Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Grimpin’ Days Are Here Again
Late summer and early fall- these are indeed the best of times to be on a bicycle. The air is soft and sweet. The year has mellowed with age and the Sun looks on with smiling eyes, not yet weary with age. The days are no longer unpredictable youths, tempestuous one moment and benign the next, nor are the days yet chilly and indifferent with snaps of cold brutality. These are the days when the surging legs and the furnace in our core are at equilibrium with nature. The porridge is just right and we all feel unnaturally strong. The ride is not a fight, it is a dance. ( Can you tell I’ve been reading Somerset Maugham.)
And so it was on Thursday last. The Grimpeurs took off under cloudless skies. The temperatures were such that sweat need bead up only at the extremes of effort. Even then, a gentle breeze quelled any rising fires. The lot under the bell-tower in Haydentown was full of the area’s finest, eager to take on the mountains in perfect conditions. Boyscout was there, so were Legs and Birdman. Phallose the black-sheep was missed but he was otherwise engaged in internet battle. Good old Sandbag came down from atop Wymps Gap to join in the fun (and probably to steer us away from raiding his house for refreshment). Goldfish was in the lot, all 140 lbs of him, tending to some mechanical issues when the Fat Cat arrived. But, most importantly, a new member petitioned for acceptance into the order. Fran is well known in the local cycling circles for her good nature, her even style and her tenacity. As expected, she acquitted herself well and is dubbed, Brahma mamma. (Not to be confused with Bahama Mamma, whom I knew in college.)
Notice: The Charter of the grand and ancient Order of the Grimpeurs is hereby amended to include the following amendment. No Gimpeur shall be left at the mountains foot, no matter his fearsome skills.
Some of the Grimpeurs took advantage of Goldfish’s tire fiddling Thursday to get a head start. All the way up Mud Pike, The Fat Cat assured everyone that Goldfish was sure to come flying past at any moment and make the summit first, despite his late start. When events were not as foretold and after some time waiting at the top, the group decided to go back down and see what was the matter. It was just then that BoyScout, who had, of course, stayed behind with Goldfish, came huffing and puffing up the hill. It seems that the tire fiddling was not simply pumping up the old rubbers. A nasty hole was the culprit. Repeated attempts at a patch were to no avail and all the extra tubes were strapped below seats and heading up the mountain. Sadly, Goldfish was forced to go home and Boyscout was left to time trial himself dizzy to catch up. All apologies to you Goldie.
The Grimpeurs took Skyline North. Several times, when the pace got spirited, the host looked back to check on the newest Grimpeur. Seeing no sign of her, he rode up to the front to reign in the horses only to find Brahma mamma in amongst the frontrunners. She’s a sly one, she is. Legs had “the draft taken right out of his mouth” when his suggestion to stop at the Summit Inn was voted down. We had to think of the kids, after all. The Fat Cat hit a good 55 mph down the smooth and winding Jummonville descent. The rest were right behind. The group made good time down Hopwood-Fairchance road and made it back in plenty of time to pick up Kids from school. Legs even got that draft that had been so rudely taken from him in the highlands.
Thanks to all who showed for a little lunchtime fitness and fun. Legs, have fun cycling the Alps and watching Worlds. We’ll leave the light on for you.