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.

1 comment:

  1. For the record: Matt was the clyde winner of the 1st sprint. But was too much of a gentleman and too strong of a rider to accept the spotlight.
    Great ride Matt!