The Florida Flatlanders: Dog Chaser, Big Guy and Up Up Up
decided to visit the Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee
mountains for a 400k (250 Miles) training ride. We met at 5:30
AM Saturday morning in Dawsonville, GA and after cycling 1,000
ft (distance not height) we went to a breakfast place. This is the part
of the ride we as Flatlanders knew how to handle.
breakfast at 6:15 we went on the bikes and noticed the
difference to Florida. Not warmed up yet, but uphill it went,
not much, but even a slight slope makes an impact to Flatlanders
with a full stomach and cold muscles. From
there on it went up
and down and it didn't took long before we were really warmed up
and sweating while we had only temperatures in the low 60's F.
On the bottom of each hill someone shouted to us '''up up
up". It was Up Up Up that was getting out of the seat and really
up up up the hill he went, while Dog Chaser and Big Guy were
crawling the same. After 30 Miles we already had 3,000 ft of
climbing, this is 100 ft per Mile. That's almost all of the
"Horrible Hundred" hills within the first 30 Miles. Then we
headed towards Woodys gap. The approx. 5 Miles to the top took
us almost 1 hour. Dog Chaser and Big Guy stayed together
fighting switchback after switchback, the hill and the
resistance to turn around and just go back to a suddenly much
nicer looking hotel room. Couldn't we spend our weekend
different? They kept going since somewhere in front it shouted
through the forest "up up up" and there again "up up up".
At the top we stopped for a break with a rewarding view and
the proud confidence Florida Flatlanders can get up a hill
even it is at a speed of a snail.
Down on the other side was fun. It seemed so much easier then
the up :-)), even so we were not good on this either. Big guy
used his brakes frequently and felt this in his hands.
During the day, temperatures raised, but luckily we had a
cloud overcast, so that the temperatures stayed at low/mid 80's
F. We went rolling through up, downs and flats. Usually Up Up Up
was in front pulling and left no doubt in
a loud voice what was coming ... up, up, up, there we go again.
In the afternoon, rain showers started getting in. This reminded
us of last years mountainous 300k in South Carolina that the
same team did ride. Rain jacket on, rain jacket off, rain jacket
on, rain jacket off ... Let us tell you, it is no fun in mid
80's F degree with high humidity in a rain jacket to cycle up a
hill. We didn't know if we where getting more wet from the
outside (rain) or the inside (sweat). This was going on for
approx. 2 hours.
Luckily we still had quite some impressive clouds, but no
more rain and we didn't have to cycle any major hills during the
rain phase. We were afraid of having to do major downhill's with
wet roads. Before we hit Woodys gap (3100 ft) again on our way
back, the roads started drying.
We stopped at a food place and eat some pizza. Isn't this
what you are supposed to do, before you cycle up a major hill?
After having cycled 150 Miles it seemed that now Woodys gap is
even harder. We had hoped we would make it before sundown, but
were caught right in the middle
of the hill. We put our lights
and reflective equipment on and while Dog Chaser and Big Guy
continued their struggle, Up Up Up continued shouting and
wondering why we are so slow.
The downhill with dry roads in complete darkness with just
our bicycle lights was some fun. Even so, Big Guy and Dog Chaser
had bright HID lights, this is the point where you always wish
you had more light, especially going of speeds between 40 to 50
Shortly after midnight we were back to the motel, after
completing 183 Miles with 13,400 ft of climbing in a little less
than 18 hours. While Lance probably just would
saying a word in reading this, the Florida Flatlanders were
quite happy with their performance. Even Up Up Up was happy to
be back at the motel, not because he had tired legs or felt the
ride, no just because we kept him out there so long without
We were originally planning on only getting a 1 to 2 hour
break and to continue to finish in less than 27
hour as required by a official Brevet. But since this was only a
training ride, Ladyspeed wanted to join us for the last 70 Miles
since she doesn't ride at night we decided to meet again at 5:30
AM Sunday morning to do the second part of the ride. First thing
again was breakfast and once more approx. 6:15 we went on the
We started with a quite good pace. Seemed that a 5.5 hour break
made a difference. But it didn't last for long. After 5 to 10
Miles, Dog Chaser and Big Guy realized that the day before had
some hard work and the speed in the
flats dropped to convenient 15 to 16 mph. Ladyspeed really
enjoyed this and felt we always should do a 180 Mile mountain
ride before we ride with her. This way she could experience that
we were trying to hang on to her and not the other way around.
Of course with the exception of Up UP UP, who always was up up
and away somewhere.
We cycled down to Alpharetta, GA and were
impressed by the houses we saw in this area. Our larger Florida
homes seemed to be small to those houses. If my weekend budget
would not have limited to a less than 7 digit dollar amount, I
might have considered one of those homes.
The last 70 Miles consisted more of rollers than real hills
and still had 3,400 ft of climbing for us. We finished in
approx. 6.5 hours and enjoyed the scenery.
In the total of the ride we had only very few dog chasing
activities, so Dog Chaser was quite happy. Overall we enjoyed
the ride and were a good team. Ladyspeed liked to ride with
tired people. We did sightseeing in the afternoon and decided to
visit a Gold town museum. The movie in between was a welcome
sleep break :-))