Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A King is Crowned

The Flanders Fat Cat thinks he may change the blog title to "Tuesday Tourist" if he is to remain a central character. Yesterday's ride brings to mind the Mount Washington challenge, billed as the worlds hardest climb. There were some great finishing times and competition until the pros got wind of it all. Tyler Hamilton, and whoever else's blood accompanied him, came along to smash the record and pop everyone else's balloon.

There were 6 riders on the windy course Tuesday, five of whom warmed up with a brisk 20 or so mile ride from Morgantown WV. The Fat Cat left work for a long lunch and met everyone at the base of the mountain. (Excuse#1: not warmed up.) We had our first female grimpeur, Hannah, to whom the title, La Femme Grimpeur, is conferred. She would go on to represent her gender honorably. A hefty local in a pick em up truck called her "Hillary Clinton" when informed that she could indeed hang with the boys.

As soon as the grade kicked up into the double digits, things hotted up. Kean, aka The Aerobinator, and Jolly John set the pace. The Fat Cat grabbed a wheel, forgetting any idea of pacing himself. This desperation defense of the polka dot jersey lasted a beefy 2 or 3 tenths of a mile before The Cat popped off pace. By the hairpin the jersey was lost. Don, hereafter referred to as "Big Daddy" or "Birdman" (One nickname is not enough for a man of his stature), rubbed the flagging Cat's tire and then shot a few bike lengths ahead. Big Daddy proceeded to maintain a pace that kept him tantalizingly within the Fat Cat's view for a mile or so. Had he showed weakness, The Cat would have had a run at him but, The Birdman slowly flew away. The Cat's only choice was to slow the pace just a bit more so as not to be all out of sorts and winded when he rejoined the others at the finish. (Excuse#2: Didn't really go all out.)

The ceremonial handing over of the polka dot jersey was made right there on the summit with all due pomp and circumstance. In fact, rather than wear the jersey, the previous holder carried it in his pocket so as not to sully it before it was inevitably exchanged. The stats were as follows. The Aerobinator claimed to have beat The Cat by 10 minutes although he did not actually time his ascent. The Cat came in at a little over 36 minutes, putting The Aerobinator's time at about 26 minutes. That smashed the previous high mark as set by The Fat Cat of Flanders, 30.30 minutes. However, there is some question as to the validity of the win due to some investigative photo journalism.

Just what was the Aerobinator doing under that bridge? (Excuse#3: Kean cheated.) The UCI is investigating. After all, it wouldn't be a bike race without a scandal.

Following the requisite amount of lauding and photographing the new champion Grimpeur, we rode Skyline drive South to Bruceton Mills. After the 4 mile climb of Mud pike, the rolling beauty and overall downhill profile of Skyline South was much enjoyed. The Aerobianator, Jolly John and Big Daddy cranked it out, measuring each others--well, you know--while The Cat, La Femme Grimpeur, and Frank enjoyed the Scenery.

The group refueled in scenic Bruceton Mills, West by God Virginia, and then proceed forth on rt 73. We pushed slowly through the fragrant aroma of farm fresh manure until The Cat took his leave of the hill weary peleton. How the group fared on the two nasty little climbs 73 offers up, one can only shudder to think. For his part, The Fat Cat took Hileman road. He crossed an emerald green Lake o The Woods and descended Wymps Gap to free himself of the mountain's grip, returning to the car and work thereafter. Despite his whoopin, the Flanders Fat Cat had a great time and hopes everyone else did too.

One little irony. Riding in his car, feeling the sting of annihilation, The Cat was quickly ferried though the stages of grief by the car radio. The soothing refrain, "That's just the way it is, baby." repeated over and over until a little chuckle sounded. That's just the way it is, baby...for now!


Adam said...

Kean is getting fat.

Nice blog, Craig.

bluecolnago said...

is it true that "west by god virginia" is truly western virginia and should in no way be confused with west virginia?