Sweat poured down Fat Cat's back and his breath was short. And, this was just in the car on the way to Mud Pike and it's 4 mile climb. He had been devising stratagems to topple Mountain Man from his perch atop the pike podium. Unfortunately, all of them seemed just another way to lose. As the community center in Haydentown came into view, Fat Cat had quietly resigned himself to a valiant effort culminating in "Summer Beatdown: Part III".
The parking lot was full of Grimpeurs of every type. Birdman was there, handing out hugs and what not. Vanilla Ice rolled out of his back yard and out to the start line. Diesel and Diesel Jr. were unloading high end steeds. Even Sandbag was there bringing G-man on his first Pike pilgrimage. It was a fine collection but it was missing one thing, the indomitable Mountain Man.
In days gone by, The Fat Cat of Flanders would have rejoiced at the sight, his chances for victory increased exponentially. However, the absence of his chief adversary filled him with ennui. Truth be told, he enjoyed being hammered by a man on a mountain bike and even by "the Hammer" himself last week. Something to shoot for, I guess. That or a pathological masochism, your choice.
BANG! The starting gun woke the Fat Cat from his musings and the race up Mud Pike was on. The pack stayed together until the grades leaned into the double digits. Birdman was really going after it, dancing on the pedals like some lead-footed Fred Astaire. Fat Cat marked his move with burning thighs and the rest were strung out behind in varied levels of distress. Towards the middle Fat Cat slowly turned the screws until he was finally alone. As he crossed Mama bear he saw a rider cresting baby bear and thought it was Diesel, having been unable to hold back and finally shedding his paternal instincts. But Diesel, man of honor that he is, stayed with his blood, watching the babe's first steps up the big mountain. It was Birdman who rose up over the final grade and rode himself into a solid second place.
The battle for the last podium spot was fit for Ligget and Sherwin. "This young man, Vanilla Ice they call him, has just passed the veteran climber and a former winner on this very course, Sandbag. He may well be riding himself into the history books if he can make this move stick on these 20% final slopes. He's got several links of separation and it looks like he's going to make it to the podium. Kudos on a well timed attack from the young lad from Smithfield. Wait just a minute. The old bull, Sandbag, has just reached deep down into his suitcase of courage and has made a move of his own. It's as if he's dipped into the fountain of youth. The crowd at the top of the mountain (Fat Cat and Birdman) is screaming and cheering deliriously for these two fierce competitors. Sandbag has caught and passed the young man! There is no response! Sandbag takes the battle and nearly passes out at the finish! I must say, I don't know that I've ever seen anything like it on this mountain!
Father and Son came up 5th and 6th in a moment that brought tears to the eyes of Phil, Paul and all the viewers at home. G-man gave the Lantern Rouge one last heft over Papa bear and completed his first ascent of storied Mud Pike in fine fashion.
After the Mountain Manless laurels had been bestowed, the Grimpeurs hung a left across Skyline Drive. At route 40, Sandbag and G-man took the bailout drop down the mountain. The balance of the grimp continued across past George Washington's Spring and under the 100 ft tall cross at Jumonville Summit. They roared down the mountain at 56 mph and then rolled back across the mountain's feet to Haydentown.
Fat Cat 92Diesel 61
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