Another side of the story, my buddy Mike did a write-up as well. He was on the other side of the "kid".
Covington Century August 2, 2008
My arrival was early so I would be able to start in the front right behind the kids who were going to lead out for 1 ½ miles. My concern was things would get too squirrelly in the middle of the pack, as everyone tried to pace behind the kids the surges, the inattention, the adrenaline, etc. The ride starts on time and I am in the front 40 or so riders even in the front portion, the ride was a little hairy with the surges, etc. The kids pull off and cheer us on and we are off. The front group is running strong I know Scott Vitelli (the Pedaling Machine) is up there, but I am having to pay attention to my surroundings and cannot see the front. I remain within the first 50 or so riders using my game plan to stay on the far left as much as possible this allows me to rock down the hills and not have to break at the bottom and loose momentum. There are a few times that I get in the front 20 or so but I am not strong enough or fast enough to pull in front of this pack. While I regret sucking off everyone else, it was just a fact of life that all I could do was hang-on to this ride.
We pass the first stop there are a lot of volunteers clapping and cheering. I am still with the front pack, when we are just a couple of miles or so out from the 2nd stop as I look up and see a familiar riding style. It is a rider that has been on the Roswell Thursday night ride many times while I admire his energy, he is the worst rider I have been with. His constant bouncing, flitting back and forth, total body movement and unaware of his surroundings reminds me of a mosquito flying never in a straight path. I desire to avoid him now as I do during the Thurs rides, so I move back over to the far left (we are still riding the entire width of the lane and I had been pressed inside for a while). After passing him, I continue riding in between the double yellow lines (to avoid the reflectors). Someone bumps me from the right, then hits my handlebars followed by a third time of bumping into me, so I turn my head to the right to see what is going on, and Mosquito is back. He looks at me after bumping me and realizes what he is doing, so he says Whoa and begins to peel hard to the right. He almost dives to the right he turns so hard, and catches the front wheel of someone behind him and a chain reaction begins. Turning forward I whisper a prayer for the downed riders. This guy is dangerous I will not ride near him again if I can help it, and am thankful he did not take me down as well.
Confusion hits at the 2nd stop some riders continue on even though this is a turn around point, while others are stopping and some like me are simply turning around in the SAG parking area. Turning, I see Scott turning as well. We are ahead of the main pack now. Scott is up ahead of me, when the pack catches up I pick up speed so they are slowly passing me, so I can hook-up. Dropping off the main group a little before the 3rd stop, I pull into the SAG and refill my bottles, and refuel and hydrate my body (I have been using my e-tabs during the ride and again here at the stop) before pressing on. When I walk to the porta-john, a man and his son (looked like he was 11 or 12) rode by the group of cheering volunteers were clapping and yelling the look on this boys face was priceless I joined in the clapping and cheering, as the boys face broke open in a huge grin as he realized everyone was out to see him and cheer him on (or at least that is what it looked like he was thinking) looking at Dad, he was getting a kick out of the joy his son was getting from the attention this moment made up for the remaining agony I would go through!
Pulling 5 or 6 people, both thighs lock-up around mile 45 while standing to press up a hill. The group has to dodge me as I abruptly stop pedaling while working through both cramps. I realize I can no longer stand to pedal, so I push while seated. While I am able to mix it up with different smaller groups, I am loosing momentum due to slowing up-hills. The cramps are becoming more frequent and I am dropping gears quickly up hills. Pulling into the SAG at the 63 mile point, both legs again lock-up while clipping out and I fall onto a bumper of a car as I cannot get my legs under me. Untangling from the bike, I am able to stand the bike up, but I cannot stand up straight, cannot walk and cannot sit. Calling on someone close to me for assistance, I fall onto the curb in a seated position as he parks my bike for me. This is a 40-45 minute stop with stretching, walking, sitting, cooling off and hydrating. There are several others who are working out cramps as well. I am determined to finish, so I climb back on and start off.
Almost immediately, both thighs and the back of my left knee are cramping. Soon, my calves decide to join the party and not be left out. While I feel I have plenty of energy, my pistons are misfiring and loosing compression in effect my engine is shut down. All I can do is continue to back off however I have lost the ability to stand and pedal, so to relieve my rear-end, I stand on one leg while coasting downhill. My butt hurts, in part to the slow speed creating constant pressure with no relief from standing to power up a hill. However now that I am coasting down hill, I loose the momentum to drive me back up the next hill, which puts me into the proverbial catch-22 position. I see Scott flag down a SAG vehicle with Peachtree Bikes on the side. Cruising by at an incredible speed of 5 MPH, I ask him if he is ok as he turns his bike over he said he would catch-up. I consider stopping to provide support I doubt Scott needed my support with the SAG vehicle there I know stopping ends my misery so I almost stop, but continue on since I know my friend is ok.
There are several people pulled over not doing well all have someone with them, so I keep turning the wheels (slowly). At the 63 mile stop, I am still averaging 22.3 MPH watching my average it slips below 20.0 at 68 miles and drops down to 19.1 MPH by the time I pull into the SAG stop at the 75 mile spot. To avoid falling over, I clip out early and then stand next to a handrail both legs lock-up, but I am prepared and do not fall this time. Finding the SAG vehicle, several people line up immediately after me. An hour later, the SAG vehicle drops me off at the parking area. While I am disappointed in not finishing, I am thankful that I am not hurt and that for once in my life had the sense to stop before it was too late. I will ride again and I will finish again
. just not today. Today, I take my beating, take my failed attempt, brush the dust off my back-side, square my shoulders and look ahead to the next ride.