6-Gaps Ride Report, Saturday, June 25, 2005
∑ Eight riders from four states.
group ride stats: 111 miles, 10,100 feet of climbing, 17.1mph avg, 4 gaps completed, plus
∑ Temperature: 94F in the shade. Heat Index: >100F
∑ One flat, no mechanicals.
memorable quote: "I bet 4 out of 5 doctors would tell you to stay indoors
today." I think Mike said this after climbing 24%
∑ Moral of the ride: Guys that finish last get the girl!
riders set off on a
Paceline through Brandon after climbing Brandon Gap
Gap begins very steep at the bottom, and then the grade moderates
as vertical is gained. From the top of Middlebury Gap,
So Brett, Jason, Glen, Tom and I paceline
north on Rt 100 to Lincoln Gap.
Heading north on Rt 100 to climb
You can see how oppressively humid it is.
the temperature is into the 90's, and the heat index is over 100.† We were all at our thermal limit. We decided
at that point that even four gaps were going to be a challenge. Once you go
down the back side of Lincoln Gap, you have to go over again to get back to the
side the cars are on. Tom, a tall Clydesdale class rider, decided to play it
safe and headed back down Lincoln Gap and to the cars 19 miles down Rt 100.
descent down the west face of Lincoln Gap is mostly gravel. It was a little
looser this year than last. I still felt ok on it, but everybody else was quite
tentative on the stones. Must be my MTB experience.† Jason had to make a couple rim cool down
stops on this descent. There was also a half mile stretch of freshly torn up
pavement (very loose gravel) we had to ride through as we entered
So now we
still have David off the front heading towards App gap, Tom heading back to
cars, and Steven on his own. The rest of us head to App Gap. The heat in
back on our bikes in the sun again, we resumed the App Gap climb. The stream
was near the top of baby gap, so we first had that nice descent before hitting
the sustained steep climb to the top. The top of App Gap is where the finish
line is for the Green Mountain Stage Race (GMSR). The cool down was refreshing,
but very short lived. I almost immediately started hitting my thermal limit.
Brett blasted up to the top. Maybe heat exhaustion caused him to hallucinate in
thinking he was racing to the finish in the GMSR! Most of the way up, we catch
Dip in Stream Beginning Appalachian Gap
The 6 of
us descended App Gap together (the side the GMSR climbs in the prologue TT). I
refueled again with another two 32 oz bottles.
got to the cars, Tom's car was gone Ė good. Steven's car was still there Ė not
so good we thought. Brett and Glen took off. After taking a quick dip in the
river right there, Jason and I went back to check on Mike and
Steven there for a few minutes to check on Mike and David, who should have been
back by now. Mike was doing fine and almost back to the cars. David was only a
couple miles behind him, and riding and chatting with a beautiful woman! Go
figure. Turns out she was a sweep for a big organized ride called the L.A.M.B.
What Steven did was, instead of taking Lincoln Gap after Middlebury like we did, he continued slightly further north on Rt 100 and climbed Roxbury Gap next. He did Roxbury/Rochester Gaps, while we did Lincoln/App Gaps. He did almost as much climbing and mileage as we did, most of it solo, in about the same time!† That had to be tough.
left David behind at the bottom of App Gap, he was feeling quite trashed. He
pulled over to a grassy park area, laid back on the grass, and immediately
dozed off. He wasn't sure if 3 minutes or 30 minutes went by, but he was
awakened when a beautiful, fit women was standing above him asked if he was
heading down Rt 100. He was in fact, but she was a
sweep for a different ride. They ended up riding the rest of the way back to
It turns out Mike barely made it back too, for a different reason.† He really didnít want to ride alone, and we were reluctant to let him, as he didnít have a pump in case he flatted.† We agreed to come back if he didnít make it back shortly after we did.† Well, with about 6 miles to go, he flatted.† He tried hitchhiking and walking before a cycling group came by with a pump.† The flat got fixed, and he was back on the road just before David would have caught up to him.† How unlucky is that, of all the rider-miles without a flat, the minute we leave the one rider without a pump he flats?† Two lessons learned I guess Ė carry your own inflators and donít leave a rider alone without an inflator.
it back just fine.† Feeling like the rest
of us did, he stopped for a dip in the
So that left everybody accounted for. I feel somewhat defeated by this ride, so I might have to try it again later this fall when it is cooler out. Most of us said they enjoyed the ride. David is already talking about next time, and all six gaps, possibly solo! At least two people set PRs for most miles and vertical in a single ride Saturday. Brett called me the next day to say the ride was an Epic.† Had I known how hot it was going to get, I would have proposed a date change. The forecasted high went from 78 to 94 in less than a week. I consumed over 300 ounces of fluids during the ride, a lot more in the evening, and still weighed three pounds lighter the next morning. I think most, if not all of us would have completed 6 gaps if it weren't for the heat. Riding only 4 gaps this year was way harder than riding all 6 gaps last year. Our pace was slightly higher too, and factored with the heat didn't help matters.