Winter Bike League

Headline News18 roll out for Gruber Guidestones debacle, 13 complete the 100 mile, double-file day under scorching sun.Saturday Gruber Go Long if You Can No-sprint Rides continue next Saturday at 10 AM. (window open) from the HUB. Details will be posted later and will be weather-dependent (we are watching the forecast). Stay tuned.   

WBL 2019 Awards:

  • MVP: Thomas Brown, Frank Travieso
  • The Hub Leader’s Jersey: Jackson Gilbert, Sommers Creed, Thomas Brown
  • Ladies in the Top 10: Sommers Creed (2nd), Judah Sencenbaugh (5th), Emily  Cameron (10th)
  • Top Non Pros: Jackson Gilbert (6th), Cole Rasser (7th), Elvys Martinez (9th)
  • Rookies of the Year: Elvys Martinez, Carlie Cooper, Emily Cameron
  • Stage Winners: Frank Travieso (3), Ian Garrison (2), Thomas Brown, Jackson Gilbert, Judah Sencenbaugh
  • The 1,000 Mile Club (attended all 12 rides): Jered Gruber, Jackcon Gilbert, Tommy Morrison, Sommers Creed, David Crowe
  • True Grit Award: Caleigh Rasser, Deborah Potsma, Tom Fortune, Charlie Carabello
  • The Most- of the Most Epic Rides: Rayle (wind), Alto (115 miles), Bostwick (39 degrees high!), Lula (105 miles)
  • Number of Rides: 12
  • Miles ridden: 1030 miles
  • Average Miles per ride: 85 miles per ride

Breaking News: February 9, 2019 (# 12):Ian Garrison capped off a stellar WBL season with an amazeballs victory, his second, after a textbook attack on the Gruber Images World Cup, a 100-mile romping, stomping, rollicking misadventure through the perilous, hill-choked northern hinterlands. And Thomas Brown rode like a defending champion intent on keeping the Crown and biltzed the final sprint in 3rd as he tallied enough points to seal the victory in the HUB Overall Competition, though Sommers Creed did make a strong push in the closing kilometers and claw back to within spitting distance by the closing bell in one of the most closely watched contests in years. Unfortunately for Thomas and the rest of the gang, Creed looks as if she’s poised to sow discord for several years to come.

The Gruber Images Lula World Cup was a fitting finale to what has been an epic season in the WBL, one of the hardest of the last decade, and one of the most memorable ever. 2019 was a season with a dozen classic rides which featured world record winds on a couple of days, others when the temp never climbed out of the 30s and low 40s, some days when dark gray clouds blanketed the sky for the entirety of the ride, at least one day where the grouped was soaked to the core by a hard rain, and most days that boasted a sinister combination of the aforelisted conditions. Not to mention that when seventy to one hundred experienced, powerful, determined pedal pounders—Zealots—come from near and far, hither and yonder, and get together in one location, all dressed in battle fatigues, as they do 12 times a year in the winter in Athens, Georgia, these curious folk will pound away for a solid four to five hours without the slightest inkling of giving in or giving up despite what ill-omened conditions they might find themselves pedaling through, as if they enjoy the punishment, as if they take pleasure in grueling, long distance rides in the Siberian cold, as if they don’t mind being blown slantwise by freezing gale force busters as long as their friends are being blown slantwise too, as if the camaraderie of a large group of like-minded brothers and sisters makes the suffering endurable, enjoyable even, as if the rewards of such an epic undertaking outweigh the privations by two country miles. Curious folk, indeed.

In 2019 the Zealots racked up a total of 1,035 miles over the course of the dozen rides, averaging 85 miles a day, and usually hovering around a 20 mile-per-hour average, sometimes higher. (Rayle topped the charts this year with a blistering 22 mile-per-hour average for the 90-mile affair.) Long, hard rides in tough conditions is by definition the very warp and woof of the WBL, so it was only apropos to end the season with Lula, a rough and tumble 100-mile ride with over 5,000 feet of climbing, featuring the 3-mile Moccasin Gap Climb and finishing with the demanding 8-mile Pink Church Loop, a Final Attack Zone with few flat spots. 80 or so hardcore Zealots signed in on the frigid, overcast day hoping for one last epic trek into the hyperborean hills north of the Empire; they wouldn’t be disappointed. Some of those thrill seekers on hand for the last hurrah were the invincible Carlie Cooper, the saintly Thomas Duke, the refined Dan Holt, the stately Phil Southerland, the ducal-like Reece Latham, the warm-blooded Cory Meza, the gutsy Deborah Potsma, the hardass Sean Philyaw and the erudite Ian Poore. After toasting all our fine sponsors, the group set sail for Lula, a faraway place at the top of a gnarly ridge.

The powerful herd of lusty pedal bangers scudded over the hilly route and hit the Pink Church Final Attack Zone at the 87-mile point, so the riders’ legs had already been run through the pasta press. Taking the right at Alligator Pond at the entrance of the Final Attack Zone and heading up Archer Grove the first time four riders bolted away, but taking the right on Cane Creek with 7 miles to go, the frontrunners blitzed down the slope at 40 miles per hour and ran down the early escapees on the screaming decent of Corkscrew Hill.  

On the steep side of Corkscrew the heavyweights hit the front and unleashed hale’s fury on those behind, but this was not a group of pretenders, this was a powerful pack hunting a win, and over the top of the severe pitch, a large group of 16 ripped off the front. Heading down the fast 3 mile run on Jefferson River Road no one could claw clear, but not from lack of trying as several unsuccessful bids were launched by the aggressors. But taking the final right hand turn at Alligator Pond with 1 mile to go, Ian Garrison sensed an opening and surged with a massive attack. Garrison immediately opened a sizable gap that left the others gasping for air and he rode away to take a masterful solo win, his 2nd WBL win of the year, propelling him into 4th place in the HUB Overall. Behind Garrison, Brendan Cornett continued to impress as he jumped clear to win the field sprint with a spectacular, rapid-fire sprint. Cornett was followed home by Brown, who secured the Overall Win, the impressive young 18-year old gun slinger Seth Callahan, Big Frank Travieso, and the youthful offender Michael Garrison. Callahan and Garrison were also the first two Non Pros across the line once again, followed by the consistent Cole Rasser, Elvys Martinez and David Heath. Sommers Creed dominated the day for the ladies, winning the finale and the intermediate sprint, followed by the determined Deborah Potsma, who also had a fabulastic day.

With his points earned on Lula, Thomas Hitman Brown locked up his record breaking 6th HUB WBL Overall Victory, a total that at present and for the foreseeable future makes him the Warren Buffet of the WBL, that is the majority stockholder in a privately-owned corporation that refuses to go public—he pulls the levers and answers to no one (except his wife). Brown also further secured his seat at the head of the table with yet another Classics win on the Rayle ride, raising his total lifetime to 17, a number which like the summit of Everest, seems like an impossible point to reach. Though records are made to be broken Brown remains in prime form with catlike quickness and a lethal sprint and chances are he’s not done adding to his record-breaking total—are we witnessing history with every win? Is this a total that will never be eclipsed? To answer the question, however, one must consider “The Cuban Problem,” which we’ll do shortly.

The Ladies of the WBL stormed the TOP 10 with Sommers Creed finishing in 2nd and nearly stealing the crown on the last ride. As mentioned above, Creed is a relative newcomer to our sport and her ascension to the top of the leaderboard has been nothing short of sensational.  Proven hammer and sprint boss Judah Sencenbaugh also threatened to take the Overall Victory, winning one stage and finally landing at 5th despite the fact a scheduling glitch forced her to miss the last ride. Emily Cameron, also a relative newbie with an explosive sprint and a steely disposition, finished in 10th place in the Overall, proving she will also be a formidable competitor in the years to come. The Ladies also were well represented by Carlie Cooper, Deborah Potsma, Ansley Long and Caleigh Rasser, all who had outstanding seasons.

Big Frank Travieso won three WBL events in 2019, an amazing feat any season, but especially so this year when a typical ride was beyond brutal. Big Frank won more races in 2018 than a mangy dog has fleas and his sprinting prowess has simply carried over and continued into the 2019 season. Big Frank has a total of 13 lifetime WBL wins and is perhaps the only rider who might catch Brown in the years to come, and the Cuban Missile once again has shown he’s running on high-priced diesel and he’s primed to ruin someone else’s day all day, every day, day in and day out. Travieso and Brown continue to be the doyens of the WBL, the masters at this game, the two senior riders who dominate these rides, two riders you’ll have to somehow find a way to outwit and overpower should you care to win one of these coveted events, a big ask.

But should Brown and Travieso look over their shoulders they might see the young 19-year old upstart Ian Garrison closing quickly. Garrison took 2 wins this year in dominating fashion in addition to winning the Alto City Limit sprint and now is tied with Joey Rosskopf for 9th place in lifetime wins with 4. And because of his youth, Garrison will be one to eyeball as he continues with his career. The other Pro category rider finishing in the Top is the consistent Jered Gutcheck Gruber, who once again shined like a bright light this winter, a diamond even. Gutcheck not only spends long hours at the front, but he also consistently places, earning him 7th in the Final Overall.

In the Non Pro Category, Jackson Gilbert, Cole Rasser and Elvys Martinez all had impressive showings this winter. consistently scoring points in sprints. Gilbert won the first sprint ride of the year and catapulted into the Overall Lead early and held on for several weeks, only succumbing to the intense pressure behind late in the season. 15-year-old Cole Rasser also showed he’s the real deal, finishing 6th Overall and consistently placing in the sprints, especially when the road tilts up. And first year Zealot Elvys Martinez showed with his sprinting ability, he’s one that is following in his mentor’s footsteps (Big Frank) and ultimately will start picking off wins.

Kudos this year also to the young Zealots who had incredible years: Reece Latham, Stephen Heath, Preston Eye and Caleigh Rasser are just a few of the teenagers who not only take part in these arduous events, but who star. Congrats also to Cyril Deseveux, Frank Crumley, Tommy Morrison, Thomas Duke, Huntley Nash, Brendan Cornett, Paul Harkins and John Butler for superlative years.

The WBL continues to offer rides that scratch a certain itch: We cater to those who love to explore the outer limits, to those who push boundaries, who love to spend 5 hours or more in the saddle pushing into terra incognita, who crave the endorphins that don’t start firing until the 4-hour mark. The WBL is also proud to offer a refuge from the storm, a temporary shelter from the incessant noise, a place where folks with a common passion can congregate as brothers and sisters and find space for all, a place where folks of all walks of like, of all beliefs, of all makeups, of all colors, and of all creeds, can get together and hammer out long miles, simply because that’s what makes us happy.

Long live long rides! Long live the WBL!

Finis (Pink Church) (Sponsored by Gruber Images / https://www.gruberimages.pro/index):

  1. Ian Garrison: 15 pts
  2. Brendan Cornett: 12 pts
  3. Thomas Brown: 9 pts.
  4. Set Callahan: 6 pts.
  5. Frank Travieso: 3 pts.
  6. Michael Garrison: 2 pts 
  7. All: 5 pts. 

Ladies Finish (Pink Church / Sponsored Team Type 1 Foundation ( http://teamtype1.org/)

  1. Sommers Creed: 10 pts
  2. Deborah Potsma: 8 pts

Non-Pro Finish (Pink Church):

  1. Seth Callahan: 10 pts.
  2. Michael Garrison: 8 pts
  3. Cole Rasser: 6 pts
  4. Elvys Martinez: 4 pts.
  5. Stephen Heath: 2 pts
  6.  David Callahan: 1 pt.

Ladies Sprint (Moccasin Gap):

  1. Sommers Creed: 5 pts
  2. Deborah Potsma: 4 pts.

Non Pro Sprint (Mocassin Gap):

  1. Michael Garrison: 5 pts
  2. Seth Callahan: 4 pts.
  3. Cole Rasser: 3 pts.
  4.  Dylan Ogle: 2 pts
  5.  Elvys Martinez: 1 pt.

Pro Sprint (Mocassin Gap):

  1. Cory Mesa: 5 pts
  2. Michael Garrison: 4 pts.
  3. Jered Gruber: 3 pts.
  4.  Thomas Brown: 2 pts
  5.  Seth Callahan: 1 pt

The HUB 2019 Final Overall (https://hubbikes.com)

  1. Thomas Brown: 114 pts.
  2. Sommers Creed: 109 pts.
  3. Frank Travieso: 92 pts
  4. Ian Garrison: 88 pts.
  5. Judah Sencenbaugh: 88 pts
  6. Jackson Gilbert: 84 pts.
  7. Cole Rasser: 80 pts.
  8. Gutcheck Gruber: 77 pts.
  9. Elvys Martinez: 65 pts
  10. Emily Cameron: 59 pts.
  11. David Crowe: 59 pts.
  12. Michael Garrison: 58 pts
  13. Seth Callahan: 58 pts
  14. Tommy Morrison: 57 pts.
  15. Brendan Cornett:: 57 pts
  16. Paul Harkins: 57 pts.
  17. Dylan Ogle: 56 pts.
  18. Deborah Potsma: 56 pts
  19. Cyril Deseveux: 53 pts
  20. Frank Crumley: 52 pts
  21. Thomas Duke: 52 pts.
  22. Caleigh Rasser: 49 pts
  23. Reece Latham: 48 pts
  24. Huntley Nash: 48 pts
  25. John Butler: 48 pts

{For complete Overall see "read more" link below]

  • Total Rides: 12
  • Total Miles: 1,030 miles

Read More 


Saturday 2019 Calendar

23 February (Saturday): The Saturday Gruber No Sprint Ride Expolration Serie

Where: The Hub / Independent Baking Company (5 Points / Athens) (https://hubbikes.com) // https://www.facebook.comTota/IndependentBakingCo)

Time: 10 AM (window open) 

Length: tba

Points: none

Interactive map: 

Exit Route: tba
 
Store Stop: tba (Mile -)
 
Pee Break: Mile 20 / @ 1 hour 
 
Intermediate sprints:  none

Final Sprint: None

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OUR 2019 SPONSORS:

Overall Leader sponsored by the HUB Bikes  (https://hubbikes.com)

Ladies Finish Sprint Series sponsored by Team Type 1 Foundation ( http://teamtype1.org/)

Haute Route Asheville (https://www.hauteroute.org/events/overview/asheville-2018)

Jackie Crowell Ladies Sprint Series sponsored by Euro Truck Importers (http://www.eurotruck-importers.com)