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 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

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