Steel-toe Boots

Steel-toe Boots

(WBL # 8: Hard Labor)

Thomas el Magnifico Brown tightened his lead in the WBL 2011 fistfight for supremacy as he scored another knockout punch, his second in a row, on the Litespeed Bikes-BMW Hard Labor Classic on 5 February 2011. Instead of biding his time and blasting out of the bunch in the closing meters to grab the win as he'd done the week before, T Brown took it from the front this time, kicking the door down from the gun, boldly bellowing out his bellicose intentions, and trampling on anyone foolish enough to stand in his way. And like a coldblooded leader of a successful revolution, he ultimately assassinated all those who helped him seize the throne. With his 5th lifetime win in the WBL, el Magnifico is now threatening to run away with the Yellow hairnet in 2011 as the other season heads into its penultimate event. Though there are still those who will certainly try and serve-up Brown's head on a silver platter, so far, he's kicked the teeth in and shattered the jaws of all those wannabe executioners who've approached him wielding an ax.

El Magnifico launched his bold bid for glory over 7 miles earlier, shortly after entering the Final Attack Zone, the maniacal and much-maligned Pink Church Circuit Loop. While all Carney's Final Attack Zones are a devilish admixture of painful uphill pitches, terrifying downhill drops, and wind-battered dirt fields, the Pink Church Circuit Loop (PCCL) holds a special place in Carney's heart because it's Difficulty Rating is "off the charts." All who have attempted the PCCL, even the fifty percent who die trying to cross its treacherous byways, tend to agree.

The parlous PCCL opens at the right hand turn at Alligator Pond and immediately kicks up a sinister 1 mile slope to the Pink Church Line. And in an effort to throw fuel on a fire and spark an even greater flame, the first time across the Pink Church Line, the grupetto was sprinting for cash, points, and prestige. Usually, this first sprint causes a tear or two in the field early in the final loop, sometimes even shredding the pack to ribbons. Toss in a wicked tempest that simultaneously pounds the Zealots in the face and it truly is like kicking a man when he's down. But if you need to make sure a body is dead, what choice do you have? After all, winning in the WBL requires not only killing your enemies, but also kicking them when their down, preferably in the ribs with steel-toed boots.

As the group of itinerant wanderlusters, marauding mountebanks, anagocic ambuscaders, and perdurable picaroons set sail up the slanting roadway heading for the Pink Church Sprint Line 1 mile ahead, at first the heavyweight pedal-bangers nervously eyed each other, like tomcats looking for a fight. The helmsmen sat at the front and drove the bus at a moderate pace, standing and bobbing in their pedals. The kept checking over their shoulders for the coming avalanche. They were only testing the waters at this point by dipping in the tip of their toes. However, many nervous and battle-weary pedal-warriors behind, like a person with a black bag on his head and a rope around his neck, were merely waiting for the floor to fall away. Still there were others in a state of blissful ignorance, like a warm and happy cockroach sunning itself on the Queen Mother's new parquet kitchen floor. Sometimes it's best not to know that you'll soon be splattered on the kitchen floor.

Presently, a few gut-wrenching pushes up the incline caused panic among the hectoring horde of pedal-people and were fatal to over half the field, but nothing could quite claw its way clear. 400 meters from the top of the precipitous pitch, a gaggle of 35 or more pulled themselves free. Approaching the Pink Church Line and the intermediate sprint, the apterous T Brown defied certain physical laws of motion and nature and flew the coop. He was quickly followed by Rosskopf, Ty Magner, and the vorpal storm trooper Show Stopper Dunn. The four opened up a sizeable gap as they rocket-pedaled in a brief but furious burst for the line. T Brown, in a foreshadowing of the future, propelled his steel steed forward with a series of quick, rapid-fire pedal strokes and won the sprint, followed closely by the next three. The 3 points Brown earned stretched his lead out over the continually closing Atwell, the always dangerous Rosskopf, and the ever- threatening Magner.

Pink Church Sprint:

  1. T Brown: 3 pts.
  2. J Rosskopf: 2 pts
  3. Ty Magner: 1 pt

After the sprint, the four escapees had to take a moment to stuff their brains back into their skullboxes-there had been a little leakage as a result of the massive effort. As the splintered group turned right after the intermediate sprint, a group of twenty-five or so formed and corkscrewed down the steep descent in a single-file, slithering thread of pain. Many in this group had their mouth open like a feeding beluga whale, shoveling in great mouthfuls of air and selfishly hogging all the oxygen in the room. However, they were also praying that death would come quickly. The leaders flew down the winding, twisty road, ripped through the snaking gulley at the bottom, and punched it up the near-vertical wall on the other side. Cresting the top of the 200 meter near-perpendicular pitch of blacktop, but still facing a quarter-of-a-mile upward run to the apex, four heavyweight hammerheads-T Brown, Parker Smith, Daniel Holt, and Michael Young-wrenched free. The Four Musketeers quickly fell into formation and held the tattered field behind at bay. They all had snot dangling from their noses, spittle hanging from their lips, and blood dripping from their eyeballs as they pedaled like the seven Furies in their communal effort to break the binds that tie.

The four flyboys off the front shared the load evenly, and each cut out a piece of his heart and a sliver of his soul and donated them to the group effort. The four experienced deathsmen know that for a break to survive to the end, each much contribute to the cause-each must leave a piece of himself on the road. It only takes one slackard to upend the entire enterprise. But behind the four seekers, the hunt was on. The four escapees could not quite cut the cord to the pedal-maniacs behind, and they dangled precariously close to the first chase group, now reduced to 14 sordid but solid souls.

As the 4 breakaway artists approached the Jefferson River Road with 4 miles to go, Nick Housley bolted from the 14 man chase group, which was only 6 seconds in arrears. The ever-alert Joey Rosskopf grabbed Housley's wheel and the two set off in pursuit of the four leaders. It would take the two determined interlopers only half-a-mile to make contact. As the four leaders took the right hand turn onto J River Road 4 miles from the line, Housley and Rosskopf made contact: And then there were six.

The six experienced cycle-nabobs rotated like paid professionals and rocket-scudded down the 3 mile J River Runway to the final right-hand turn at Alligator Pond. Normally, a six-man group of this caliber would ride away, putting the bit in its mouth and opening up huge time gaps to the chasing field. But behind the six artistes, and also attesting to overall strength in this day's herd, the pursuit was relentless, volant and unforgiving. The dozen chasers didn't let off the gas as J Atwell once again led the charge down the J River runway. But the six up front neither faltered nor vacillated-this was an all-out blitzkrieg to the line. The chasers could see the six in front the entire length of the J River descent and they were never more than 10 seconds away, usually less. This was still anybody's game-an effective chase can pull back 20 seconds on the last mile on the PCCL alone!

As the six breakaway artists turned right at Alligator Pond to begin their second and final cruel 1 mile climb up to the finish line, the chasers closed the gap to 6 scant seconds. The chasers could smell the group ahead, and Miachel Stone smelled horrible. The leaders sensed the chase closing and surged. They were strung-out and fleeing for the finis. Behind, Jered Gruber powered out of the chase group and moved towards the leaders. Ty Magner jumped and closed to Gruber. Ahead, two were cartwheeling out the back out the leading pack. Behind, some were tearing off the front. Gruber continued to close the gap with massive downward pedal-strokes. When he finally slowed slightly, T Magner jumped and left his compatriots in the dust. In a masterful display of cycling virtuosity Magner flew past those falling out the back of the break and made contact with the frontrunners, now reduced to three, with only 500 meters to go. Behind, the battlefield was littered with dead bodies that would soon receive kicks to the ribs.

The fugacious four at the front-Brown, Michael Stone, Rosskopf, and Magner-kept the accelerator pressed to the floorboard, no time to tarry now. In the end, Magner was the only one from the chase able to actually bridge to the leaders. Approaching the line, T Brown and Magner jumped clear and were neck-and-neck 100 meters from paydirt. Both were standing with their shoulders hunched over their handlebars and their necks straining forward, trying to push their snouts over the line first. At the line El Magnifico pulled clear by one goat's head and won the sprint in fine and glorious fashion. T Brown proved he is master of disguise as he stormed away on this day from the start and held firm all the way to the end. The young cycling phenom Michael Stone also showed he is an up-and-coming blacktop crusher with a masterful ride and a 3rd place finish, as did the always aggressive man of action, our very own Sir Nicholas Housley. Kudos and shout-outs also to Andrew Hodges and the cycle-renegades from Frazier Cycling who continue to impress. Hats off to Ashley Gruber for showing she's a cycle-chick with an iron resolve. And raise your glass to Chris Chotas, who would have been, were it not for Crowe, the oldest fellow who inveigled his way into the front group. Salud for that ride, boys and girls, from the bottom of my heart!


  1. Thomas el Magnifico Brown: 10 pts
  2. Ty Magner: 8 pts
  3. Michael Stone: 6 pts.
  4. Joey Rosskpf: 4 pts.
  5. Nick Housley: 2 pts.
  6. True Grit: Parker Smith, C Chotas, JJ Wadkins, A Gruber: 1 pt.
  7. All: 3 pts.

Non Pro:

  1. Crowe: 5 pts
  2. Atwell: 3 pts
  3. A Hodges: 1 pt.


  1. A Gruber: 5 pts

Saturday dawned to reveal the horror: the roads were still slickered and a fine mist was still falling-fabulous weather for sleeping in, but not the best of cycling conditions. The forecasters had predicted no rain, but cloud-covered skies-was this the day of retribution? Would this ride be payback for the beneficence shown so far this year? Would the Four Horsemen of the Apocolpse rain on our parade? Because of the wet and worrisome conditions at launch time, only a stalwart group of 50 or so was hand. But even though the group was not large, it was peopled by only the most powerful pedal-pushers: Only the grim and determined Zealots signed in on this day.

Present and accounted for among the clan of hardcore cycle-renegades, pedal-voluptuaries and orphic wheelmen were the former UGA majorette fan Scott Morris, the present UGA professor of radical change Steve Kogan, the Northeastern blizzard himself Brendan Cornett, the Bama Slama Big Joe Eldridge, the Clayton Street Biscuit Killer Christian Foster, the dram shop cowboy Nick Fragtino, the enfant terrible Chad Capobianco, the hombre with the big cajones Anthony Hergert, the bête noire of Milledge Avenue Kirk Madsmith, and the apparatchik for the mob Don Giannini. The robust group, in spite of dour conditions, clipped in, and with a hoop and a holler, set out on the day's misadventure beneath dark and disturbing skies.

A fine mizzle pelted the Zealots for the first thirty minutes, and then, as predicted, the clouds' tears dried. Still, gray and gloomy skies dominated the airwaves. But the roads dried, the rain stopped, and spirits soared. The day might not be spent cycle-fighting in a cold wet mist after all. Praise be to the powers that be.

Through Bishop A Gruber stood and stomped and took the ladies' sprint going away. She flashed the double peace sign as a victory salute. With her 3 points she continued her spectacular rocket-shot up the leader board. After Bishop, as the pack was clipping off the miles with glee, a modern day miracle occurred. To the south, a blue hole appeared in the sky, a fumaroles blown into the clouds just big enough for the sun to position itself perfect in the center of. And when Old King Sol did just that, and the temperature soared immediately by ten degrees, a cheer went up from the crowd. It was like a condemned man receiving not only a stay of execution, but a complete pardon to boot. Shorty after the sun burst through, the clouds split wide open and melted away, leaving behind bright blue rectangles occasionally broached by a wispy white cloud. The sun drenched the sky and warmed our souls, and jumpstarted our spirits. Though we didn't deserve it, we sure as hale enjoyed it.

After a brief and completely accidental addition of around 3 miles, that was almost 10 miles, the pack was again on target and headed for the Non Pro sprint at Bear Creek Reservoir. This sprint came near the 70 mile mark so the contestants had plenty of time to butter their bread beforehand. The pack plunged down the steep drop to the bridge over the reservoir and exploded up the 700 meter hill to the sprint line. Jonathon Atwell and Brandon Russell shot clear and came to the line side-by-side, mano a mano, with Atwell claiming the win over the impressive man of action B Russell by a nose hair. It was only 6 tough miles to the final attack zone. Time to get ready to go to war.

Bear Creek Sprint (Non Pro):

  1. J Atwell: 3 pts
  2. B Russell: 2 pts.
  3. Crowe: 1 pt

As the Zealots prepare for the penultimate evnt of the stellar 2011 season T Borwn has a solid lead. But his lead is not insurmountable. Atwell, Magner and Rosskopf are the three that still have a legitimate shot at knocking T Brown off the pedestal. This Saturday's ride will be crucial. If Brown delivers another devastating blow, it could be all she wrote for the rest of the boys. And by the way, T Brown never goes anywhere without wearing his steel-toed boots.

WBL 2011 Overall (6 February 2011):

  1. Thomas Brown: 59 pts
  2. Ty Magner: 50 pts
  3. J Atwell: 48 pts
  4. Joey Rosskopf: 46 pts.
  5. Crowe: 45 pts.
  6. Ashley Gruber: 34 pts.
  7. Michael York: 31 pts
  8. Frank Trevesio: 31 pts.
  9. Catherine Peacock: 31 pts.
  10. Slim Henry: 30 pts
  11. Joe Eldridge: 23 pts
  12. Kirk Madsmith: 22 pts
  13. Scott Morris: 22 pts
  14. Brandon Russell: 22
  15. DD Dunn: 22 pts
  16. Nick Housley: 21 pts
  17. Rich Nelson: 20 pts
  18. Don Giannini: 20 pts.
  19. Little Cappy: 20 pts.
  20. Andrew Hodges: 20 pts
  21. Steve Kogan: 20 pts.
  22. Parker Smith: 19 pts
  23. John Best: 19 pts.
  24. Brett Magner: 19 pts
  25. Christian Foster: 19 pts
  26. Jamie Dinkins: 19 pts.
  27. Ruben Jacobo-Rubio: 19 pts
  28. Brooks Lide: 18 pts
  29. Sean Carroll: 17 pts.
  30. Sam Rafal: 17 pts
  31. Cal Hootin: 17 pts.
  32. Tanner Putt: 16 pts
  33. Anthony Hergert: 16 pts
  34. Matt Miller: 15 pts
  35. Dan McGarvey: 15 pts.
  36. Russell Tindol: 15 pts.
  37. Nick Fragnito: 15 pts.
  38. David Goodman: 15 pts.
  39. Matt Karzen: 15 pts.
  40. Rob Kane: 14 pts.
  41. Reid Peacock: 14 pts.
  42. L Slote: 14 pts
  43. Dane Tezler: 14 pts.
  44. Gruber Gutcheck: 13 pts.
  45. Stradford Helms: 13 pts
  46. Hunter Garrison: 14 pts
  47. Jason Bewley: 13 pts
  48. Yo Simpson: 13 pts
  49. Gabriel Denes 13
  50. Matt Brooks: 13 pt.
  51. Artur Sagat: 13 pts 52. Andrew Smola: 12 pts
  52. Matt Whatley: 12 pts
  53. Clark Hurst: 12 pts.
  54. Steve Kogan: 12 pts.
  55. John Newton: 12 pts.
  56. Russ Foster: 12 pts
  57. Tommy Mulkey: 12 pts.
  58. Brad Parkerson: 12 pts.
  59. Christian Parrott: 12 pts
  60. Brendan Cornett:11 pts.
  61. Stephen Leotis: 11 pts
  62. Michael Stone: 11 pts
  63. Gina Voci: 12 pts.
  64. Big Cappy: 11 pts
  65. Rob Kane: 11 pts.
  66. Igor Rudola: 11 pts
  67. Charlie Ellis: 10 pts
  68. Austin Hilliard: 10 pts
  69. Brian Hill: 10 pts
  70. Kyle Forrester: 10
  71. Dalford England: 10 pts.
  72. Cal Hootin: 10 pts.
  73. Cal Hootin: 9 pts.
  74. Eric Murphy: 9 pts
  75. Jered Hegberg: 9 pts
  76. Hank Beaver: 9 pts
  77. Ryan Wolfe: 9 pts.
  78. Chris Chotas: 8 pts
  79. Wes Parrish: 8 pts
  80. Christian Parrott: 8 pts
  81. JJ Wadkins: 8 pts.
  82. Matt McCarthey: 8 pts
  83. Eldridge Joe: 8 pts.
  84. Emily Fancher: 8 pts.