Monday, July 9, 2012

Grimps: Three Different Ones.

The days slip by in a stream of obligations and commitments until one looks around and realizes that they are miles downstream. Just so, three weeks has passed without a report of the wondrous exploits of the Grimpeurs. They were out there, to be sure, plying the roadways, battling the gradients, the heat, the winds and each other for nothing more than a chance to wear a silly looking jersey, expand their lungs and restore some perspective to chaotic lives in the new century. With all this in mind, I hope you will forgive if some of the names have been overlooked, the places jumbled or the events of the day are a bit off. To say I do my best would not be accurate. If it were, you would have already read timely and accurate accounts. Let's just say, I do what I can.
Three weeks ago approximately seven riders took on Birdman's favorite run up Beulah and Summer School with a finsh on the back end of Nicholson Loop. At the gun, Mama stood up in the saddle and ran up the starting slopes. It was up to everyone else to chase. She held her lead much of the way up Beulah until Birdman Diesel and Ice caught her. Birdman powered on ahead and into the lead, determined to continue his undefeated streak on this course. Fat Cat finally caught up with Mama at the top of Beulah, if that had been the finish, she'd have beat him.

On Summer School's silly steep stretch, Fat Cat took a run. He passed Matt, and then Diesel in quick order. However, there was nothing but empty road ahead, no sign of The Birdman. Fat Cat kicked away into the void, tilting at an unseen foe. Finally, a tiny man on two wheels started popping in and out of view in the distance. The rope tightened and the chaser closed in on his prey but couldn't quite make the final cut. Birman sensed the danger and put in a terrifying kick at the line to take the Jersey. Fat Cat took the second step and Diesel stood on the third.
Now, first second and third are easy to remember because there is photographic evidence. The rest comes from a foggy, fragmented place and is subject to error. It is believed that the remaining order of finish was Ice, Mama, Trip and Highlander. To my recollection, the group headed back down into the lowlands around morgantown before returning to The Botanical Gardens via Dug Hill.

A fortnight ago, The Grimp attacked the familiar grades of Snake Hill with a Mayfield finish. The last week's victor, Birdman, was working on his roleur skills in Fla. Fat Cat thought Diesel was also away and foolishly advertised that they would not contest. The open podium spots drew a nice size field of 10 riders. Mama shot off at the gun in a mad start to finish sprint. Once again it was left to the peleton to chase. Fat Cat and Legs, who had returned from voyages near and far, yapped it up in the middle of the field. Ahead, Mama kicked and kicked for all her legs were worth and valiantly kept the dogs at bay save one. Diesel was in the line-up, contrary to erroneous reports, and the former Winter Champion of the Grimp flexed his muscle and took the top spot on the podium. Mama gained the second spot with a stunning run in a heavy field. Ice again made the podium in third and showed himself to be an ever growing threat to climb the steps. Now comes the fuzzy part. Sandbag just missed the podium. He was followed by Legs, Fat Cat, Razor (in another great ride), Diesel jr., Trip and Highlander.

It was nice to see father and son (Diesel and Diesel jr) out there Grimping together. Congratulations to Diesel on a fine win in front of his progeny.

The most recent edition of The Grimp was a time of humbling. This time, Diesel really was on vacation but he left a workmate to fill his place, Mike Lavengood. Now, Mike is well known to the "racing" arm of the Grimpeurs. He was the winner of The Fort Classic only weeks ago in which Fat Cat finished thirteenth with Bidman on his wheel and Diesel behind them. Needless to say, Mike had already won psychologically at the bottom. But, the Grimpeurs were up for the challenge and anything can happen on the viscious double digit grades of Break Iron.

Mama did her Jack-Rabbit thing that has served her so well as of late. Fat Cat Tried to keep the big gun in the rear guard as long as he could with banal conversation. This stretegy only worked as far as the bike path crossing where Mike's killer instincts kicked in and he disappeared in a whirl of spinning legs. Young Ice, who was up ahead, took up the challenge- not so hadicapped by previous beatings. As Fat Cat slowly passed Mama she yelled in her cheery way, Go get em'. Fat Cat guffawed at the thought and trudged on along, doing what he could do.

Ice was riding out of his mind and still had a good lead on Fat cat through the half-way point. It was only with great effort that the catch was finally made. The Cat gave young Vanilla Ice a pat on the back and a kind word as he passed. However, Ice would have none of it. A few meters later he pedaled right up past The Fat Cat. The Cat upped the pace a bit, that's all he had, and passed again and got separation. Still, it as not enough. Ice inched up his back and was on the wheel again before the last significant rise in incline. There was to be no rest for the wicked. Fat Cat stood on the pedals and violently shook his chaser on the last steep grades. He panted and pushed across the top and into the next small grade right up to the finish lest Vanilla Ice creep back upon him. There at the top, in stark contrast to his chasers, Mike sat in the shade of a tree as if reading the Sunday paper.

Following the top three, and forgive me if I err, were Mama, Birdman and Highlander. After the inevitable beating had been administered, further beatings commenced. The grimp went out across the hills on Summer School, Kingwood Pike, Zinn Chapel, McKinney Cave and Rt, 7 with a return home down Snake Hill. All the while Mike shot up every incline like a rocket, leaving some to chase and others to watch. On Kingwood pike in particular Fat Cat thought he was setting a decent pace when Mike zipped by at twice the speed. Fat Cat dug in a grabbed the wheel at what he considered to be an insane and unsustainable pace. Yet, it continued and Fatty's eye's bulged, his legs were aflame and his respirations came so fast as to almost become a continuous whine. He made it to the top right behind. It was the last time he would see that wheel at the top. The anvil softened against repeated, heavy blows of the hardened steel hammer. It all brought to mind rides of yore on the wheel of our old friend Kean, "The Aerobinator". 

Congratulations Mike on your first Grimp and your first win on the hardest grades around. You really earned your nom de Grimpeur, The Hammer.

The revised standings are as such:

Fat Cat  77
Diesel    55
Birdman  43
Mama     41
Legs        40
Ice           36
Sandbag  26
Mountain  20
Trip 8
Hammer  6
Razor       6
Pink          6
Highlander 4
G-man       4
Diesel jr    3

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