Well, the preparations I detailed in my earlier posting "How to plan a Century Ride" were put to the test this weekend and I'm proud of the results. They say in show business that you can make mistakes as long as the audience doesn't have the script. As I look back on the event I'm grateful that our riders were kept safe, had fun, and liked the route. Nearly 100 riders traversed the course and more than a few of them put down some impressive times on a really tough route. Before I get into the details of the day I want to thank all the volunteers from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Lt. Governor's Office, Hall County Sheriff's Office, and Chestnut Mountain Church! You guys did awesome! I'd like to especially thank Roy Neill, Lisa Hayes, Jessica Pattillo, Jason Lester, and Tim Tipton for their help. You guys made me look so good!
|Only follow FCA!|
OK. Let's move on. We set everything up and cyclists started filing in. I was happy to see all my drivers/picture takers/mechanics/cheerleaders show up ready to serve. That would be Pete w/ Outback Bikes, Lance Carpenter & Gary McCarthy, and Phil Loveless. Thanks guys!!
I ran my mouth for an hour at the riders as they registered and got prepared. When the time came for announcements I let Lt. Gov Casey Cagle say a few words. Then Atlanta Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff spoke and guaranteed a win on Sunday. OK. Not really, but he was great. I could tell he really is a cycling enthusiast because he rode a Colnago. He and Casey rode together and seemed to have a great time.
|Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff|
|Registration and Lisa my wife, she so pretty!|
The riders were led out by two officers from Hall County who went above and beyond to see the cyclists got way out on course before they went about their duties. I knew it would start out cold so I had the SAG's ready to put warmers in bags and taken to the finish for the riders. Turned out to be a great idea but I must admit that I stole it from Joe Elam and his LAP Century folks. The route was tough. That's what everybody said. And I knew it would be. But the benefit was no traffic and not a ton of turns. Just rolling country roads. The riders who completed the Century had one mean ride. I was the driver backing them up and I had a great time. I met some really cool folks who were just trying to survive. One nice lady was having a bad day and finally succumbed to her oxygen debt and called it quits. Her husband was instrumental in that decision. She ended up having a great time helping me support the group her hubby was with. I have to tell you about another lady who actually put in 115 miles. She took a wrong turn in Talmo, doubled back, and then took another wrong turn and had to turn around. When I got the call about her I was fixing to pack up the Gillsville SAG thinking the last rider had gone through. I drove back down the course and offered to bring her up to the group that was at that time 20 mins ahead of her. She said, "No thank you, I'll catch up!" Oh...Kay?! I did some quick math based on how fast I thought she might be and started calling base camp to let them know it might be after 4pm before we were back. Boy, was I wrong about her. By the time she reached the SAG in Homer she was within 10 minutes of the last group. She caught them at the Plainview SAG and then proceeded to drop them and ended up finishing 10 minutes ahead of the final group at 3:00pm. Lesson = never judge a riders ability by their bike or how they look.
|SAG# 1 in Talmo, GA|
The FCA folks were great and kept the riders well fed all day. I think next year I'll make them compete to see who's got the most fun SAG. Now let's get into some rider pictures so those of you who missed this ride can cry and lament your decisions.
|These guys were fun!|
|I love tandems!|
|And they're off!|
|Casey and Thomas enjoy the scenery.|
Life is easy when your security team can pick you up and place you near the front! I'm told that Thomas is in great shape and could have dished out some pain. Guess we'll never know.
|Ready to ride!|
|75 Degrees is the best!|
These guys were all about having some fun. What a variety of great riders we had!
|Star leads into Pendergrass, GA|
The freaking Chick-fil-A at the finish was an AWESOME idea! I woofed down 3 sandwiches and 2 cokes. That truly was the best post-century meal EVER!
Okay. Now for the recap:
A large group of 50+ formed 5 miles out of the church. Speed was 20-25 and moving. At 20 miles in I made a bad error and stopped for a nature break. This got me and another guy 8 miles of hard chasing, due to the lead group STILL hammering along without letting up. Mile 30ish saw the 100k riders split off, and it seemed the majority went that way. Most of the fast guys did too, except one guy on a TT bike that now saw an opportunity to truly use his bike to it's fullest potential. He kept our speed at about 25 mph.
In Gillsville we stopped for the Sag and shed clothing. David Sabat drove up and jumped out trying to get on after running a 5K in Toccoa. He almost made it, but his rear tire blew right when the group started off again. I helped him get the tube changed and we set off chasing with about 3 minutes to make up. We held a 20-22 pace for the next 20 miles. We got within sight of the lead group on the straightaway in Lula, but never could get any closer. We continually caught riders who got dropped from the lead group. When we pulled into the Sag at Homer, there were about 10 guys about to start out and we quickly refilled bottles and headed out with them. Chad Edwards complained that the TT Bike guy kept them hammering the whole way since Gillsville. No wonder we couldn't catch them! I was told the TT bike guy, Stephen Dean, and Trace Nabors had moved on 3 minutes before we got to Homer. The guys we found ourselves with now had no intention of trying to follow that Trigeek all the way back to the church. He must of hurt them. Main guy in this group was Sean Philyaw. He's on a new bike (Wilier) and kept us moving along well. As you can guess, I'm about toast now and we still have 45 miles to get back to the church.
Guys fell off along the way as I hoped our pace would somehow catch the 3 leaders. No such luck. We saw them at the Sag at the Plainview SAG but we all needed water and a breather and didn't jump in with them. The Trigeek looked fresh but Stephen and Trace looked worn. David Sabat had another flat at about mile 80 and told us to go on, that he was calling you for a rescue. This put us down to just 4 remaining. Sean, Me, a guy named David that Sean knew and this OLD GUY! Old Guy started freaking attacking on hills in the last 10 miles too! He must have been at least 60. Anyway, Stephen Dean bonked on Hwy 60 and as we came up to him his rear tire BLEW UP. Like, gunshot blew. He pulled off and said he'd wait for a Sag pickup because he was completely trashed. The rest of us continued but we never found Trace or the TT guy. You gotta give props to Trace for finishing in the lead. That was a really good ride by him.
Great time today, Chad. Thank you for doing so much to make is such a wonderful experience. I'm completely blown and will only wash the bike tomorrow. Take care.
Other texts I got:
Great Job! - Mike Mahalic
Great job my friend!!! Everybody had a great time and loved the course!! Thank you very much!! - Casey Cagle
Fantastic ride, Mr. Organizer! BIG THANKS for a very fun, well-supported ride! You guys did AWESOME! - David Shabat
Great job with the ride! Lots of fun! Thanks! - Trace Nabors
Awesome first year event! Congrats! Get some rest. - Joe Elam
Very nice event! I could see it grow to be one of the bigger rides pretty quickly. - Bob Riordan
I'm satisfied. Like all big events in life you look back on them one or two days later and have even more appreciation for the experience. In Church the next day the pastor gave a great message about the Necessity of Revival. All during his teaching I thought about the needs in this country. A lot of things we think are "needs" are actually "wants". I want a better house or I want a better spouse. What we need is discipline. We're spoiled. And the "millennial's" scare me. They've grown up in the "self esteem" culture that's taught them that there should be no winners and losers. We should all get an award. Greatness is shameful. Having a messed up life is normal. Well it isn't! Hard work is normal. Commitment is normal. Integrity is normal. You don't just strive for average do you? Perfection is being married forever. Perfection is raising a child who honors his Mom and Dad. Perfection is what we should all be striving for.
In bike racing you have to suffer at times to get your opportunity at victory. And your victory may simply be in finishing. But why would you even enter the race if you're not committed to finishing well?
The answer for America is for men to quit being selfish and take responsibility for their home. Get their priorities in order. Be vocal about their beliefs and defend morality. Stop being so passive and take control. Focus on their spouse first and then the kids. Push filth out the door. Be a Man!
If you think this is fired up you should be glad I didn't write it on Sunday. I guess I'm just tired of excuses. The people I like the most don't give me excuses. They are trying to live exceptional lives. I just wish there were a lot more men like that. So that's my prayer. God, revive us with more men who want to live exceptional lives.
Thanks everybody for reading! I hope you have a great week...here comes the cold!
Oh and check out the rest of the pictures I took this weekend HERE!