Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Week's Worth of Antelope

In today's report we will catch up on the latest news in Antelope World. But first, I'm sure you are wondering, what happened on Stage 6 of the Fall Classic?

And I'm thinking you are wondering this because you looked out the window and saw the first rainy, cold (well it was under 65) day of fall and thought, "nah,  no way they are riding in the rain."

In fact, more than 120 riders donned arm warmers and knobby tires to contest the elements. What's more, after the amazing press the Antelope Herd has gotten in the Oconee Enterprise  dozens of tifosi turned out to cheer the leaders as they crested Elder Mill Hill.
Viva l'Antelope!

Or perhaps that was Paris-Roubaix.

So yes, the ride was canceled and almost no one showed up except for 3 intrepid souls (I was there, but not with my bike so I wasn't intrepid and don't count). BenS, TonyG, and Kathleen were ready to ride. Not only was Kathleen ready to ride but SHE RODE HER BIKE TO THE COURTHOUSE IN THE RAIN!

Can I have some points distributed please?

Yes, the rest of my body is just behind this wall.

With this act of cycling determination, Kathleen is now 3 points ahead of Bethany and 4 points ahead of Val for the queen of the herd distinction.

On to other news.

Last Saturday a small group of Antelopes completed another version of the "Yount Heritage Training Ride" out to Maxey's. This combination training and sight seeing ride included several important area landmarks including the settlement off of Macedonia where Jonas Yount fought of the Indians (aka Native Americans) in 1817 to establish the first pioneer settlement on the Oconee river.  We also visited the site of the famous duel between Samuel Yount and Eldridge Joice over the famed beauty Hildegarde Slote.

We were all entranced by the beauty of the country when a second group of cyclists came whizzing by (without the urinating) and I was confronted with...sheer elegance.

On 'yer left!

A number of thoughts come to mind as I recall this day. First, yes I did feel obligated to take out my phone and capture this image and share it on the internet for all posterity to experience. Had I not, this moment of sheer elegance could have been forgotten and never appreciated by anyone but me. Feel free to thank me in the comments section below. You know, some people go their entire life without finding their true calling in life; I may have found mine.

My second thought is although this person was not in our riding group but some half naked stranger passing us in the country, I actually have a pretty good idea of who it is. Should I "out" this person? Do I have an ethical or moral obligation to preserve this special trust, this communication that only the two of us shared? On the other hand, do I have an ethical obligation to identify this person in order to facilitate a world where we can all ride without the specter of vertical smiles in the paceline? Then again I could "out" this person, just because I am petty ....

Yes! My butt crack made the internet!!!
I also feel it is my moral duty to share methods of prevention for displaying sheer elegance on the bike. Since I no longer have any friends after starting this blog I can't ask anyone if my butt is showing thorough my shorts. So, below I demonstrate my preferred method for Lycra examination.

This would be a lot easier with friends

Please feel free to share your own Lycra monitoring techniques in the comments section.

On another note, the Antelope Herd is famous! For those 2 or 3 folks out there who have not yet picked up last week's edition of the Oconee Enterprise  (what's wrong with you people anyway?), there are two articles about cycling including a raw expose on the Antelope Fall Classic. If you recall, intrepid (the word of the day) sports and lifestyle reporter EriK commissioned the Oconee Enterprise helicopter to cover Stage 4 of the classic. Here is the headline from page B10.

Finally! the respect we deserve, Antelopes, riding like the wind! But wait.

Alright, so maybe we're not riding quite like the wind. But check us out in a whole half page write up. Hopefully this will garner positive sentiment in Oconee and we won't be reading about a Wednesday group in Oconee hunting antelopes next week....

Fall is here and the riding is bountiful and windy. This Saturday some Antelopes will be heading to Pedal for Paws but there will still be a group leaving from the courthouse in 8 AM. Be prepared for temps in the 50s.

Bike Hard

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Antelope Fall Classic Stage 5: The Shame of Premature Attackulation

What would Wednesday be without contesting a stage of the Antelope Fall Classic? Across the region riders scurry from their cubicles, don their kits and fight the traffic to get out to Watkinsville for the 6PM start. On Wednesday evenings we are not mild mannered teachers, doctors, lawyers, computer programmers, financial planners, and the like. We are warriors.
19 warriors contested Stage 5 of the Antelope Fall Classic. The herd welcomed new riders Stan, Jon, Frank, Brian, and Damien as well as old friend Bill K.  Bill, knowing how to celebrate his 50th birthday in style, left his small children behind to put down the hammer with the herd:

Riding on Your Birthday Point--BillK

Among the herd, there were clearly cheetahs in attendance and the Reverend Lenny's comment would prove prophetic:
There's some really fast legs out here tonight


Cruising out Colham Ferry, the cheetahs seemed content to chill in the pack. But as the first sprint zone came closer, the tension in the herd was palpable: This was not going to be your grandpa’s Elder Mmill sprint.  The GC contenders BenG, Mark, and Jeff were clearly amped to test their fitness with Athens' elite. I entertained ridiculous thoughts like, "well maybe if they go real fast I will get more draft on the climb and be able to hang with them." Yeh right. We hit the base of the climb still in the 20’s and the mountain goats simply took off in a mad hammer fest of pain and wattage. Half way up my speedometer read 17 and I thought, OK maybe the road racer guys can do this but the Antelopes? Well from my reading the lead group never went less than 17 on the steep parts of the hill and Jeff, Ben, and Mark stayed right with the big boys as they formed a breakaway that just powered down the road 10 seconds ahead of the chase. At this  point I paused to call my doctor and order some liposuction, testosterone , and EPO. I also put my house, my second born, and my left nut up for sale so I can get some of those wheels with the hidden engine in the hub that Brian was riding on. 

But it was too late for today. At the line:

1st  Jeff
2nd  BenG
3rd Mark Y

After the incredible assault on Elder Mill by the GC contenders and their cheetah lead out men, the Oconee Enterprise helicopter caught the intense battle between Kathleen and Val for the queen of the mountain sprint point. 

Too bad Bethany's not here or we could crack her like an egg too  

Val rode a brilliant tactial race. Pulling for a massive stretch down the false flat she put Kath under pressure then pulled off 200 meters before the line. Kath immediately accelerated but Val held on to her wheel, made a quick recovery and came around right at the line. Way to go Val!

Queen of the Mountain Sprint Point= Val

Now I wish that this entire blogpost could be about heroism under duress. but I'm afraid we will have to tackle a troubling circumstance that emerged in Stage 5. As you may recall from the afternoon specials and Extenze infomercials there is a problem that affects men who bike. It seems to happen most often with younger men and may be linked to an excess of testosterone. Yes, between sprints yesterday several riders had clear problems with  premature attackulation or PA. There was a case of PA during the Antelope World Cup and it was difficult for everyone. Now premature attackulation is certainly embarrassing. As you may have observed or even experienced , sometimes younger men in the heat of their excitement and passion for cycling, attack before the sprint zone. Although premature attackulation provides a quick thrill and immediate gratification,  it is never as satisfying and healthy as mature attackulation.  In a mature attackulation the peloton is together at the start of the sprint zone. The herd begins to hammer en masse, the pace building and building as lead out riders bring the pace higher and higher until weaker riders are straining to hold on and the back of the pack begins to crack. Then the attacks begin, relentlessly, as lines of riders forge past and others grab wheels until the pace is breakneck and the line is in view. Finally with their last bit of strength, riders charge to the line and over--- completely spent, breathless but satisfied.

But not on stage 5. The pace heading back to Bishop on Astondale was brutal, dropping riders left and right and hitting the last hill before the service road at 20+. The pace stayed over 18 on the service  road despite the three speed bumps and when the leaders turned onto Old bishop they were gone. Once again the antelope GC leaders proved they had the stones to ride with (almost) anyone in Athens:

1st  BenG
2nd MarkY (with help from Cheetah Matt)
3rd  Troy

Although the herd broke up on Astondale, the dropped antelopes fought on. Dan, Jon, and I were caught in no man’s land having stayed with the premature attackulators until the end of Astondale before losing them for good. Our chase group had a good  20 seconds on the peloton, when Reverend Lenny took the scattered herd onto his back wheel, and chased us down 2k before the line. Kathleen took the reins and did her own  monster  pull at 25mph into the wind and still stayed strong to take the woman power sprint point. Mature attackulation awards?

Jens Voigt Chase Point—Rev Lenny
Antelope woman power sprint point- Kath

And Stage 5 was in the books. Average speed for the peloton was 19.7. For the premature attackulators? probably like 30. To date,  48 riders have contested the AFC and BenG continues to lead the GC with 24 points. The Queen of the Herd contest is neck and neck with Kathleen forging into the lead over Bethany.

The days are growing short and there are only 3 stages left. Next week we will cut off Carson Graves and shorten the route by about 2 miles.

If you're not saving your legs for 6 Gap, join the antelope herd for a 54 miler out to Maxey's. We meet at the courthouse on Sat at 8am.

Ride Hard.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Antelope Classic Stage 4: Beware the wrecking crew

Four stages down, four to go. 20 riders contested the Antelope Fall Classic last Wednesday.  The herd was abuzz after an anonymous post was left on this blog last week:

This was notable for two reasons. First it was the first time anyone has actually left a comment to a blogpost meaning that the blog has at least one reader other than my wife (who will reluctantly read it if I whine long enough).

Honey, will you please read my blog, if you don't I'll never get found by google.

And, of course, the post was notable due to its content. The Royston Wrecking Crew were planning on making an appearance. It is not easy to put into words what anticipation of the Royston Wrecking Crew feels like-- but I will try. Consider the following image and the voice of Nick Cage as I narrate:

They were especially hard on the little things-the helpless and the gentle

That night, I had a dream. I drifted off thinking about happiness, birth and new life, But now I was haunted by a vision of... They were horrible. The Royston Wrecking Crew. A two man cycling team with all the powers of Hell at their command. On the road the crew could turn turn the day into night and lay to waste every rider in their path. They were especially hard on little things-the helpless and the gentle riders pointing out bits of gravel and signaling the turns. The crew left a scorched earth in their wake befouling even the sweet desert breeze that whipped across their John Deere kits. I didn't know where they came from or why (though I suspected Royston, or maybe the UK it was hard to tell). I didn't know if they were a dream or vision. But I feared that I myself had unleashed them.

And sure enough at 5:45 Wednesday evening Robert P and Paul G calmly exited their automobiles and began pumping up their tires. It was going to be a very special evening.

---First Antelope Athens (suspected) Comment  Poster --Robert P--- 1 point

If that excitement was not enough, the temperature among the primary GC contenders, JeffY, MarkY, and Ben-squared has gone from steaming to nuclear.  I happened to snap this photo BenG trying to give MarkY a wedgie.

Elder Mill is mine beeyatch

I was hoping that the herd would be on better behavior today as word of the Wednesday spectacle has gotten out to the press and ace investigative reporter ErikS from the Oconee Enterprise had been tasked to find out what all the excitement was about.  I didn't get a photo of Erik as he interviewed members of the herd but it was kind of like this:

How long you had the training wheels off that bad boy?

He also had a large camera so I kept my quads in a state of super flex for the front page:

Yes my quads are natural, not like BenG who has quad implants.

Yes it was a quite an atmosphere summed up pithily by Reverned Lenny.

Its the Antelope Fall Classic, what do you expect?

The run out South of town was fairly slow due to a head wind. As I led the pack down Colham Ferry with daBeast, I took it easy so as not exhaust him in the wind. Ever since getting gears the Beast has been kind of fragile. Anyway we made it to Elder Mill in one piece despite a savage attack on the peloton towards the end of Watson Mill by a pack of wiener dogs. I think one might have been planted by the Royston Wrecking Crew to thin the herd and set up their attack.

And sure enough, as soon as we hit Elder Mill, the Crew took off on a mad downhill attack throwing the peloton into chaos.

Don't let them get away!

Of course when the road goes down there's an uphill soon to follow and the elite GC contenders broke away by the top of the first climb. Working together they created a 12 second time gap to the chasers, myself and Glenn. At the line, Ben squared charged to victory.

1st    BenS    3 points
2nd   Ben G   2 points
3rd    MarkY   1 point

Overhead the Oconee Enterprise helicopter with intrepid reporter Erik caught all of the action.

In the women's competition, Kathleen took advantage of the absence of  Antelope Queen points leader Bethany to take the Elder Mill Sprint over Val

Queen of the Herd Point:  KathleenM

The herd regrouped and conserved their energy for the final sprint. The Oconee Enterprise helicopter stayed hot on the tail of the peloton.

The run in to 441 was ferocious fast and fun with NickA and MattK taking big pulls to get the group up to pace. With speeds at the finish line exceeding 38 mph, Jeff Y, frustrated from being off the Elder Mill podium, stamped his authority on the peloton.

1st  Jeff Y   3 points
2nd BenG    2 points
3rd MarkY   1 point

Again Kathleen was the first woman across the line taking another queen point.

With four stages in the books the total herd has grown to over 40 riders with Ben G (18 points) and Jeff Y (16 points) in  a close race for  the General Classification. For complete standings, visit

Don't forget to pick up the Oconee Enterprise next week to see the write up on the herd, we're really going to be in the paper.

Saturday morning the usual Antelope Crew will be meeting at the Watkinsville Courthouse at 8 AM for either a 45 mile (Oconee Loop) or 60+ ride. Reverend Lenny has a special route planned for the adventurous Antelopes who want to experience new roads.

See you next week.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Antelope Fall Classic Stage 3: Wild dogs couldn't keep him away

25 riders contested Stage 3 of the Antelope Fall Classic on Wednesday and frankly the herd is getting a bit giddy in the parking lot these days. Here is a picture of how the riders reacted when an Oconee County employee tried to walk to his car:
But I don't have a bike, put me down and I'll get one, I promise.

Only three weeks into the fall competition and the official number of identifiable herd members (we still have a few recalcitrants who haven't signed in!) is 37. The herd welcomed first participants Nick W, NickA, Sheila T, and EricE. The conditions were perfect, 88 degrees, dry, with the wind out of the north ready to launch the peloton down Colham Ferry at light speed.

But the story of the day, one reverberating through the corridors of Facebook, was the heroic ride of Joey Fisher. Now I'm sure many of you immediately recognized the name, and I am now officially reporting to you and to Star magazine, that on Wednesdays we have been riding with the love child of Amy Fisher and Joey Buttafuoco:

But the real story is one of perseverance and toughness. We know that Cadel Evans, George Hincapie, and many others have finished mountain stages and even grand tours with broken bones. Well last week Joey was enjoying a training ride north of town. He was climbing up the Jefferson Riviera at toasty 19 mph clip when he was set upon by pack of wild, savage, and possibly rabid, canines. A photo was taken by a nearby pedestrian.

One of the savage beasts brutally mauled poor Joey

Now we are all praying that the beasts weren't rabid, but after Elder Mill Hill, Joe looked like this.

Did I win the sprint? Need... eat ...brains.

Despite his injuries, Joey was not going to let the herd down and while he didn't podium on Wednesday he earned a toughness point for showing up and surviving his ordeal:

And what a ride. A brisk lead out on Astondale and a strong tail wind on Colham Ferry had the peloton for a time averaging near 22mph. The group stayed together strong all the way to the base of Col d'Elder Mill. The pace was sane through the first half of the steep climb when the mountain goat-gazelles took off. The Beast dropped his chain, and Spinmaster was socializing with the lady antelopes keeping two climbers out of the running. I tried desperately to stay tough and hang on the wheel of that elite group that consisted of Mark, Jeff, BenG, NickA, JohnR. The first hill was almost over and I could see Mark's wheel getting farther and farther away as the mountain goats put it in another gear the last 20 yards of the climb. NickA and John R let the break away go a few seconds and tracked them stealthily from behind (cheetah behavior, clearly).  I was making a desperate and impossible chase in the wind when BenS came flying by. In that brief split second when I should have been attempting to accelerate I remember thinking, "hmm that's another rider, boy my legs hurt, hey it would be nice to draft him" and he was gone. Announcing his presence as an Elder Mill contender, BenS chased down the leading group in the wind, caught them at the line and scored a third place. For the second week in a row Mark took the line just edging out BenG.

1. Mark      3points

2. BenG      2 points
3. BenS       1 point

The herd queen competition has been heating up quite nicely with the addition of Sheila T. But the Bethinator was not to be denied.

Antelope Queen of the mountains point- Bethany

19 miles into the ride on Saxon and our average was still at 20, an unheard of accomplishment for the increasingly fit herd. Nearly everyone got back to the group after the first sprint and we cruised towards home. Once the group got on Old Bishop the attacks began immediately, and when the pace threatened to calm down, the Reverend Lenny took it upon himself to preach a little speed. We headed toward the midway rolling hill at over 27 mph still 2-3k out from the line.

The Vinokurov Point for mad early attack?   LennyS

The pack was strung out in a long line with half a kilometer to go when BenG, Tony, Troy and others launched the final attack. At the line:

1. daBeast    3 points
2.  JeffY       2 points
3. BenG        1 point

Once again Bethany took the sprint line for the Antelope Queen point.

Stage 4 was almost in the record books when Spinmaster broke out his special recovery drinks in the parking lot and shared them with the herd.

Generous Antelope Point:  Spinmaster

With stage 3 in the books BenG takes the lead in the Antelope King Competition.
General Contention:
1. Ben G   13 points
2. JeffY     12 points
3. MarkY     9 points

For complete standings please go to Forgot to sign in? Send a message below.

Come join us Saturday morning at 8AM, Watkinsville courthouse for an Antelope training ride. Short loop, 40-45 miles, long loop, less than 85. Speed between 18-19 average.


2Come join

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Bikin' for the bling, it's a herd thing

Tomorrow will be stage 3 of the Antelope Fall Classic. Some people may be thinking, well, I missed the first two stages so there's no way I'm gonna get enough points to win. Maybe I just should skip it all.

Well that's just wrong.

I'm afraid that this kind of wrong headed thinking requires public humiliation.
I said I wasn't coming to ride and they made me wear this

First of all, points are wondrous things that can appear and disappear as if by magic. Now its true, unless you are awesomely fit you probably aren't going to win the competition outright. But that's true for about 98% of the riders. What we can all win, however, in addition to comraderie, tons of fun, and great stories is some coveted Antelope bling. In last spring's Antelope World Cup, the bling ran deep. Sure Spinmaster got the trophy

With this trophy, my palmares are complete!


but like in little league there was bling for everyone!

Authentic Antelope Herd Commemorative Medallion

Will you have enough points after Stage 8? How many points will it take for one of the podium attendants to wrap one of these babies around your neck? You'll have to come out and ride to find out.

see you tomorrow.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

BUI: Blogging Under the Influence

It has been a long day and I have been self-medicating with an adult beverage. This is probably a bad idea, but I decided, hey, why not blog under the influence? Of course I risk being pulled over on the information superhighway and charged with a BUI, but after the third glass of wine I'm invincible. Blogging under the influence is becoming increasingly common and appears to be an innovation in communication technology first noticed on Roseanne Barr's myspace page. So I am in good company. I love Roseanne, who I believe is nearly a perfect person. She lacks only a cycling addiction to reach true heroine status.  BUI is actually a pretty diverse terms as it can stand for :
  • browsing under the influence
  • boning under the influence (not sure what this means, maybe when a dog is burying a bone and can't find it later?)
  • buying under the influence
  • boating under the influence

I think this dog is boning under the influence:

Get off of my nose and  into my belly!

I want to be clear, that while under the influence myself, I am still exceedingly responsible. I am not driving an automobile nor out in non virtual public finding ways to get in trouble. I always must be role model for my awesome son. Moreover, I will ride my mountain bike tomorrow , headache or not, and I will not whine about anything.  Unless my brakes are rubbing, or if Duncan is faster than me (in which case I will claim that my brakes are rubbing).

Duncan: "Dude, why are your riding so slow on this mellow single track?"

Steve: "Have some compassion, my brakes are rubbing"


Also, I have two very good medical reasons for drinking tonight. First of all I rode 80 miles yesterday. Now I know that most of the guys I rode with are probably riding again today, but this sort of thing wears me out. So I need an analgesic. We did have a great group with about 15 people showing up including several Cheetah- type riders who did awesome pulls. Most of the cheetahs went the short route leaving about 7 of us for the long ride through  the country side. Now we didn't intend to do 80. And, in a way, we didn't really do.
actually we only rode 65 "Lenny Miles." As most Athens cyclists know, this is Lenny:

What? Everyone talks this way in Canada.

I've now estimated that a "Lenny Mile" is approximately 1.2 normal miles with a standard deviation of  +12. So if Lenny says, "at the stop sign we turn right and go about  2 miles." This means that at the stop sign we turn right and go anywhere from 2.4 to 24 miles (the LM standard deviation only increases mileage and  never decreases it) . This makes life more interesting. So given that our Saturday  route was only supposed to add about 5 miles to our typical 60--- 80 is just about to be expected. I rode strong and didn't really suffer until I tried to get out of bed the next day.

This brings me to my second medical reason for drinking this evening. I have learned two things this weekend: (1)  how to translate Lenny Miles, and (2) how to interpret the effort of simple household projects that my wife is interested in. Now don't get me wrong, my wife does not give me Honey Dew lists or nag me about doing stuff around the house. She generally prefers for me to be  gone. I think this is because I have a habit of constantly singing out-of-tune songs about our love life while in her presence. I also don't bathe regularly.

Anyway, I have been doing household projects lately, something I almost never do. There are good reasons why I don't. First, it cuts into my cycling time and I'm already half way to 90 years old  and don't have much cycling time left. Second, I am bereft of any mechanical, artistic, or  technical ability. I also have a short memory. So when my wife said she had placed an orbital  sander by the chest of drawers in the garage that had been waiting for attention for 4 years,  I tried out some sanding. Then my wife made the mistake of telling me that I looked pretty hot working with power tools.
If you think I'm sexy, and you want my body, come on honey let me know!

In short order, I managed to sever two 50 foot extension cords with a hedge trimmer, short circuit two sockets, crush 3 sprinkler heads with the lawn mower (or were they termite thingies, I can't tell), and utterly destroy the wallpaper in my bathroom.

But the point is that I learned how to translate the true meaning of my wife's thinking when she suggests a household project that can be done DIY. For example, when my wife says, if you just sand the paint off Aunt Ida's chest of drawers then I will stain it  (and you won't have to keep your clothes in card board boxes anymore) this actually means---"You will suffer for hours in back breaking labor  while the bureau remains green forever."

Wow! Sanding paint off a chest of drawers is way more fun than I expected!

I'm kind of dull, so it didn't really sink in that every project she suggests would involve back breaking labor. But I now know that when my beloved says, "just use hot soap and water and the wallpaper in the bathroom will pull right off" this really means, "Have a great time for the next 15 weekends engaging in back breaking labor as you try to get the wallpaper backing of the wall ;-)."

It was a fine bathroom, but now it looks like this:

The nice lady at Lowe's seems to speak the same language:
  • Lady at Lowe's: "this will take the wallpaper right off and you'll be ready to paint."
  • Translation: "Can't wait to see you tomorrow when you have to buy two more bottles of this stuff and six tools that still won't help :-)"
So I am drinking. And I feel much better. Fortunately, my wife is really hot so I 'm willing to spend as many weekends to get this wall paper off the bathroom wall as its going to take . Or maybe the bathroom wall looks OK just the way its. Kind of a postmodern statement about the futility of controlling one's environment. Like a paceline or a training schedule-organization is just a fantasy. So to sign off, I will leave you with an image from last Tuesday  morning when I was riding my bike and enjoying the view of the sunrise.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Antelope Fall Classic Stage 2: Biceps, butt crack, and death tattoos

Should a Wednesday evening be this much fun? 23 riders came to contest Stage 2 of the Classic on Wednesday as word is getting out that Watkinsville is the place to ride on "hump day." Here is a preride parking lot shot.

Antelope Central

There were several new herd members as well as old timers who missed stage 1.  Tim J,  ChuckN, and Chris H signed in and old friends Superdraft, Joey, Evan, and Adam found their way back to the herd. It was immediately apparent that Bruce "Triceps Guy" and Tim "Biceps Guy" shared an end of the gene pool or perhaps the same gym. Although we were sorely tempted, the members of Team Body Fat decided not to kick sand on either of those guys.  Here is Val chatting Tim up before the ride.

So on Elder Mill Hill if you would just grab my saddle and sling me ahead of Bethany and Kathleen...

There was also one guy who didn't sign in, a very sad thing. The gossip is that his name is Bill and he has some wicked tattoos. So if you see a cyclist, looks to be in his 40's, maybe answers to Bill, and has tattoos like this

Sign in sheet? I don't need no stinking sign in sheet!

Please remind him of the importance of signing in. The other big news was the re-appearance of Troy "The Beast" who in a move of great compassion gave his Litespeed the gift of gears (see this post for description of the suffering of Troy's bike).

Ahhh, gears, I am so happy!

And we were off (as well as beginning the ride). Now in the first 15 miles before the sufferfest begins, we all have time to relax, chat, and enjoy the view. In a tight paceline, that view will inevitably include the rear end of the person on the bike you are drafting. A rarely talked about part of cycling is that we spend quite a bit of time with other people's butts right in front of us just below head height. Here is what a typical antelope butt looks like:

Do these bib shorts make my butt look hairy?

Another rarely talked about  part of cycling is that shorts are expensive and most of us really spend a lot of time on the bike so the thin lycra material can get pretty worn. Before you know it, you could be in the running for a coveted "Sheer Elegance" point in the Antelope Fall Classic. Unlike childhood, where you got in trouble for "showing your butt" in the antelope pack you get rewarded! Now I'm not saying anyone was showing their butt last Wednesday, but a stealth photographer managed to capture this shot somewhere in the area of Watson Springs Rd.

Give this man a sheer elegance point!

Of course if someone wears see-through shorts which permit the person drafting them to view their death skull tattoo, that is an immediate reward of 5 points.

 There are also Helpful Antelope Points available to herd members who help their sheerly elegant friends:

 But I digress. The antelope herd sped along at a brisk 20-21mph clip. Traffic was light but several herd members refused to mind the don't cross the yellow line rule.
"Car up"

We made it safely to the first sprint zone and it was off to the races.A breakaway formed on first steep slope consisting of Ben, Mark, Beast, Jeff, and Bill "Death Tattoo". As many Antelope newbies do, death tat underestimated the length of the sprint  and cracked soon there after. Steve, JoeF, and Dave formed a chase group. There was no hope of actually chasing down the leaders on Elder Mill--- if you are not in the front group after the first thigh searing climb, you ain't gonna win. As the leaders stampeded to the line, MarkY took his first victory on Elder Mill. Way to go Mark! Troy confounded by too many gear choices was just edged off the podium.

1st    Mark Y      3 points
2nd   Ben G        2 points
3rd   Jeff Y         1 point

The antelope queen of the mountain point was neck and neck until Kathleen cracked just inches off the line.

Antelope Queen Point   Bethany

The pack reassembled and heart rates slowly came down to normal exhaustion as we readied ourselves for Old Bishop. The herd began slugglishly hoping  no one would kick up the pace.  Not wanting 20 people bunch sprinting together in the last 100 meters I invoked my authority as commissioner to chastise the people ahead to me go faster and thin the herd out. Now, I would have gone up front and done it myself but I was busy breathing and chastising.  The pace picked up and on the last 1.5k Tim took the herd by horns with a massive 28-29 mph pull into the wind. Antelopes were cracking left and right and as the finish line came in sight I bid adieu to the friendly wheel I had been desperately trying to follow and watched the strong men of the herd thunder by. After a fast and furious charge to the line it was:

1st    TonyG     3 points
2nd    Ben         2 points
3rd    JeffY       1 point

Winning the highly valued Jens Voigt Lead Out Point:                    TimJ     

A mere 3 seconds passed before Kathleen crossed the line leaving an exhausted Bethany in her wake.

Antelope Queen Sprint point                  Kathleen    

 Average speed? 20 mph. With stage 2 in the books BenG ties Jeff Y for the Antelope King competition.

GC Standings
1. Jeff Y                9 points
1. Ben G               9 points
3. TonyG              7 points
4. MarkY             5 points

For complete standings, please visit AthensGaBicycling.

Want more Antelope Action this weekend. Join us Saturday morning, 8am, Wtkville Courthouse.