It’s our first trip to the adorable hamlet of Helen, Georgia for a bike riding trip. To be honest, I didn’t complete too much oppo on the destination, the riding, or even basic things like what kind of equipment to bring. I knew there were some “hills” and that they’d be challenging. That was pretty much the only point I was prophetic about. Before you come on down here to ride, here are some tips to help you get the most out of your trip. And hopefully, not roll back down a mountain because your gears are too big.
They’re not called hills. They’re gaps.
There’s a hill called Jack’s Gap. We giggled all the way up Jack’s Gap. #LOL Anyway, these things are huge. Some climbs are 8 minutes long, others are 25 minutes long. Each and every one has plenty of switchbacks and stunning vistas to keep you entertained and just generally in awe of your surroundings. At least for the first two hours. Then the gradients bite into your legs and you feel like you’re up to your eyeballs in lactic acid. Which brings us to the next point – gearing.
Gear Selection is a Thing.
I thought I was doing myself some favors by running a 44T ring, rather than my normal 46T. But that only helped for 90 minutes. After the 3rd long climb, I wish I had put a 40T on there. Out back, I had an 11-32. That would have been perfect – if I had paired it with the 40T. Keep in mind, I’m about 15lbs. overweight, so if you have the willpower around beer and cookies that I don’t, you’re probably skinny enough and would be fine.
Bring a Snack.
Especially if you haven’t been getting long rides in before you go, you’re going to be working at a rate that will get your metabolism working in overdrive. If you usually have one snack on a long ride, bring two. You’ll likely need it. If you don’t need it, one of your buds will. Probably me. Definitely me.
No joke, I was in rough shape after my ride. At one point, I had to stop along the side of the road to just catch my breath before making it the last 3 miles back into town. But even at my lowest ebb, I couldn’t help looking around and thinking, “This place is fucking gorgeous.” The sun was shining. The roads were perfect. There was a breeze that kept me from overheating while riding in 75 degrees while still having my winter blubber. It will undoubtedly be one of the most memorable rides I’ll have for a long time.
At least, of course, until tomorrow.
Check out Cody’s longer, more vertically ambitious ride here.
This post was written by Wes. He’s Cody’s brother. You can follow him on Insta.