Friday, June 12, 2015

The Good, The Bad, and the Weird

Day 5 of BRAG. The ride today was up and down hills circling West Point Lake. There was a 66 mile, 44 mile, and 17 mile option.

We are staying in a hotel about 6 miles from BRAG HQ. There are a good number of riders here. But there are also a considerable number of young professional Koreans. The hotel breakfast area provided traditional American and traditional Korean breakfast fare. Why? Well, just south of LaGrange is KIA Motors only US assembly plant. The area is also home to scads of KIA suppliers.

We started the day down in the breakfast area. While we ate and sipped coffee, a fellow rider from Macon, Georgia, entertained us with the story of his accidental century. It seems that yesterday he had a flat tire. Just as he was starting to fix it, a SAG vehicle pulled up and took over. They had the tire changed in no time, and he thanked them profusely. "I can't believe my bad luck in having a flat so close to the end of the day's ride. I am really tired and ready to get to camp," he told them. The guys from the SAG looked at each other, shook their heads, and started laughing. "Mister, you are 40 miles from camp. You must have taken a wrong turn somewhere today!" We all winced when we heard that, but the guy from Macon just started laughing. He had a very infectious laugh. "Come on," he said. "I will never forget my first century!"

We left the breakfast crowd, got our bikes, and headed out. We pedaled over to BRAG HQ and started the day's route. Under 10 miles later we pulled over. "How many miles today?" Al asked. We talked it over. Turned out neither of us was in the mood for a long ride. We were in the mood to have some fun other than pedaling up and down hills, as much fun as that would be. It turned out we were near a cut-off for the short 17-mile route. Perfect. We headed to it and pedaled that route to its end at BRAG HQ.

We pedaled off to explore LaGrange. It is a beautiful city. Lots of mansions, Corinthian columns of all sizes. OK, we had seen the Good.

Next we pedaled through some suburban style areas. Chain this and chain that. Strip malls and enclosed malls. OK, we had seen the Bad.

Next we were off to neighborhoods of small, older homes. Some freshly painted. Some shabby. Well-used front porches. Some porches were decorated with care. Others were an assemblage of found objects and second-hand chairs of all colors, styles, and types (old kitchen chairs, a recliner or two, desk chairs, you name it.) Quirky gardens. Front yards with vegetable patches. OK, now we'd found the Weird. And it was charming.

We made it back to our hotel just as the skies darken and the rain began. Sometimes you make a choice, and you get lucky. (Day's total: 28.5 miles, 1022 feet of climbing)