Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tastee-Freeze for Lunch

I caught a glimpse of a movie the other day while grabbing a bite to eat. Nicholas Cage sat outside the stone McMansion that housed his dysfunctional family. He monotoned over a shot of the fine home, “Look at this house. Someone should be happy in there.” Sometimes I feel like that when gazing across a frozen valley after pumping up three or four miles of steady grade. Look at this house; we should all be happy on here. One fellow’s fortunes fall while another’s rises like blobs of lava in one of those old lamps, ever changing, ever floating and sinking, beautiful. It’s only when the heat is turned off that the whole thing settles into an ugly cold lump at the bottom. Every man or woman riding next to you has been to the top of the hill and to the bottom as well. They have all felt the strain of the impossible grade and the fear of the descent. All any of them can do is keep on riding, keep the legs moving forward. And, if they do this, they inevitably look out across the valleys and the peaks they have worked and sweated over and they are happy. Works every time.

Two riders got out yesterday for a lunchtime workout in the hills of West Virginia. Birdman and the Fat Cat started out in cold weather but on clear roads. Being averse to clear roads this time of the year, they headed up steep old Mayfield. The climb kept the furnaces burning and the toes warm while it degenerated into a rocky stream of winter runoff.

The Grimpeurs plunged down the other side on Mt Zion road, bunny hopping potholes and shedding glassy shards of ice from their rims with each squeeze of the brakes. Two youts shouted out something ending in “giddyap.” Who knows what preceded that. One can only imagine, being that we were in deepest, darkest. As the Grimpeurs headed out towards Masontown the snow really started to come down.

It was decided that the bike path would be the best way down the hills they had traversed. The 3% average grade and absence of traffic would alleviate the need for braking, allow the riders to control the effort instead of being at the mercy of wind chill and it would be to the liking of their hardy bikes.

The trackless white of the path was stunning. The powder churned up from the tires and through the forks like shavings from a metalworker’s lathe. Birdman must have been getting cold because he quickly shucked off the sight-seeing pace and stoked the old internal fires. He had the Fat Cat just on the red line all the way down. The snow fell harder, the eyes stung more and the effort increased to levels that had The Cat feeling like some musher in a desperate bid to deliver vaccine to stranded, diphtheria stricken, Inuits. But, he wasn’t cold.

The final six miles over Dug Hill and into Cheat Lake were gloriously horrible. The roads were covered and untreated in the heart of a snowstorm. Cars were parked along the roadside, unable to top the hills. All the while Earnestina’s tires just kept digging in. You know you’re having fun when someone yells out from their porch, “Be Careful!” What a wonderful world.


E T Williams 2 said...

Great snow caked pics.
For your grimping pleasure I return downtrodden and exerbike strong the 22nd of DEC to return back into hell the 5th of JAN. I got my new disco grimping boots ready to roll...

E T Williams 2 said...

I need good tires for the anchor Frazee Schwinn....have any spares in the basement there? I will even take colored JIMMYSPRINKLES varieties.......just something w/ tread.

Craig, The Flanders Fat Cat said...

You know I have those Tufo tubular clincher doodads in flashing red. They are on the last legs but we may be able to get a few rides out of them. They won't fit on aero shaped hubs without a valve extender.

Anxiously awaiting you Clerks pilgrimage post. What else ya got to do in that dank Jersey 'otel room besides drink till you pass out watching the spice channel.

bluecolnago said...

great pics and commentary! it's been so cold here that it makes your eyes ache....

be careful out there, buddy!

Craig, The Flanders Fat Cat said...

Your weather will probably be here for a white Christmas, thanks. Right back atcha with the safety.

I, of course, meant aero rims, not hubs. If you want to be like jimmysprinkles, try these

bluecolnago said...

merry christmas, folks!