Winter Bike League

WBL News: To keep it lively this winter, we will be posting interviews, stories, narratives, asides, essays, tidbits, rumor, fiction, nonfiction, autofiction and other various methods used to lie and falsify. Our first installment, "The Pilgrims' Progress," is posted below and describes a misadventure untertaken to the Blue Ridge Parkway this pasr summer by four intrepid souls. 

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THE PILGRIMS’ PROGRESS 2020

Have you ever seen the

Blue Ridge Mountains boy

Or the Chatahoochee

To the Honeysuckle Blue

Kevin Kinney

CHAPTER 1: THE UNCOLA TOUR 2020

 Nature abhors a vacuum, so the Uncola Tour 2020 rushed in to fill a small space in the enormous void left by Covid-19, slipping quietly onto the calendar and promising its participants a savage, long distance romp through the ancient deciduous forests and steeply sloped gaps of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Flying Frenchman Cyril Deseveux, the Left Leaning German Erik Gruenwedel, the Hillbilly from the Holler Frank Crumley, and the Suave Sophisticate Yours Truly initially planned to travel to Colorado to take part in the epic Double Triple Bypass Bike Ride, a 120 mile bike ride ridden twice—out-and-back—over two days through the high mountains between Evergreen and Avon. And after covering 240 miles over two days and climbing three iconic passes twice, we planned to decamp to Steamboat Springs where we would throw down three 100-mile gravel rides over the course of three days. The Colorado sortie promised to be another top shelf adventure, but alas, Covid-19 thwarted our plans. But while sheltering in place, isolated from the rest of mankind, the weeks started to stack up, a touch of madness set in, and in the crucible of the pandemic, the Uncola Tour was forged.

The Uncola Tour 2020 was slated to be a 4-day voyage, starting and ending in Athens, that would cover over 400 miles and ascend a total of 34,000 feet—if we weren’t going to Colorado the proxy need be a worthy substitute. The 4-day loop headed in a straight line north- by-northeast on Day 1 for 135 miles to Brevard, North Carolina, a raucous start. Crumley, who confirmed he was horse crazy as far back as 2017 when he mapped the cross country course, also charted the Day 1 route, which boasted over 10,000 feet of vertical climbing and was pegged as the Queen Stage—so much for easing into the debacle. The parcours on Day 1 rolled up and down like a stormy sea until Mile 110, where it kicked up for 8 miles to Highway 64 and the ridgeline on which Brevard is situated. On Day 2 the route climbed up into the clouds and onto the Blue Ridge Parkway via the iconic Highway 215 from Rosman, and from there we planned to ride the last 50 miles of the BRP to the southern terminus in Cherokee, where we would seek refuge for the night. Day 2 was only 85 miles in length but we faced two Monster Climbs and 9,500 feet of climbing—comparable to Day 1 but 50 miles less roadway. On Day 3 we would pedal back down into Georgia, tackling two more Monster Climbs, cruising through downtown Highlands, and descending past Sky Valley along the way. After descending into Georgia, we’d pedal around Lake Burton and over to Helen the hilly way, where we planned to bed down for the night. Day 3 would be another day of distress and unease as it tipped the scales at 106 miles with another 10,000 feet of climbing. The final stage, Day 4, would see our triumphant return to Athens on an 80-mile day with only 4,500 feet of climbing, a well-earned reward after three days of toil and tumult. Though the Uncola Tour 2020 would tax our bodies, pedaling through the rippled terrain deep in the backwoods of the Blue Ridge Mountains would be soul food for our psyches, a counterbalance to a bizarre and turbulent year. In fact, as we were readying to leave, Covid-19 was spiking again, and the Black Lives Matter movement continued to gain ground in long strides, leaps and bounds.


2021 Calendar

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The WBL COMETH: 12 stellar rides to lay the foundation for your 2021 season. Our rides start at the Hub at 5 Points in Athens on Saturdays at 10 a.m. (window open). Parking will be available on the side streets in the neighborhoods around the Hub. (Please don’t park at the Hub.) A limited amount of public parking is available at the fire station in 5 Points across Lumpkin. Get ready for the upcoming other season!   

2021 Calendar

(*subject to tweaking due to despicable conditions):    

OUR SPONSORS:

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

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

Non Pro Finish Sprint Sries sponsored by the Heath Family

Jackie Crowell mid-ride ladies sprints sponsored by the Team Type 1 Masters

Sprints sponsored by Nabo Realty and CEO Briggs Carney (naborealty.com)

Sprints sponsored by Boulevard Family Practice / Dr. Bret Magner (Boulevardfamilypractice.com)