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October Thighs

Photo from John Forsman : Making tracks toward Ellensburg during the second Battle of the Bikes.

On the cool, sunny morning of October 8, 42 cyclists met at Lincoln Park for the second running of the Battle of the Bikes, also known as the Anyside Ride to Ellensburg. Milling around the parking lot were 26 road riders headed to Ellensburg via the longer, lower, smoother route over Blewett Pass; 10 mountain bikers taking shorter, higher, rougher dirt roads over the mountains to E-burg; and 6 cyclo-cross riders on a much ballyhooed ‘secret’ route that would deliver them to the end with everyone else breathing their dust.

 Photo above from John Forsman. Team Young Blood smiling before the pain begins. Team below: Lightweight Leavenworth -- moving so fast photos can't capture them without blurring.

Slightly after 9 a.m., the gaggle was off, with each group flying their own separate directions.  And by 1 p.m., the verdict was in as to who was most fearful of exposing themselves to the flesh-eating animals or howling blizzards of the wilds, and who was, therefore, pedaling the fastest. On this Saturday, the Leavenworth Lightweights showed the highest fear factor with Colin Brine whipping Eric Redrup and Luke Astell mercilessly to move along faster. In fact, they pedaled with such fury that vessels bursting in their eyes left droplets of blood on the shoulder of Highway 97 that others coming behind could use as crumbs to guide them onward. Lightweight Leavenworth reached ride’s end at 12:47 p.m., having spent a mere 3 hours and 43 minutes in the saddle. However, upon hearing that their antics of hooking passing trucks with bungee cords had been captured by hidden cameras, the three made themselves scarce and refused to congratulate those arriving by more honorable methods.

 Above: The Leavenworth Lightweights set up for their infamous Bungee-Snag technique. Below: Part of the Upper Valley Four catching a concert in Thorp during their ride to Ellensburg.

Behind the Lightweights, for example, was the Upper Valley Four – Minus One who rode the pavement over Old Blewett Pass, detoured to Cle Elum, and caught a snippet of the Thorp Days celebration before turning toward Ellensburg. Bee-lining for the end is where things suddenly went bad: A team member was stung by a real bee causing a rapid deceleration within the pace line. This caused Albin Moore to clip his front tire on the bike of a braking teammate and soon he was sanding the asphalt with his face to determine which was harder.

Photo by Larry Glickfeld. And then there were three. Nothing's safe in this world...guano happens.

Harder than both were his titanium-framed glasses that, when smashed against his face, neatly sliced away his lower right eye lid. Being a tough guy, Albin wanted to ride on and leave more blood splattered along the highway. Fortunately, team members Larry Glickfeld and Lori Way, duct taped the bleeding Albin to the backboard of his bicycle and called an aid car to haul him away to the hospital. (Note: Albin will survive but he was sent to Harborview to have an eye doctor and a plastic surgeon clean and reconstruct what those metal frames snipped away).

 Photo by Dan Dietzman. Michael Hansen training for skiing on Table Mountain.

At the time of the accident, Michael Hansen and Denton Meier were following Dan Dietzman through four inches of snow on the remote slopes of Table Mountain. “What are we doing way out here?” Hansen kept asking Dietzman. “Ellensburg is down that way,” he would say pointing in a right angle from their direction of travel. Dietzman, used to the whining of cyclists who spend too much time on Carnival cruises and too little time training, paid no heed and kept taking the team ever deeper into snow country. Finally after 7,000 vertical feet of climbing, Hansen and Meier had had enough and, rather than complete the ride out to Lion Rock where Dietzman had a Donner-Party potluck planned, they mutinied and rolled down Reecer Creek Road toward a venue with a better menu.

 Photo by Andy Dappen: Halfwits following the cobblestoned road out of the highlands

Down in Ellensburg, Hansen was trying to forget his brush with cannibalism and digging into his second plate of nachos while the half-witted sixsome of Steve Schwind, Peter Bauer, Tom Janisch, Roger Heller, Kaz Lorentz, and Andy Dappen were bouncing mountain bikes over basalt stones the size of softballs on the open ridge above Coleman Creek. Several of the halfwits were missing bikes with shock absorbers – which meant they were also missing fillings by the time their rattling bikes reached pavement near Ellensburg. Most impressive of the halfwits (or perhaps stupidest of them all) was Kaz Lorentz who, despite a knee replacement a few years ago, pedaled up Jumpoff Ridge and then vibrated down a route remembered for its brutally bumpy cobblestones.

One-kneed Kaz inspired jokes among his teammates, but certainly the hub of the event’s jokes  revolved around Team Secret, whose members included Alison Haug, Chet Manning, Dan Cooley, Mauro Filizia, and Gene Ockinga. Team Secret’s ace navigator, Bret Marshall, cooked up the ideal cyclo-cross route, and he was not revealing details to anyone. “If I tell you anything, you’ll follow us once you see the superiority of our line,” he told those who asked about the route he planned to use. The ‘secret’ route strung together a direct ascent over the mountains with the obvious descent of Naneum Canyon. And yet the navigational genius who concocted this brilliant route missed the prominent intersection leading down Naneum Canyon. He disappeared with his crew into a Devil’s Triangle of roads in the hinterlands of who knows where. Hours behind schedule by the time they intersected a known location, they called in the wives and a sagwagon to pick them up. To the endless amusement of friends who earlier could not be trusted with knowledge about this superior route, Team Lost arrived in Ellensburg via automobile with tails between legs.

Following the quarts of sweat come the gallons of BS.

Blood drops on Highway 97, the creation of One-Eyelid Al, Donner-Party-styled potlucks, half-witted half-kneed mountain bikers, the foolish following the blind into oblivion…these were just a few of the anecdotes that made the second running of the Battle of the Bikes a storied ride. Next year the stories will continue on the last Saturday of September. Local riders are encouraged to mark the calendar and, as autumn approaches, get ready to get stoopid.


Above: Team Funkier. From left to right: Charlie Miracle, Jeanine Allen, Brad Allen, Maureen Phinney, Ed Phinney, Cindy Johnston, Steve Johnston, Allan Galbraith, Fred Munson, Lorena Boyd, Niki Stewart. For putting women without team jerseys out in right field, we rename you Team Tackier..