Friday, April 8, 2011

2011 Antelope World Cup Stage 1

April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

And then there is the Antelope World Cup. While the pollen clouded windshields,  the vast metropolis of Watkinsville Ga stirred from a long winter slumber. Birds, bees,  and middle age men in lycra began feeling a strange heat surging from below. Is it spring? Can we ride our bikes after work?  Will the thunder of Antelopes two abreast once again stimulate the vitriol of drivers on Colham Ferry?

16 cyclists accidentally forgot to show up for the 25mph Silos ride in North Athens, instead signing in on Wednesday to contest Stage 1 of The Antelope Cup: Episode 2: The Phantom Downshift. Although the organizer tried to tamp down the competitive nature of the restless herd, the pre-ride parking lot was a miasma of testosterone and thinly veiled aggression. It didn't take a third ear to hear the intensity of the competitors coming through.

Hey Goldman, if I drop a shift and you manage to get by me on Elder Mill Hill, this is how you hold up your arms at the line.

Ahem, ach, ach, your ass ach  is so cough fat, ahem, sorry I've got some pollen in my throat, hey you're looking really fit this spring !

Despite personal invitations from the race organizer, several local celebrity athletes didn't make Stage 1. Fortunately the series is the rider's score on his/her  best 8 rides out of 10. If you see any of these people or any other people you think should be here, stare at them thoughtfully without responding to anything they say. This confuses them.

Many believe the following cyclist could make a major impression on the Lady Antelope podium:
What? Only 27 miles? Hey I'm training for distance not speed.

This past Antelope King was sorely missed for his long pulls in the wind and the cache of malted beverages in the back of his truck.

I am the once and future Antelope King. Beware my mighty hammer.
 And last Fall's queen was mysteriously absent
Hey, I'm just giving Tinsely and Goldman a head start, they're going to need it.

 Oddly, no mention was made of the absence of this old friend.

By 6PM everyone managed to get their front wheels tightened, their tires inflated, and their restless butts planted firmly in the saddle. The 2011 Antelope Cup was on the road. It was a modest early season pace down Colham Ferry, allowing the herd to stay tight and catch up on the latest gossip.
And then her husband caught him with a much newer bike and she figured out why the credit card was maxed out.
But after 15 miles of warm up, it was time to get our sprint on. Rounding the intersection onto Elder Mill Rd, the commissioner sounded the whistle for the sprint zone. The contenders watched each other warily, not wanting to make the first move when new Antelope Robert made an early charge.  The GC figured Robert, a newbie, didn't know how long the sprint was and let him go. But then Ben decided his ticked to a breakaway had been punched and took off to bridge the gap. This set everyone in motion as no one was going to give Ben's skinny, 25 year old butt a head start up a climb. After the first steep climb, Robert and Ben still had an 8 second gap with Steve, Jeff, Tony, and Dan forming a chase group. Soon Robert and his lungs realized the sprint zone was just a little bit longer than the top of the first hill and Ben was on his own. Jeff tool mighty pull and reeled Ben in who actually smiled and said something like "shit." Steve then took a pull and Jeff paid the price for chasing Ben down. Steve put Jeff and Tony in difficulty with Dan on his wheel followed by Ben. And then the inner tactician/psychopath in Dan emerged. As they approached 100m Kogan said to Dan "have we dropped Tony?" To which Dan replied "no he's still here, let me come up and pull some." But as soon Steve left off the throttle, Dan came storming by, opening up a 20M gap. Stunned, Steve tried to recover, but Ben came around him and the Phantom threat of Tony was nowhere to be seen. Christening the sprint line on Elder Mill for 2011, it was:
1st   Dan Hall       3 points
2nd Ben                2 points
3rd Steve              1 point

In the ladies peloton, Bethany took Queen point over Karen. Karen, however, took this in stride.
Sprint? Was that a sprint zone?

The gang recovered on Saxon and picked up the pace down Astondale for the Bishop sprint. A determined pack hammered through Bishop as the whistle sounded. Steve and Lenny took pulls on the midway roller to thin the crowd and split the peloton in two. The leaders, however, slowed the pace back down as Jeff was determined not to pull anyone else to victory. The pace finally picked up with 200M to go. At the tape it was

1st    Tony
2nd   Ben
3rd    Jeff

Not far behind, I had a birds eye view of Karen marking Bethany's wheel like a hawk. Big Robert pulled up along side Bethany, stomping the pedals for all he was worth. Karen made her choice, diving on Robert's wheel for a boost then coming around to take the Queen point.

Despite the lack of malted beverages, it was a joyous parking lot. All slights forgiven, everyone again friends. Until the whistle blows next Wed.

See you there

1 comment:

  1. AA,

    Excellent recap, as always. However,just for posterity's sake, my official USA Cycling "racing age" is 30. I'm not sure how old that makes me in dog years. I will concede that my butt is skinny.

    -- Thin Daddy