Saturday, January 1, 2011

WBL #4: The Antelope Story

The history books belong to the Cheetahs. Someone must tell our story.
WBL #4 is in the books and sometime today the story of the ride will be written by the Cheetah Jefe and his Humble Chronicler. In a style somewhere between the commentary of legendary cyclist Sean Taylor, a post Rain Dogs Tom Waits song, and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, the drama, the suffering, the irony, and the "epic-ness" of the day will be immortalized. Like all history, however, it is written by the powerful, those who hammer with the gods  or at least with the Cat 3's. Cycling history is writ from the front of the pack, those wimpering, cracked packs of riders at the back worth barely a footnote if that. But who really suffered? The winners, the powerful who could stay in the hunt and on a wheel through a 7 mile sprint zone pregnant with rollers? Or the stragglers, fighting wind and physics with grim determination to minimize the gap, to never quit.

We are the antelope and this is our story.

Friday, the final day of 2010 dawned clear and beautiful as cyclists from all over North Georgia converged on downtown Athens for 75 miles of pedal rotation. The day was dedicated to Big Cappy, the grizzled cabinet maker of Cappy's Custom Cabinets fame. Cappy was kind enough to pose for a pre-ride photo.

Custom only man, and you don't want to know why they call me "Big" Cappy

Even Cappy's cabinets look fast:

No Antelope undies in the top drawer please.

Here is a cabinet that was made for Big Cappy's son, Little Cappy who is also a cheetah.
Shhh, don't tell Lil Cappy I was in his cabinet.
Several antelopes showed up for Cappy's WBL. Aside from the lack of race team kits, you can usually tell the Antelopes by their hairy legs.
L-R: Sean, JimK, BenSee, Marky
The Cheetah Jefe got everyone together and laid down the law.

If anyone crosses the yellow line, you will be sorry as illustrated in this next picture....
That's my line pinhead.
A healthy sized peloton headed off to the north to the wilds of Jackson County and beyond. Just getting out of Athens disaster struck and someone had a crash and got hurt. Two riders were out and the peloton paused for medical help to arrive. Fortunately the word today is that everyone is going to be OK. The chief Cheetah, always safety conscious again emphasized the importance of paying attention and staying focused, good advice for all.
Stay awake people!
The next 20 miles were awesome.  Easy rollers, I was in the top 20-25 of the pack and I was never in distress. I started to think, "hey, maybe I'm getting used to this cheetah riding." Of course this is a dangerous thought and some evil skinny man with shaved legs decided to taste the wind on a long hill about 30 miles into the ride. It was a long hill, I geared down and started spinning for all I was worth. I stayed tough the first half when evil skinny man at the front, decided, "hmmm the hill seems to be getting steeper and there is a good 1/4 mile of climbing to go, I think I will elevate the pace  by about 3mph." Seriously, this is exactly what he thought, I have proof.
Hee hee, watch the fatties suffer!!!!

I went from about 20th in the pack to about 80th, just cresting the hill before I was off the back. A kindly Mercer Bear I met before the ride offered words of encouragement as he passed me but what I needed was a push. Where is big Tim Joyce when you need him. That dude can sling you up a hill. Of course even though I made it over the hill the skinny devil was still at the front so we commenced to hit the next 5 miles of rollers at a breakneck pace and I was gasping to hang on to the store stop. I have taken to rating my cracks in my head. Since cracks are going to happen, I've decided to work on minimizing the size and breadth of my crackage. I am working on minimal crackage versus massive crackage. Because I did hang on, I consider this incident a moderate crack and registered it as such.

Mile 30- Registered Crack, Antelope Athens

The store stop was healing and the group resumed a steady pace  heading back to Commerce from Maysville. Little did I understand what lay in the future as we cruised to the epic portion of the day, the 7 mile sprint zone once we turned on Nowhere Rd. A guy I had been chatting with told me, that the next turn was it, and suddenly, well, everyone slowed down. I thought cool, maybe people will watch each other for a few miles. Yeh right. The Cheetah Jefe took off and everyone was in a flurry to follow. I was pretty much at the front third but despite getting in my drops and getting  out of the saddle, there was no way to stay with the main group much less even see the break away. Drafting was irrelevant. At top speeds antelopes just can't hang. So I desperately tried to hang on to the stronger wheels who also were getting dropped. Let's be clear, 70 or more people took off down the road without me. This was massive crackage.
Oh dear, the peloton seems to be leaving me behind,
I settled in for 7 miles of gut busting, thigh burning effort to minimize the damage and try to catch the pack by Athens. I wound up pulling some guys including MarkY and BenSee and even put a hurting on some skinny guys who were having problems maintaining power on the rollers. It hurt but we all fought on and I finally crossed the sprint line ahead of my little grupo (I'll take whatever I can get) just in time to climb that last ridiculous hill on Nowhere Rd. I kept the pressure on wanting to catch the pack before downtown and with the help of a few red lights we all climbed JJ's Roaster hill together. It was a festive atmosphere with adult beverages and camaraderie.  I may have had some crackage but I was in with the group and qualified for 4 Antelope Survival points along with MarkY Mark and BenS.

I have had a conversation with my legs and they assure me that I will be able to leave the bed and put weight on them two days hence. Time to train for next Saturday!


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