Saturday, January 10, 2009

Just in on 6-gaps

Interest in 6-gaps of Vermont continues to rise each year. I often wondered when an organized, supported event would pop up. I've even said I'd help in anyway if approached by someone leading the effort. Well, there's a 6-gaps event up on Bikereg for 2009. It is called the Chet Warman Memorial Ride. Philippe from Quebec brought this too my attention. I see a familiar name on the confirmed riders list already.

July is a hot month for 6-gaps. The only time I didn't finish a 6-gaps ride was in July when the heat index was over 100F. Since we moved our ride to Memorial Day weekend, we've had great success with weather and finish rates. I probably won't do the Chet Warman ride unless a bunch of riding buddies convince me otherwise. Many of us could almost ride the route blind folded now. No sense in paying and starting wicked early.

I certainly wasn't the first to discover 6-gaps. Not sure how far back the history goes. The name and route could be decades old. Based on numerous emails I receive over the course of a year, I believe content I placed on Northeastcycling.com helped popularize the route over the last several years. Now 6-gaps is "legit." Southerners have a 6-gaps ride too, in Georgia. It entails less climbing, a lot less distance, and has nothing comparable to the infamous Lincoln Gap. I posted a while back about Rapha listing 6-gaps as a world-class ride. It will be interesting to see where things go from here.

9 comments:

Mookie said...

Doug, do you have any epic rides planned/thought about that would include Greylock? I'm guessing the road will be completed by spring of this year?

Hill Junkie said...

I have a really nice 100km loop I do that goes over Greylock north to south, then past Jiminy Peak into NY, finishing by coming over Petersburg Pass back into Williamstown. Not sure it meets epic status though. Somewhere I have a route planned that's worthy of the epic designation. I had hoped to ride it just as I learned Greylock was being shut down two years ago. This loop is a Berkshires supertour and involves many well known climbs out there, including the "Meanest Mile" in Mass. It's probably time to dig the loop up out of Topo and post it on northeastcycling.com. Normally, I like to pre-ride these things before making it public or taking others on it. I can tolerate adverse conditions (like muddy gravel, closed bridge, bad pavement), but it is embarassing taking others along on a ride that is supposed to be "nice." I'll let you know when I reserect what I started in this area.

Dave said...

I guess Memorial Day weekend is it this year then? A guy at MORE says he'll be in Vt the weekend before and suggested we could do it with some peeps he knows on Mass. Just wondered what your plans were so I can decide who to ride with. My best day would probably be Sun May 24 because I have work on Friday and need a day to drive up.

Hill Junkie said...

I'd like to keep it Saturday, the 23rd for now. Still a long way off. Have to see what kind of interest materializes, what works best for the core gang that does it each year. We kind of reserve Sun/Mon as rain dates. These days, on any weekend groups will be doing 6-gaps. Last spring I heard stories of riders dealing with snow still on some of the gaps.

Mookie said...

FYI- Myself and at least 2 others from CT will be tagging along this year.

plum said...

July is insane. When we tackled it in mid-June, I started to cook like a sausage up Middlebury and simmered all the way up Granville, only to be saved by a downpour on Lincoln. You get the wrong day in July and forget about it. Too risky.

Matt Surch said...

After recently learning of 6 Gaps from your blog, I'm glad to see there is an organized event running there now. Having read many of your tales, I'm a little less glad to hear its in July. I am good in heat, but would rather attempt that route in more temperate conditions.

I'll see how the season goes, and whether taking on Battenkill and the D2R2 for the first time will prepare my brothers on wheels and I to add 6 Gaps to the to-do list.

If you venture up my way, Ottawa, in the coming season, send me a line on my blog and we'll take you out for a great dirt road ride. We don't have the elevation here, but we've got enough to put the hurt on us pretty good, and some beautiful landscape. BTW, most of it is north of the river, in Quebec.

Christopher Titus said...

I went with you for last years ride. Great route however I was a little slower than I had expected. Perhaps I needed a litte more base work. But I will be doing it again this year. Is going solo crazy?

Hill Junkie said...

Going solo is not crazy if you have the mental fortitude to ride by yourself that long. I do all the time, and many of my most memorable rides were solo (Jay Peak double metric, White Mtn centuries, Mauna Kea on Hawaii, Over the Lemmon in Tucson and others). Many of these rides took me over 8hrs and were very remote. 6-gaps is not remote, as there is a general store at the bottom of both sides of every gap. Some people would feel lonely and desire the social aspect of cycling more than just getting away from it all. As you probably know, I like to get away from it all alot. Last month I went down to Arkansas and did several long solo rides off-road.

I may try to organize A and B groups this year, as there has already been a flurry of interest in 6-gaps. Or I may try to assist matching slower riders with other slower riders. I've had correspondance with a 47 year old female triathlete who might be interested in joining others at a relaxed pace. I would encourage riders not ready for a fast group ride to consider the orgainzed July Chet Warman ride. As we come into April, I'll send some feelers out to see what kind of interest there is for multi-ride formats.