WBL 2010: # 3

CEO of the WBL (as well as the civilized world at large, and even many uncultured territories including the whole of Canada, Northern California, Central New Jersey, and the bottom parcel of South Georgia) Briggs Carney proved yet again that he is a shrewd and cunning Superintendant as he formed an unholy alliance with Mr. Grinch and Ebenezer Scrooge and transformed what should have been a benign, 60-mile day of leisurely pedal-bopping into an onerous, 70-mile sortie into the perilous badlands of Oglethorpe County. Even though the 40 or so bloated Zealots in attendance were stuffed to their eyeballs with a wide assortment of pastries, sweet cakes, sugar cookies, candy canes, pecan pie, glazed ham, Boston butt, salted pork, fried chicken, red eye gravy and grits, cheese biscuits, French Toast, mash potatoes, and high-octane alcohol, Carney offered no respite the day after the Day of Gustation as he kept the air chilled, the tempo quick, the terrain undulating, the pack powerful, the Average Reputation Rating low, and the psychic drama terse. The medley of holiday gruel, now dissolved into a bizarre admixture of liquid offal, swished and churned in the Zealots’ stomachs the entirety of the ride, and though the infighting among the potential Yellow Helmet Cover wearers simply simmered during the 3rd WBL event of Twenty-Ten, tempers boiled over at the post ride press conference when the contenders began comparing their leg muscles and tan lines. The fistic behavior was blamed on the fact that nerves were raw and splayed—the top of the leader board was as tight as the noose around the neck of a hanged man.

A small but hard-edged gang of holiday Zealots who were not full of holiday cheer and glad tidings, but instead whose souls were blackened by a devious desire to forsake their families at this festive time and ride, signed in for the Point Peter Peregrination on 26 December 2009. Though the forecasted high was a sultry 54 degrees, because of a gauzy layer of cottony clouds that covered the sky like a silk sheet, the sun was held in check all day, and the mercury never pushed past a frosty 45 degrees. The PPP ride was originally scheduled to weigh in at 60 miles, but Carney extended the loop an extra 10 miles because of all the buttered biscuits he and Overall leader Jason Bewley had eaten the night before (even though the two were on official WBL business in Barbados at the time and would not be present at the ride). However, showing he is no tyro in the dark art of mind control, Carney awarded his post-Christmas day acolytes an extra point (for a total of 3) because of the 10 mile extension. As a result, at the end of the day, even though the Zealots had once again been beaten and battered and pushed to the brink of tears, and even though their tongues were hanging from their mouths and their eyes were lolling in their heads like dehydrated dogs, and even though their thighs and quads puffed-out like an overblown balloon that would pop with a pinprick, they still loved and adored their truculent taskmaster, even if he and Bewley were presently lying in a bed in Barbados with another hot buttered biscuit melting in their mouths. It’s a scene I try and forget.

The pedal rogues and gossip-mongers who signed in for The Day After Debacle were a sundry assortment of local geezers, erstwhile Zealots now living elsewhere, visiting celebrities, and first-timers. Zealots came from near and far, hither and yonder, and from up and down the road. The Rocky Mountain State of Colorado was well represented by a flea-bitten horde of mangy cyclists including the likes of Tommy Taylor (Fort Collins), Micah Rice (Colorado Springs), and Ted Pazur (Denver). The Republic of Brooklyn sent two ambassadors from its curmudgeonly and contumacious clime: Andy Collins and Ashley Prine. The seditious state of Northern California flew in an incorrigible lout, first-time pedal-banger Ashley Staches to take part in the pillage. Even Stockholm, Sweden joined in the fray as Fiona Handsdrin ventured over for a baleful bout of circle stomping, southern style. (Former) friends Little T Todd Henriksen, Derek DImes, Karl Langenbach, and Brian Molloy also hopped on board the yuletide bus, and first-timers Sean Carroll, Eric Neely, and David Blalock took part in the misdirected, misguided, misprized, yet mythical misadventure. But the biggest surprise occurred when current dead-last-place Zealot Mike Edmonds not only appeared fully outfitted in cold weather gear, but was also spotted late in the day ramping up the pace at the head of the herd. Edmonds, with his brilliant display of bravura (is it real, or is it Memorex?) also grabbed the Grittiest Ride point and catapulted out of the basement and into the top 100 with a total tally of 4 points. Unfortunately, JJ Wadkins has now slotted into dead-last-place, but Gregor Rocomocco is nipping at his heels. Either way, both gents are growing fat and falling fast.

The grupetto pushed east out of Athens over field and dale, momentarily probed the western border of Oglethorpe County, and then plunged deep into the rural county’s remote byways and dark alleys. The smooth and efficient double-pace line rolled by red brick barns, white columned antebellum mansions, Watson Mill’s one-lane covered bridge with wooden planks as a floor, and the unusually fast flowing waters of the muddy Broad River. With the sun’s weak rays diminished even further by the gauzy patchwork of clouds above, the tempo-setters quickened the pace to keep their blood pumping and their bodies warm. Dustin Mealor, Billy Boy Bray, John Murphy, Micah Rice, and Ted Pazur kept the fires stoked at the front of the bunch by constantly tamping down on their pedals with a smooth sort of fury. The smaller group flowed over the hills, blew through the valleys, and scorched over the plains like a fresh gale. As the group hit the homestretch with only 10 miles to go, the pace ratcheted upwards as the maniacal J. Murphy hit the front and stomped on his big-ring. Scoundrels and other pedal-persons of ill repute who were following behind felt the burn in their legs like a fiery scourge.

The pack ended the day with 3.5 hours in the saddle and 70 miles deposited in the bank. With the last no-sprint ride of the season over and done, points were quickly tallied in the parking lot with a big bag of rocks and a box of sticks that Nick-Nick Arroyo carries around with him in case anyone ever has need of a big bag of rocks and a box of sticks. (Nick-Nick said the wooden crate used to be a bone box, but he decided he could put the wooden ossuary to better use, so he dumped his best friend’s remains in a freshly dug hole, blew out the sand with an air hose, and loaded his sticks inside.) The sticks and stones confirmed that the Overall ranking at the top was a logjam. With the first two sprint rides of the other season approaching with a weekend doubleheader (January 1 for the Non-Pros, 1’s and 2’s, and January 2 for the ladies), the Yellow Helmet Cover is up for grabs among about a baker’s dozen plus about three or four. After the points were tabulated, all the protagonists gathered on the stage for an impromptu question-and-answer session. Nick-Nick, however, should not have passed out his special counting sticks beforehand. As it turns out, the sticks in the bone box can not only be used for tallying large sums above 10, but can also be used for rapping others about the head.

Damien Show Stopper Dunn was only 1 point out of the lead, and I knew he’d be coming into a basketful cash if he went to the top, so I wanted to ask him if he would pay me the five bucks I loaned him two summers ago. I held up my pencil and said, “I’d like to ask Damien Show Stopper Dunn why—“

I was cut short when Show Stopper stood up and said, “It’s because my thighs are like a tree trunk with an angry cobra coiled around its base. See, look.” Show Stopper held out his heavily muscled right leg and pointed his foot like he was touching the tip of his toes in tepid water. “See that muscle right there curling around my thigh like a big ole nasty snake.” The crowd ooohed and aaaghed and roared its love for Show Stopper.

“Hey, you’re flexing,” Mike Buechel called out. “I can do that too if I flex.” Buechel held out his leg and flexed as hard as he could.”

“I don’t see nuthin but shaky puddin,” Matt Tunis said, and the whole stage burst out laughing.

“Look right there,” Buechel insisted, pointing at his quivering quad. “Hurry up and find it,” Buechel yelled. “I can’t hold my leg up anymore.”

Matt Karzen then stepped forward and said, “It’s long and lean that counts, baby. Girth means nothing.” He held his skinny leg out and rolled it around under the lights. A murmur coursed through the crowd.

Erin Winter then stood up and said, “It’s not the thighs that count, darling, but the arse.” She turned around and jiggled her backside at the mob. The crowd was suddenly silent but breathing heavy.

Crowe jumped up and shouted, “If it’s the fundament that counts, then check these cheeks out.” He turned around, pulled his pants down, bent over, and looked through his legs and smiled. I was dumbstruck by the blinding white light and momentarily lost consciousness. When I came to, I ran out the door, crossed the street, and ran to the far side of town. I swam across the river, reached the county line, and kept right on trucking, praying the whole time that I’d wake from my nightmare.

Overall (after 3 events):

  1. Jason the Peacock Bewley; 11 pts.
  2. Damien Show Stopper Dunn: 10 pts.
  3. Billy Boy Bray: 9 pts.
  4. Mikey-Mike Buechel: 9 pts.
  5. Crowe/Fat Boy: 9 pts.
  6. Ricky Aqua Lung Fuqua: 9 pts.
  7. Matt Karzen the Killer: 9 pts
  8. D.imes Imes: 9 pts.
  9. Leonardo da Slote: 9 pts.
  10. Matt Tunis the Tunisian Devil: 9 pts.
  11. Bill Watkins: 9 pts.
  12. Frank the Hammer Trevesio: 9 pts.
  13. Malachi Peacock: 9 pts.