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.

Friday, November 9, 2012

2012 Tour de Tugaloo

This ride takes place in Toccoa, Georgia, a very historical town where the people are quiet and friendly and very patriotic. I love visiting Toccoa and have spent miles and miles on the roads around there. Even on the dirt roads. Especially the ones leading up Currahee Mountain. The history rich area center's around the fact that it was once the home of the 101st Airborn who training at Camp Toccoa in preparation for their defense of our country in World War II. Their story was featured in the movie series Band of Brothers. I've blogged about the Currahee Adventure Race in the past and how cool it is to run up that mountain. But now I'll tell you about a great cold weather road ride that takes place each year from nearby Yonah Dam Park. Visit their Facebook page for some great photos!

I arrived early at the park and found the hustle of setting up was still in full swing. Joe and Penny Elam from Habersham Bicycles were there selling stuff and helping riders. Pearl Izumi Outlet was there selling winter stuff. Some really nice folks from North Georgia Canopy Tours were showing off their zip line rides. Some guy was warming hot chocolate and later baked cookies!
At registration, DeLisa Christ was way too happy... as usual. Ride Director Duane Mahon was running around like a chicken with its head cut off. And it was the typical temperature in the 30's to start the day.
Clint and Brent Sanders

My plan for the ride was the best I could come up with and still take my beloved wife to watch Georgia play football later that afternoon in Athens. The 100 mile riders would be leaving at 9AM while the rest would leave at 10AM. I needed the early start and a shorter route. Fortunately I was in Sander's Drugs earlier in the week and learned that owner Clint Sander's would be riding the 42 mile route at 9AM with his brother Brent. That was perfect for me! A ride with some good folks instead of all by myself.
Photo by Robin Lindsay Dake

My chosen armor was less than sufficient for the first hour of the ride. I stood around shivering at the start and quickly lost some fingers and toes on the way out. The road leading out is along the river... and the river is COLD in November! I do admit I'm a real girl in the cold. I thought about getting some good banter going about how cold it was but there were people with less than I had on riding and smiling like homesick polar bears. Brent was one of them. So I only complained to Clint.

We made our way with some of the 100 milers for about 7 miles until we had to turn left. Then we were on our own. We rode along talking about the people who lived here and there. Clint and Brent grew up there so they could tell a million stories about small town "stuff". Of course we talked bikes and racing and food and a little business. It wasn't long before the sun was warming us and I had the perfect clothes on.

We rolled over hill and dale, through old concrete tunnels and across lovely wooden bridges. It was a great day to be on a bike.

After turned off River Road I was in uncharted territory. My phone had no signal. I had no food and one bottle. As we rode zigged and zagged from one turn to another I was very grateful for my company. Clint split a chocolate Stinger waffle with me as my bottle went dry. Then we rolled up on the sweetest rest stop this side of the Georgia/South Carolina line.
A very nice lady refilled my bottle and another one offered me the first cranberry filled brownie I've ever had. So I had two. And some graham crackers with peanut butter in them.

I don't know what Clint and Brent had. They didn't exist during this very important time in my life.

I wanted to stay and properly taste everything on the table but I know how bad it feels to stay too long at a SAG stop and then re-mount the bike. We bid farewell to the baked goodness and headed on.
The road then went wild. A roller coaster of asphalt leading out to a final climb up where the air was clean. Then we turned around and headed back.

I looked at my watch and started doing some math. At this pace I wouldn't make good on my commitment to Lisa.
This cannot be.
So I left my companions and began a time trial back to the finish... and the hot chocolate... cookies... classic rock... a massage? Nope. No time for a massage. Crap!
I flew past the brownie SAG again and saw my friend Alex Sloan with a hand full of them. He was leaned back laughing like a big Viking drunk on wine. Only he's like 90 pounds with nary a whisker on his face. Alex doesn't deserve them. He's a Tech grad. I let my dis pare turn to anger and blasted back to home base.

Music back at the finish was awesome!
As I rolled up to the car the air was filled with Bob Dylan. These guys were really good and I wish I could have hung around for the festivities. I quickly changed and headed to out to my next big adventure.

Some notable things happened that I missed because of the way I decided to ride the Tour de Tugaloo. Young rider Dylan Cantrell got to ride with newly signed BMC/Hincapie Development rider Will Richter. What a cool thing! I've often said I wish I would have found cycling at an earlier age. It's great to watch Dylan enjoying the great youth cycling movement going on today. How cool would it be to play football in the yard and have Matt Ryan walk up and play? That's the equivalent of what happens at some of these rides when pro guys show up. Makes me wish I'd gone to the Hincapie Gran Fondo the weekend before and met Cadel and TJ. Blah, Blah, Blah! No use crying over spilt milk.

There were undoubtedly many more memories made at this ride. My own experience has to have been the least of them. You can begin to understand if you'll visit the TdT Facebook page and look at all the photos. I ended up having the best time with Lisa at the ballgame. We have so much fun no matter where we go. Man I love that woman!

Well that about wraps it up for this edition of Chad's News. The remainder of the year will be a smattering of group rides with maybe a CycloCross race mixed in there. Be on the lookout for our annual New Years Ride in the GAPS!

Chad Hayes

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