Six Gap

I’m really excited about a last minute opportunity that has opened up for me to race Six Gap on Sunday. I won’t be able to make it up for the criterium, but I’ll be gunning for the fastest combined time on Hog Pen and Wolf Pen Gaps come Sunday morning. I first heard about Six Gap while I was racing at Clemson University back in 1996. Our faculty advisor mentioned it as a really cool ride to do in the North Georgia mountains, so I signed up for it and joined about 200 other people leaving from the North Georgia College gym. The thing I remember most about that ride was it being the first time I had ridden up into the clouds on a climb, and I remember thinking that must be how climbing Alpe d’Huez would feel.

Fast forward 15 years, and I rode Six Gap again in 2011 taking the 35+ KOM by hanging onto Jimmy Schurmann’s wheel as long as possible on Hogpen. I won the really cool green KOM jersey that I wore again on my ride yesterday out to the cliffs at Double Oak here in Alabama. The next year, I was able to get the 35+ KOM again by hanging onto two wheels (Jimmy again and Christian Parrett) as long as possible. Six Gap had partnered with the USA Pro Cycling Challenge that year, and I ended up winning just about the coolest prize pack I’ve ever won – including an official yellow leader’s jersey and blue kom jersey from the USA Pro Challenge.

usa pro challenge leader's jerseyMe wearing the USA Pro Challenge leader’s jersey

usapro-schwagUSA Pro Challenge Prize Pack for winning the 2012 Six Gap KOM prize.

Can’t wait until Sunday to give it another go at winning the 35+ KOM jersey!!! (I can’t keep up with the young climbers anymore!) Also, I’ve got something special planned for the day that will make it “extra epic”. Hope to see everyone up in Dahlonega this weekend.

The Walking Dead Bike Tour

Woodbury main street. #thewalkingdead bike tour

A photo posted by Brian Toone (@kartoone76) on

The thing you have to understand about these kinds of adventures is how ridiculously fun they are. Part of the reason I blog about them and take so many pictures is to try to share that intangible sense of adventure with other people and encourage them to get out there and try something new. Shortly after sunrise in Randolph County having already ridden 120 miles from my house, I had one of those moments where I was just grinning from ear to ear when I saw my turn onto a dirt road into the middle of the woods as the epic scale went off the charts with still more than half the ride left to go.

My fascination with the walking dead started this year during the kids’ spring break. Kristine had taken them up to Indiana to visit family because their spring break was not the same week as mine at Samford. I stayed home and saw a link to watch The Walking Dead on Netflix. I was hooked after the first episode and ended up watching the entire series while they were gone that week. On Tuesday after just starting Season 3, I decided to do a long training ride east of Cheaha to the Georgia border since I knew that the Walking Dead was supposed to be in Georgia.

During the ride I noticed how the landscape, terrain, and woods resembled that of the TV series. When I got home, I discovered that I was within about 50 miles of where the series was being filmed. I resolved to go back some time and explore the area more. My wife was dropping a friend visiting us off at the Atlanta airport Saturday afternoon, so I figured it would be the perfect opportunity to ride farther into Georgia without having to ride all the way back home to Birmingham. The tricky part was leaving early enough to make it to Atlanta to meet her at a reasonable time without leaving too early and getting caught in traffic of people coming home from a late night out (dangerous).

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