Yesterday Joe and I went to HHH in Findlay, Hancok Horizontal Hundred were the highest points are the freeway overpasses. It was funny to hear people at the rest stations talk about the "hills" when there was none. The wind was brutal coming out of the nothwest and a few occasions I had to lean the bike into it. One stretch of 14 miles of road  all heading west was brutal. Joe and I worked a drafting system were we would  do 4 telephone poles and switch, it worked to perfection. We  managed a respectable 5:21 for 101 miles. With 3 or 4 more riders I'm sure we would have been able to brake 5 hrs for the 100 miles. Maybe next year. I felt good all day except when we stopped at tthe last rest station for a quick pit stop, we turned the corner and the wind hit us my legs did not want to go and felt like cemet poles. It took me almost 2 miles to get going and I was having a hard time even spinning. Once I got past that we finished strong.
I'l try to post a few pictures when i have time.
Have a great riding week.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Week in review

Have had a decent week. Sunday it was Findley State park for two laps. it's funny how somedays you feel like crap and you start telling yourself "it's not going to feel good today". First lap I started nice and slow and all of the sudden I found myself burying myself the second half of the trail and feeling great. I managed a 47:55 and I didn't even start riding hard until about half ways in the trail. I think another 30-45 seconds even a sub 47 would have been possible if I had started fast from the beggining.
Monday it was weights and core work at home, Tuesday  rode in to work, Wed. hit the gym for the first ttime in two weeks and did a full body workout and I could feel it on my ride in to work. Yeah, commuted twice to work this week, 125 miles total for both days. It was a lot easier to get up for the commute this week, our summer hrs are over and I switched my hrs to 8-4:30 instead of 7:30-4. I get an extra 1/2 hr of sleep and believe me, it makes a big difference.
Sample of all the stuff I carry  in to work when I commute, clothes, breakfast, lunch, newspaper (I walk to the box to get it now) light raincoat, Hammer stuff, smoothie with whey and recoverite in it and a whole bunch of other stuff for a total of 12lbs most days. Today I'm just going to do a 2hr ride on my favorite Valley City roads.
Don't forget the "Big Valley" festival this weekend at the Boy Scout camp in Peninsula Saturday and Sunday with demo bikes to try out including womens demo bikes. I'll be working the festival both days hope to see you there the trails are ripping fast and ready for you. Not racing, come on Saturday and for a small fee, ride until you can't ride no more. Remember, this is the only time of the year we can ride these trails.