Thunderbolts and lightning: Very, very, frightening. At least that is what the weather weenies said. Of course, the reason for their existence is to foment fear and gin up anxiety so that people will watch/read the weathercasts: gotta feed the hungry corporate sponsors. Don’t you think for a minute that any weather weenie could stop The Flanders Fat Cat from making his appointed rounds. Long ago he learned not to put his trust in false prophets. Besides, the dark clouds and ill tempered weather only served to excite The Cat into a near frenzy of anticipation for the battle to come. Man versus gravity with a tag in from big mamma nature, it doesn’t get any better than that. Go ahead and sit on your couches with your hot toddies while the hard men laugh in the face of adversity.
Lord Monkeybutt freed himself from his corporate overlord imposed Meadville exile and waited at the base of Mud Pike, ready to face rain, wind and grade. The Cat was feeling full of himself, fresh off a nice ride in the Appalacian Spring Spectacular. Oh, he was dropped that day, but it took some doing this time. MonkeyButt also professed to be feeling flush after a good week of riding. It was shaping up into a day when records are broken and legends are born. Okay, maybe that is a bit much, but it was throttle up from the get go.
The Cat was very strong up the first/ worst grades. MonkeyButt followed just out of reach of the Fat Cat’s foxtail. Well hell, since hyperbole and exaggeration seem to be the order of the day, let’s try again and give these sections some names. The Cat and Lord MonkeyButt stormed up Scylla, around the hairpin and slashed their way above Charybdis’ grasp. At the crest, the Fat Cat remembered that he forgot to fuel; or rather, the mountain reminded him.
All through the rolling single digit middle grades, we’ll call them “the doldrums,” The Cat slowed. A half bagel topped with a tomato slice at 6:30 A.M. apparently is only good for about 12 minutes of high intensity work. MonkeyButt was uncharacteristically immune to psychological warfare, ignoring The Fat Cat’s tales of hypoglycemic woe. He turned the screws with little accelerations, repeatedly getting a half wheel or so ahead of The Cat, probably hoping to get out of earshot of all the whining. On “Le elever orange” The Cat dug into his diminishing but still substantial fatty acid stores and found a bit of punch, holding off MonkeyButt, and making the pull off first in place and in pain.
Twenty-one forty seven. “It’s not enough,” wheezed The Cat as MonkeyButt pulled alongside, “We’re a minute and a half off.” It was clear that he meant to let up and give in to his legs’ pitiful entreaties. However, Lord MonkeyButt would have none of it. In heretofore unseen fortitude, he exhorted his opponent onward and upward. They spun quickly up “Baby Bear.” It was faster yet up Momma Bear as each measured the other. Hot, quick breath fogged The Cat’s glasses until he could see nothing other than a nearly indiscernible yellow centerline. Eyes weren’t needed to know that final steep somnabitch “Papa Bear” was upon them. The Cat heard Monkeybutt grunt and rise out of the saddle for a come from behind shot at glory. He rose to defend; hoping against hope that the nasty old sack of washing machine tainted gel he snuck on the doldrums had made its way to the quads.
The hammer was there! It struck a heavy blow, laying Lord MonkeyButt low. At the top it was 28:44 for the Cervelo. Monkeybutt was only 40 seconds behind, also breaking the thirty minute mark for his fastest time yet. He admitted to arriving in a swirling cloud of light headedness and hyperventilation. Ah, that’s the good stuff, isn’t it?
The heinous and incalculably satanic vandalism of formerly silky smooth Skyline Drive with “fresh tar and chips” turned the Grimpeurs and their fancy smancy bikes away. They rode gently down the wet roads and back to the valley below. How amazing the change in the mountain, brown and barren to green and lush, in just a week. The ride finished up in the lowlands after 30 miles of ambling about and feeling whipped.
Bullfeathers backwoods bar and grill offered up free post ride refreshment courtesy of a sales rep that was pushing Molson. “Sure we’ll try some of this, how do you say, mole sun, of yours.” Hey, free beer is good beer. Purely for medicinal purposes, of course.