Seven Grimpeurs were blessed to find Mud Pike a smooth black and yellow ribbon dangling from the pale blue-grey sky. Right off the bat, The Fat Cat tried to take advantage of the fresh tarmac. The other Grimpeurs would have none of it. They were on to his psychological games. If one was to win this edition, it would be on strength, not trickery.
It was pretty much all together on Scylla (The first steep section) when Kevin, a past Grimpeur who somehow escaped naming, made the first move. He got a small gap. The leaders responded and the move was covered in short order. It was a valiant effort from a man headed up unfamiliar roads. We pray he doesn't make such missteps as he made on The Pike this day.
Shooting through the jowls of Scylla and on through Charybdis' slopes, Diesel made his own move. This one had legs. The Cat and Talks-With-Legs followed as best they could. Through the Doldrums, Legs and Fat Cat took the measure of each other until Legs was finally able to make some headway. It is well known to Legs that Fatty hates the doldrums. Legs was able to get about 75 yards on the Cat before the gap settled.
From then on the leaders were locked in painful, lonely bubbles- only the distant backsides of thier competitors to keep them company. Fat Cat cycled through gears and positions, looking for any ounce of extra power to close the gap to first and second. The distance to Legs shortened in agonizingly slow increments. He was not about to surrender his one point lead over The Cat. The Cat pounded the peddles up Baby Bear and Mama Bear but so did legs and Diesel. Diesel crested Papa Bear too far ahead of the other Grimpeurs for any challenge for the top spot. With Boyscout in absentia, Diesel knew the jersey was his for the taking and he would not be denied.
Back on Papa Bear, Legs still had a good 25 yards on Fat Cat. Old Fatty knew he had waited too long to make a move but, really, there on the leg breaking grades of Papa Bear was his only window. He stood up and throttled his groaning bike for all it was worth. Four lengths were all that separated him from second right before he popped like an old inner tube. The Cervelo lathered up and nearly came to a stop. As Legs rode off, the Fat Cat tried to squeeze of one last impotent attack but only vomited in his mouth. No excuses-he had nothing left to give.
The Fat Cat passed Kean's Tree at 31:30. Legs put in a fantastic effort to cross 30 seconds faster. Diesel was about a minute quicker than that for a glorious solo victory in the fine white snow and a week in polka-dots.
Birdman came through in fourth. After a bit, Brahma Mama powered across the line, a big smile on her face. Kevin took the sixth spot after vomiting three times on the fine new pavement. Thus he will now and forever be known as "Chunks". The lantern rouge was brought up by Highlander, who came down from his high Herring Loop cabin to do battle on Mud Pike's Famed slopes.
At the Summit, Brahma Mama carried out the charge of "honoring the living" with a poem for Legs.
"A Poem for Tim
A man was proud to be a non-believer
Logic ruled his mind, not superstition
Yet he lived as Jesus would wish
(If Jesus really was who they say he was)
Showing kindness to a girl stranded at the bus stop
Taking Chinese visitors to meet Albert Einstein
Rescuing a kitten from a one-handed cyclist
Sewing up a friend’s wounds
Talking, problem solving, inspiring strangers
And always: making friends laugh
Nearly every day this man gave generously of that thing called love
Even though he would rather call it something else
Humanity? Kindness? Giving?
This man found generosity to be a way of life
And I get to honor him while he’s living
For this man is very, very much alive "
After the battle had been waged and the accolades paid, the Grimpeurs were allied once again in shepherding a helmetless Legs down the mountain (He left it at home but was undeterred). The group sauntered about in the lowlands for a bit, had a bit of libation, and then each headed on about the day's business.
The double points- plus one for the snow- shook up the overall standings. Diesel swooped in and swept up the Grimpeur of the month honors as well as the overall lead. Legs tied Boyscout for second and fended off Fat Cat's podium challenge. There was also a change in the standings due to an error that was honorably pointed out by Trip. The updated standings are as follows.
1. Diesel- 57
2. Boyscout- 47
4. Fat Cat- 44
5. Birdman- 27
6. Mama- 25
7. Sandbag- 18
7. Tallboy- 18
9. Fixie- 6
11. Razor- 5
11. Chunks- 5
13. Highlander- 3
It's back to the friendly climbs of West Virginia next week. Don't forget to clear your calenders for the second Thursday of December.