The Charge of the Lycra Brigade

One summit, two summits
Three summits upward
Up the Sierra mountains
   Rode the thirty hundred.
"Forward, the Lycra Brigade!
Charge for the passes!" they said.
Up five Death Ride summits
   Rode the spandex warriors.

"Forward, the Lycra Brigade!"
All so garishly array'd
Not tho' the cyclists knew
   Whose fashion sense had blunder'd.
   Their's not to whine or cry,
   Their's not to reason why,
   (But you might say I'd rather die)
   Their's to finish th' Ride of Death)
   Kilometers two hundred.

Cannondale a brand du jour
Campagnolo derailleurs
Carbon fiber de rigueur
   (De-lu-si-ons of gran-de-ur?)
Steamin' hot with sweat and smell
Boldly over hill and dell,
Pedaling on though out of breath
Sucking thin air not so well
   Gasped the spandex warriors.

Flash'd all their shaved legs bare,
Flash'd not a hint of hair
Savoring bright jerseys' flair,
Charging downhill fast they dare,
   (But falls could be atrocities).
Sculpted glutes and bulging quads
Proud they are about their bods
Chafing where in shorts too tight?
Butt-butter there for bottoms' plight
   Those ischial tuberosities.
Then many quit, yet most rode on, but
   Not all thirty hundred.

Clouds to right of them,
Clouds to left of them,
Tempest atop of them
   Lightning'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with rain and hail,
While gumption sagged and spirits fell,
Cramps caused some to face defeat
(And others de agony of de feet)
Tired and sore they hurt like hell
All body parts but 'specially
   Those ischial tuberosities.

When can their bragging fade?
O the wild boasts they made!
   All spectators wonder'd.
"Here's to us the charge we made!
Here's to us the Lycra Brigade!
   (Vain)glorious spandex warriors!"

by Richard Drace

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Richard Drace is a lapsed academic living in Grass Valley, CA. Retired from a variety of careers in architecture and education, he has resumed his literary interests writing poetry—sometimes frivolous, sometimes serious, and non-fiction—sometimes serious. When his art muse is indolent, he works wood, cooks, keeps bees, skis, fishes, and cycles. This poem is his third contribution to Parody, but his first venture into self-parody.