Saturday, June 13, 2015

Saying Goodbye to the Hills

Day 6 of BRAG. The last day of BRAG. We rolled our bikes through the lobby of our hotel, turned on our bikes' lights, and pedaled off to today's route. Because it was the last day, we could ride as hard as we wanted. We planned to be among the first riders finishing today. That would give us plenty of time at BRAG HQ to clean up and change clothes, pack the car, chat some, and be among the first in line for the post-ride meal. We were really looking forward to the post-ride feast: Sprayberry's barbecue, one of our favorites (pulled pork and Brunswick stew).

We cruised down the road by ourselves, rotating pulls every 5 miles. We slowed for conversation with other riders occasionally, but then we'd resume our pace. A quarter way through the route, a group passed us. We'd talked with them on previous days. We hooked onto their train, and we were off! The road surface was "shake and bake," an old chipseal road, patched and cracked and rough. One of the guys started complaining that his hands were going numb. But that didn't slow the pace. We chased down and passed group after group. We finally parted ways with the speedy group at a rest stop. It had been great, great fun.

There were large horse farms along the route. As we passed the hillside pastures, the horses would often gather and run, seeming to dare us to race with them. But from time to time, one or two horses would come to the fence by the road, mugging and begging for treats and attention. (Unfortunately, we didn't have any appropriate treats on us, so we rode on.)

On the final leg of the ride, we really got into playing. Al loves to climb, so he would leave me behind and speed to the crest of each hill. I love descending, so I would crest each hill, pedal a bit, get aero, pass him, and whoosh downhill as fast and as far as I could manage.

Finally we pulled into BRAG HQ in Newnan. We were at the end of the ride. A short but fun day. 52.2 miles, 1854 feet of climbing. (And for our whole week of BRAG which included two lazy days? 289.1 miles, 10,909 feet of climbing.)

We got in the car and drove a few hours towards Miami. Talking most of the way about where and when we'd play in hills again.