Having blown off the Shenandoah Mtn 100, a ride I've been working towards all year, I needed some redemption -- something that would push whatever fitness I've been able to develop. This weekend was the 6 Gap century, a brutal day of climbing near Dahlonega, in the North Georgia mountains. The Tour de Georgia hits several of these climbs, and there's still a lot of paint on the road left over from that. Pretty neat seeing the names there. First (and longest) climb of the day. Not too steep, but almost 7.5 miles long. Coming down the back side was a 40mph descent, and with lots of bunching still on the road it got a little hairy on occasion. It wasn't helped out by the fact that the sister ride (3 Gap 50) turned hard left towards the bottom while the rest of us went straight. Fortunately no one in my group had to make that turn. The view from the rolling hills leading to Jacks. This wasn't much fun, but early on I looked over my shoulder and there was a familiar face. It took me a second, but the bike and kit wound up being a dead give away. You can see indieboy in the second picture. We wound up riding together for quite a ways, and it was real nice having someone to talk with. The climb up Unicoi wasn't quite as foggy as it looks. A lot of that is my camera lens misting up from sweat. The weather was perfect though. The roads were dry and clear, and it was maybe in the low 80s at the bottom of hills and low 70s at the top. I'd zip up for the descents, but never thought I needed more clothes. Top of Hogpen. I like to climb -- in fact I love to climb -- but Hogpen was very nearly my undoing, and had me wishing for a triple. Well, at least a 39t ring. Dropping in (roadie style) from the top of Hogpen. Fastest descent of the day. I don't know the roads and so took it easy, but I still clocked 50 coming down here without even trying. Nearly lost it in a corner at about that speed as well. That would have been ugly. In a fog of pain near the top of Wolfpen Gap. That's misting on the lens again, but its about how I felt as well. This was another tough climb, although it was nothing compared to Hogpen. Hogpen has long and demoralizing straight sections. Wolfpen is much prettier. Post ride, completely shattered. At the base of Woody's I realized I could finish in under 6 hours if I pushed it. So I did, passing and dropping the guy who'd led me up both Hogpen and Wolfpen, and then hammering for all I was worth on the long descent back into town. After the finish it took me about 10 minutes to get the energy just to loosen up my shoes, and another 5 before I could get out the camera and take this pic. All in all, a good day, although I must say the sheer brutality of this ride took me by surprise. Much of the day was just about survival. I'm glad to have done so. Meeting indieboy was an unexpected bonus.