Friday, January 13, 2012
Polka-Dots in the Mist
Four Grimpeurs made the Mud Pike double points ride in wet, misty conditions. Sandbag, Birdman and Diesel unloaded various incarnations of cross-bikes to tackle the testy mountain. Fat Cat, still recovering from a fun-loving little virus, pulled out all the stops (as one should) to defend the polka-dot jersey. He knew he couldn't match up in an even fight so he left the Colnago Cross on the roof and slipped his secret weapon out of the back seat. It was a desperate ploy, but Kean's time machine was the only hope.
The Cat upped the pace on the false flats and got a little separation. Alas, a Shimano man and SRAM shifters make for strange bedfellows. The r3 refused to disengage from the big ring. Despite the bike's insistence, the grades ahead precluded any big ring heroics from The Fat Cat. He stopped to fix the problem, allowing his fellow grimpeurs to catch up. Diesel passed and got a sizeble lead before The Cat got back in action. The other Grimpeurs stayed with the Cat until he got going.
Near the spring, Sandbag powered on past Diesel and up into the clouds. Soon after, Birdman caught up to Diesel and marked the season leader's pace. Fat Cat, despite skinny tires, was unhinged and dangling the red lantern. Through the doldrums, Birdman halfwheeled Diesel- just letting him know he was there and ready to pounce at the first sign of weakness. Fat Cat fought his usual urges to quit and kept a steady, threshold pace. Between the jersey on his back and the bike beneath him, he had little choice. There was only one point between he and Diesel for Grimpeur of the Month honors and Diesel was not in a giving mood. The gap between third and forth slowly closed by the time the Grimp hit the two thirds mark. Fat Cat finally fought his way back onto the tail. Thus, three Grimpeurs were all back together and Sandbag was still off in the mist.
As soon as the others were aware of polka-dots lurking, the Fat Cat knifed between them and crested first near the pull off. He plunged into the one and only short descent and up into the Three Bears with the others hot on his tail. At the top of Baby Bear, the battle for second glimpsed Sandbag through a break in the clouds. He was nearer than they thought but too far away to catch. Then, like a ghost he vanished back into the ether.
Coming into the final ass-kicker, Birdman accelerated to close the gap carved out by the polka-dot jersey. Fat Cat heard him coming and gave it all he had, which wasn't much more. Birdman edged up to the Cat's front wheel. During the last 20+ percent grade, The Fat Cat's chest was on the handlebars and he was abusing his bike. The combatants for second were even as the grade became humane. Fat Cat gasped out an offer and Big Daddy accepted a temporary truce. The two slowed and caught their breath before crossing the line. Birdman was feeling generous and did not contest Fat Cat's anemic surge to the finish. Diesel, the last winner on Mud Pike, brought up the Lantern with honor.
Congratulations to Kean's bikes. The Motobecane took first and the day's Jersey. The Cervelo pulled an overmatched rider into second and secured him the GC win for the month.
A big congratulations to Sandbag for his first turn in the Polka-dot Jersey. After consistent podium finishes he finally climbed the final step on the big stage of Mud Pike.
After the day's festivities, the Grimp continued on across Skyline in an envelope of white. The group fell off the east side of the ridge at rt 40 and down along Big Sandy on Wharton Furnace Road. Down and down they went and finally bottomed out at the base of Kirby Climb. Cranks turned slowly and at something less than race pace for the three miles or so of unrelenting grade back up to Skyline. From there it was a surprisingly comfortable plunge back down Mud Pike and into Haydentown.
In the overall Diesel continues his stranglehold on first although the rest of the day's Grimpeurs edged a little bit closer.
1) Diesel- 99
2) Fat Cat- 86
3) Birdman- 64
4) legs- 56
5) Boyscout- 47
6) Sandbag- 53
8) Tallboy- 18
9) Fixie- 14
9) Trip- 14
11) Razor- 9
12) Highlander- 6
13 Knickers- 5
13) Chunks- 5