How Bad Was the Weather on Woody's Gap?

Hail Storm on Woody's Gap
Hail Storm on Woody's Gap: This 2-second MPEG
movie may be all you need to appreciate the
furious hail storm that occurred while fans were
waiting for the riders to pass by. [ Video: James Bailey ]

See more TdG photos in in the
Operation Gadget Photo Gallery.

One of the moments of the 2005 Dodge Tour de Georgia that deserves some more attention is the hail storm that took place on Woody's Gap before the riders crossed it for the first time during the Stage 4 ride from Dalton to Dahlonega.

I posted an article summarizing the conditions on Woody's Gap at 12:30 pm, just as rain began to fall. I had hoped to watch the peloton go through Woody's for the first time, then travel back to Dahlonega to post my articles. I was unable to do this because there was no place to park by the time I arrived.

It turned out that a few people who found places to park near Woody's Gap wrote in with stories, photos, and movies of what happened up there. Todd Fryburger posted a lengthy comment to my Woody's Gap Conditions Report and later sent me a two-second MPEG video clip. Here's what Todd said about the Woody's Gap experience:

James Bailey, a rider with the local Bass Ale / Taco Mac team in Atlanta, captured the attached photo and video clip from atop Woody Gap during the infamous Stage 4 hailstorm. Those who were desperately seeking shelter can attest to seeing an unidentified individual (who we believe was a member of the "Creed Nation") do a rather impressive dance in the middle of the road wearing a speedo at the height of the storm. He no doubt suffered "hail-welts" in a number of strange places.

The clip that Todd sent me is only two seconds long. When I saw how short it was I thought, this couldn't possibly give you the sense of what it was like to be up there. After I watched it on my computer, I decided that I was wrong. Better yet, the Operation Gadget server can probably handle the load of a number of people downloading a 769 k video clip better than it could something several times larger. Many thanks to Todd and James for sharing the file with us.

Josh Hallett was also up on Woody's Gap. He pointed me to a photo that he took of the hail that was left after the storm passed. That photo helps me because I drove through two hail storms that day, but never stopped at a place where I could see the size of the hailstones.

When you look at how dark it got, as well as how much hail and rain fell in a short period of time, the words of Lance Armstrong after Stage 4 make more sense: "Really freaky weather. We didn't get hailed on, it was a miracle."

He wasn't kidding.