Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The 3 Gap 50 - Neel's Gap

I may change my mind on which of the three climbs of the 3 Gap 50 is the toughest. In my last post, I said Climb #2 up Wolf Pen Gap was the toughest. I went back and looked at the GPS data from the ride. The climb up Neel's Gap is very looonnngggg -- 7.42 miles & 1546 ft of elevation. It took us 55 minutes to make it from the base to the summit averaging a measly 8.12 mph.

The ride down was simply exhilarating. We covered the 3.04 miles of the descent in less than 7 minutes, averaging 26.27 mph. All miles are certainly not created equal. Over those 3 miles I probably rotated the peddles 6 times. Going up the mountain, probably 60,000.

Neel's Gap is also known as Blood Mountain. I just assumed the name dated back to the Civil War. I was certain there was a story about a battle which ended with the typical phrase "and at the end of the day the ground ran red with blood...". But if I was to say this, I would be WRONG! Blood Mountain was once considered sacred Cherokee ground. Wikepedia says no one knows how Blood Mountain got it's name, but most likely it was because of a bloody battle fought nearby between the Cherokee and Creek Indians. It also may have got it's name from the color of some native vegetation that grows on the mountain. Because, I only saw green stuff growing on the mountain, I'll vote for the cooler Indian war name origin.

The photo above is the scenic view from Neel's Gap. Click on the picture to see the full size image.

Finally, strap on your bike helmet and click on the Youtube video below to ride along with me and Jim down Blood Mountain. Be thankful that you get to ride down for free -- We had to climb up!

Speed is Good!

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