WBL # 1 (12-02-18): THE HUB HOME OPENER

The eyes of the world were trained on the center of the cycling universe Saturday, Athens, Georgia, as the WBL 2019 season kicked off with the HUB Homer Home Opener, an 82-mile sizzler to Homer and the forested Appalachian foothills in the northern vector of the Empire. Though the roads were still glistening from the previous day’s deluge, over 120 Zealots stormed out of the gates and into the warm, thick soup—the ambient air was moist, but the temperature had already topped 60 degrees and was on its way to 70. Some of the hellions on hand for the opening gala included 15-year-old pedal phenom Stephen Toaster Heath, the Wisconsin Cheesehead Grace Anne Ingham, The Doctor Of Love Willie Saunders, The one and only Rootin Tootin Cal Hootin, the Weather Whisperer Ansley Long, the Flying Frenchman Cyril Deseveux, the Amazing Alexa Hoppenfeld, Tommy Aristotle Morrison, and the Brawler from Boone Noah Niwinski. A slew of first-timers signed in for the affair also including Elvys Blue Suede Martinez, Nick el Capo Mastrogiovanni, The Belgian Warlord Tristen Haseler and Jensy’s adopted stepbrother Eric Voight. It was a rowdy, rambunctious crew hale bent on tapping out a solid tempo for four hours: Hop on, hang on, and pray, is the best advice we could give.

The galley slaves at the front—Mojock, Gruber, Creed, Harkins, Sencenbaugh, York and Crumley—set a silky-smooth tempo over hill and dale, cutting through the detritus washed into the road, and slicing across large standing puddles while spraying a rainbow of rooster tails on the riders behind—a wet, glorious time was had by all. Halfway into the day’s misadventure the sun finally broke through the gray clouds and blasted the Zealots with warm solar flares—the majority of the pack was now riding in shorts and without arm warmers and the mercury climbed to a record-breaking 74 degrees! The group finished off the day gliding along in majestic, double-file procession at a comfortable clip and tallied an average speed of 20.5 miles per hour for the 82 mile affair, a solid opening event. Salud, Brother and Sisters, we’re rolling now.


After a frantic bout of schedule-tweaking (and soul searching, heart rending, tears, shouting at the forecaster, raging at the television and howling at the moon), in an effort to dance around, jump past, skip over, and avoid the innumerable rainy days that have ravaged the South of late, the 2nd WBL event finally rolled out of the box on Sunday morning as over 80 Zealots sped down the fast, flowy contours of South Milledge Avenue and toward the ultimate destination, the Great Beyond. Big blue holes appeared in the clouds as the group gathered in the parking lot, presaging, I assumed, warmth and sunshine and an overall love of my Fellow man (gender neutral). Wrong: It quickly grew cold, thick gray clouds swarmed the sky, and I it was impossible to worry about my fellow man; my own well-being was what mattered most.

The First American Bank Good Hope Gala was an 80-mile excursion into and across the gently rolling greenspace in the southwestern quadrant of the Emporium, Oconee and Walton Counties. These two adjoining rural counties boast an interconnecting network of hidden backroads and untrammeled byways that run beside both in-use and abandoned barns, trailer-size bales of picked cotton covered with orange tarps, fields with cows dappling the hillside, antebellum-style homes in need of paint, trailers and/or mobile homes, rusty cars filled with weeds, braying goats, curious folks who wave, and the pine forests that surround everything. In our bright kits and our flashy bikes, we are an anomaly in these parts, like a three-pound catfish floating in a miniature goldfish pond. Some of those big cats on hand and causing quite a stir on the 2nd event was the speedy Dan Holt, the heartless Jeff Bishop, the cruel Scott Morris, the climbing goat Cole Rasser, the illustrious Jacob Cooper, the irrepressible Gray Dunagan, the swift pedaling Elvys Martinez, the soaring Willem Kaiser, the lovely Matthew Whatley, the (mostly) intelligent Jackson Gilbert, the (somewhat) good looking Frank Crumley, the gallant Brendan Cornett, the charismatic Sean Sigl, and the talented Jessica Knight. The lusty gang was feeling spry and completed the 80-mile loop at a solid 21 miles-per-hour, a few even kicking up their heels in the finale and causing a little dirt to fly. Batten down the hatch, Brothers and Sisters, the water gets deeper from here.


The WBL harkened back to the dark days of yore with a thigh-searing, character building, double-dapper weekend that saw the Zealots knock out not one, but rather two, stupendous rides in a medley of various conditions that ranged from dry sunny blue to wet misty gray. Mother Nature, that uninvited tempest, rudely forced herself into the weekend equation by delivering an unexpected insult to my otherwise cheery Christmas mood with winds on Day 1 and rains on Day 2, and she did so in a sly, sinister way. You see, after the dreary pluvial periods of late, when the weekend WBL forecast finally promised sunshine and mild conditions, many Zealots, including Little Old Me, were sure the worm had turned and warmth, love, goodwill and beneficence would now rule the day. After all, my core belief is that Man is inherently good and Truth will ultimately triumph—Nietzsche was nothing more than a fatalist with a pessimistic point of view. If he only had a sense of humor he could have killed it as a stand-up at a comedy club. But Oh, Brothers and Sisters, I may have misread the horse-kissing nihilist because the dumbstruck Zealots were treated like unwashed cousins who showed up unannounced for Christmas dinner with three smelly dogs. Nevertheless, when I clipped in that first day and pedaled out into the bright blue future, still under the spell of Leibniz’s Philosophy of Optimism, I wore on my face the blissful smile of ignorance, a little lamb being led to slaughter.

The Full Circle Real Estate Company Paoli Junction Gala, a 90-mile affair into the rural roads and hidden byways which spiderweb the eastern fiefdoms of the WBL Kingdom, was the first event of the double-decker weekend. And it would only take a few pedal strokes before I raised an eyebrow and questioned both my faith in mankind and the Truth of the Prosperity Principle that the millionaire preacher Joel Osteen trumpets because the strong riders started to gather at the front like a cluster of cancer cells. It certainly looked like some sort of conspiracy and sure enough, when the winds fired up, large buildings were lifted into the air, the flying monkeys were set loose., and the Zealots were pummeled at every turn by ferocious busters that blew like the Bellows of Hale, pushing the large group of one hundred into the gutter, forcing those on the windward side of the double-file line to lean slantways into the gale, grimacing as the lactic acid spread like hot lava in their thighs, pounding furiously on their pedals, trying to rip a hole in the fabric of time. Some of those sideways-leaning (former) optimists on hand who were deceived into thinking their fellow man (gender neutral) was a magnanimous being with an unwavering ethical ethos was the doughty Jason Bewley, the ducal-like Haley Braun, the (mis)esteemed Erik Brown, the illustrious Ceniza duo Gabe and Glenn, the sweet caramel Charlie Carabello, the pure of heart (or so they think) Carlie Cooper, the comeback kid Mitchell Enfinger, the black-hearted Gray Dunagan, the powerful Hoppenfeld Triumvirate, the House Whip Chairman Jason Jones with a K, the savvy Reece Latham, the baller Willem Kaiser, the pedal-punisher Charlie Putnal, the femme fatale Caleigh Rasser, the tenacious Beth White, and the man with two first names Ethan Lee. Looking back now I realize that simply gazing out at the bedraggled pack of pedal-misfits in the parking lot of the HUB should have plunged me into Kierkegaardian despair.

The group kept the furnace stoked the entirety of Day 1, tapping out a brisk tempo, scorching down the flat stretches and leaving burn marks on the pavement. On the final run down the smooth and flowy Nowhere Road the mood was high and the group ripped home at warp 9. At the end of the day’s festivities the group averaged an eye-popping 21.6 miles-per-hour for the 90-mile affair. That evening, as the blood pooled in my upper legs, I dreamt I was being trampled by a herd of angry groundhogs. I woke in a cold sweat and a mile-wide smile when I remembered we would do it all over again today.


Day 2 was the Law Office of David Crowe Maysville Black Tie Affair, a ride that weighed in at 75 miles. After the previous day’s beatdown, I was confident there would be a reprieve today, a rapprochement among warring nations. After all, my poor legs were leaking fluid, my psyche was bruised and battered, and my sunny disposition had changed to despair. And though the pace was in fact dialed back, and though the sun was blazing in a cloudless sky, such conditions only yet again led me into a slotted canyon where ambush was easy: Mother Nature would once again have her say. Only an hour into the Sunday celebratory ride the clouds surreptitiously streamed in and quietly covered the sky, but it was warm and we were dry—I felt no existential angst just yet. But at the store in Maysville, halfway into the day’s peregrinations, the first drops fell. When a fat droplet smacked Scott Morris between the eyes, echoing Camus he wailed, “The absurd is the essential concept and the first truth.” Morris looked half crazy. At first, there was only a smattering of rain, a light coating of wetness, a fine mist that left no mark, but fifteen minutes after we left the store the underbelly of the clouds sliced open and dumped their payload and drenched those below. And though the rain finally stopped thirty minutes later, the wet roads continued to spray the pack, keeping the diminished group soaked to the core. But even though we were wet, we were warm, and finished with Hallelujahs and high-fives. Carney was so moved by the grit and dedication of this determined group, he awarded a Foul Weather Point to all concerned. Salud, Brothers and Sisters, for a helluva ride!

Even though December 2018 has been one of the wettest on record, with the weekend double, the WBL is back on track and has completed all 4 rides. As the sprint rides approach, there are several riders tied for the HUB Overall Lead with 18 points: Crumley, J Butler, Gutcheck, Carlie Cooper, C Deseveux, T Duke, T Fortune, J Gilbert, J Knight, E May, T Morrison and Crowe are all tied for the throne. But there’s not that much room at the top, and with the sprint rides approaching, some will surge, while others tumble and fall. Stay tuned, the fuse is lit.


Colonel Stonewall Jackson Gilbert bludgeoned the competition and scored a brilliant victory on the first sprint ride of the other season, the Cappy’s Custom Cabinets Mount Vernon Debacle, as he surged through a small gap in the frothing herd of formidable sprinters stampeding for the line and powered down the right side of the road to win by over a bike length. The Colonel rode with the savvy of a seasoned pro, the aplomb of skilled surgeon, and the effortless flow of an eagle soaring on an afternoon thermal as he scored his first ever WBL win and moved into the HUB Overall Lead with a 9-point cushion. With his win, Colonel Jackson has suddenly burst onto the scene as a potential winner for the HUB Overall, and it could take an extended siege before he’s shoved off the throne. Beware, Brothers and Sisters, ye have been warned, a dangerous interloper has breached the castle walls.

The Mount Vernon route took the lusty, rambunctious herd of 80 or so Zealots in a westerly direction, searching out every steep pitch in the area, before circling back south in an anticlockwise direction through the acclaimed WBL garrison towns of Gratis and High Shoals and the gently rolling pasturelands that blanket Walton and Oconee Counties like patchwork quilts. (Abandoned wells covered with pieces of plywood and covered with crawling vines dot these vast rural expanses and have been used extensively as a dead body drop by a few of the more murderous members of the Dixie Mafia, a “nice little nugget of information” Carney once told me I should know.) Though the rain had pulverized this section of the Piedmont Region of late, leaving the earth squishy and sodden, and even though another green amoeba-shaped cell was fast approaching, the rain clouds disappeared for Saturday’s ride, the sun found a few cracks in the sky, the roads dried, and the temps warmed, proving the truth of the old adage that the sun shines on both the wicked and the good. A few of the more lawless pedal-misfits on hand for the rowdy, raucous event were the impish Thomas Duke, the wayward deviants Judah and brother Michael Sencenboss, the villainous visiting former Coffee Boss Micah Rice, the depraved Brookins duo Andrew and Butch, the dissolute Chad Fat Cappy Capobianco, the flagitious Brendan Cornett, the plain low-down first timer 14 year old Preston Eye, the shameful Ian Garrison, the debased Kyle Kimball, and the openly iniquitous Deborah Potsma. Those at the vanguard of the pack set a quick but even tempo and the grupetto glided over hill and dale with the greatest of ease at a comfortable clip, never dipping into the deep-water reservoirs where a only a limited supply of special sauce is stored. Then the whistle blew, anxiety levels spiked, and I lowered my bucket into my own deep-water reservoirs.

The Final Attack Zone for the first sprint ride of the year, a Non-Pro event, was the deceptively hard 6-mile Flatrock Road Zone, featuring fast, flowy roads that dipped and dived and curved and curled. Although several protagonists launched lusty attacks—Scott Morris, Cole Rasser and Robert Conaster—nothing could go break free, the pack was too amped to allow an escapee even a small patch of space and all efforts were quickly brought to heel and the fire expertly doused. When the speeding pack flew inside the red kite with less than 1 kilo to go, the lead group surged down the left-hand side of the road as Paul Harkins, a potential winner, pounced. But the pack reacted and latched on and then briefly stalled and the right side of the group blasted up the road with Gilbert out of his saddle, furiously stomping on his pedals, and moving clear. The Colonel crossed the line with room to spare and arms held high and was followed by the impressive Jonathon Cornelius, the consistent Sean Philyaw, the smooth Cole Rasser, and two of the youngest Zealots in the pack, Reece Latham and Stephen Heath, both having completed a mere 14 laps around the sun. The defiant group averaged a comfortable 21 miles-per-hour on yet another stellar day. Shout-outs for tremendous rides also go to John Boy Butler, General Hospital’s Tom Fortune, Indy Baking Company’s Thom Leonard, the impressive Krissy Knight and old reliable Jim Baynes.

In the HUB Overall Competition, Jackson Gilbert has surged to the top of the totem pole, followed by Philyaw 9 points later and a handful of others 10 points back. And with the Ladies’ sprint right around the corner, and the Pro sprint too, cross yourself and say a prayer because the ground is shaking, and not everyone will make it home from here.

Finis (sponsored by Cappy's Custom Cabinets)

  1. Jackson Gilbert: 10 pts
  2. Jonathon Cornelius: 8 pts
  3. Sean Philyaw: 6 pts
  4. Cole Rasser: 4 pts
  5. Reece Latham: 2 pts
  6. Stephen Heath: 1 pt
  7. All: 4 pts.


Thomas Hit Man Brown and Judah the Sledgehammer Sencenboss both thundered to commanding wins as the WBL scheduled yet another double-headed monster weekend, the second so far this year, allowing this itinerant tribe of pedal-nomads to roam hither and yonder, far and wide, over distant river and remote hill, definitely wandering with a purpose, not on one day, but two, racking up a solid 150 miles in the big ring along the way. And there were several opportunities for points, promising a fair amount of fast-paced revelry as both the Pro and the Lady sprinters broke free of their chains and dove into the melee head first. Although our ancient forebears would never understand why anyone would ride a bike for 5 hours, at times burning up precious calories at maximum effort, only to end up back where one started, we forgive them, for they know not the pleasures of pain, the tearful ecstasy of the flagellant as he flogs himself, the rainbow of endorphins one feels after 100 miles  And though the two rides did require a considerable input of blood and sweat, and even more of heart and soul, such extreme efforts and expenditures are worth the investment. You see, Brothers and Sisters, after a 4 to 5-hour ride, you’ll notice the sun’s rays slant down in a different way, opening doors of perception, so that even on the dark, dreary days that are sure to come, you’ll find your way home.

It was a baptism by fire on Day 1 of the weekend jubilee, The Classic City Bakeries Rayle Classic, as the WBL visited one of the more remote outposts in the Far East section of the Empire, the outlier town of Rayle, whose tithes and tributes have trickled in lately at an alarmingly low level, causing Carney to be late on his December payment on his new yacht. Needless to say, Carney turned into a raging ogre when Citibank slapped him with a late fee—he had to eat a large meal and put himself to bed in order to recover his equilibrium. But he also ordered the Zealots to ride through Rayle, hoping their presence would send a shiver of fear through its residents and scare them into mailing in their monthly invoices in a timelier manner. I failed to see how a brightly clad, shaved leg, skinny band of happy-go-lucky cyclists pedaling down a rural road is capable of invoking that type of fear, but since Carney signs my paycheck, I bit my tongue.

The roads to and from Rayle undulate like a babies’ butts and feature several long, flat, fast sections that allow a big group to ripzee-dipzee down the road with only a slight amount of torque applied to one’s pedals—it’s like magic when it happens, one of the nine Nirvanic states all roadies seek. And after the December deluge, with the skies blossoming to a bright blue and the temp cool and crisp, the hundred-person group’s mood was soaring as the Zealots clipped in and set off into the unknown on yet another misadventure. Some of those fast-pedaling Zealots on hand for the Day 1 blitzkrieg were the rapid Dillon Swaim, the celeritous Elliot Caldwell, the brisk moving Ceniza duo Gabe and Glen, the swift Charlie Carabello, the just-plain-fast Nathan Goodman, the fit looking Wes Crane, the motor Jonathon Cornelius, and the cheetah-like Jessica Knight.

When the group hit the Final Attack Zone on the 90-mile day, the always tough 9-mile Gene Dixon Attack Zone, the average was a brisk 22 miles-per-hour, so thighs were already beginning to sizzle and pop. As soon as the whistle blew the bloodthirsty hammerheads in the powerful group surged and the riders were strung out single file for several hundred yards, gasping for air and digging, digging, digging to hang on. Splits were opening up and down the line and with stiff crosswinds, clawing back might be impossible, and there was still 8 miles to go, still an ocean to cross. Tears welled up in my eyes. Four horses eventually broke free and galloped away—John Butler, Eric Voight, Vitor Zucco and Dillon Swaim—and pushed out to a dangerous 10-second advantage cresting the first of six large hummocks. On the second of hill a group containing all the likely suspects ripped off the front of the chase group—Gruber, Brown, Brock, Cappy, Kaiser, Nash, Garrison, Morrison, Gilbert and Sencenbaugh among others—and powered up to the four escapees. As the large front group of a dozen or more hit the third hump, the sprint hill, in a sign of things to come, Thomas Brown flew away to take the points with Ian Garrison and Huntley Nash close behind.

The large front group stayed together despite a number of attacks until taking the last right turn on Melton Road 1.5 miles from the line. It was here that Brock Mason launched a scintillating attack and shot clear. Garrison immediately recognized the danger of Mason’s move and jumped across the gap and the two heavyweight time trialing machines made a dangerous and formidable pair. But Brown, as consistent as a Swiss timepiece, was not to be denied and fled across the gap, leaving his compatriots behind, and latched on—the winner would come from these three. Brown bided his time and jumped at precisely the right moment on the stiff final hill and rode across the line for the win with money to burn with Garrison and Mason rounding at the Top 3. Gruber, Nash and Zucco stormed across a few seconds back in the next 3-man group to complete the podium on another stupendous day in the saddle, a day that the Zealots averaged a rapid 22 miles-per-hour for the 90-mile affair. Brown scored his record breaking 17th lifetime win on the first Pro sprint but there was no time to rest on one’s laurels, no time to raise a glass to the glory days, because tomorrow we had to do it all over again.


The Ladies took centerstage on Day 2 of the weekend jubilee, The Reeves Young Ladies Day Colberto Classic, a 60-mile affair also into the eastern quadrant, but staying well within the pale, only venturing into friendly confines and safe venues, steering clear of enemy encampments. After the rapid fire gunfight the day before, the 70 person group seemed intent to kick back and mosey on this sunny, windless day that saw temps climb into the mid-60s. In fact, the day was so near picture-perfect I kept nervously looking over my shoulder waiting on the shoe to drop, the sky to fall and shatter my dream of an easy tempo day. But the sky didn’t fall, and my easy tempo day was realized, and it was with gratitude later in the evening that I raised my glass.

But before libations the Ladies Final Attack Zone on Nowhere Road had to be run, and when the whistle warbled, a dozen ladies stormed up the road. Isabella Nguy, Grace Anne Ingham, Caleigh Rasser, Krissy Knight and Carlie Cooper were a few of the ladies chomping at the bit and frothing at the mouth as they danced towards the line. But with 300 meters to go Judah Sencenbaugh and Sommers Creed shot clear and were neck and neck, two race horses galloping hard and straining for the line, eyes bulging, tearing into their pedals, arms thrashing, spittle flying. At the line Sencenbaugh clipped Creed by the length of a cat’s whisker with the impressive Emily Cameron rolled in 3rd, and A Long and J Knight rounding at the podium. Salud, Ladies, for a glorious day!

In the HUB Overall Competition, Jackson Gilbert is holding steadfast to the top like a rottweiler to a rope, but Brown has surged and appears to be the danger man. Creed, Sencenbaugh, Gruber, J Cornelius, Mason, Butler, Garrison, Harkins and Crumley all remain within striking distance. And with 5 to go, there’s a logjam at the top.

Finis (Gene Dixon Attack Zone) (Sponsored by Classic City Bakeries)

  1. Thomas Brown: 10 pts
  2. Ian Garrison: 8 pts
  3. Brock Mason: 6 pts.
  4. Jered Gruber: 4 pts.
  5. Huntley Nash: 2 pts.
  6. Vitor Zucco: 1 pt
  7. Attack Point: John Butler, Eric Voight, Willem Kaiser: 1 pt.
  8. All: 5 pts.

Ladies Sprint (Wilkes County):

  1. Judah Sencenbaugh: 3 pts
  2. Ansley Long: 2 pts
  3. Deborah Potsma: 1 pt.

Non-Pro Sprint (Oglethorpe County):

  1. Jackson Gilbert: 3 pts
  2. Jeff May: 2 pts
  3. John Cornelius: 1 pt.

Pro Sprint (Gene Dixon Hill):

  1. Thomas Brown: 3 pts
  2. Ian Garrison: 2 pts
  3. Huntley Nash: 1 pts

Day 2:

Ladies Day Finis (sponsored Reeves Young):

  1. Judah Sencebaugh: 10 pts.
  2. Sommers Creed: 8 pts.
  3. Emily Cameron: 6 pts.
  4. Ansley Long: 4 pts.
  5. Deborah Potsma: 2 pts.
  6. Jessica Knight: 1 pt.
  7. All: 3 pts. (1 per hour)


Big Frank the Cuban Missile Travieso steamrolled his way to a superb victory Saturday on the Ken Bike Law Bostwick Classic on a raw, blustery day that saw the high temperature never top a savage 39 degrees. It was yet “another one to remember” as only 60 of the grittiest, most hardcore, and just plain mean, disagreeable sumbitches showed up ready to wage war in inhospitable conditions. The freezing air was trapped below by thick clouds streaked with different hues of gray that carpeted the sky the entire day; and to borrow a phrase from Dylan, a cold, hard rain was gonna fall, but exactly when was hard to say. Needless to say, to get soaked on such a cold day would spell disaster, purple prose be damned. But the Zealots decided to play the part of riverboat gambler and clicked their heels twice and pushed all their chips in and headed out into the cold, bitter maw for a 4-hour, 75 mile misadventure through Bostwick and beyond. Whether they rolled lucky sevens or whether the bottom dropped out looked like about even odds. Some of those risk takers on hand throwing caution to wind was the high-roller Joe Whalley, the masterful Michael Sencenboss, the speculator Willy Saunders, the one-eyed jack Jake Holt, the wildcard Paul Harkins, the Artful Dodger Dan Hall, the senatorial Wes Crane, and the straight-up gambler Cyril Deseveux. After shouting, “Hallelujah”, the grupetto spun the wheel and fled down South Milledge like a 60-person jailbreak who’s sworn they’re never going back.

The Zealots had a couple of heart-scares along the way as the rain spat down in brief spurts on two occasions, leading the observant in the group to quietly ask for forgiveness, for surely these drops portended death, while the secularists simply cried, knowing the party was coming to an end, but raising one last glass to Lucretius and the sensual life. But on both occasions, the mizzle slowed to a fine mist and eventually dissipated all together—bullet dodged, lives spared. But though the wet stuff held off all day, the Siberian cold cut through our clothes and turned our bones to ice; by the Final Attack Zone on Flatrock Road, my hands, even though encased in two layers of gloves, were frozen, useless appendages; it was no problem as long as I didn’t need to shift. I attempted to curse but my words turned to ice and fell from my mouth in frozen cubes.

When the remaining pack of 50 frozen souls first hit the 6-mile Flatrock Final Attack Zone, John Boy Butler once again leapt away from the field and quickly opened a sizable gap. The reaction behind was slow and dumb-witted and within 1-mile John Boy’s lead had ballooned to 28 seconds, a dangerous distance! Oliver Quinn and Eric Voight both jumped and shot clear and began to close on John Boy but couldn’t make contact. Approaching the Oliver Bridge Road turn 2 miles into the Attack Zone, T Brown, Gruber, T Morrison, Travieso, J Gilbert, J Cornelius, I Garrison, D Ogle, B Cornett and others rocketed up the left side and split the group. Though it took nearly 2 miles, the group stormed across the gap and made contact on Flatrock with 2 miles to go.

The large group of 16 kept the pedal pressed to the floor down the arduous Flatrock Road, keeping the pace high enough to prevent attacks, and to keep the chasers at bay. But with a kilometer to go, Casey Magner launched a brilliant bid for glory just as the pack momentarily lulled. Ian Garrison hit out from the chase, causing pandemonium behind, and creating gashes in the line with 500 meters to go. Magner succumbed to the intense pressure as six had separated themselves from the herd on the final stampede to the line and Travieso and Cornett both blasted down the middle with 200 meters to go and were neck-and-neck, side-by-side, but Big Frank pulled clear by a breath to take the win. T Brown held on for 3rd, while Gruber, Nash and Garrison rounded out the podium. Kudos to Dylan Ogle as he won both the final and the intermediate sprint for the Non-Pros. Sommers Creed and Judah Sencenebaugh split the sprints for the Ladies and each one soared up the leaderboard. Is it possible to continue to have epic rides week after week? Kudos, Brothers and Sisters, for another epic day.

In the hunt for the HUB Overall Jackson Gilbert continued to show consistency and held on to the top spot, further confirming his status as a legitimate danger man. Creed made a huge jump in the standings and she and T Brown are now tied for 2nd, 3 points behind the lead dog. Gutcheck Gruber, J Sencenbaugh, J Cornelius, Ansley Long, Cole Rasser, Dylan Ogle and others all remain solidly in the hunt. With four to go, the throne is up for grabs.

Finis (Flatrock Road Attack Zone) (Sponsored by Ken Bike Law):

  1. Frank Travieso: 10 pts
  2. Brendan Cornett: 8 pts
  3. Thomas Brown: 6 pts.
  4. Jered Gruber: 4 pts.
  5. Vitor Zucco 2 pts.
  6. Ian Garrrison 1 pt
  7. Attack Point: John Butler, Eric Voight, Oliver Quinn, Casey Magner: 1 pt.
  8. All: 5 pts. (4 plus 1 Foul Weather Point)

Ladies Finish (Flatrock Road / Sponsored Team Type 1 Foundation):

  1. Sommers Creed: 5 pts
  2. Judah Sencenbaugh: 4 pts
  3. Emily Cameron: 3 pts.
  4. Ansley Long: 2 pts
  5. Deborah Potsma: 1 pt.

Non-Pro Finish Sprint (Oglethorpe County):

  1. Dylan Ogle: 5 pts.
  2. Jake Holt: 4 pts
  3. Jackson Gilbert: 3 pts
  4. Johnathon Cornelius: 2 pts.
  5. Joe Whalley: 1 pt

Pro Sprint (Antioch Hill):

  1. Ian Garrison: 3 pts
  2. Huntley Nash: 2 pts.
  3. Cole Rasser: 1 pt.

Ladies Sprint (Bishop) Jackie Crowell Sprint # 1 / sponsored by Eurotruck Importers

  1. Judah Sencenbaugh: 3 pts
  2. Sommers Creed: 2 pts.
  3. Kae Takeshita: 1 pt.

Non Pro Sprint (Price Mill Hill)

  1. Dylan Ogle: 3 pts
  2. Jackson Gilbert: 2 pts.
  3. Jonathon Cornelius: 1 pt.


Like an angry, ill-tempered Zeus flinging down lightning bolts from Olympus, Ian Garrison brought down storm and stress on his fellow Zealots and scored a masterful, hard fought win on another brutal, windswept day in the WBL on the 90-mile Parks Law Bowman Classic. The Season of Bluster and Upheaval continued in the 2019 WBL as the weather once again played havoc on Saturday as a cold, cantankerous swath of rain swept across the Emporium, forcing CEO Carney to once again dance around the devil and move the ride to Sunday. I should have known the excrement would make physical contact with a hydro-electric powered oscillating air current distribution device because a super blood Wolf Moon was scheduled for Sunday night, an ominous foreshadowing of the beaten biscuit I would become.

On Sunday morning the storm had in fact pushed up the Eastern Seaboard and a weak sallow sun did shine a cloudless sky, but Brothers and Sisters, it was freezer-like cold and the wind was already gusting at such high speeds that my resolve creaked, my heart flustered in its cage, an apple lodged in my windpipe, and my confidence crackled like a pork rind crushed beneath an elephant’s heel. Adding to my near nervous breakdown was the fact that these hazardous conditions dictated that only the surliest, the wiliest, the most curmudgeonly, and naturally the strongest showed up for this cage fight on wheels, and as I pedaled out of the parking lot of the HUB with 50 other ravenous fools who were actually looking forward to the approaching beatdown, I wondered by what misfortune I’d come to find myself in the present predicament—could I wind the clock back and travel forward in a different direction? Though I’m known for hyperbole, on this day the wind was bending big oaks and snapping heavy branches and was as fierce as any ever experienced in the WBL and just to show up and sign in required a certain amount of crazy. Some of those on hand who live life in the lunatic fringes were the gonzo Jason K Jones, the fruitcake Thom Leonard, the touched Paul Harkins, the unhinged Elliot Caldwell, the loopy Ryan Knapp, the disturbed Jonathon Atwell, the barmy Eric Voight, the plain looney Andy Scarano, the bedlamite Artur Sagat and the stark raving mad Frank Crumley. Heading down Lumpkin on the way out of town it looked like a mass exodus from the nuthouse, a diaspora of screwballs and psychopaths.

The Bowman route takes the group through Elbert and Oglethorpe Counties in the Eastern Vector, two rural counties which boast some of the more scenic, backwater roads which branch out in a complex, intertwined, braided network which resemble a Dali painting of a street map—the roads bend, curve and dive at unusual angles. As the pack headed east in the first half of the ride, the wind blew from the riders’ backs and propelled them down the road only slightly slower than the speed of light, and in one section when BC Powder Cornett and Michael Sencenboss were at the front pulling like two slobbering pit bulls, the group did in fact momentarily exceed the speed of light, causing time to bend and a half dozen or so to burn up then blow up. Their bodies were temporarily left by the side of the road until the WBL Disposal Team could return to the scene of the crime and scoop the bodies from the pavement with snow shovels. The Disposal Team always carries salt and a hair blower in case a body is frozen to the ground, and occasionally if someone is “stuck hard” the person is simply left until summer. Three such riders were “stuck hard” on Sunday and were left for the buzzards. BC Powder Cornett, proving yet again he’s a surly arsehole, albeit with golden tint, said he “didn’t give a damn about nobody but me, mama and my ten-dollar tan.”

When the group hit the final attack zone, I’d been brutalized by the wind and victimized by the robust riders. It had taken such a strenuous effort so far that only 30 stalwarts remained and they were out for blood, my blood. The group stretched thin on the first 2 miles on Erastus Church Road as the ever-aggressive Huntley Nash sprang out of the pack and shot up the road. When the pack took the left hand turn on Seagraves Mill and headed up the initial deceptive incline, the chase began in earnest and the group exploded into a million little pieces as Garrison, Gruber, Brown, Travieso, Atwell, Knapp and company leapt away. Rippages in the line immediately formed and quickly widened to uncrossable gaps. At the front, the heat was intense and as the group headed up Seagraves Hill, T Brown jumped away to claim the intermediate sprint and kept going.

Taking the final right hand turn on Nowhere Road five were off the front and flying to paydirt. They were followed by small groups scattered up and down the road like discarded trash. On the final 3 miles, the pressure was high and the front five, like the all chasers behind, fractured and fragmented into bits and shards. At the front Garrison and Brown gapped the others on the fast sections of Nowhere Road and coming to the line they kept the pressure high, hammering and forcing the issue. Garrison surged powerfully with 200 meters to go to take the win over Brown by a whisper, with Travieso soling in for 3rd, with Gruber and Knapp rounding out the Top 5. The others rolled across on ones-and-twos, but all were body-humming from the epic beatdown they'd just survived. 18-year-old Elvys Martinez stole the day for the Non Pros, winning both sprints, and showed he’s a future force. Jackson Gilbert and Dylan Ogle again showed rock solid form and blistered the roadway, scoring important points and keeping themselves high on the HUB Leaderbaord. Judah Sencenbaugh, Sommers Creed and Emily Cameron proved yet again they are as tough as an old leather boot and finished the ride as the Top Ladies.

In the HUB Overall Competition T Brown has moved into the driver’s seat, but only by a slim margin. Gilbert and Creed are breathing down his neck and Gruber, J Sencenboss and Garrison are hot on their heels. The HUB Leader is tight with 3 rides to go and it appears brutality is fashionable once again in the WBL.

Finis (Nowhere Road) (Sponsored by Parks Law):

  1. Ian Garrison: 10 pts
  2. Thomas Brown: 8 pts
  3. Frank Travieso: 6 pts.
  4. Jered Gruber: 4 pts.
  5. Ryan Knapp 2 pts.
  6. Robert Sroka: 1 pts 
  7. Attack Point: Huntley Nash: 1 pt.
  8. All: 6 pts. (5 plus 1 Hard as Nails Point)

Ladies Finish (Nowhere Road / Sponsored Team Type 1 Foundation):

  1. Judah Sencenbaugh: 5 pts
  2. Sommers Creed: 4 pts
  3. Emily Cameron: 3 pts.

Non-Pro Finish (Nowhere Road):

  1. Elvys Martinez: 5 pts.
  2. Jackson Gilbert: 4 pts
  3. Dylan Ogle: 3 pts
  4. D Crowe: 2 pts.
  5. Scott Morris / Cole Rasser (Tie): 1 pt

Ladies Sprint (Colbert City Limts):

  1. Judah Sencenbaugh: 3 pts
  2. Sommers Creed / Emily Cameron (tie): 2 pts.

Non Pro Sprint (Seagraves Mill Hill Jam):

  1. Elvys Martinez: 3 pts
  2. Dylan Ogle: 2 pts.
  3. Jackson Gilbert: 1 pt.

Pro Sprint (Seagraves Mill Hill Jam):

  1. Thomas Brown: 3 pts
  2. Ian Garrison: 2 pts.
  3. Frank Travieso: 1 pt.


Frank the Cuban Missile Travieso showed he is once again riding in beast mode as he dominated the 22nd running of the Porterfield Tire Alto World Cup and won this iconic event for the 4th time, a record. Travieso simply would not be denied, and though Ian Garrison made a valiant bid for glory, in the end Travieso unleashed his top shelf sprint and stormed to the win, his 12th lifetime in the WBL. With one more win Big Frank will tie John Murphy for 2nd place with 13 lifetime wins, still 4 behind current leader and record holder Thomas Brown with an astounding 17.

Alto once again showed why it is a monument, a ride of such epic proportions that there is simply no way to “fake it” and finish with the leaders. On certain types of courses and other types of rides experienced riders know how to preserve energy, especially when not fit or when having a bad day, how to hide in the pack for maximum advantage, how to use veteran tactics and survive to the finish. But some routes are too difficult, thus the phrase “no place to hide.” On certain rides weaknesses are exposed, deficiencies laid bare, and there is simply no escaping this cold, cruel reality. Alto is one such ride. Alto is 115 miles, takes around 6 hours (actual ride) to complete, climbs around 7,000 feet, and takes place in the middle of winter. Not to mention there’s over 16 miles of grueling Attack Zones in rugged terrain. For example, at Mile 44 there’s the Alto Triple Stairstep, the hardest 4 miles ridden all winter and part of the most prestigious sprint zone of the other season, the Alto City Limit sprint, a lung-searing, 7-mile intermediate sprint zone. At Mile 74 the group tackles the iconic Crackback Hill, a devilish 1-kilometer climb with a grade that kicks up to 11 percent near the top. And at the end of this punishing ride the group must survive the vicious 9-mile Alto Final Attack Zone, which the riders first enter at the 100-mile point. Just to sign in and start Alto requires an iron will and a steely resolve, to finish this epic proves one can move mountains, and the winner will command legions. A winner will never forget; a winner will never be forgotten.

A group or around 80 or so iron-willed, stubborn, intransigent Zealots signed in for the 22nd annual Alto event under sunny skies and in cool crisp temps. Even though it was a bit frosty at takeoff, the mood was high—the Zealots wouldn’t be dealing with rain, gale force busters or freezing temperatures; they’d only have to focus on finishing this legendary event, which was enough of a concern. Some of those strong-willed folks signing in and showing they have an iron clad constitution were hard man Oliver Quinn, the resolute Haley Braun, the determined Gabe Ceniza, the implacable Ross Draluck, the unflappable Brick Dangerblade, the obstinate Carlie Cooper, the persistent Preston Eye, the dogged Reece Latham, the plucky Deborah Potsma and the plain ugly (but plenty mean) Paul Harkins. After briefly celebrating the return of the sun, the group clicked its heels twice and the multicolred parade set off down Milledege, headed north to Alto, well beyond the safe borders of the Empire, into dangerous and unchartered territory, the white spots on the map. I knew some would be martyred for the cause, I just prayed one wasn’t me.

Only 14 miles into the day’s parade the Ladies took part in the first skirmish and sprinting sensation Judah Sencenbaugh took the points, followed by the ever-vigilant Sommers Creed, Emily Cameron, Haley Braun and Deborah Potsma. At Mile 44 the group entered the deadly Alto City Limit Attack Zone and Ian Garrison showed again he is a man (or lad) on fire as he rode away on the Triple Stair Step and soloed in for the win. Behind Travieso, Brown, Cornett and Gruber rounded at the Top 5. At Mile 72 the group faced the daunting Crackback Hill and young guns Michael Garrison, Cole Rasser and Seth Callahan stormed up the severe hill and took top honors, with Jake Holt and Ross Draluck rounding out the Top 5 with impressive pushes up the hill.

After 100 tough, up and down miles in the saddle ridden at a solid 20.5 mile-per-hour average, the whistle blew and the Alto Final Attack Zone was at hand—I nearly cried from excitement, relief and fear, but then several riders immediately jumped clear in a bid for an early escape. But Brick Dangerblade went to the front and drove down Steep Dog Hill at full tilt boogie, stringing the pack out single-file as they hit the lower slopes and began the 300-meter assault up the rough 12 percent grade. Up and over the first major obstacle in the Final Attack Zone, the group shattered. The riders were strung out and chasing hard down the fast, flowing roadway of Erastus Church Road and taking the left-hand turn on Seagraves Mill Road with 7 miles to go—the second important pinch point in the Final Attack Zone—a baker’s dozen were clear and riding away; the winner would come from this group.

Gabe Mendez, Brown, Travieso, Gruber, Robert Stroka, Huntley Nash, Tommy Morrison, Andy Scarano, Cornett, Michael Garrison, Hugh McCauley, Seth Callahan and a few others were storming down Seagraves but with 3.5 miles to go, Ian Garrison launched an all-out attack when the road tilted upwards on Seagraves Mill Hill. If he made it to the right hand turn on Nowhere Road with 3 flat miles to go, he could hold out and win. Travieso immediately sensed danger and sprang across the gap on the hill, making contact as Garrison made the final turn. Within a few hundred meters these two showed they were riding on a different plane and they moved away from the chase, each sharing the load with massive, high-wattage pulls. As the two neared the line Garrison was the first to launch with a fierce attack down the inside with 400 meters to go, but the wily Travieso was hot on Garrison’s wheel and exploded by him with 100 meters to go to take a brilliant, well-deserved win. Behind Robert Sroka slipped the clutches of the chase and soled in for 3rd, with Brown, Gruber, Scarano and M Garrison close behind. Michael Garrison and Seth Callahan showed they are forces of the future by being the only Non Pros in the front group.

Behind, 18-year-old Elvys Martinez won the sprint in the chase group to clainm3rd for the Non Pros, followed by the impressive 16-year-old Cole Rasser, then Jake Holt and Scott Morris, both with gold star rides. Sommers Creed again showed her amazing strength and savvy by winning the day for the Ladies with J Sencenbaugh, E Cameron, D Potsma and Haley Braun not far behind. Kudos to all the Ladies who pedaled this ride.

In the HUB Overall Competition, Thomas Brown and Sommers Creed are locked in a dead draw for the lead with 2 rides to go. A battle is looming as the 2019 Overall remains up for grabs. Behind these two J Sencebaugh and Travieso are lurking like criminals, while I Garrison, C Rasser and Gruber remain solidly sin the hunt. Buildings are burning, chaos rules the day, pandemonium is spreading, thigs are topsy-turvy as the WBL heads down the homestretch.

Alto Finis (Nowhere Road):

  1. Frank Travieso: 15 pts
  2. Ian Garrison: 12 pts.
  3. Robert Stroka: 9 pts
  4. Thomas Brown: 6 pts
  5. Jered Gruber: 6 pts.
  6. Huntley Nash: 3 pts.
  7. Andy Scarano: 2 pts 
  8. Michael Garrison: 1 pt
  9. All: 6 pts.

Ladies Finish (Nowhere Road / Sponsored Team Type 1 Foundation):

  1. Sommers Creed: 10 pts
  2. Judah Sencenbaugh: 8 pts
  3. Emily Cameron: 6 pts.
  4. Deborah Potsma: 4 pts
  5. Haley Braun: 2 pts

Non-Pro Finish (Nowhere Road):

  1. Michael Garrison: 10 pts.
  2. Seth Callahan: 8 pts
  3. Elvys Martinez: 6 pts
  4. Cole Rasser: 4 pts.
  5. Jake Holt: 2 pts.
  6. Scott Morris: 1 pt.

Ladies Sprint (Jackson County):

  1. Judah Sencenbaugh: 5 pts
  2. Sommers Creed: 4 pts.
  3. Emily Cameron: 3 pts
  4. Haley Braun: 2 pts.
  5. Deborah Potsma: 1 pt.

Pro Sprint (Alto City Limits):

  1. Ian Garrison: 5 pts
  2. Frank Travieso: 4 pts.
  3. Thomas Brown: 3 pts.
  4. Brendan Cornett: 2 pts
  5. Jered Gruber: 1 pt

Non Pro Sprint (Crackback Hill):

  1. Michael Garrison: 5 pts
  2. Cole Rasser: 4 pts.
  3. Seth Callahan: 3 pts.
  4. Jake Holt: 2 pts.
  5. Ross Draluck: 1 pt.


The Cuban Missile Frank Travieso blistered the pavement and scorched the Final Attack Zone with a punishing sprint to claim the win in the 90-mile Independent Baking Company Greensboro Classic. Travieso also claimed his 13th lifetime win, moving him into a tie for 2nd place with John Murphy for the most ever. Thomas Hitman Brown pushed Big Frank to his limit, claiming 2nd in the punishing Hargrove Lake Final Attack Zone, but couldn’t overcome the flying Missile, who claimed his 3rd win of the season and surged up the leaderboard to 4th the in the HUB Overall Competition. But with the points tallied from his 2nd place finish, and the additional points earned by winning the Gene Dixon Intermediate Sprint, T Brown all but locked up the HUB Overall Competition, and is set to take his record breaking 6th Overall Crown. But the Top 6 are still up for grabs with Creed, J Sencenbaugh, Travieso, Gilbert, I Garriason, Gruber and Rasser all in the hunt. With one ride to go, the Overall is a dog fight among cycling heavyweights: Brace yourselves.

The Greensboro route took the Zealots south of Athens, away from the hills and mountains in the northern section of the Piedmont and down into gently rolling hills covered with piney forests and multi-acre plots of plots of low-lying grasses and pastures. The route sliced across Lake Oconee and included long stretches of roadway that are fast and smooth, allowing the large 70-person pack to scud along without burning too many matches. And on this Saturday, the sun was shining, the sky was blue, and the forecasted high was a sultry 60 degrees: Life was good and hopes were high departing the Hub that yet another glorious WBL was at hand; they weren’t disappointed as the group rode the 4.5 hour misadventure at a quick but reasonable 20.5 mile-per-hour average; windspeeds were low. Some of the VIPs on hand for the penultimate event were North Carolina’s favorite son Pat the Rainman Raines, Atlanta’s own el capo Big Jon Atkins, Greenville’s poet laureate Andy Baker, Indiana’s corn fed cowboy Ryan Knapp, California native Erik Gruenwedel, Toccoa’s finest Michael Sencenbaugh, the Mayor of Milledge Willy Saunders, the5 Points Baker himself Thom Leonard, the little big man Reece Latham, and the bastion of civility and the master of good manners Frank Crumley.

Though the Greenboro route is less taxing than others, there are no easy days in the WBL, and this ride was 90 miles, not to mention the Final Attack Zone is brutal. Today the group was tackling the arduous Gene Dixon Final Attack Zone, a 9-mile zone with six huge hills that can suck the life out of a rider’s legs like he / she’d sprang a six-inch leak. Immediately upon entering the Final Attack Zone the assaults quickly started and a group of five that included the 15-year old wunderkind Cole Rasser broke free. On the second of the large hummocks several riders forced the issue, causing a large split going over the top, and a large contingent of a dozen eventually broke clear and made contact with the front five—the winner would come from this group.

Gilbert, Morrison, Knapp, Raines and Nash were among the frontrunners and as they pushed home several attacks launched but nothing could claw its way clear. Taking the final right hand turn on Melton Road with 1.5 miles to go the group was together. As the group headed up the last 1 kilometer incline to the finish Johnny Boy Butler launched a massive attack and shot clear. He was quickly joined by Gruber and the two put their heads down and hammered for glory. But cresting the final hill Big Frank came blowing by like a fired missile and held on for the win with Brown, Cornett, Nash, Meza and Baker not far behind. Michael Garrison again dominated the day for the Non Pros winning both the finish and the intermediate sprint. Seth Callahan, Elvys Martinez and Cole Rasser also continue to impress. On the Ladies side, Judah Sencenbaugh took top honors winning both the finish and the sprint and Carlie Cooper showed incredible fortitude with another gutsy ride. Kudos to all for another most excellent misadventure.

Finis (Melton Road) (Sponsored by Independent Baking Company):

  1. Frank Travieso: 10 pts
  2. Thomas Brown: 8 pts
  3. Brendan Cornett: 6 pts.
  4. Huntley Nash: 4 pts.
  5. Cory Meza: 2 pts.
  6. Andy Baker: 1 pts 
  7. Attack Point: John Butler, Jered Gruber: 1 pt
  8. All: 5 pts.

Ladies Finish (Melton Road / Sponsored Team Type 1 Foundation):

  1. Judah Sencenbaugh: 5 pts
  2. Carlie Cooper: 4 pts

Non-Pro Finish (Melton Road):

  1. Michael Garrison: 5 pts.
  2. Elvys Martinez: 4 pts
  3. Cole Rasser: 3 pts
  4. Jackson Gilbert,: 2 pts.
  5. Scott Morris, Jon Atkins, Pat Raines (tie): 1 pt

Ladies Sprint (Greene County):

  1. Judah Sencenbaugh: 3 pts
  2. Sommers Creed: 2 pts.
  3. Emily Cameron: 1 pt

Non Pro Sprint (Woodville City Limits):

  1. Michael Garrison: 3 pts
  2. Seth Callahan: 2 pts.
  3. Elvys Martinez: 1 pt.

Pro Sprint (Gene Dixon Hill Jam):

  1. Thomas Brown: 3 pts
  2. Frank Travieso: 2 pts.
  3. Elvys Martinez: 1 pt.