Monday, January 24, 2011

WBL #7-Philomath is Where I'll Go

When the world is a monster
Bad to swallow you whole
Kick the clay that holds the teeth in
Throw your trolls out the door
If you're needing inspiration
Philomath is where I go by dawn
Lawyer Jeff he knows the lowdown
He's mighty bad to visit home

This interwebs thing is amazing! In the 80's us REM fans would have to smoke some pot (they hadn't discovered weed yet) crank the HiFi to 11 and spin some vinyl to try and figure out what Michael Stipe was saying. Now, I can google the info without any carcinogenic compounds entering my lungs.

WBL#7? Philomath is where you'll go. A chilly but sunny morning and a definitely more modest sized peloton. Antelope roll call? Reverend Lenny was at the start but shivering like a neurotic chihuahua. Ben Green was there and other than myself that was it. Dan McGarvey was there but he refuses to be identified with antelopes.
I ain't no antelope

It would have been a great day for more antelopes. I think almost everyone would have made it to the 60 mile store stop. The pace was controlled and mellow as the group enjoyed a sunny romp through a strangely massive Oglethorpe County. I had two historic experiences. First we rode through Philomath GA, from the famous REM song. The Cheetah Jefe was riding beside me and we were talking music. He knew the story of the local attorney who told Michael Stipe about hunting for arrowheads in Philomath and had seen REM in 1980 when they were a local band. I also tested my hypothesis that the Humble Chronicler may be a Tom Waits fan. According to the jefe, not so much, the carnivalesque atmosphere of the WBL reports is just a random echo of the more off camber chamber of the Chronicler's psyche. Hmmm quiet waters run, odd.

The second bit of history was personal. I pulled the WBL 1.5 times. Pretty cool. I took a turn with big Matt W who I have decided is some sort of freak of nature because he would eventually stay with the pack in the sprint group over some tough rollers. No mean feat at 6' 9" 260lbs so there are really are no excuses for getting over hills. Matt is an interesting guy. He was a CPA for 2 years after graduation then decided he would rather be wrenching and riding bikes and no amount of money was worth crunching numbers rather than pedals. A man after my own heart. I would give up brick laying during the day except my hot wife depends on me to bring home the soy bacon. I bet if your wife or husband looked like this hot (BTW she's been working out) you'd want to lay as many bricks as possible.
Give up working and ride everyday? Get back to your bricks mister!
So Matt and I pulled for a few minutes and it wasn't too bad. I was breathing pretty hard but Matt was kind enough not to make any breathing sounds so I could more clearly hear the sound of my breath rattling around in my ears.  Later I pulled again with a Team Type I developmental guy but after a minute or two a big group came by getting ready for the intermediate sprint.

It was a casual feeling ride and everyone, especially me, was chatty. Or maybe I was the only one chatty and a parade of guys was forced to endure listening to me chat on endlessly. I talked with Team Type I guys, the jefe, Matt, a recent PHD guy who studies birds, Macon bears. It was seriously mellow up to the store stop at 60 miles in. Then the  pace picked up on some rollers for about 10 miles heading towards the sprint zone and I was on the rivet but hanging tough. I happened to be next to the Cheetah Jefe who seemed not to notice the need for any sort of effort as he continued to casually chat until he seemed to notice that I (a) wasn't responding, (b) was in the drops, and (c) was emitting a rattling wheeze. So he found someone else to chat with.

Before I knew it, the Cheetah Jefe had a whistle in his mouth which means the sprint zone was coming up.
Let the madness begin!
This is an important mental preparation time as riders know that it's time to either be the hammer or the nail.
The whistle blew as we turned on to Lake Hargrove for a 9 mile attack zone. I know this road well, especially the three hills that make it interesting. As the pace picked up the flow got really strange. Everyone wanted to be the  on the outside and we were basically in one long line. I had trouble figuring out how to stay on a  wheel.  I managed to hang though through the first hill and up to the base of the second. Of course that's when the hammer really went down.
Time to hurt boys (and girl)
I was not getting up the second hill on Lake Hargrove with the main pack of the WBL this day.

With about 6 miles of sprint zone and 13 miles of ride left, I put my head down and tried to minimize the damage. It was a tough effort and while I did my best to minimize the gap, I not only missed the group picture, but the main pack had already pitched their hammocks and were well in to their post ride naps when I rolled in.

Hey wake up, let's take the picture.
90 miles, double digit miles per hour. Next week, Alto, 110 miles of WBL madness. I can't wait,


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