At most bicycle rides, we get t-shirts. It's a big deal, some sort of trophy to prove we have actually done the ride. (Or at least we showed up and got the t-shirt.) I knew this one would be cool just because of its name: The Best Dam Ride Ever. (There's that middle school thing again.) I should have learned my lesson. When I wore my first shirt in 2006, my friend Clyde, whom I had just met, saw me wearing it and asked, "Are you advertising?" I didn't figure out what he meant at first, and when I realized it was offensive, he was gone. Anyway, because I don't know where THAT shirt is, I was excited about today's ride. Then when I got there and was standing in the looooooooooong line to pick up my goodie bag and wristband, someone pulled his shirt out of the bag. And it was orange.
Orange. I don't DO orange. Drat. I'll probably give the shirt away.
The ride is so named because it begins at the bottom of the dam at Strom Thurmond Lake, which straddles the Georgia-South Carolina border. The climb up from the bottom of the dam to begin the ride is a chore, but it serves as a nice warm-up, and the reward going DOWN it at the end of the ride is awesome.
It was a good ride, with fully stocked rest stops (M&M's!!!) that had real bathrooms instead of porta-potties. Very little traffic, nice terrain, several crossings of different parts of the lake. (I hope the map shows up for you.)
I didn't take as many pictures as I wanted to. I particularly wanted one of the dam itself, but they are doing some work on it, and there was a single lane of traffic. Cars had to wait for a signal to change to indicate they could cross, and then we threw about 700 bicyclists into the equation. I was pretty sure they didn't want the added aggravation of one of the cyclists stopping (or not stopping) to take photographs.
All in all it was a good day and an excellent ride, the ugly t-shirt notwithstanding. I rode 62.93 miles, and while I wanted to get back on the bike and ride those other .07 miles, I just couldn't make myself do it. There was one thing that was confusing to me, though. The 60-mile route was supposed to follow one color arrow on the pavement, and the 100-mile route followed a different color. I was freaking out the whole ride because I didn't know which color I was supposed to be following. I figured when the course split I would check out my (not very good, at least to BRAG standards) map and see if I could figure out then which way I wanted to go. I'm not completely averse to riding a century, but I didn't want to do it by accident. However, I never saw the arrows split. For the entire ride, there were two arrows, one orange and one white. I have no idea what the century riders were supposed to do.
|The view behind me. Not a very good picture, but the best I could do raising the camera over my head and guessing what I might be taking a picture of.|
|The view ahead, not long after the ride started. There were times today when I couldn't see anyone ahead of me or behind me. That's when I got a little nervous, not knowing about the arrow colors and all.|
|How many times have Katydid and I asked, "Where's the d**m rest stop?" Now we know.|
|I took this picture because Hickory Knob State Park is where we had our family reunion a couple of years ago. When we got to the store where this rest stop was, I thought, "Hey, this looks familiar." And then I saw the sign.|
|A not-very-good view of the lake. The drought makes the properties at the edge of the lake look pitiful. I guess because they're not supposed to BE at the edge of the lake, they're supposed to be IN it.|
|This sign was actually about halfway through the ride. It's not often I can say I've ridden my bike in two different states on the same day.|