6-Gaps Ride Report, Saturday, May 27, 2006
∑ Five competitive riders, four NorEast Cycling Club riders and one MBRC/Bicycle Link rider
∑ Goals - to complete six gaps in less than 8 hours, have fun
∑ Stats: 132 mile loop, 6 major climbs, 14,500 feet of climbing (per TopoUSA)
∑ Temperature: 60-70 in valleys, 50ís in clouds
∑ No flats, but a few derailleur adjustments needed along the way
∑ Gaps completed: six by all five riders
∑ Riders cleaning Lincoln Gap: four, the rider with the biggest low ratio (30x25) walking... again.† Smaller ratio next year?
∑ Fastest ride time: 7hrs, 34min
After getting ďburnedĒ last year attempting 6-gaps on June 25 in 100+ degree heat index temps, a few of us decided to try earlier in the season to beat the heat.† We also wanted get some training value out of the ride, hitting the hills a little harder and maintaining a firmer pace on the flats.† None of us had any important races planned for this or the following weekend, so taking a couple extra days to recover from an effort like this was not going to be a problem.
started from our usually spot at the junction of Rts
73 and 100 just south of
After a brief stop, we headed north on Rt 100 through Granville Gulf, a baby gap of sorts that gains about 500ft.† Due to extreme rainfall a couple weeks earlier, the streams were still running fast and the waterfall there was quite something to see.† But we didnít stop to sight see.† Lincoln Gap came up awfully quick, and I was already starting to feel my legs.† Brett was running a lower ratio this year, and I had a hunch he had an ambitious pace in mind for this beast after being demoralized by it last year.† We stopped for a quick derailleur adjustment on Brettís bike at the bottom, with Jason getting a small lead start.† After cresting the initial steep paved section, we could see from the flatter gravel section that the ridgeline before us was completely socked in with clouds.† I thought for sure we were heading into rain, and that was really bad news on the other side where the descent was mostly on gravel.† I stopped briefly to shoot a couple pictures, then had to catch up to Brett, Glen, and Dave.† I caught them as we begun the paved wall portion of the ascent.† As suspected, Brett set the pace on this one.† I had not planned on going so hard, as 7+ hours in the saddle is a long ride.† We reached the cloud line, and visibility went down to about 100ft.† I was dying.† Every time I do this climb, I get fooled by how long the 20-24% grade suffering lasts, about 15 minutes worth.† Brett and I reached the top together ahead of the others.† His PowerTap said he was pushing 380-400 Watts at 4-5mph!† A hiker couple drove up the way we came and parked.† They asked if we were waiting for our friend.† The gal sympathetically said he was walking his bike.† Jason ran the same gears as last year, a stock triple, and achieved the same result.
Dirt section on east
Dave cresting the top of
Group shot on Lincoln Gap: Doug, Glen, Dave, Brett, and Jason
Looking back at
very cold and breezy on Lincoln Gap, so we didnít hang around long.† The descent is one to be careful on.† It is steep, bumpy, and curvy.† You canít carry any speed on the first paved
portion.† Bigger riders must be very
mindful of over heating their rims.† Like
usual, this descent separated the mountain bikers from pure roadies.† The pavement gives way to gravel, which was
in excellent condition this time.† Dave
and I carried speeds near 40mph much of the way down.† Once getting back on pavement near
the Lincoln Town Clerk earlier in the week to learn the status of
We climbed baby App together, recovered some on the brief descent, then hit the serious part of Appalachian Gap hard.† Brett set the pace again, and I was suffering staying with him.† This being the finishing climb of the road stage of the Green Mountain Stage Race, I anticipated a sprint finish to the top.† Now we couldnít tell exactly when the top was coming, because the top was socked in with clouds.† When we passed that sign on the left telling trucks to use low gear (which I knew was at the top), I started to take off.† Brett didnít want to challenge me on this one.† I was glad.† I could have lost my hamburger helper that was so good 40 minutes earlier.
Just like on adjacent Lincoln Gap, it was very cold and breezy on App Gap.† No view, which is too bad, as App Gap offers the best view of all the gaps.† We quickly rocketed down to Waitsfield, where we made another brief food stop (none for me) before heading off to Roxbury Gap.
all starting to hurt at this point, with about 100 miles and 10,000 feet in our
legs.† Roxbury Gap begins as moderate
climbing from the town of
Top of Roxbury Gap looking east.† Well packed gravel all the way down.
regrouped in Roxbury, making one last brief hydration stop.† We had a long haul down Rts
12A and 12 to the final gap, maybe 20-25 miles of flat to slightly downhill
grade.† We had tail wind too.† I donít know what the deal was, but I was
dying on this flat stuff.† Brett was too.† Dave and Glen were setting the pace here,
each taking monster pulls.† Glen has
bailed me out on a prior 6-gaps ride on this part.† We maintained good
pace here, seldom under 23mph, sometimes close to 30mph.† We fly through
So we all
got back to the cars in