Nectar of the Gods



Jon The Kid Murphy became only the fourth rider in the storied, but sordid history of The WBL to win 3 events in one other season as he and his incorrigible band of Nalley-Lexus teammates waylaid the Zealots on the 90 mile, four-and-a-quarter hour, Dixon’s Hard Labor of Love Classic on 21 January 2004.

After waylaying The Zealots, the insidious clan of blue and white colored pedal-pressing convicts continued to ravage its wounded prey, like a cat pawing at a tortured field mouse after already inflicting the coup de grace. The convicts, including its orange-topped protégé, sported their new prison garb and sat in a moving line spearheaded by Slim Tim Henry on the final one-mile uphill run to the finishing line. Each clamped his tongue between his teeth, except Boy Brian Bibens, who tried to inhale big buckets of air, and whose tongue slapped about wildly in his gaping mouth. Slim Tim was sprinting up the sloping surface to the finish line on Tallasee Road like an escaped jailbird running for the last fence that separated himself and freedom. Slim chewed up the pavement and spat it out, and then, radar lock—he saw Ms. Candi standing at the line above like a Greek goddess on top of an Olympian height. This fierce Durga of WBL mythology gazed stoically back down the climb. Slim caught and blew passed Broglio and The Announcer one-half mile from the line, then blitzed Drewdini 400 meters from the checkered flag, then dropped The Kid off to go it alone 200 meters from glory. The Kid assaulted the finish line, once again, like an angry axe murderer hacking his victim into oblivion. He held up three fingers as he crossed the line, and grinned with the sinister rictus of killer just found “not guilty.” (The same way O.J. grinned when the jury spared him his life, but cost him his soul.) Behind, synapses sizzled as various brains furiously added points in a rapid-fire frenzy of quick calculations deigned to determine ownership of not only The Golden Fleece, but The Red and The Blue Jerseys as well. “I’m safe,” Shooting Starr breathed in relief after his own on-the-bike calculations. “For now,” was the reply that reverberated through the pack like the rippled echoes of a thrice-struck gong. “For now.”

“And the season isn’t over yet,” Jittery Joe reminded the stunned and awestruck crowd that gathered at the press conference afterwards as he (Joe) eyeballed the last bit of backwash in his glass before tossing it back and raising the empty glass above his head. The Bass Master filled Joe’s glass, again, with what he (Bass) referred to as “Nectar of the Gods.”  Joe sat at the press table behind the tangled mass of microphones and fielded questions. The dozen or so Nalley-Lexurs lining the stage behind Jittery Joe all gripped Cuban cigars smoking in the sides of their mouths. I noticed they did inhale, a few of the younger ones through their noses even. They all were draped in pure white baby seal furs that hung to their ankles. N-L’s headquarters bragged “the baby seals were bludgeoned less than a week prior” when awarding the snow-white furs to the entire team of fit misfits after their daring Alto heist. They each took long, thirsty pulls from a bottle of Nectar of the Gods before passing it down the line. Jittery Joe continuously twisted and turned the microphones on the table in front of him, giving all a temporary, but blinding blow of light from his bedazzling array of multicolored rings that appeared to grow on his fingers like barnacles on a ship’s hull. “We want Yellow. We want Red. We want stage wins. We want it all,” Joe declaimed as he leaned back and drew on his glowing cigar with the lustful temperament of a modern day philistine.  “A whole passel of hedonists and libertines,” I heard Hank McCoulough speak in sotto voce as he stood gazing at The Kid’s twelve-man retinue that spread outwards in front of him. And at the far-end of the stage sat Shooting Starr, still in Lemon-drop Yellow, left hand tangled in a clump of his hair, his right hand furiously scribbling. His eyes were focused on the remaining WBL schedule on the press table in front of him. He and The Announcer shook their heads in disbelief: “The Toccoa World Cup is next week—The Kid could take Yellow then and there unless he is stopped now.” A heavy dread settled into his voice. After the press conference, The Lexurs were loaded into a windowless van bound for The State Hospital For The Criminally Insane. Bells were pealing, lights were flashing, and alarms were wailing—this Rabelaisian carnival on two-wheels known as “The WBL” was at full tilt. And on the frontside of this peripatetic caravan, little Ms. Candi and The Black Box, tearing holes through spaces into which we traveled.

A crystalline, cloudless sky made even whiter by an iridescent pearl of a Sun greeted the convivial gaggle of one hundred Zealots as they signed in for The Dixon’s Hard Labor of Love Classic. Warmth waited also with easy, open arms. The Vim-and-Verve O’meter’s needle quivered in the red zone, then stuck. Shooting Starr’s lemon-drop Yellow jersey produced a golden gloriole about him when struck by the direct radiance of the Sun’s vision. He levitated about in a gold-frosted bubble of haze. Drewdini glowed like melted steel in his new Atlantis Hydroponics Red Sprint Jersey. As a result of his winning Alto sprint escapade, he was now tied with The Blade, each with 3 points, in the sprint competition. And Erin Winter looked as fearless and mysterious as the mighty night sky herself in her new Blue Jersey. Winter had grasped the lead on the Ladies’ side of the ledger with her determined Alto ride the week before. Iona Wynter signed in too, ready to take back Blue, along with a suffering Daniella Dembrak,, who was chasing close behind. C. Blevins (I’m worried about Mulkey!), Mr. Joe Burch (Got your points!), Big Daddy Garland (Nice ride), Cheese-Berger (You too), The Major General (Damn!), Redge Pineda (Welcome back, man), The Pack Shouter (You got that right!), Creed Sewell (Good sprint), Jed-Man Scneider (Glad your ok), Eric And Derson (Related to Marc?), APP (Give up the goods, i.e. APP?), Aqua-Man (Looking fit), Sperrymania (See you in Greenville) and The Greenville Gang (See yall in Toccoa), M. Franklin (Didn’t need a subpoena), Ben Carter (Bring Jimmy), Darryl McKenzie (Greenville?),  Allen Thompson (Thin as pencil), Mineral Man (Lean and Mean), The Polish Cannonball Wysocki (Tough as nails), Shireymania (Coat flapping in the breeze), Kip Coombs (Glad your back), and even the once lost, but now found, Steve Broglio (Ginsu master chef) signed in for the day’s adventure. The CEO, absent yet again, scheduled “ a short 90-mile jaunt to the pastoral regions to the south in order to give my Zealots a short shrift between the immutable bookends of Fate known as ‘Alto’ and ‘Toccoa.’ ” After The Announcer reminded The Zealots that sign-in was located right beside Candy”s Tip Jar, he emphasized that we “should please play it safe at all times. Do not violate the yellow-line rule at any time for any reason.” The Pack Shouter yelled, “Eeeyoeeuzeimawana.” All was well in The WBL, at least “for now.” The group clicked in and pushed off on its voyage, anxious to embrace the reality of the road, and to dream of the possibilities that lie scattered beyond, on down the road, like glistening pearls. I took one quick, harmless hit of Nectar while no one was watching.

The Hard Laborers headed out Milledge Avenue, cutting through the soulless center of Greek life in Athens. Helen, traveling in her bulletproof Black Box, looked like the Pope as she barked out orders at her bejeweled underlings on the magnificent lawns. “Get to class! Get a job! Hey Jezebel, put some more clothes on! It’s wintertime.” She snarled and guffawed as if she had already breached the tax stamp on Jittery Joe’s nectar, a case of which was placed in the rear seat of The Black Box prior to the ride. My suspicions were confirmed when an empty green Nectar of the Gods bottle sailed over my head from the rear and whistled by the ear of an innocent young Greekette as she stepped into her 2005 Nalley-Lexus auto with Cobb County plates. The weapon landed in a variegated patch of shrubs and bushes (planted the weekend before by a group of underpaid, overworked, underfed, homeless, orphaned, illegal immigrants). Over the radio, I could hear Helen yelling, “Go go go!” So we sailed on, while the Greekette looked skyward in befuddled wonderment.

Once we hit the end of South Milledge and turned towards Watkinsville, a fever-frenzy took hold up front. The main carrier of the fever was The Major General himself. Only five miles in, The Major General showed two of his five cards—both aces, both spades. He lined up The Zealots single file and dished out a sampling of West Virginny coal miner pain. “It was all for the sake of safety, and so you-alls could feel my pain,” The Major explained afterwards with a hangdog expression. “It’s safe to say I hurt like a flea-bit beat dog with the mange,” slurred a grinning Clint Tomasino from the rear of the crowd, a green bottle of Nectar of the Gods held high above the bobbing heads.

Once through Watkinsville the pack veered through Bishop, and swept south through the rolling pasturelands in Oconee County with the falling-down shacks and the vast orchards lined diagonally with interminable arcing rows of slumbering Peach Trees. An ill-tempered wind pounded the pack from the side, out of the west. The tops of the giant, two hundred year old Pecan Trees at Shady Dale Plantation rattled and rolled as if hit by currents of electricity. The group continued its trek south through Rutledge and then bent westward, challenging the implacable, unyielding wind to a head-to-head competition. (The sprint in Rutledge was cancelled after Jed Cyco Schneider tried to balance on his front wheel in a vertical position, but ended up horizontal. In less time than Wonderwoman would take, The Black Box flew away like time’s winged chariot itself, and delivered Jed and his fallen companions back to A-Town, then sped back to the hard-charging pack before its tears had even dried.) The Jerseys were prominent at the front of the groupetto accepting their blows from the pounding wind. The Greenvillians pushed the pace also at the head of the storm. Team Trek did battle with the wind at the front, exchanging body blows in an even swap. Krystal jerseys, Loco jerseys, Kalamari jerseys, UGA jerseys, Nalley-Lexus jerseys, and more were all visible at the front pressing the pace and keeping the fever high.

After the store stop in Jersey, the pack continued in its sweeping arc and bent north through Monroe. The police escorted the insane Laborers in, through, and out of Monroe faster than a brief hesitation. As the pack continued its bend, now to the east, the wind begin to align itself with the peloton’s back, forming a fierce confederation that would last until the end of the day. The whipping wind and pounding peloton were now yoked to one another in a cruel turn of the wheel of fate. With the wind at its back, the average speed of the group rose like a thermometer dropped in boiling water. The average rose to 19.5 mph as the pack cruised down Snows Mill Road. It rose to 20 mph as The Zealots cut across 316 into Bogart. It rose to near 21 mph as the Hard Laborers flew across the bridge over the purling waters of Bear Creek reservoir. And that’s where the average sat as The Zealots hit the bottom of the savage Oconee River Wall. It (the average speed) would climb further from here, at least for the next three miles. I braced for the scream of The Whistle.

Today’s Attack Zone, hereby dubbed “The Tallasee Zone”, is a violent three-mile section of roadway. It is a shorter, but more punishing, variation of an often used, and well-known Attack Zone of former years. It is the first time this Zone has been used this year. The Tallasee Zone begins with a steep sixty-second climb up and over a vertical cliff-of-a-road named The Oconee River Wall. Once over The Wall, the road drives straight away and flat for three-fourth’s of a mile to a sprint line, just before a right-hand turn onto Tallasee Road. After sprinting for the two-point/two-deep sprint, the aspirants turn right onto Tallasee Road and fly downhill for one-mile. Then, the final one-mile climb to Arcadia—Candi and The Black Box.

When the whistle shrieked, Sperry launched straight away. The illuminati of the pack knew Sperry graduated from The School of the Elders and subscribed to its philosophy: Attack! Attack! Attack! Sperry hit the Wall and began his standing ascent. Behind, an explosion as seven riders wrenched free of the pack up The Wall as the grot peeled off the rear. The Pettifogger closed down Sperry, put his head down, and shifted to the big ring once over the obstacle. The fissure created behind was small, but imbued with violence. The magnificent seven hesitated, then faltered. The Announcer, sensing capitulation and resignation, pressed ahead. He opened a gap. Broglio stood, dug, and bridged. The Announcer continued to push ahead in his big ring, pushing even further away from the five. The gap grew to one hundred meters; then two hundred meters. The Announcer gave Broglio the flipper. Nothing. The Announcer then flipped his wing like a trained dolphin. Still, nothing. The Announcer found himself intertwined in the proverbial Gordion knot. He pushed on. Twenty meters from the sprint line, The Announcer screamed as a blood curdling round of billingsgate irrupted into the air as he tried to remove the knife Broglio had impaled between his (Announcer’s) shoulder blades. The Announcer yanked out the knife at the same moment Broglio was winning the sprint, and attacking for the finish. (At the press conference afterwards, The Announcer claimed “he was lucky cause Broglio hit the same hole as Drewdini.”)

The Announcer closed down the attempted murderer and the two then begin to work in unison down the last hill to the bottom of the final climb. The two hit the bottom of the hill with a shrinking seven-second gap. The chase behind was now in overdrive as the lead out men shifted into their 53 x 11s and churned for the line in one final, gut-wrenching, intestinal-twisting charge. The last words The Announcer heard from his ill-fated breakaway companion before they were caught were “Pick it up Methuselah!” Then, Drewdini streaked by in a blaze of Red like Prometheus himself. But The Lexurs wound it up, and let it go, and were flying up the hill like an out of control roller coaster. The Kid practiced his specialty two hundred meters from the line—the uphill thunder sprint. In the final rush to the line Slim Tim held on for second followed closely by Creed Sewell. G-Man Arnette scorched across for fourth and Drewdini held on for fifth by an eyelash. Big Daddy John Garland amazed all as the first of The Non Pros, 1s, or 2s, finishing sixth overall on the day. Shooting Starr grabbed a valuable three points for his second place behind Garland. Iona Wynter finished strong as the first female, and doubling-up on the points by taking third for The Non Pros, 1s, and 2s. Erin Winter held onto Blue with another powerful ride, second for the Ladies.

As The WBL 2004 approaches The Toccoa World Cup, the race is on. The Kid, with his three wins, has streaked up the Overall rankings into a tie for second. But, Shooting Starr is holding firm with a solid 13-point lead. And in a points juggernaut only a little farther back are Drewdini, Roberto, E. Winter, and The Loganville Legend. “It’s wide, slap open,” Jittery Joe shouted, holding up his empty glass again. “Hit me Bass!” In The Blue Jersey Competition, Erin Winter leads over her namesake, Iona Wynter, by a slim margin of 31 points to 26. In The Red Jersey battle, there is a three-way tie for first between Drewdini, The Blade, and The Announcer, all with 3-points. Right behind with 2-points lie Mineral Man, Fast Eddie, Broglio and Reynolds-Rap. A slew of still more have 1-point. The battle lines are drawn. Take a shot of The Nectar, and pass the bottle.


  • The Kid - 10 points
  • Slim Tim - 8
  • Creed Sewell - 6
  • G-Man Arnette - 4
  • Drewdini - 2


  • Broglio - 2
  • Crowe - 1


  • Iona - 5
  • Erin - 3

Non Pros, 1s, 2s:

  • Big Daddy Garland - 5
  • Shooter - 3
  • Iona -1


  • Pros, 1s, and 2s - 2
  • Non Pros, 1s, or 2s - 3


  • Starr 56
  • The Kid 43
  • Crowe 43
  • Hurd 32
  • Roberto 32
  • Erin Winter 31
  • Drewdini 29
  • Iona Wynter 26
  • Pic 26
  • Henricson 24
  • Mr. Joe Burch 22
  • The Blade 21
  • D. Nixon 20
  • Dembrak 20
  • Reynolds-Rap 20
  • Branham 19
  • Gentry 18
  • Noah 18
  • Garland 17
  • Kalle 16
  • Rudy J. 16
  • J. Crosby 15
  • Pomegranate 15
  • Jittery Joe 15
  • J. Leslie 15
  • Andrus 15
  • G-Man Arnette 14
  • G. Smith 14
  • C. Reaves 14
  • A. Thompson 14
  • And so forth…


  • Erin Winter 31
  • Iona Wynter 26
  • Dembrak 20
  • Connell 10


  • Blade 3
  • Drewdini 3
  • Crowe 3
  • Broglio 2
  • Mineral Man 2
  • Fast Eddie 2
  • Reynolds-Rap 2
  • The Kid 1
  • Guttenplan 1