Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Return of the Native
Today’s ride was marked by the triumphant return of Talks-With-Legs, just off a string of European tour dates. Phallose also made the trip to Haydentown and he and the Fat Cat of Flanders were treated to sordid tales of foreign debauchery. There were raucous, drunken Belgies, soused Irishmen defaming poor Tom Boonen, cases of Croatian gender confusion and incidences of full frontal nudity. Oh, yeah—there were also climbs up some legendary peaks such as Alpe d Huez and there was The World Championship in Italy. Maybe that’s why the Grimpeurs rode a little more aggressively than usual, jealousy.
The Fat Cat did his new interval thing up the mountain, misleading Legs into thinking some quantum leap in climbing prowess had been attained in his absence. He was disavowed of such silly notions when Phallose did one of the bursts with The Cat. Staying with Phallose to the pull off blew Fatty up. Legs caught, passed and gapped The Cat to summit with Phallose, well ahead of their toasted companion.
The Grimpeurs blasted down Kirby with a top speed just under 55 mph. It could have easily been more had they not been a tad beat fearful of things that go bump under the leaves. One of these days some nut will disconnect the brakes and make 60mph. At the bottom, Phallose started some videography. You can check it out at http://themisanthropiccyclist.blogspot.com/2008/10/tuesday-grimpin-more-gravel_15.html. It’s really pretty cool and has some original background music by Phallose and his crew. The Fat Cat looks like some grizzled old sea captain ala the Simpsons. If you pay attention you can see him check Legs off the road like Marty McSorley.
Gibbon Glade road was fantastic in its fall finery. The many steep punches were fended off with more gusto than usual and it was apparent that muscles began to protest early in some sectors. The Cats wheel began making a rhythmic rattle at low speed. By the time the Grimpeurs reached Canaan Church road, a spoke had simply fallen out, the nipple destined to roll about in the rim sounding out cadence for the remainder of the ride. The Fat Cat may be slow, but it takes a lot to stop him. He just taped the spoke to its neighbor, figuring there were still a bunch of good spokes left.
Right in the middle of parts unknown, Canaan turned to gravel. Damn that Google. Change of plans, take a right and get as much asphalt as possible. Turns out, it wasn’t much. Wirsing road blinked in and out of blacktop until it finally degenerated into a long loose climb. Its amazing how hills of gravel can be so taxing at such low speeds. “This sucks,” was muttered more than once. Projectiles shot from under 20 and 23mm tires such that one had to be careful of getting caught in the crossfire. Finally, in accordance with basic physics, the fattest guy got it—a pinch flat, that is. The Fat Cat and his back wheel were at war.
Skyline drive and its double yellow lines was never more anticipated or appreciated, especially after there was such disagreement between The Cat’s memory, Google Maps, and actual topography on Wirsing. It was still uphill to the top of Mud Pike, but the Cat could smell the oats in the barn. He and Phallose made a run for it. Despite the searing pain, it was great fun. The Cat took satisfaction in hearing Phallose voice his own discomfort at close quarters. Maybe it was oxygen debt that made the Cat and Phallose act like school boys and try and hide behind a shack so as to spring out behind Legs after he passed. The old boy was too wily, though. He thrust out a digit as he passed (not the third) and punched it down the hill. He left the brakes alone this time and no one could catch him. First ride back and first to the bottom, what a guy.