Thursday, September 29, 2011

Stage 5: Schwag, Lead Outs, and Hair Tufts

King Dan entered Wednesday’s night stage 5 of the antelope fall classic on a mission. After missing stage 4 altogether due to a mysterious and heretofore undisclosed ailment, the King had seen the upstart Jonesy move farther ahead in the standings. One more day of domination and Jonesy may have ended the competition for good. Determined not to give in, sources tell the Antelope Gazette that KD has retained the services of the infamous Italian Love Guru, Michaele Cyclarti. The controversial guru has rediscoverd ancient tantric meditation practices designed to increase cyclists' blood plasma volume and lactate threshold. These ancient practices which are illegal in most southeastern states have been cloaked in secrecy. Dan did look good in his new kit however

I climb with my third chakra and see the weaknesses of my competitors with my third eye.


22 riders signed in for Stage 5 of the classic and Cappy joined the group on Astondale. It was a big night as at stake was 3 points and some Hub schwag for the rider who devastated the peloton in an all out sacrificical, bone crushing pull on the Bishop Sprint. Also at stake were three for  a queen competitor who could pull a double (first woman on both sprints). Although Val had been our only queen rider for the last 3 weeks, word got out, and zombie forces sent a goth girl to try and steal the schwag from Val

Hub sox? Those are like the coolest!

 The herd welcomed  new Antelope, Bill who won the evening's best color coordinated kit competition.

What, I'm pretty sure there's some green  in this jersey.

Tony arrived triumphantly after conquering 6 Gaps last Sunday.  It appeared to have taken a bit of a toll on him.

Elder Mill will be nothing after Hogpen!

As usual, the herd members paid rapt attention as I went through the "10 commandments" of the Antelope series.

Hey guys, I'm over here, listen up.

 This bunch decided to have a private study group
Ok, thou shalt not break away outside of sprint zones, discuss.

At 6 PM sharp we headed out. It was a perfect evening as the herd headed south into the heart (or perhaps liver) of Oconee county. Competition on Elder Mill was fierce and Jonesy found himself in an unaccustomed place….in the wind going up the steeps. Despite MikeK’s valiant efforts to tow his Hubmate to the front, Jonesy was off the back with us Clydes and we all watched as Dan and Jeff hit the line followed by Mike.

Mike K-1

Goth girl and Val had a spirited contest but GG was distracted by some road kill and Val took the line. ½ way to the Queen double!

On the Bishop sprint Brian organized the peloton into a fancy rotating paceline for about half of the zone until Jamie decided it was time to go for the Mighty Mark Renshaw Lead Out Points. He put in a great pull but not enough to crack the group. With 1/2k to go Dan powered around the group, created a gap and the chase was on. The pack was devastated and Dan’s cranks wept with agony. The fast guys caught Dan just in time to shotgun to the finish. Once again it was series leader Jonesy putting in a well timed unstoppable charge .

Jonesy 3 points
Mike K 2 points
JeffY 1 point

And of course the lead out award went to:
King Dan—3 points and schwag

 Goth girs was focused this time and Val and GG were bumping elbows and trading head buts . Val would not be stopped and she took the queen sprint by a wheel. Here is Val with her schwag, it’s a little fuzzy because goth girl had cast a curse on my iphone.

The curse, however, was not powerful enough to affect Dan’s hair tuft, which once again stood proudly like a beacon of hope. Dan himself, though seems to have grown more sinister since Goth Girls's curse.

 The days are growing short so next week the ride starts at 5:45, hope to see you there.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Burning Bicycle

Last week’s Stage 3 of the Antelope Athens Fall Classic was a turning point for the herd. It had become increasingly clear that, the enemy, always determined to snuff out the ringing merriment of cycling joy and camaraderie, had set their sights on the Wednesday ride. Why are the brains of Antelopes so zesty, and why are the brains of riders named Dan under 6 feet tall so delectable? Will we ever live in a world free of this zombie scourge? Where seriously mediocre cyclists can congregate and practice their love of spinning without fear?

Need to find a Dan, crash bike, eat brains

Such were my questions to the great god of cycling Mercxendish all week long. I have been saying my prayers each night dutifully since that epiphanic day I tried to haul my 210 lb, 37 inch waisted self up Hogpen on my rapidly corroding 1999 Cannondale CAAD231. Usually my prayers unfold like this:

Please Mercxendish, give me more watts per pound, hey, what the, whose goat is tha… hey that’s kind of nice, no,  get off me

Usually Mercxendish is silent. However, as a faithful believer I suspect that when the newsletter arrives in my email with Chris Carmichael’s latest advice, that just may be an answer-- if I will only listen. After the chaos of last week I redoubled my plaintiff pleas but this time instead of asking for the typical egocentric bounties of lower weight, a speck of fast twitch fiber, or a flat tire for my foe in the next MTB race, I thought only of my brethren in the herd and the beauty of the Antelope Phenomenon.

The sprint line is mine!!!!!

And Mercxendish answered. There was an image of a burning bicycle, black with carbon fiber but no matter how hot the flames grew I could see that the frame would never melt but merely become ever more compliant laterally and torsionally stiff while losing grams by the minute. From the burning bicylce’s bottom bracket (aka the BB BB) came a voice.

Speak to the herd of my commandments and the zombies shall trouble you no more!

And so at 6PM I began a new tradition, hoarier than the sh’ma, more resonant than a call to prayer, emanating of from the very hub of the herd: The Antelope Commandments. Lets be clear, these are divinely inspired, not some false cycling-related commandment spiel you may have encountered on the internets:


As the peloton congregated at 6PM, I intoned the following:

1. Thou shalt ride at thy own risk as cycling is dangerous.

2. The antelope series shall be a sanctuary for riders with little or no race experience. All cyclists with the fitness to ride between 19-20 mph ave and the skills to safely participate in a double pace-line shall be welcomed to the Antelope Herd. Thou shalt not post a final ride time that exceeds 20.0mph

3. Thou shalt only sprint if one wishes, recognizing that riding in high speed, attacking groups is inherently dangerous. If thou is unsure of thy ability to navigate stressful, high speed, attack zones, thou shalt stay off the back thy zones.

4. If thou art truly a cheetah, thou shalt mentor and encourage the antelopes and seek not to eat their flesh or their brains

5. Thou shalt always pay attention and anticipate changes in pace and spacing, from start to finish

6. If thou wishest to receive points and join in Antelope games, thou wilst sign in PRIOR to the rides onset and hear these commandments before each ride.

7. Thou shalt not be required to pull but if thou dost, thou shalt be steady and smooth fostering unity among the herd.

8. Thou shalt not breakaway from the herd outside of attack zones

9. Thou shalt soft pedal for 5 minutes after the intermediate sprint zone

10. Thou shalt bring a tube, pump, and cell phone and not expect thy herd to wait for your flat tire

After these announcements a sense of peace and unity descended on the herd, spinning down Old Bishop in a symphony of ratcheting freewheels, shifting derailleurs, and the baritone susurrus of men and one woman chatting amiably.

Is that a new kit?  You really need some lighter wheels.  Where were you Saturday? Going to try and hang with SFS next weekend?
The 20 antelope herd plowed through the country side and those on the beefier side of 190lb looked forward to the Elder Mill sprint and an opportunity to win a trinket from Uncle Schwag’s bag. First Clyde off the podium and over the hill would get 3 points and a finger full of cycling tchotchke. To document this historic ride, I took a short cut and set up with my trusty cell phone camera. Here is a picture of the evening’s hero, Blake “the Snake” Hartis, flying up Elder Mill to take the Clyde Award.



The podium saw Series leader Jonesy racking up the points:
1st- Jonesy
2nd Turbo Gentry
3rd: MarkY Mark

Several clydes gave gracious offerings of bile and Gatorade in the offering ditch on Saxon Road before chasing up to the leaders, hammering into the setting sun.

As the herd turned down the service road, I once again reminded the faithful of the off the back options and the dangers of the fast attack zone. The herd had the bit, though, and no one was getting away. A solid peloton of antlers and hooves made the mid way hill when finally the attacks came fast and furious. Stan put his head down and let out a roar and JKG jumped on his wheel. Jamie Dub Duberstein made a dig while spittin rhyme

I got mad watts, castelli sox, and a downtube wide as a box

Through the chaos Jonesy talked Tyler into a powerful leadout which would prove decisive.

-Lead Out point: Tyler P

At the line it was once again the same mad men with Jonesy doing da double:

1st Jonesy
2nd Turbo
3rd Marky mark

A jubilant herd celebrated a fine Wednesday evening, except for Liviu who seemed to have disappeared somewhere in the country side. The remaining herd members saluted the Clyde King, Blake, who took home a pair of sweet Hub socks.

Jonesy’s dominating double was also recognized with schwag:

Chicks dig the cycling tan

Thinking about coming out next week? We will cut off 1-2 miles to beat the twilight. See you next week.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


How much drama is too much drama?

Too much drama? There is no such thing.

If you like peaceful evenings, spinning along with casual chatter about the horrors of strip malls and the lack of recycled toilet paper, Wednesday night’s Antelope Fall Classic may not be for you. Frankly, it was all going quite peacefully before the zombies decided that cyclists have really tasty brains.

Where do we sign in?

Now the Antelope Herd prides itself on embracing diversity. We would not dream of colonizing the cycling needs of marginal supernatural beings. The Antelope Fall Classic was designed, after all, to set all spirits free, monstrous or otherwise. Unfortunately, our generosity, openness and naiveté was taken advantage of when, on the final sprint, this fellow who signed in as Zebediah Oscar-Michale Bee decided to wreak havoc on anyone in the peloton named Dan who was under 6 feet tall.

I will have your line or your brains.

There are some boundaries that just can’t be crossed and so from here on out Mr. Z.O.-M. Bee is no longer welcome to ride with the herd. Crashes always hurt and shock and shake---it looked like the Dans, while shaken and stirred, would recover. Hopefully they will take heart that justice has been served through the exile of Mr. Bee.

Purple Antelope points

Dan K--1

Dan M--1

The evening began with great hope and excitement. New faces arrived as word continues to spread about the antelope spectacle. More cheetah-like riders are appearing such as new herd member Chad,

"A racer? Me? I'm really slow, I'm just here for the training. My aunt in Austin stole these Oakley sunglasses from Lance Armstrong’s man purse and I don’t know how my legs lost their hair"
It is always gratifying to see the stalwarts come sign in with that look of determination that says,” I spit at pain and laugh when its spits back.”

Hey is that rain or did you just spit at me?

Pain? Sign me up!

Hmmm, what's the fine print here...

Where do I sign? You know Antelope chicks dig bicep tattoos

As the bell tower in Oconee Square rang 6 the herd assembled, ready to rock. But first there was big news. I had spent many hours communing with the great god of cycling Mercxendish last week, imploring them to reward our gifts of pain with the bounty of schwag. Apparently Mercxendish was pleased with the herd because late Monday night I heard a commotion-- first on my roof then downstairs. I immediately asked my wife to wake up and investigate it as there could be danger and I’m not good with danger. She wasn’t buying this and refused to get out of bed. So I grabbed my stoutest frame pump and crept downstairs. Just as I got to the last step a smallish man in black and white kit leapt from the window, mounted what looked like a Project One Trek Madone with deep dish carbon wheels, and sped away. The offering of cliff bars and power gels I had left on the coffee table was gone and in its place was a bag…full of Hub Bikes schwag! I ran to the window and could just make out by the street light a kit that looked like this. 

Ho ho ho , Uncle Schwag strikes again!

And just like that the Antelope Fall Classic had been endowed with great prizes to give each week to the worthy, the valiant, and the seriously mediocre.

For week three we would recognize the exploits of an old goat, hammering elder mill despite the arthritis, presbyopia, erectile dysfunction, and memories of his latest physical. It’s no picnic being 46, but if you were born in 65 or earlier, 3 points and Hub Schwag could be yours for a mighty mounting of Elder Mill.

Energized by the sickly sweet perfume of brains and schwag a 31 person herd thundered down Old Bishop to a chorus of hearty cheers from local fellows in pick-up trucks. They were so excited that they gunned their engines so we could ride through a glorious fog of black diesel smoke, much like when the UGA football team takes the field.  It was a crisp pace and kept everyone’s attention. I am afraid, however, that I do have to have report a sad breach of ride etiquette. Sometimes when Zombies, cheetahs, and antelopes get together the heady scent of speed whips some of the shaven legged riders into a frenzy. They try to hold it back, to be patient, to enjoy the ride, the process, the intimacy of the pace line, but it becomes too much and you get, I’m sorry to say...


This is not something many riders like to talk about, but we need to be frank and confront these issues as they arise, lest they create an ingrained pattern that affects the pleasures of the herd. Yes, a group of about 6 broke away from the herd well before the whistle sounded on Elder Mill. To their credit they chilled out before the sprint and an exhausted peloton caught back on just after turning onto the intermediate sprint zonel. I will not name names, but I have sent each rider a set of meditational exercises along with a month’s supply of the drug Cylcagra to help them regulate and achieve lasting and well timed attackulations.

It was an elder mill sprint for the ages. I hit the hill hard and noticed (not so) Big Steve B keeping pace up the first sharp part of the climb.  SteveB, who is unlikely to be accused of anorexia had  a heart attack last spring. Over the summer, he has  transformed himself into a lean mean cycling machine. Awesome climb !

True Grit point for StevieB

Up front there was a mix of cheetahs and Antelopes duking it out and at the line BobR took the win followed by Bill “Boonen” and John_K-G.

John K-G-1

Although Bill qualified for Old Goat status, confusion over his sign-in status and potential cheetah-like exploits in the WBL and SFS and the fact that JKG hadn’t won anything in a long time prompted the judges to give JKG the Old Goat Prize. Here is JKG with his schwag.
I'd like to thank the academy, Uncle Schwag, and Mercxendish for my mighty speed

Val and Molly squared off in the battle for queenhood and attacks raged back and forth over the long rolling uphill sprint. Finally, Val frictioned into high gear and cracked Molly for good.

You got me this time Ironwoman, but just wait till next week!

The Bishop sprint was a bit of a mess what with zombies wrecking the back of the peloton. A small group ahead of the peloton and well past the crash zone sped on trusting to the presence of 6 licensed physicians to take care of any injuries in the back. Remember the old king? Not the reigning King, DanH,  but the OLD KING
There's only one king and I'm not really dead. Its one for the money.....

No not that king. THIS KING

Yes JeffY, aka Jeffey, was back on the podium, representing the Boulder Springs Cru. In second place came the old goat himself JKG earning 2 more points.

.It was a shaken herd that finally rolled into the parking lot and stowed their steeds. Many Antelope veterans offered their ideas on safety measures, the place of cycling in existential philosophy, and the meaning of a crash. I have submitted these ideas to Mercxendish and with their guidance will implement new safety measures next Wednesday.  The God of Cycling wants pain in the form of searing thigh sensations from lactic acid build up and the occasional, well timed vomit after a winning sprint. Mercxendish actually grows cross when bodies meet tarmac. So we must increase our attentiveness, vision, and collaboration in tight moments, expecting riders to come off the front, riders in the back to want to get to the front, and moments of exhaustion. . Lactic acid offerings in the early parts of sprint zones, which may be modified, are key as a thin herd is a safe sprint.

Keep thundering and I'll see you next Wednesday.