Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Waiting for Don

The Flanders Fat Cat and Talks-With-Legs rode circles around Big Daddy Birdman Thursday. Of course, this was in the parking lot while he checked his tire pressure. Hey, you take what you can get.

Birdman and Talks-With-Legs took it easy on the Fat Cat up Mud Pike and throughout the ride. It did not go unnoticed or unappreciated. Much of the initial climb was more about tire rubbing and jersey tugging than getting ahead. The Grimpeurs were joined on the mountainside by a faction from Mon county grade school. Several shiny yellow buses passed us on the way down, fresh from a trip to Laurel Caverns, followed by a line of SUV drivin’ soccer moms. One mom got separated from the herd and asked for help. Turned out the field tripper knew the Fat Cat. She chastised him for not calling her back regarding some sort of land speculation, biking instead of working and other sundry slights while he gave her directions. At least she offered up a reason to stop in the middle of the ascent…so Don could catch up (heh, heh).

The group did get in a bit of pace lining along the still smooth part of Skyline drive north: couldn’t pass that up. We barreled down a short stretch of the nation’s first toll road, route 40. All three drifted down the long, gradual drop of Wharton Furnace road as it followed the boulder strewn and Mountain Laurel lined course of Big Sandy Creek. A right turn out of the valley led us into the attack of the virgin road.

The Grimpeurs needed a way back over the ridge and Google Earth said it was Wirsing road. An initial thin flat section of blacktop quickly gave way to an unexpected drop. Not unexpected was Birdman’s blind and brake free attack of the descent. Unfortunately, the resolution on Google Earth falls just short of being able to discern asphalt from gravel. Big Daddy hit the surprise rocks at speed and promptly flatted out.

Once the tire was fixed, the Grimpeurs did their best cross biker imitations as Wirsing did its poor imitation of a road, intermittently turning from lane to stream. Half way up the climb, The Cat and Talks-With –Legs had to stop and wait for Big Daddy: He flatted out again. One thing we learned while we occupied ourselves in that meadow in the middle of the woods, bicyclists can’t throw. A no hunting sign laughed at the Fat Cat’s efforts. Talks-With-Legs tossed rocks like Lemond. Birdman, well, after his attempt he had to drop trou just to prove his manhood (sorry girls).

Twenty yards from where Birdman flatted, the road finally reverted back to hardtop. If it weren’t for the gravel, one might say old Wirsing is the easy way up the mountain. That is if you don’t rely on Talks-With-Legs’ jilted internal compass. He was quite insistent about adding 20 or so wrong way miles. Only the hope of a hundred dollar bet against the Fat Cat’s sense of direction dissuaded him and his leftward leanings. The Cat is still waiting for his C note. Heading NORTH up Skyline to Mud Pike, The Cat and Legs dropped Birdman on the final climb and had to wait, again. Of course, it was only because Big Daddy was making a phone call.

If you’ve read this far, I’d like to reward you with a bit of local Grimpeur knowledge. Next time you’re climbing Mud Pike with a powerful thirst and an empty water bottle, tap the spring on the outside of the hairpin at the top of Scylla. I have always wanted to try that pipe, gushing water out of the hillside, but never quite worked up the courage. This time I finally mustered the nerve. We stopped on the way down and made Guinea pigs of ourselves. The fact that I am not stricken with dysentery, Giardia or some other waterborne illness today attests to the safety of the source. Not only is it potable but it is cold and refreshing. It’s worth a stop even if you aren’t dehydrated.

Thanks again to Birdman and Legs for coming out and administering just the right dose of cycloprozac. It’s good have friends when you need them. Thanks also to Legs for the cooler of Czech beer and the Musette bag from Italy. Now The Fat Cat is the ultimate Poseur!

1 comment:

bluecolnago said...

mmmmm........ beer!

i used to buy budwar when i was in germany. czechoslovakian budweiser. it was pretty good.