Just a little information on area and regional rides, races and events.
Woodland Challenge: - Mid March, Traditionally the first century of the year. It does have one tough hill at mile 60 and another about mile 83.
Cheaha Challenge: Early May (Actually the same weekend as 3 State 3 Mountain). Claims to be the toughest ride in the South. Obviously, whoever said that never rode "Six Gap" or "Mitchell." Cheaha does have about 7,500 feet of climbing. Mt. Cheaha is a good climb - 3 miles with up to 10.4 % grade.
3 State, 3 Mountain Century: Early May. This is another great ride starting in Chattanooga. The three states are Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia. The three mountains are Suck Creek, Sand Mtn. and Lookout Mtn. The last half mile of the 2.5 mile climb up Lookout is as tough as any climb I have ever done. Starting at mile 80 doesn't help.
Tour de Georgia: Usually about the 3rd week in April. The traditional Saturday stage finish is on top of Brasstown Bald, the highest point in Georgia. After climbing about 14,000 feet over 120 miles the riders climb "The Bald." This is a three-mile long climb that averages about 12%. There is a steeper section in the middle at about 18%, and the last 0.5 mile is a constant 16%. You must ride up "The Bald" to appreciate it.
Mount Mitchell The Hardest century in the southeast. The ride starts in Spartonberg SC. Riders climb 5,000 feet in the first 75 miles to Marion NC. Five miles out of Marion (at Lake Tahoma at about 1,400 feet) you start Climbing. The climb is almost continuously for the next 22 miles. You reach the Blue Ridge Parkway at 3,400 ft and continue climbing to the next rest stop at 4,800 ft. You enjoy a very fast and a little scary 3 minute descent to 4,200 ft. where the road again starts up. At 5,100 ft, you reach the start of the climb up Mt. Mitchell itself. The top is 6,600 feet above sea level. In the last 22 miles you climb over 7,000 feet. It gets tough near the top!!
SIX GAP: End of September. The is my favorite ride of all. They "uped" the number of entries to 2,000 this year and used electronic timing. IF you like hills, this is your ride. The ride starts in Dehlonega, Georgia and climbs six of highest gaps in the state. The biggest is "Hogpen Gap," a seven mile long climb with an average grade of 7%. The killer is the two + mile section of continuous 12 to 15% climbing.
Just a few of the 2000 riders at the start. That is me in middle in the white hat and blue jersey
Lance headed up Brasstown Bald in 2004. As you can tell, it was brutally hot. The next year, 2005 I rode over Hogpen gap (7 mile climb) and noticed icicles on the rock walls at the top. Then I rode over to Brasstown Bald and up to meet Marye Jo at the top. It was extremely windy SNOWING!! Quite a change.