Oh screw the idea of writing about the various BRAG rituals. I give up.
Instead I will write about two medical incidents, one scary and sad, the other just surprising.
The less serious of the two incidents involved Bobby, a guy who is an awesome cyclist and possibly a bigger UGA fan than I am. Scratch that.... no one can be that big a fan. He is a crotchety old dude, but he's pretty tame once you get to know him. He cycles more in a month than I do in a year (most of the time). He hadn't been on his bike for 3 weeks before BRAG because he was in Italy. Oh yeah... he's retired. Anyway, he suffered from heat exhaustion (I guess) yesterday and they took him to the hospital. It was a simple matter of not drinking enough (he drank only water - he knows better!), and his electrolytes were out of whack. After receiving fluids, he was back in camp. He took today off, but he expects to be back on the bike tomorrow. If you had asked me to take all the BRAG folks I know and line them up in order of the degree of likelihood they would be taken to the hospital for a heat-related illness on BRAG, I would have put Bobby dead last.
The more serious (and sadder) incident involved James, a paralyzed Vietnam Vet who has ridden BRAG at least as long as I have. He rides a hand-driven cycle with his legs stretched out in front of him. He has begun bringing his grandsons on BRAG with him every year, and they are amazing. These young men take care of their grandfather, help him in and out of his wheelchair, and ride alongside of him, even when they could surely go off and leave him because his pace is so much slower than theirs. I have never heard James complain, and I deeply wish I had taken a picture of the American flag he had on his cycle Sunday. It was a huge flag, pretty impressive flying from that low-to-the-ground bike.
When they got in camp Sunday night, James was transferring from his wheelchair into his van when the seat spun and spilled him out. He broke BOTH femurs in the accident, and naturally they had to transport him to the hospital. His grandsons were devastated at the injury to their grandfather, and James's brother was too emotional to drive himself home. I haven't heard how he's doing, but I hope James recovers well.
It reminds me that the good times are precious, and perhaps I should stop whining about the hills, the heat, and the headwinds.