Tag Archives: mountains

Adventure Home in the Apps

View of the Great Smoky Mountains from near the top of Cherohala Skyway.

“Apps” as in the Appalachian Mountains, not mobile apps or webapps – although both of those were discussed at the ACM Computing Conference I was attending in Gatlinburg, TN. I have been attending this conference in Gatlinburg every year for the past 13 years (including this year). Since I didn’t start my cycling blog until Summer 2008, my first reports on our Gatlinburg adventures were on our old family blog. I’ve had so many adventures over the years in Gatlinburg as documented below –

416 miles, 4 states, 15 counties, 37K+ feet of climbing – Gatlinburg, TN to Hoover, AL via Clingman’s, Cherohala, Lookout Mountain, Little River Canyon, and Karl Daly

Day 1 – Gatlinburg, TN to Chattanooga, TN via Clingman’s Dome and Cherohala Skyway
I wanted to get home to Birmingham relatively early on Sunday so I wanted to get as early a start as possible Saturday morning so I could get to the hotel in Chattanooga early and then leave again early Sunday morning. I woke up at 2:45AM even before my alarm went off (set for 3AM) so I was up, dressed, and ready to go shortly after 3AM. I left Gatlinburg with temps in the low 30s knowing that I would be fine for the first couple hours of the ride on the 25 mile climb up to the top of Clingman’s Dome.

My only concern was whether the sleet, snow, and rain from a couple days earlier would have dried out completely or left slippery roads. There were a few wet spots, and a few icy spots, but no ice completely covering any of the road so I could always find a clear path up. The temp did drop down into the mid 20s around Alum Cave, the coldest part of the climb, before rising again to 30-32 degF by the top of the mountain.

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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.