Posts Tagged ‘Cyclist Disapearance Atlanta’

youth polka dot jersey cycling north georgia six gap 6 three gap 3 atlanta bike cylcing bicycleSo after much pre-ride angst on my part as spelled out in my previous post  Cycling Parent: Fear and Self-Doubt, with additional angst provided by his Mom and Grandma, Liam and I headed up to north Georgia for his first ride at the Gaps this weekend.  We decided to arrive  early for an evening of camping on Friday, prior to the “big ride” on Saturday with an early 8 a.m. start time. 


We had our tent and gear all set up by late afternoon Friday when Liam suggested we ride our bikes to the town of Helen, located about 18 miles from our campground.  Helen is Georgia’s attempt at a Tyrolean Village and  as someone who lived in Bavaria for nearly three years, I can say that the Germans are not as into candy, knives, or anything air-brushed as much as shop owners in this tourist town would have us believe.   I was hesitant.  At 36 miles round trip, I did a quick calculation of our likely average speed, estimated time to both eat dinner and do a little site-seeing & people watching.  We should have just enough time to make it back before sunset- so off we went! 

Cycling North Georgia Helen, GA Bike Bicycle

Dinner in Helen, Georgia

It turned out to be a terrific ride and not only a chance for a nice warm-up before hitting the gaps the next day, but also to provide us with a chance to run through some last minute technical skills  and to shake out the bikes a bit. The route to Helen would provide us with many of the same types of roads (no shoulders) that we would be riding the next day.  Also, for most of our rides in Atlanta we are on residential side streets or bike paths.  The traffic on these roads, while lighter was also moving alot faster.  Liam and I practiced shouting “car back” or “car up” to warn about approaching traffic and move toward the side.  We also used the less aggressive descents to brush up on some braking and turning skills for the next day.  After a faux-German dinner we arrived back to the campsite for a fire and early bed time. 

The Front Three Gaps

Woody Gap North Georgia Cycling Six Gap 6 Three Gap 3 Youth Atlanta Bike Bicycle.

Liam Stroking Up Woody Gap

After a good breakfast of bagels, fruit and coffee (for Liam too) we met up with our group at Turner’s Corner, all of whom had woken up extra early to drive in from Atlanta.  We were blessed with a cold front which meant almost unheard of temperatures in the  sixties for the start of our first ascent up Neel’s Gap.  Liam and I settled into a nice rhythm and found our legs for the 7 miles of climbing ahead of us.   He pulled up a couple of times and I warned him to to put out too much too early because we had a lot of climbing ahead of us.  Neel’s would be the longest climb of the three  gaps we would be doing that day and as we rolled into the parking lot of the Mountain Crossing store atop Neels I looked back to check his expression- all smiles.  We re-grouped at the summit and did a bike-check (brakes).  I encouraged him to eat a Gu Gel for the upcoming climb up Wolfpen, explaining that the our breakfast had just been burned riding up this mountain. 

The winding decent down the backside of Neels was fast but safely paced.  My new friend Brigette hung back with us because she did not feel confident about her first big downhill either.  We made it safely to the turnoff onto Hwy 180 at Vogel State Park and immediately found ourselves beginning on Wolfpen Gap.  Wolfpen is not as long as Neels but is much steeper with several switch backs and pain inducing turn-ups at several points.  It is also deeply wooded making it difficult to visually guage how much longer  the suffering will last.  Liam dug into the climb and I could see that he was having a hard time with it, but then he relaxed, naturally focusing on breathing and turning the pedals.  I could also feel the burn and was glad for the shot of Gu Gel.  A short time later we emerged from the woods at the Summit of Wolfpen, re-grouped again and made our way down into the valley toward Suchess.  The Wolfpen descent was also taken at a moderate and comfortable pace.

Woody Gap North Georgia Cycling Six Gap 6 Three Gap 3 Youth Atlanta Bike Bicycle.We rolled into the crappy gas station rest stop at Suchess for a Gatorade refill.  There was a group of motorcyclists there and Liam was full of questions about the bikes- carefully pointing out that ours were pedal powered.  The turn out of crappy-gas-station-rest-stop onto hwy 60 threw us onto our final ascent of the day- the “short” climb up the backside of Woody Gap.   Liam was still pedaling strong, though I did see his line start to wobble a little bit at some of the switchbacks- a clear sign that he was getting fatigued.  Our group had already begun the descent before we had reached the summit, so we stopped for a brief photo op at the top before turning down ourselves. 

Now the dividends of the the previous 3 hours of pedalling and hell got to be cashed in with a nearly 8-mile long cascade down the gently winding roads of Woody Gap to the valley floor below.  At one turn near the top we were afforded a view of  patchwork  farms that looked like a green earthen quilt.  I accelerated next to Liam and pointed over too it which elicited a “Whoa!” from him.  I explained that we had pedaled up this entire distance and were going to ride back down there.   About 30 minutes later we arrived at Turner’s Corner General Store to meet up with the rest of our group for post-ride BBQ sandwiches and drinks.

I am obviously proud of Liam for this accomplishment.  Not many adults, much less 11 year old boys ever challenge themselves like he did today.  He rode 36 miles (72 total for the weekend) and climbed over 5000 vertical feet on his first ride at three gap.  This is something I did not even do until last season- and with great difficulty even then.  The completion of this climb is something that will continue to pay dividends for the rest of his life and will hopefully set a new bar for what he thinks he is capable of doing. 

In honor of the Tour De France currently underway, it was suggested that Liam should be awarded the “Polkapolka dot jersey mountain climbing Dot Jersey” for the ride he put in today.  The Polka Dots are awarded to the King of the Mountain for each stage- or the rider accumulating the most points (1st-6th) on each major climb of that stage.  Liam- you have earned your mountain goat jersey.  I am proud of you- on and off the bike.  Well done.


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Okay, the rapture didn’t quite come off like as predicted- unless the world ended and everyone I know is just in hell- a very distinct possibility.  If you are a frequent visitor to the Team Eddie blog, you probably had a clue that yesterday’s  Atlanta Cyclist Disapears post was a bit of a hoax.  Funny enough- it has been the single most popular post ever  for this blog with over 500 hits as of this writing…and counting.  I find it a little sad that topics about cancer, family rides and other subjects which I find personally fulfilling were all beat by news of a goofy disapearing cyclist believed to have been raptured….go figure!  Ethan and I did have a fun time staging the bike and clothing for the photos though! 

Not related to the Apocalypse –  but after an unusually cool and wonderful spring in Atlanta the weather is now starting to turn hot.  Being a delicate northern flower; I wilt easily in the heat. From this point on I will need to start to orient my riding to the early morning or after sundown.  Does anyone know if there is a way to acclimate to the heat?  I just can never seem to get over it! 

Saturday Ride 5/21/2011

The boys and I were going to push for 50 miles today- but we got started a little later than planned and by noon it was too hot to finish a full fifty.  We got a nice section of the Intown Loop completed, the boys always love whistling and whooping as we go through the Krog Street Tunnel, so this route is always one for them.  We made a shot stop at the Jackson St. overpass at Freedom Parkway to check out the impressive view of the Atlanta skyline before heading down Century/Argonne to Piedmont Park.  The boys had not seen the new park extension  that I was able to preview during the BeltLine Tour , so we detoured from our route through the park to go check it out.  The new fountain feature was full of kids playing in the water- but neither Liam or Ethan felt like disrobing to run through the fountain in their Lycra. 

Kirkwood Sunday Ride 5/22/2011Post Rapture Ride to the Rock”

We had a great group of 15-18 riders today for the Sunday ride- but things went a little screwy from almost the get-go.  Megan experienced a derailleur issue and turned back by the Columbia Seminary.  From there Liam rode with the “A” group and I never saw him again until the finish.  Ethan and I rode out to the mountain and waited to meet up with the the main group, but after 20 minutes decided we had missed them and headed back for home.  It turns out that they did two loops around the mountain and we were nearly back to the starting point when Patrick called to let me know that Liam was with them and they were just leaving the park.  

While riding down Oakview, just outside of Oakhurst village Ethan exlclaimed that he had gotten his water bottle while mounted- something we had been working on.  This news was followed by a large crash- Ethan falling off his bike!  Ooops! I circled around to check him out after his second crash in as many weeks- he was fine.  I asked him how it felt to go over the handlebars and he replied “I didn’t notice going over the handlebars because I was concentrating on crashing”.  He is a tough little kid.  In striking the curb he flatted his front tire.  For the first time ever, I had left my Co2 inflator at the house, so while we had a spare tube we had nothing to fill it with.  We practiced the art of walking home.

Liam came in with Steve from the fast group (thanks Steve!!!) a short time later and we all enjoyed a post-rapture-post-ride brunch at Le Petite Marche!  A lovely weekend of riding to  be sure! 

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ATLANTA, GA– A yet unidentified Atlanta cyclist, presumably male, has apparently disappeared- leaving behind his bike as well as all clothing, helmet, cycling shoes gloves.  “It’s like he was just beamed off his bicycle” said Atlanta resident Peter Dottingham “there is nothing left but his bike and clothes. We thought someone had been hit by a car at first”

While out for a morning ride in Atlanta’s Historic Kirkwood neighborhood, Dottingham and his two sons were the first to come upon what some in the religious community are now citing as true evidence of the rapture.  A growing crowd of onlookers was being held back from the scene by Atlanta police.  Belief that the coming of the Apocalypse or “end of days” has been broadly circulated in recent weeks by evangelist Harold Camping. 

“I am utterly absolutely, absolutely convinced it’s going to happen,” said Camping, the 89-year-old evangelist and president of Family Radio whose biblical calculations have ignited Rapture fever across America.

“The people following his predictions are apocalyptic enthusiasts already looking for signs of the end times. They want to reinforce their idea that these are the last days,” said Stephen O’Leary, an expert in religious communication at University of Southern California.

Atlanta investigators are exploring all leads, but besides the bizzare “crime scene”, there is no appearance of violence or foul play.   On the condition of anonymity, one investigator told Team Eddie “The cyclist appears to have been riding in the bike lane along Hosea L. Williams Drive when [He] simply disappeared.  Right now we are questioning neighbors and witnesses for any potentially helpful information”.   

Editors Note:  Online reference guide Wikipedia defines Rapture as a feeling of euphoria or the transport of an enlightened soul into the kingdom of heaven.  Is it so hard to believe that an Atlanta cyclist wearing his helmet, riding in a marked bike lane on gorgeous spring day might have been chosen?  I think not.

Donnington shared photo’s of the scene with Team Eddie from his cell phone, brought to you first: 

#rapture # fail :We Got Picked up by Mo for his feed on this- thanks @Krochmal


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