Dwight Watt - Watt Thoughts #143 8/13/2007

#143- The Chattooga Century (Watt Thoughts)

Saturday I rode my bicycle in the Chattooga Century Bike Ride. They offered routes of 15, 30, 62 (Metric), 100 (century and 125 miles. I had plans of doing 100 miles.

I had previously this year ridden my bike 50 miles in Dublin Georgia, 25 miles in Metter Georgia and 26 miles in Statesboro Georgia. When I heard about this one in the late spring I thought it would be fun and the 100 mile route would go over Lookout Mountain. I figured in the north Georgia mountains, we are almost in Tennessee and Alabama here that the temperature would be reasonable in August.

I have been riding 14-17 miles a day one to two nights a week here in the higher altitude and walking 3-4 miles at lunch at college three to four days a week. So I believed I was in basic shape to take it on.

Little did I know that last week would put us in an extreme heat wave all over the east coast with temperatures hitting as hot in LaFayette Georgia as in Charleston SC and Washington DC and all of complaining of the heat. All week it was upper 90s.

Saturday was no exception. At 8 AM as we started from Chattooga High School in Summerville (the name of the city should have warned me) the temperature was decent. However by 11 it was in the 90s for the day. I have never drank so much Gatorade as I did that day.

For the first 35 miles or so I did ok. Then I hit the last rest stop before the mountain and it was air conditioned. My legs started saying this is it. I proceeded on and started up mountain. Within about one half mile I realized that the mountain was going to beat me with that sun as a partner. So I turned around and went back a half mile and picked up on the 62 mile route that had been same as 100 route to there.

My legs continued to disagree with me but oddly enough about 50 miles they got a second wind. My lungs were fine all day. From there on in my legs worked hard. With little pain.

Just after 3 I made it back in having done about 62 miles in about 7 hours. Hours five and six were the slow.

So I missed my original goal of 100 miles, that will have to come another day, but I did set a new distance record fro myself and was able to drive myself home. I felt much better after 62 miles Saturday than 50 miles in March.

The route we went on was a nice route. Most of it was without steep hills, but had long hills up and down. We rode one long segment thru a valley that was pretty and had rain more recently than most around here. The views of the mountains were great. They ha d some of prettiest rest stops I have seen anywhere in any event.

Couple of oddities I discovered along the way. Apparently a ridge I followed the middle of day is called Shinbone Ridge as several related roads I was on or pat. Interesting name that I need to learn source of.

Also passed the South Carolina Campground Cemetery early on. This is really a curious one for me as why would the South Carolina Campground Cemetery be located in NW Georgia? I was closet to Alabama at that point, probably less than 15 miles and about 35 miles from Tennessee. I am curious is the South Carolina Campground in Georgia and why is the cemetery there. It was a well identified cemetery.

All I all an enjoyable ride, but I am glad that new fangled gadget called air conditioning has been invented. I may check a little more on what temperatures will be before I do next ride. This one was ridden by the doors of hell wide open, or at least it felt like it and remember there is humidity also in the Georgia mountains. The ride in Dublin in March was the late last freeze snap in the South last spring so I was cold all day and the ride in Metter some how had been brought in from Chicago as the wind blew all day and we rode a circular route and it seemed to be always in our face.

For the non-athlete in high school I have done well athletically since college in running in events of 4 miles, 5 kilometers, 10 kilometers and even 20 kilometers (half marathon) one time. Now in the past year I have ridden a bicycle in events of 50, 25 and 26 miles and Saturday for 100 kilometers. (This is why it was the Metric ride). I can safely tell you it is about same running 10 kilometers (13 miles as bicycling 100 kilometers (62 miles)

I am a mite red today and very mildly sore knee but doing well and looking forward to setting a new personal best this fall.



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