Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A Tandem, A Big Family on Wheels, and Lots of Hills

BRAG day 2. We headed back to Newnan on a different route from yesterday. At the end of the day we would have a bit over 63 miles and 2588 feet of climbing. Remember just yesterday I said the climbs were long but gentle? Today they upped the game. The climbs were way longer. The grades were steeper. And they added in a bunch of short but catch-your-attention steeper grades, get this, in the middle of long, long climbs. But the downhill runs were frequent and long. Delightful.

Today our strategy was to keep at the front of the group. There are a lot of riders on BRAG, and uphills get crowded as the faster and stronger move up past the slower riders. There are always some who can't keep going and panic, or shift wrong and drop their chain, or have some other catastrophe. So we get on the road before the masses. And we set a pace that means we'll stay out front. It also means we're not out on the route during the hot part of the day. The downside is that the first couple of rest stops are usually just starting to get set up, but we count on the generosity of the volunteers to get our water bottles filled and to grab a snack or two.

It was impossible not to like these two guys on their tandem.
Today we had some interesting company on the road. There was a tandem with two guys our age. They were having a great old time, and we swapped quips each time we passed each other. We passed them on every uphill. They rocketed by us on every downhill.

Then there was the family of 10, led by the grandfather. His son was the sweep. The son also was pulling a trail-a-bike with a kid of 6 or 7 riding on it. Between these two were the rest of the family, a couple adults, a few teenagers, and a few younger kids. Our favorite was a boy of maybe 12 who was a definite keeper. He had attitude, and he had determination.

We had to ride a highway to cross the Chattahoochee River. But that was just fine. The downhill into the valley to the river was lovely, and the uphill out of the valley was equally entertaining.
The lovely Chattahoochee River.