Over the past few weeks, you've been hearing about the Al Pless Memorial Bike Ride, coming up this Saturday, May 16th. So, who was Al Pless? Many of you in the Athens area - and beyond - knew and loved Al, but allow me to share a few words.
Al, who lived a life of fun, passion, and energy, died - much too young - in 2013 after a three-year battle with brain cancer. His obituary in the Athens-Banner Herald stated: "Hubert Allison 'Al' Pless III passed away at his home on Friday, June 28, 2013. Born on January 24, 1956, in Chattanooga, Tenn., Al grew up in Mississippi and eventually settled in Athens. Al, also known as Hap, was an avid cyclist who spent most of his professional years implementing renewable energy with the federal government. Dark chocolate, red wine, and good conversation were among the finer things Al enjoyed. His positive attitude and unconventional worldview helped define a lifetime of world exploration, both physically and spiritually."
My fondest memory of Al is from perhaps 15 years ago, when, as a much heavier and less fit wannabe cyclist, I joined Al and a handful of other riders on a bitterly cold, 44-degree February day to ride the Brockton Loop. Al was a fit, mega-distance rider, and I was struggling at 13 mph to keep up with him. It would have been perfectly normal for Al to say, "it's way too cold, forget this guy, I'm riding on," but instead, he patiently stayed with me and the few other folks out there, joyfully showing us the famous one-lane Payneville Road and all of the other treats the now-very-familiar route has to offer.
But Wait, There's More....
- On Sunday, 5/17, I'll be leading a Nitty Gritty Bostwick Mansion Ride, departing at 10 a.m. from the Oconee County Courthouse in Watkinsville. 50- and 34-mile options, store stops in Fairplay and Bostwick, maps will be provided. Check out ride details at http://www.cyclenittygritty.org/.
- Carol Myers is getting ready to take off on a post-retirement 4500-mile cross-country bike trip. Congratulate Carol and wish her "bon voyage" at the "She's Leaving" party at Ted's Most Best, this Sunday, May 17th, 4 p.m. Check in at the Facebook event page and join the celebration.
- Check out the Jackson Brevet event page on Facebook, and sign up today! The 6th Annual Brevet - Saturday, June 6th, 7:30 a.m. - is one of the best organized and supported rides around. $0.90 of every $1 the event donates to Emory University, goes DIRECTLY to clinical research, to help change a 29-year old, outdated treatment for Aplastic Anemia. Ride Options: 22, 44, 64 & 102 miles. Rest stops: every 18 miles (avg). THE BEST MARKED ROUTES. Full SAG support. INCREDIBLE After-ride Meal
- The 2015 Athens Tri to Beat Cancer - Sunday, August 23rd, 7:00 a.m. at Sandy Creek Park - has been posted, and registration is open.
- Earlier today, I sent out an email about the Antebellum Trail Bicycle Route - check it out at http://antebellumtrail.org/antebellum-trail-bicycle-route/. And, looking ahead to the fall... The 5th Annual Teardrop Century and Metric Century Bike Ride to Support Interfaith Hospitality - Saturday, September 12th, 9 a.m. We're moving this year's ride to beautiful and historic Madison, Georgia - and will be incorporating sections of the Antebellum Trail. Registration and details will be posted by the beginning of June. Mark your calendars and stay tuned for many more details, coming soon.
- Finally, we've had an awful spate of bike injuries this year. In the past few days, Nick Arroyo and Bill McLain joined that unfortunate list - Nick was clipped by a car biking to work last week, and Bill fell during a downhill descent on Wolfpen Gap yesterday. Both are pretty banged up, but will recover soon. To Bill and Nick, along with all of the other folks who've gone down for the count this spring, our thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery and return to the bike. To all of you - please be careful out there - we need every one of you!
Continue to visit the Bike List web site for updates and details about current and upcoming rides.
See you out there!