The April PEACHES (aka, unofficial tandem club of Georgia) ride turned out to be a very special event, even more so than one would typically expect when eight couples + another friend riding waist gunner on a triplet show up for a group tandem ride.
As mentioned in Sunday night’s blog entry, ‘Oh Snap (Update #3 – The Big Surprise)‘, the surprise reveal of Roger & Eve’s new Co-Motion custom Supremo provided that something extra special about this ride and was also responsible for bringing our very dear friends Tim & Sharon P. (aka, Team Inseam) down from Knoxville for the day! We always look forward to our visits with Tim & Sharon, and this one was especially fun since it’s the first time we’d seen them since the holiday parties around Christmas… and the first time we’d ridden with them in quite some time as well.
Anyway, as mentioned in the Big Surprise, we had been in on the secret new tandem and had also been given a heads up that the new tandem would be revealed at the Rome ride on Sunday. Roger just shared-out the edited video we shot of Eve’s reaction to the surprise.
As you’d imagine, the surprise did put the start of the ride a little off schedule, but it was well worth the wait. I think it was around 10:20 when we rolled out of the parking lot for what would be very nice 30-45 mile-ish ride through the rural back roads north of Rome Georgia on what is referred to as “The Pocket” loop.
We latched onto the rear wheel of the WoodGood triplet with Eric piloting, guest waist gunner Wendy D. and Eric’s beloved Linda as tail gunner for most of the ride. Because the ride is so rural, the sole store stop was a mere 10 miles into the ride, but that worked out just fine. It was a cool morning for mid-April, hovering in the low 40’s just before the start of the ride, so getting the kinks out and then taking a short break actually felt pretty good before pressing ahead for the 12 miles or so to the turn-around at the Pocket. The ride is really about as nice as it can be in terms of the scenery for northwest Georgia, the rolling terrain with just a few little bumps, and typically light traffic on most Sunday mornings. Our ride was no exception… just as nice as could be.
We took some obligatory photos at the turn around so that Roger & Eve would have a nice back drop for their new tandem debut photos along with some of the other teams before heading back south towards Rome. The first few miles back along the river towards the cut-off at Lovers Lane were awesome. However, we had our butts handed to us by everyone on the steepest climb of the ride that comes about 2 miles down the road on Lovers Lane from the split… but it gave us a great view of Roger and Eve hammering up the hill in the wrong gear (big CR) and looking about as dialed-in as I’ve ever seen them, with Eve up and driving those pedals and teetering on oxygen debt. We rode lantern rouge for a while and then bridged up to some of the other teams and bided our time until we were able to regroup at a busy cross-road where the riders ahead got held up. The final 5 miles or so back into town was groupo compacto and we even picked-up and pulled in the 30 mile team, such that everyone truly did start and end the ride together.
For any of the PEACHES list members who are reading, let me suggest that there’s a great opportunity for folks who want to ride shorter distances at a somewhat less ambitious pace to come on out for these rides. The more teams that show up, the more likely there will be natural groupings of folks who will be interested in riding the same distances and pace…. just a thought.
Anyway, after the ride all 17 of us headed over to the new Bella Roma Grill next to the Rome Braves baseball stadium for a late lunch. We’d previously gone to the “old” Bella Roma restaurant in downtown Rome after most Pocket or Texas Valley Loop rides and I’ve got to tell you, the Grill was a huge plus for us. Instead of a somewhat traditional Italian menu, the Grill’s menu included sports bar items, which was right up my alley. It was a grand time visiting with all of our friends and I don’t think we got out of there until about 3:15pm. It was a great way to spend a sunny Sunday in April, to be sure.