Sizzle, Pop, Crackle

Sizzle, Pop, Crackle

(WBL 2013 #1: Hoschton)

WBL 2013 stormed out of the gates this past Saturday (1 December) when over 130 Zealots rang in the home opener with a raucous 4-hour, 80-mile, big-ring hammer-glide to Hoshcton (pr. Hoosh-ton), a small conquered colony located in a northern quadrant of the Emporium. Over 100 Zealots even completed the Full Monty (the entire 80 miles) with the lead group, aided by beneficent, sundrenched skies. This large gaggle of determined diehards was succored even more in the second half of the ride by balmy blasts of warm winds propelling them at breakneck speeds down the road. As the large contingent of jubilant pedal-Zealots flew down the Jefferson Riviera Road at the tail-end of the ride, nearing completion of another stellar, blue-collar workday, they could have easily been mistaken for a jailbreak in full flight from a federal pen. However, in actuality they were a flying band of ecstatic hammerheads galloping down the blacktop at a lusty tempo, thankful that the electric shivers and cosmic jolts caused by riding in the WBL were once again causing their bodies to sizzle and pop and sometimes even crackle.

Zealots came from far and wide, hither and yonder, and over far field and distant dale for the inaugural event of the 2013 season. With 4 points on the line, signing in for the home opener was a prerequisite for all the Overall Contenders, and they all were on hand (see below for a partial listing of Contenders). Not only were all the present day heavyweights in attendance, but also many of the superstars, protagonists, friends, devils-in-disguise, rule breakers, and plain old "characters" from both today and yesteryear were in attendance. Among the latter long list, a real rogue's gallery was present including the indefatigable Tina Mayola-Pic, the urbane Parker Root Canal Smith, the golden-voiced Pack Shouter Phil Gilman, the knife-wielding Tony the Blade Scott, the palmist Reginald Pineda, the Queen of Dirt Namrita O'dea, the futurist Justin Smith, the trombonist Darrell Farlow, the trumpeter Victoria Haney, the ex-con man Peter Smith, and even old Lexus Luther himself, Tom Palmer. In fact, as Lexus Luther looked around at the mighty contingent of Lady Zealots, he touched his two hands together and tapped his pointing fingers off one another in the same manner the Devil does when he's considering some nefarious scheme.

I initially mistook the local Athenians on hand for a police lineup of murder suspects. Lord they were a sorry looking sump of low-lying bottom feeders. However, when I saw them pedal away with the group I realized my error. The Athenians in the group included the dangerous Magner Triumvirate (Casey, Brett and Ty), the Enforcer David the Law Jordan, Nick TNT Arroyo, the Clemson Cruiser Jason Bewley, the poor newlywed Dalford England, the gator-hater Jordan Heimer, the paragon of perfidy, Matthew Miller, and the dastardly and uncaring Peacock duo, Catherine and Reid. Looking out over the Athenians at the start of the ride, I couldn't help but shed a tear. I was crying, however, not for humanity in general. Though humanity in general is certainly something we all should be concerned for, and certainly humanity in general is a perplexing problem whether one is a spiritualist, a secularist or an agnostic, at the moment, I was concerned only for myself. As anyone can plainly see, I had ample reason to cry.

The pack zipped out Tallassee Road, sailed over Bear Creek Reservoir, cut a jig through Statham, and danced down the Jackson Trail Road towards the halfway point and the store stop in Hoosh-ton. After departing the store some 3 hours later, the group ripped down the Pendergrass Road to Jefferson, arced back over to Brockton Loop, and sped home via the J Riviera Road, tackling the cruel slopes of the J Riviera Wall along the way. Several powerful pedal-pugilists helped steer the huge vessel at just the right speed including convicted speed merchants Tank Crumley, Tytus Magner, the Big O Oscar Clarke, Scott the Mapmaker Morris, Erin Bone Crusher Winter, Wattage Whatley, Mike Breamonds, Oliver-Oliver Quinn, Brad Fight Night Parkerson, Jayhawk Leonard, Joey Wrecking Ball Rosskopf, and Mathew it's Millertime. The group ripped home in less than 4 hours with money to burn. Carney rated the day as an 11 on a 10 point Richter scale, and the general consensus was that a fantastic time was had by all. Carney, once again, appears to be back on top.

As 2013 enters its second week with a 130 way tie for first, we thought we'd give an overview of the teams to watch out for during the season, a list of this year's top-rated contenders, and the unveiling of this year's prestigious Board of Directors. Buckle your chinstraps and fasten your seatbelt—we might be in for a rather rocky ride.

2013 Teams to Watch

Team Blind Dog Bread brings a fearsome lineup into this season's WBL—count on these boys to break bones at every opportunity they get. Team Blind Dog Bread is lead by its Team Capo, the billionaire bread baron, Mike Breadmonds. Breadmonds has cornered the world bread market and intends to do the same in the WBL. In his quest to take home the first ever WBL Team Prize, Breadmonds has hired three well-known mercenaries to this year's squad: the mad genius Christian Rhubarb Foster whose forte is sprinting, the Ginsu Chef Master Rob Yo Simpson who is a climbing specialist, and the Journeyman Wheat and Barley Man Matt Wattage Whatley, who can pound the flats and set a scalding tempo. (Wattage also excels in robbing vestigial virgins of their innocence, but that's neither here nor there as far as this summary is concerned.) These four flying breadmen present a dynamic, multitalented force of unlikely superheroes who can bust a move in the hills, lay down the Old Testament Law on the flats, and uncork an explosive, double-barreled shotgun-style sprint. Not to mention, they can party like rock stars at night and lie like politicians the next morning. If Team Blind Dog Bread can lay off the buttered bread, the high-octane booze, and the floozy women that flop around them like snared tuna, these four could end the season with the Golden Goose in hand. However, most experts who have studied the team think that buttered bread will be the team's downfall.

The Old Bastards Cycling Team will also be a formidable foe this year. Donning the Old Bastards' colors (black and blue) are the likes of Tank Crumley, Bill Boonen, Tom Jayhawk Leonard, Russ Oil Can Foster, Kirk Madsmith, Tap Daddy Shirey, Caw Caw Crowe and others. But don't start snikering about the team lineup just yet because the laugh may be at your expense. You see, these boys might be gray-haired ancients whose eyes are clouded by cataracts and whose inguinal hernias are bulging out at several unsavory and unmentionable spots, but just by living for so damned long they've learned a few things along the way. Applying a Machiavellian maxim, it seems that the Old Bastards have signed a contract with Erin Bone Crusher Winter and she intends to ride for their team of Old Coots this season. That's right, Bone Crusher will be flying the flag of the Old Bastards this year, the Jolly Roger. Not only that, Bone Crusher has also guaranteed victory in the Overall. "I've looked over your list of contenders," she scoffed recently during a drunken tirade, "and it's laughable. I am guaranteeing Overall victory in the WBL, and you can print that." She drained the bottle of Wild Turkey she was holding and flung the empty at Carney's head. Thus and in conclusion, the statement Bone Crusher is a drunken Old Bastard is no longer a slanderous insult. Instead, it's the truth, which shields the speaker from civil liability but not from Bone Crusher's constantly flapping gums.

Team Milledge Avenue Frat House Frat Boys is favored by Vegas bookies to win this year's Team Competition by a wide margin. Present rules apparently state that a Frat Team can have as members anyone who not only currently resides in the horrid hovel on Milldege Avenue, but also anyone and everyone that ever did! Not only does this list include all three of the flying Magner brothers, but also the Big O Oscar Clarke, the Wrecking Ball Joey Rosskopf, and the talented accordionist Michael New York City, who is currently out or prison and ready to ride. The rest of the peleton cried Foul!, arguing that the rule was put in place back in the days when frat boys were were pliable weaklings, put on earth for the sole reason of being scoffed at and ridiculed. They certainly were not hardcore pedal-bangers with a penchant for speed. Good Lord, times have changed. Now I'm the softie running for cover. In my dreams, pink-shirted white boys are running me down in their penny loafers. Damn, I'm slow. Looks like we won't be burning frat boys on a pyre anymore. Instead, we'll be lucky to hang onto their wheel.

2013 Contenders for Glory

Any list of Contenders for Glory in the 2013 version of the WBL must begin with Thomas El Magnifico Brown, the reigning Nabob of the WBL. El Magnifico has won the Overall Title in the WBL for the last three years, a record which could stand for decades, taking out a total of 7 stage wins during his dazzling run. With his 7 stage wins El Magnifico has catapulted up to 3rd place in the WBL in Total Victories and 2nd place on the lifetime earnings list. El Magnifico has deposited 44.4 million in a Swiss bank account over the past three years, trailing Number Uno on the money board, John The Kid Murphy, by a scant 5.5 mill. There's no reason not to expect more of the same this year from this advocate of pillage and plunder. El Magnifico is a perennial preseason favorite not only for stage wins, but the Yellow Jersey as well. If you're a betting person, you'd do well to double-down on this future WBL Hall-of-Famer, even if he's left burn marks on your back.

If Frank Travieso ak.a. el Maximo Jefe begins the 2013 WBL other season like he ended last year's, the rest of the Zealots might as well head for the exits before ever showing up. El Maximo Jefe won the final two WBL events last year in dramatic and convincing fashion including the Granddaddy of them all, Alto. El Maximo Jefe was simply too strong as the other season came to a close in 2012 and his massive point grab shot him up the leaderboard. One more WBL ride might have even provided El Maximo Jefe with an opportunity to win it all. This season look for the Cuban Missile to once again run wild and storm the sprints on his was to multiple stage wins and even a possible Yellow Jersey.

Phil the Thrill Gaimon must not be overlooked for multiple stage wins in the WBL. The Thrill was a force in the 2012 WBL other season, rarely missing a winning break once the Attack Zone opened. Not only was he consistently in the winning moves, he was usually an instigator if not the primary suspect. If attacking was a crime, he'd be sentenced to 30 days in the hole (with a shout-out to Humble Pie). The Thrill, whose DNA proves that his mama was a fleet-footed antelope and his daddy was an angry sledgehammer, was one of Carney's favorite riders during the 2012 WBL season. His attacking mentality is one that Carney constantly praises. And Thrill'ssuccessful 2012 WBL campaign catapulted him into a top-notch slot in the pro peloton in 2012 where he continued his scorched earth policy and notched a slew of impressive wins. By the way, Carney doesn't shy away from taking credit for Thrill's success. "I taught him everything he knows," Carney said in what might possibly be a slight exaggeration. Were it not for the fact that The Thrill will be forced to attend team training camp before the other season concludes, he'd also be a major threat for Overall gold. (

Erin Bone Crusher Winter has previously won the Yellow Jersey and her name alone causes the masses to quake in their shoes. Sometimes they even despoil their britches by pooping in their pants. Bone Crusher is one of the heavy favorites to win Gold again. During the past decade, Bone Crusher has been one of the most consistent riders in the WBL, due in large part to her ability to make mincemeat of the competition, sometimes even scoffing at the lightweights who, at times, shed bitter tears at their sad, sorry predicament. Years ago, Jeff Tap Daddy Shirey was paid 2.3 million by a secret consortium seeking to derail Bone Crusher's bid for glory, permanently. Tap Daddy was hired to speak sweet-nothings into Bone Crusher's ear and trick her into marriage. He was ordered to then impregnate her with a double-dose losing streak. In otherw words, the forthcoming two children would surely slow her down to a crawl. The plan was spot on and it worked in every aspect…except the last—it didn't slow her down at all. Birthing children has made her faster, though all agree that it certainly made her more ruthless and cunning. Some say that's not possible. Bone Crusher's consistent placings at the top of the heap garner her a prime position near the top of any Contender's list for the Overall.In her owns words, "I just don't see how I can be beat."

Nick Bam-Bam Housley has radar-lock on both stage wins and the top spot in the WBL Overall this year and unfortunately for the other contenders, he's dead-set on achieving both goal. Bam-Bam, as his "posse" (his name) of Lady Friends call him, has been training like a sex-starved gladiator, and he's angry, very angry. He's got "sniper eyes" these days, which does not bode well for the avergae, everyday plain-and-simple-crazy-as-hale Zealot, which the rest of us are (mostly). In matter of fact, Bam-Bam earned his nickname because if he's not trying to knock your front door down, he's assuredly attempting to blow your car doors off. Amazingly, Bam-Bam accomplishes both feats using the same method: He rolls to the front and drops Thor's hammer in an extremely cruel and merciless way. Bam-Bam's love of long miles and countless hours spent battling the cold in the big ring on gray, wintry days will give him an added edge towards the end of the other season, after both souls and spirits have been battered by several weeks are hard core pedal-banging. The WBL welcomes Bam-Bam back into the fold / Here's to him in his quest for Gold.

The Big O, Oscar Clarke, was voted Most Aggressive Rider in WBL 2012, and though he didn't nab a stage win during last year's other season, he was oh-so-close-come-to-papa. Good money has him as an odds-on favorite to strike pay-dirt this year, especially after his headline-grabber in China this year. Like Gaimon, the Big O was always an antagonist in the Final Attack Zone, constantly terrorizing the vulgar mass with his acrimonious pedal-strokes, constantly pressing the pedal to the floor simply to make others hurt. Though the Big O may lull others to sleep with his innocent smile, his rosy-red cheeks, his diamond blue eyes, and his professionally manicured pumpkin-shaped hair (he's a customer at Erin's Fabulous World of Hair), he doesn't fool Carney. Carney knows that The Big O is a baby-faced assassin, a real life Raskolnikov. The Big O is no flash in the pan either. Instead, he's a man for all seasons, and he proved it by winning races consistently throughout the 2012 regular season. He won here, there and everywhere. He won early, he won late, and he won at times in betwixt and between. If you ever find yourself hanging on by a thread and in desperate need of a wheel to latch hold of, grab The Big O's rear disc if you can. And then, dear brothers and sisters, hang on for dear life if ye can.

Tytus Magner a.k.a. Boy Wonder proved during his 2012 regular season seek-and destroy campaign that he is unmatched for speed over the final 200 meters of any race. Of course, Carney knew that already. But Boy Wonder also proved that he is a demon, one-wheeling unicyclist to boot. There's nothing like winning a sprint, but popping a wheelie across the line just might elevate a rider to sainthood. Boy Wonder did just that. And if riding across the line with his front wheel hanging in the air wasn't big, bad and bold enough, Boy Wonder also became the first person in history to walk his bike up Farmers Hardware Hill. On one occasion he raised his front wheel skyward at the bottom of the steep slope as he crossed the Oconee River by Weaver D's and he didn't set it down until he had passed under the traffic light at the top of the hill. For these reasons and more, when Boy Wonder shows up there's always hale to pay. In matter of fact, if another lad brings that boy to the line, he might as well kiss the cash goodbye. Though duty may call him away before the conclusion of the 2013 other season, look for the Boy Wonder to wreak havoc every chance he can. Plus, he gets to wear the tight, nylon stockings and the shiny gold cape, even though we see right through his mask.

Joey the Wrecking Ball Rosskopf is another pedal-basher who has been known to make his compatriots sing the Blind Willie Blues during his pulls. Wrecking Ball's general modus operandi is to sidle up to the front and lay down the law for about 95% of the ride. Upon entering the Attack Zone, he only turns up the heat to scalding hot. While it is a fact that most cyclists like to be warm, it is also true that most don't like to fry and sizzle. Unfortunately for the pedaling masses, when Wrecking Ball is on the move, that's just what happens—the pavement bubbles beneath his wheels, the tread on tires begin to melt, it's like a furnace behind him and flesh starts to peel away from bone. Wrecking Ball has been known to fry an egg by just riding by a chicken house. At other times, Wrecking Ball during his massive pulls others swear that time stand still.It has been suggested that Wrecking Ball might very well hold the key to the Theory of Everything. Wrecking Ball has two lifetime wins WBL wins to his credit and with many years still to come, look for him to push much higher up the total tally board. The sky is hardly the limit when it comes to the heights the young hammerhead can achieve. Even so, there's still a vociferous gaggle who swears he's only interested in inflicting pain.Oh well, at least we're having fun.

Rob Yo Simpson cracks the list of All-stars after an electrifying win in the 4th edition of the Single File Saturdays Summertime Sprint Series® (registered trademark of WBL, Inc.). Yo can slice and dice with the most diabolical of pedal-pugilists and his never-say-die attitude means he is consistently in the mix. Yo has been in the hunt for the Golden Fleece on previous occasions but this year the planets may have aligned themselves in perfect position. Not only does Yo have the ability to win any event that ends on an uphill grade, his eligibility for double points (he's a Cat 3!) makes him one of the more dangerous as well as diabolical riders in the pack. Yo gobbles up points like he's an unfeeling, insensitive, uncaring black hole, which he is. In fact, should Yo score double points on only two events, he might slam the door shut on all those chasing behind.If you see a bolt of lightning go streaking up a hill at the tailend of a WBL event, never fear; you've have the good fortune to witness one the the heavens's most wondrous and spectacular events--Yo in full flight streaking up a giant hill.For the sake of art, simply ignore the 12-inch starnd of snot dripping from his nose.

Brindles Andre Greipel Cornett has skyrocketed up the Contender's List because he possesses a turbo-charged pair of lungs, Greipel-like thighs, and a tangled braid of thick, fast-twitch muscle fibers in all the right places. The fact that he is a swinger who can do the two-step tango only adds to the mystique of this sprinting aficionado. But even as he admits, he's from Up North. Brindles Andre Greipel's consistent podiums in all things WBL mark him as a prime-time favorite for both stage wins and the Yellow Jersey, but it also means he'll be one of the marked men who ride with a bullseye on their backs. But Brindles Andre Greipel can handle the pressure and his previous win in the WBL proves so. Like Sampson, his one weak spot, however, is women. If Brindles Andre Greipel can control his lustful disposition and tamp down on his wayward lifestyle, look for this man to be sitting on top of the world when it counts. However, the odd of that are about fitty-fitty. After all, he's from Up North.


Apple Polisher: Everyone needs a top-flight apple polisher, especially CEO of the WBL Briggs Carney. Carney likes his apples served crunchy-cold and burnished to a glossy sheen. Call him vain, but Carney loves to see his reflection on his apple skin before he bites off his face. And his favorite apple, bar none, is a Red Delicious. His private plane even flies him to Washington State periodically just so he can pick one from his favorite apple tree. (Carney denied a rumor that he frequented Walla Walla in actuality to visit his favorite hooker, and because no proof has been presented to bolster the claim, we will not report it at this time.) Carney therefore bestows the title of WBL Official Apple Polisher to Brindles Andre Greipel Cornett. Nobody, and I mean nobody, can polish apples like Brindles can polish apples. He's a damned good apple-bobber to boot. Brindle's has the horsepower, the chutzpah, the leg speed, and the specially blended tub of rubbing beeswax that smooths out all the rough bumps. He has proved that he has earned his spot on the Board…even if it is as one of Carney's coolies.

Palm Leaf Fanner: Carney can't tolerate the heat, even in the dead of winter. Ergo, Carney must be constantly fanned! As a child, Carney didn't need fanning at night when he slept. Neither did he need fanning during the coldest stretches of winter. But with the global rise in temperatures over the past decade, Carney now requires a Palm Leaf Fanner (PLF) all year long at all times during the day. The fanning of Carney must never stop. Carney likes to be fanned with those giant, elephant-eared fronds cut from palm trees on the southeastern shores of Madagascar. Some fronds weigh nearly five pounds each! Carney demands that the Palm Leaf Fanner follow him around all day swinging that fan, and brother, it can be a little taxing; I would know. (I probably shouldn't say it here, but I busted my ass for that son of a bitch back in the day—he made me follow him around all over creation and fan him every step of the way. In the end, I was ready to shove the pointy end of that palm frond right up his gas pipe. But I endured, though I may be permanently scarred.) Bottom line: The PLF must be as strong like a tractor, and smart like an ox. The WBL's hereby bestows the honorific of Palm Leaf Fanner (apprentice in training) for 2013 to Big Matt Wattage Whatley. (More on Wattage and his Blind Dog Bread Cycling Team is below.)

Rose Petal Path Paver: Carney likes his paths lined with rose petals. Hell, who doesn't? The Rose Petal Path Paver must always walk in front of Carney carrying a basket of rose petals that he scatters at Carney's feet just before his soles touch the earth. Carney's feet must never touch dirt or grass, so timing is critical. The Rose Petal Path Paver must therefore possess superior hand-eye coordination, and should be as quick as an antelope and as agile as a cat. Carney also prefers rose petals harvested from central Spain. Though the locals in the region wail and moan each year at the scything of acres and acres of magnificent fields of roses, Carney's feet come first—they cannot be soiled or stained under any circumstance. And these particular brand of roses cushion his feet best from the rough and tumble outer shell of the earth. The job of Rose Petal Path Paver is highly coveted because the roses are lightweight as is the wicker basket. (But beware if the roses aren't strewn exactly the ways Carney likes them. I've seen the man explode!) Because of his skills at prestidigitation, because of his flexibility and nimble nature, and because of his agreement to occasionally wear a pair of red glitter shoes while performing his task, this year's prestigious position of Rose Petal Path Paver is hereby awarded to Rob Yo Simpson. (More on Yo is below.)

Toe Nail Clipper: The vital role that the Chief Toe Nail Clipper performs in the overall WBL structure cannot be overstated. If Carney doesn't have his nails clipped once a day, preferable first thing in the morning (unless he doesn't wake up until afternoon), he roars like a hippo stuck with dart from a blowgun. And whenever Carney blows his stack, the only thing that can raise his spirits is a good apple polishing. The Chief Toenail Clipper must have no aversion to working with toe jam, foot fungus, yellowish toenails, itchy and swollen feet, or the occasional festering boil. The Chief Toenail Clipper must be reliable, dependable and responsible. He must also be willing to be on call 24-7. Because he fills the bill on all counts, the WBL names as Chief Toenail Clipper Tom the Jayhawk Leonard. Jayhawk's prowess is on display everyday at his own salon where he offers a variety of services including depilation via either shaving or waxing followed by granular exfoliation, application of moisturizing creams, and a brief leg massage, all at the incredibly low price of $300 per hour. We are pleased to have someone on board who shares Carney's adoration of feet. (More on Leonard and his Team LOB below.)

Hair Stylist: Naturally, the WBL Hair Stylist must be someone who can turn Carney's hair from a tangled rat's nest into a piece of fine art on daily basis. Carney must not ever appear in public without perfectly coiffed hair because he must never appear in a photograph with unkempt hair. (He must also never appear in a photograph departing a prostitute's motel room. The newly appointed Board will need to do a better job at policing Carney than the last Board did. Much better.) The hair stylist should be someone who loves working with hair, and who spends hours primping and preening his or her own hair. Though Bill Boonen made a hard charge for the award because of his penchant for a platinum blonde bob, Erin Winter edged him out at the end. Her own salon, Erin's Fabulous World of Hair, is pumping out such chic, cutting edge styles on a weekly basis that she has become a major force in the industry, a mover and a shaker in the high stakes world of hair. If money equals force the Erin Winter can move mountains. The WBL welcomes her to the team.

Fall Guy: A loyal Fall Guy is an absolute must. A good Fall Guy can avert trouble with deflection and misdirection, confusion and subterfuge, and the old smoke and mirrors trick. A Fall Guy must always take the bullet for his boss because Carney cannot be blamed for anything that goes wrong and the WBL Fall Guy's job is to prevent just such a thing from happening. Carney's always taking missteps and blundering his way through the mess, and the 2013's Fall Guy's path with be strewn with the dead bodies of those previous appointees who have failed in this regard, but we have faith in our newest appointee. This year's designated Official Fall Guy is hereby awarded to two people: Oliver Elvis Quinn and Tom Lexus Palmer. The WBL decided to name two persons because there plenty of blame to go around.

Concubines: As of yet, only one person has applied to be Carney's concubine, but there is still time. Carney is still accepting applications for WBL concubine and encourages all to apply. No application will be refused without good reason. Plus, there is no application fee. The phone lines are open. We are waiting for your call. (Further: Be it Decreed, the Board met and Decreed the following: Kirk Madsmith's application to be one of Carney's Concubines is hereby DENIED.)