Training for Six Gap Century

Hey y’all,

I’m trying to figure out the best approach for this very mountainous century: Six Gap · Ride with GPS. I did it back in 2022 and while I finished (, it wasn’t the best experience. They were packing up as I was rolling in lol. I’m hoping for a better experience and faster time this year.

I’m currently on the climbing road race master’s plan (had a baby 8 months ago so sleep is not best). I’ve been doing the intervals during the week and trying to do longer rides on the weekends although this doesn’t always happen due to the baby. I’ve also been doing the Dialed Health kettlebell program twice a week.

In 2022 what killed me was really bad cramps after about 65 miles. I think part of it was poor fueling (nowhere near enough carbs and sodium) and being a chunky boi (5’6 and 205lbs). I’m a slightly less chunky boi now (189lbs) and hoping to be closer to 180 or a little lower by the event (September 29th). And I think I’m doing much better when it comes to fueling.

Now I’m wondering if I picked the best plan (climbing road race) and should I stick with it? Or should I pick a different plan? Or maybe focus on something like tempo or sweet spot progression? I can train about around 3-3:30 hours during the week and closer to 3-5 on the weekends. Just wondering what’s the best way to optimize my time.

For us non-pros, there’s no “best” training plan, except the plan that will keep progressing your training at a rate you / your life circumstances can handle. If you are progressing on the climbing road race plan, and you find it enjoyable, then stick with it. Or you could use Plan Builder to build a whole new plan

Edit to correct my bad typing of “left” instead of “life”


This was not the Six Gaps I was expecting it to be!

For something like this, nothing will beat time in saddle. You’ll benefit from doing a few long days to workout bike fit and nutrition kinks. For my money, putting sweetspot reps into a long ride is a really great way to prepare for something like this. Every hour, do 15-20 min of sweetspot. It’ll help build the resistance you need to tackle that last gap of the day. I do the Vermont Six Gaps once a year for “fun” and incorporate these workouts this spring I think will do me a lot of good.


Doing a lot of SST would certainly be beneficial, but just remember you have to climb hogpen gap, which unless you have extremely low gears, is not going to be a SST effort. Make sure as you get closer to the event, you train some Z5 and Z4 over unders.

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Wow that looks like my type of “fun”! I’m gonna see if some of my friends want to do it in the future. I’m planning on going to the mountains at least five times to get used to extended climbing again. My local routes don’t lend themselves for sweetspot efforts due to the constant rolling hills and traffic but I will try anyway. Thank you!

Yeah Hogpen is a mf’er. It’s usually what leads to my demise. I started cramping descending Hogpen in 2021. I managed a little better in 2022. I’m hoping weight loss and 33x33 gearing will be enough that I don’t have to spend too much time around/over z4/z5.

Hate to break it to you, but even with weight loss and 1/1 gearing, it looks like Hogpen is still going to put you in your threshold zone for at least 20 minutes. I do a similar event every year. You really need to include threshold and over/under intervals in your training. SS alone isn’t going to get you there.


I think the Climbing RR Plan would be a great fit for this event! It’ll definitely get you the right workouts for the kind of fitness you’re trying to build for that course profile.

If you wanted an alternative, the Gran Fondo Plan would be another solid option. I’d say it mostly boils down to how you plan on pacing the event.

The Climbing RR Plan features more high-intensity bursts of power that are meant to simulate the surges you’d probably face while keeping up in a peloton. Think of responding to attacks, then settling back into a pace you can sustain for longer.

The Gran Fondo Plan has some of that, but generally less. The Gran Fondo Plan is, overall, more focused on steadier efforts.

Whichever plan you decide on, though, we’d recommend that you don’t change things up too frequently. As @AlphaDogCycling said, the best plan will be the one that will keep you progressing at a sustainable rate that you can stick with. Consistency over time is the key to building fitness, and radically changing your plan around too often can derail that consistency we’re looking to create.

Hope this helps – feel free to let us know if you have any other questions!


I’ll have to do this event sometime. Maybe I’ll do the 3 gap this year. Have to be in the right mindset for the 6 gap

I’ve done this event twice, last in 2019 I believe. It’s such a fun day, but those climbs are no joke!!

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Not gonna lie, 3 Gaps is a lot more enjoyable than 6 Gaps. You get to avoid Hogpen!

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Mentally I only have so many big hard rides in me a year. That allotment is spent already so 3 gap might be fine if I decide to do it at all.

Any parking issues for the event? I’d probably drive up morning of

There’s usually plenty of parking at the high school if you get there early enough. And there’s an overflow lot half a mile down the street. What area would you be coming from?

Decatur. So just under hour and a half drive.

Oh we’re pretty close. I’m on the border of Stone Mountain and Tucker. About 3 miles from the mountain.

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I occasionally ride out and do some loops around Stone Mountain but more often than not I ride gravel at dirty sheets or ride silver comet

The final downhill of 6 gaps might be my favorite descent in all of the south east. The event is kimda annoying until the first hill. Basically all of florida is at the ride and act like its the biggest race of the year. All over the road on blond turns, so sketchy…but then they fall away on the first climb and all is good

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FWIW - I retired and ride in Dahlonega. Even though there is 100 feet per mile elevation in every direction, I have also cramped at that event.

In my case, I have concluded that the cause was lack of preparation that is specific to the event. That is, you can be very fit, but not properly conditioned. I think it may be particularly true when your rider profile isn’t optimal for the event/challenge.

Example: When I am on the smarttrainer, my cadence is 85-95rpm; on rolling terrain, 90-100rpm; climbing the gaps, ~60-70rpm. I suspect that the lack of preparation, doing that kind of grind, was at the heart of my cramping issue.


Last time I did six gap I committed myself to staying near the front as long as possible, but unfortunately started a bit further back than I’d have liked. The hardest part of the day for me was indeed before the first climb, which was an all-out effort and felt like trying to move up through the field in a P/1/2 race. Once we reached the first climb, things sorted out naturally, but those first few miles were very difficult and quite sketchy. I suspect further back the atmosphere would have been less urgent.

If I have time, I want to do Six Gaps from Stonepile Gap a couple of times before the event to get that event specific fitness. Maybe I can get used to grinding at a lower cadence again.

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