Brer Rubelt and his Belgian Hammer

Brer Rubelt and his Belgian Hammer Royston (#7)

Jake Rubelt was the last gladiator left standing, bloody sword in hand, in the brutal finale of the Team Type 1 Royston Classic on 14 January 2006 after he, with the aid of a pernicious wind, waylaid the competition and left them split open on the roadway, guts and intestinal tubes spilt and splattered everywhere, their eye sockets plucked clean by the buzzards.

The Zealots were beaten and battered worse than an unwanted mutt suffering with the mange during this raucous, but high-spirited, 92 mile celebration of life. All the year’s aspirants for the Blue jersey agreed that this rough and tumble day in the saddle was the most arduous of the other season (so far), and many wizened old wizard Zealots thought this trek to Royston was run in the clutches of the worst winds since that wild buster that lifted Auntie Em’s house into the clouds and sent it spiraling down to earth, flattening the Wicked Witch of the East. To the awestruck reporters at the post ride press conference, the grinning Rubelt claimed to actually have enjoyed the back breaking task of battling gale force winds for nearly 5 hours. He reminded me, your Humble Chronicler, of the brash Brer Rabbit after he was tossed into that thorny thicket called “the briar patch,” in which he (Brer Rabbit) felt quite at home. Brer Rubelt was obviously an Uncle Remus scholar.

The Zealots should have interpreted the signs and recognized that Fortuna had spun her wheel: Primo, the day before was Friday the 13th—enough said. Secundo, that evening (the 13th also), the luminous circle of a full moon burned a white hole in the midst of a clear black sky through which The Evil Eye looked right through. Tertio, the whether-wizards also warned of approaching winds that would be strong enough to untether both poseurs and pretenders alike, scattering them over both the Who’s and T.S.’s wasteland like tin trailers after a tornado has touched down. And during the night, the winds did arrive like atomic shockwaves. Outside my dank hovel that night, the skies screamed like a thousand banshees dunked in burning acid. Tree trunks split with a rifle shot as they buckled beneath the immense pressure that bore down upon them. Large limbs cracked like tiny twigs and blew away helter-skelter, crashing onto the top of my house and cart wheeling pell-mell across—the sound like the stampede of a million crabs scuttling across a thin tin roof. Windows rattled and walls knocked, doing their best to keep out the unwanted intruder. These portentous warnings were enough to convince many Zealots to slide down beneath the covers when the sun finally peeped over the horizon. Many did, but by no means all. 70 or so steely souls pulled their boots on, pressed their lips to their blade, and set out into the muddy battlefield.

The list of Zealots signing in for Royston was nothing less than an international field of super heavyweights. Serbia’s own man of mettle Radisa Cubric brought a dozen or more of his Aerospace Engineers to the party including Cuba’s finest—Frank Trevieso and Nick Aguilera. He also brought along fellow Serbians Jovanhovi Nebojsa, Hasanovic Esad and Prokic Predrag. The French sent Canadians: Bruno Langlois, Eric Boily and Audrey Lemieux. Jittery Joes’ joined in with Marky-Mark Anderson and Tom the Tether Palmer. Birthday girl Kristen Keim was also present, along with Bad Bill Harper, Greenvillian Jason Leslie, Casey Magner, Benjamin Bryant and Jess Brown too. After the day’s announcements, this rock solid group clicked their heels twice for good luck, and set off for Gawd and Carney only knew where. As we passed the plate gas windows of Sunshine Cycles, I spied the elegant Carney on the verso of the glass. He appeared to cross himself as a tear rolled down his cheek. I was surprised—I knew he was a heathen. I slid to the rear, dropped off the tail, feigned a flat tire, and boarded the bus at the back. My day was done. Carney in tears was all I needed to see.

This day’s ship of fools raised its sails and set off down the Nowhere Road. The wind revealed its hand early in the game and began battering the Zealots after only 2 pedal strokes. When you’re holding 5 aces, there’s no need to play it close to the vest. Only 3 miles in, the Zealots were being knocked about like a piñata at a party. The riders were leaning in to the windward side at a 45 degree angle, trying to balance against the ferocious winds that were pushing from the east. There was no shelter from the storm to be found in this line. Even those in the leeward line were getting pummeled and pounded. Several recreants in the group claimed to have experienced an epiphany at this point and decided the wise move for them would be to lower the mast and head for home. Perhaps they had only seen the light. But most in this pugnacious gaggle of misfits continued to press onward, always pushing forward—the battle was what they craved. These hard men and women knew that if this ride didn’t kill them, undoubtedly they would grow stronger. And even though they aspired to a Nietzschean philosophy of pedaling, there were no nihilists in this lusty group—these lads were too busy living.

This jovial group of rebels, revolutionaries and rabble rousers continued their forward march into the ill-tempered crosswinds for 2 solid hours towards the first Red Jersey sprint of the year at the Royston City Limit sign. The pack skirted down the long rural stretches of the ancient Jot-em-Down and crossed into Madison then Elbert Counties. In the fields to their sides, the three foot tall fescue and rye grasses were pressed down on their sides, flattened to the ground, held by an invisible force, shaking and convulsing like they were in the throes of an epileptic seizure. Riders were suddenly swept three feet to the side by a sudden swoosh of a furious gust. The ears of goats flopped about in the stiff breeze like prayer flags on a wire. The tails of cows were like whips that scourged their sides. The denuded limbs of hundred year old hardwoods shivered without pause as if they were trying to throw off an evil spell from the tips of their branches. Hawks and falcons trying to flap forward hung in the air as if flying in reverse. And troops of giant buzzards trotted about like black horses in a pasture, waiting for the Grim Reaper to send some victuals their way.

The first Red jersey sprint of the year was an old favorite—the Royston City limit sign. The whistler warbled as the group hit the bottom of the Mur de Royston, a double-humpback hill guaranteed to please. J. Joes’ Mark Anderson was the first to spring into action as he took off like a laser guided missile as soon as the whistler blew. Marky-Mark was quickly run down by a stringing out pack. The group flew up the second big hump grupetto compacto and turned left, 2 miles from the line, with 25 players still in the game. Suddenly, Junior Southerland exploded from the pack and was free. Young Turks Hoyt Halverson and Zak Taylor followed quickly. Hugh Moran reacted and stood and stomped and also sailed clear. Double H and Z.T. caught Junior with 1½ miles to paydirt, but H. Moran was closing like a fighter pilot with radar lock. Showing the skill of a veteran pro, Moran caught and passed the trio and kept right on going without even bothering to say, “Hello.” But he did say, “Goodbye,” as he held onto a small 10 meter gap and glided over the last 800 meters to take the first Red jersey sprint of the year. Double H won the sprint for 2nd with Z.T. in 3rd. (Points count toward Red jersey competition as well as Overall G.C.)

Royston: Red Jersey Points

  • 1st: Hugh Moran - 3 points
  • 2nd: Hoyt Halverson - 2 points
  • 3rd: Zak Taylor - 1 point

The Zealots stopped to refuel and reload in Royston. After filling their tanks with nitro-glycerin and anti-freeze, the pack turned, and began the longer half of the journey back home. The wind crazed cyclists pedaled out the Wildcat Bridge Road and headed for an expanse of concrete (circa 1971) crossing the white capped waters of the big brown Broad River. But today there was no wind at their backs, at least not yet. Instead, what formerly was the leeward side was simply turned inside-out and upside down and was now the windward side. The wind was attacking at an angle; there was still no place to hide. At this point, Hobson only left one choice: clamp down on the bullet or be blown out the back.

This group of Zealots was powerful, and adhering to the No Whining Rule, simply continued to put their heads down and wage war with the wind. Marky-Mark and Turbo and Big G and Noel Aguillar all performed yeoman’s work at the front leading the warriors, like Alexander, to the final battlefield of the day. The pack rode up and down and over, but never around, the innumerable bumps and hills that rise up in these parts like yeast bread. The group crossed through Colbert and sped by Kenny Rogers’s former farm. 6 miles before hitting the final Attack Zone, the group turned and put the wind at their rears for the first time all day. Instead of a brief respite however, the speed and the tempo increased to an incredible 77 miles per hour. “Oh Lord,” William Bell Bottoms said. There was no let-up from this ravaging pace until just before the right hand turn onto Gene Dixon Estate Road (Hargrove Lake) and the final Attack Zone of the day. By then, it was too late to matter.

Today’s final Attack Zone was the eponymous Gene Dixon Attack Zone, which like its namesake, is one difficult, surly old bastard. (Shout out here to Gene! ) The first part of the G.D. Zone is a straight 6 mile section over 4 nasty humpbacked leviathans. On the top of the 3rd big riser and in front of Gene Dixon’s country palace, there is Red Jersey sprint with $25 and 3 points waiting on the winner. After the sprint, the Zone continues to Beaverdam Road where it turns right, heads ½ mile to Smithonia Road and turns left and climbs the Mur de Winterville. At the top of the last Mur, the route turns right onto Melton Road. The final sprint line is 2 miles from the turn onto Melton and sits atop one last gnarly knob. The wind would be battering the group head on for these final 9 miles on this wretched day.

As soon as the raddled pack turned right and the whistle blew, the attacks rained down like bombs over Baghdad. Hugh Moran was at it again, off the front, and within one mile he was joined by 2 others. These 3 early escapees laid low in the drops and began rotating. They opened up what looked to be an uncrossable 12 second gap. Marky-Mark and Taylor pressed on their pedals from behind and began to claw the group back inch-by-inch, breath-by-breath, one second at a time. Up front, the wind was punishing the three. As the chase group closed, the three began to look back over their shoulders, the sign that somewhere, somehow, someone has surely blown a gasket—the three were now leaking oil.

The early escapees were brought back into the shrinking fold of the chase and the attacks began to fly again like the rat-a-tat-tat of rapid machine gun fire. Approaching the Red Jersey sprint halfway into the Attack Zone, the implacable Moran broke free once again. He was followed by Eric Boily. Over the top, Boily surged to win the sprint, the cash and the points, with Moran holding on for 2nd and jumping into an impressive early lead in the Red Jersey competition. Behind, LLC kicked clear to take the final point.

Gene Dixon’s Surly Sprint

  • 1st: Eric Boily - 3 points
  • 2nd: - Hugh Moran - 2 points
  • 3rd: Crowe - 1 point

After the sprint there was one brief interruption because of all the superstars in the peloton. One of Oglethorpe County’ finest, a deputy sheriff, was overcome with a fever after realizing the Zealots were traversing his roads. He pulled the whole pack over.

“What in the Sam Hale is you folks doin waerin that kinda crap in Oglethorpe County? You’re them there bunch a Zee-lots ain’t ye?”

“Why, no sir. We’re not the Zee-lots. We can’t even read. Look at him. You can tell he’s an idiot.” Wonder Woman pointed at Bill Harper. “And he’s fond of goats.” She pointed her other arm at Junior.

Hm, goat lovin’ idiots! You folks is all right. Now git the Sam Hale outta here. And tell Carney I said ‘Hello.’”

After a 2 mile neutral rollout, the whistle blew and the peddlers of pain were at it again. Up the Mur de Winterville, Brer Rubelt made his move. He jumped clear towards the top and quickly opened a patch of real estate. Taking the right hand turn with 2 miles to go, Taylor and the ever present Moran jumped free and were trying to close. But Brer Rubelt put the Belgian hammer down. He never looked back. His shoulders rocked and his head bobbed. He gritted his teeth as he stomped up the final 400 meter run to the line, taking the most brilliant victory in his young career. Tears, which have flowed freely in the WBL over the years for first time winners, were streaming down his face. Taylor and Moran stayed clear to take 2nd and 3rd respectively. The chase behind these 3 had disintegrated until only half of a discomfited dozen were left. The others were tossed overboard into the briny sea at various points in the chase. Eric Boily won the sprint for 4th and Gabriel Mendez rounded at the top 5. The Big G Geg Somerville was close behind and scored 1st place for the Non Pros. Benjamin Bryant and Andy Brackett, showing the fortitude of 10 men, locked up 2nd and 3rd with outstanding rides. On the ladies side of the ledger, hats off to Blue jersey holder Kari Bradley as she fought back time and time again and scored the win for her side. Audrey Lemieux took home 2nd honors for the ladies. Outstanding rides on the day were also accomplished by Jason Leslie, Eric Mattei (never say quit), Billy Boy Harper, Jim Stradley, William Bell Bottoms, Junior and Dustin Mealor.

With huge points up for grabs on next week's Alto, the top 10 is up for grabs.

Finish (Pro,1, 2)

  • 1st: Rubelt -10 points
  • 2nd: Zak Taylor - 8 points
  • 3rd: H. Moran - 6 points
  • 4th: E. Boily - 4 points
  • 5th: Gabriel Mendez - 2 points


  • Bradley- 5 points
  • Lemieux - 3 points

Non Pro

  • Somerville - 5 points
  • B. Bryant - 3 points
  • A. Brackett - 1 point

Everyone: 2 ride points!

Red Jersey:

  • 1st: Hugh Moran - 5 points
  • 2nd: Eric Boily - 3
  • 3rd: Hoyt Halverson - 2
  • 4th: Zak Taylor - 1
  • 5th: Crowe - 1


  1. Wonder Woman - 24 points
  2. G-Man - 21
  3. Tom the Tether - 17
  4. Zak Taylor - 17
  5. LLC - 17
  6. Boots - 16
  7. Turbo - 16
  8. Mulligan - 16
  9. El Prez - 16
  10. Slotey - 16
  11. Shooter - 14
  12. Mealor - 14
  13. Stradkey - 14
  14. Moran - 13
  15. Mellinger - 12
  16. B. Harper - 12
  17. Bell Bottoms - 12
  18. Mattei - 12
  19. Rubelt - 12
  20. Stukes - 12
  21. T. Mattox - 12
  22. Lemieux - 12
  23. B. Jacobs - 12
  24. Junior - 10
  25. Henriksen - 10
  26. Dembrak - 10
  27. S. Edge - 10
  28. Gilfillan - 10
  29. BDB - 10
  30. Shirey - 10