Monday, February 27, 2012

Battle of Champions

It was a veritable pantheon of polka-dots this Thursday. Six riders lined up at the bottom of Beulah, all of whom had worn the coveted red and white spots. It promised to be a battle royal.

Boyscout was there and could boast of never having lost the jersey on the course. Diesel had the honor of wearing the jersey for the "race", having regained it last week. Fixie, Fat Cat, Birdman and and Sandbag were there and champing at the bit to get back in stylish polka-dots against such a distinguished field.

Sandbag tried to pull a Fat Cat and pulled out alone early. The peleton harangued him with great zeal. Sandbag, ever senstive and polite, muted his attack. And so, the grimpeurs trudged up Beulah, only gently strung out.

At Summer School, Sandbag had the lead with Birdman right behind and Fat Cat a few lengths behind that. The Grimpeurs turned right and continued upward. Boyscout was overheating such that he was compelled to stop and shed some gear. Everyone was straining against the pedals and against their inner voices urging them to stop the madness.

Birdman got past Sandbag as Fat Cat watched from behind. Birdman had won the polka-dot jersey the last time it was contested on this course and he was determined to repeat. By the finish he was weaving from fatigue and oxygen deprivation. He had given his full measure, the only question over the last few yards was whether it was enough.

And at the finish it was...Birdman all alone. Sandbag crossed a few seconds later with Fat Cat a few seconds behind that. After a short time legends of the Grimp, Diesel, and then Boyscout rolled up to the Nicholson intersection. The Red Lantern crossed on Fixie's back with honor.

After all due pomp and circumstance was given (Sorry again for last week Diesel) the group shuffled on across Summer School to Kingwwod Pike where Don took the county line. The Grimpeurs zoomed into Reedsville and after a short jog on Rt. 7 turned left on little known but very scenic, Stones Lane/Dillons Creeek Road. From then on Fixie took charge and wouldn't let anyone take the easy way. The backside of Herring was tackled and then a gravel and dirt strewn Bull Run was knocked off. Despite the pipeline installation induced quagmire, no tires were sacrificed.
Fixie's next command decision was to avoid the fearsome Mt. Zion climb by choosing the even fiercer slopes of its not quite identical twin, Ridge Road. There was audible groaning at the thought of those initial 20 to 30 percent grades, let me assure you. The Grimpeurs were rewarded with gravel again for their efforts. From then there was one last hill to the intersection with Mayfield and then a scream down Snake and back home. It was a most excellent adventure.
See  you next week.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Unhearalded Grimp

Apologies must be tendered. Poor Diesel must feel like Andy Shleck or Oscar Periero(sp).

Three Grimpeurs got back to racing on Thursday. Diesel, Birdman and Fat Cat started on Snake Hill and finished at Masontown. Fat Cat Rode in front the whole way but could not ride anyone off his wheel. In fact, there wasn't even any tell-tale wheezing or groaning from the rear guard. When the little peleton crested the last hill before the finishing straight, Diesel shot out from behind. Fat Cat and Birdman just sat there in his vapors. Fat Cat, remembering his near death experience in his last sprint win, said, "I ain't goin' after him." Birdman replied, "Me neither."  So, they soft pedal up his contrail and watched Diesel throttle his machine to the line.

Fat Cat congratulated Diesel and tossed him the polka dots. Diesel was glad to have them back after  missing them for so long. Then, for some unknown reason, the whole idea of the podium shot (silly as it may be) slipped the minds of the Grimpeurs. Without pomp and/or circumstance, they saddled up and moved on through Masontown towards McKinney cave road. So you see, Diesel won, but didn't get his due accolades at the finish. The above photo is a stock shot. In your mind's eye, just replace Sandbag with Fat Cat and erase the snow, if you please. Again, all apologies.

After the big return to grimp racing, Birdman set a blistering pace up 7 to McKinney Cave. From there it was an easy amble over to Born Road and then Kingwood Pike. At Summer School, just before a long descent, the cold rain finally started. Apparently Mother Nature and Old Man winter had a bit of a tiff and one or the other was feeling a bit vindictive. So, in an attempt to stave off the cold, Fat Cat took the Conn again and set quite the pace. In the end the overall average was just over 16mph from start to finish. We don't usually keep stats, but we did today. If you must know, it was a 14.77 mph average speed from the bottom of the Snake to Masontown.

In  other news: The first race for Team Grimpeur will be The Morgantown Road Race. That is only six weeks away. Anyone who wants to do it should start training. However, any grimpeur is welcome to join in regardless of fitness. You will have no trouble beating Fat Cat's 2009 av speed of 16.7 mph for a time of 30:30. We hope to improve on that. (You laugh, but  the slowest masters was 14.57mph) You may want to suck it up if you want to beat Birdman's av speed of 19.4mph and 2:35. Since Gunnar is an official Grimpeur, we should mention his average speed of 20.7. I guess he's the rabbit, now.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Getting Out With Just a Snag Here and There

Yes, the Grimp has gone on over the past couple of weeks despite the lack of report. The Thursday before last Diesel and Fat Cat were the only ones to make it out in the pouring rain. They headed up Snake and down Zion into a reverse Herring loop. (Sounds like some sorta snow boarding lingo, eh?) Diesel flatted out on his Zipp tubulars at the farthest point out. It must be said that he did an admirable job of stripping it off and putting on another skin out there in the cold rain. Having to get back down in time to get to work, the two were forced to time trial back home. Made it in one hour flat. Not too shabby. When they got back and stepped off the bikes, it felt like they had stepped into sloshing aquariums, such was the soaking that shoes and everything else received.
This Thursday featured the return of the prodigal son. Boyscout finally made it back to the Grimp after a long absence. All rejoiced in his iconic presence. Boyscout, Diesel, Birdman, and Fat Cat took advantage of a day without rain and the 40 degree temps and headed down over the outlaw bridge over Cheat Lake. From there it was a (mostly) amicable spin up Quarry Run to Cooper's Rocks. Boyscout did show who was boss a couple of times despite a "hernia" that was supposed to slow him down. Riiight. The Grimp rocketed down the other side on 73 and came back up through Pisgah. That climb is a tricky little so and so. It has continual false summits but seems to just keep going and going. The Grimp passed the site of the classic, if not controversial "Cross-Bikes" photos and remembered fallen comrades.

After gaining the real summit the Grimp zoomed back down past the trout pond where the Fat Cat sustained serious injury. He jumped out of a top tube tuck and snagged his sack (and I don't mean fanny pack) on the point of his Sella Italia. Needless to say, he walked his bike up the little steep gravel rise to the top of Quarry run. He recovered in time for the descent and all made it back safe and happy to have had another great day on two wheels.

Happy Goundhog Day! Looking forward to some of this: