Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sunshine and Sand

Two new riders joined the ranks of the Grimpuers and rode with The Flanders Fat Cat on this fine Tuesday afternoon. The Newbie that skipped out on Tuesday, Dave Barnett, called and begged a tryout. We had to drive out to Lake o the Woods to retrieve Dave’s bike so The Cat, always merciful, nodded in assent to the idea that we start in the highlands and roll about up there, skipping the monstrous ascent. As we were about to leave Morgantown, The cell sounded with a call from another hoping to join the order. The name, Tim Nelm’s, evoked an expression of fearful recognition on Dave’s face. I believe he said, “You guys are gonna kill me.” Such statements from one of 150lbs soaking, looking to be at 10 or 12% body fat at most, often seen wearing running race shirts, and employed in the sporting industry, made him suspect.

It was agreed that Tim would park at Rich’s Farms and start up Wymps Gap. We would meet him after retrieving newbie Dave’s bike. As suspected, Dave, who claimed to have only ridden once this year, motored smartly up the back side of Wymps. At the Summit there was no sign of Tim nor was he seen on any of the roads below. The next thing we knew we were at the bottom of Wymps. Tim was found snickering at Rich’s Farms, his evil plan to lure The Cat and his companion down the mountain come to fruition.

The Fat Cat and Tim set a good pace along the rolling flats of 857. The newbie was not dropped, HMMM. We turned up Prison Camp road and amicably made our way to Mud Pike. The group hit the big grades and the “newbie” spun up just fine on his Lemond triple. In fact, The Fat Cat was almost dropped a couple of times, having to catch up. Nelms stood on his pedals and chatted it up all the way to the top while Dave and The Cat occasionally grunted out a rudimentary response. All finished the ascent together but, it was obvious that, had the polka dot jersey been contested, Nelms would have been the victor.

In lieu of a jersey ceremony at the summit, Tim and Dave were bestowed their Grimpeur names. Having nearly left the Fat Cat behind on his own Mountain, Dave shall hereafter be known as, Sandbag. Tim, who lived on an Indian reservation for 5 years, was given the title, Talks-With-Legs.

After gaining the summit, we band of brothers, Grimpeurs all, took off under the blue sky and flew down Skyline Drive towards Bruceton Mills. The Cat led the way, his impressive mass shifting from burden to boon on the descending ribbon of asphalt. Right up until the last sprint was unleased before Bruceton, Sandbag hung right in there, chewing on half a powerbar.

The peleton of three proceeded through the farm fresh dung cloud of 73 and made the right on Hileman. For the first time on the ride, Sandbag started to fade on the climb back to Wymps, lending some credence to his assertion that he never rides more than 20 miles. The Fat Cat and Talks-With-Legs graciously slackened the pace. Good conversation ensued all the way to Lake of the Woods’ sparkling mountain waters. Sandbag and The Cat twisted Talks-With-legs’ arm and he joined them at Sandbag’s lakeside cabin for a little Summer Brew, purely for medicinal purposes, of course. Afterwards, Sandbag and The Cat loaded their frothy steeds for the drive home. Talks-with-Legs rode off into the sun and untold miles more.

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