Maybe it was the beers from the night before, or maybe it was the vicious attack right out of the parking lot by Mel, but your heroes from A World of Pain were indeed in the spin cycle of hurt on the last official day of riding on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
That's her, Mrs. "Suitcase of Courage" herself, descends as they say, "like a rock."
The ride started like every other with some trash talk and flexing of the big guns. We were supposed to cover some big elevation changes, possibly go through a couple of storms and end up back at the parking lot.
Andy said something about "taking it easy and skipping the BIG climbs." Yep, that did it, Mel called us names and rode out of the lot before Tom could get any chamois creme in place, she was yelling something in French. Mike had studied Spanish in high school, but thought she was saying something about us being 'candy-asses.' Needless to say, we gave chase.
As we topped 6,ooo feet things got a bit sketchy. I think it I was way beyond lactate threshold and not thinking right or it might have been the mushrooms they added to our pizza the night before. Then there was a fast downhill and a road construction flagger. I think I saw Jan Ullrich (with a huge brautwurst in hand) calling me to the edge of the road. Funny because Tom had the very same vision. He acted on it, I kept things upright, at least I think I did.The rescue dogs found Tom at 4,000 feet, sorry about the pictures, but there was no time to get a proper shot.Tom is amazingly back on his bike, ala Tommy Simpson at Ventoux 1967, with no time to spare as the storms were coming in and we had to catch Mel before she got back to the van and left us all up here on the mountain. Mike and Andy volunteered to sheppard us (more like sherpa us) down the switchbacks and through the gauntlet of crazed Germans cycling fans. Sure we caught Mel, and we got to the finish, but at what cost? I ask you, at WHAT COST?