1. DAMN ATLANTA IS HILLY. Yeah, okay, I know we're technically the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and Peachtree Street is a ridge that was once a native American footpath - but all that information became real life when I was pedaling up a couple of crazy hills. Specifically the vertical incline just after Ardmore Park. But I was high fiving a million angels after I made it up in granny gear!! No pushing the bike up the hill for me! Sweet.
2. Going into today's ride I was anticipating the route's uncomfortable contrast between blighted low income neighborhoods and posh "1%" parts of town. The southwest side was worse then I imagined: so many boarded up and burnt out homes. But it made me happy to see that despite the disadvantages, southwest Atlanta still has some of the city's best bike trails and parks. If you haven't been there before it's definitely worth a ride (during the day - with a map and plan, with friends - not alone).
3. Don't underestimate your ability!! When I signed up for the ride I wanted to be in the "quick" group but O hesitated and thought it best if we hang with the "intermediates". To the surprise of us both - we ended up "breaking away" from the intermediate pack and pushing well into the fast group. We even had time to stop at Mellow Mushroom on Peachtree and share a Bells Two Hearted Ale! Ya know, for the carb loading...