Happy little fingers

October 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

This morning was a beautiful thing. For starters, the half-clothed person nearest me wasn’t Jekyll in his raggedy t-shirt and dirty underwear. And the first thought that raced through my head (with apologies to Dom, who thinks I have a cursing problem) was, “I’m so  motherfucking glad I don’t have to ride my fucking bike another hundred fucking miles.”

Following that glorious thought was the smell of fresh coffee wafting into the bedroom. But best of all? Knowing that I wouldn’t have to tap out another 2,000-word blog on the touch pad of an iPhone. Steve Jobs, you are dead, so I won’t speak ill of you. Your sorry fucking iPhone touchpad, on the other hand, sucks ass.

You gotta keep eating if you want to keep going

In my joy at being done with MT4, though, I neglected to write up Day Five, which was a momentous day in the annals of the tour. It started with M8 gazing in horror at his breakfast burrito. “I can’t eat this. I’m not even hungry,” he moaned.

“Listen, you sniveling pussy,” I gently advised. “ManTour means food. Your body is being torn down, destroyed, beaten to shit day in day out. It’s crying for protein, fat, carbs, salt, caffeine, vitamins, minerals, beer. You gotta eat til you fucking want to puke.”

“But I already want to puke.”

“That’s because you haven’t eaten enough, dipshit. Once you finish that burrito you’ll stop wanting to puke. Then I’ll feed you a stack of flapjacks with three ice cream scoops of butter and you’ll want to barf every time you open your mouth. That’s when you’ll know you’re ready to ride.”

Breathanarian, our little 17 year-old, was sitting at the table in shock. He’d been subsisting the entire tour on paltry servings of vegetables, water, and long rides in the paddywagon alternating with violent headaches, stomach cramps, and vomiting. I looked at him. “You want to grow up and be a pussy like your old man, who can’t even nut up enough to come with you? Keep eating that shit, then. Men eat things that used to bleed. You want to ride like a man? Learn to eat like one.”

The waitress then brought him his meatless burrito (that’s kind of like a celibate hooker) and a big plate of hash browns all running wet with grease. “Were those cooked in bacon grease, honey?” I asked. She nodded. “Well, then, get to it, sonny.”

Brethanarian looked on in horror. “Shit, son, that’s good old-fashioned bacon lard. From pigs. Hate the fucking taste? That’s why God invented ketchup.” I shoved him the bottle.

He cautiously dribbled on a few glorps. “Dammit, boy, is there a war ration for ketchup going on? Gimme that fucking thing.” I splooged out half the bottle until his patty of hashbrowns looked like the morning of Saturday the 14th. “Now eat the fuck up.”

He and M8 began plodding through their meals. Their half-assed, dainty bites were painful to watch. The gal brought my bacon/sausage/chorizo double-wide burrito with a side of six blueberry pancakes and a tub of butter. I slathered the whole thing up with a container of maple syrup and washed it down with six cups of hot coffee, sopping up six large paper napkins in the process with drippings, spillings, poolings, and dribblings off my chin. Breathanarian was holding back tears. M8 quietly sobbed into his napkin.

“Gimme that, you pussies,” I said, taking what was left of M8’s burrito and the boy’s unfinished patty of potato-ketchup mush, mixing them in with my pancakes, dumping on some leftover salsa, and polishing it off with a tall glass of water. “Now, then. Let’s go ride our fucking bikes.”

Who wins the ManTour?

No one, you idiot. It’s a tour. However, ManTour does contain several discrete points, victory at which allow you infinite bragging rights–except that on ManTour it’s terrible form to brag. It doesn’t matter how you cross the line, either–you can cheatfully sneak away for the big prize at the L.A. County line on PCH like Knoll did two years ago at the Rock while everyone was stopped to change a tire and pee, or you can do it in a manly breakaway with a fierce sprint to the death as occurred in 2010.

The manner is irrelevant: only the result counts. Winning by strength, strategy, cunning, and strong legs are accorded the same respect as leaving early, sneaking off, cheating, lying, skulking, and batfucking your buddies when they expect it least.

On MT4 the first point was scored at the top of Page Mill Road on the way to Santa Cruz by Pretty Boy. The second point was scored at the Santa Cruz city limit sign by Coolhand. The third point was scored by Wankmeister in Big Sur. The fourth point was taken by Jens, who cheated his way into Ragged Point by leaving early and missing the construction stops: and what’s instructive here is that despite his low-lifing thievery, he still got the point, the sorry turd, as he beat me by a handful of seconds. The fifth point was taken by Wankmeister at the city limit sign for Morro Bay despite a long-range attack from the back launched by Bluebeard. The sixth point was likewise harvested by Wanky at the city limit sign in Lompoc. The seventh point was taken by Fireman at the Hollister exit on the 101.

But the eighth sprint point for the L.A. County line? The crowning sprint finish that the winner gets to tattoo on his forehead? The way this battle was won was one for the ages.

It ‘piers to me…

After a couple of hours’ riding, the Ironfly blue train reached Ventura Pier, we peeled off our armwarmers, Gu-ed up, drained our collective lizards, snapped some glory photos, and soaked in the beautiful morning sun. Twenty minutes later we rolled at a snail’s pace all the way to and through Oxnard. Once we hit Port Hueneme Road, the group rolled a bit more briskly, as the ag fields out past the last stoplight are the place where the attacks usually begin. From there to the county line sprint is about 15 miles.

Fireman busted away. I followed. Jekyll followed. After a couple more surges the group included Woodenhead, Hourrecord, Fireman, Jekyll, Fishnchips, Rocky, Coupe DeVille, and me. A few miles before the Rock we overtook a trio of Bicycle Bob wankers, who were thrilled to have a train. They hopped in, but after a few pulls the grease began to sizzle, and then they stopped taking pulls, and then Jekyll hit the eject button. Woodenhead was riding like a man possessed.

Jekyll took a couple of flyers, was brought back, and in the process we lost Fishnchips and Rocky. On the final roller before the flat 1k finish to the county line, Jekyll jumped, I covered and countered, and then Fireman blew past everyone. I barely latched onto his wheel and he towed me to the line, gifting me the eternal glory, money, and fame that come with such a prestigious finish.

A short time later we reached the Starbucks in Trancas, where the group, which had swollen to about 20 riders, stopped for coffee and lunch. There, sitting at a table, was M8, taking sips from an iced coffee and then upchucking bits of breakfast burrito into a plastic bag. There, lounging outside, was Tom Collins, chin sunken on his bony chest, eyes glazed over and unseeing. Somewhere even farther down PCH was Breathanarian, still fueled by the jet-fueled bacon grease.

The three hero-idiots had slunk off at the Ventura Pier and made a mad, pell-mell dash for the county line. The only problem was that they didn’t know where it was, as the sign had been stolen earlier this year and the only way to know it was by the change in pavement color. M8 and Tom Collins thought it was at Trancas, some five miles on down the road, and poor Breathanarian thought it was farther away still.

Since they hadn’t known where the line was, they couldn’t say who crossed it first–so none of the three could properly claim the win. When I asked M8 how he felt, he said “As long as I stop tasting this fucking burrito by tomorrow, I’ll be fine.”

Spoken, and eaten, like a man.

MT4: In their own words

October 30, 2011 § 2 Comments

Today we finished Chapter 4 in the Book of ManTour (Chapter 8 if you include the original unsupported editions). Here’s what the mantourists had to say along the way.

Fuckdude: “This is fuckin’ rad, dude.”
Describing the feeling of 40 guys cruising in formation, in perfect weather, along some of the most beautiful roads on earth.

Fireman: “That’s how you win races.”
Explaining why he attacked on the 101 with sufficient ferocity to drop all but one of the other tourists en route to the Hollister exit from the Gaviota rest stop.

Davy Dawg: “That hurt.”
Describing how he felt after bridging on the 101 from the chase to Fireman’s breakaway at 34mph.

Gonzo: “Where’s the local massage therapist?”
Inquiring at the front desk upon arrival at Morro Bay.

Woodenhead: “I’ll take a wheel when I need one.”
Fending off complaints that on the run-in to Pescadero he dangled off to the side of the paceline for no apparent reason.

Bluebeard: “We used to carry all our shit.”
Explaining to the jonny-come-latelies how riders on the original ManTours packed all their belongings on the back of their bikes, and rode on wooden wheels.

Randommeur: “Really?”
Expressing amazement at Woodenhead’s recounting of one of his amazing performances on the track.

StageOne: “I think I’m gonna take another Ibuprofen.”
Commenting on his anti-pain strategy after riding 450 miles with searing pain throughout his right arm after a complete elbow reconstruction, replete with plates, screws, bolts, expander joints, etc.

Hockeystick: “Looks like my record’s not unblemished.”
Commenting on the fact that he failed to earn a star in the Hall of Shame for four consecutive days, despite stopping midway through Day 4 to change out of his “dirty” cycling clothes.

Pratfall: “I’m gonna hurt ya.”
Telling Wankmeister on Day 1 about his plans for later in the tour.

Peachfuzz: “I feel pretty good.”
Rendition of his condition on Day 4, prior to scalding and searing all of the other mantourists on the climbs into Lompoc.

Hairball: “I think I can fix that.”
Evaluating Canyon Bob’s completely destroyed derailleur and absolutely shredded derailleur hanger.

Breathanarian: “I kept throwing up.”
Explaining why he crawled into the paddywagon on his hands and knees midway through Day 1.

Iron Mike: “You realize that the world gets along just fine without you.”
Observing that, when you embark on a 5-day sojourn like ManTour, it’s really worth taking off the time from work.

M8: “I think it’s a heart attack.”
Commenting on the sharp chest pains he felt on Day 5 when he, Breathanarian, and Tom Collins sneaked away at the Ventura Pier rest stop, unnoticed by the rest of the group, and rode all the way to Trancas.

Dr. Jekyll: “I’m a better climber than you.”
Informing Wankmeister of his demonstrated climbing superiority on MT4 despite failing to win a single mountaintop finish or city/county sprint.

Canyon Bob: “It’s probably not cancer.”
Diagnosing Wankmeister’s bloody stool at the lunch stop in Lompoc.

Pilot: “That’s a first.”
Commenting on the gate attendant for Southwest who asked him to “pipe down” because of all the “people who are trying to work” while waiting for their flight, virtually all of whom were asleep.

Chief: “He apparently didn’t need a wheel then, either.”
Remarking on the fact that he dropped Woodenhead on the climb up to Ragged Point.

Pretty Boy: “Do you climb in that huge gear for a reason?”
Inquiring as to Wankmeister’s penchant for holding an average cadence of 12 or 13 while Pretty Boy shells him on all the climbs.

Silenttreatment: “…”
Demonstrating what it means to be a man of few words.

Methuselah: “It don’t hurt too bad.”
Explaining how his swollen, smashed wrist feels 350 miles and 19,000 feet of climbing into MT4.

Illtrainlater: “I’ll hold your bags, dad, but I won’t hold that.”
Telling Methuselah about the limits of his filial dedication to helping his father cope with the broken hand.

Bigbowls: “It’s in the tax code.”
Analyzing the reason that big corporations are able to steal billions from the government.

Timidator: “Oh, I remember that one. Watched every game on TV.”
Reminiscing with Postal about the 1965 World Series.

Twigman: “He’s a great guy.”
Describing Anchor, his dad, and all the incredible work he does to make ManTour happen.

Rocky: “Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.”
Demonstrating his Welsh bona fides when asked the longest word in the world.

Triple: “I ain’t going today.”
Telling Coupe DeVille his non-plans to go with the break on Day 5 after killing himself on every climb and making every breakaway on Days 1-4.

Coupe DeVille: “He really helped me out.”
Aw-shucksing his 3rd place at the LA County line after dropping Jekyll on the climb.

Douggie: “I’m ready to be home.”
Explaining his frame of mind to Wankmeister a couple of blocks from the Center of the Known Universe.

Coolhand: “I looked up and saw green. So I went.”
Describing how he thrashed the breakaway for the Santa Cruz city limit sprint.

Fishnchips: “That’s from a different crash.”
Explaining to his concerned wife at the end of MT4 the presence of the roughed up fabric on the side of his shorts.

Tom Collins: “Well, it was, uh, with, um, I think, well yeah, we stopped in Ventura.”
Trying to lie his way out of the fact that he sneaked off from the group in Ventura in his failed bid to win the LA County Line sprint.

Stay-Puft: “You should monetize it.”
Advising Wankmeister what to do with his blog.

Toronto: “I was a bit concerned about my endurance at first.”
Describing how, despite five days of excellent riding, he was worried–very worried–after the slugfest of Day 1.

Bigsurf: “Pull over here.”
Telling Fuckdude where the best photo op was for the group shot on Day 2. He was right, of course.

Anchor: “Glad to help.”
Graciously responding to the countless mantourists who thanked him for making the trip possible.

Artiste: “Maybe you should consider a diet.”
Responding to a grotesquely obese woman slurping a giant sodapop who yelled at him in Hermosa Beach to obey the traffic laws.

Postal: “Pretty good.”
Answering how he felt after hammering all the way from Big Sur to Ragged Point with Bluebeard, Methuselah, and Timidator.

Cadillac Draft: “I’ve heard it’s awesome.”
Commenting on drafting, a phenomenon he has never personally experienced.

ClifBar: “I’ll pass.”
Turning down the double-chocolate Sundae at the restaurant in Big Sur.

Jens: “I’m sorry I beat you, Wankmeister. You are better than me.”
Apologizing for stomping the snot out of everyone on the Day 3 beatdown from Big Sur to Ragged Point.

Wankmeister: “Thanks, guys.”
Expressing his heartfelt gratitude towards the people who made MT4 happen.

Blood on the saddle

October 29, 2011 § 1 Comment

The alarm goes off.

Jekyll: “Man, I feel awful. We didn’t go this hard last year. But it won’t be that bad. We did this long route two years ago. It’s not that bad.”

He’s an inveterate liar, but hope springs eternal. “Really?” I ask.

“Yeah. We just roll. Not too many big climbs. It’s not that bad.”

“You’re a fucking liar with no credibility. It’s 140 fucking miles. We’re gonna hurt like dogs.”

“No,” he insists. “It won’t be that bad.”

I ponder the depths of his lying motherfuckerdom. It’s day four. Day one was a crusher of spirit and hope, with a 25-mile time trial effort and more than 6,000 feet of climbing.

Day two was a windblown, hilly shitfest of misery all the way from Carmel to Big Sur. We were so fucked up after the run-in to Big Sur that we had to be peeled off our bikes and Fireman had to wait three whole minutes before he could drain his first liter of beer.

Day three we were crammed into a lockbox of pain with no keyhole, slamming our pedals like frenzied idiots as we chased Teutonic cheatfuk Jens who sneaked off early and won the first cheeseburger prize at Ragged Point. It was a vicious, bitchslapping pedal from hell behind Cadillac while Toronto kicked my ass all the way to the pinnacle ascent of death into Ragged Point as we swept up the shot-to-shit fragments of Timidator, who battled the whole fifty miles with batshit crazy Bluebeard and Postal, as we overtook Unlearned Hand Methuselah on the final descent, as we watched the destroyed and fucked over and broken and miserable remnants of the full-on chasing Blue Train of Dawg, Fireman, Coupe, Triple, Pretty Boy, and the other Heroes of the Road, all looking like the left-behinds who had been left behind by the other left-behinds.

“It’s going to be hideous beyond belief today, Jekyll. We went harder than snot last year and couldn’t have pushed our bikes ten feet past the hotel in Santa Barbara if we’d been promised winning Powerball tickets and a year’s supply of free hookers. This year it’s almost twenty fucking miles longer.”

“You’re right.”

“I can’t get of bed. My legs won’t bend.”

Jekyll doesn’t care. He’s already thinking food. My stomach then roars to life at the thought of oatmeal, bacon, coffee, and eggs. I hit the head and discharge what’s left of last night’s fish tacos, cheeseburger, two plates of fries, coffee, and ice cream.

I stand and marvel at the length and curvature of my large intestine. Then I notice with fright that the toilet is also filled with enough blood to transfuse a horse. I’m not medically inclined, but shitting a couple liters of blood can’t be good.

Fortunately, my Internet connection works, so I ring up Dr. Google and search for “shitting blood.” A quick glance at the results doesn’t look promising: anal fissure, colon cancer, polyps, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, peptic ulcer, stomach cancer, yellow fever, and esophageal varices.

I pick the only one I’ve ever heard of that doesn’t sound terminal and go with ‘roids. It’s actually kind of cool, because as a cyclist I’ve always wanted to give ‘roids a try. Maybe they’ll make me faster like everyone says. It’s a bit bothersome to see those two quarts of blood go to waste in the crapper, but hopefully the blood will grow back sooner or later.

I get to breakfast and sit down with Cadillac, who’s discoursing on the concept of drafting. He’s 6’5″, weighs 225. “Yeah,” he says. “I think I got a draft once. It was pretty cool. I was behind a motorcycle on the track, Roger was driving, so there was a lot of lateral draft, but I was still getting buffeted around a bit. Other than that, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten one.”

We roll out, and it’s a beautiful, warm morning. An hour into the ride we pass through a small community where a man in expensive golfing attire is standing on the sidewalk practicing his putting. Except there’s no ball, putting green, or golf course anywhere in sight.

A few hundred yards later we pass a gentleman on the opposite side of the street, comfortably seated on a large sofa, which he has conveniently placed in his front yard. “Hey you fucking assholes!” the amiable resident screams. “Get out of the fucking road you dipshit cocksuckers!”

We wave him a pleasant “Good morning!” and continue through this quaint village of idiots and psychopaths.

After forty miles we reach the village of Guadalupe, a pleasant agricultural town. Our first order of business is to find a fence and mass urinate in public. After this universally accepted “Gee we love your town” demonstration, we sit on the curb and rest. As I peacefully munch my nuts (peanuts, you pervert), I hear a rustle at my feet. I look down and spy the most horrid, disgusting insect. It’s gigantic with a monstrously swollen head that looks like Stay-Puft after cresting a particularly steep hill.

“Jeremiah cricket,” Jekyll advises me. By now several hungry mantourists have gathered around.

“Bet it has a lot of protein,” says one of the men.

The bug knows he’s being evaluated as a potential add-on to a Clif Shot, and tries to hide under a leaf. “High protein, but it’s a potato plant pest so it’s probably loaded with pesticides.” The mantourists lose interest, and the pest lives to devour crops another day.

Our lunch stop is in Lompoc, thirty miles hence. Since it’s a long day in the saddle, and we’re trying to ride smart, with about fifteen miles to go all hell breaks loose. Coupe Deville charges up the first big hill, followed by a searing attack of Jekyll, who has announced his intent to open his account at the city limit sign in Lompoc.

Triple, Hairball, Peachfuzz, Pretty Boy, Dawg, Toronto, and Tom Collins follow. I stay with the surge, biding my time. Triple hits the gas, explodes, and I easily ride away from the group. That lasts for about fifteen seconds. Hairball, towing Peachfuzz and Tom Collins, roars by. Triple comes by. Pretty Boy passes me, overtakes the leaders, and slugs it out with the others at the top.

I catch up and Jekyll goes full gas on the descent. Dawg and Toronto, who are several AT&T service areas back, chase like the crazy bastards they are and hook up at the bottom of the hill. Why did they risk their lives on a 50mph descent at 700 watts? Because they had to catch back on! Coupe Deville has rejoined as well, and Jekyll continues to rail to the next climb up to Firefighter Road.

I hang on until Peachfuzz pulls the trigger, dropping everyone. Jekyll claws him back but I break in the process. Grabbing Pretty Boy’s wheel I hold on for dear life until I pop. The group rides away, I recover and big ring it until I catch just as they crest.

We zoom down to Vandenberg AFB, and catch a long red light. Our group swells to ten. Pretty Boy tries to extract city limit sign info from Jekyll for purposes of the sprint, but he’s cryptic about the exact location, telling us only that there are “three hills,” and it’s “after the hills but before the bridge.”

The light turns and off we go. Before long Tom Collins is skipping turns in the rotation. I politely tell him that he’s one of the fastest, that he’s younger than most of us by twenty years, that he’s been AWOL from the front the last four days, and that he’d better get his sorry fucking ass back in the rotation and start taking pulls.

He’s shamed, and takes two or three hard pulls, after which we drop him for good. Peachfuzz keeps attacking on the climbs, but can’t shake the old farts. After the third one I spy a bit of bright green signpost, and before Jekyll can react I gas it and take the sprint.

My reward is first in line at the Lompoc Subway. A large roast beef sandwich and two cokes later, we’re off again. This time we keep the group intact all the way to the 101, at the 90-mile mark.

Then the craziness starts. I mean, the real craziness. It’s 20 miles to the Hollister turnoff. We’re on the freeway with a massive tailwind, and no one wants to get shelled. The freeway shoulder is filled with divots, cracks, glass, construction cones, strips of blown out tires, nails, pieces of metal, shards of broken ceramic reflectors, gravel, and large rocks. Other than that it’s smooth as glass.

Plus, we’re being passed by cars and trucks going 80+. What. Could. Possibly. Go. Wrong?

The speed kicks up into the mid-thirties, and guys who’ve not seen the front for the last 350+ miles charge to the head of the line for their moment of glory. M8 takes two pulls and then goes spinning out the back like one of those Japanese space rockets that go up for a hundred yards and then careen off into someone’s yard.

Woodenhead, who has no business at the front, ever, in any cycling formation of any kind in any galaxy, launches the Charge of the Heavy Brigade, where he is mowed down by gravity, wind, and rolling resistance. As he veers off the front, barely in control of his chattering wheelset, a well-meaning friend tells him to “quit riding like a stupid fuck and get the hell out of the way.”

This encourages him to repeat the move three or four more times, clotting up the rotation, risking widowhood for a half dozen mantourist wives, and forcing those stuck behind him to ride around the equivalent of the Great Wall of China until he once again detonates in a spray of toasted lard.

With everyone on the rivet, and huge Cadillac taking a downhill pull at 45, throwing up a hail of gravel as he charges through the trashed shoulder, he blows out a tire. Pandemonium ensues, with various idiot throwing on their brakes for no good reason as the idiots behind them come barreling up their anuses at 45mph.

“Pedal, you stupid motherfuckers!” someone helpfully screams, narrowly averting a bloody catastrophe.

Some take this opportunity to help Cadillac change his tire while simultaneously helping themselves to a great excuse for ending the terror and suffering, while others pound on. As the next big roller appears on the horizon, Fireman looks back at me. He’s already tried to split the field twice, and head-banging attacks by Illtrainlater and Gonzo have failed to make a selection.

Iron Mike has been taking mighty turns on the point along with Tom Collins and Randommeur, all to no avail as a hardy cadre of wheelsuckers remain latched on the tail end, aided by the ferocious tailwind. At the base of the long roller, Fireman attacks and earns another of his many stars in the Hall of Fame. I hit 1200 watts just getting his wheel, and by the time he swings over at the top of the hill, the crowded crazy fuckfest of overlapping wheels, exploding lardbombs, and disintegrating tires are a distant memory.

We flog and flail like the idiots we are, Fireman proving once again that true cycling performance is based on being a mean bastard and swilling a case of beer the night before the big effort.

Three miles before the Hollister exit we look back and see another idiot trying to bridge. It’s Davy Dawg! Incredibly, he has shaken loose and makes it across, earning his first star in the Hall of Fame for MT4. At Hollister we wait for the chasers, led by Jekyll, Triple, Pretty Boy, Pilot, Coupe Deville, and Walshie, who materialized in Lompoc to lend his legs to the MT4 effort.

The remaining 20 miles to the Luxury Motel 6 in Carpenteria are sheer hell. We’re all wasted. Lots of traffic lights. More cars than we’ve seen all week. And a clever motel clerk who can’t find Pilot’s reservation for almost two hours.

Fuckdude’s awesome wife meets us at the motel and gives us cheers and soda pop. I stagger into my room, hose off, order an extra large Domino’s and call it a day. One more effort looms in MT4: the legendary sprint for the sign at the LA County line.

Make me a pallet (down on your floor)

October 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

I dragged myself into the Big Sur restaurant last night, ordered the 14-oz. ribeye, and washed it down with a brownie-whipped cream sundae and lots of water. Fuckdude, Clifbar, Jekyll, and I shared a table.

I wolfed my dinner, saw that it was close to nine, and decided it was time to go to floor. Before leaving, though, I took note of Fireman, M8, and Bluebeard, who were well into their second case of beer, and who didn’t show signs of either drunkenness or stopping.

Fireman reminded me that breakfast burritos would be served at 7:00, and that we were rolling out at 8:15. Jekyll and I had a room with only one bed, so we flipped a candy bar for it. Like last year, when Douggie got the bed, I again wound up with the floor.

This year, though, there was no mattress from a rollaway to lay over the carpet. That bothered me none. I slept on the floor for ten years in Japan, and can sleep anywhere, on any surface. I have to admit, though, that Jekyll’s plush, queen-sized bed looked pretty cozy.

He thew me a couple of pillows, a raggedy afghan blanket, and a green velour coverlet that had about fifty cigarette holes burned through it, presumably to ventilate the awful gas that accompanied the meals there. I spread the blankets out and climbed into the narrow crawl space between the edge of the steel bed frame and the wooden chest.

The second I lay down it hurt like a motherfucker. My rib and hip were still sore from my bike crash of two weeks ago, and the one-eighth inch of industrial carpet was set on top of a concrete slab, which was colder than shit. My legs were about as long as the room, which put my feet right at the crack along the bottom of the door, where freezing night air poured in.

Within seconds Jekyll had drifted into happy sleep and was making sweet cooing baby sleep noises. Worse, he had the room’s tiny wall heater on high, so while the floor was cold enough to flash freeze tuna, the region at bed level was toasty enough to smelt steel.

Ten minutes after lying down I had to pee something fierce, and I never have to get up more than once in the night to pee. The second I tried to stand, the two days of mantouring with hard long finishes made themselves known. Both legs cramped from the simple act of trying to get up off the floor. One knee smacked the steel frame, the other whacked against the concrete floor as I pulled myself erect only to see Jekyll happily sprawled across the top of the bed, so toasty he’d tossed off his blankets.

My pecker was frozen solid, and I didn’t want to turn on the light and wake him, so I tried to hit the bowl in the dark and missed. The hot piss splattered all over my leg and soaked my sweatpants, but I was so cold, and the piss so hot, it was actually a relief–until I went back to floor and the piss cooled. You haven’t done the ManTour, I guess, until you’ve laid on the floor in your own urine.

For the next eight hours I got up every fifteen or twenty minutes, peed somewhere in the vicinity of the toilet, usually on my leg, and went back to floor where I would chatter and twist in pain while waiting for the next big piss and leg cramp. At 5:00 I fell into deep sleep, exhausted and hungry and foul tempered beyond all reason, dreading the 6:30 alarm.

Fortunately I didn’t have to wait that long. At 5:15 there was the crashing sound of breaking glass and a roaring diesel engine. “Fuck it, over to the left!” a guy shouted in an angry roar as an even bigger mash of breaking glass and crushing metal roused me out of floor and back to the can. The garbage truck wake-up call moved down the row of cabins until everyone was up, except Jekyll, who was still purring like a kitten. I didn’t strangle him.

The first morning of ManTour people had been leisurely about getting to breakfast. With two days of hard riding under our belts we were all completely fucking ravenous, and we’d been told that breakfast started at 7:00. The entire tour was waiting at the door at 6:50, banging on the door and screaming for their breakfast burritos.

I sit down and place my order: biscuits with gravy and sausage, oatmeal with fruit and nuts, and huevos rancheros with four eggs. The waiter looks at me. He is a big guy. “You can’t eat all that.”

“Why? Is it that bad?”

“You’re not big enough to eat that. That’s three full breakfasts.”

“Let’s make a deal. I’ll order the food and pay for it, and you bring it.”

“Whatever.”

A breakfast bowl of oatmeal, a plate of biscuits and gravy, and a four-egg plate of huevos rancheros later, we go outside and get ready to ride.

It’s cold in the Big Sur valley, and straight from the lodge there’s a 4-mile climb back up to the coast. I now know it’s day three. Legs scream. Joints ache. Back creaks. Jalapeño ranchero sauce farts mix with pork gravy and suddenly nothing about ManTour seems like a good idea.

I crest the hill and drop through “La Ventana” and onto the coast road. The weather is perfect. The scenery is beyond any description. However it doesn’t take long for the first casualty of the day to crop up. At the store in Lucia a biker who is riding down from Alaska with his dad and best friend has taken a nasty spill and broken out a few teeth. He’s sitting on the stoop, looking addled and, well, toothless.

I launch with stupid question of the day. “You okay?”

“No I’m weally huwt.”

“Where’s your dad and friend?”

“They weft me and towd me to get a wide wiff one of the constwuction twucks and the wiw pick me up in Cambria.”

“This is your dad and best friend?”

“Yes.”

“Okay, dude. Good luck.” Toronto and I look at each other.

“Hate to see his worst friend,” Toronto offers as we ride off.

For fifty miles we pass through one of the most spectacular bike rides on earth. At Ragged Point we regroup and eat lunch. More gorgeous scenery. More poor dietary choices as various mantourists opt for cheeseburgers and milkshakes.

A lovely visitor from Corsica sits on one of the benches as various mantourists practice their high school French on her. “Je m’appelle le Hockey Stick avec vous, vous etes tres beaucoup d’argent ce soir?”

After these and several other attempts at nation building, the lovely tourist’s boyfriend comes back from the burger shack. “Hi,” he says in perfect English. “May I help you?”

Jacques is 6’5″ and built like a small army. “Oh, we were just welcoming your friend to America.”

“She appreciates it, I am sure. Now, if you will excuse us?”

The mantourists excuse the shit out of themselves and go back to their cold cheeseburgers. After lunch we hit the road again and ride uneventfully all the way to Morro Bay. The only notable sight, aside from the colony of fat seals lounging on the beach near Hearst Castle–and bearing an uncanny resemblance to several mantourists when they remove their shirts–was a man walking his dog while riding a bright yellow bike with a monstrous living python wrapped around his neck.

As we approach Morro Bay, Bluebeard takes a flyer for the city limit sign, but is nipped at the line, denying him glory but earning him a beer. At our hotel I’m ecstatic to see that I have a bed. We head for the bar where a nice lady dressed head to toe in orange is sitting next to a woman dressed as a cloud and carrying a spritzer: “I’m cloudy with a chance of showers!” she chirps.

“You have to introduce us to your friend!” The lady points to Bluebeard. “What’s his Halloween costume?” she asks.

“Oh, that’s no costume,” several mantourists chime in. “He’s just crazy.”

I’m fading fast, just as the boys are getting good and warmed up. Tomorrow is 140 grueling miles to the Motel 6 in Carpenteria. I’m already wasted. Time for bed.

Tea and strumpets

October 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

6:15 strikes early. First thought: that 25-mile hammer into Santa Cruz yesterday was a terrible idea. Second thought: that huge serving of banana cream coconut pie after dinner was even worse. Third thought: Jekyll, my roomie, doesn’t snore, stink, fart, wake up in the middle of the night and crump a hairy beet, talk in his sleep, use my toothbrush, splatter piss on the bathroom floor, sleepwalk, or sleep in a dress. He fucking rocks, such that he’s 12% forgiven for the beatdown he administered on yesterday’s climb.

It’s funny how, when forty guys wearing ManTour t-shirts walk into an airport or restaurant, some curious person will ask the magic question: “What is this man tour thing?” Last night the curious questioners were a pair of very pretty women in their 50’s.

Fuckdude helped them out. “We’re riding down to LA. Annual thing.” They were so impressed they took our names, and got the hotel we are staying at. We got their badge numbers and promised to be more quiet.

Morning of Day 2 we walk down to Zachary’s breakfast joint and get there at 6:30 to make sure we have plenty of time to eat and digest. It’s locked up tighter than a drum. We see a guy and bang the window. He ignores us. It’s cold outside so bang harder. He ignores us harder. Hockey Stick whips out his phone and we dial them up.

Dude answers the phone. “Zachary’s.” Surprised.

“Hey, man, I got forty guys shivering on the sidewalk hungry enough to eat shoe leather. Big tips all around if you’ll let us in early.”

Dude looks directly at us through the window glass. “Gotcha!” I say. Dude lets us in and we settle in for a light snack of pancakes, bacon, butter, eggs, sausage, hash browns, butter, heavy cream, migas, and a healthy sliver of fruit on top.

While waiting for the food to arrive, the conversation inevitably turns to tales of Stern-O. Someone regales a Holiday Ride story where one participant turns to the other and says, “Jesus Christ, we’re ten fucking miles into the ride and Stern-O’s already been screamed at by a cop, almost arrested, chased down by a track rider, almost beaten up, and body checked into a gutter.”

“Yeah,” the other guy says, “but the day is still young.”

We roll out for the 8:00 start promptly at 8:37. It’s ratsass cold, 42 degrees, and it doesn’t take long before Hockey Stick augments his star in the Hall of Shame from yesterday by doing a misdirection on the bike path out of Santa Cruz, missing the path and winding up on the railroad tracks. We cross the tracks farther down just in time to see him banging the holy fuck out of his frame against these giant wooden cross ties, each one big enough to crack the axle on a truck. He finally falls off, but at the last moment invokes the protection that god reserves for small children and idiots, and escapes unscathed.

It’s not long before our first casualty of the day occurs when we take a sharp left-hander at the bottom of a steep little stinger at the edge of town. Canyon Bob, who religiously replaces his Huffy-grade components every 200,000 miles whether he needs to or not, shears off his derailleur hanger and thrusts it into the spokes.

His bike explodes, he bounces off the pavement, and since it looks like he won’t be able to continue, several voice the opinion that we should do the humane thing and shoot him right there. Cooler heads fail to prevail, and he’s bundled into the paddywagon with his crippled steed.

Douggie begins calling all the bike shops in a 100-mile radius for a replacement Suntour ’82 rear dérailleur but surprisingly none are in stock. We regroup and pound out a stunning 40-mile route into Monterey. Suddenly, we look around and realize that Stahlberg’s absent this year.

The significance of his absence electrifies the group: we now all have a chance at the week-old shelf in Monterey’s Paris Bakery. Cadillac roars to the front, followed by Woodenhead, Fishnchips, and Hockey Stick. The speed hits 40 with violent, aggressive bumping as each hero knows that the honey-draped week-old bearclaw is up for grabs.

With one block to go, Cadillac makes a wrong turn and takes half the Weight Watchers crew with him. Suddenly I’m in the clear and I lunge for the finish. Alas, it’s not to be, as Hockey Stick slips through, leaps off his bike, and scoops up the old bearclaws at one dollar each.

We finish our snack and go out to the paddywagon, where Douggie has miraculously located an antique N.I.B. derailleur and hanger. Unfortunately it’s three feet long and no one knows how to put it on, and as everyone is staring at it like a pack of chimps trying to disassemble a semiconductor, Hairball comes up and saves the day.

Suddenly Fuckdude’s decision to hold up the group for Hairball’s late plane arrival seems like genius, as Hairball owns a bike shop and is an expert mechanic. In one fell swoop Hairball earns a star in the Hall of Fame, the first on on this year’s tour, for completing the most complex repair job and simultaneously saving the participation of a Man. The Karma goddess works her magic again.

Twenty more miles of unspeakably scenic beauty roll by and a man tourist remarks as we pass through Pebble Beach, “The only thing that would make this bike ride better is if we could get a blow job while we were doing it.”

Everyone nods in agreement.

At the Carmel supermarket we stop and takeon much needed calories. “Ya gotta keep eatin if ya wanna keep goin.” I have a full-sized roast beef sub and a Dr. Pepper. As everyone is sitting on the curb Bluebeard rips off a 9.7 on the MT fart scale at the very moment a woman is walking by with her cart. The bananas turn brown, the lettuce wilts, and the woman gives us the stinkeye of all stinkeyes. The children fall over laughing, and just before the police arrive we decide to roll out.

“Where’s Iron Mike?” someone says. At that moment he is waiting for the can inside the store, but he has a long wait because Fishnchips is doing stress testing on the ceramic bowl. As he’s waiting a lady comes out of the ladies’ room with a fully loaded cart.

Now it’s not often that you see someone push a fully-loaded cart into the toilet, and Iron Mine offers to help as the cart wedges in the door. Her jacket is bulging and it looks like there has been some rearrangement of the price labels. He gets her out of the toilet without being arrested as an accomplice in a shoplifting scheme, and we hit the road.

As we leave we see the sign to Big Sur: 26 miles. A photo op is staged 5 miles down the road, after which it is game on all the way to Big Sur.

We snap the group photo, jump on our bikes and blast off. Davy Dog splits the field as we pound up the first of a series of endless, windy hills exposed to the gale coming off the sea. After the first climb the group has been whittled down to Jekyll, Fuckdude, Davy Dawg, Fireman, Triple, me, and Woodenhead. Jekyll punches it up the next roller and Woodenhead explodes in a shower of toasted butter.

Mile after mile we churn on, gradually wearing ourselves down into beaten mush, and Fireman unleashes an attack from hell. Triple and Jekyll decide to go back and check their email as Fuckfude, Fireman, Dawg, and I soldier on. Fireman goes again and none follow. Dawg picks up the whip and flogs himself up to Fireman’s wheel.

I kick, everyone follows, and around the bend we shoot into a tunnel of redwoods. At the far end is the Big Sur sign. I sputter, flog, flail, and beat the dead chicken to a fare the well. Dawg hits the gas but it’s too late: the dead chicken sticks its beak across the line and 20,000 miles of training since August are rewarded with the trophy of trophies: the two-hand throw at Big Sur.

Hairball and TomCollins make up the next group, followed by Toronto and Coolhand, who had chased two-up the entire way. As part of my spoils of victory, the lady selling ugly hats and

Mexican blankets tells me to get away from her shop as I was “scaring off the customers.”

In the chase group, M8 is living through his own personal hell as Chief turns on the jets and begins to grind him into tiny little bits of pulp. The shame and pain of the flogging are enhanced by Chief reminding M8 that he’s old enough to be M8’s great-grandfather.

Finally in rolls Methuselah. We prepare to drape a star for the Hall of Fame due to the suffering he’s endured with his broken hand, but it has swollen up so much the ribbon won’t go around it. He has now completed two hundred miles and over 7,000 feet of climbing with his smashed hand.

“Jesus, Methuselah, how’s your hand?” someone asks.

“Well, it’s not any worse.” he says.

“Of course it is, you crazy fuck. It’s bigger than your goddamned head.”

“Ah well, fuck it. Gimme a beer.”

A quick shower later I go down to the Big Sur River and drink a bottle of water while Bill the Lumberjack runs a giant wood chipper to perfect the bucolic mood. Coolhand climbs into the river up to his nether parts for “hydrotherapy,” which benefits the body by freezing his nuts blue.

One by one the mantourists gravitate to the bar, and the night of revelry begins. Plus, we have an easy day after today’s 92.5-mile death match: the first 55 miles are a grueling slog to Ragged Point, followed by another 50 long miles to Morro Bay.

Elbow gloves

October 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

I made the correct transportation choice, which was to accept Iron Mike’s offer of a limo ride to the airport. At the baggage check-in, he plops a hundred-dollar bill in front of the clerk.

“You dropped this, buddy,” he says with a smile.

The man’s eyes get big. “Why thank you, sir! I believe this bag will get personally walked onto the plane.” He picks it up and vanishes.

“I get more properly delivered bags that way. Damnedest thing.”

As we stand in the next line Iron Mike turns to an Asian couple and speaks his one word of Japanese. They stare blankly, clearly wondering why a stranger in Lycra bike tights is talking to them.

“Sorry, we’re from Malaysia,” the man finally says.

Next he chats up the TSA staffer. “How’s your morning going?”

“Aw, it was going great until the alarm went off.”

This guffaw gets him a free pass despite having a heart rate monitor strapped to his chest, a weird cycling outfit, and vegan food items in his carry-on that look like coca paste.

Farther back in line, Triple appears with Coupe Deville, and the bright minds at TSA zero in on Triple as he gets culled from the herd by the largest TSA goon.

“What in the world is this?” says the goon as he pulls a small tub labeled “Butt Butter” out of Triple’s bag.

“It’s, ah, for cycling, uh, you see…”

“Uh-huh. Step over here, please.”

Knotting his basketball-sized fists, the screener starts pulling on rubber gloves that go up to his elbow as the other two assistants tell Triple to grab his ankles. We all look the other way and pretend we don’t know him.

Trust me. I do this for a living.

Safely arriving at the gate, we sit, and a few moments later up comes Methuselah. He shows off his hand that got caught in the electric gate, and after the obligatory round of sympathetic “poor boy” and “tough bastard” we pile on without mercy.

“Fuck man, you’re a goddamn electrician. What’s up with that?”

“How many electricians does it take to get their hand caught in an electric gate?”

Etcetera.

Now everyone is scared shitless because he’s going to be descending on the bike with one hand and, what’s worse, will need someone to hold his dick when he pisses.

The lobby has filled up and the fully caffeinated mantourists begin asking Methuselah, “If your hand swells up so large after being stuck in the gate for a few minutes, why don’t you stick your pecker in it?”

Airport. Working. Uh, yeah.

At that moment the gate attendant walks over and asks everyone to please pipe down because people are “Trying to work!” The people include a gentleman slumped over with last night’s beer drool mixed with puke draining onto his sleeve and several chicks reading about orgasm enhancement techniques in the latest issue of Cosmopolitan. Being told to “shush” has the predictable effect of making all the kindergartner mantourists run around the lobby shushing each other to a fare-the-well. Pilot turns and says, “You know, I’ve been in the business for thirty years, and I’ve yet to see people at the gate get shushed because of all the people ‘working’ here.”

Just because I look crazy means I am.

One of the working passengers is dressed in a dark blue suit, gets out of his chair and approaches us, saying thus: “How can I join your ride next year?” He’s been eavesdropping on our curses and insults and enviously reading our t-shirts and wants to join the fun.

A glance at his earnest demeanor and funny combover indicate he’s batshit crazy.

“Well, first you’ll have to join Ironfly,” says Canyon Bob.

“And then you’ll have to stop being a dork,” someone adds.

Batshit then launches into a detailed lecture to Canyon Bob and Cadillac about how we can improve the route and turn a tidy profit.

“Let me get this straight,” I say. “You haven’t even stopped being a dork yet and you’re already telling us how to improve the ride? Shut the fuck up, please.”

Batshit takes the abuse with the practiced wimpy, beaten down smile of a married guy and continues his lecture. Everyone walks away as the boarding siren goes off.

A short time later we land, and it’s public toilet pandemonium as we dash into the head, strip buck naked, and pull on our kits.

The bikes are lined up outside the airport. It is rad. Fuckdude, Fireman, and M8 pulled it off despite farting each other half to death in the cab of the U-Haul for eight hours. The mantourists who drove up the day before are only slightly hungover. We take the gang photo, throw a leg over, and we’re off!

Let MT4 begin!!

Or not!! Hairball, known for his great preparation, woke up at the crack of seven for his 7:55 flight, fixed his oatmeal, made his coffee, read the paper, and then began packing for the five-day trip. Oops! The darned airplane took off without him, ensuring his star in the Hall of Shame and earning the bonus Doofus of the Day Award. After chilling at the airport we finally leave without him, but in the nick of time he arrives so we abort the ride and wait another hour while he shaves, takes a faucet shower, and changes into his kit.

The other no-show is Dr. Jekyll, who shows us the superiority of NorCal mass transit by hopping the train in Oakland and riding it until it runs into a car, chops it in half, and falls off the rails. Jekyll, who carries all his shit in a giant cardboard box, has to ride twenty miles to the airport, looking like a pack mule.

Finally we’re off. It’s a glorious sunny day and we’re happier than pigs in shit. Dr. Jekyll has assured us that the climb this year is easy, so we’re not bothered by the gradual rollers on Moody Road. After a couple of miles Davy Dawg starts killing it and we’re stretched out single file.

The road makes a sharp hairpin right up Page Mill Road and the group explodes on the steep ramp. Dr. Jekyll attacks and rides away. Davy Dawg cracks. I struggle as Triple, Pretty Boy, JC, and the Fireman go by. I latch onto the Fireman, who drags me for a few miles until I blow. The road is vicious, steep, punishing, and endless. Jekyll cracks and gets dropped by Triple and Pretty Boy, Fireman reels in JC for fourth, and I struggle in for sixth.

At the top of the climb we regroup and everyone stands around looking like shit and completely blown 24 miles into the ride. On the descent it’s the domain of the gravitationally challenged, with Bluebeard bombing the tight, deadly turns at terrifying speed. Cadillac is on his wheel, followed by Woodenhead and Jekyll, with Hockey Stick close behind. Sticks, rocks, sketchy turns, overheated brakes, and chattering front wheels get us to the bottom, where we again regroup. The drop has been amidst stunning redwoods, and the clean air invigorates us all.

Over a small bump we form a group of about 12 and start drilling it into Pescadero. Woodenhead hits the front multiple times, with Davy Dawg, Fireman, and Artiste smashing the pedals. There’s an amorphous sprint in Pescadero taken by the Fireman, and then we stop for a late lunch.

Well, some of us do. Hockey Stick doesn’t get the memo, misses the turn to Pescadero, and pedals ten miles on to the coast. Not seeing anyone for an hour, and not thinking to use his phone, he’s lost and hungry and fucked. Luckily, the Anchor has taken a wrong turn, too, and finds Hockey Stick flailing, bonked, and hopelessly lost. He bundles him into the paddy wagon and drives him to Santa Cruz.

Meanwhile, we finish lunch, hit PCH, and all hell breaks loose. The Fireman splits the flailing wankers who are still belching and farting from their double-meat sub sandwich in Pescadero. The tensing 25 miles to Santa Cruz is a death feet of attrition, with only Davy Dawg, Triple, Coupe Deville, Coolhand, Fireman, and me surviving. Coolhand takes the sprint, tying for points with Firehand.

We load up on beef, coffee, and pie at Hula’s in Santa Cruz. That’s it. Done til tomorrow.

Letter of the law

October 25, 2011 § 2 Comments

Remember how your dad always used to tell you not to let people smash concrete blocks on your head with a giant hammer? Well, he never said, “And don’t stand in front of a closing, shaft-driven, motorized electric gate because it will fuck you up.” But he should have.

Eager to get the MT4 pain started early, Methuselah got his hand caught an electric fence today, and was stuck in the thing for three hours.

By the time a neighbor found him–“Hey, dumbass, what are you doing standing there with your hand in the gate?”–his hand had swollen up to the size of a catcher’s mitt. They carted him off to the hospital, but he radioed IF WHQ to let everyone know his hand wasn’t broken and he was still “in.”

Cheers went up all around–“Good ol’ Methuselah!” and “He may be old, but he’s tough!” and “Glad we won’t have to pay for his vacant spot!” The next call, of course, went to the IF Legal Department. “Hey, Wankmeister. Our riders are even crazier than I thought. Draft me up some releases.” So I did.

I MAY DIE OR GET HORRIBLY INJURED AND IT’S ALL MY FAULT BECAUSE I’M A DUMBSHIT WAIVER AND RELEASE

1. I ____________________, am a complete dumbshit, hence my participation in this ride, officially known as Man Tour 4, unofficially known as “Wives Hit the Mall and Max out the Credit Cards While Perving on the Young Guys.”

2. However, I understand that even dumbshits have legal rights, like that asshole Cleanthi Peters, who sued Universal Studios for $15,000 for suffering extreme fear, mental anguish, and emotional distress due to visiting the Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights haunted house, which she she claimed scared her.

3. Although I’m not as big a dumbshit as Cleanthi Peters, I’m pretty close.

4. MT4 is going to cause a fuckload more mental anguish, emotional distress, extreme fear, and physical pain than any pansy-ass haunted house. It is going to kick my worthless ass, and I know it. I should have trained more, goddammit.

5. I have lots of medical conditions, including but not limited to Alzheimer’s, arthritis, balance disorders, Bell’s palsy, blepharitis, cancer, cataracts, chalazion, congestive heart failure, COPD, corneal abrasion, coronary artery disease, dementia, diabetes, emphysema, failure to thrive, falls & mobility problems, flu, glaucoma, heart attack, hearing loss, heart disease, heart failure, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hip dislocation, hip fracture, loose bowels, macular degeneration, memory loss, menopause, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s disease, prostate (enlarged), prostate cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, stroke, toothache, and urinary incontinence.

6. Riding my bike day in, day out for 500 miles will likely make all these conditions worse.

7. I might crash my stupid bike because I am a careless, incompetent fuck, or because I have a history of crashing because I’m such a careless fucking klutz. I might also just get run over by a car or truck.

8. Some raggedy ass dog might knock me off my bike or a squirrel might hop into my chain or these trick $4,000 carbon wheels might melt on the descent and splatter me all to shit.

9. I might hit a pothole, or lose control on a downhill because I spend all my time on the bike path and once the momentum of my big, hairy ass gets going you can’t stop it with anything less than a cliff-face, a sheer drop, or a triple-meat with extra cheese and bacon.

10. All of these things, and a billion more that are too numerous to list, could kill me dead, or worse, fuck me up so badly that I spend the rest of my life eating through a tube and asking you “What time is it?” for the next 60 years while shitting in my pants and complaining because the food is too salty. Yeah, I re-read that twice.

10. No matter how badly I get fucked up, IT’S ALL MY FAULT. I WON’T BLAME ANYONE, ESPECIALLY KEV, IRONFLY LLC, MEL, SUMMER, RYDER, OR CHLOE THE DOG. THAT’S RIGHT: I WON’T BE A WHINY BACKSTABBING PUSSY WHO PRETENDS TO BE A BRO TO WEASEL HIS SORRY-ASSED WAY ONTO MT4 AND THEN SUES THE SHIT OUT OF EVERYBODY THE MINUTE HE GETS HIS FEMUR RAMMED UP INTO HIS BRAINCASE.

11. I also won’t blame any of the other idiots on this ride, even though they’re idiots, and even though some schmo crashes me out while he is riding one-handed down a sharp, wet, blind curve, and pushes me into oncoming traffic to save his own ass just so he can snap a picture with his iPhone.

12. My old lady, my deadbeat kids, and sure as fuck my hot chick on the side won’t blame anybody either. That’s why I have life insurance, so when I die the old lady and the girlfriend can finally get to meet each other over a big pot of money instead of in family court, where’s the old’s lady’s calling her a homewrecking slut and the hot piece is calling the old lady a nagging bitch.

13. Even though I’m a cycloholic-compulsive idiot and would sign anything if it meant I got to go ride for five days, I’m signing this of my own free will. I’ve read it, even the words that have more than five letters, and I mostly understand it. It means if I get hurt I’m fucked, right?

Dated: __________________

Your “X” here: ____________

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