Sunday, June 12, 2011

All Hail King Dan!!!

At the pre-race sign in  for the final stage of the Antelope World Cup, Dan H had a 3 point lead over his rival Thin Daddy Steere with JeffY,  and JonesY all nipping at their pedals. He would be hard to beat with a three point lead.  Despite this cushion, there would be great drama on this final stage. On the eve of the triumphal stampede,  I was called before the Antelope World Cup Council of Elders for an emergency meeting.
We have an important message for you commissioner, stop sniffing her butt!
 The elders in their ongoing communion with the cycling gods had  received a dramatic message. Whereas usually the sacred antler offerings burned for 90 minutes then quickly turned to ash, on this evening the offerings burned for fully 3 hours! There could be no mistaking the meaning of this.  There was to be an epic finish.  From  his  home high on Mt d”Huez the King of cycling Gods  Antelopo Canceldor decreed  that on this final stage, there would be:
Yes there would be 12  points at stake on the sprints in this final stage, enough to topple Dan from the  leader board and elevate any challenger with sufficient pluck, determination, and performance enhancing hair plugs to kinghood. As the liaison between the council and the herd I shared this news the riders.
There will be double points. Do not sprint until you hear the whistle or you will die!
  Dan’s face took on  a grim and determined cast.
 And that strange tuft of hair erupted through the vent in his helmet

  Ben “Thin Daddy” Steere grinned with new hope.
No, I'm not a hand puppet, I'm just thin
 Jonesy signed in his name with all capitals, to let the commissioner know he was here to compete.
Why don't I get a picture of an antelope?
and finally, MarkY had the special look which BikesnobNYC has termed "non plussed.:
Double points. I am neither saddened or emboldened by this turn of events.
Lil Cappy led us out with a brisk and determined pace. The peloton was unusually quiet, sensing the drama about to unfold.  As the tarmac on Elder Mill began to turn upward, Ben Steere attacked. Dan grabbed his wheel and both slowed down. The front of the peloton led by MarKY charged by maintaining their increased pace from bridging the gap while hitting the steeps. Dan and Ben grabbed on to the this select group of about 8 riders and the front group was established.
On a side note- as usual, I wasn’t in it. Though for me It wasn’t about a podium. It was about beating the ageless Bill K (can the guy get a gray hair or a bald spot for crying out loud?). Incidentally, here is an artist's rendering of BillK at the age of 94:
Hey 90 is the new 50, let's ride!
And beating the the Bostwick Bad Boy, Jack "Bad2_D_" Bone.
I'm going to kick Kogan's Antelope ass as soon as someone changes me.
He may look a little pudgy but Jack can really hammer.

But back to the main story, the long winding uphill to glory was brutal. The scavengers bore witness to a cacophony of huffing and hammering as the hill contenders tried to put each other in agony before the final kick. In an act of great humility, piety, and desperation, DanH called out to the Antelope Gods, swearing that if victory was his, he would join PETA and never eat venison again. And  the Antelope God heard his prayer, granting DanH wings....
I will be king!
And just like that, Dan put the crown out of reach of his competitors crossing the line ahead of Ben and then Mark.

One Crown To Rule Them All!
 In the "other race" the Antelope commissioner was again crushed, first by Jack and then by BillK.

Fine, I still beat Bethany
With the series won, the Bishop Sprint was gravy, though Dan added to his point total finishing behind winner Tim and just before Chris H.

With the fnal stage in the books, the GC standings were carved into titanium for all time:

1. DanHall    38
2. Ben Steer  31
3. Jonesy       26
4. JeffY         25
5. MarkY      19

All Hail King Dan! Details of the coronation ceremony to come soon.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Who Will be King?

The Antelope World Cup is blowing up. Once again more than 280 riders, give or take 255 converged on the courthouse last Wednesday leaving the Silos ride nearly empty.  Clearly Watkinsville  is the place to be. Riders from esoteric destinations  like Bostwick, Ga came to sharpen their antlers on Elder Mill Hill. Not even temps in the upper 90’s and 80mph wind gusts could deter the intrepid riders.

It really  was 97 at the start of the ride.  I know because My Hot Wife looked at me with that special look that says that I am either a man of great courage or a complete idiot and said, “you’re going to ride in that heat?” Yes, I was planning on riding in that heat, and, I was not the only brave and highly courageous rider to show.

Through the baking heat we cruised out to the southern reaches of Oconee.  We scoffed at the Weiner dogs on Watson Springs Mill who were too timid to brave the heat and just watched us from the window of their house with the AC blasting. Wimpy Weiner dogs!

After a crisp warm up of 17 miles I blew the whistle  to signal the sprint zone. This is my favorite exhalation of the week. In fact I enjoy blowing the whistle so much I have named these weekly exhalations. This week’s exhale was named Fletcher. The group stayed mellow as we approached the first climb when MarkY initiated the hostilities.  This triggered an immediate reaction from DanH and BenS and they were joined by newcomer Chris and old friend BenG who is looking fit and hale. Lil Cappy sat back with the main pack, though I could distinctly see a call out over his head through my virtual reality glasses that said, “how cute, the Antelopes are attacking up the hill. I think I will give them a few hundred yards then chase them down for a warm up before I do my 50 intervals tonight.” Sure enough, he gave them a leash and then went on the hunt.  But he didn’t count on the power of BenG who powered the group down the road.

Elder Mill podium: BenS, DanH, Chris

Incidentally the Antelope Athens analytical team has determined that Ben’s recent domination of the hill sprint is not due to sexual frustration; we tested Ben after the ride and sure enough, well, he’s pregnant. Yes Ben has an extra pair of little tiny legs helping him up the hill. Every watt counts.

Speaking of watts, Ben G who very nearly took the Antelope Series last year, has fully graduated to cheetahood. Although slumming with us this Wed he is a regular at the Silohs ride,  rides one of them hi zoot speshalized road bikes, and even has a power tap. Now I’ve noticed that a lot of really fast guys have those big fat hubs that are supposedly measuring watts to download to their coaches. I suspect, however, this may be a cheetah scam cause with miniaturization and nanotechnology and such  these days I bet they could have a little engine in those hubs and we’d never be the wiser. Think about it.

The bishop sprint unfolded with a  big group cresting the midway roller. Now everyone has heard of the Manx Missile, Mark Cavendish. Well, few locals know that his father had an affair with a local waitress  during a summer vacation to the states. Yes the missile’s half-brother is a member of our herd, the Pendegrass Projectile, Jonesy.  With uncanny  timing, the projectile slunk in the shadows until the final 30 meters then flew by the pack at the line.

Bishop podium: Jonesy, Roberto ,  and TimJ

Going into Wednesday's final stage Dan Hall has a comfortable but not unassailable lead. Who will be crowned King of the Herd? Join us at Chops and Hops, 7:45 on Wednesday to see him crowned.