Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Stupidest Grimpeur

It was a cold and rainy day, the kinda day when you expect no one to show up for a ride. The Flanders Fat Cat was ready to see if he could find something productive to do, like let the white noise of rain lull him off into nap-land. However, she of great intestinal fortitude, Brahma Mamma, sounded the klaxon horn. So those two Grimpeurs, stout of heart but weak of mind, set out to climb Snake Hill and parts beyond.

As they climbed, the rain got stronger and colder. Frankly, that is the type of weather the Fat Cat enjoys once he is nudged out into it. Mamma and the Cat were spitting water and generally having a good ride when the air rushed out of the thing. The Fat Cat had switched to a grippier cross tire to battle the rain. He had just put it on a brand new rear rim the night before. The last thing he expected was a flat. He had gone into this well prepared and with the right equipment, quite uncharacteristic. Why had the cycling Gods forsaken him so?

Brahma Mamma huddled under a sparse tree While The Fat Cat fumbled about in the rising storm. Still confused as to why he had been struck low and despite the conditions, an exhaustive search of the tube for evidence took place. Finally, only one small hole was found, no snake-bite. The inside of the tire was clean as a whistle and there was no sign of any forced entry- what tha hell? Then, on the verge of reassembly, realization hit like a bag of whoopee cushions. NO RIM TAPE! Some dummy had forgotten to put in rim tape before putting the rear wheel, tube and tire together. It was a miracle the Grimpeurs had gotten as far as they did, what, with 30 some metal orifices gnawing away at the rubber ballooning down their throats.

Well, even the ultra-polite Brahma Mamma agreed, her hands turning various shades of purple in the cold, that what they had there was the height of stupidity. The fat Cat cobbled together a repair by using a spare tube as "rim tape." Having no sharp objects, It was necessary to gnaw off the valve stem of the tape-to-be like a wet rat and chew a hole through for the other tube's stem.
The repair got the Fat Cat back down the Hill safely. Brahma's mottled and contorted hands, barely able to operate the brakes, got her down as well. Needless to say, there was little enthusiasm for doing the wheel job right and heading back out.

And, there you have it, the stupidest moment in Grimping history.

Friday, September 24, 2010


(Others Don't)

The Grimp has gone on all summer, sporadically. The Fat Cat has valiantly struggled under the heartbreaking crush of bad genetics (thanks Mom and Dad)and a strong commitment to the "fourth meal" movement. Despite what Big Daddy Birdman says, The Fat Cat is sure he is the greatest sufferer the world has ever known. Now comes the part You've all heard before. It was a stuggle of epic proportions into the very mountainous heart of darkness and other such hyperbole, cliche, melodrama and kitsch. And therein lies part of the cause for The Tuesday Grimpeur's absence from the interwebs.

There are only so many ways you can say. "It was really hard to ride up that mountain." For example: The Sun beat down on Mud Pike with unfettered brutality for a late September afternoon. Raging rivulets of sweat ran down from neath the helmet-- whoops, said that before-- okay--I crept up the hill at the speed of bugs, who harassed me mercilessly--wait, used that too, and so on.

Not that there weren't some really cool and funny things that happened. On one ride a girl from Rhode Island joined the ranks. She was a strong runner and really held her own up the inclines. Problem was, she didn't really ride bikes and had only borrowed a bike to join the famous Grimp. She'd never used clipless and didn't know how to shift on a steep climb. She fell over several times on the steep grades and we had to catch her at every stop sign. Her Grimp name became "Turtle" for her struggles to get off her back. She was one hell of a trooper.

Anyway, I kinda got tired of thinking of new ways to say, "I suck" and, "That ride really hurt."

So, To use an economy of words: We rode Tuesday, the four of us. It was very hot. I have discovered that I have a heat intolerence and always do poorly on sultry days. I sweated and dragged my 213 lb self up Mud Pike. Everyone was faster than me. Legs was kind enough to give me shelter on his wheel. When we got back off the mountain, there was just laid blacktop on 857. The last hill was a sticky black furnace. (Believe me, I am resisting the urge to go all metaphorical with that.) For several hours afterward I resited the urge to vomit. Despite all that, it was better than not biking.

My winter plan is to do more, but shorter, training rides at faster speeds. I also plan to tell the kids to make fun of me if I eat after dinner or take seconds. Hopefully I can get in better shape for next year. Cycling is always fun, but it's more fun when you're faster than everybody else. Right know, I'm at 213.5-down from 220+. I don't know my Pike climb time. Kinda afraid to measure it. I'll do it soon. I'll keep anyone interested abreast of progress.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Thursday Limp

Lub_________________________________________dub____________________________lub__dub_________________________________________lub__dub___________________________lub__dub__________luddub____lubdub____lubdub____lubdub---We have a pulse!

The grimp was back on after a long, cold hiatus. I, who prefers to be called Zig-zag until further notice, washed the October mud off the Colnago cross and finally answered the call. After all, a sound training schedule does include climbing the biggest, 4 mile hill right out of the gate after 6 months off the bike, doesn’t it?

So, ill advised as it may have been, I met up with Brahma Mama, Legs, Birdman, and Butch, the well known trouble maker and first time grimpeur. Being that Butch was sporting three, count ‘em, three rings at the crank, he has been conferred the name “Trip”. This may also have connections to his sordid past, but I’ll never tell.

All in all, the ride went far better than expected. I rode without ego. I did not try to hold any wheels or participate in any reindeer games. I zig-zagged my way up all the steep hills and rode pretty much selfishly, to just try and make it back alive. We were at RECREATIONAL pace to be sure. To their credit, my fellow grimpeurs were uber supportive. There were no breaks, even though they were not discouraged. There were no tests of strength. There was no discord of any kind. The group stayed cohesive the entire 30 miles despite their handicap, me.

Of course, there are always one or two embarrassing moments. Still unexplained is why Trip and Brahma were at the top of the pike alone, Trip stripped to the waist, when the rest of us crested. What can a man and woman do in twenty seconds?

My own moment happened on Hopwood-Coolspring road. It has two steep climbs with angry coal trucks preventing any kind of energy conserving course corrections. Just yards from the top, it finally happened. Turning the cranks became too much for my diminished legs. Sigh, I was prepared for this. I swallowed my pride and pulled into a driveway. As my foot touched the ground, I chanced to look at my chainrings. There below me, my greasy black chain was wrapped around my big ole 52 tooth ring. DUH!

That’s about it. I will admit that when we got back to Haydentown, I felt a bit like the bull after the piquador. But, thanks to the patient support of my fellow Grimpeurs, my first ride in ½ of a year was a good one.