One Deep Scratch



A black jackbooted Tina Mayola-Pic, wearing a silver studded leather dog collar around her neck, threw down five aces and ran the table on the 8 January 2005 In Praise of Women Madisonian Classic as she nailed the win on the 90-mile, 4.5 hour women’s only sprint event. Mayola-Pic relied on her métier—her sprinting prowess—to seize the win as well as the Yellow jersey in WBL 2005.

If the leading contenders in any race are fool enough not to cut this gal’s tether before the finis, chances are that soon enough she’ll be rubbing their faces in the dirt, with her leather tether (her whip) wrapped around at least one lackey’s neck. (This held true for this day’s Attack Zone as well at the press conference afterwards. At the post event press conference Mayola-Pic yanked up her shirtsleeves, balled up her fists, and told second place finisher Erin Wynter she was “gone kick your lily-livered ass, again, if you don’t sat down and shat-the-hale-up. I’m the rock star here.” A pushing match between the two ensued, but was quickly quelled by the riot police now on hand after every event.) Mayola-Pic’s ability to stand, stomp and leave her competition behind with two fluid strokes on the pedals, combined with her dogged determination, her unflappable spirit and her contagious grin, have made Mayola-Pic one of the most feared dominatrixes on the circuit today. Enemy combatants of the road (or stage) often get the shiver-shakes just watching her sit and stretch her long legs skyward, slide on her big, black, knee-high dominatrix jackboots, and then go clop-clop-clopping as she goosesteps across the parking lot (or the stage). This past Saturday Mayola-Pic tore a page from Nancy Sinatra’s songbook as she clop-clop-clopped all over the competition (clop-clop-squish). She is now back in Yellow for the third time in her career. And though she may deny this hard cold truth, she owes it all, everything she is, everything she has, and everything she will ever be, to the organization that must take, albeit reluctantly, all the credit for all her successes: the WBL, of course.

Women stood tall in downtown Athens this past Saturday, sauntering and swaying like a thick patch of lurid purple wildflowers behind a “Do Not Mow” sign in the median of I-85. These gals of the WBL knew it was their day to shine, so they did. The women’s only prize of $200 (winner-take-all) ushered in a cornucopia of women from regions both near and far. The Mason-Dixon Rule was relaxed, so riders who spoke without a Georgia twang were allowed to ride and compete. Even so, the Board of Directors couldn’t have been happy when Dani Dembrak berated Maggie Shirley, a southern girl, for saying her biggest goal in life was to become a Waffle House cook, a position usually held by the fellas. (Perhaps Dembrak is unaware many of us below the line actually worship at the Waffle House.) Some of the other softer (but meaner, and no doubt tougher) creatures who were on hand boasting that women sat at the center of the universe were: Iona eat my dust Wynter, Cathy knock hell out of em Connell, Deb up all yalls’s Bordon and Leigh read my lips: get lost! Valletti. Several practicing philistines, libertines and epicureans were also on hand for the festivities, always ready to lend a helping hand if the need arose. Some of those with far too helpful hands were: the ambidextrous All Hands on deck Ron Coker from Clarkesville, co-Yellow jersey holder Gregor Samsa Somerville, the one digit too many Junior the Punk, the fast talking, three-handed Brady Rogers, the man who can open doors with his feet Bryan Schoeffler, the self proclaimed “ladies man” Chad Madan, the heartless heartthrob Rob Gable, and the impenitent sinner Chris Chotas. After the pack was reminded to ride two-abreast at all times, and obey the yeller line in all sprints, the lubricious horde of phyloginists and merrymakers clipped in, reset their computers to 0, and began marking time by revolutions of a wheel.

The first task of the day was to trek from the Dunkin Donuts’ end of Milledge Avenue to the Botanical Gardens’ end and drop out the south side of town; then turn west and hop across the flowing brown waters of the Oconee River and the foaming brown suds floating on the surface like broken chunks of dirty Styrofoam; then bolt like an arrow straight into Watkinsville. From Watkinsville, the available roads for a cyclist to ride spread out like a twelve-fingered hand. Today’s route would take the riders straight down the 20-mile Colham Ferry Road into Greene County and across the tip of a small finger of Lake Oconee, turn east past the luxurious Greshamville Mall, and cut a curving Z through Madison, Georgia. Once through the antebellum town of Madison, the route continued through Morgan County and out the western side, and bent back down the Madison-Monroe Highway into the white-tipped cotton fields of eastern Oconee County. The route appeared to head for home as it stretched towards Athens via the Snow’s Mill Road. But, at this point in the peripatetic journey of these henpecked troubadours, the WBL route planners tightened the vice with a single turn of the screw. Instead of heading home, the route veered due north, skirting the western edge of Clarke County, and trekked through “beautiful downtown Bogart.” The group would eventually head home via Tallassee Road after crossing the Bear Creek Reservoir on the north side of town; an extra 10-miles was surreptitiously tacked on at the end. And at the end of this discursive day in the saddle, this “10-mile tactic” would yield huge dividends.

Once again, the Zealots were living right the previous week (or at least they hadn’t been caught, nor confessed), and the whetherwoman kept the heater turned to # 10. Temperatures soared to nearly 70 degrees. The newcomers to the WBL smiled the smile of the blessed but blind; these benighted newbies lived for the day, reveled in the moment: more wine, more song, more women. But the longtime denizens of the WBL, those who have been burnt to a crispy black flake by the winter fires of the WBL, or those who have been drawn and quartered during the torture sessions inflicted on the backside of Paul King’s wheels (slight pause here), aren’t smiling…yet. Instead, they wait for the proverbial other boot to drop; and for some, the agony is unbearable; they know this boot has an anvil inside. They know the good times, these comfortable days of bright blue skies and warm ambient air, can’t and won’t last forever.

“Why must there be sun and warmth and exposed flesh? We’re doomed,” the Pettifogger cried as the 85-person pack cut through Watkinsville and set sail down the 20-mile stretch of blacktop named the Colham Ferry Road. Then, suddenly smiling, he rubbed his hands together and whispered, “They’ll pay, they’ll pay for their transgressions: their smiles, their good times, their parties, their get-togethers where I’m not included, their nice home life, their mother who loves them, their father who didn’t run off with next door neighbor’s wife…” The Pettifogger had lost his thread and his mind was spinning away like a top. “Now what was I first thinking about,” the Pettifogger wondered several minutes later, tapping his skull for inspiration.

The Zealots motored across Lake Oconee, gave a shout-out at the Greshamville Mall, and turned west towards Morgan County, crossing back over the lake before diving down backroads straight into Madison. Once through Madison, the group turned into the wind and began its headlong push to Cotton Patch Row. Once through these flat fields that looked like they were growing rows of short-tipped Q-tips, the groupetto cut a path through Bogart, and after 4 hours, finally arrived at the Attack Zone. Today’s Zone, the newly designed Bear Creek Attack Zone, is a flat but curvy road with no turns all the way to the final sprint line at the bridge crossing over the tumbling waters of the Bear Creek. Although the routers announced the Zone was 5 miles, in reality it was only 3.

As soon as the large contingent of Zealots entered the Zone, the pace ratcheted up. This was perfect for the well-placed Mayola-Pic. The guys continued to open the throttle and press on the accelerator the entire length of the 3-mile runway. The stratagem of attacking now seemed like the musings of a lunatic. But Killer Cathy Connell knew she had to try, so she did. 1 mile from the line Connell jumped off the front in an all-or-nothing dash for the line. But the Dominatrix and her retinue of underlings were having none of Connell’s thrusts towards immortality. The Dominatrix and her multitude of man-slaves squashed all attackers like bugs under boots. These servile sycophants then escorted Mayola-Pic to within 250 meters of the line, where they finally released her. The up-and-coming Erin Winter insinuated herself onto the Dominatrix’s wheel, and M. Shirley was locked onto Winter’s rear wheel, but when this leather-loving gal who owns a star spangled jersey turned on the big-time, heavy-duty, $200 master-blasters, all those behind could do was watch as she stormed away for the win. Mayola-Pic held up 2 fingers as she crossed the line. “Peace? Hell no that wasn’t no damn peace sign,” Mayola-Pic responded when asked what the gesture meant later. “That was for my 2 lifetime wins in the WBL. And this here mister” (she held up 3 fingers) “ is how many times I’ve been in Yellow, and how many lashes you gone get if you don’t get the hale outta my face. I’m a rock star dammit.” Mayola-Pic, like Lance, has become a bit of a princess.

As WBL heads into the 6th event of the year, Mayola-Pic is safely tucked in Yellow with 16 points. But a slew of aspirants are not far behind. This coming weekend, the barn door swings wide open: the pros can sprint! Come to Papa, mammy. Competitors are rumored to be traveling from near and far, high and low, and here and there for the anticipated event. They, like all of us, seek to leave a tiny scratch upon the surface of the earth before we go for others to remember us by. A WBL win is one sure-fire way to do so.

Still Scratching,