I love to climb. It didn't come naturally for me and it hasn't come easy. But climbing is an aspect of cycling that I have fully embraced. Climbing is like math, it's simple - power, weight, the willingness to suffer - not much else. I believe that most of my cycling fitness that I have now can be traced to the fact that I love to climb and continually seek out opportunities to climb.
The first time I did the 6 gap century was in 2005. That was the year that I got back into cycling after a 4 year excursion into motorsports (and getting fat). I remember some things about the ride, but I don't remember why I signed up for it. Half of the 6 major climbs I had never been on before and it was only the third century I had ever done. Needless to say, it was not an easy day. But I finished, and the next day and the following weeks and months, I looked back with pride that I had accomplished something that at the time, wasn't very easy for me.
Since then I haven't missed an edition of 6 gap save for the year that I crashed and broke a few bones the week before the event. None were easy physically, but they did get easier mentally. Each year added another year of 'training age' which made me better prepared for a good day in the saddle.
Yesterday when the riders rolled out of the high school in Dahlonega, I wasn't there. It's kind of hard to explain why. I still love climbing. I still love riding in N. GA. I still have a number in my head that I want to crack on that century.
This year I just didn't have the hunger to do this ride. My weight is good, fitness is good, equipment ready to go, but... Maybe my big event for the year was the Crusher. Maybe it's the fact that work has been a bit crazy for the last month or so. Maybe getting my head wrapped around an annual training plan and fundraising for RAAM is using up too much bandwidth. Maybe I'm banking time with the family to help offset said training and the 10 days or so I'll be out of pocket next June.
I don't know.
I do know that I skipped 6 gap this year and I feel fine about it. I guess that means it's OK.