The Last Gap

Hogpen Gap



 

In a few days, I’ll be heading back to the North Georgia mountains for my first attempt at the Six Gap Century. It will be my last big ride of the year, the largest event that I’ll attend this year, and perhaps the toughest of the year. Potentially 3,000 riders will be descending on the small town of Dahlonega, to climb somewhere between 11,000-13,000 feet (depending on GPS software, who you ask). It will be a beast, and the perfect capper to a successful climbing season.

I found a pretty good preview of the ride at another blog.

Fortunately, this area is not entirely new to me. I was able to climb three of the gaps earlier this summer. Just having those few climbs under my belt makes what’s coming less intimidating. That ride included legendary Hogpen Gap, the behemoth climb with the reputation as being one of the toughest. It may have been tough, but definitely climbable. In fact, I’d say that Highway 181 from last week’s Bridge to Bridge was tougher. This year the organizers have teamed up with the US Pro Cycling Challenge, and will give King of the Mountain prizes for those who climb Hogpen the fastest. Needless to say, I will be going home empty handed on Sunday.

A Slight Setback

Apparently I tweaked something in my last two rides. My hip has been sore, with symptoms consistent with a Hip Pointer injury. It is probably not from cycling, but I first felt it after last Thursday’s group ride. It was just minor discomfort at that point, so I dismissed it, and went along with my business. I rode again on Saturday morning, feeling fine, but it came back afterward. A few days later and it is still with me. In fact, it is now a little bit worse.

It is an unusual injury. The pain is isolated to a specific area on my right hip, not far from my groin. I still have normal mobility, but when I try to gyrate my hips or rotate my leg outward, it burns. Rather than take chances, I have already obtained a prescription for an anti-inflammatory, which I will take over the next few days.

This means I’ll be tapering a lot more than normal. I will not ride at all this week. I will get plenty of rest, and hope the anti-inflammatories do their magic. Normal recovery for such an injury is 2-4 weeks. I only have one, but I am confident that I’ll be able to ride. All I need is a little improvement, and I can tough out the rest.

Given this setback, this year’s goal at Six Gap will just be to finish with my pride. I’m not looking at a time. I just want to get through, feel good afterward, and finish the season in style.

Hogpen descent.


3 responses to “The Last Gap

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