Read More

WBL # 7: The First American Bank Jackson County Spectacular (15 Jan)

The most dominant rider in WBL history continued to stamp his seal on the 2022 season and further cement his legacy as the Cuban Missile Frank Travieso stormed to his 3rd win in a row over a powerful 10-person breakaway in the challenging 80-mile affair. But the Missile’s victory didn’t come without a few bruises and a bareknuckle brawl as both Oliver Flatline Flautt and Andy the Blade Scarano launched dangerous bids for glory with the Blade’s near-decisive foray off the front falling short by only a few paltry meters. Reigning Unbound Gravel champ and veteran Zealot Lauren De Crescenzo’s massive strength was also on display as she won the day for the Ladies, followed closely by the always impressive Ms. Consistent Sommers Creed, who now sits in 2nd in the HUB Overall behind 1st place Big Frank, who appears to be sailing away.

In the days leading up to the Jackson County Spectacular a wicked winter storm swept across the country and barreled straight towards Saturday. But the Zealots saw an opportunity to squeeze the WBL ride in just before the storm’s curtain dropped and spewed snow and ice over the northern half of the Emporium, so they rolled the dice, consulted an oracle, threw caution to the wind, rubbed a rabbit’s foot for luck, and headed out into the freezing gray gloom. To tempt fate even further, the Zealots plunged due north into Jackson and Franklin Counties and towards the eyeteeth of the storm, to slightly higher elevations and hillier terrain, colder temps and stronger winds, and mean-ass dogs that love to give chase. So the 50 Zealots who did sign in for the cold day of pedaling were not only riverboat gamblers willing to take a chance and spin the wheel, but also holy fools who believe there is no greater happiness than that found in suffering during the sacred Saturday ritual. Some of the risk-takers signing in for the day of cold weather pedaling included the aforementioned gravel Queen De Crescenzo and Flautt, Seattle’s best John Boy Butler, Natty Champ Dunn, Luke Little Hammer Harris, Princess Leia Genis, Zensational Sophia Zents, Candace Zippy Zipf, Brock Star Mason and old compadre the Greenville Gunslinger Andy Baker. The group of holy fools rolled down Milledge Avenue, momentarily mixing in with the UGA parade traffic, before cutting down secret back alleys and bolting out of town.  

The bundled-up group shot north like a fired arrow, straight and swift, huddling tightly and cruising quickly in an effort to fight the biting chill. The sun was buried beneath a thick layer of freezing gray clouds and not a single sundrop would reach the ground all day, so the group welcomed the abundant hills they climbed throughout the bumpy ride because they allowed the Zealots to work hard and burn their furnaces at a higher temp. The first Jackie Crowell Sprint of the year took place on the cruel 400-meter uphill slope on South Apple Valley and De Crescenzo managed to pull clear of Creed by a cat’s whisker at the line, followed closely by a strong looking Walton, the dangerous Cooper and the impressive Genis. The Non Pro/40+ sprint took place 4 short miles later on the vicious and hated Jefferson Riviera Hill Sprint, an iconic WBL hill-jam only 4 miles from the Final Attack Zone. After crossing the bridge at the bottom of the climb, high school prodigy Reece Lightning Streak Latham attacked as if he’d been shot out of a cannon. Latham opened up a sizeable gap and didn’t slow as he hit the steep upper section of the hill and won the sprint with room to spare over Travieso, the always present Ruhe, the impressive Luke Harris, and a strong-looking Snyder. After the gagging group regrouped at the top, they beelined down J River Road to the most savage Final Attack Zone of the year, the terrifying Pink Church Loop, an 8-mile circuit that bites so hard it has caused some cyclists to sell their bikes as soon as they reached home.

When the group turned right at Alligator Pond and hit the Final Attack Zone, after a few seconds of eyeballing one another like gunfighters looking for an opening, De Crescenzo made the first move, moving away quickly on the 1-mile uphill run to the first crossing of Pink Church Line. She moved clear by 100 meters and held her advantage for sixty seconds until Flautt surged and flew up the hill and caught and passed LCD and kept going. Flautt crossed the Pink Church line, winning the intermediate sprint, took the right turn after the church and screamed down Cane Creek Road in a supertuck. Behind the group was spread thin and in furious pursuit with the Cobra Cornett in-between and closing quickly on the tight, snaky decent. The narrow descent forces cyclists to ride single file and on the following twelve percent Corkscrew Hill, a spread-thin, oxygen-starved, formidable lead group of ten formed and fell quickly into a rotating paceline over the crest and pulled away. Brown, Morrison, Ruhe, Flautt, Travieso, Scarano, Gilbert, Mason, Cornett and Snyder made up the break and provided enough horsepower to charge a rocket ship to the moon,

The group rotated with the beauty and precision of a Swiss watch as they barreled 3 miles down J River Road and back to Alligator Pond, opening up a minute gap on the group behind. After the final right at the Pond 1 mile from the finish, the ten escapees rode tempo as they climbed the lower slope, but 700 meters from paydirt, Scarano pushed all his chips into the pot and headed out into the wild blue yonder. Blade quickly opened up a sizeable section of blacktop, causing panic behind after a moment’s hesitation.  The group surged in a violent response and splintered into ones and twos but all the while the Blade kept his head down and continued to power ahead. The Blade roared towards the line, straining with all his might, veins bulging like rubber hoses in his neck, eyeballs bulging, yearning and burning for the cup (nod to Cake), and with 200 meters to go looked on the cusp of an extraordinary win. Behind, Travieso and Mason pulled clear and the Missile fired one last shot and stood and stomped with all the passion and with the fury of a man who refuses to lose and with spittle flying and spraying and knees pumping and elbows flapping passed the Blade just as he was preparing to throw his arms in the air and start weeping copious tears. The Blade held on for a fantastic 2nd place with Brock Star Mason crushing his pedals for 3rd, followed by the Cobra Cornett and a still-flying Flautt. Kudos to all who made this hard-person’s front group. Lauren Gravel Queen De Crescenzo powered away in the Final Attack Zone in an impressive display of next level strength followed by Creed, who soloed in for 2nd, and the always-present Carly Cooper, who rolled over in 3rd. Iron ladies Walton and Genis rounded out the podium and congrats to all the young and super-young ladies who took on this ride. Shoutouts also for Tremendous True Grit Rides from Snyder, Deseveux, Harris, Grainy, Gilbert, Morrison, Zents and Zipf, And Congrats to All who finished this day. As a result of the less than favorable conditions, Carney has elected to give 1 Foul Weather Point to all.

In the HUB Overall, Travieso has jumped away to a huge lead due not only to his dominant display this winter, but also the fact the because he is 40 he can score double points: Carney refuses to penalize someone for staying fit as the person ages (although with Frank we did change the rules previously a bit). Sommers Creed sits comfortably in 2nd, followed by Ruhe, Gilbert, Cornett, Snyder, Cooper, Scarano, Latham and Jones all tightly lumped. It’s the middle of sprint season and there’s drama aplenty in the WBL.

Pro Finish (sponsored by First American Bank):

  1. Frank Travieso: 10 pts.
  2. Andy Scarano: 8 pts.
  3. Brock Mason:.6 pts.
  4. Brendan Cornett: 4 pts.
  5. Oliver Flautt: 2 pts
  6. Mitchell Snyder: 1 pts
  7. All: 5 pts. (4 + 1 Foul Weather point)

Ladies Finish (sponsored by Team Type 1):

  1. Lauren de Crescenzo: 5 pts.
  2. Sommers Creed: 4 pts.
  3. Carly Cooper:.3 pts.
  4. Leia Genis 2 pts.
  5. Dana Walton: 1 pts

Non Pro/40+ Finish:

  1. Frank Travieso: 5 pts
  2. Mitchell Snyder: 4 pts
  3. Jackson Gilbert: 3 pts.
  4. Michael Sanders: 2 pts
  5. Julien Ruhe: 1 pt.
  6. Cyril Deseveux: 1 pt.

Ladies Jackie Crowell Apple Valley Hill Jam:

  1. Lauren de Crescenzo: 5 pts.
  2. Sommers Creed: 4 pts.
  3. Dana Walton:.3 pts.
  4. Carly Cooper: 2 pts.
  5. Leia Genis: 1 pts

Non Pro Yo Simpson J Riviera Hill Jam:

  1. Reece Latham: 5 pts.
  2. Frank Travieso: 4 pts.
  3. Julien Ruhe:.3 pts.
  4. Luke Harris: 2 pts.
  5. Mitchell Snyder: 1 pts

Pro Yo Simpson Pink Church Sprint (sponsored by Team Type 1):

  1. Oliver Flautt: 5 pts.
  2. Frank Travieso: 4 pts.
  3. Mitchell Snyder.3 pts.
  4. Michael Sanders: 2 pts.
  5. Thomas Brown: 1 pts .

WBL # 6: The Classic City Bakeries Bowman Extravaganza (8 Jan 2022) 

The Cuban Missile Frank Travieso stormed to his 2nd win in as many tries as he edged Ian Garrison and Brendan Cornett for the win on the blustery 90-mile day. The three were part of a 10-person lead group that had ripped clear in the Final Attack Zone as a result of a violent surge by Andy the Blade Scarano, who finished 4th on the day. For the Ladies, first-timer Brittany Paffney grabbed the win and showed she will be a force to reckon with in the weeks ahead.  

Rather than the 70-degree days the Zealots have been blessed / cursed with the past few weeks, this past Saturday’s ride started in more typical winter weather: The sun was shining bright in a cloudless sky on a 30-degree day with mild winds that sometimes whipped. Today’s route plunged into the eastern wilderness again, but this time driving even deeper into the region, crossing the Broad River at the Watson Mill Covered Bridge and cutting through Bowman and the deeps of Elbert County before arcing back through a maze of narrow backroads that not even Frodo could navigate with the best of maps and a magic ring. The route crossed back over the wide banks of the Broad via Wildcat Bridge Road before skirting the edge of Danielsville in Madison County and heading to another series of hidden byways on the way back to the home holler, climbing over 5,000 feet along the way.

Conditions were the toughest at takeoff, so only 50 hardcore souls signed in for what was guaranteed to be a day devoted to effort, including a gang of first-timers, all ladies, who looked suspiciously strong and maliciously fit, as in they might like to dole out pain. In addition to Paffney, Ali Lecraw, Leia Genis, Amanda Smith and Paige Redmond were all other first-timers who could be found pedaling easily in the pack as it rolled to Bowman. The ladies seemed to know Carly Cooper and Dana Walton, which raises further suspicions about the whole clan. Others gunslingers in town with a ticket to ride were Conastar, Natty D, Josh Smith, C Deseveux, Crumley,JK Jones and G Baynes, each proving their hearts are hard like stone.  

At the 72-mile mark, the group hit the taxing Erastus Church-Seagraves 9-mile Final Attack Zone, but it wasn’t until the group turned onto Seagraves Mill Road with 7 miles to go that the fireworks started. A critical pinch point in this Attack Zone is the lefthand turn onto Seagraves, which begins with a long up hill drag coming after a slow turn, and a seasoned veteran like the Scarano knows this is the precise spot to stick in the knife. The Blade kicked so violently the line of riders immediately stretched thin and snapped in twain at about a dozen spots. At the front, nine others clung to Scarano’s wheel by their teeth. Once the group established a 200-meter gap, even though chockful of youth, the leaders knew to fall into formation and rotate efficiently, and with strong crosswinds blowing, the group quickly moved away. The other cycling savants in this front group included 16-year-old Julien Ruhe, 17-year-old Jonas Walton, Mitchell Snyder, Jackson Gilbert and Tommy Morrison. It was a powerful lead group that was rolling like a freight train to the line.

The group rolled up Seagraves Hill as one and took the right on Nowhere Road with 3 miles to go as a unit. Behind, a group of 10 continued to make a valiant chase and managed to maintain a 30 second gap but could not close the space, the group up front was working to well. With 1 mile to go, on the last short but steep pitch, the attacks flew and the front group splintered on the approach. At the point of the spear, Scarano, Cornett, Garrison and Travieso puled clear and charged to the line. Cornett jumped first with 250 meters to go and briefly pulled clear but the Cuban Missile ran him down with a furious kick and passed the Cobra and scored a brilliant win, his 19th lifetime in the WBL, another record every time he crosses first. Behind, Garrison pinched Cornett by a thin lie, while Scarano, the instigator to this entire tumultuous affair, blitzed over in 4th. First-timer and 17-year-old Jonas Walton and wily vet Mitchell Snyder rounded out the Top 5 with impressive rides, not to mention young Julien Ruhe and seasoned WBL riders Tommy Morrison and Jackson Gilbert, who made the front group, worked hard in the rotation and contributed to its success. On the Ladies side of the ledger, Paffney’s supreme effort earned her the win but close behind and rounding out the podium and also proving our initial suspicions correct were Ali Lecraw, Leia Genis, Dana Walton, Carly Cooper, Amanda Smith and Paige Redmond. Kudos to all the Ladies and to everyone else who finished this tough course in less than perfect conditions, it was a helluva ride.

In the HUB Overall, sickness and travel of some opened opportunities for others and with his win and double-points, Travieso leapt into the lead with 42 points. Even though both were absent, two ladies, Creed and Ryan, still hold 2nd and 3rd while Jason K Jones, who is being considered for MVP, sits slyly in 4th. The Cobra Cornett holds down 5th and Carlie Cooper, Crumley, Reece Latham and Tommy Morrison round out the TOP 10. Things are wide open in the WBL.

Pro Finish (sponsored by Classic City Bakeries) (https://www.classiccitybakeries.com):

  1. Frank Travieso: 10 pts.
  2. Ian Garrison: 8 pts.
  3. Brendan Cornett:.6 pts.
  4. Andy Scarano: 4 pts.
  5. Jonas Walton: 2 pts
  6. Mitchell Snyder: 1 pts
  7. Tommy Mrrison: 1 pt
  8. All: 5 pts.

Ladies Finish (sponsored by Team Type 1):

  1. Brittany Paffney: 5 pts.
  2. Ali Lecraw: 4 pts.
  3. Leia Genis:.3 pts.
  4. Dana Walton: 2 pts.
  5. Carly Cooper: 1 pts
  6. Amanda Smith: 1 pt
  7. Paige Redmond: 1 pt.

Non Pro Finish:

  1. Frank Travieso: 5 pts.
  2. Mitchell Snyder: 4 pts.
  3. Jonas Walton:.3 pts.
  4. Jackson Gilbert: 2 pts.
  5. Julien Ruhe: 1 pts
  6. Paul Harkins: 1 pt.
  7. Luke Harris: 1 pt.

  WBL 2022 HUB Overall (after 6 rides)

  1. Frank Travieso: 42 pts.
  2. Sommers Creed: 31 pts.
  3. Alexis Ryan: 29 pts
  4. Jason K Jones: 28 pts
  5. Brendan Cornett: 27 pts.
  6. Jackson Gilbert: 26 pts..
  7. Carlie Cooper: 25 pts
  8. Frank Crumley: 24 pts.
  9. Reece Latham: 24 pts.
  10. Tommy Morrison: 24 pts..
  11. John Martin: 24 pts.
  12. Gatewood Baynes: 24 pts.
  13. Julien Ruhe: 23 pts.
  14. Mitchell Snyder: 22 pts
  15. Paul Harkins: 21 pts.
  16. Andy Scarano: 20 pts
  17. Ty Magner: 19 pts..
  18. Dana Walton: 18 pts.
  19. Ian Garrison: 17 pts.
  20. Cyril Deseveux: 17 pts.
  21. Thomas Brown: 16 pts
  22. Brandon Grainy: 16 pts
  23. Josh Smith: 16 pts. .
  24. Charlie Carabello: 15 pts
  25. Emily Cameron: 15 pts.
  26. Matt Tunis: 15 pts.
  27. Jessica Knight: 14 pts
  28. Robert Conastar: 13 pts.
  29. Anthony Pruitt: 13 pts.
  30. Dylan Ogle: 12 pts.
  31. Thomas Duke: 11 pts..
  32. Owen Schnakenberg: 10 pts
  33. Jonas Walton: 10 pts.
  34. Luke Harris: 10 pts.
  35. Brittany Paffney: 10 pts
  36. Rachel Doxey: 10 pts.

WBL # 5: The Cappy’s Custom Cabinets New Year’s Day Romp (1 Jan)

The following day on the second event of the weekend Frank the Cuban Missile Travieso scored his 18th lifetime win in the WBL and became the lone record holder, one ahead of Thomas Hit Man Brown. Travieso’s win didn’t come easy though as the pack was pulverized by an unexpected driving rain ten miles from the Final Attack Zone, soaking the Zealots and reducing visibility to spitting distance. But the Missile has raced and ridden in all sorts of conditions and he used his savvy, cunning and dastardly top-shelf sprint speed to score the win over a waterlogged lead group reduced to eight drenched souls. But even though the day ended in a driving deluge, when the group rolled out of the HUB parking lot three hours earlier, the day held promises of golden sunshine and sugar plum fairies.

The same 30 hardcore blue collar pedal bangers signed in for the New Year’s Day Debacle, guaranteeing themselves good luck for the year and better than even odds to win the Powerball lottery later that night. Among the favored sons and daughters signing in for Cappy’s New Year’s Day event was Bam Bam Cornett, Carlie Coop Cooper, Jason Hammertime Crosby, Brandon the Dicer Grainy, the Commerce Comedian Paul Harkins, Seattle’s finest John Boy Butler, Jessica Dark Knight and HUB Overall Leader Alexis Rampage Ryan. Though those present knew a battering storm would roll through later in the night, Doppler radar indicated dry skies until late afternoon, a faulty supposition which unraveled around noon.

The group pedaled south and sunshine, blue skies and 70-degree temps greeted them in Oconee County, leading all to believe the sugar plum fairies would start dancing soon. But instead, two hours into the 60-mile day, a rolling bank of black clouds tumbled in and quickly covered the sky, an ominous portent that something wicked this way comes. 10 miles from the Flatrock Road Final Attack Zone, the other shoe dropped and what was at first a slow drip turned into a pulverizing spray. The rain not only battered the Zealots from above, but the splatter and spray from the road was blinding, making drafting impossible. And though it was a balmy 65 degrees, the pack drovers pushed the pace to stay warm, so when the whistle blew and the group hit the Final Attack Zone, they had been tithed and taxed, scattered and smothered, covered and chunked, and as if to prove some sort of point that remains unclear, it started raining even harder.

When the group hit the Flatrock Road Final Attack Zone, a 6-mile undulating stretch of deceptively difficult roadway, rather than launch a lung searing attack, Magner, Morrison, Cornett and Company went to the front and set a tempo that discouraged forays off the front. The lead group motored up Wire Bridge and flew down the fast, flowy Oliver Bridge as the rain blew sideways and dozens of rooster tails shot ten feet in the air. The last 2 miles on Flatrock Road are the crux of the biscuit in this Attack Zone and favor a rouler—the road is rough and bumpy and slopes uphill the entire way, making it impossible to gain forward momentum. As the group powered up the steep initial pitch on Flatrock Road, nine of the strongest ripped clear: Travieso, Ruhe, Creed, Jones, Schnakenberg, Morrison, Magner, Cornett and Reece Lightning Streak Latham, who sensed an opening and launched his own lethal attack. But after a hard surge the strong group gobbled him up 1 mile from the line and just kept going. When the slightly uphill finish came into view Big Frank unleased his world class thunder sprint and blasted away and young buck 16-year old Julien the Ruler Ruhe was the only one with the strength to latch onto Big Frank’s wheel. The two pulled clear by several meters and finished one-two with the young tyro Ruhe showing impressive strength beyond his tender years. Sommers Creed showed Superwoman strength and hammered across for 3rd, while Mr. Jason K Jones and the young teenage stallion Owen Schnakenberg rode brilliantly to round out the podium. Kudos to all for a helluva ride and a Foul Weather Point to all.

With her powerful ride the consistent Creed has moved into the HUB Overall Lead and will be a force in the weeks to come. But Alexis Ryan is nipping at her heels and either of these two strong ladies are capable of taking the throne. Following in 3rd and 4th are the young assassin Julien Ruhe, who showed he is a legitimate threat, and Jason K Jones, who earned the True Grit Award with his tough-as-cow-hide ride. Another eight are tied for 5th and with the Pros sprinting in the weeks to come, look out for all hale to break loose in the WBL.

Cappy’s Custom Cabinnets Finish:

  1. Frank Travieso: 10 pts.
  2. Julien Ruhe: 8 pts.
  3. Sommers Creed:.6 pts.
  4. Jason K Jones: 4 pts.
  5. Owen Schnakenberg: 2 pts
  6. All: Foul Weather: 1 pt.

  WBL 2022 HUB Overall (after 5 events)

  1. Sommers Creed: 31 pts.
  2. Alexis Ryan: 29 pts.
  3. Julien Ruhe: 23 pts.
  4. Jason K Jones: 23 pts
  5. Frank Crumley: 19 pts.
  6. Reece Latham: 19 pts.
  7. Ty Magner: 19 pts.
  8. Jackson Gilbert: 19 pts.
  9. Carlie Cooper: 19 pts.
  10. Tommy Morrison: 19 pts..
  11. Gatewood Baynes: 19 pts.
  12. John Martin: 19 pts.
  13. Frank Travieso: 17 pts.
  14. Brendan Cornett: 16 pts.
  15. Thomas Brown: 16 pts
  16. Charlie Carabello: 15 pts
  17. Paul Harkins: 15 pts.
  18. Emily Cameron: 15 pts.
  19. Matt Tunis: 15 pts.
  20. Jessica Knight: 14 pts
  21. Cyril Deseveux: 12 pts.
  22. Dylan Ogle: 12 pts.
  23. Josh Smith: 12 pts.
  24. Mitchell Snyder: 12 pts.
  25. Dana Walton: 12 pts.
  26. Thomas Duke: 11 pts.
  27. Andy Scarano: 11 pts.
  28. Brandon Grainy: 11 pts
  29. Owen Schnakenberg: 10 pts

WBL # 4: The Nabo Property Management Ladies Day Last Day Stampede (Last Day 2021)

Euro-sprinter extraordinaire Alexis Rampage Ryan sprinted to her first WBL win with a spectacular display of strength, stamina, skill and speed on the opening sprint ride of the other season and not only etched her name in the Big Book of Records, thus guaranteeing a lifetime supply of fame, fortune and fast cars, but she also moved to the top of the dunghill in the HUB Overall with 25 points. Emily Car Crusher Cameron was the best of the rest, finishing a close 2nd in the sprint with a powerful mule-kick, which pushed her into a tie for 3rd in the HUB Overall Standings. And with her impressive 3rd place finish, the steady and consistent Sommers Boot Stomp Creed sits only 4 points behind Ryan in the Overall, not to mention she and Cameron were seen whispering after the ride in the parking lot, more than likely planning Ryan’s overthrow in a palace coup.         

The morning dawned with damp roads and overcast skies after a summer-type storm blew through in the days before, even though we sit on the precipice of winter. But even after the front blew through the temps remained mild and when a weather window opened a bevy of fast-twitch ladies looking for an excuse to unleash the kraken and terrorize the male populace signed in. Some of the 30 or so male Zealots whose knees were knocking at the sight of the powerful gaggle of she-devils were Thomas Duke of Earl, Tommy Plato Morrison, old friend John Boy Butler, Andy the Blade Scarano, the Emperor Ty Magner, Frank the Missile Travesio, Brandon the Dicer Grainy, John Longlocks Martin, Tank Crumley and Matt North Coast Tunis. In fact, Brad Running Man Frinks was so alarmed at the assemblage of radical females he called 911. “What’s the problem, sir?” “Ladies on the loose!” Frinks yelped.

The group punched into the northern quadrant of the Emporium via the uphill pitch on Nowhere Road and pushed into the southern section of Jackson County before bending back for home on the 3-hour, 55-mile day. Though the rains held, the gray and black clouds continued to stream overhead, and except for brief snippets, blotted out all vestiges of the sun. But this hardcore group of year’s-end pedal warriors kept their noses pressed to their handlebars and the pack drovers guided the group over this hilly terrain and to the first Attack Zone of the year, the always difficult Pink Church sprint, a 1-mile uphill, rip-your-eyeballs-out slog to the line. When the ladies hit the steep lower slopes of the Pink Church finish, Carlie Cooper set the early pace, not an all-out blitzkrieg, but a testing tempo to see who could respond. But 500 meters from paydirt the crystal cracked when Car Crusher Cameron erupted with a seismic blast that would have measured a 7 on the Richter Scale. She immediately caused the asphalt to crack as she ripped opened a 20-meter gap and furiously pedaled to get away. But Rampaging Ryan reacted like a top gun fighter pilot and hammered across to Car Crusher with a gut-wrenching dig. Behind each lady was in her own private Hale, legs swelling with lactic acid and fighting to the line. Ryan jumped Cameron with 200 meters to go and took a thrilling win in less than ideal conditions, placing herself in prime position for the HUB Overall win.

Nabo Property Finish (rentnabo.com):

 

  1. Alexis Ryan: 10 pts.
  2. Emily Cameron: 8 pts.
  3. Sommers Creed:.6 pts.
  4. Carlie Cooper: 4 pts.
  5. Jessica Knight: 2 pts
  6. Anastatia Shilova: 1 pt.

WBL # 3: The Gruber Images Covered Bridge Romp (19 Dec 2021)

Sunday cycling was back on the menu for WBL # 3 as wind and rain once again swept through the Classic City on Saturday, leaving in its wake a wet, rinsed-down blacktop, dark, worrisome clouds, and amped-up Zealots greedy for miles before the Christmas break. The 3rd ride of the other season plunged into the eastern quadrant of the Emporium, a section comprising mostly Oglethorpe, Madison and Elbert Counties, a wild, savage an untamed region of unspoiled countryside where explorers are often lost and never seen again. These eastern counties are even further away from the all-devouring concrete beast called Atlanta and are large and sparsely populated; yet this section of Georgia possesses a prodigious network of rural roads that cobweb and fork hither and yonder, and split off and branch at odd angles, allowing unlimited opportunities for discovery and amazement. The roads in these eastern counties also cross over a vast number of rivers and streams that snake, bend and wiggle, including the mighty Broad River which flows in a jagged stitch from the northwest to the southeast and which can only be crossed at a few select spots. The WBL boasts on its website that only seven Zealots have been lost in this vast eastern wilderness over the years and of those, three were found weeks later, one is feared drowned, two others were captured by locals, and the last (Mike Edmonds) is rumored to have taken up with an itinerant band of Irish Travelers and now goes by the name Sweety O’Sullivan and runs some sort of home repair rip-off in Beaufort, South Carolina, but let’s not print rumor.

The weather Sunday morning still looked miserable and wet despite the forecast predicting otherwise so the start was mercifully pushed back to 11 AM, and though the skies were dry at takeoff, they looked like problem children on the verge of a meltdown, not to mention the blacktop was wet with puddles still standing in places. The conditions meant the 30 who signed in for the affair were hardcore, blue-collar bruisers looking for a fight. The Mogul Dylan Ogle, the Lake Oconee Dirt King Gatewood Baynes, the Dean of Sheen Jason K Jones, Saint Elizah Hughes, the Emperor Ty Magner, Bam Bam Cornett, Tank Crumley, 17, Congressman Matt Tunis, Thom Leonard Davinci and Dana Storm Trooper Walton were just a few of the dignitaries on hand for the potential wet slog to Paoli Junction. Instead, the Pedaling Pilgrims were rewarded and after 10 miles the roads dried, the temps warmed, and the sun begin to find a crack or two. Many were in short sleeves burnishing their cycling their tan lines by the end of the ride.

The group barreled through Beaverdamn and Smithonia Community and by the restored two-story red brick barns, crept over the historic Watson Mill Covered Bridge, crossed a tributary of the Broad and rode beside it for a bit too, on what turned into a gorgeous Gold Star December day. The group averaged a steady 21 mph thanks to the usual Pack Drovers who churned and burned at the front, constantly keeping the furnace stoked with a steady supply of coal. In a rarity that caused newspapers across the globe the cry “FOUL,” the WBL awarded the pack a Foul Weather point on a Gold Star Day, which is only awarded on spectacularly sunny days. CEO of the WBL Briggs Carney was not available to comment despite repeated requests to do so and some social media posts claim he’s been bribed, but we remind the faithful reader, we don’t report rumor. As two Sprint Rides approach in two days in two weeks, about a dozen riders share co-lead with a total of 12 points including Baynes, Snyder, J Smith, Crumley, Deseveuex, Brown, Cornett, while Superstar Sommers Creed, Alexis the Sweeper Ryan, Dana Storm Trooper Walton, General Jackson Gilbert and Reece Lightning Streak Latham look poised to take the helm. Stay tuned for further action and adventure, intrigue and suspense, drama and comedy, all while pedaling a bike.

WBL # 2: The Team Type 1 Maysville Classic (12 Dec 2021)

This past Saturday’s scattered splatter caused the WBL to reschedule Ride # 2 to Sunday. “Outside church,” it was called, “a day of suffering where penance is obtained through pedaling, privation and punishment.” On the second ride of the other season the grupetto would sally into the hilly hinterland to the north, the bumpy, snaky, rural and rough* backroads of Jackson County. As opposed to the gentle hills and rolling pastureland covered with cows, cotton and acres of pines the group experienced on Week 1, this section of the Georgia Piedmont boasts short, sharp hills that bite and rural communities and towns carved out in the middle of vast expanses of hardwoods, though green conifers are still prevalent in places. In the winter the pack spends a lot of time sailing through treelined hollers with barren branches and brown leaves piled high on the edge, though a smattering of burnt red and yellow leaves still dangle from a few limbs. Riding these roads in cold and brown December is a different experience than riding them during the summer when all around is green and the blacktop sizzling. “BOOOOOOOO-RRIIIIIIIIIIIIIING!” the Commerce Comedian Paul Harkins shouted from the assembled riders as I waxed poetically about bosky woodlands. Without even an adieu, the roulette wheel spun and the group rolled off and powered down fraternity row on Milledge Avenue, headed for yet another Sunday cycling misadventure.

50 Zealots signed in for the Sunday’s trek to Maysville (pop, 1800) including old friends the Lake Oconee Gambler Gatewood Baynes, the Doctor of Motion Maria Carrelli, Wesley on the Shelf Elford, Abby the Crusher Hobbs, the Florida Cross Boy Biron Keefer, the Doctor of Love Jason K Jones, Reece Lightning Streak Latham, Jessie Notdan Merino, Thomas the Oracle Morrison, Joey Rallycap Rosskopf, George Brutus Schramm and Josh the Boss Smith. A few new friends also joined in Sunday’s special service including Ryan Go Fish, Better than Ezra Caudell, Dale Tall Tale Patterson, Amelia Island Hicks and Cirilo Pad Benscome. The group spent the day ripping around in bright sunshine as a result of the Sunday shift, and though a slight bone chill was felt when departing 5 Points, the cloudless sky allowed one’s core to warm quickly and jackets were shed early in the day, meaning this ride had taken on the tone of a business meeting and not a casual afternoon layabout. Of course, most knew that coming in.

The pack drovers—T Brown, Cornett, Crumley, Harkins and others—set a solid tempo as the pack cruised over a route that was rarely flat. Instead the road tilted up or down, sometimes at angles so hateful that they caused Mitchell Snyder to actually curse the day Dylan Ogle was born, which he had only ever done once before. And neither are the roads straight in this region, the foothills of the ancient Appalachian Mountains. Instead, in order to navigate whatever bulge is protruding up from the earth, the roads twist, turn, dive, circumnavigate and bend, and towing a pack around requires a degree of expertise only attained by a grandmaster in the craft. If this were Economics as a field of study, the pack drovers would all hold a Ph.D and would be named to endowed faculty chairs at leading universities. While the WBL recognizes the pay of a tenured professor may be better, the prestige of being a pack drover far outshines something as superfluous as hundreds of thousands of dollars. Pack drovers would rather sleep in vans and pull the group around, just ask Crumley and Cornett. In fact, in order to save expenses, they’re both living in shared VW Van.

The group crossed beyond the pale when it rode over I-85 on the way to Maysville, weaved down Grove Level Church Road and turned by the Atlanta Dragway, zipped down the middle of Commerce parallel to the railroad tracks, zigged here and zagged there and made its way over to Nowhere Road and tracked back into Athens. The pack tallied 80 miles, 4 hours in the saddle, and averaged a pitch-perfect 20.5 miles-per-hour, even more impressive considering the route climbed 4,000 feet. Kudos also for exceptional true-grit rides from tough-as-nails Sophie Zents, the resilient Josh Smith, smooth pedaling Reece Latham, the easy glider Julien Ruhe, the climbing Green Countian Gatewood Baynes and Dr Feel Better Maria Carrelli. After two rides, twenty or so have surged into the HUB Overall Lead with a total of 8 points. TV trucks were seen rolling into town.

*Roads can be “rough” in Jackson County for a variety of reasons. The roads can be literally rough because they are in poor condition because a low-grade asphalt is often used on rural roads and over time they become cracked, chipped, rippled and pitted. The roads can also be “rough” because they are challenging and hard, up and down, twisty and tight, taxing both one’s body and mind. Another reason these roads can be “rough” is because there are a few mean-ass folks who live down in the hollers who aren’t especially enamored of cyclists and seem to own lots of mean-ass dogs who love to give chase. Surviving any ride through Jackson County involves multiple risks and like any successful summit of Mount Everest, should be duly celebrated because the next time you try, you might get buried beneath an avalanche. So drink up!

WBL # 1: The Hub Home Opener: Good Hope (4 Dec 2021)

The seismic shockwaves that knocked the stuffing out of 2020 and caused the world to wobble from its otherwise smooth spin was set right this past Saturday as the WBL kicked of its new season with its inaugural event after a long, cold, lonely two-year hiatus. Presidents, prime ministers, autocrats, dictators, oligarchs, kings, criminals and vagabonds from across the globe breathed a sigh of relief as a bevy of both old friends and eager initiates were on hand on 4 December to partake in the weekly Saturday morning ritual that takes place at The HUB in 5 Points in Athens, Georgia during the winter months. The 80 Zealots who signed in for the HUB Home Opener weren’t disappointed