I’ve been slammed lately, and haven’t had time to ride in a while.  It’s been nearly 3 weeks since I’ve thrown a leg over the top tube of a bike.  Needless to say, I was pretty excited about the Red Clay Ramble that went down this weekend.

The RCR is a mixed surface road ride and race in central Georgia hosted by the Bicycling Club of Milledgeville, who partnered with Chain Buster Racing this year.  I had no business doing the race, so I signed up for the ride, and chose the 56 mile distance (there were also 15 and 35 mile options).  Making things even better, there was about a dozen of us from the CSRA who went to the ride, and it’s always fun seeing friends.

Yay bikes! (Photo: Benny Watson)

Having not ridden in a while, I was just happy to be on the bike and had no real goals other than to have fun, but I did want to push myself.  I joked at the start that my goal was to ride hard for 2 hours, blow up, and limp the rest of the way to the finish.

The plan played out perfectly!

I started near the front of the group, slowly moved up, and eventually there was just three of us, I think at the very front of the group.  I was in way over my head.  One of the guys was an older gentlemen who looked like he could hammer that pace all day, and the third guy was on a 29er, and he only stayed with us for a few minutes before making the smart decision to slow down to a more sustainable pace.  I looked down at my computer after an hour and three minutes and we had covered just shy of 20 miles…again, I was in over my head, and I knew it.

When you're in survival mode creeping along, you have plenty of time to take pics.
When you’re in survival mode creeping along, you have plenty of time to take pics.

I stopped at the 23 mile aid station and refilled a bottle, the older guy continued on ahead, and I pretty much rode the rest of the ride by myself.  I did catch the older guy again when he flatted.  I stopped and lent him a pump, and we were going to ride together again, but he was just a bit too fast for me to hang with him.  Around the 2.5hr mark I blew up and slowed way down, and I started cramping and had to stay seated the rest of the ride…I could spin, but I couldn’t stand and hammer.

At some point the 29er rider passed me and I didn’t see him again.  I saw the older guy ~3 miles from the finish and he was stopped and dealing with cramps, some of my CSRA buddies were with him, so I kept rolling, I was worried I’d be cramping bad too if I stopped.

The dirt/gravel/clay roads were in great shape. While the weather was super humid, it wasn’t miserably hot.

I finished up with a time of 3:42, which I was pretty happy with considering how little I’ve been riding this summer.  Word around the finish area is the winner of the race finished in some stupid fast time around 2.5hrs.  Dang skinny kids….  After changing out of my kit some of us went to The Brick in Milledgeville where I had the biggest calzone I’ve ever seen in my life (I was starving and could only eat half of it), then around the corner to Ryal’s Bakery for some treats.  The apple strudel was sooooo good!

The BCM and Chain Busters did a great job hosting the event, and a big thank you to the volunteers who helped make the event a reality.  The route was a lot of fun – constant rolling hills, but nothing steep, and the vast majority of the ride off the pavement.  Dogs on the route outnumbered cars at least 2:1, I was only passed by one car the whole ride.  I had a great time and will certainly be back again next year!