Alto, a Holiday on Wheels

Alto, a Holiday on Wheels

(WBL 2011 # 7)

Intermezzo: Both Carney and the late Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia are being considered for a state holiday. However, unlike Senator Byrd's constituents who are caterwauling for a day off work with pay, Carney's supporters are pushing for a day of work without remuneration. Carney even suggested riding Alto just for the fun of it. Since most folks are lazy cows, Carney's state "holiday" isn't gaining much traction outside the WBL. Meanwhile, inside the WBL...

Alto: Last year's Overall Victor and vainglorious Yellow Hairnet winner Thomas el Magnifico Brown bounced back into the fray with a vengeance on 22 January 2011 on the Porterfield Tire Alto World Cup as he snatched victory from the Sultan of South Milledge, Ty Magner, in the closing meters in one of the most dramatic WBL finishes this year. Current Yellow Hairnet holder Magner had boldly bolted out into the wild blue yonder as soon as the grupetto entered the Final Attack Zone, a terrifying and despicable 9-mile section of blacktop that lunges upward and dives back downward at precipitous, uncongenial and obscene angles. The idea of crossing the vicious backwater byways of the Alto Attack Zone at the 95-mile mark in the ride, like the institution of marriage, generally causes one's knees to wobble-knock, one's willpower to jelly roll, and one's psyche to splinter and crack, especially considering the fact that at this point in the pack's peregrinations, the savage Zealots have already climbed over 7,000 feet. Only the stout of heart, strong of lung, or feeble of mind need apply for a slot on this rocket ship to the moon.

Magner's gap was 15 seconds as the pack hit the cruel uphill pitch of Steep Dog Hill less than half a mile into the Final Attack Zone. But heading up the lower slopes of the 60-second Steep Dog hill-jam, the frontend factotums pulled the Sultan's gap back to a short, 5-second patch of real estate. At that point, feeling the capture was close, the helmsmen eased back on the throttle and, standing in their pedals, floated up the last half of the hill like weightless wraiths. These expert sellers of sand (my legs hurt)-the much-maligned climbers in the field, those slender folks who can slip sideways through a 3-inch crack-tapped-out a peaceable, fluid tempo and gawked wide-eyed while Magner struggled violently with his bike on the hill ahead, whipping his frame from side to side, heaving his shoulders, and bobbing his head like a bauble doll gone wild.

As the pack approached the top of Steep Dog's summit, the helmsmen were still dancing up the steppe at a moderate pace. Reid Malachi Peacock decided take matters into his own hands and he charged out from the herd and flew across the gap to Magner and quickly made contact. The two escapees were now up and over the cantankerous hill and riding on the only flat stretch of Steep Dog Road known that exists anywhere in the world. The pack was so impressed with Malachi's miraculous move that it was momentarily dumbstruck. Presently a brief debate arose in the pack as to the wisdom of the duo's daring bid for glory so far the finish line. Meanwhile, during the disputation, Magner and Malachi lowered their heads and wailed-away. As the group behind gathered its thoughts, not to mention its breath, the daring duo's gap began to grow.

Magner and Malachi pushed the gap back up to 15 seconds as the group headed towards Seagraves Mill Road, still with 7 miles to go. Behind, second place in the 2011 Overall Competition, Jonathon Atwell, was shouldering the bulk of the workload. Atwell knew very well that he couldn't let Yellow hairnet holder Magner simply ride off or the season might slip away, so Atwell put his chin on his bar and pedaled his cotton-picking, Indianapolis-azz off. Atwell relied on no one else at this juncture and as he tore into his pedals, the pack was strung out behind like a slithering snake. The first five places behind the point of the spear (Atwell) were occupied by five riders from Team Type 1, and with their man Ty storming away, they were happy to stay just where they were. So Atwell did all the dirty work, with the group ripping behind.

Heading down Seagraves Mill Road, Malachi thought better of his hasty decision and aborted mission. The motoring pack scooped him up with 6 miles left to burn. But Magner persisted in his foolish endeavor and now even pushed out again to a 10 second lead-too big of a gap for one person to cross, but surely his quest was a quixotic one. One person, even a thick-thighed visionary like the Sultan of South Milledge, cannot solo for the entire length of the Alto Attack Zone! Magner was simply jousting with windmills, and he had no Sancho to lighten his load, no Costello for comic relief. But the Sultan had other plans, and like the fleet-footed Reinhold Messner, he was seeking to summit alone.

The group behind Magner sailed up the long, ½ mile uphill pitch at the end of Seagraves Mill Road, cresting with a final, furious kick over the top, and as they turned right on the Nowhere Road with 3 miles to go, they shaved Magner's lead to a paltry 7 seconds. The first chase group was now pared down to 17 brave souls, and with the combined strength of this powerful populace of pedal-people, Magner certainly didn't have a prayer. But once again, no one told Magner that his venture was doomed, and he continued to pound away.

As the group sped down the final fast and undulating pave on Nowhere Road, Magner kept his shoulder to the wheel and pushed forward with a relentless resolve-he didn't even bother looking behind. If he would have, he would have seen the likes of Frank Trevesio, T Brown, Hunter Garrison, B Cornett, Andrew Hodges, and J Atwell boring down at the front, with Team Type 1 members glued to their wheels, ready to pounce should the capture come to fruition. The hard-chargers at the front were clawing their way back to Magner, but there was still several seconds to bring back, and they were running out of time.

As the front chase group zipped up the final, vexing hump 1 mile from paydirt, Magner still maintained a 5 second gap-in spite of impossible odds, he might actually pull this off! The pack scorched over the top of the hummock and pressed the pace on the downhill-they were at full gallop now. With 500 meters to go Magner was dangling precariously close at 3 seconds. Behind there was a violent surge, a touch of wheels, and a wild and frenzied sprint from 400 meters out among the 17 riders remaining in the front group. Finally, after nearly 9 miles, the valiant Magner was caught and passed 250 meters from the line by the rampaging herd behind. He immediately banged his bars and burst into tears. Thomas Brown, shepherded by a bullet-train named "Trevesio," scudded by Magner and flattened the blacktop. Approaching the line 2009 winner Slim Tim Henry stood and stomped and strained and tried to come around el Magnifico, but T Brown held firm and scored his second Alto win in a row, becoming only the third person in history to ever win two. In an equally impressive display of cycling virtuosity, young wunderkind Andrew Hodges finished 6th overall and won the day as the best of the Non-Pros. And C Peacock and A Gruber showed the iron mettle of hard core cycle warriors as they rode magnificent rides for the ladies and finished in the Alto epic in grand style. Salud, boys and girls, Alto 2011 was one helluva day!

Alto Finis:

Pro, 1, 2:

  1. Thomas Brown: 15 pts
  2. Slim Tim Henry: 12 pts.
  3. Joe Eldridge: 9 pts.
  4. Joey Rosskopf: 6 pts.
  5. Hunter Garrison: 3 pts.
  6. Ty Magner: Attack Points: 2 pts
  7. Reid Peacock: Attack Point: 1 pt.
  8. True Grit Ride: Whatley, Karzen, Kogan: 1 pt
  9. All: 4 pts

Non Pro:

  1. Andrew Hodges: 7 pts.
  2. Crowe: 5 pts.
  3. J Atwell: 3 pts.
  4. ?


  1. C Peacock: 7 pts.
  2. A Gruber: 5 pts.

Intermezzo: Both Carney and Pope John Paul II can be counted among those that believe that a person can learn certain truths only through hard work and long suffering. They welcome pain. Pain is a portal. If you've ever read ridden Alto, you can understand.

Alto: Even the name-the Great Porterfield Alto World Cup Event-sends worry-waves rippling through one's core. Usually when Alto is mentioned, the ride is taking place some other day, some other place, not then, not now. As Lou Reed said about his next fix, it was "just some other time." So when the actual day for the Alto ride dawned, and the rosy, drunken talk of a jaunty and ribald hammerfest ended, and the cold reality of the day settled in like a thick, damp fog, a window was thrown open into one's core. On Alto the elegant façades are stripped away and the load-bearing beams remain exposed.

The forecast called for a sky of blue and a day of unimpeded sunshine with highs predicted to be in the mid-sixties. As in the recent presidential elections, the pendulum had swung the other way. A questionable group of 80 or 90 wayfaring cycle-warriors, disreputable deathsmen, onerous outliers, mercurial masochists, and recusant revenants were on hand for the glorious but brutal event. Included in this multifarious menagerie of hardcore madmen and pedal-maniacs were house favorites John Best, Chris Blackmon, Jason Bewley, Hank Beaver, Jared Hegberg, Anthony Hergert, Dan McGarvey, Scott Morris, Matthew Miller, Rich Nelson, Tanner Putt, Sam Rafal, Kirk Madsmith, Mike Edmonds, and Parker Smith. The pack slathered itself with Carney's special tanning butter, clicked its collective heels, and pointed their steeds towards Alto. When the whistle warbled, they were quickly off and running.

20 miles into the pedal-party, the group tucked in behind three City of Commerce police cruisers and raced down Main Street, blowing through red lights with impunity, while the cops lead the charge. For 4 miles the pack sailed in rapid-fire fashion into, through, and out of Commerce. Once safely through Commerce, albeit at an average speed of 34 miles per hour, the Zealots were dropped off on the north side of town. Beyond the safe confines of the pale, the Zealots would have to make their own way. This is not Kilimanjaro, not Everest-this is Alto. There are no porters to carry your pack.

At the 44-mile point, the pack hit the bottom of the dastardly Alto Triple Stair Step and the beginning of the longest, hardest, and most prestigious Sprint Zone of the Other Season. One hundred bucks in cold hard cash and 5 points awaited the winner, not to mention a well-paid position as the spokesperson for Trojan love-making accessories. The group splintered and split and cracked and crepitated on the three cruel steps. At the terminus of the 4-mile section of unruly triplets, the top of the last step, the ten strongest riders in the group were clear. But taking the right hand turn to begin the final 4-mile push to the city limit sign, Joey Rosskopf punched free. T Brown and Slim Henry were the only two who could react fast enough to grab this barn burner's wheel.

The seven behind quickly fell into a fast-paced, rotating phalanx. Though they dug with gusto and pedaled with glee, they could not make contact with the triad at the front, who were being propelled forward under the impetus of Rosskopf and his powerful-pedal strokes. At the line Rosskopf even had the reserve in his tank to jump his compatriots and win the sprint going away. Making the front group of 10 and gobbling up the 3 places for the Non-Pros were the irrepressible upstart Brandon Russell, the climbing demigod Cal Hootin, and the relentless man for all seasons, Jonathon Atwell.

Alto Sprint (Pro, 1,2)

  1. J Rosskopf: 5 pts
  2. T Brown: 3 pts.
  3. Slim Henry: 1 pt


  1. Brandon Russel: 3 pts.
  2. Cal Hootin: 2 pts.
  3. J Atwell: 1 pt


  1. A Gruber: 3 pts
  2. C Peacock: 2 pts

Intermezzo: Sometimes well-meaning folks suggest to Carney that he copyright the WBL. He usually roars with laughter and responds by pointing out that you cannot patent the sun. He adds, and anyway, what would one do with the sun? Answering a question with a question is a rh?tor's trick he picked up from Columbo and Jesus.

Alto: At the 70-mile point, Crackback Hill reared its ugly head like a deadbeat boyfriend who's suddenly back in town. (Any resemblance to Jered Gutcheck Gruber in the last sentence is purely coincidental.)The Crackback Hill Jam is a 600 meter pitch straight up into the sky-it is like climbing Jack's beanstalk, or maybe a thread dropped down from the sky.

T Brown and Magner separated themselves from the herd, followed closely by the climbing demon J Atwell. At the line, which is etched onto the bottom of a cloud, in a foreshadowing of the finale, T Brown held off Ty and took the cash and the points. The impressive Atwell scored third and won the sprint for the Non-Pros. Atwell and Magner were now tied on the road. But not for long because el Magnifico was back in town. (This statement is also not meant to infer that el Magnifico is the "back in town" deadbeat referenced above, but we understand the confusion.)

Crackback Hill Jam (Pro, 1, 2)

  1. T Brown: 3 pts.
  2. Ty Magner: 2 pts.
  3. J Atwell: 1 pt.

Non Pro:

  1. J Atwell: 2 pts.
  2. Cal Hootin: 1 pt.


  1. C Peacock: 2 pts.
  2. A Gruber: 1 pt.

Intermezzo: When Richard Nixon resigned because he was going to be impeached, and they were booting his sorry ass out of the White House, and when he was boarding that waiting chopper on the White House lawn to be carried away from Pennsylvania Avenue for the last time, and when he walked up the gangplank to the threshold of the copter and turned to the press, and the chopper's blades were flying around, he should have thrown up the devil's horn instead of that ridiculous peace sign. If he would have, his t-shirt sells would rival Che Guevera's.

The shifting sands of the 2011 season have now seen its fourth owner of the Yellow hairnet so far. With 3 rides to go, the Overall is up for grabs. It's a fistfight of epic proportions. Hold on to your hats and stay tuned, someone is going to end up with a bloody nose.

WBL 2011 Overall (30 Jan 2011):

  1. Thomas Brown: 43 pts
  2. J Atwell: 39 pts
  3. Ty Magner: 38 pts
  4. Joey Rosskopf: 37 pts.
  5. Crowe: 36 pts.
  6. Michael York: 31 pts
  7. Frank Trevesio: 31 pts.
  8. Catherine Peacock: 30 pts.
  9. Slim Henry: 30 pts
  10. Ashley Gruber: 24 pts.
  11. Joe Eldridge: 20 pts
  12. DD Dunn: 19 pts
  13. John Best: 19 pts.
  14. Kirk Madsmith: 19 pts
  15. Scott Morris: 19 pts
  16. Jamie Dinkins: 19 pts.
  17. Ruben Jacobo-Rubio: 19 pts
  18. Little Cappy: 17 pts.
  19. Rich Nelson: 17 pts
  20. Don Giannini: 17 pts.
  21. Sam Rafal: 17 pts
  22. Cal Hootin: 17 pts.
  23. Brandon Rusell: 17 pts.
  24. Steve Kogan: 16 pts.
  25. Tanner Putt: 16 pts
  26. Parker Smith: 16 pts
  27. Brett Magner: 16 pts
  28. Andrew Hodges: 16 pts
  29. Christian Foster: 16 pts
  30. Nick Housley: 16 pts.
  31. Brooks Lide: 15 pts
  32. Matt Karzen: 15 pts.
  33. Reid Peacock: 14 pts.
  34. L Slote: 14 pts
  35. Sean Carroll: 14 pts.
  36. Dane Tezler: 14 pts.
  37. Hunter Garrison: 14 pts
  38. Anthony Hergert: 13 pts
  39. Jason Bewley: 13 pts
  40. Yo Simpson: 13 pts
  41. Gabriel Denes 13
  42. Artur Sagat: 13 pts
  43. Matt Whatley: 12 pts
  44. David Goodman: 12 pts.
  45. Russell Tindol: 12 pts.
  46. Andrew Smola: 12 pts
  47. Clark Hurst: 12 pts.
  48. Steve Kogan: 12 pts.
  49. Nick Fragnito: 12 pts.
  50. John Newton: 12 pts.
  51. Russ Foster: 12 pts
  52. Tommy Mulkey: 12 pts.
  53. Brad Parkerson: 12 pts.
  54. Christian Parrott: 12 pts
  55. Matt Miller: 12 pts
  56. Dan McGarvey: 12 pts.
  57. Gina Voci: 12 pts.
  58. Big Cappy: 11 pts
  59. Rob Kane: 11 pts.
  60. Igor Rudola: 11 pts
  61. Matt Brooks: 10 pts.
  62. Charlie Ellis: 10 pts
  63. Austin Hilliard: 10 pts
  64. Kyle Forrester: 10
  65. Gruber Gutcheck: 10 pts.
  66. Dalford England: 10 pts.
  67. Cal Hootin: 10 pts.
  68. Cal Hootin: 9 pts.
  69. Jered Hegberg: 9 pts
  70. Hank Beaver: 9 pts
  71. Ryan Wolfe: 9 pts.
  72. Brendan Cornett: 8 pts.
  73. Stephen Leotis: 8 pts
  74. Christian Parrott: 8 pts
  75. JJ Wadkins: 8 pts.
  76. Eldridge Joe: 8 pts.
  77. Emily Fancher: 8 pts.