Hey Guys - Well the Bee is back. A year ago I started cycling. And Saturday I completed a 7 day Bike Ride Across Georgia. The riding was not all that hard. I mean ok we had some big climbs. I noticed a lot of people walking up the hills - but I was prepared. I had ridden in N Georgia before. My concern was would I be bored or lonely. Nope - it was a great time. It is amazing to see so many bikes and so many people that ride. Clearly the avg age was about 60! There were kids riding their hearts out - and older people (70s) and doing great! It was amazing that I passed a ton of people - when I remember my rides this past year where everyone passed me - so it was nice to pass people. I did not take that many pics - but found some others on the BRAG message board that gives you an idea.
So on Saturday June 6 I drove to the finish and parked my car close by and then hopped the bus for a 4 hour ride to the Start in Hiawassee. I settled into the Bubba Zone. Bubba is a service at BRAG - for about $300/week I purchased the service - Bubba's crew set up my tent and took it down each day. They supplied, labor, laughs, tent and air mattress. We also had a nice shady covered section to sit and relax and have soda/snacks. So I landed - got my bike and settled in.
Met a guy who liked me on the first day and we went for a 20 mile ride around Hiawassee. Turns out he was not my type though it was flattering to have someone hit on me.....That was to be my last male encounter of the week. The warm up ride was fine - then we got back to camp and then went out to dinner. Met up with some other BRAG folks - had some beers and then called it an early night. Turns out I went to bed between 9-10 each day. My tent and mattress were very comfy! Thanks to Bubba.
First day, Sunday, off we went. I rode with a few friends from my bike group C4 (Covington, Conyers, Cycling Club) and we had a nice ride. Each day I opted for the Hammerhead option (extra mileage). Usually it was a nice country loop. So on the first real day - Sunday our ride was going to be hilly and about 75 miles. We went through Unicoi Gap and rode up into the mountains. Very pretty. We had a good time – see the picture below of me at an old fashioned store…trying to use the bubble wand. The two people I rode with, Georgia and Steve, were likely faster than me – so I kept up… and went faster than I would if it was just me alone. Me alone sometimes says things like, “Why am I on a bike? When will this end?” Me with others – I just try and keep up. Anyway right after the last rest stop (all rest stops were closed when we reached them as one of the drawbacks for adding the Hammerhead mileage was that the rest stops don’t necessarily stay open. So we hit the third rest stop (Cabbage Patch Doll Hospital – I kid you not) they were packing up. Spoke to the bike shop guy and said my gears seem a little off and I would stop by when we got back to camp. Well off we went. As we rode off a few miles, I was going up a hill – and pop I see a wire pop out of my right side of the handlebars. But hmm my breaks still worked…what could it be? Anyhoo – I found out as I tried to shift up hill. I had busted the wire that controls the gears. I ended up with 3 gears. Hardest ring in Back and the 3 rings up front. I went a few more miles – stood up on the hills…and then could not do it – and got a SAG ride at mile 55. Those last 20 miles from the Air Conditioned car looked grueling!!! They were –as I did them the next day on the route out of town. That was my only SAG ride of the week… and my bike was fixed by the next day.
Also had a flat one day in camp when I was pumping the bike – the nozzle thingy got stuck in the pump – but otherwise no real issues with the bike or me.
Another highlight of the week – was the Century Ride in Athens. We stayed in Athens for two days with an optional ride on the layover day. I started out at 7AM on a very hilly ride out of Athens. I was able to do a few small pace lines and around mile 40 my Cycling Group caught up to me. We rode the next 60 miles together. I felt like I had a cycling coach for 60 miles! We did a double pace line…and it was awesome. They taught me a lot about riding and riding in a pace line. They are a great bunch of guys – and we landed back in Athens at 2:38…my fastest century ever. (16ish AVG). Anyway I better cut this drama short (HAH) or else I will never post it. BRAG was awesome!!! The riding was tough – but very manageable for me and I was not sore at all – just tired.
Here's the mileage and cities we stayed in:
Start at Hiawasee Sat 6/6 - Rode 20 mile loop
Sunday, 6/7 to Dahlonega supposed to be 50 + Hammerhead route of 25. I ended up with 55 and SAG ride for 20 as my cable broke to shift the gears...lots of hills and only 3 gears.
Monday 6/8 to Mt. Airy 47 Miles + Hammerhead option of 28 = 75 miles (total to date: 150)
Tuesday 6/9 to Athens 65 miles + Hmmerhead = 85 (total 230)
Wedensday 6/10 stayed in Athens area 100 miles (330)
Thursday 6/11 to Elberton 54 miles plus hammerhead of 11 = 65 miles (405)
Friday 6/12 to Washington 63 miles skipped Hammerhead as it was mostly Shake & Bake (468)
Saturday 6/13 to Savannah Lakes, SC 42 miles + 2 to the Long term parking (512)
The pics are on Kodak. Not sure how I share them:
Try this link:
Evening - Bikes parked outside the school
Bikies day 1.jpg
I was pampered and had Bubba's crew set up my tent each day.
Brag 09 Bubba Land.jpg
Day 1/2 - Lots of Hills!
hill day 2.jpg
One night Saul Raisin spoke. His story is amazing (Read Tour de Life)
Saul Raisin and PArents.jpg
I finally made it to Athens - I loved this Dog. Go Bull Dawgs!
Brag Athens 02.jpg
Some of the boys in my riding group and me
Brag 09 Dave, Sue and Eddie.jpg
At night we explored the local towns. Here's an old Pharmacy - man I wish I had ordered an ice cream!
Brag 09 - At the soda shoppe.jpg
Here I am at the Finish in SC with my 2 new firends...They stayed in Bubba's tent area as well and were awesome cyclists.
Nrag 09 - Finish - Larry Sue and pam.jpg