Riding This Week


Chainbuster MTB Racing Series - Georgia's friendliest MTB racing. 6 & 9 Hour Endurance racing for solo or teams.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

2013 New Years GAP Ride

Hog Pen Gap, Helen, Georgia
Originally scheduled for Tuesday, January 1st this ride had to be rescheduled because of rain. We moved it to Saturday morning and prayed for sunshine. Turns out our prayers were answered but we should have been praying for warmer weather.

23 degrees at 9:00AM. That's what we stepped out of the cars into. But that's when the fun began as well. Guys arrived and began to get ready. My friend Wojtek Wysocki (pronounced Voitec) declared his intention to ride his elliptical bike (Zike Saber) all the way to the top of Hog Pen. It weighed 41 pounds.
Okay then.
We all gathered around staring at him as he checked the tire pressure, shaking our heads in disbelief. Odds were not being taken on if he would make it. We were betting he would be in the car with his eliptobike on the rack within 3 miles of the 7 mile climb. But Wojtek was full of energy and so happy to be there. I like him a lot.

Curt Badura
Our group headed out into the cold, anxious to get warm on the climb. The Brave Ones were David Shabat, David Latty, Stephen Sisk, Curt Badura, Trace Nabors and our valiant driver Gary McCarthy. And me.
Curt and Me
The bravest of the brave would have to be Curt Badura who was riding in the Gaps for the first time and against the will of mother nature. His ride would be a new miserable experience that we could all sympathize with for we have all been there. Hog Pen is ruthless.

We left Wojtek before the climb ever started. As we rode past him he was stepping away at his machine and declaring his will was unbreakable. I thought to myself, yeah I can want to run a marathon but it's not all up to my brain. My body has to agree.
I climbed with Curt for a while and gave him some advice he didn't ask for. Then I moved up to David Shabat and rode with him for awhile.
Trace and Stephen were always just around the corner and soon David and I tried to catch them before they reached the first plateau
David Shabat, Stephen Sisk, Trace Nabors

We reached the top and took some quick pics for good measure. Curt decided to get in the car at some point so he was there and ready to try and survive the decent. When David Latty arrived we asked Gary to drive back down and rescue Wojtek. He was probably lying in a ditch at mile 3.

Three Amigos at the top of Hog Pen Gap

If our layers and covers don't convince you about how stinking cold it was I snapped this pic of Trace climbing past some frozen evidence. A nice reminder of our insanity. And yet we were having a blast!?

Trace Nabors and the ice.
Ice Climbing on Hog Pen

When we started our decent of Hog Pen there were about 6 guys with ice picks climbing the ice on the back side rocks. They looked at us...we looked at them...and we just smiled at each other. No doubt an exchange of some sort of screwed up understanding.

Our shivering journey to the bottom of the earth was interrupted by some vehicles taking it easy. It was so cold I didn't worry one bit about heating up my rims and popping a tire. We rode together all the way to Hwy 180 and made the turn toward Brasstown Bald before Gary and Wojtek caught us. By then the climbing had begun again and Curt was suffering. He climbed as long as he could before finally pulling the plug and getting in the car. I was really proud for him for being brave enough to come out there.

Wojtek Wysocki, our European Connection.
When we reached the top of Jack's Gap we learned that he'd done it. Wojtek had actually ridden his bike all the way to the top of Hog Pen. I was amazed and impressed he had done it. It took him 1 hour and 15 mins.
Pretty cool.
He spent the rest of the trip filming our ride and talking about all the cool stuff he was allowed to demo. He also let us know he would be heading to the Cross Worlds and hanging out with Sven Nys. I seemed to be the only guy who's up on CycloCross news so I was probably the only one  who knew how cool that was.

Trace Nabors, David Latty, Stephen Sisk
We made our way around to the Unicoi climb where I decided to empty the tank before our decent back into Helen. Turns out my fuel gauge is rusty and my tank was already empty. But I gave a good strong effort for my part and brought us to the top in short order.

After a short break we began our decent. Trace and I agreed that the Unicoi and Woody's Gap descents are the best of the six Gaps. Not so steep you would even touch your brakes but curvy enough to lean in and slice up the road like a Ninja Cyclist!

We all enjoyed the ride down and came back together for the final miles. By that time the temperature was a sunny 35 degrees.

The Brave Ones return.
When we got back Wjotek had laid out some really messed up looking bikes for us to play with. David Shabat quickly jumped on the Hog Pen stepper and stepped his way to a stand still on the hill behind the church. Very funny stuff. I gave him a 10.

I tried out a bike that required snow skiing muscles I have never developed. It took some instruction to get it figured out but once I did it was fun. David pulled a groin muscle when he tried it. Again...very funny stuff. Thanks Wjotek for adding something fresh to our ride!

Me and Gary McCarthy
I don't have any photos of him because... well... he was taking the photos but our driver was Gary McCarthy. If you don't know Gary then you are sorry. Very sorry. Because he is a blast to have around. He drove all the way up there to take care of us and that's what he did. I can't imagine how this trip would have turned out if Gary hadn't volunteered to baby sit us. We all owe you Gary! Thanks for doing it!

Wjotek's Wild Ride

Riding with Friends

Ice Climbing Video (The actual guys that day)

And so ended another adventure in the GAPS. 2013 could now officially start. It's time for new plans, new goals, and new adventures. I've signed up for my first one. I'll be doing the Gran Fondo New York in May.
Rest assured I'll be taking a ton of pictures and video. It's not Europe but it's a start.

Check back on my home page here for the listings of rides and races as they become available.

Thanks for reading!

Chad Hayes

1 comment:

  1. Great writeup, Chad (or shall I say "Chicken Legs"?).

    In the midst of playing with my toys (for girls and boys)I never took time to thank you for organizing this event, Gary for being an outstanding sag wagon driver, and the rest of guys for putting up with me and being great company.

    The cycling portion of video is here:

    This is my conquest on the stepper bike, Zike Saber:

    Planning on recording more cross videos from Rome (GA) and the Worlds, both Masters and Elite.