Thanks for the pic KB. Is that Andy at Gavia?
I guess Aerobinator took umbrage to his being characterized as a bit soft in the last post. At his suggestion the Grimpeurs rode out of the relatively comfortable climes of Cheat Lake and up to Cooper’s Rocks to look for some snow to play in.
The Fat Cat had just come from a physical in which he was deemed to be A OK healthy by his fresh faced examiner at the university. The comically young doctor said that the Fat Cat was the most fit patient he had. (Of course he really wanted to put him on statin drugs, anyway.) That his systolic blood pressure was lower than before and that he didn’t have that sinus bradycardia of last were good signs. However, the young man is used to a patient base from one of the fattest states in the union with one of the highest levels of tobacco use and a suspect educational status—not really used to “athletic” folks. The Fat Cat saw a heart that wasn’t as strong as last time. 67 bpm and 112 systolic means less stroke volume than a nice 59 bpm and 138. Big Daddy is trying to work on The Cat’s negativity.
Quarry Run Road is every bit as tough as any other of the local hills. It’s close to home and avoided by many. The Grimpeurs don’t use it too often just because it is not amenable to loops of less than 4 hours. It’s an out and back kinda thing. Oh yeah, it does turn to gravel for a bit too.
Nobody let The Cat get ahead this time. If they had to adjust a bike or clothing issue, they jumped out front to do it. The normal order was restored for the day. Aerobinator was up front, The Cat was in back, and Birdman oscillated between trying to keep up with the engine and waiting for the caboose.
This same order held once the Grimpeurs left the now snowy road and hit the trails of Coop’s. That was some fun stuff and a tough workout on a cross bike. Roots and rocks hidden under a blanket of fresh snow, easy fodder for fat tires proved just the right challenge for skinny tires and drop bars. The Cat spent most of the time alone in the soft serenity of nature’s cathedral while the other Grimpeurs mixed it up ahead and then waited.
Unless you like white noise at 3 am on your old Sylvania, the scenic overlook of the river gorge wasn’t very scenic at all. Still it had an arctic vibe that made the Grimpeurs feel like hardy souls.
On the way back down the mountain, Aerobinator flexed his muscles. At the end of the roadside trail there was no sign of him other than tracks in the snow. Either he was tired of waiting for shrinking hearts, still trying to prove his status, or just downright sick of being cold. Come to think of it, earlier he did ask why we never thought of turning back when the conditions got bad.
During the descent of the higher altitudes, The Fat Cat found that he did not like high speed drops through packed snow and slush. However, a bike that occasionally slides a foot or so to one side or the other didn’t seem to bother Birdman in the least.
A realization: Bike pumps really aren’t that great at pumping things up. They are really talismans that ward off evil, tire flattening spirits. For months The Fat Cat has been flat free while looking silly ferrying a pump around in a musette bag from The World Championships courtesy of Talks-With-Legs. Knowing his fellow Grimpeurs would have pumps, he left his home. Let the voodoo begin. Following just behind birdman at around 40 mph the gremlins struck— sudden catastrophic failure of the front tire. All the Cat could do was keep it under control and watch Birdman and his talisman quickly fall out of sight. He’d be a couple of miles ahead and a thousand feet below before he even noticed he’d lost his tail. Bye-bye pump.
As luck would have it though, there was one old Co2 cartridge at the bottom of The Cat’s seldom opened seat bag. He had one shot to get it right. Not as easy as it sounds on the windward side of a mountain on a winter’s day. Damn, it was cold. It didn’t take long for the Cat to realize that he was soaking wet from the trail effort. Might as well’ve been naked. He would have taken the burning quads of a 20% grade any day to frozen hands clawing at hard rubber and aluminum hoops.
By the time The Cat got to the BFS station he was as rigid as his bike frame. Aerobinator had already ridden the 3 hilly miles to his car and come back to gather Birdman, whose brakes had given up the ghost. What a hero. Yes, yes, you are the fastest. All pay homage. Blah, blah.
It might not sound like it but, damn, that was a good time. Summer just won’t be the same.