A2A 2K and 2

Impulsive? Me? What in the world would make you say that? Could it be my decision, three weeks ago to be in Georgia come hell or high water for this year's A2A? No, I had not been training for the event before that. Yes, then I guess you could say impulsive, maybe I'd say addicted.

Well, the high water threatened with hurricane Lilly earlier in the week, only to recede into late Friday showers in Atlanta. But hell came a knockin' with close to 90-degree temperatures on race day; oh I'm sorry, I've heard that A2A is not a race. Right! Well, if it ain't a race why are we, grown men and women, hugging each others' behinds going over 40mph downhill, scared out of our minds? I seem to recall a cop at the bottom of a hill with a 90 degree left-hand turn waving at us to slow down; he looked more scared then we felt as we re-parted his hair on the way to the next hill.

And If I was just there to have fun - as I kept telling myself over those few days before leaving, why was I grinding myself into hamburger one skate at a time working my way up Silver Hill Road? Yes, this must be addiction.

Traveling for the first time by car to Athens was quite an experience. I latched onto a great group of guys from Rockford, IL that welcomed me right into Team Anal-Retentive - that is with a hyphen, right, guys? Being on my way to my fourth coffee mug, I was the "expert" of the group. Though I seldom had a satisfactory answer for a fraction of their questions, they stayed with it, pumping me for that tidbit of information that was going to help them womp the course. Though the only advice that will do them any good is "stay low on the downhills" and "don't waste your oxygen, you're going to need it later".



After unknowingly driving though tornadoes in Louisville, Team A-R stops to refuel and possibly get a blessing from the virgin in Nashville. (Check out the truck art.)
After unknowingly driving though tornadoes in Louisville, Team A-R stops to refuel and possibly get a blessing from the virgin in Nashville. (Check out the truck art.)
A quick change of keys at home and we're on the road without access to the luggage carrier. Here Ricky the locksmith shows what he's made of as Dan calculates a tip.
A quick change of keys at home and we're on the road without access to the luggage carrier. Here Ricky the locksmith shows what he's made of as Dan calculates a tip.
Mike violates the temple with a Krispy Kreem.
Mike violates the temple with a Krispy Kreem.
Saturday in AthensTeam A-R on the Bull Dawg steps, that's Jim in front, Mike, Dan, Brad's head, Randy and thirstydog, (the bobarazzi).
Saturday in AthensTeam A-R on the Bull Dawg steps, that's Jim in front, Mike, Dan, Brad's head, Randy and thirstydog, (the bobarazzi).
Mark from Philly (white helmet) leads a good half hour of stretching.
Mark from Philly (white helmet) leads a good half hour of stretching.
Road rash knows no limits. Here an unlucky soul gets a leg up on the main event.
Road rash knows no limits. Here an unlucky soul gets a leg up on the main event.
Thirstydog with Atlanta Skate Daze organizer Patricia.
Thirstydog with Atlanta Skate Daze organizer Patricia.
Brendan, my wonderful hostess in Athens prepares to lead the Saturday social skate.
Brendan, my wonderful hostess in Athens prepares to lead the Saturday social skate.
Chris, that's the tall one, and Susan pose for the long arm of the camera.
Chris, that's the tall one, and Susan pose for the long arm of the camera.
A small taste of beautiful Athens, GA.
A small taste of beautiful Athens, GA.
Eddy takes the reigns and snaps one of the bobarazzi.
Eddy takes the reigns and snaps one of the bobarazzi.
Tom and Julie, at Henry's rant, showing no nerves whatsoever. (Henry I love you, thanks.)
Tom and Julie, at Henry's rant, showing no nerves whatsoever. (Henry I love you, thanks.)
Out to dinner before bed and the big event.
Out to dinner before bed and the big event.
Race day and I'd know those chicken legs anywhere.
Race day and I'd know those chicken legs anywhere.
Team Rainbo at A2A, what a pretty sight, and as it will turn out, a great team over the first 38.
Team Rainbo at A2A, what a pretty sight, and as it will turn out, a great team over the first 38.
Mike, in his first A2A, will go the full 90 miles poses with Brad. Yep, Mike will take a turn in the second half that will include having to backtrack.
Mike, in his first A2A, will go the full 90 miles poses with Brad. Yep, Mike will take a turn in the second half that will include having to backtrack.
The casual look of the A2A start. Compare this with Duluth!
The casual look of the A2A start. Compare this with Duluth!
Randy, Randy, Randy, you are just about everywhere. I see the wrist is getting better, good news.
Randy, Randy, Randy, you are just about everywhere. I see the wrist is getting better, good news.
Team A-R letting out a bit of the nervous tension.
Team A-R letting out a bit of the nervous tension.
On our way now and Brad checks out the road ahead. On the edge of Athens, the pace line is intact and starting to fly down the hills.
On our way now and Brad checks out the road ahead. On the edge of Athens, the pace line is intact and starting to fly down the hills.
Relatively level ground and the relatively easy pace means quite a number of folks hang together.
Relatively level ground and the relatively easy pace means quite a number of folks hang together.
As we hit the countryside, the sun comes out behind Jim White. Time to put on the sunglasses and leave them on.
As we hit the countryside, the sun comes out behind Jim White. Time to put on the sunglasses and leave them on.
A Rainbo of color in the Georgia countryside. I can see here that Tom still has all 10 wheels. He won't as he rolls into Atlanta.
A Rainbo of color in the Georgia countryside. I can see here that Tom still has all 10 wheels. He won't as he rolls into Atlanta.
Who's behind me and what do they want?
Who's behind me and what do they want?
Now how can you not come out and do a race that looks this relaxing?
Now how can you not come out and do a race that looks this relaxing?
Allison from VA!! We have to stop meeting like this. This is somewhere close to that wonderful left-hand turn I was talking about earlier.
Allison from VA!! We have to stop meeting like this. This is somewhere close to that wonderful left-hand turn I was talking about earlier.
Dan mugs for the camera as Brad checks the fluids.
Dan mugs for the camera as Brad checks the fluids.
Mike and Dan and Allison looking a touch less relaxed, but still showing spirit.
Mike and Dan and Allison looking a touch less relaxed, but still showing spirit.
The
The "halfway" mark and we say goodbye to half the field, looks like the clock says 2:30:01, not bad for 38 miles of "gently rolling hills."
Team A-R is now split up and the pace lines are much smaller.
Team A-R is now split up and the pace lines are much smaller.
Tom checking to see if the Kudzu has started growing up his leg yet. Notice we are on maybe the flattest stretch of road on the course and it's still slanted up.
Tom checking to see if the Kudzu has started growing up his leg yet. Notice we are on maybe the flattest stretch of road on the course and it's still slanted up.
Still a fresh looking thirstydog, and a 38 mile skater out for a bit more distance after his finish.
Still a fresh looking thirstydog, and a 38 mile skater out for a bit more distance after his finish.
Ah ha, Tom now has only 9 wheels, this is somewhere before rest stop four.
Ah ha, Tom now has only 9 wheels, this is somewhere before rest stop four.
A much more weary looking thirstydog, more of a saltydog somewhere in the mid-60's before Silver Hill.
A much more weary looking thirstydog, more of a saltydog somewhere in the mid-60's before Silver Hill.
The last fifteen miles where mainly solo miles for me. All I saw was road, on the up hills I drove my quads crazy, or they me.
The last fifteen miles where mainly solo miles for me. All I saw was road, on the up hills I drove my quads crazy, or they me.
On the downhills, I'd crouch and dig my fingers into my quads to keep them from cramping while tucking. Pain going up, pain coming down, it's no wonder the second half of the course is less well photographed. It's too bad, too, as much of the second half is wonderful to look at. I should know, I spent quite a lot of time there this year. Oh why, oh why, didn't I train more?
On the downhills, I'd crouch and dig my fingers into my quads to keep them from cramping while tucking. Pain going up, pain coming down, it's no wonder the second half of the course is less well photographed. It's too bad, too, as much of the second half is wonderful to look at. I should know, I spent quite a lot of time there this year. Oh why, oh why, didn't I train more?
See that sign?
See that sign? "Help Wanted" I was screaming "YES, I want help!", but only the cop at the turn just before the last water stop heard me and gave me a very weird look.
Ah, a better sign! Still some hard miles to go but we're in Atlanta now baby. Oh you don't want me to photograph those miles. Not pretty at all.
Ah, a better sign! Still some hard miles to go but we're in Atlanta now baby. Oh you don't want me to photograph those miles. Not pretty at all.
Just like the shot of me in 1998. I've noticed you just can't feel the pain in a photograph like you can when you're the subject. The photographer then helped me off with my skates. I'd like to thank you sir, whoever you are.
Just like the shot of me in 1998. I've noticed you just can't feel the pain in a photograph like you can when you're the subject. The photographer then helped me off with my skates. I'd like to thank you sir, whoever you are.
One lucky charm makes it all 87 miles.
One lucky charm makes it all 87 miles.
Mike taking those extra 3 miles just a bit too hard.
Mike taking those extra 3 miles just a bit too hard.
As it turns out, Mike took a tumble a bit harder than those three miles.
As it turns out, Mike took a tumble a bit harder than those three miles.
You know those legs really are stiff when your doctor asks if he can help you to your room.
You know those legs really are stiff when your doctor asks if he can help you to your room.
Fuelling up at a Waffle House in Nashville. After Kudzu, the Waffle House will take over the South.
Fuelling up at a Waffle House in Nashville. After Kudzu, the Waffle House will take over the South.
Monday's drive back home, and we learn what is hyphenated and what isn't.
Monday's drive back home, and we learn what is hyphenated and what isn't.
Team Anal-Retentive with the Holy Grail of skating: brand new A2A mugs.
Team Anal-Retentive with the Holy Grail of skating: brand new A2A mugs.
Unlike last year, when I set a personal best, this year left me feeling that I still have something to prove to this course. I finished in 6:26, right where I wanted to be with less then a month's worth of training, but I left Atlanta knowing I'd be back next year. And though it may be rain, or heat or head winds, or funky bearings I'll be back. Why? Because I think I'm addicted to having the time of my life every Oct. in Georgia.





Copyright 2002 Bob "Bobarrazi" Ryan