In the middle of every winter semester, a magical thing happens; reading week. This year was no exception. Being a fourth year student is tough, and it’s easy to drown in all of the work and forget to do things like have fun, live healthy, and live in the moment.
|A long awaited reprieve from the drone of 4th year university|
Since my first year of University, I’ve been planning and going on trips to the United States where it’s warm, sunny, the food is cheap and the people are nice. There is a beautiful “Hostel” up in the Appalachian mountains in Georgia that we like to stay at called the Hiker Hostel. The Hiker Hostel is about 10km up the mountain away from the small town of Dalhonega, which is about an hour north of Atlanta, Georgia. The mountains there are beautiful, and punchy. In this area, the only flat roads are the ones that wind along the valleys, but they never last long anyways. The Appalachian mountains are an ancient mountain range that run basically north-south along the eastern states, so once you get to the middle of the mountains (east-west middle) you’re stuck right in them! And nothing puts hair on your chest like being forced to ride mountains, right?
|A view from the highest moutain in Georgia; Brasstown Bald|
We had a great group of guys going this year; Andrew, Alex L, Alex S (Schmidty), and myself. After class on Friday before reading week we packed the car (7 bikes and 4 guys in one car) and drove all the way down to Georgia in one straight shot (except for a stop at Schmidter’s parents place to pick up his road bike and a bike rack). Alex L had an interesting driving shift (you’ll have to as him about it), Andrew jacked himself up on Red Bull and drove like a fiend, and I got the fortunate shift as the sun was coming up and we were hitting the mountains.
|4 Guys, 7 Bikes, and some seriously good tetris|
Both Alex’s were in awe at our accommodations at this hostel (which is basically a lodge), but I told them the real best part of the hostel is breakfast – the subject of conversation on many of our rides. The hostel is a fun place, designed as a refuge for hikers who are starting their hike along the Appalachian Mountain Trail, which goes from Georgia to Maine. Surprisingly, there were two more Canadians staying at the hostel while we were there; Evan Mundy (who’s kind of a big deal on the road bike in Canada) and his father. We even got a good ride in with him up Brasstown Bald, the highest (and probably steepest) mountain in Georgia – Evan champed it up to the top with his superman gearing (my knees hurt just looking at him!).
|Evan front left, me front right, Andrew back left, Alex L back right, riding int he valleys between mountains|
The week was filled with tons of training, food, and good times. I even got to do my homework! We crossed the state line and got to spend our last two days in South Carolina chez Benno. Ben Dawson rents out an amazing 7 bedroom beach house near Clemson, SC every year for 9 weeks (let me know if you want to spend some time training there, I’ll hook you up with his info.).
|We stayed up late that night with all of the toys, even the giant chess game!|
SC may have been my favourite state; we were on the edge of the Appalachians, so still very hilly, but not mountainous. In two days in SC I got to ride up the famous mountain Caesar’s head, and ride my sweet new Trek Superfly Elite on some pretty gnarly trails! I think that bike and I will make a famous team, and am so excited to be working with Trek this year!
|Schmidty and I at the top of Caesar's Head, what a Day!|