Sting Like Big Jon

Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like Big Jon (Homer 07)

A runaway rig by the name of Big Johnny Atkins came thundering down the highway at a billion miles an hour and barreled through the gates of the final event of WBL 2007, the Georgia Cycle Sport Homer Throw-Down, without ever even braking. Naturally, chaos ensued. Bodies were scattered helter skelter up and down the road like trailers after a tornado after Big Johnny blew by. The glory dogs and thrill screamers (Zealots), ignoring warnings from a previous monition, could only stare in benighted bemusement as Big Johnny-Jon-Jon pulled off his bold heist in the great gloom of the day’s gray skies. Those left behind in the blustery cold and the whipping winds had the same sinking feeling Ken Norton must have felt when he gazed up from the canvas through glazed and glossy eyes only to see the nimbus outline of Muhammad Ali, arms raised like flagpoles, towering above him like a lunar eclipse—Float like a butterfly. Although a dozen chasers were so close to Johnny Boy at the line that they could hurl fire down his neck, he had time to glance back over his shoulder, turn around and lean way back in the saddle, flash a broad Johnny Boy smile for the cameras, and throw both fists into the air as he cruised home with his 3rd lifetime win in the WBL. Sting like a bee. And kick em in the nuts like Johnny Boy did.

A sentient attacker, like a migrant bird, senses when to fly. He (or she, or the bird) feels a scraping in the marrow of his bones, a slight twist in the gut, the silent click of a switch in the brain, a tug on the shoulders. One must listen for the feeling. A successful attacker also knows he must try, try, try and try again before a missile launch off the front will bear fruit. One must combine a gnomic knowledge of pack pedaling at high speeds over insane distances, with a willingness to throw caution to the wind, to jump off a cliff into the pitch, to fling a rock at Goliath with intent to kill. One must be willing to push his chips into the pot and say, “All in.” Of course, it helps if one is holding 4 aces. Johnny Boy had 5.

When the pack entered the last Attack Zone of the other season and the Whistler gave his rebel hoot and a holler (his whistle was “misplaced”), the rowdy rabble of mighty pedal bangers on hand were filled with hesitation and trepidation. Frigid busters, the coldest of the winter, had knocked and tossed the Zealots about all day on their 80 mile, 4 hour adventure like they were Lee Harvey Oswalds in a Dallas holding cell. But Big Jon put the bit in his mouth and stomped up the road, huffing and puffing like a Persian with a hookah. At first, he looked like poor, barefooted Frodo headed off with only a gunny sack to slay the Dark Lord. “Look, there goes Big Jon,” one wayward soul mumbled.

The first 4 miles of the Seagraves Mill Attack Zone is a rolling corridor of undulating bumps and lumps. At the end of Seagraves Mill, the road climbs up to the stop sign, and the route turns right and flies down the flat runway of Nowhere Road for 3 miles to the Jackson County sign. This Attack Zone is 7 miles of good ole getty-up—one has to getty-up to hang with the herd. This is the Alto Attack Zone with Steep Dog Hill sliced out. Carney must have been feeling munificent, but he was nowhere in sight. By this time, Carney was more than likely halfway through a bottle of bourbon, downloading pornography off the internet. Some say he’s a gutter drunk, but not me. He signs my paychecks. He’s rock solid.

After Big Jon pedaled away, but before he was too far gone, Terrible Travis Hagner (Loco’s) counted his chickens before they hatched and sailed off in hot pursuit. He caught Johnny about 30 nanoseconds later. The 2 immediately reached an accord, signed a joint venture agreement, and put equal effort into their felonious misadventure. There were 6 miles to go. Terrible Travis’s actions prove that most rules should be broken, often. You see, Hagner stuck it too. New Rule: If you are blessed with chicken eggs, don’t be a fool—count them! Break them open! Splatter them against a wall! Eat them! The last thing to do is to sit around like a jackass waiting on them to hatch. Big Jon will be long gone by then, your head in his pouch.

Hagner bridged and the others watched. Jon Murphy (Health Net), Jeff Hopkins (Jittery Joes), David Villeux (J.J.’s), Tommy Nankervis (J.J.’s), Brian Bibens (Locos), Mark Anderson (Locos), Jacob Fetty (Manulife), Gutcheck Gruber (Rainman’s Raiders), Junior Southerland (Team Type 1 Farm Team), Bruno Langlois (some team from Canada), Erin Boots Winter (Team Hot Pocket), and Crowe (Frank’s Used Cars, Small Engine Repair and Tax Preparation Service) had front row seats and watched as Atkins and Hagner did battle with the wind. Could they master the elements and slay the dragon? Not likely. The Kid, Jon Murphy, was trying to tie the all time WBL win record with 9 and he had Nathan O’Neil in tow to help him do it. Atkins and Hagner had earned a shout out in the Ride Report with their valiant but vainglorious effort, but when Mr. O’Neil put his chin on the handlebars and hammered, it would be curtains for our 2 foolhardy protagonists. Damn you to differ!

Suddenly, dues ex machina in retrograde—the ghost was shot dead in the machine! With 5 miles to go, the sag wagon van went speeding past in order to set up camp at the finish. As the Sag Van sailed by, Master Nathan O’Neil waved from inside the comfortable confines of the passenger seat. He was gone just as quickly. His steel steed rested comfortably on the rack on the back. The Kid grumbled an unprintable explicative. Atkins’s Myogenesis teammates—Blackheart, Magner, B. Rogers—grinned like Cheshire cats that had spent the weekend successfully prowling the back alleys of a salacious part of town during a full moon. They probably had.

The Kid exploded up the road in several violent attacks attempting to bridge the 30 second gap. He was joined by others on a couple of his mighty escapades. Although Murphy and his hangers-on would get close to the 2 escapees off the front, the pack behind ran them down, and Atkins and Hagner simply continued up the road, head down, guns blazing, and always hammering, hammering, hammering for what little bit both of them are worth.

The group could never close the gap, and though at the line the group was only 2 heartbeats in arrears, Big Jon gave Travis the flick and scored the win. Murphy and the others scorched across a razor’s width in arrears. Big Jon picked up his 3rd lifetime WBL win and moved into a tie for 7th on the all time win list. Yabba-dabba-do, Holy smokes Batman, what a finish to another dastardly day on the open roads of the WBL. And a fitting finish to a helluva year! Hats off.


  1. Big Jon (Myogenesis)
  2. Terrible Travis (Loco’s)
  3. The Kid (Health Net)
  4. Casey Magner (Myogenesis)
  5. David Veilleux (Jittery Joes)

At the post ride press conference, Cleve Blackheart Blackwell was all smiles. Blackheart and his boys from Myogenesis rode roughshod through the WBL in 2007 and Blackheart became the 10th different winner in the last 10 years. Blackheart picked up a win on the king of them all, Alto, and also tallied the most points (40) in a single day, a record that might stand for centuries. Blackheart also guaranteed himself good luck for the remainder of the year. Blackheart immediately changed his name to “King Cleve” after the event. He now wears a crown and a cape. Unfortunately, he wears nothing else. At press time, word filtered in that he had been arrested for flashing a group of married women in the McDonald’s parking lot. Allegedly, he tried to show them the “crown jewels.”

Erin Boots Winter-Shirey rounded off another incredible year in the WBL in second place. She made a hard charge for the line at the end, falling short by only a matter of meters. Had it not been for King Cleve’s stunning Alto win, she more than likely would have brought home the gold. But shed no tears for this Lady for All Seasons. She’ll be back, and she just might kick your ass. Again. The Ladies also proved once again that they are smarter than men by taking over half of the top 10 spots. They claimed 3 of them, with Tina-Mayola-Pic in 6th and Ms. Kristen Keim (No relation to Eric) in 8th. Special shout out to the Ladies of the WBL.

Big Jon catapulted into 3rd with his last second win, giving Myogenesis 2 out of the top 3 spots and these boys look ready to bring home the bacon in the 07 season. Now that the team has scored its grandest win in team history, it’s all downhill from here. “The rest is gravy,” Big Jon Said. “I mean what else is there?” There’s nothing Johnny Boy, nothing.

The resilient Tony Fahey had one incredible WBL season, battling all the way down to the wire, and scored 4th place in the WBL Overall for 07. Farm Boy Fahey held the Golden Fleece for a stretch of time in January before Blackheart slowly, slowly, slowly inched it off his shoulders, like a Latin lover. Fahey fought tooth and nail all season long, digging, knocking heads, clawing, hammering, grunting, and grinding. The man would not die. Carney even designated Fahey an official road warrior-Zealot and signed him to a 3 year contract on Team WBL for a cool 4.5 million dollars. I hope his checks don’t have a rubber soul. Expect to see Farm Boy battling it out again next year for the Yellow Jersey. Salud!

Terrible Travis Hagner jumped forward into a tie for the 4th slot to round out the podium (Top 5) for WBL 2007. Terrible Travis showed a consistent display of grim determination, sheer speed, and plenty of pluck as he found the nexus of the action week after week. “He pulled, he attacked, and he sprinted. What more can I ask for?” Carney asked with tears the size of marbles rolling down his cheeks. Expect ginormous results from Travis and his crazy band of Loco’s pedal bangers this year. These boys are built for speed.

A final shout out to all our sponsors who keep the wheels greased, and Carney’s pockets lined with massive wads of cash. It is very important that Carney keep up appearances, so he needs plenty of walking around cash. Keep it coming.

A special thanks to all who drove the sag (J. Wadkins, the O’Neils, Slotey) and all who tipped the sag (Tom Palmer!). The sag wagon is a must, and without it, we’d all be lost. And that means you.

A final shout out to the Zealots—thanx for pedal banging with little old me. See you next year at the WBL.

Top 10

  1. Blackwell 83 pts
  2. Erin Winter 76 pts
  3. Johnny Atkins 50
  4. Tony Fahey 45
  5. Travis Hagner 45
  6. Tina Mayola-Pic 43
  7. Eric Hollifield 42
  8. Casey Magner 39
  9. Kristen Keim 37
  10. Jeff Shirey 36

The Humble Chronicler