So there I was, another Tuesday night, another Hell ride. Just one more night on the road to forever. The wind was blowing the sun was shining & 5 riders were saddled up like John Wayne had put in a personal call. Saddle up the stove ma, were riding the range tonight!
Jamul, Robert, Randall, Stevie F, & myself headed into the wind. As we crossed the tracks the moves started, & Steve was burning matches like a pyromaniac at a fireworks factory. Up ahead the bulk of the work was being done by the heavy hitters, Jamul & Robert. Randall & I held on to there wheels like a used car salesman fighting for his commission. As the road tilted upward, I came off the back, but it’s often been said of bike racing that you only have so many matches to burn, but if you have a blowtorch it just keeps burning hot! I grabbed a big gear, lit the blowtorch & started grinding & Randall started getting closer, just as the road leveled out I caught him & passed him, but that old geezer doesn’t know the meaning of the word quit. (probably a public school education) He crawled his way back to my wheel & we sprinted it out I took it for a tough 3rd place. Up ahead the rumor was that Jamul beat Robert.
Onto the rollers & a chance for some recovery. Recovery wasn’t in the cards as the wind gods were dealing nothing but headwinds. The pace was hard, uneven as we all jockeyed for relief in the draft. Crossing Silver Creek & Jamul hit it hard, Robert covered it, but the piezo ignition on the blowtorch misfired & I was reduced to asking strangers if they had a light. Randall caught back up to me attempted a sprint & promptly cramped up at which point I unleashed a sprint so powerful that chunks of asphalt can still be seen laying on the side of the road. 3rd again! Oh yeah Jamul won this one too & Robert was 2d.
The wind gods started treating us right on the Lincoln road section & the wind was at our back. The pace was wickedly fast & Randall made a power move just past the Gehring ranch & I was gapped! Thank god the road started to rise & my compact crank became an ally & not a hindrance. Attacks were made & I got a gap over Robert & Randall with Jamul on my wheel. At the base of the hill I started riding hard, thinking hey maybe tonight’s the night, but alas it was not to be! Robert had closed the gap down & then Jamul went I attempted but the tank on the blowtorch was nearing empty & I was sputtering like a cheap firecracker. I held my place for another 3rd.
And so ends another episode of as the Blowtorch Burns!
Burnin Vernon Head writer.