Year End Report!
WBL 2006: "Plenty Fun"
Le Skeletor, Greg Somerville, became the 8th different Zealot in as many years to win the Overall Championship as he plundered Wonder Woman's wardrobe closet late in the season, burgled the Blue jersey from the top shelf, and pedaled away with the win in the waning weeks of WBL 2006. Skeletor's overall win came as a result of a season filled with solid and consistent rides Saturday after Saturday after Saturday. Like Lance, Skeletor simply did not have a bad day. The only question now is will his body, like the corpus of all past champions (with the notable exception of Boots) turn into a flabby temple of desuetude-evidence of a life lived as a libertine. Skeletor thinks not; but didn't they didn't they all. (Dear Reader, here, look to the ground and shake your head. Pause before continuing for dramatic effect. After all, it has been a wicked fall for a few. )
Throughout the other season Skeletor scratched his name in the registration book and earned his 2 points each and every weekend whether or not the skies were spitting down frozen bullets or the sun was drenching the Zealots beneath big barrels of sunshine. His pugnacity and his determination, along with his striking resemblance to the Grim Reaper—especially when he carried his scythe and wore his black robe with the red rope belt—eventually melted that part of his competitors’ brains that control willpower, drive and self confidence. He bided his time, and with only 2 weeks to go, when the others were stretched taut like torture victims on the rack, he gave the wheel one more turn—a bone crushing attack in the closing kilometers of the Hard Labor Creek Classic on the final uphill drag to the Pink Church sign. Crack went the rack. After Hard Labor, Somerville slipped on the Blue jersey; he never looked back, except to lift the tip of his scythe when it scraped the pavement as he pedaled down the road. (cont...)
Kari Bradley a.k.a. Wonder Woman and Erin Boots Winter-Shirey (EBWS) finished tied for 2nd in the Overall Competition giving the ladies 2 out of 3 of the top spots in 06. The ladies again look poised to attempt to take control of the world. Wonder Woman kept herself among the leaders in December, and bolted to the top of the leader board as soon as the sprinting began in January. She held the Blue jersey during a difficult 6 week stretch, one of the more difficult 6 week stretches in the WBL archives, only to lose it late in the season when she left the door cracked. Wonder Woman had to dig deep into the far recesses of her soul reserve on several occasions, only to come back a champ at the end of the day. Her remarkable campaign ended only 5 points behind first place, tied for 2nd. W. W. (no relation to “W”) left her mark on the roads in 06. (An aside: W has been suspended from the WBL for 2 years. He will have to wipe the dumb look off his face to be readmitted.)
Boots tried a different strategy. As last year’s winner, Boots wore the Yellow leader’s jersey (former color—until Blue jerseys run out) the entire month of December. Because there were no sprints in December, as long as Boots signed in, she owned the rights to the Yellow jersey. Boots gave up the jersey in January when the sprinting began, choosing instead to lay low early and storm from the rear late in the day. Her strategy nearly succeeded as she scored big points late, which rocketed her up the points ladder. In fact, had the last 2 sprints of the year not been cancelled due to inclement weather, Boots insisted she’d “be pulling both my boots outta his [garbled] right about now.” Boots still ended in the season tied for 2nd with W. W., falling just short of her goal to become the 1st person to ever repeat as an Overall winner in the WBL. But…Bootsz’ll be back. She’s the exception to the rule. She doesn’t worship in a temple of desuetude. She doesn’t even go to church--she’s Jewish.
The hardcore womenfolk of the WBL also stayed atop the leader board in the Atlantis Hydroponics Red Jersey Competition as the Dahlonaga Dominatrix, Tina Mayloa-Pic, and her arch nemeses, Todd Apple Pie Henriksen, ended in a 2-way tie for first. Each of the rotten sprinters garnered a total of 5 points. Mayola-Pic, the most prolific women’s sprinter on the particular tectonic plate on which we live, earned her points by winning several different sprints throughout the other season. She won uphill sprints, sideways sprints, downhill sprints, one-legged sprints, and multiple choice questions about sprints. (Kudos for M-P for her international stage win at the Geelong Tour.) Mayola-Pic can flat out sprint. We at the WBL gratefully acknowledge she owes her sprinting prowess to us, and we are humbled to accept the endless encomiums that are probably sent directly to Mayola-Pic. (In the future dear Reader, please send all poetry, paeans or cash donations intended for Mayola-Pic, to us here at the WBL. She seems not to be in the habit of forwarding us our fair share. You have our solemn word that we will forward her fair share to her. You will also receive an email from Carney thanking you for your generous support within 6 to 8 weeks.)
Todd Apple Pie Henriksen is a multitalented rider entering the professional ranks 2006 as a neopro for VDB. Apple rang up all 5 of his points by winning the most prestigious sprint of the season—Alto City Limits. Henriksen showed on Alto that he’s not afraid to put the wood to the big dogs. WBL fortune tellers predict you will see both Mayola-Pic’s and Henriksen’s photos littering the pages of international cycling rags in the months to come. We can only hope it’s not a reprint of a mug shot.
WBL 2006 will go down in the records as yet another successful season. Rides were demanding, but not overtaxing; long, but manageable. The buildup in distance was steady, from 70 to 80 to 90 to ultimately 110 miles. Alto, at 110 miles, was the longest ride of the season. It was epic, but still may not have been the hardest and most demanding. That mantle may belong to Royston…or Bowman…or maybe even the first event. WBL scholars will debate that subject for the next 100 years.
The 2006 season started as it finished—in a cold, hard rain. The first ride was cut short by frozen precip and so was the last, but in between, there was a world of hurt. On the first event of the year, nearing the end of the ride, but still 10 miles out, the pack was suddenly and unexpectedly soaked to the core—caught with their proverbial pants down around their ankles in a freezing rain. The panicked pack hammered home as if their lives depended on it. They froze their arses off to be blunt. It was a first ride epic, a rarity in the WBL (as long as you don’t count 1998 or any year before 1996, and possibly 2001). 3 riders could not be located after the ride and were presumed dead. Back in he warmth of headquarters, Carney winked and said, “Damn yall, I was hoping I’d get at least 2 more.” He had a twinkle in his eye. A few thought he was only joking.
After the first pluvial misadventure, WBL 2006 was able to reel off 7 Saturdays in a row without interruption, an unusual feat except in the best of years due to the constant threat of wintertime rain showers in the southeast. Either the whether gods were cooperating, or were simply asleep at the wheel. Either way, Rory Mellinger could live with the consequences. During the 6th week’s ride, as the pack was sailing down another fine, dry stretch of blacktop on a backwoods country road, Rory thought, Maybe global warming isn’t so bad after all. It could be worse. Hell, I could be impotent. He momentarily panicked. He popped 2 more Viagra. Better to be safe. He popped 2 more.
As one door closed on December, and another one opened into January, a dozen riders moved to the front of the pack in the Overall quest for points: Somerville, W. W., Tom the Tether Palmer, Nixon, T. Gentry, Slote, Mulligan, Mellinger, Stephen Dean, Big Bean Micah Rice, and Star Man Bridges were some of those tied for the lead. The group fractured and factions began to split off under the impetus of the aforementioned thugs. Tension became so bad that reportedly Slote tried to suffocate Bridges with a pillow while he was sleeping. Slote said he didn’t realize Bridges was allergic to satin and was only trying to make him stop snoring. Many questions remain unanswered.
The attack gates opened in January and the speed demons were let loose from their cages. The rides during December had averaged a quick 20 miles per hour, and the January rides continued with the same efficient tempo. After all, the real fun still didn’t start until the end of the day when group wandered into the Killbox (Attack Zone). Until then, each ride was the same: Zip out of town and hit the ground running; set a solid tempo and hold it the rest of the day; pull if you want, hang on if you must; and look out for your brother and sister at each step of the way. And no whining allowed. The only difference in the rides was that the same loop was never ridden twice, ever, never, forever.
The list of stage winners for 2006 is fewer than usual because of the late season washouts of the 2 final sprints, but the list of winners is prestigious: Tina Mayola-Pic (Lula), Brer Jake Rubelt (Royston), The Kid Jon Murphy (Alto), and Fast Eddie Hilger (Hard Labor) were the only 4 Zealots who managed to add their names to the legendary list of winners. (See History/Records link for a list of all winners.) Each win, each ride and each Zealot has its-his-her own story to tell. Every ride has 1000 stories, but we can only tell a few. With the conclusion of every ride, a new library is built, even if its books only exist in our heads.
Tina Mayloa-Pic won her 3rd lifetime WBL event, in addition to her Red jersey, and moved into a tie for 5th place in Total Lifetime Wins in the WBL. Even Mayola-Pic admits her drawer full of National Championship jerseys pale in comparison to the accolades and awards her wins in the WBL have brought her. Expect to hear a lot from this first class lady throughout the year. Her early stage win in the Geelong Tour was only the first win of many more to come.
The Kid, John Murphy, moved into 2nd place on the all time win parade with a total of 6 lifetime wins by taking his 2nd Alto World Cup. In 2006, Alto boasted one of the stronger fields hosted by the WBL: 3 national champions from 3 different countries, U.S. and Canadian National team members, pros from a half-dozen teams, top amateurs in the southeast, and hammerheads from everywhere. At the end of the day, The Kid outdistanced them all. The Kid looks like he might be capable of becoming the most prolific winner in WBL history. He still needs 4 more to reach that Olympian Height, and he will have to survive certain assassination attempts on his way up. Look for the Kid to do the WBL proud in 06 as he competes on the cobblestones of France with the U.S. National Team. He owes it all to us.
Aerospace Engineer’s entire 16 man roster ventured into WBL land this winter to roll their humps around for several weeks during January. One of those adventurous itinerants was Brer Jake Rubelt. Brer Rubelt swaggered over from over Tucson way to rumble on the roads around Athens. Rubelt, on his first ride ever in the WBL, stormed to a win on the most blustery day in the WBL in 74 years. The wind smacked the riders around like they were lightweight punching bags. Rubelt, like many 1st time winners, was inconsolable after his win, calling it the greatest day of my life. And so it was. When asked how he would split the prize money with his 15 teammates, he was too upset to even consider it. He could only ask, How much is it? Look for great things this year from the entire Aerospace squad; even if Emile Abraham was shut out. Again. Damn.
Endeavor Cycling’s Fast Eddie Hilger was the only other cyclist to win an event this year. Fast Eddie’s wandered down from Chattanooga before, so he knows the score. Fast Eddie won the first time the pack attempted the Pink Church circuit loop, a final Attack Zone with two sprints at the Pink Church and a mean 6 mile circuit in between. Carney called the circuit a “huge success” and said it would be back in the Attack Zone arsenal in the future.
Veteran Zealot Matt Turbo Gentry and neo Zealot Hugh Moran rounded at the top 5 in the Overall Competiton. In his years in the WBL, Turbo has always moved up the food chain. There’s not much further he can go. His win in his first crit of the year in Albany is the first of many to come. As always, we’ll take the credit. Hugh Moran is an experienced pro riding for Aerospce Engineers, and although he was only here for 1 month, his strong finishes pushed into a tie for 4th in the Overall with Turbo. Moran is a proven pro, now that he has done the WBL.
The WBL would like to thank all its sponsors this year: Ride Blue Bikes, Porterfield Tire, Jittery Joes, Starbucks coffee, Team Type 1, Habersham Bikes and Atlantis Hydroponics. The WBL would also like to thank all those who make this possible—the riders that come from both near and far, even the Canadians. Special shout outs for super seasons also to: David Nixon (Most Consistent), Jim Stradley (Most improved), Tom Palmer (Gutcheck Award), Bill Carroll, BDB, Dustin Mealor, Erich Mattei, Ken Mulligan, Micah Rice and Zak Taylor. Special thanks to Jimmy and all the boys at Sunshine Cycles for the continued use of their premises. And a final shout out to LLC’s wife. I’m partial to her. (Of course, now I'll find out whether she does read the reports, or whether she's just been lying all these years. I'm sorry to say, I suspect it's the latter.)
We hope to continue providing the best winter training rides in the cosmos. In the words of jazz legend Jelly Roll Morton, “We had plenty fun, a kind of fun I don’t think I’ve ever seen any other place.”
See you soon.
Red Jersey: Final
1st: 6 points - Dominatrix, Henriksen
3rd: 5 points - Hugh Moran, Boots
5th: 4 points - Slim Henry, Wonder Woman, G Man
8th: 3 points - Z. Taylor, Nathan O’neil, A. Brackett, A. Myerson, Turbo
13th: 2 points - H. Halverson, Emile A., Bruno, Pettifogger, Iona
18th: 1 point - Murphy, Shirey, Bryant, Skinny D., B. Carroll, LLC., Turbo’s teammate, Wonder Woman
- Skeletor - Greg Somerville 44 points
- Wonder Woman - Kari Bradley: 38
- Boots - Erin Winter: 38 (tie for 2nd)
- Turbo - Matt Gentry: 27
- Hugh Moran - 27
- The Tether - Tom Palmer: 26
- T. Henriksen - 26 (tie)
- Crowe - 26 (tie)
- The Kid - 24
- Len Slote - 24 (tie for 10th)
- Ken Mulligan - 24 (tie for 10th)
- Zak Taylor - 23
- S. Dean - 23
- El Prez - 22
- Mellinger - 21
- Stradley - 21
- rice - 20
- Star - 18
- Mealor - 18
- Eric Mattei - 18
- Rhino - 17
- Skinny Dan - 16
- W. Bottoms - 16
- G. Bradley - 16
- B. Harper - 16
- IcePic - 16
- Bill Carroll - 15
- J. Lamb - 15
- Iona Parks - 15
- Rubelt - 14
- Stukes - 14
- Bruno - 14
- T. Mattox - 14
- J. Shirey - 14
- B. Jacobs - 12
- Andrew Brackett - 12
- Scott Edge - 12
- Hoyt H. -12
- Fast Eddie - 12
- Junior - 12
- K. Keim - 12
- Audrey Lemieux - 11
- Big Jon - 10
- C. Blackwell -10
- J. Brindle - 10
- Dembrak - 10
- G. Drewry - 10
- Wes Garland - 10
- Gilfillan - 10
- BDB Matthews -10
- Brady Rogers - 10