What-A-Burger Tour February 21, 2015

Weather forecast for 2/21/2015

Yesterday I rode my bike from my house in Albany, GA to the What-A-Burger restaurant in Thomasville, GA.  The forecast for the day was for winds out of the SSE at 10 to 20 mph.  Normally I would not choose to ride under such conditions since I would be riding south for 75 miles.  I like to think that I am not an unusual fellow, but this sort of ride appealed to me so I went anyway.

I have done this ride 3 or 4 times since moving to Georgia in 2010.  The What-A-Burger opened up in Thomasville after I moved here.  When I discovered it’s existence I knew that I had an excuse to ride over 100 miles in one day.

This ride is the longest ride to date since my accident last March 17, 2014.  I had all of the fears of not being able to ride this far as I did when I first rode this ride in 2013.  I supposed the thrill of doing things that I am not sure I can do is what drives me to do them.  I also have a fear and loathing for headwinds so what better way to “Get Over It” than to choose to ride 4 or 5 hours into them.

Bike on an oak on Tarva Road to Newton, GA

The day started out great as I took to the road at 8:30 AM with the air temperature at about 40 degrees.  This was warmer than it had been all week at this time.  After the first hour of riding the temperature had warmed up to 55 degrees.  I stopped to change gear by this farm with a beautiful oak tree near the road.  Getting to Newton was enjoyable but I could tell that the winds were going to be strong after I got out of the protection of the tall pine trees that were on either side of the road.

Spirit of Camilla in Camilla, GA

Cycling in Georgia on country roads is nice because there is no traffic on the back roads.  When I venture on the larger state highways there is more traffic and large semi trucks.  The state highways usually have a better paved surface so I like them on long distance rides.  After leaving Newton I was on HWY 37 and that is when I got my first taste of the full force of the headwinds.  The tall pine trees thinned out and gave way to crop fields.  I normally do not have my Garmin set with a screen that shows how hast I am going, but at one point I noticed that I was only going 7 miles an hour.  I thought to myself was I really ready for 4 more hours of this?

I decided to play a game in my head to pass the time.  I remembered when I lived in Oregon where there were lots of hills and sometimes lots of wind.  Some cyclist up there taught me to love rides with hills and headwinds.  Since there are few hills here in SW Georgia I decided to pretend that I was riding up hills as I rode into the rind.

Meigs, GA a small town on HWY 3, the Dixie Highway

There are small towns all along the route from my house to the What-A-Burger.  Sometimes I wonder what it was like to live in these towns when they were bustling way back when.  I am a sucker for taking pictures of water towers with the name of the town on it.  As you can see this town has a focus a cotton crops.

Between Meigs and Ochlocknee is where the hills start.  Nothing like getting a break from the wind blowing directly in your face than it is when you are riding up a hill only to get an extra strong blast as you crest the hill.  I have done this on many rides, but not a ride with this amount of distance.  At this point of the ride I was so tired of my brain complaining about the wind that I actually started enjoying the wind which is the whole point of my decision to decide to ride in it.

Oil-Dri Corp of America Ochlocknee, GA

 One of the curios points on the ride is near Ochlocknee, GA.  the Oil-Dri plant has always raised my curiosity about what product it produced.  I normally do not stop her as there are always a lot of trucks on the road.  This day I decided to take a short video to show how hard the wind was blowing so that I would not forget how hard it was blowing.  I also get mesmerized by smoke blowing from factories.

Nice country home in Thomas County

This route takes me past trailer homes and mansions.  There is so much to look at as I ride it is hard to stay on the bike and not stop and take a picture every mile.  Some of the homes that I see are so nice.

The goal

Getting to What-A-Burger is the halfway point of the ride.  I was ordering my meal and one women employee walked up to me and told me that they had missed me.  She said that she had not seen me in a while.  I was surprised that she remembered me.  I told her that this was my first trip done since my accident last year.  My wife Sylvia tells em that people always remember me and I refuse to believe her, yet people do remember me.  I am probable the only cyclist that stops in for a burger that lives in Albany so that is why they remember me.  Sitting in the What-A-Burger is like going back to Texas for me.  I was listening to George Strait and eating a burger.  It was great.

Nice pond by the road

I did not wast time getting back on the road. I was shocked to find that the winds did not change direction.  for once I would have a tail wind all the way back to Albany.  I decided to buckle down and just pedal home.  I of course could not just ride home without stopping to take a picture of my favorite pond on the route.

Bike on a gate

My first ride in a long time with bungee cords on my bike bag.  I had all of my jackets on this ride as I did not know what the weather was going to be like.  I like riding long distances, but I also do not want to worry about riding and being cold.  i am currently looking to replace my seat post rack to allow more clearance between the stuff on the rack and me seat.

200 year old oak tree near Camilla, GA

200 year old oak tree near Camilla, GA

I was getting closer to home and as usual I did not want to stop, but the lighting was so nice on this tree that I decided to stop. The owner of the house came out to talk to me. She thought I was lost. I told her I was taking pictures of the oak tree. She tome me that she bought the house from a man who was over 100 years old. He told her the oaks were that big when he was a boy. The woman said that the oaks in her yard are 200 years old.

Georgia Power plant Dougherty County Line with deer

 I never get wildlife in my photos because it takes me so long to get my camer out of my back pocket.  The deer in the picture was standing near the woods when I stopped.  I thought for sure it would run by the time I took a picture, but it did not.

Georgia Power plant Dougherty County Line

This is the last photo on the tour.  The first time I road this ride dead batteries at this point of the ride.  I was using my phone to keep track of my mileage and it died.  From here on it will be a slog to get home.

One thing to mention in closing is that I say it was a slog home, but in fact it was not.  On Locket Station near the school at Winterwood Avenue I heard in my head that Michele Moulton called a sprint to Gillonville.  Kent Wheeler chimed in that “Poor Lonnie is tired, he will not do it”.  Here we go so I decided to ride as hard as I could up the rise to the school and to past the two rumble strips to the stop light at Gillionville.  I was not surprised that I was not tired and had the strength to ride hard like this at the end of a 140 mile ride.  I noticed a car behind me driving slow and not passing me but that did not slow me i rode has hard as I could.  I maxed out at 23 MPH on the sprint.
As I crossed Gillionville into my neighborhood I slowed down a bit, but I still wanted to ride strong to my house.  I always want to finish a ride like I still have 50 miles to go.  I never want to finish a ride and be dead tired.  I had a nice ride.

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