This kind of punishingly beautiful terrain-
This kind of stunning result:
In a truly inspiring ride, Birdman sprang up from mediocrity and grabbed the polka-dot jersey that he had lost oh-so-long ago. But, before we get into the specifics of his daring deeds, there is important Grimpeur business to attend to.
With great pomp and circumstance, the Grimpeur of the month was awarded to, drum-roll please, Diesel! He racked up the most points in this first month of the Grimping season and has proven himself worthy of this prestigious award. And now-
GET REEEEAAAADY to RUUUUMBLE!
At the foot of the day's penultimate climb, eight Grimpeurs stripped off layers of shielding against the cold in anticipation of the inner furnaces they were about to ignite. Their breath hung in white clouds. Once again, the Grimpeur's course had been newly paved as though they were in some grand tour.
Skinny tires seemed to roll almost effortlessly up the smooth black slab beneath them. The pace jumped up from the get-go. Fat Cat played the role of rabbit, trying to make a little headway on the lesser grades before Beulah proper.
Legs marked the move and smartly tucked into the draft. He had learned the lessons of the past. He was inside Fat Cat's head.
As the road rose up, Sandbag and diesel powered past, as expected. In an unexpected turn, Birdman was with the other two. Not to worry, He had not been on form lately. He would be caught and dropped.
Legs tried to use weight and gravity to his advantage, He launched past Fat Cat only to drop his chain. Fat Cat pedaled by. Legs clawed back up, his steamy breath rolling across Fat Cat's back. Clank. Legs dropped the chain again and saw The Cat ride on while he fumbled in the cold. But, again, legs bravely scratched his way back onto the Cat's wheel by the top of Beulah.
As the course turned onto Summer School road, continuing its relentless rise. Sandbag led the way with Diesel, Birdman, Fat Cat and Legs all tight behind. That was the hierarchy up most of the tough inclines. The gaps spread a bit, but none got out of site.
Legs was the first to pop off the back of the lead group. The mechanicals sapped too much energy and were his eventual undoing. The Fat Cat Kept his eye on Birdman but the gap would not close. Then, the shocker. Birdman jumped and passed the yellow jersey, Diesel, who could not respond. The Cat was taken by surprise, never suspecting such a shot across the polka dots bow. It had never occurred to him that they would pass Diesel. However, watching Birdman fly away, he had to try. The Cat's bike creaked and groaned under the strain. He was sure the cacophony would wake the slumbering beast. The Cat slipped briefly into Diesel's slip stream and then it happened. The Cat slung out of the draft and made his own pass of the polka-dot and yellow jersey holder.
Just ahead, less than a 1/2 mile from the finish, Birdman's world was a contracting blur. Oxygen debt consumed him, toying with his consciousness. Despite his body's protestations and warnings, he flung himself into the breach once more and passed Sandbag. There he was, after 4.5 miles of climbing, with nothing but clear road between him and the finish line.
Mere yards behind, The Fat Cat was still too far behind to make a run when he saw the finishing flag. As a knight of the order of the Grimpeurs, he is sworn to never look back. So, thinking Diesel and Legs were right on his tail, he made his own maddened sprint. He crossed the line third and had just enough time to throw up (again) before Diesel finished. Legs Came across in fifth, spent from his valiant efforts in the face of mechanical adversity. Soon after Brahma Mama surged across the line just ahead of Trip and Jack.
Thursday's race was the most hotly contested of the year and perhaps the most well ridden. Kudos to all who came out in the cold and really gave it their all. Congratulations to Birdman on his secret deep mountain training and his leap back to glory. Congratulations to Diesel for his "Grimpeur of the month" caliber riding.
In the overall, Boyscout fell in the rankings like Tiger woods. Diesel held the yellow but gave up some of his point lead. Legs limited his losses and held onto second by a slim margin over Fat Cat who regained the points he lost to Legs on Mud Pike. Fat Cat jumped into third and onto the overall podium. The rest of the Overall Standings (including +1 for the cold) are as follows:
1) Diesel- 63
2) Legs- 52
3) Fat Cat- 51
5) Birdman- 36
6) Mama- 29
7) Sandbag- 26
8) Tallboy- 18
9) Trip- 9
10) Fixie- 8
11) Razor- 5
12) Chunks- 5
13) Highlander- 3
The rest of the ride featured Reedsville, a flat tire, a very cold stretch of road, Masontown and a race down Snake Hill.
Thanks to everyone for coming out. It was one of the best rides yet. See you in two weeks and Happy Thanksgiving.