Riding This Week


Chainbuster MTB Racing Series - Georgia's friendliest MTB racing. 6 & 9 Hour Endurance racing for solo or teams.

Dirty Spokes - Duathlon and Trail running series. Love these guys. First class events.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Do Cyclists Belong?

People ask me all the time why I love cycling. It's either that or they ask me how many miles I ride each week. I tell them I enjoy the fitness of it. I enjoy fiddling with my bike to fix and maintain it. I enjoy following professional riders and watching them suffer in races like the Tour of California and the Tour de France. I like learning about the latest technology that makes the bikes lighter, faster and – cooler. I like the smooth, fast, powerful feeling I get from flying down a country road. But most of all I like riding with good friends.

Here in the United States cycling has been growing like crazy. And why not? We have the best roads and a beautiful country.  We like to go fast and we like a little adventure. Here in Georgia there’s been a real growth in the number of cyclists. The evidence can be found in the number of USA Cycling licensed road racers as compared to 10 years ago. There’s also the organized/charity ride participation numbers to go by.
The 6 GAP Century, a 100+ mile ride over every major mountain in North Georgia, brings 3,000 cyclists each year to Dahlonega. I just participated in a ride for Aplastic Anemia in Braselton that boasted 1,600 cyclists. But for all its increased popularity cycling isn’t embraced as something beautiful in Georgia like it is in other states. Its benefits aren’t heralded. The riders aren’t seen as fun loving ambassadors of fitness and adventure. This was brought home to me when I opened my local news site AccessNorthGa.com to see the question of the day: 

Of course my cycling friends were quick to grab the latest statistics from Healthy Americans.org:

From healthyamericans.org: "Fifteen years ago, Georgia had a combined obesity and overweight rate of 51.3 percent. Ten years ago, it was 57.2 percent. Now, the combined rate is 65.3 percent."

I’m not saying that every person on the planet should love and revere cyclists. Indeed it’s impossible to get 10 people to agree about anything.
I mean I don’t like the way some people enter the expressway at 45 mph when vehicles are moving at over 70 mph.  It’s dangerous. There should be a sign that says “Increase speed to match traffic”.  Isn’t that more dangerous than having to slow until you can safely pass a cyclist by the required 3 feet?

Of course arguments can be made by motorists that bicyclists are not obeying the law either by riding more than 2 abreast or not signaling their turns or failing to yield. If cyclists aren’t respecting the rules of the road then motorists aren’t going to respect the cyclists.

So my question to myself was “What can I do?” If we’re not careful, both sides will present inflexible, non-cooperative “solutions” that lack realism. We’ll sound like the way the U.S. Government squabbles without getting anything done. So I’ve decided on a few actions that center around one largely impressive idea; educate the people. After some research into what other cities and states are doing I've found that nothing works better than a big fat campaign of education. That and spending some of the massive amounts of government funds we normally waste, on things like bike lanes and biking paths. Nashville, TN has started a “Moving in Harmony” project which stresses more bike lanes and or shared lanes leading in and out of the city. And there are plenty of other examples that led me to suggest that the next question on AccessNorthGA.com should be "Would you support the use of roadway funds to create bike lanes and dedicated paths for bicycling?" I bet the answers would be different.

So who are the people? They fall into two categories: Motorists and Cyclists.

Motorists need to know what to do when approaching a cyclist. They also need to understand what each party’s responsibilities are while on the road. One big thing to understand is that a cyclist, by law, must act like a vehicle. He can’t ride where a vehicle wouldn’t go. He can’t take himself on and off the road erratically. A cyclist has to hold his position on the road or he can be cited.  So I’ve made up this short list of facts that every motorist should know about cycling on Georgia roads.

MOTORIST’S on Cyclists

  • When passing a cyclist you must allow 3 FEET of clearance.
  • Bicyclists may lawfully ride two abreast.
  • When a cyclist exists a driver may cross a solid yellow line and drive to the left of the center of the road but must also yield to oncoming vehicles in the process.  In other words a driver can cross a solid yellow line to pass a cyclist.
  • Bicycles are vehicles and have the same rights and responsibilities on public roads as motorists.
  • Bicycles must travel on the roadway, not the sidewalk. Sidewalk cycling is illegal for anyone over the age of 12 in GA.
  • Verbal & physical harassment of cyclists falls under the law on Aggressive driving and is considered a misdemeanor of high and aggravated nature in GA.
So there are some quick facts for motorists. Now I must confess that we cyclists have more work to do to educate our populous. One problem is simple, we’re not friendly. It only takes a second to put your hand up in thanks when a motorist passes you nicely. Wave to the people working in their yards. Be considerate of a motorist’s time and go out of your way to follow the rules of the road. You won’t win the battle or the war with a vehicle. Your actions today could be the best or worst thing for the next cyclist that driver encounters.

The next problem is people who are new to cycling. Because a cyclist doesn’t need a license…anyone can be a cyclist. All you need is a bike. The problem is that when a new cyclist does stupid things it makes us all look stupid. So here’s the list for new or otherwise ignorant cyclists:

CYCLIST’s Rules of the Road
  •      Bicycles are vehicles and have the same rights and responsibilities on public roads as motorists.
o   Signal your intentions
o   Always obey traffic control devices (Red Lights, Stop Signs)
o   Yield when changing lanes
o   Position yourself in the lane of travel based on destination. (Get in the turn lane if turning)
  •  Bicycles must travel in the same direction as motor vehicle traffic.
  • Bicyclists may only ride a maximum of 2 abreast.
  • When cycling at night you are required to have a white front light and a red rear-facing light (or reflector), visible from 300 feet. Additional lighting and reflective clothing is highly recommended.
  • Ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable except when
o   Turning left
o   Avoiding hazards to safe cycling
o   The lane is too narrow to share safely with a motor vehicle
  • A cyclist should maintain at least 18 to 24” of clearance from a curb or pavement edge.
Just to clarify something...cyclists have the right to take the entire lane if he deems it necessary to keep himself safe or to make a lane change or something. Otherwise the law says you must ride as far to the right of the lane as possible. If you ride in the middle of the lane for no reason you can be cited for impeding the flow of traffic.

Another interesting clarification I found in the law is on overtaking and passing other vehicles. I’ve witnessed riders do this at in-town intersections and thought they were disobeying the law. Turns out… they could be.

When Overtaking and Passing on the Right is Permitted
A cyclist traveling in a lane wide enough for motor vehicles and bicycles to share may pass motor vehicles on the right, but must still take care to avoid turning vehicles.

Wow. So here’s what all my research has taught me. I have the right to ride my bike on the road but doing so carries with it some profound responsibilities. I have responsibilities under the law and other ones that help promote acceptance of my hobby to those I share the road with.

Motorists need more education on how to deal with cyclists or any other slower moving vehicle they share the road with. Nobody likes to be slowed down, especially Americans, but it's going to happen no matter where you go in life. I don’t like it when people stand in line at the fast food restaurant for 10 minutes and then get to the cashier and haven’t made up their mind what they want. It inconveniences me. They should have to go to the back of the line and try again. In the grand scheme of things...I'll get my food (drivers will get there) and what if the guy turns and apologizes for not being prepared? (cyclist waves thank you). How would that change the whole experience?

Just a thought.

The last idea I have for you today is aimed directly at Ride Leaders and/or Ride Directors. Most shop rides have a designated leader who may give pre-ride announcements. Ride Directors will definitely do this because they need to thank the sponsors. I'd like to come up with a card they can read from that spells out some of the quick facts I've covered here and asks the group to remember their manners. Nothing long. No legalese. (I doubt that's a real word) Just info for new riders, a tune up for the veterans, and a reminder to the "leader" that he's the man for shepherding the cyclists behavior. I welcome your input on this.

That's it! That's all I've got. You can do your own research if you like at Georgia Bikes.org.
Here's a recent story in the AJC about proposed bike lane additions in Dunwoody.

Sorry there's not more super cool pictures in this story. How about this one?

Let’s declare our intentions to ride friendly before we shove off from the next group ride.

Chad Hayes

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

2012 Jackson Brevet

This was the 3rd edition of the Jackson Brevet but it was my first time doing it. The past two years I headed to the Gaps on Father's Day weekend but this year I decided to do the brevet. In the past I've sort of skipped it for various reasons. I justified skipping it by questioning why I should pay money to ride the same roads I normally ride. Or maybe it's the fact that it actually isn't a "brevet" at all and I felt like I was giving in to some sneaky marketing ploy. All of which ultimately makes little sense because as I found out it's not about the ride or the name of the ride. It's not about doing the 100 mile route in less than 4 hours. It's not even about riding all morning with good friends.

I found out that the Jackson Brevet is all about beating the crap out of Aplastic Anemia. And that any money made from the event was going straight to that end. It was an inspiring and passionate event and I was blessed to have been a small part of it.

Lt. Gov Casey Cagle (3), State Sen. Butch Miller (6)
Stephen Sisk came to my house at the "crack of trees". That's what my friend Jessica calls the hours just before daylight. We arrived in Braselton at 6:00am and were registered within minutes. They were very organized and friendly. I bought a few raffle tickets while we were there and off we went back to van to get ready. At the start we watched as some of my favorite politicians worked the crowd. Namely the cycling friendly Lt. Governor Casey Cagle and the always jovial State Senator Butch Miller. Nice to see we cyclists have some support in government. Maybe we can all work to be worthy of that support by using our heads when we're out on the roads? But that's another subject.

Stephen Sisk and Mike Mihalick
I was joined foremost by Stephen Sisk, Benny Bohanan and Mike Mihalick. Stephen and Benny are veteran century riders but Mike...he's not. In fact the farthest this budding triathlete had ever pedaled his high dollar Cannondale was 66 miles... and that was 6 months ago. I desperately wanted to change that.
We hung out for quite a while at the starting gate. Here's how that works. If you say your average speed on any given ride is 20mph or above then you go out with Group #1. 16-19mph is Group#2 and 15mph or less is Group #3. Each group leaves 60 seconds apart with moto's in front and behind them. Very nice.

The announcements began with some beautiful things. The organizer Robert Wilhite spoke to us about his wife and her victory against the disease.Then he introduced all the riders to a young lady, 18 years old I think, who was fortunate enough to find a non-related donor and is now living a victorious life. It was then I realized she sold me my raffle tickets earlier. He introduced Lt. Governor Casey Cagle to give us a pep talk. And then Robert sealed the deal for me by praying for us in Jesus' name. I was really glad to be there and to contribute what I could. This was going to be a great ride!

Group # 2 on the road just outside Braselton, GA
Once on the road we were shepherded by a group of motor bikes and had every major turn blocked all the way through Jefferson. It was a beautiful day with temperatures in the high 70's to start and ending around 84 degrees. Our little group managed to lead the pack for several miles which was fun. On our way to Jefferson, GA the pack thinned out as the more anxious riders moved ahead and the rest took time to enjoy the ride.

We made a left in downtown Jefferson and then a right heading for Nicholson. This is where my plan to use peer pressure on Mike Mihalick began. At some point there was a turn. 64 Mile riders went straight, 100 Milers turn right. We pounced on him, blocked him in, forced him to turn and go with us. Then we told him there was no going back now, he had to finish it. The Laws of Cycling demand that he suffer through endless miles of joyous pain to reach his goal (or our goal) of riding his bike 100 miles today.

I think he wanted to do it. He just needed a little motivation. That's what I think.

We skipped the first Rest Stop and made it to the next one just as my bottles were running dry. The rest stops included Fig Newtons, PB&J sandwiches, Banana's, Oranges, Apples, Gatoraid, Water, Cookies, and even some Cliff Recovery bars which I would never eat on a ride but placed two in my pocket for later in the week. We fueled up and headed out. All in keeping with my rest stop rule of no more than 15 minutes. We picked up a few riders who liked our pace and we were off.

As we rolled through Nicholson I saw a cool saying on a church sign. But it wasn't until Stephen pointed out the name of the church that I decided I needed a picture of it. I'm sure if they had more room the sign would read "Dad wants your love, Jesus wants your heart, we want to light you on fire so you're speakin' in tongues when we toss you in the baptismal water." Can I get a witness?

On we rode through the quiet back roads. One of our new riding friends was a guy named Larry from Roswell. Larry had been riding his bike a lot lately. He had just finished the 5 day B.R.A.G. (Bike Ride Across Georgia). He was really nice and offered to take pulls at the front. I could tell he was strong by how easily he kept a smooth fast pace. Then the ever observant Stephen pointed out that Larry was wearing sandals. They had cleats in the bottom of them. He said he wore them all week during BRAG. Holy Cow!
I was impressed.
Another rider with us, who's name escapes me right now, told me he'd only been riding for 4 years. He was from Tennessee near Chattanooga. He really liked our pace and our group and asked to stay with us. We talked about how great it is to have support from our spouses of our cycling hobby. He told me his wife found it a lot easier to support cycling rather than his drinking/partying hobby. Amen brother! Plus he'd lost a ton of weight and felt better too.

Another interesting thing happened after we left Nicholson. We rode up to a lady who was roller blading the course. I'm not kidding. I took a picture to prove it.  I thought about telling her she was crazy but I figured if she could do the course on roller blades then she could probably kick my butt. So I just smiled and took her picture.

Mike was beginning to feel what is commonly known as the mile 70 bear on his back. OK I made that up, but it's a true feeling. During a Century ride there comes a time when everyone goes dark. A time of drudgery. A time when you begin to question your decision making process and start making deals with God. I could tell that Mike was in that realm.
And did I mention that Mike is 10 feet tall. Being as tall as a Treebeard doesn't bode well for getting the maximum benefit of the draft. Never the less I scolded him severely each time I looked back and he was in the wind.

We pressed on through those loathsome miles and finally reached the last Rest Stop. After that Mike was inspired. He could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Victory was in reach. So he placed a handful of ice in his helmet and strapped it on. Before we knew it he was on the front driving the pace. Stephen and I had to take over before he completely blew himself up. Plus we were tired and wanted to slow him down.

Well deserved pasta and sweet tea.

We made it back and quickly changed into something less attractive to bacteria. Then we all stuffed our faces with pasta and sweet tea. I was really tired. I could have sat around talking about the ride for hours but it was Father's Day weekend and I wanted to receive my just rewards at home. In other words my loving family was waiting on me. We were taking my Father-n-Law out to Longhorn Steakhouse. Yeah...Baby.

My two daughters were up early making me a special breakfast of chocolate covered cinnamon rolls.
They had designed a scavenger hunt for me to do in order to find my present. It included a video on their iTouch and a search through the lady bug bed. They're such girls.
The rest of the day was filled with great times at church where Dad's were honored as the manly men we are.
Yes I said it.
Later in the day I was dumb enough to go ride Chicopee Woods with Trace Nabors. As I write this my legs are very angry with me.

I'll leave you with the video they showed at the church called "The Dad Life" which in no way resembles me in any shape or form what so ever...I'm just sayin'.


Have a great weekend everyone!

Chad Hayes

Here's more photos!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

2012 Newton County Omnium

Yet again I'm sitting in my living room watching TV with my girls after a weekend of tough racing. We're watching Kung Fu Panda II. It's not as funny as the first one. More drama, less funny. But I love watching their facial expressions.
Instructions at the CAT4 Crit start.

Two weeks ago Star Bridges sent me a long message detailing how he'd already booked us a room in Covington for the Newton Co. Omnium. His plan was designed to pass muster with my priority list by having us leave at 2PM on Saturday for the evening crit, spend the night and do the road race in the morning. Back by 2PM Sunday. Of course I hooked up. I invited Stephen Sisk to join us because he said he didn't have any family at home this weekend anyway.  I got to see my daughter Ellie graduate in her Karate class and then we had lunch. Star and Stephen met me at my house and we headed south.

The CAT4 crit was at 5:40pm. Star and I lined up for it and Stephen took some great pictures of the suffering. It was almost 90 degrees at the start but fortunately the clouds rolled in and gave us some relief. The clouds were a precursor to what would come in the morning.

The race started on a hill. A hill we had to race up every lap. It made the race tough for sure. The hill would slowly pitch up and then when you got to the turn at the top it kicked up one more time.

There were constant attacks on that hill and I even tried my hand at a few. It hurt. I burned a few too many matches doing it but that was my plan since the Athens Twilight race. Since then I decided that whenever I race CAT4 I'm going to attack or otherwise stay on the front, if I can, to avoid a crash.

Star Bridges
Star raced like the veteran he is. Conserving energy and staying with the lead group. At one point we found each other and he told me he thought the outside line on the run up to the finish was the fasted way to go. I kept that in mind for the last lap.
The winner for the day made a great move. With 3 laps to go he was at the front for the climb. At the turn he sprinted to the top and then hammered over the apex and down the back side hill. Star said he had a big gap within no time. I missed the move completely. The guys on the front at the time evidently didn't have the legs to go with him and by the time anyone could mount a chase he was out of sight. Smooth move.

If I'd known there was a guy off the front I'd have wasted what energy I had left chasing him for Star. As it was I just sat in and tried to survive for the sprint. I couldn't see Star in front of me when we  climbed the hill on the last lap so I figured he'd find my wheel on the outside for the sprint.

I never heard him say my name so I stuck to a rider's wheel from Reality Bikes. We flew down the hill and started the sprint up to the finish line. I couldn't come around the Reality guy and lost some heart when I saw all the riders to the inside going faster than me to the line. I did the best sprint I could but ended up 20th. I was kind of dismayed. I sprinted so hard it made me light headed so I turned around and rode down to the wheel pit tent, passing back over the finish line which you're not supposed to do when we have timing chips. Stephen was there to tell me what a good job I did. I like Stephen.
When Star got there he told me that he got trapped on the inside but it turned out to be faster because there was less ground to cover. We'll make a note of that for next time.
As we talked I started feeling sick. I needed to go sit down so we went back to the van and I did just that. I poured some ice water on my head and began to immediately feel better. The guys took really good care of me.
We packed up the van and found some great food for carb loading at Mellow Mushroom.

I didn't sleep very well, being away from home I never do, but I tried sleeping in my Hincapie compression tights and they worked well. My legs felt fresh when we got up. It was going to be a good day to race...and then we looked outside. It was raining... hard.
Oh well. We're here. And breakfast is waiting.

The Butcher, The Baker, The Pancake Maker

We all stared for a while at the pancake machine. Maybe we're out of touch but none of us had ever seen a pancake machine. I had three. They were delicious. It took 90 seconds to make one pancake...in case you need to know.

Then we packed the van and headed for our race in the rain. This time all three of us would race the Masters 35+ race at 9:40AM. It was a very depressing scene when we rolled up to the staging area. Lots of soaked volunteers, Cycling Officials, Police officers and cyclists. I deeply appreciate the efforts of all the folks to put on a great race despite the weather. It was very well organized.

 The pouring rain made everything harder. We learned the Pro race had been shortened and hoped that ours would be as well. No complaints here. But we prepared for 60 miles anyway. We spotted Sean Philyaw's car on the way in. He raced the CAT4 race and brought home a 9th place finish!

We got ready and rolled up to the staging area in the driving rain. They announced the race would be shortened to 30 miles. Once we started I emptied one of my water bottles and we settled in for a long ride through flooding roads.
As the miles ticked by there were a few attacks that got brought back and my veteran team mate made a simple observation...there were no counter attacks. So he told me the next catch was my time to go. My time came on a long drag of an uphill. Star took me to the front and launched a vicious attack while I rode in his slip stream. As soon as he pulled off I punched it and didn't let up until the top of the hill. When I looked back I had a really great gap so I stood up and kicked it over the top and then got out on the tip of my saddle to see if I could mash my way to a victory. My legs were screaming at me but I channeled my inner Jens Voigt and kept mashing.

When I finally got the nerve to look back I saw two chasers about half way to me. I eased up just a little and when they got there we began rotating. OK, now I'm assured of a podium. I found more energy to drive the pace. Then one of them said he was over his limit and asked for 3 minutes out of the rotation. He promised not to sprint if we made it all the way. Now I saw at least 2nd Place in my future. I was inspired. I took off my glasses and drilled it from the tip of my saddle. Like Cancellara...only not like Cancellara. We rotated for 8 more miles before the tactics of our enemies proved too much and we were caught. At least two of us were very, very disappointed. I was both of them.
We slowed and spread out so the field would find it hard to attack. And that worked! Another tactic I'll file away for the future.
Star made his way up to me and offered some consolation. I told him I wasn't done. Since I just blew myself up I wanted to drive the pace for a while to keep things close for him till the end. Yeah. That only lasted a few miles before I was done. I found my compatriots Star and Stephen sitting in the field waiting for the finish. I put my glasses back on because for the first time in a long while I was getting the gritty spray from the back wheels of the field.
Soon we were flying downhill through some swanky neighborhood. I say swanky because there were roundabouts to navigate and that made me think of some high end subdivisions back home. The pace picked up and we were strung out in a long line snaking through the roads. Any moment I figured we'd be taking a "right" back onto the road where the finish line was. The right we took was a left. The left we took was only 500 meters from the finish line. I must have missed the 1K to go banner. Long story short...Star got 11th and I got 12th. It was the best we could do on such short notice. Stephen lost the group on the run in but finished within seconds of the main field. I was very happy for him. He wasn't real keen on racing in the pouring rain. You'd think he had a titanium vertebrae in his back or something.
Stephen and Star...dry at last.

We finished just in time to see the heavy rain stop for a few hours.    Nice.
We changed out of our water logged clothes and started talking about the race. Life was so much better once we were through. Warm and dry. Tired and spent. It's actually a great combination. You feel "Alive"!
Sean Philyaw
I wanted to find some others and see how they did so we rolled through the parking to get the news. Baxter's was well represented with Nathan O'Neill and company. We stayed relaxed in our van and accosted people. Most of the riders were in different stages of transition after their race. In a lot of cases we saw them standing at the back of their cars staring into them with an look of "What should I be doing?" or "What just happened?" We found Sean Philyaw looking svelte in his dry clothes and glasses. He wasn't happy about the run in to the finish either. We talked turkey and then headed to Moe's for some well deserved burrito's. We also stopped for coffee "again" because Star's head will explode if he doesn't have coffee every 4 hours.
Star's Coffee
I'm calling this trip a success because we had no crashes and we made it home with everything we brought. A fine trip into the southern reaches.

This Saturday is the Jackson Brevet. I don't know why they call it a brevet because it doesn't meet any of the requirements to be called a brevet but none the less I shall participate. And with 2,000 other riders I'm told. We'll see. And you'll see because I'll take pictures.

Enjoy your Father's Day weekend everyone!

Chad Hayes

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Riding Stories from The Beach Ride

The Beach Ride starts out right.

I was riding with some new friends on a Wednesday Night ride and telling old stories from rides I've been on in the past. I'm guilty of doing that when I'm with new people. Especially if there's someone with us that's fairly new to riding. Anyhow, I thought I'd write down some of my favorite stories for posterity. Or maybe it's because I didn't ride my bike this weekend and consequently have no story to tell. Either way I figure you're reading my blog and it's better than some diatribe about my trainer workout.

For this first installment of Riding Stories I've chosen to highlight a couple of my favorites from the infamous Beach Rides. These rides are where I cut my teeth as a roadie. They served as my first real "mileage". My first large group ride. My first experience with saddle sores, bonking, dehydration, and public nudity. I'll explain that one later.

The Beach Ride was put on every year by Kelly Parham. Kelly is a legend in North Georgia cycling circles. He's a beast. There isn't an endurance race that doesn't have his name on the list. Those who know him can vouch for this too; he's a kind and helpful guy with a big big heart.
Kelly Parham's latest crazy adventure.
 Each year around May he would be the principle organizer of a ride that started in Hall County, Georgia and ended at the beach. We'd ride all day on Friday, stay in a hotel, and then ride all day on Saturday until we reached the beach. We've ridden to St. Simons Island and Jekyll Island and other places I can't remember right now. Usually around 35 guys with 4 or 5 SAG vehicles. We ride all that way on old back roads through the North Georgia countryside and through lots of old towns. It's like pedaling Americana. Obviously the ride would break up into different groups. Some guys were focused on getting the most miles in. Others would ride a little and then get in the car and eat all the snacks. You can just imagine the mix of personalities that would show up for this epic ride. I could never recount all the things that happened...but a few stick out in my mind.
2009 Beach Ride
2008 Beach Ride

Road Kill

Mike Stabler
On day two of my second Beach Ride I was with a group of around 7 guys in a pace line and pushing to reach our lunch time destination for about 3 hours. The leader at the time was my friend Mike Stabler who's a veteran of the beach ride. At that time he'd been on every one of them. It was definitely old hat to Mike. He's an easy going and fun loving guy. On this day he was feeling especially spry and was taking an unusually long pull on the front. I could tell he was in a zone and I don't mind letting someone pull me across the state but to be honest I was tired of looking at his derriere. The day before he rode to the front of the group with his pants down.
I'd seen enough. So I started looking over his shoulder up the road for some city limit sign that would tell me that food was near. And then I saw it. A giant, bloody, fly infested pile of road kill. So I waited to see the motion from Mike that let us know about it. Any second he would check behind for cars and move to the left. But he didn't move? I looked again...the nasty heap was still there...only closer. I slowed to give him room to maneuver and checked behind me for cars. Mike stayed steady. When we got within 50 meters of it I made the signal for Mike and moved slightly to the inside. As we approached the mound of flesh tried to remain calm, because in a pace line you're supposed to remain calm, and just as he was about to reach the point of no return I said "Mike!"
He calmly proceeded to bunny hop the road kill. And I un-calmly proceeded to scream at him for not telling anybody it was there. He said he knew we knew. Maybe he did. But I think I've shown this to be a lesson on what not to do when you see road kill.

Dog Gone Too Far

Beach riders invade Subway
This beach ride was the first time I was in shape enough to ride in the front group without throwing up. It was the afternoon of the first day and we were flying out of a town and down a long easy hill. There were 6 of us and I had just rotated to the back when a huge dog came tearing out of his front yard at us. I could tell by the angle it took that this dog was intent on getting itself some of the leaders front wheel. It was stretching as far as it's legs would go. If you watched this dog run in slow motion it would've been so powerful looking I'm sure. At that moment in time though I wasn't nearly as impressed. I glanced back to check for cars. The pace never slowed. It was like the guys were ignoring the horrific possibility that this dog is used to taking what it wants. As the dog ran, it began leaning it's mouth over to get a bite. It was stretched out about as far as I've ever seen a dog stretch. And then...WHOOOAH!
The dog T-boned a telephone pole. Right in the rib cage. I could hear all the air leave the dog and then there was only silence as we rode on by. No yelping or whining. Just the normal cycling sounds of tires and cassettes. I guess that dog had run farther than it had ever been before because it had no idea there was a pole there.
We rode on without speaking...and I couldn't handle it. I finally yelled, "Did anybody else see that?"
It was the best story told at dinner that night.

In another post I'll write down some more stories from my Beach Ride adventures. It will probably be at another time when I've just laid in bed instead of getting up on a Saturday morning to ride. But if I hadn't been there when my youngest got up I would've missed her telling me she dreamed about flying cupcakes.? Man, I love my girls.

This weekend I'm traveling down to Newton County with Star Bridges. We're going to race the Crit and Road Race. I can't wait for some great racing!

See you out there!

Chad Hayes