Jon Murphy left blisters in the asphalt as he and fellow conspirator John Devine scorched the final 300 meters of the uphill drag to the finish line on the 12 January 2008 www.55nineperformance.com Bowman Blitzer. Devine fastened Murphy to his wheel as the road tilted towards the treetops at the terminus of the Attack Zone, and then dug yaw marks in the pavement as he burned the rubber off his tires. The grupetto was so potent that a large admixture of the strongest sprint bashers and pedal bangers in the southeast, hale the world, had congealed at the front and were still jockeying for position with less than one kilometer to go, hoping their legs might power them to the greatest win of their careers: Slim Tim Henry, Lord Adam Myerson, Nick Jelly Man Reistad, Rob the Don Gianinni, Frank the Missile Travesio, Tony the Blade Scott, Monroe’s Michael Stone, TeamType1’s Alabama Slamma Joe Edridge, and Myogenesis’s Casey Magner were only a few of the big name stars still left in the hunt. But l’enfant terrible of the Attack Zone, Jon the Kid Murphy, proved yet again that the big ring is his bailiwick as he lambasted the sprint with his thunderous thighs and notched his 9th lifetime WBL win, moving him into a tie for first as the all time win leader in this vainglorious organization of free wheeling picaroons, psychopaths, philistines, freebooters, impenitents, and polymaths—from bankers to beggars including everything in between. With at least 10 solid years of torque left in the Kid’s lower limbs, there’s no telling how many wins this dastard of disaster might ultimately rack up.
Four hours earlier, like a swarm of bumblebees to a field of buttercups, a bulging conclave of 80 or so of the most potent peddlers of pain and wonder in this quadrant of the hemisphere signed in as passengers on the Bowman Battleship: Chris Blackmon, Jafer Beizer, Boy Brian Bibens, Travis Hagner, Tom Palmer, Oscar Clarke, Francois Chabot, Cody Hall, Robert Parks, Michael Stone, Joey and Ken Rosskopf, Chris Tavel, Jeff Stewart, Dan Vallancourt, Ryan Wolfe, Greg Turner and daughter Ann, and Bruno Langlois and Friends were a few of the gadabouts, blackguards, big shots, and barflies who stumbled in to the event looking for their daily dose of adventure—they’d come to the right place. The skies were blue, the sun was bearing down on the day, and the Zealots were warmed to the black cores of their baleful beings, especially when they found out that fancy tequila, a certificate for a bike fit, and 100 bucks payola were offered by 55nine front man Edie O’dea as part of the prize package for the day’s ultimate victor. Rumors swirled later that Murphy began to foam at the mouth before the ride when he stroked the bottles of the libidinous liquids and smelled the envelope stuffed fat with the largesse of lucre. Most thought it was the cash that caused Murph to shake and shiver, to stammer and drool, but I know better. It was more than likely the sundry assortment of mind numbing imbibibations. After all, Murphy is ultimately an Irish appellation.
After the usual round of unheeded warnings and unheard soliloquies, the pack shoved off down the road, headed for another lap around Athens, a loop that would take them to gawd only knows where. As I watched the benighted cluster of pedal banging wanderlusters turn the corner and disappear from view, it was apparent that despite the interactive maps, despite the specific text directions, despite the emails, and despite the pre-ride announcements, most of these simpletons, dimwits, dolts, and fools had no idea where they headed. They only knew one thing for sure—it was bound to be an epic and heroic adventure getting there and back. Blind faith is a beautiful thing.
Today JJ Wadkins and Marky -Mark Anderson took the burden of finding the proper route upon their skinny shoulders for the front half of the ride. Despite the fact that U.G.A. prof Scott Thomas had the ride coordinates downloaded into his bicycle computer, the two route finders, proving what women say about men and asking for directions is dead-on correctisimo, ignored the GPS coordinates and decided to blaze their own trail. But sometimes God blesses the benighted: Somehow, even though the two were off the map and headed for Knoxville, Tennessee, Divine Providence stepped in and guided the two helmsmen who were lost at sea to safe harbors. By grace and by grace alone, the Bowman ship had miraculously found its way, like a blind man ascending to the top of Everest. As the songs says, now I’m a beleeber.
At the store stop in Bowman many of the mighty fueled up on M & M’s, Rolaids, Lifesavers, Tums, Tootsie Rolls, Little Debbie’s, Hershey’s Kisses, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, six donuts in a bag, ibuprofen, throat lozenges, Milk Duds, moon pies, bear claws, crème filled éclairs, chocolate filled éclairs, Oreo’s, Nutter Butters, Slim Jims, Red Hots, Bit-O-Honey’s, caramel chews, Toast-chee peanut butter crackers, Yoohoo’s, pickles in a jar, pig’s feet in a jar, hot sausage in a jar, and fried pig sandwiches—all the stuff in life that’s too good to pass up. I call it rocket fuel.
With rocket fuel in their tanks, the Zealots sailed through Bowman (don’t blink) and flew down the flattish sections of the Nickville Road. The pace, hovering at 19.5 miles per hour, ratcheted ever upwards. As the pack crept across the covered Bridge at Watson Mill and then upped the ante back to proper WBL tempo, the average speed now hovered at 20.5 miles per hour, an increase of one mile per hour in less than 20 miles. (Miles 38 to 58.) Blessed are the pack drovers who set a solid tempo—they shall be called children of Carney.
After slowing and plodding across the wide wooden slats on the covered bridge, the group traversed another 15 miles or so of undulating roadway before it reached the slopes of the eastern edge of the Kill Box. In that 15 mile section of pave, the group climbed four or five more precipitous thigh twisters that wrung the stamina right out of a person’s legs, like a mop with a wringer on its head. After the stamina drains, a person’s confidence is quick to follow. But there was no time for fretting because the Attack Zone was at hand. It was time for Bill Boonen to grab what he could and hold on for sweet life. He chose to wrap his hands around the prized family jewels. Looking up at what was waiting, it’s hard to find fault with what he selected.
At the bottom of the onerous incline angling towards the sun and known round the world as the “the Gene Dixon Intermittent Sprint,” the alarm sounded, the Attack Zone opened, pulse beats crescendoed up the scale into the worrisome range, and more than a few whispered Oh shit mama, I might be having a heart attack. There was a sprint line and 25 dollars in cold, hard cash awaiting the fortunate fellow (gender neutral) who was first in line over the top of the hated hill. But after this sprint line, the Zealots could not stop—there would be no rest for the frazzled and bedazzled today. The Attack Zone would remain open so for another 5 grueling miles. The Gene Dixon sprint is one of the much maligned “Sprint within a Sprint©” made famous by the sinister powers that be in the WBL hierarchy. The contenders for the final win would battle it out during this next five mile stretch while sunk knee deep in blood and guts—the battlefield would be littered with bodies.
The strongmen and women in the group ogled each other for five pedal strokes when the whistle blew, but presently Tony the Blade Scott streaked out of the group like a thunderbolt and opened up a sizeable patch of blacktop. But oh dear brethren, the road pitches upwards at a deleterious angle, and t’is an inordinate amount of space to cover to reach the top. Soon the Blade’s quads were swelling with blood and screaming in anger. They were attempting to call a general strike. The Blade, ignoring the rants and raves of his legs, continued onwards and upwards in his summit attempt, but 100 meters from the line it was if he became mired in mud. Frank the Cuban Missile Crisis Travesio, like a lion focusing its killing synergy on a wounded wildebeest, bolted after the Blade. Travesio was immediately followed by Rob the Don Gianinni a.k.a. Teflon Rob. Travesio was standing on his pedals and stomping, shoulders pumping like angry pistons, as he closed on, and skittered past, the Blade. Gianinni, using a different aerodynamic methodology to achieve maximum speed, was bent over his front wheel, chin bolted tight to his handlebars, speeding to the sprint like a sniper’s bullet. Gianinni also caught the tiring Blade, who was now pedaling squares the size of mobile homes, but could not close the gap on the Cuban Missile Crisis, who took the cash, the points, and the glory. The Blade, in an impressive display of bravado, held on for third.
- 1st: Travesio: 5 pts.
- 2nd: Gianinni: 3 pts.
- 3rd: Tony Scott: 1 pt.
After the G.D. intermediate sprint line, the three protagonists had a sizeable gap of twenty-five bike lengths over the front of the chase group, which was now scattered up and down the hill like windblown trash. The Argus-eyed Murphy was cognizant of what could go wrong at this point in his game plan—a break could move away and steal the show, so he moved to the fore of the second group and jumped across to the rear of the front as they began their plunge down to the valley floor. Murphy carried four others who had jumped on his back across the wide open, windblown space. Murphy and Company bridged across the gap in about 4 seconds flat, or the equivalent of five pedal stompages. The triumvirate up front had already decided a wiser course of action would be to try and staunch the river of snot pouring out of their noses before they continued with their drive to the line. It wasn’t as if they had a choice—their hearts were also thumping against their chests like African war drums and gorging all their oxygen in greedy gulps.
As the front seven rolled down the far side of the monster hummock, they all took time to revivify their internal organs by sucking in bucketfuls of air. Descending the downslope, the group grew bigger and bigger as many behind gritted their pearly whites, hunkered down, diggity-dug-down-deep, and reconnected with the front. As the leaders crossed the bottom of the crevasse and once again the road canted upwards, the front group swelled to 30 or so well rounded lunkheads—Homo hammerhadeus. The sine qua non of membership to this exclusive club of blockheads was the ability to clamp down on a frozen bullet and hold firm even if the world was against you.
The next upward ascension is not nearly as irascible as the first, but it stretches itself out for a considerable longer length. Several glory hounds and camera hogs attacked off the front with wicked accelerations on the second hill, but the maleficent alliance among the adamantine headwind, the multiple miles, the hectoring hills, not to mention the atrabilious bullies behind, kept all attackers in check—no one, not yet anyway, could call “checkmate.”
At the top of the second climb the group turned right on Beaverdam, followed by a quick left on Smithonia. The group was flying now—thirty lads stretched thin like piano wire into a single file line. The grupetto hit the base of the Mur de Winterville and no one had managed to break free from the tightly bound ties that bound this group together. A few last ditch efforts up the Mur ended in miserable failure, and taking the last right hand turn onto Melton Road only one mile from the line, it was apparent the strongest sprinter in the bunch who would rule this roost this day.
As the group turned right and headed down the runway one kilometer from the line, J. Fetty reported that it felt like the pack was a spring loaded trigger—something soon would give. The wannabees congregated at the front while Crowe, the big dummy, wasted all his precious breath screaming “Yellow!-Yellow!-Yellow!” although several offenders—Canooks and Hot Tubers—claimed not to be conversant in English. I tried to learn em sumpin after the ride but thay sure as hale don’t know Gaelic. So instead, we just kicked their arses.
Beginning the last 600 meters it was apparent that Hell hath no fury like that of a wily bastard sprinter who’s vying for a WBL win. The front of the group was shoving and jousting and knocking and nudging. Elbows, shoulders, knees, and heads were bouncing and bobbing at all sorts of malicious angles. An impressive litany of curses was shouted in a symphony of languages. Cursing makes a person sound refined when it can’t be understood.
400 meters from paydirt, again it was the Blade Tony Scott throwing caution to the wind and pushing all his chips into the pot. After all, the WBL is winner-take-all. The Blade launched with a ferocious kick and once again created a sizeable gap. But just like the wheel of time, history repeated itself. John Devine, a.k.a. the Divinator, with the Murph in tow, blasted up the hill like a fighter jet. The wind shears in his wake bent the trees away from the road; wild animals fled in terror; nearby creeks altered their direction; and the earth wobbled on its axis. The vacuum behind the Divinator was so dynamic that the Murph had to feather his brakes to keep from running afoul of Devine’s backside. But the Murph almost started the party too soon—behind him, Giannini and Travesio were closing like an avalanche. But Murphy tamped down on his pedals for all of two revolutions and held the Don off by a day old whisker. The Cuban Missile Crisis steamed across the line less than a second in arrears, with Jafer Beizer claimng 4th, and the irrepressible Matt Schectman in 5th. Boy Brian Bibens came across 23 seconds later in “almost 5th” (New category) and was awarded 1 point for his effort.
On the women’s side of the ledger Kirsten Davis showed her unmatched strength and her unparralled magnanimity as she won the women’s sprint. Kari Bradley held on for 2nd, followed by Wisconsin’s finest Madeline Puissant in 3rd, and Kim Potter in 4th.
The final tally was 92 miles and over 5,000 feet of climbing at an average speed of 20.5 miles per hour. It was another helluva day in the WBL. Immediately after his Bowman victory, Murphy formed a large corporation to manage the 12.3 million dollars worth of cash and prizes he has swiped as a result of not only his wins, but his huge endorsement contracts with the Irish porn industry. His staff is pictured in the photo above. All those above, with the exception of sag man Adam Hanson, have been offered minor roles in his upcoming production of The Red Headed Leprechaun. Hanson has been cast alongside Murphy as his sidekick, Hobgoblin, the Leprechaun’s best friend, and the one he turns to in times of trouble. Because of the triple x rating, the movie will only be released in Amsterdam, Finland, California, France, and Commerce. DVD’s may be purchased at all the upcoming rides.
- Murphy: 10 pts.
- K. Davis: 5 pts.
- Giannini: 8 pts.
- K. Bradley: 3 pts.
- Travesio: 6 pts.
- M. Puissant: 1 pt.
- J. Beizer: 4 pts.
- M. Schectman: 2 pts.
- Almost 5th: Bibens: 1 pt