The Grinch, the Hemmy and the End of the World

The Grinch, the Hemmy and the End of the World

(WBL 2013 #4: Good Hope)

Around 70 to 80 Zealots celebrated Christmas in the old fashion way, with a 65-mile, 3-hour hammer session to Good Hope and back, a small but unruly rebel outpost in the eastern section of the Emporium. Along the celebratory road to Good Hope the holiday-Zealots, full of good tidings and cheer, even managed to give the Grinch a good, swift kick in the arse and scold him for his nihilistic manner of thinking, his pessimistic mode of living, and his downright negative attitude. "Snap out of it, man," Frazier Cycling's precocious big ring aficionado Alexander DJ Dijkema told the Grinch. "Don't you know that dead men don't hammer? It's great to be alive. Hop on board or you'll be left behind." The Grinch whined with existential angst, "But my high-priced trainer says that I'm not supposed to raise my heart rate above 50% of my max except for on the third full moon of every other Thursday unless a dozen billy-goats start bleating all at once. I'm doing pushups and curls instead." DJ Dijkema scoffed at such sophistry. He slapped the Grinch across the face with the back of his hand and said, "Dude, you are bringing me down." DJ hopped on his steel steed and quickly rejoined the rollicking carnival on wheels. As the freewheeling pack of pedal-party-people rode out of sight, one could hear the hoots and catcalls, the cymbals and tambourines, the beating of drums, and the clanging of a pots and pans band for several minutes to come.

The temperature plummeted to below 30 degrees during the night before the fourth WBL ride and as the Zealots signed in for the Gallop to Good Hope, they were chilled to the very core of their coldhearted selves. It was so cold that Philip Han peg-legged over to the pre-ride sign-in and said, "I believe my right femur is frozen solid." He rubbed his frozen limb with both hands. "Because of conditions, this ride might be extremely painful as well as quite difficult. I can't wait!" Han grinned like a male model in a new pair of leather britches that were two sizes too small. Not only was it cold, but the wind was also pouring in from the west like gangbusters, pushing out the last remnants of the storm that blew in the day before. The vigorous winds scoured the countryside and scrubbed the skies completely clean, leaving nothing but a fabric of blue above. Mercifully, however, Old Sol burned brightly above, a beacon of hope and a prefigurement of good things to come. But even though the cold bit through to the bone, the Zealots could not be dissuaded from the task at hand; after all, the speed of the ride would raise their internal temperature by several degrees. So this pack of peripatetic pedal-fools put the bit between their teeth and circle-stomped away. Curiously, they all wore smiles.

Old Sol proved he is a trusted friend and by the time the group reached the southern terminus of Milledge Avenue, they were already toasty-warm; by Watkinsville, 10 miles in, they were shedding clothes. Though the warming sun was assuredly helping the riders' core temperature rise, the quick pace was the impetus for the mercurial rise. Thirty minutes into the day's misadventure, the pack was comfortable and warm. The group scudded around Watkinsville and dove through Bishop via the gentle contours of the Astondale Road, lead mainly by two prolific pedal-pounders with pugilistic dispositions. Erin Bone Crusher Winter and Dustin Stone-Cold Mealor battled the wind from a forward position during this early but windy stretch, nursing the Zealots like newborns until they were warm. After slicing through Bishop, the Zealots turned again due west, directly into the teeth of the tempest, and the wind pounded the group face-first like a battering ram. But this holiday group was itching for a fight. They buckled their chinstraps, rubbed Sam Rafal's head for good luck, and put their shoulders to the wheel. Though I wasn't sure that it would help, when I saw Tim Lees remove his lucky chicken claw that hangs from his rearview mirror and put it in his jersey pocket before the ride, I did the same with mine too.

As the group pushed down the Fairplay Road and turned toward Good Hope, the wind sledge-hammered them with the unrelenting fury of an addled NRA spokesperson who may be a wee bit out of touch. But these boys and girls punched back with equal force behind the powerful pedal strokes of such all round cycle-grandees as B Cornett, T Brown, C Hurst and J Bewley. The undulating byways and the ferocious wind were pitted against the pack in a classic battle of Good versus Evil. The Zealots were determined to win. Then Jordan Heimer ruined what was otherwise a beautiful moment. Heimer chewed his cud momentarily and then asked, "Hay yall, are we on the Good Guys side or the Bad?" It was a perplexing question and the WBL leadership had never stopped to properly ponder the problem. The pack was dead silent. Radli Livili looked horrified, Kinsey Snell was flabbergasted, and Justin Smith was completely out of sorts. Then Huntley Nash broke the ice and yelled, "Well, I know which side I'm on!" He had a certain crafty gleam in his eye. Scott Morris yelled, "That settles it," and everyone cheered. The group continued with their battle determined more than ever to win.

Now that I've mentioned Heimer, I'm reminded of his hemmy. I'm so sick of hearing him brag about his hemmy that I can hardly stand it. Let me tell you, Heimer thinks his hemmy is the only one that doesn't stink. Well, I've got news for that jackass. Normally I don't get this wound up about someone else's hemmy, but Heimer and his hemmy take the cake. He always brags about how his hemmy is the most powerful thing around. He claims it can purr like a kitten when it needs to and roar like a lion when it has to. No one's hemmy is capable of that, or so I thought, and I confronted Heimer recently. I called him out: "Your hemmy don't shimmy," I thundered as I stood opposite him like a gunfighter. He came over to me and put his hand on my shoulder and said, "Look, you're 50 now. These things happen. No one's hemmy can shimmy forever." I was about to tell him Thanks when he burst out laughing. What a bastard! He then went over to his truck and raised the hood and sure enough, there was the biggest, the most powerful, and the shiniest hemmy I had ever seen in my life. Heimer put his foot on the bumper, put a toothpick in his mouth, and sucked on his teeth. I screamed out, "My hemmy may not shimmy, but it can still rattle and roll!" I stormed away before anyone could see my tears.

Good things may come to those that wait but better things come to those who struggle forward, and the Zealots proved this time honored maxim once again. After battling stiff crosswinds and belligerent headwinds for nearly two hours, after the store stop in Good Hope at the 40 mile juncture, the pack positioned the wind at its back and headed for home. The former foe was now a big time friend. Aided by the constant push of wind, the pack galloped to Athens sometimes at supersonic speed. DD Show Stopper Dunn and Chad Fat Cappy among others helped lead the charge of this carnival-brigade. At times the group sailed along on long, free-flowing downhill grades at 25 miles per hour, pedaling with ease, robust smiles on all their faces. At other times the frontrunners ratcheted-up the speed on an upwards incline, causing the Zealots to bend over, grimace and dig. The group flew through High Shoals like ring wraiths from Middle Earth, tackling several declivitous slopes along the way. They sped back through Watkinsville, raced back across the Oconee River, blasted up the last hill up to South Milledge, and never let up until they were all the way home. The group ended the day with an average speed of 20 miles per hour, and considering the windy conditions, this group deserves a Big Fat Salud!

Speaking of Chad Fat Cappy, I am officially putting the word out to never believe a thing he says. He told me that he was a Mayan scholar and that he had confirmed through his studies that in fact the world would be ending on Friday, 21 December 2012, the day before the last ride. I was skeptical at first but he was very convincing, so I asked him what I should do. Following his instructions, I stopped training 1 month ago and started carrying a hand-painted sign around warning others of the coming calamity. I also started drinking like a fishwife though I admit I was not specifically advised to do so. The evening before the Mayan Grand Debacle, I placed candles on the roof of my house to give the alien spacecraft a spot to land. I burned all my belongings in a bonfire, except my cycling clothes and my bike, which I handed over to Fat Cappy. He also took my last Power Bar and all my cash. He explained that paper money wasn't recognized in my future new home, wherever that may be. Upon opening my eyes the next morning, the first thing I uttered was, "I've been conned." I picked myself up and headed down to the ride.

In the end, the rebel enclave of Good Hope was crushed unmercifully by the ruthless horde of Zealots as they rode roughshod over the countryside, conquering hill, valley and dale. And at the end of the day, after all was said and done, there are 18 Zealots tied for the Overall Lead in WBL 2013. Brace yourselves, we've only just begun.

WBL 2013 Overall Leaders: 15 points

  1. Thomas Brown
  2. Oscar Clarke
  3. Brendan Cornett
  4. Jason Crosby
  5. Damien Dunn
  6. Philip Han
  7. David Haney
  8. Clarke Hurst
  9. David Jordan
  10. Tim Lees
  11. Thom Leonard
  12. Scott Morris
  13. Malachi Peacock
  14. Catherine Peacock
  15. Josh Pontzer
  16. Nathaniel Rowe
  17. Justin Smith
  18. Matthew Whatley