|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.
1. Ben G 13 points
2. JeffY 12 points
3. MarkY 9 points
For complete standings please go to AthensGABicycling.com. 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.