Sunday, April 22, 2007

Road Trip Report

Thursday afternoon John and I left Raleigh on eastbound I-40 on our 1st annual Tour De Georgia Road Trip. I was thrilled at the thought of having no particular schedule, riding the circle, and of course seeing "The Pros." It was 1:40 pm when we got on the road and weatherwise it looked like we were in for a perfect weekend. After a few pits stops and about 4 1/2 hours in the truck we found ourselves in Hayesville, NC (on the north shore of Lake Chatuge). After taking a few minutes to eat BBQ we finished our day at the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds campground. By design we were camping at the start/finish of the Saturday morning ride. Camp set-up and a couple of beers capped off what had been a great day of driving and hanging out.
Morning came early, and cold. It was 40 degrees at 6:50am. Our ride began at 8:00 am on a very sunny Saturday morning, a bit cold for a road ride but we managed. The 36 mile route for the Circle the Bald was perfect. Check out the elevation profile here, it was tough with one section rated at about 24% grade. It's not the 3 miles of punishing climbing (peaking at 27%) that the Brasstown Bald held in store for the Pros later in the day, but it was enough for John and me.
After the ride we cleaned up and hit Hardees for lunch prior to hiking up Brasstown in search of the perfect venue. We found it about 200 yards before the 27% grade, or The Wall. Walking was torture, absolute torture. I think it would have been less painful to attempt riding up the course, maybe next year!

Anyhow here are some pictures of the big guys. Don't forget to check out the rest of them on our photo repository.

I can't imagine the physical pain this sign brings for the riders

The man from Montana, Levi Leipenheimer! King of the Mountains indeed!

George working it!

Missed the good pic of Tom :(

Tyler, not lookin so fresh after this stage.

QuickStep rider.

BMC rider

CSC rider

The only crappy part of the trip was dealing with the sobering reality of life. On our way down Brasstown we saw way too many riders riding way to fast for the conditions. There were so many bicycles, vehicles, and thousands of people walking down the mountain. I guess it was inevitable. There was a crash, and it was a bad one. We were probably 2 minutes behind this crash and luckily for the victim there was already a doctor onsite and within another minute or so there were 2 docs working on him. I gave up a heavy shirt to try and keep the dude warm and cover some of the fluids that should've been internal. Two doctors began chest compressions and rescue breathing, the scene was organized chaos for a few seconds but we finally managed to get some riders to head back up and get the rescue truck for this guy. It was not a good sight, I'm hopeful he made it off the mountain alive but I'm not sure if he did.
Keep your feet in the pedals, watch for the other guys, ride safe, and most importantly always within your limits.

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