Sunday, December 2, 2012

Holiday in the Hampton Ride

Before you start reading this blog you have to know that people don't call me Mr. Sunshine for my rosy outlook on life.  Frankly, I'm a bit of a curmudgeon.  Just ask my wife.  With that disclaimer out of the way lets find out how my SBL HITH ride went.

This blog is about the Southern Bicycle League Holiday in the Hampton ride on Saturday, December 1st.  It should be titled "I did something stupid today" or "Hey Idiot! You're not 25 anymore".  Both of these titles would describe my mood better than the illusion of spending a pleasant day in the ritzy Hamptons as provoked by the chosen ride name.

My day started the evening before with me working all night until 6am.  After work I drove home and got about 1 hour of sleep.  I'm sure that this was addressed somewhere in the fatigue course I took at work earlier in the year.  If it was I'm sure it said, "don't do it".  I threw my bike and gear in the car and darted down to Hampton.  The ride started at 9am only 11 miles from my home in Jonesboro and 1/2 mile from my work.  I was supposed to meet several friends there.  When I arrived the ride was starting so I rode on with the group missing most of my friends.  I figured they'd pass me somewhere on the course.  Many of them did.  Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures before the start.  I had spent too much time getting bundled up in tights, shorts, a long-sleeve shirt, jersey, toe cover, helmet cover, glove liners and gloves. The temperature at the start was in the mid-40's.  A high in the upper 60's was expected later in the day.

As we rode out of Hampton toward the Atlanta Motor Speedway I passed Santa Claus on a touring bike with panniers of presents.  I learned later that after the ride Santa eats and drinks for free.  All three courses started together heading west passed the speedway and in Henry County through, Spalding County, Fayette County, and Fayette County through the towns of Brooks, Hollonville, Concord, back through Brooks, and Woolsey.

The course was well marked although, similarly to the Jackson Brevet course, the road was well marked with the remnants of past rides as well.  Fortunately, the Holiday in the Hampton ride had the only makings with a Christmas tree.
Course Marker
I rode with Chris Schroder and Daniel McKinley until the rest stop in Concord.  Daniel, a resident of Thomaston with a pronounced southern twang in his voice, is a bike commuter.  The miles he gained from commuting were evident as Chris and I kindly let Daniel lead the way.  We stopped at the rest stop near Brooks on the way out.  Many of us dropped off some of our cold weather gear with the volunteers.  I left my jacket securely stored in a BRAG bag.

Brooks Rest Stop
Chris and Daniel
We also stopped in Concord, home of the Tour de Pike. 
Concord Rest Stop
Daniel had been the lead rider to the rest stop in Concord.  As he and Chris snacked and drank sweet tea I decided to continue on and get it over with.  The ride from Concord was smooth and uneventful.  I rode mostly by myself from that point.

I arrived back in Hampton at around 1:30pm.  As I rode toward Hampton I wondered where I'd put my car keys.  I was sure they were in my jacket pocket so upon arriving in Hampton I set about looking for the blue BRAG bag with my jacket in it.  There were only 5 bags left when I arrived and none of them was mine.  I was sure that someone with my jacket and keys was halfway to Roswell by then and I was stranded.  The lack of sleep was making me not think clearly.  I foregoed the complimentary beer and hotdogs and rode my bike to my car just in case someone had put my bag in my car.  It wasn't there and my doors were locked.  I decided to check the bento box on my bike one more time.  There they were.  Great, now I can go home and sleep.  I checked my cellphone which I had moved from my jacket pocket and saw that I had a text message from one of my friends who also rode.  He found my jacket amongst the pile, picked it up for me, and took it with him when he left before I had even arrived.  Oh the fog of my sleep deprived brain.

So, what did I think of the ride?  It was great.  The course was good.  There were plenty of rest stops.  The after ride festivities looked good.  I just wasn't in the mood.  It would  have been even better if I was prepared.  Will I do it again?  Yes, of course, but next time I'll get some sleep beforehand.  I'm not 25 anymore you know!

You might ask why I rode if I was so miserable.  That's a good question.  To that I'd have to that the ride was the best part of my day.  It's kind of like those bumper stickers you see that say "I'd rather be fishing" or "I'd rather be sailing" or golfing or whatever.  For me, I'd rather be on my bike than sleep.

December 2nd is the first day of my 20 week 70.3 training plan.  It's time to quit messin' around!

Thanks for reading.
Holiday in the Hampton