Another Bicycle Ride Across Georgia is in the bag. BRAG 2008 is the 15th BRAG I have ridden. I must like it. I sure do. What is it about this ride that keeps me coming back?
Is it the challenge of waking up every morning to pack my gear and get on the bike to ride 60 or so miles?
Is it the chance to see parts of Georgia that I might never get to see and to see them in a way such that I can see the sights, smell the smells, feel the terrain and notice the small things?
Is it the chance to meet so many new and interesting people, all linked by the common experience of doing the ride, if nothing else, and often finding they have much more in common?
Is it seeing so many of the friends Iíve made on past BRAG rides and having more fun together?
Is it the joy of finding great food in the unlikeliest places and eating it with abandon and without guilt?
Is it running into other riders from my home town throughout the week and seeing that they are having a great time too?
Is it the strange pleasure of getting up on a mid-week morning on layover day, knowing I could just stay in camp without riding, but deciding instead to hop on the bike and ride 100 miles on a 95 degree day just because I can?
(BTW, wore the 50+ jersey on the century and got several good comments)
Is it having the honor of being part of the wackiest group of ďnot quite rightĒ BRAG riders, Team Occisus Via, with our silly camp decorations and road-kill tributes and our shared understanding that life is far too important to take seriously?
Is it the reaffirming realization that even at age 52 and with whatever problems and shortcomings I might have, I can still ride a bicycle 420 miles in a week through whatever hills, road surfaces, traffic and heat the week may throw at me?
Is it the great feeling of getting back home after the week is done to the welcoming arms of my wife, my bed, my kids and my dogs?
Yes, itís all those things and more that I donít really understand or know how to explain.
Next year's BRAG will be a North Georgia route, my favorite kind. I'm planning to be there. I know it won't be easy with some big mountains to climb (before the ride starts), but I'm planning to be there to do it.