How about that; we’ve done two Georgia Tandem Club (aka, PEACHES) monthly rides in a row!!
Today’s “June Ride” began out in Alpharetta, Georgia and was hosted by Steve & April and Scott & Linda, noting this was their “home turf.” I believe there were a total of 9 tandem teams on hand for the ride:
- (1) Scott & Linda, (2) Steve & April, (3) Roger S. & Eve, (4) Jose & Sherry, (5) Steve & Eva, (6) Randy & Claudia., (7) Roger B. & daughter Heidi, (8) Tom & Vicki, and (9) yours truly… Mark & Debbie.
Six did the 42-mile option and two did the 32-mile option.
The ride start was scheduled for 8:30am, so my goal was to be on the road by 7:15am which would have us in Alpharetta by 8:00am – 8:15am as we had to make a stop along the way. Well, we made great time… really great time. We were at the ride start about 50 minutes ahead of schedule which gave us plenty of time to go and find a mini-mart where we could pick up a couple of bottles of water: somehow, we failed to bring our cycling water bottles with us! No big deal, but I was surprised to see that the once plentiful selection of bottled water and sports drinks with flip tops that were the same size as a cycling water bottle were nowhere to be seen.
We rolled into the parking lot in front of our lunch stop — Mellow Mushroom — just after 8:00am and could see that we weren’t quite the first to arrive. Another couple appeared to have arrived just before we did. We “chilled” in the truck for 15 minutes or so before other teams began to arrive, which was our signal to get our own act together. I decided to pull off the mud guards and luggage rack for today’s ride as the rain wasn’t supposed to come in until after 2:00pm… that and I still have to “dial-in” the SKS RaceBlade Long front mud guard now that I can install it in place of my old modified mud guard that we’ve been riding with for a couple of weeks. The old one will occasionally get jostled out of alignment on a hard bump and then needs to be adjusted… not something I can do from a moving bike so not quite optimum for someone like me who doesn’t like to stop if I don’t have to.
After a very brief rider’s meeting we were off. The ride took us North from the Windward Parkway section of Alpharetta into Milton and other parts of Cherokee and Forsythe Counties on some lovely winding, hilly and mostly shade-covered roads.
The homes out in the Milton along Freemanville Road area were, well, spectacular. Case in point, the 28,347 square foot, 4 bedroom, 8 bathroom home owned by former UPS President Ronald Wallace. For context, take note of the “normal-sized” homes that next door. There was another near castle-size home that caught my eye with its steeply pitched roof line and towering chimneys; very impressive…. but thankfully not my style!
The ride itself was really a good mix of terrain; mostly rolling with a few long grades and just one real “grunt” of a climb where I think I saw 18% on my computer relative to the grade at the steepest point. The weather conditions were also pretty much perfect for a bicycle ride. The early start meant we’d get to enjoy lots of shade on the tree-lined roads before the sun got too high and there was also a nice breeze. It would get a bit steamy sitting at stoplights where there was no shade, but those were few and far between. We made one store stop out in Union Hill where I snapped a couple of photos…. noting I’m still learning how to use my new phone. Sometimes I think I’d do better to just take a “real camera” along! Our friend Roger B. and his oldest daughter Heidi patiently waited for a portrait as I fumbled with the camera phone.
We did our best to ride a social pace but seemed to keep finding ourselves “stuck in the middle” by ourselves with a couple of more spirited riders out ahead of us and the social riding pros behind up and until the store stop. After the store stop we decided to settle into a pace that worked for us and after making a few adjustments we collected two other teams — Randy & Claudia and Tim & Vicki — who we finished the ride with.
Lunch at the Mellow Mushroom after the ride was quite nice. Everyone shared a massively long collection of tables and chairs out on the shade-covered patio with a nice breeze blowing. It gave us a good time to chat with friends before making the 50-minute drive back home.
A great day on the bike with great friends, to be sure.