The Crucible of Pain

The Crucible of Pain

(Madison: WBL 2014 # 8)

The Cuban Missile Frank Travieso fused his own special blend of raw power, explosive speed and vicious cunning to score a masterful sprint win on yet another brutal day in the WBL on this past Saturday’s Gruber Images Madison Classic. Experts agreed that because of the fierce crosswinds and the punishing tempo, the 85 mile, 4.5 hour Madison epic misadventure was more suited to sadists than to cyclists. However, other astute observers of culture, society and even human nature in general pointed out that the two groups of sibilant-sounding outliers are, like the iconic Olympic rings, actually interlocking circles of commonality. I’m not sure what that means, but it certainly didn’t bode well for my poor pitiful thighs. Travieso’s virtuosic victory came after one of the more savage and inhumane final attack zones of the 2014 season, the 6 mile Wire Bridge-Flatrock Road Final Attack Zone. On the course profile, the Wire Bridge-Flatrock Road Attack Zone looks like a benign stretch of slightly lumpy blacktop, but in reality it is a 6 mile section of roadway that detours through the windy section of downtown Hale. In fact, the wind is blowing in this particular decrepit section of downtown Hale with such vehemence that it actually does muffle the screams of the damned whose bodies are eternally on fire. Like Lance.

The morning of 25 January 2014 started out like many other Saturdays in this season’s WBL—it was colder than a frozen frog. Temperatures at takeoff once again hovered around a despicable 29 degrees, and though the forecasted high was a balmy 48 degrees, the whether-wizards also predicted gale force winds and congeries of marching clouds. Unfortunately, the temperature never rose higher than the low 40s while the Zealots were out in the thicket beating the bounds, but at least the whether-wizards were spot on in regards to the thick clouds and the whipping winds. As I sat at the start line shaking and shivering and trying not to cry, I looked over at the wicked Michael Trivette, a.k.a. the Lean Legume, and said, “Hey Legume, why are you rubbing your thumbs on the Lexus South sag car’s curb feelers? Man, yo hair is standing on end.” The Lean Legume looked up at me and smiled and said, “By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes." I glanced up at the sky and my knees began to wobble-knock.

The group started out like its feet were on fire and we were soon headed through Watkinsville and towards Bishop like a pistol shot. At the Ladies sprint in Bishop at Mile 12, the femmes fatales in the bunch called on all their innermost fortitude because sprinting when it’s in the 20s requires a person to burrow herself deep within the Zen Zone and block out all outward signs of pain. Morgan M Train Patton took the bull by the horns and jumped first. As she bolted for the line she was so deep in her own Zen Zone that she was silently wailing the Blind Willie blues. But she stomped and she thrashed and she wished upon a star and she ultimately motored away to win the sprint and the valuable 3 points. M Train smiled like an assassin after a successful hit—she had renewed her upwards assault on the Creature Comforts Leader’s Jersey. By day’s end she would make significant strides.

Bishop Sprint (Ladies):

  • 1)      M Train Patton: 3 pts
  • 2)      M Carrelli: 2 pts
  • 3)      E Cox: 1 pt

Only 3 miles after the ladies fandango, it was time for the Non Pros to dance. The whistle blew at the base of Price Mill Hill and the fireworks began. A mad scramble instantly began as riders fought for the front at the base of the 600 meter hill. Halfway up the sadistic slope, Brad Pit Bull Parkerson blew out the front door like he was late for a date with his wife. Pit Bull pushed out to an interminable 20 meter gap, which because of the hostile headwind, might as well have been 100 miles. Behind Pitbull, a dozen or so at the helm of the pack began a frantic chase. But the truculent wind blew back the chasers, chewing them up and spitting them out like they were nothing more than spittle-soaked sunflower seeds. But the chasers did manage to claw back real estate, albeit 1 excruciating meter at a time. Eventually, however, approaching the line, the front group, now reduced to five, ran down Pit Bull and with 20 meters to go Fletcher Paperweight Lydick sprung out of the group like an antelope with eagle wings. Paperweight took the sprint and collected the valuable 3 points, and just like M Train, he also began his attack on First Place.

Price Mill Hill Jam (Non Pro):

  • 1)      Paperweight: 3 pts.
  • 2)      M Lipold: 2 pts.
  • 3)      Show Stopper: 1 pt
  • 4)      Pit Bull Parkerson: Attack Point: 1 pt

After the Non Pro sprint, the group could have rested on its laurels and ridden to the store at a comfortable clip, but it didn’t. Instead, the Zealots ripped down the road like a bullet train with no brakes. The constant barrage of hills, the relentless hammering of the winds, and the persistent pressure at the front, caused many a fool like me to shed copious tears. However, most folks that gazed upon my horrid visage couldn’t differentiate between my frozen tears and the icy snot smeared all over the lower half of my face. It’s diabolical rides like these that break down not only my body, but also my pride.

At the store stop, thick, gray clouds rolled in and blanketed the formerly blue sky. And as the group departed and headed back home via the Colham Ferry Road, it became evident that the anticipated tailwind simply wasn’t to be. Instead, a ferocious crosswind continued to batter the pack. I tried to hide on the leeward side but since the Lean Legume had in the gutter, I simply started to silently cry. Thank goodness the frozen snot now smeared all over my face and neck continued to confuse—I could tell by the look of horror in the other Zealots’ eyes.

At Mile 65 the group hit the base of Antioch Hill and the Pro Sprint was at hand. Antioch Hill is a quarter mill hill jam straight up a vertical wall. When the whistle first blew the contenders galloped up the vexatious hill at full tilt and gaps in the line appeared at regular intervals. Jonathon the Mastodon Atwell, showing the strength of ten elephants, pounded a ginormous gear and pulled clear near the top with a powerful surge. He swiped the sprint from the Cuban Missile, with country singer T Graham Brown rounding out the top 3.

Antioch Hill (Pro Sprint):

  • 1)      J Atwell: 3 pts
  • 2)      F Travieso: 2 pts
  • 3)      T Graham Brown: 1 pt

There was no respite after the Pro sprint, no time to dry my eyes, and the Final Attack Zone began almost immediately. As soon as the group hit Wire Bridge Road the vanguard in the group turned up the heat to full blast. Over the next 4 miles the group was strung out over several hundred meters as the really rapid folks ripped down the road and tried to break free. The road bent and curved and dived left and dove right. But no group could break the ties that bind in the first four miles. However, the most pernicious piece of pedaling occurred when the group took the final right hand turn onto Flatrock Road with 2 miles to go. Until that point, the brutality inflicted could be characterized as “only meant to maim.” Now, the frontrunners were honing in for the kill.

When the group turned right to begin the final 2 mile run to the line, the wind hit them in the face like forty sledgehammers. To make matters worse, the Big O, Oscar Clarke, was attacking off the front so hard he was trying to peel paint from the road. Behind, the chasers were in a full-blown panic mode as the main body was blown to smithereens. Over the course of the next two miles, the riders were ripped to bloody ribbons and their bodies cartwheeled backwards like tumbleweeds in a stiff breeze. And though each separate group chased wildly to catch the riders in front, no single group could connect with the next—the wind was too ferocious and the pace too intense. It was a soul-scouring, lung burning, crucible of pain. At the finish line, five Pros pulled clear by a country mile to claim first through fifth, with the Cuban Missile blasting away and crossing the line first. With his win, Travieso claimed his fourth lifetime WBL win and moved into sole possession of the Creature Comforts Leader’s Jersey. With three rides left, the Overall appears to have boiled down to a catfight among Travieso, O Clarke, M Patton, F Lydick, and J Bewley. But beware, others lurk in the shadows and there is still time for other interlopers and usurpers to step into the fray. Stay tuned because the epic rides are now rolling off the shelf like toilet paper going for half price. 


  • 1st: F Travieso: 10 pts
  • 2nd: T Brown: 8 pts
  • 3rd: O Clarke: 6 pts
  • 4th: J Gruber: 4 pts
  • 5th: J Rosskopf: 2 pts
  • Pull Point: M Trivette: 1 pt
  • True Grit: S Wrege, C Tinsley: 1 pt.


  • M Patton: 5 pts
  • E Winter: 3 pts.
  • A Gruber: 2 pts
  • M Carrelli: 1 pt

Non Pro:

  • S Philyaw: 5 pts
  • F Lydick: 3 pts
  • M Lipold: 1 pt
  • 2014 Overall (26 January 2014):
  • 1)    58 pts: F Travieso
  • 2)    53 pts: O Clark
  • 3)    51 pts. F Lydick
  • 4)    50 pts: M Patton-Brown
  • 5)    44 pts: Mary Zider
  • 6)    39 pts: J Bewley
  • 7)    37 pts: J Rosskopf
  • 8)    37 pts: A Gruber
  • 9)    37 pts: D Dunn
  • 10)  36 pts: S Phylaw
  • 11)  35 pts: T Brown
  • 12)  35 pts: M Carrelli
  • 13)  33 pts: C Tinsley
  • 14)  32 pts: E Cox
  • 15)  32 pts: M Trivette
  • 16)  32 pts: L Ainslie
  • 17)  32 pts: S Wrege
  • 18)  32 pts: D Gabriel
  • 19)  32 pts: E Murphy
  • 10)  31 pts: J Smith
  • 21)  31 pts: A Scarano
  • 22)  31 Pts: D Crowe
  • 23)  30 pts: B Bryant
  • 24)  30 pts: S Morris
  • 25)  29 pts: D Blalock
  • 26)  28 pts: J Gruber
  • 27)  28 pts: A Smola
  • 28)  28 pts: H Garrison
  • 29)  28 pts: B Lide
  • 30)  27 pts: S Parrish
  • 31)  25 pts: B Parkerson
  • 32)  25 pts: F Crumley
  • 33)  24 pts: D Hurst
  • 34)  24 pts: M York
  • 35)  24 pts: B Cornett
  • 36)  23 pts: M Lipold
  • 37)  23 pts: D Jordan
  • 38)  23 pts: O Quinn
  • 39)  23 pts: J Koch
  • 40)  21 pts: C England
  • 41)  20 pts: M Miller
  • 42)  20 pts: J Baynes
  • 43)  20 pts: M Kanning
  • 44)  20 pts: M Klein
  • 45)  19 pts: D Goodman
  • 46)  19 pts: D England
  • 47)  19 pts: B Mayo
  • 48)  19 pts: D Mealor
  • 49)  19 pts: R Foster
  • 50)  19 pts: T Mulkey
  • 51)  18 pts. R Conaster
  • 52)  17 pts: R Wolfe
  • 53)  17 pts: J Campbell
  • 54)  17 pts: S Rafal
  • 55)  16 pts: C Deluise
  • 56)  16 pts: D Farlowe
  • 57)  16 pts: E Kirk
  • 58)  16 pts: R Evans
  • 59)  16 pts: A Ulich
  • 60)  16 pts: B Magner
  • 61)  16 pts: M Edmonds
  • 62)  16 pts. K Corsello
  • 63)  15 pts: D Ramos
  • 64)  15 pts: T Pazur
  • 65)  15 pts: J Heimer
  • 66)  15 pts: R Foster
  • 67)  15 pts: T Petit
  • 68)  15 pts: H Nash
  • 69)  15 pts: E Gruenwedel
  • 70)  14 pts: T Magner
  • 71)  14 pts: K Madsmith
  • 72)  13 pts: J Loudermilk
  • 73)  13 pts: B Lanzilotta
  • 74)  13 pts: M Szalkowski
  • 75)  13 pts: R Williams
  • 76)  13 pts: R Butler
  • 77)  12 pts: B Kerrigan
  • 78)  12 pts: A Hilliard
  • 79)  12 pts: J May
  • 80)  11 pts: 11 pts
  • 81)  11 pts: C Constantine
  • 82)  11 pts: E Caldwell
  • 83)  11 pts: C Vogely
  • 84)  11 pts: L Radli
  • 85)  11 pts: C whalen
  • 86)  10 pts: E Winter