Monday, March 19, 2012

A tale of two Grimps- Again


This author has once again been negligent in his duties. However the edidtor and the board of directors have gotten together and decided that this reporter is far too valuable and talented to fire; thus, his eccentricities and lassitudes must be tolerated. So, I present to you, again, a tale of two Grimps.

The first was two weeks ago and it contained several of the elements of the epic. Most importantly, it was the initiation ride of Fat Cat's neighbor, Paul. Paul had threatened for years to join the Grimp but a recent foray into training and weight loss imbued him with the belief that he finally had the mettle. Being that he chose the very day that the Grimp took on the famed slopes of Mud Pike, he would find out in short order if his new found self belief was well placed.

Paul arrived early and started up the Pike on his own. Below, Diesel, Birdman, Boyscout and Fat Cat gathered. The body of the Grimp took off after the new grimpeur under fair skies and comfortable conditions. They made the catch at the two mile mark where the new grimpeur was plodding along valiantly on his Trek, adorned with clip on aero bars and a triple. The group gabbed about on the middling slopes for a bit until Diesel, Birdman and Boyscout finally joined in battle for the final mile.

In a furious sprint at the top, Birdman pipped Diesel for the win and Boyscout followed for third. The victors coasted back down and escorted Fat Cat and the newest grimpeur to the top of Glorious Mud Pike and into the fabled annals of Grimperdom. It was here that the whole thing went a bit sideways.

Tri-bars and triples had not anticipated the temperature drop associated with a 1400 ft change in elevation. Standing on the summit in short pants and short sleeves, his discomfort was clear. The first of the clothing transfers commenced with Fat Cat donating the rain Jacket wrapped around his waist.

Now, I think you can guess what happened next. Everbody knows that bringing a rain jacket is an effective talisman against it actually raining. However, once the talisman is parted from its owner, the spell is broken. As the Grimpeurs glided acroess the mountain's stiffening spine, the heavens slowly began to let fly.  By the time the grimp had reached route 40, a four lane highway down the mountain, the cold rain was in full fall.

With a newbie in tow, and sheets of rain falling, the grimp took no chances. Instead of bombing its way to the bottom, it tailed a slow moving sewage disposal truck all the way down. Although this was arguably "safer" it upped the agony level ouite a bit. It was fast enough so that the rain cut through to the bone but slow enough to prolong the chill almost beyond tolerance. Fat Cat started the ride off under the weather. By the bottom he looked like he was not only under the weather, but had been ground under its heel.

At the bottom, more clothing was donated to the newbie cause. Knowing that stopping somewhere to "warm up" would only ultimately make things worse, Big Daddy offered up his gloves to the cause and the Grimp soldiered on. All along the valley, Fat Cat sprinted back and forth trying to get his core temp back up. To his credit, Paul pedaled along through all this with stoic resolve.

Being that Paul was the first grimpeur ever to sport clip on aerobars on a Grimp, we'll call him Clipper. (Until I can think of the really clever name that I can't remember.)


Now on to ride number two.

Only three Grimpeurs gathered at The Botanical Gardens last Thursday despite pleasant riding conditions. Speculation was that the forcast had called for rain- Silly weather watchers. Fat Cat decided that they would race up Snake Hill all the way to Masontown and try to do it with an average speed of 15 mph or better. Enthusiasm was not high.

 Nonetheless, Fat Cat dragged his compadres along in the style of Fabian Cancellara at Milan-San Remo. He had decided from the onset that he would ride everyone off his wheel or he would not win. At the WMA sign, Diesel and Birdman breathed heavily, signaling their game presence on the wheel. Birdman took a little pull before Fat Cat surged up the next hill. Diesel clung to the safety of the wheel like a baby to its mothers breast all the way to the Mayfield intersection and the crown of the climbing. At some point along the way, Birdman had lost his grip.

 With most of the climbing out of the way, Fat Cat upped the speed to try again to dislodge the remora. Despite the Cat's lung splitting effort, Diesel's cassette clicked away periodically as he drifted in the generous draft of The Fat Cat. The last chance to get a gap was foiled as a car turned up in the apex of the only significant descent on the course. Diesel held on for surges over the last little rises and then finally broke out of his airy cocoon to take the win on the straightaway.



Oh, and the speed, 16 mph. That's ahead of schedule.

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