Six riders converged on the mountain despite the Sun’s menace. Birdman, Aerobinator, Slider and Pheel rode in from Morgantown to join The Fat Cat and Legs. Let’s get right to our newest—member—Phheel’s, Grimpeur name. He is the hero “Phallose.” The photo below might illuminate the derivation. Is that a pump or is he happy to see the Grimpeurs?
From pedal stroke one The Fat Cat’s legs were of molten lead. He was bathed in his own fluids on the initial climb such that the S.S. Minnow could have followed his trail. The cool, spring water at the hairpin did nothing to refresh. It was going to be a tough day.
All along the top of the mountain the Cat did his best impression of a Duncan Yo Yo. He was repeatedly off the back and in distress even though no one was even remotely trying to put him there. From his precarious perch on the back bumper, all the other riders seemed to be feeling fine despite the solar assault they were under. What fine, brave cycling soldiers The Cat had the privilege to battle the mountain with.
Oh, glory be the three pedal free miles offered up by Kirby road. Surely, winging down the eastern slope of the mountain at 53mph would be just the right shot of recovery and adrenaline to wake a sleeping lion. Bikes dropped through the atmosphere like Apollo landers. The Grimpeurs carved across the Emory board surface of maturing tar and chip with fearless fury. Joy returned to the peleton. Alas, the respite was all too brief.
The slow climb up the valley on Wharton Furnace Road was slow torture. The Cat grabbed the wheel of heroic Phallose for a while, but started walkin the dog and other tricks again. The Cat wallowed in diaphoretic morass of cardiac contortions and muscular fatigue. Up from this bog arose a smelly green cloud of self doubt and guilt. All the other riders seemed barely able to stay upright as they drifted and occasionally turned a crank ahead of their foundering leader. Where they even getting a workout? Was mutiny fomenting up there in the ranks? Why were they all wavy looking? The Fat Cat felt heavy as an anchor.
Foolish pride reared its ugly head. Despite his deteriorating situation, The Cat bellowed out his foolhardy command from the rear. “We’re turning here boys. Make for the starboard!” It’s simple: If you are in trouble on the gently rising route and loosing the respect of your crew, tack off onto the impossibly steep Fayette Springs Road. You can see the logic here, can’t you?
The early days of barely being able to squeeze out each turn of the cranks were soon back upon The Fat Cat. Legs was going on about some, most assuredly, fascinating subject. His words only evaporated in the superheated plasma cloud that had enveloped The Fat Cat. The contents of his skull liquefied and poured from the ears like streams of molten steel. Lungs savagely clawed at the air while the heart pounded like Casey Jones on the juice. Despite a body nearing the point at which hydrogen fusion occurs, the leader from the rear pedaled blindly on. Is there not at least nobility in this? Maybe? A Little?
The Grimpeurs climbed through the door of the only source of fluid for miles around, the Christian Clay Winery. “Damn the sample glasses, woman,” they cried, “bring on the bottles!” Sorry to any MG aficionados that may have taken offense to the pirate bilge that sounded from our little corner of the barn.
Soon it was back out into the heat and up yet another grade. The legs were still heavy, but no one cared. Ahh, the early days of doping. The Grimpeurs lopped off the ambitious 20 extra miles to Dunbar and played with the motorists on route 40. Yes, The Cat was lagging again, but most of the distance was because he stopped for a photo op at the dangerous mountain sign. Really, it was that white hot.
At the Summit, The Cat found all Grimpeurs other than Legs had started up to the golf course. With a luscious descent down the divided highway unfurled before him and a complex developing about holding the group back, The Cat dove off alone into the valley. In retrospect, this may have been a real butt-head move. At the time, however, it seemed like a good idea.
The Cat put his head down along the foot of the mountains while his better companions dashed across the top. If nothing else, the valley route was proven to be fastest. The Cat waited at the car for a few ticks before the rest of the pack came out of the hills.
Thanks to those who braved the humitidy and the heat. Despite all the physical and mental travails, it’s still better on a bike than off. The Cat promises to try and get on a trainer if he can’t get on the road.