The endless Seattlesque weather torturing West Virginia and Southwestern PA retreated swiftly at the announcement of the 2011-2012 Grimpeur Championship points series. Talks-With-Legs, Big Daddy Birdman, The Flanders Fat Cat and Sandbag showed up on a fantastically sunny and temperate day to give the old Mud Pike Mountain what for.
Back in the days when the mighty Aerobinator roamed the hills, The Grimp was a painful affair. It was all someone of the Fat Cat's stature could do to hold on to the slipstream across the rolling spine of the mountain. All uphills were anaerobic death marches. Since then the Grimp has migrated from Tuesdays to Thursdays and has matured into a congenial cycling affair. Each incarnation has its merits. Meandering through hill and dale, parsing out the nature of God and man on the backs of carbon and aluminum steeds has become well-loved. However,the Aerobinators ghost got the Fat Cat nostalgic for the days when all was given to the climb.
So, it was decided, by royal fiat, that old and new be combined. From this day forth, one day a week, willing Grimpeurs will attack a designated hill/mountain with all the fervor they can muster. For their efforts, points will be awarded. The points will be based on how many riders are on that days ride. For example: If there are six riders, the first to the top gets six points and the last gets three. The series will continue through next September with a trophy presentation and other wondrous prizes and accolades. The weekly winner takes the Polka-dot jersey at the top of the mountain and keeps it until someone wrests it from him/her by beating them to the top on a subsequent ride. On the second Tuesday of each month the ride will be on Mud Pike and will be for double points (I just thought that part up!).
After flogging themselves for 30 minutes or so, The Grimp will go casual again. The world's problems will be solved from atop bicycles and stress will be pedaled away.
With the above in mind, the four combatants line up at the other side of 857, muscles twitching like racehorses in the starting gates. They rode the false flat at a pace above the norm, but still not punitive. After that, the story must be told from the rear, as any familiar with the illustrious history of The Grimp, must have expected.
The Fat Cat held on valiantly as the gradient ballooned. Ahead he could see Big Daddy and Sandbag just ahead of Talks-With-Legs through about 2/3 of the climb. However, around each turn in the road, the leaders grew smaller. The Fat Cat was alone by the pull-off before the small downhill dip.
The race had been won several minutes before that Fat Cat arrived on his erstwhile blue cross bike, Earnestina, at 38 minutes. Birdman had edged out Talks-With-Legs by a half a wheel and Sandbag had faded to third. By virtue of his performance, Bridman got 8 points and stripped the Jersey from Fat Cat's back. (Somebody had to get it to the top, so why not wear it. It'd be the last chance.) Legs got 6 points, sanbag got three and Fat Cat got 2.
Another tradition of the Grimp is The Fat Cat's excuse. This time it came on the part of the climb called "Baby Bear". The Fat Cat had to stop as a real live bear (and it was no baby)regarded him from the middle of the road.
From then on it was a happy ride, sometimes fiesty, sometimes calm. The Grimpeurs stopped at the Summit Inn for coffee, green tea and excellent conversation. The descent of Jumonville was fast, with Grimpeurs passing trucks and cars along the way.
Over the finishing miles along the Mountain's feet, The polka dotted engine and the red lantern caboose teamed up and lashed across the countryside and back to Haydentown.
It was a truly great ride and an illustrious start to the Grimpeur Championship series. Can't wait to see you all out there next week.
Oh, one more point of order. Fan and Tim thought it'd be nice for one Grimpeur to do a post ride poem. Fran did a nice one last week. I'll go a little off course and offer up a painting: