There we were. 7 of us started at Spring meadow. Former team member Rick Finley was soon to harvest his karma and blow his tire out, leaving 6 hard cores to battle it out. Jennifer Griggs, Trever Brandt, Steve Field, (no this is a current report, not 10 years old.) Mark Brooke, Randall Green & myself Burnin Vernon.
Playing dumb and sucking Mark’s wheel, we rolled to the base of the long hill. Hey, we were working together like a team then Mark stepped it up and the pack splintered. Mark worked us all and took the hill first, Randall 2nd and Steve filled the podium; no, that wasn’t a flashback.
After a quick breather, we set off through the rollers, sucking Trever’s wheel and taking full advantage of his ‘training program’. The pack stayed together until Silver Creek, when Byron stood on it and splintered the pack this time. Mark responded taking 1st at the line, followed by Byron in 2nd and Steve in 3rd.
Off we go on the third leg. Jennifer pondered her race tactics, moving to the lead, and then slid behind the fastest, biggest guy she could find. Mark!
From the back of the group I (Trever) got a chance to talk to Randall and started to plot an attack ….first attack came from Steve and Byron, easily answered by the group! Now the Hill is in sight. Mark was at the front, and no one but Byron was getting that wheel, using his ample understanding of race tactics Trever went followed by Steve and Randall. Randall motored around Steve as Trever’s work was over. Over the top we went, Mark 1st, Randall 2d, and Burnin Vernon slid by Steve at the top for 3rd.
So there you have it. Another season, another bunch of miles in the training log, another body of stories to tell over beers during the cold months. There were winter stars out riding and winning early, there were the boys of summer burning up laps in the hot season, and there were the late bloomers that made the last hell ride their first of the season. Bicycling has been taking its lumps in the press, in the public, and on the roads. We riders all need a poet to wax about the point of it all. Maybe this is it. It’s a pretty democratic sport. Its not who you are, what you do, or where you live. Its all about showing up on the windy days, the rainy days, the days you are sore, and the days where any average person would understand why just don’t want to ride. But you ride anyway. Maybe the first mile is the toughest, maybe the whole ride is just brutal. But sometimes, just sometimes. you get the advantage of a wicked tailwind and find yourself rolling along at 40 mph on the flats, or you find yourself in the middle of an amazing rotating pace line running at 25 mph plus. Or you mix it up with some of the best riders in the state–because you can. Because you do. Its ephemeral, its brief, but you gotta be there to know.
So, hope to see you on the road next year.
Co-written by the hardy group on the last Hellride of the season.