The 10th Annual Lula Assembly of Praise Century was another great success. These folks really know how to put on a ride. I've lost count how many of these I've done (less than 10) but each one is special and always well supported. This year my plan was to ride with the birthday boy Stephen Sisk. He's 40 years old!! Just like me. And he's is in some seriously great fitness. We set a new Chad and Stephen record on this course which I'll tell you about later.
There were lots of guys and gals that I know there. This is kind of like a home town ride for me because it takes place on the border of Hall and Habersham Counties in Lula, Georgia where men are men and the deer run scared. It's always funny to me the people from the church. They seem grateful but there's definitely a lack of understanding of why we would do this. Cycling is well outside the norm in some of these households. One lady told me she wished she could do something like it but she was too... heavy. I laughed and told her I used to weight 300 pounds.
It was a lie but the look on her face was worth it.
I like David but sometimes he hurts me.
Also at the start were John Lilly, Duane Mahon, Kim Turpin, David Shabat, Kim and Dylan Cantrell, Star Bridges, Dustin Mealor, Craig Tinsley, Sean Philyaw... that's all I can think of right now.
Here's some other photos from the start...
Joe made his announcements and the ride began with a lead out from the Hall County Sheriff's Department. That's always very cool.
As we made our way toward Maysville I snapped a few pictures of the main group.
Once we made the right hand turn in Gillsville the lead group picked up the pace. Led by a bunch of guys from BluSky and BikeTown the pace was more than some of us wanted since we weren't racing. So we backed off and rode quick but enjoyable. In our newly formed group were Stephen Sisk, David Latty, David Shabat, Kim Turpin, and Kristen Weinacker. We were having a great time!
The day was perfect and our pace soon overpowered what the ladies wanted to do so it ended up just us guys around mile 50. To that point we had been averaging 19+ mph which is well above the norm for this ride. And the infamous climb up Apple Pie Ridge Road still loomed.
There's a point in every century ride where you start wishing you were done. For me that point is around mile 80. As we pressed on toward Apple Pie I told everyone that I felt we were riding toward purgatory. I thought back to what the lady at the start said and used it as motivation. And yet again channeled my inner Jens Voigt.
On the road there we picked up young Dylan Cantrell. He had been with the lead group but was suffering from cramps. We gave him some enduralytes and hitched him up to the train. When I learned he'd never climbed Apple Pie I told him how to attack it... you don't attack it. It fights back once you get about halfway up the climb. Hurts very much.
At the top there is a SAG where you can have some food and claim yourself a delicious Jaemor Farms Apple Pie. Of course nobody actually eats it after climbing that thing. I always get one and stuff it in my jersey for later in the day when I get home. It's like fried victory!
We gathered our group and basically climbed our way back to Alto, Georgia. That's right, the climbing didn't end there.
We pushed on toward Lula and the great meal that awaited us. I found Sean and the rest of the leading group already enjoying the spaghetti and brownies. We all sat around and talked for a while and then headed home to our families.
This is always a great ride I love with people who appreciate it as much as I do. Thanks to all the volunteers from Lula Assembly of Praise who make this ride special every year!
See you next time!