Thursday, December 29, 2011
The "I Can't Make It" Grimp.
Diesel said he might not make it to the last Grimp of the year. So did Birdman. Fat Cat said several times, in writing, that he could not get out. Yet somehow, the thrill of the hill was too much for them to resist.
A tiny window opened up for Flanders just at departure time. He scrambled onto the still decorated blue Cervelo and called, "I'm coming!" through the ethereal bands. The other Grimpeurs left The Botanical Gardens and met him at Snake Hill. So, there they were in the icy cold at the bottom of The Snake: The current Grimpeur of the Month, the prior Grimpeur of the month...and Fat Cat.
The "race" was to Mayfield again. The pace up to the Wildlife Management sign was laid back. Heavy breathing and grunts were replaced with full sentences. Birdman and Fat Cat rode side by side with Diesel lurking on the wheels. The Fat Cat soft pedaled when the pace upped a bit. Birdman matched him while Diesel was kept in his box. All through the course, opportunities to make a break, to dole out some pain, were let pass. Who would jump first?
Finally, on the last rise, with the finish in sight, Diesel could take it no longer. He shot out from behind and the others took up the chase for an all out uphill sprint. The tiny pelton rotated and somehow The Fat Cat got boxed in behind Diesel on the right who was fighting it out with Birdman. Not being able to push through the right side due to ice, The Fat Cat had to go back around to the left. Diesel was punishing his bike but it looked like Birdman might make it. Fat Cat desperately wanted to quit and watch, like always, but he let the pain flow.
Birdman sat up 20 or 30 yards before the finish. He would later say that he was content to cross together and that he just didn't want to hurt that bad this time of year. All noble and intelligent thoughts.
Fat Cat and Diesel knew nothing of nobility nor intelligence. They had become mindless brutes. Diesel was giving no quarter and had the line in his sights. Fat Cat issued sad and painful whines with each stroke. Miraculously, he slowly drew alongside Diesel ( I use slowly as a relative term. It seemed like an eternity down there in the pain cave but mere seconds actually passed.) At the line ( which is always amorphous and in dispute) it was a photo finish. Although arguable, the judges had the Fat Cat of Flanders back in pokka-dots by the width of a tire.
As a consolation prize, the runner up felt "pretty good" in the post race while Flanders was unable to lift his leg to dismount. His head throbbed on the handle bars and he breathed ominously. He finally got to the ground and lay in the snow, writhed about a bit, and then eventually made a snow angel to comfort the onlookers. (Lest you think this all hyperbole, Birdman later called Fat Cat at home to make sure he was okay.)
Back at the bottom of the hill, Fat Cat, cold, tired and with things to do, took his three points plus one for the weather and went home. Diesel and Birdman rode over and knocked off the Beulah climb before they made their own ways home.
Here are the overall standings. The Jingle Grimp participants last week all got winners points which were five. Diesel still holds a commanding 17 point lead, but it has been ever so slightly chipped away the last couple of weeks. Legs is still only 4 points off the podium and still in it if only he could overcome his aversion to the cold. Mama has steadily moved up and is only 2 points away from former jersey holder, Boyscout.
1) Diesel- 97
2) Fat Cat- 80
3) Birdman- 60
4) legs- 56
5) Boyscout- 47
6) Mama- 45
7) Sandbag- 45
8) Tallboy- 18
9) Fixie- 14
9) Trip- 14
11) Razor- 9
12) Highlander- 6
13 Knickers- 5
13) Chunks- 5
Happy New Year from The Grimp and happy riding in 2012!