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Day 20
Chattanooga, Tennessee to Gainesville, Georgia
144 miles, 7100 feet climbing

 

The hills in north Georgia came as a surprise to some. Day 20 included a race that originally was scheduled to end on top of Burnt Mountain, but Lon mercifully cut the race short and planned the finish line at the lunch stop on top of a smaller mountain. The climb up Burnt was pretty tough, and heat and humidity didn't help. It was the first time on the trip that I really found myself struggling with the heat. Just before the top, we met a friend of Ray's who had come out to ride part of the day with us. We had a pretty good time on the descent, once passing the obstacle of a guard dog who charged riders just after they crested the hill.

I must say I was caught a bit off guard by the climbs going into Gainesville. Ray had warned us about them, but I couldn't really trust anyone who always used his big chainring. We had noticed this on BMB, and PAC Tour. Ray claimed he had used the small one a few times, but we hadn't witnessed it.

We rolled into Gainesville pretty beat after a good workout on all the climbs, and I tried to slip in a massage before the lunch van arrived and we started back to work. A couple of local riders came out to meet the group, and even went to pick of food for the crew, and help us with laundry. John and I desperately needed to stay up and wash clothes, but when Scott and Melinda offered to take them home and do them for us, it was hard to say no.