Humps, Bumps, and Hefalumps

Roberto Rivers crushed the home opener in WBL 2008 on the Cappy’s Custom Cabinets New Year’s Day mandatory event with a ferocious final kick that ground the competition to powder. In trying to describe what Rivers did to his cycling compatriots on this bilious and blustery day, several words come to mind: annihilate, throttle, waylay, massacre, destroy, but these terms just don’t do justice to the manner in which Roberto gutted the other contenders and dashed their petty and insignificant dreams of glory. Sometimes there just aren’t enough grunts, groans, squeals, squawks, declamations, salutations, valedictions, rants, bawls, boasts, and bellows in the English language to adequately capture and truly convey the ruination that one man can leave in his wake. Even the most erudite assortment of aphorisms and rib splitting witticisms, even if conflated with the rhythmic tonality of African drums, can’t capture with completeness of the totality of the wreckage that Rivers behind—the wide area over which the breakage was scattered was just too large for the lens.

The skies were crystal clear and cobalt blue too, but because of the cloudless skies, any warm air towards the ground spilled upwards into the heavens, leaving behind a frozen artic tundra. The winds were also whipping in anger. Gale force busters were ripping though town at about a billion miles per hour, bending skinny pines to precarious angles, and causing the tallest of buildings to shimmy and shake. Flags were thrashing about on their poles, trying to tear themselves free from their tether. Birds flying into the wind were flapping their wings in earnest, yet moving in retrograde before giving up and turning back. And Bill Boonen was bitchin’ like a sinner who hadn’t been to church in a month of Sundays—maybe he hadn’t. The frigid busters cut to the core of one’s soul, like a stinging zinger from a former inamorata whose testifying for your future ex-wife in your pending divorce trial. In other words, it was stone-bone cold.

But in spite of the icy blasters, several hardcore pedal bangers—a farrago of freaks—put on their fur-lined boots, imitation mink stoles, real coonskin hats, and leather g-strings, and stepped out onto the blustery battlefield, ready to continue with the trials and tribulations that are hurled at them by the WBL. Some of those shivering bodies firmly entrenched beneath seven layers of clothes were: 16 year old tenderfoot Michael Proctor and the one who taught him everything—his mama, strong lady Nancy Jones; Joseph Collins, both a name and another tyro to remember; former Yellow Jersey winner and dancing sensation Shooting Star Bridges; climbing caudillo Nick Arroyo; Speedy Gonzo Joseph Collins; John Deere’s secret weapon of rapidity and love-making Matthew Gordon; the harmonizing harmonizer Bill Harmon; the maestro of mischief Bill Harper; the Troll himself Dustin Mealor; and Arthur Dance Studio Murray. Never had such a bawdy menagerie of bundled-up cyclists ever been assembled in one place before, unless one were to count last week’s WBL ride, or the one before, or the one before, or the one before…And we’re not counting any previous years.

The group wished upon a star, blew a frosty plume of breath into the air, turned the corner at Sunshine Cycles, and headed north, into the teeth of the tempest. The drovers put their heads down, put their cold shoulders to the wheel, and began pushing forward—it was time to get on with the task at hand. The group battled the howling bitch of a wind for over an hour. JJ Wadkins, S. Thomas, and M. Schectman, all Geals, helped pull the pack forward during the arduous first hour of the day for which they were awarded Yeoman’s Certificates at the end of the day, which are suitable for framing I might add. The wind was taking its toll on the bunch. In the days of yore, Muhammed Ali pounded the opponent’s body in the early rounds. It was body blow after body blow after body blow. In the later rounds, the adversary’s elbows would drop and Ali would send him to the canvas with one devastating uppercut to the chin. It was a proven tactic. Roberto Rivers, despicable misbegotten arsehole that he is, would use the ploy to his advantage this day too.

After 75 minutes of head butting with the wind, the pack turned east and put the wind to its backside. Now it was time to let her rip. The Jelly Man Nick Reistad went to the front, and with the help a few fiends, raised the tempo to an effortless 30 miles per hour. With gale force busters pushing from the rear, and Reistad and Co. pulling from the fore, those in between were sitting in the cat’s cradle, the sweet spot, the rocking chair. Life could not be finer, even in Carolina; no matter if we be cold, because on our butts you’ll not find mold: We be-are-is-am Zealots.

But all good things must end. And just like the unwelcome spider, along came some hills, and these bad boys were stout. Like humps, bumps, and hefalumps, they rose like waves and broke against the helmsmen like gangbusters. The irksome undulations caused the thighs to quake and quiver. And as the pack continued to ebb to the right, slowly turning and inching their way south, they turned back into the wind without ever really noticing, until it was too late, like when a civilization cuts down its last tree, and later people wonder how the stupid bastards could have been so blind. But those bastard hills just kept on coming. Now, unfortunately though, the wind was once again impeding the pack’s forward progress. Time for Ali to step forward and zero in for the kill.

175 minutes into the affair, the pack entered the first Attack Zone of 2008. The Whistler screamed in terror, for he was mighty azoomled and befrazzled about what lay ahead—his stomach was in knots, and so were his legs. Immediately the group was thrust up a short hill, the Mur de Winterville—a quarter-of-a-mile big rangy-banger with just enough of an incline to cause lactic acid splinters to sizzle through the innards of a rider’s legs. Matt Go Man Whatley made the first move of the year. He scorched up the hill, but he couldn’t snap the chord. Making the right hand turn a quarter of a mile in at the top of the hill, the group was together, although stretched a little thin.

Hesitation, then bang-boom-bam, Kim Potter shot out of the pack like a shoulder launched missile. And she didn’t come back. She put her head down, and with less than 1 mile to go, Potter was threatening to steal the show, hammering like a hellhound escaped from the fiery inferno. Behind, the big bear riding on the back of the others was whispering in their ears and saying, “Let her go, she’s a she, just go to sleep, sleep, sleep in the arms of the master.” But the Mighty K! recognized the danger move and shot off and gave chase.

After turning right, the group encountered another quarter-of-a-mile flat section of ground before plunging down a steep ravine, followed by the final 1 kilometer cantankerous uphill drag to the line that was surely to cause much weeping and gnashing of teeth. Potter stayed away on this flat section, and K was closing. Reistad and Schectman, well known women haters—except when they need a little lovin’, which is quite often—couldn’t stand the sight of Potter off the front and went to the head of the bedraggled herd and opened up the throttle. The pack ripped down the hill at 86 miles an hour at captured a spent Potter. But the Mighty K! was still away, pedal banging off the front like a lunatic escaped from the insane asylum, which more than few believe he is.

Then Whatley went again, simultaneously screaming, “Damn the torpedoes and batten down the hatches,” and bridged to K at the beginning of the final up hill 1 kilometer thigh crusher. With 800 meters to go, K and Whatley had a tenuous 3 second gap on a pack that was in tatters behind. Flotsam and jetsam was scattered everywhere, the wheels were falling off the bus, and it was skidding and sparking towards the line. The young gun Michael Porter suddenly launched and bridged to the 2 escapees with 500 meters to go, dragging five hangers-on with him—Glenn Bradley, Frank Marrs, Dustin Mealor, the old dog Crowe, and the sly Roberto Rivers. The wind was battering the group now headfirst like a battering ram. The winner would have to use his noggin—move into the wind too soon, and the broom wagon would be scraping the poor fool off the pavement.

A few accelerations reduced the front group to 5, with the remainder of the pack stretched out like a broken chain up and down the road behind. Climbing the last few hundred meters of the final hill, the five waited-waited-waited, watching-watching-watching, then Crowe jumped for the win with 200 meters to go. He was already imagining how his wife would spend his hard earned cashola. But Roberto was short roped to Crowe’s wheel, filing his nails, sucking his teeth, and powdering his cheeks. 100 meters from the finis he flicked Crowe and drilled the win going away. As he crossed the line unchallenged, he raised both arms in the air and yelled “I look fabuloso!” and he blew kisses to the crowd. What a bastard.

Carney, watching on pay-per-vision, was ecstatic. He was also drunk. He awarded extra points to Potter, Whatley, M. Stone and the Mighty K! for aggressive Attack Zone riding. He handed Nancy Jones a point for being the toughest one of the bunch. And everyone is awarded 2 points on the day, plus an extra foul whether point for the wind, for a total of 3. Good job boys and girls. See you soon.

Ride details:

  • 1st: Robert Rivers - 10 points
  • 2nd: Old Dog - 8 points
  • 3rd: Dustin Mealor - 6 points
  • 4th: Glenn Bradley - 4 points
  • 5th: Frank Marrs - 2 points