Some Thoughts From Mama Wuleur:
This morning I went for a walk to clear some of the wine from my head and thoughts of the 4th annual C.C. ran through my mind. I received so many "thank yous" in the morning before the ride and during the party and really, in reply to all those I wanted to say right back - no, thank you for being just crazy and fun enough to want to take part in this event. I feel like the luckiest person alive to have such community of both friends and family who want to gather at our home, seriously enjoy time together and to make this life extraordinary, rich and soulful.
Obviously my memories of the day have very little to do the actual bike ride as my day is spent more behind the scenes getting the house ready for the festivities while I wait for news of the riders to trickle in - always pleased to hear everyone is safe, that the rest stops are going smoothly and that there is indeed sun shining somewhere in our county.
What makes it all worth it for me are the beautiful little moments throughout the day; Olive laying her clothes out the night before so she will be ready extra fast to help upon rising; Jake with a big smile on his face as folks roll up; My heart-to-heart with Stevil about living each day to its fullest because crap, we won't be young forever; Ryan literally laying on his back in my gutter after the ride saying "oh god this feels sooooo good;" Talking shop (shopping, weddings, various health matters and plotting Anthro trips) with my girls Sarah, Ann and Whitney in the kitchen while drinking wine; Everything about the Carroll family because I love them so, Jaden and her ice cream cone; The late night session with Mike, Sarah, Doug and Jake at the dining room table after everyone else had gone home and finally falling asleep dead-dog-tired listening to Jake read emails out loud that were already coming in from all of you.
Thank you and see you all next year for another Cobble Classic!
Stay tuned for Cobble Classic Photos and Video as they become available.
Jay Dichary's Pre-Cap of the Cobble Classic.
Ladies & Gentlemen, it is killing me being on the wrong side of the continent this weekend. While I am bummed, my absence guarantees that Andrew Carroll finishes one place higher in the KOM. In lieu of a not-quite smooth east coast riding style, I leave my fellow riders with the following re-cap of the 2011 edition of Steel Wül Cobble classic………
The light in the bedroom was soft. A trace of morning fog leaked into the window, and brushed across his brow. He awoke by the sound of his heart rate monitor alarm (set of course to signal when resting HR drops below 42), and turned his head to give a kiss to his podium girl (Megger) lying beside him.
He jumped out of bed, and donned his bibs, and spun down the spiral staircase. Chris had cooked up his morning breakfast burritos for his power assault, and made an extra for IL director, and Mike Moore –he figured he could call back the favor for a pull later in the day. Lesser riders take note of his experience!
Chris opened the door to his garage, and was taken aback by the sight of Caletti Steel Wül #1. It was sought over and hand-built specifically for this ride. The tubes were matched to his body. The geometry was tweaked. The welds were perfect. It glistened. It was beautiful. It was his pride. It was his joy. It was his fault he did not build it up in time…….
Chris opened the garage door, slipped on his shoes, mounted his shiny “Eight” bicycle, and spun away from the house toward Santa Fe Ct. His breathing was calm. His cadence relaxed. He arrived at HQ and saw other riders buzzing about. Elegant chariots of steel, titanium, and carbon were racked in line, poised for a day of powerful riding. The sole exception was a bike emblazoned with the name “Moore” on the top tube – so light it was literally floating above the bike rack like a balloon in the sky.
Riders sipped coffee as they watched the future take hold of their steeds. The kid’s race was about to begin. Peter DePolo was fresh back from the wind tunnel. New aerobars and a rear disk graced his BMX cruiser. Olive abandoned her bike this year in favor of a pony named “Lug.” The Carroll boys were balancing in their track stands making a mockery of their competition’s handling skills. The gun fired, and the kids fired off. The SRAM power meter affixed to one kid’s bike registered a full 62 watts. One lap of a lifetime. A man answering to Bruyneel was spotted deep in the 4th row of the crowd looking for future talent……the future can ride my friends……
Il Director had just gotten off duty that morning and was updating the blog that he had woke up, and put his shoes on. He walked outside and then updated the blog. He took a sip of morning coffee and was about to blog again, but his phone rang. It was Doug-E-fresh. Fresh wanted “to get the scoop on the boogie” and know who to size up. Jake simply said, mark T. Tolleson. The founders of Steel Wül ride as one. Jake then proceeded to blog about this phone call. Next, il director gave the welcome and the announcements. Gren’s attention faded as Jake spoke in front of the map. His eyes dilated. His mouth salivated. His attention focused. Nothing else in the world mattered - save for the red KOM arrow on the map. He scoffed the thought of elites taking his glory. The day was his, and his alone.
Following the speech, Mike Moore pulled his bike out of the clouds in which it had floated, although all 80 lbs of him couldn’t quite pull it back to earth. It simply hovered about the ground as the whir of the campy drive trains pulled out in formation down the road, and up to the ride of the year.
The blur of black, white, and baby blue rolled through scents SC - eucalyptus, strawberry fields, and some funny smelling smoke coming from the side of the road. While Peter took a flyer, the peloton rode tight. Although Heart rates were low, Spirits were high. There was talk of families, parties, and “emergency preparedness training” getting ready for the ride. Cory Coletti asked if the rumor was true. Word is that Dave Reid carried last year’s shellacked Steel Wul cobble trophy over in the plane, and kept it in his jersey pocket as he conquered Pars Brest Paris. The man on the lugged steel Rock Lobster chuckled under the laughing cow cheese he was chewing. Dave said - well that’s only part true. I didn’t just do PBP, I did Santa Cruz-NYC-then swam across the Atlantic pulling my bike behind me in a life raft, then rode paris-brest-paris, and then swam back, then back to NYC, and this time took the southern route across the states back to SC. All the while with the cobble in his jersey pocket. Keeping it close reminded him of his fellow riders. Gren overheard this spectacle and took solace in Dave’s lack of preparation. He figured Dave left his best performance somewhere between Paris and the Mississippi River. Check one off the list.
Onward toward the climb they spun. Appleton was in a fluster. He had just climbed Zyante 8 days before, and was concerned that the timing of his pro-taper would affect his form. Chris told him to stop talking that his excessive panting would waste energy he’d need for the summit punch. Craig was talking up his new carbon fiber wonder-machine with eyes smiling wide…..but Chris noted he’d have no mental or physical advantage today as his new bike was not ready to play. Ryan was wishing this ride was on Sunday so he could get in one more “emergency training Saturday ride” before the deadline. The calendar was against him. Dan Perry was a newbie to this sort of endeavor. He shaved his legs like a cyclist, but did this standout swimmer have anything more in common with the men on wheels? Hess is strong, but may be over trained from making too many messenger bags during his taper phase last week. Andrew’s taper was strong – it began about 5 years ago. But has he actually ridden since last year? The Buffalo was out grazing in the fields- not present in the peloton. Trouget appeared confident, his 120 mi sufferfest would dwarf this ascent…wouldn’t it? Would experience on Liege-Baston-Liege, TofC and Crit Internationale come in handy for Tolleson? Or would experience take over? Just how would the ex-pro talent of the Steel Wül peloton play out on today’s climb?
Gren sized up his rivals, and dismissed them one by one. The day was his. He reached for the smooth campy carbon lever and produced 2 melodic precision ratchets. His 150-pound frame rose off the saddle. His cadence accelerated. Under cloak of redwoods, his effort was matched. With him was Moore, Appleton, Fresh, Hess, Coletti, Coppi, Tolleson, Reid, Merckx, and Hinault. Legends riding with legends. This felt right. There was a calm in the pain that was pleasing to the Gren. He played smart and sucked a wheel behind Fresh. Around the switchback, he and Hess rocketed up towards Merckx. Hess would have stayed up there but was falling back as he was blogging about it. Appleton dropped back as well to blog about Jake’s blog post. Gren ‘s SRAM was reading 880 sustained watts. Nutella-tinged sweat poured down his face. He bolted past Merckx. Past Reid. Checked Tolleson off the list. It was mono-E-mono Hinault and Gren. Gren remembered Bernard’s legacy “ripping the legs off of lesser men”. Today would be the day that Hinault lost his legs. Gren rose up for one last burst. Focused. Powerful. Now sprinting! Working the bars! Working the pedals! Working his soul! Chris takes the summit finish by a rim width!!! He rips his jersey off, points up to the sky and ROARS out GREN WUL is MINE he screams!.... I mean Steel Wül.....I mean - what the....I have my chamios on inside out? Chris notices he's still in his garage. – Day dreaming yet again. He changes his shorts mounts his steed, and roll off into the morning fog to ride with friends, ride for spirit, and ride for life.
To the riders of Steel Wül – we salute you!
Dave Reid -Lugged RockLobster
Dave- "Liege Bastogne Liege huh,... with those little things?"