Foundational excusifying

May 31, 2012 § 29 Comments

The state road race championship is on Sunday, so now’s the time to begin properly building your foundation for excuses as to why you got dropped and quit. Don’t wait ’til race day to trot out your lame reason for imploding before the race got hard. Begin today with a series of well-placed and well-timed comments to let everyone know that except for * and *, or * and *, you would be standing on the top step.

1. Illness. “I’ve had something in my chest the last couple of weeks that I can’t shake. Gonna give it my best shot, but my power’s down 30-40w. That’s the margin of victory.”

2. Weather. “Fuckin’ Bakersfield. It’s too hot there to race. We prepare the whole year in reasonable temperatures, and then they do the biggest race of the year in a fuckin’ sauna. That’s bullshit. I’m just not good in the heat.” [Be ready to steer quickly away from questions about why you didn’t do the states race in NorCal.]

3. Gear. “I’m just not adapted to this new Specialized Wankster. The seat tube angle is a little off, fucks up my body geometry when I climb.” [Don’t mention that you still have your old frame which was such a “perfect” fit that you got dropped on lap one of Punchbowl, etc.]

4. Nutrition. “I ran out of the Uber-Goo Triple Espresso with Spirochetes. They’re on back order. There’s no way I can do well in a hot race without that stuff. The spirochetes are the bomb.”

5. Hydration. “I can’t get anyone to give me hand-ups. The deck’s stacked against you in that race without hand-ups.”

6. Low quality help. “I’ve got someone for hand-ups, but he/she sucks at it. If I miss my hand-up I’m done.”

7. Training cycles. “Fuck! I peaked last Thursday! 450w FTP! Now I can barely get out of fuckin’ bed.”

8. Team tactics: “It’s going to be total bullshit. Big Orange has thirty guys entered. It will just be negative racing.”

9. Individual tactics: “My whole team worked against me, gave it away to the opportunists who didn’t even have any teammates in the race.”

10. Time. “Ah, fuck, there was no way I could log the training miles for that race. I’ve got a real job and a family, dude.”

11. Doping. “Those other 87 dudes in the 55+? ‘Course they beat me. They all dope.”

12. Misjudgment. “I was so on form, best of my life. Then like an idiot I went out and hammered on the Pier Ride. Totally blew my form.”

13. Kids. “Hey, I spent last week helping Billy on his algebra. Priorities.”

14. Wife. “Cowbella won’t let me train. Total bullshit. If I could just bump it up from 350 to 450 a week I’d have won in a solo breakaway.”

15. Priorities. “It’s a stupid fucking bike race, okay? Who gives a shit?”

All I know is this: The ride is inside you

May 29, 2012 § 40 Comments

You see, the problem is that you want to keep up with people who you can’t keep up with. Some people are weaker than others. No matter how hard they try or train, they won’t ever be able to keep up with the faster riders when the whip comes down.

You’ve only been doing this a short time, and you’ve seen dramatic improvements that most people never see. But you make the terrible mistake of comparing yourself to people who are far above your physical ability. This causes you frustration, because you want to be as good as they are, which in your mind means “as fast.” I could tell you right now that you’re a million times better than most cyclists I’ve ever met, but because you equate good with fast, you can’t grasp my meaning, or you think I’m flattering you, or you think I don’t get it.

But it’s you, not me, who doesn’t get it.

I’ve been doing this for over thirty years. I learned early on that there are people with whom I can ride on a pleasant pedal, but with whom I can never keep up when they pedal in earnest. It’s futile to want to do so, and ultimately it can poison the real experience of riding a bike, which is inside you.

No one wants to believe that the ride is inside them. They think it’s on the road, or on Strava, or defined by their average speed, or by the number of miles they’ve logged, or in their race results, or in the engraved invitation that allows them to hang with the fast crowd. It isn’t.

The ride is that thing inside you that you can no longer hold in. When you exercise it, you exorcise it, and its release is intensely pleasurable. It leaves you unknotted for a short while, until the need arises to exorcise yet again. Each time you do it you change a little bit, forever.

The physical activity called cycling can be measured against the performance of others, but you cannot express that which is within you through others. You must first understand what is inside you, and express it to yourself.

Over the years I’ve seen many people get into cycling, and then get out of it for all kinds of reasons. The main one, though, is that they were cycling in order to achieve something. Once they achieved it, or once they realized that their goal was unattainable, they moved on to something else. Others cycled because they thought it would provide them with some material gain only to find that it made them much broker than they would have been without it.

The ones for whom the experience was the emptiest were the ones who did it, or do it, solely for the competition.

I am the least competitive cyclist you know. When I ride I’m not trying to beat you. If I were I’d never take a pull, or I’d never race crits, or I’d never upgrade until forced. When I ride I’m experiencing something very private that is frequently dependent on the participation of others, but never defined by it. Each person plays a role in my internal ride; those who ride faster and drop me, those who ride slower and get dropped, those who vicariously ride with me on FB or WordPress or YouTube, and those who ride next to me sharing a joke and a laugh or an update on the family.

Do you really know yourself?

If you do, you will see the gift and be thankful for it until your most final breath. If you don’t, the gift will not look like the thing it is, but rather like something that’s not quite good enough, that needs to be improved upon, or perhaps like something that you can return to the store for one in a more fashionable color.

The ride is inside you, but you have to be brave enough to look into that rather dark place poorly lit, and to accept what you find there. It’s not, perhaps, what you expect. Yet it is the greatest and most wonderful thing of all.

A 15-minute video is worth an hour of excusifying

May 28, 2012 § 15 Comments

It’s hard to explain to people what it’s like riding with the leaders up the climb on the Holiday Ride. “Um, it’s hard,” or “Well, you see I was gassed and then Billy Boozles made a sweep up the right-side gutter while Arnie Aspartame swung off and then…”

Thanks to my new GoPro helmet cam, I got the chance to video the thing and let you see for yourself. Click here to watch the Mandeville Canyon climb all the way to the top with the leaders. Don’t tell me that it’s “blurry” or “fuzzy” or “dogshit quality video, dude.”

It seems that I stuck my finger on the lens cover and smudged it. Still, remind me again, how much did you pay for this? Exactly.

My ride commentary, with video documentation, is below.

#1. The video don’t lie

It’s amazing how much people lie about what they did during a ride. By the time they get done, they’ve fabricated a narrative that is so distorted that you wonder if the dude telling you the story was in the same century as you, much less in the same breakaway.

This video quickly punctures some of the biggest whoppers that bubbled up immediately after the climb. G3 complained, after getting caught and dropped, that his teammates had chased him down.

They all denied it. Vehemently. “We wuz riding tempo so you could stay away!” “I’d never chase down a teammate!” “Some dudes from another team reeled you in, dude, I swear!”

No.

G3 was brought back by a well-oiled machine consisting exclusively of his own teammates. I know it won’t make you feel any better, Greg, but this is exactly how I feel when you chase me down on the Wheatgrass Ride, or when you chase me down at TELO, or when you drop me going up to the Domes. The only difference is that we’re not teammates. On the other hand, I know you’d do it to me even if we were.

Plus, there was no way in hell you were going to solo the canyon vee. Unless, of course, your teammates hadn’t chased you down, in which case, well, who knows?

#2. The dude taking the video is a wheelsuck deluxe

Yep. I sat on the whole way. Never took a pull. You’ll see Surfer Dan look back a couple of times and invite me to take a turn. You’ll see me refuse.

“Wow,” you’re thinking. “This is the guy who’s always telling everyone to take a pull? What a douche.”

As I like to say, “If the nozzle fits…”

I was gassed and too afraid of Surfer Dan to do anything other than suck wheel and pray that no one attacked hard enough to drop me, which is what usually happens. That’s how it is when you’re a wanker.

#3 The dude who won the hill is an even bigger wanker

Yeah. Sitting on your teammate for the entire canyon climb and then blasting by him with totally fresh legs after assisting with the earlier chase, catch, and drop of G3, who is also your teammate? What’s up with that?

Answer, and I quote: “That’s MY wall.”

Those who don’t know Tree well will know this much after watching this video: It’s all about Strava. He will sit, chill, and torch anyone, teammates included, if it gets him closer to a Strava record. In this case, he didn’t get the KOM, but he moved up the leaderboard to fourth. And he got the KOM for something called “Westridge to White Picket Fence.” So there’s that.

Attacking and dropping your teammate who tows you all the way to the end and being labeled a wanker is a small price to pay for an incremental gain on Strava.

Those of you who think this is just sour grapes because he blasted by me so fast and hard I couldn’t have hung on with a tow rope…you’re right! Of course, if I have to get my ass handed to me on a plate, Tree’s my first choice as server, because even after I called out his wankage he smiled back and said, “Good effort out there, Wanky!” Some people are nice no matter what. Go figure.

#4. Dave Jaeger is a total badass

The dude is 51 years old. Remembers Armistice Day. Helped Caesar cross the Rubicon. Was one of the first users of the new invention, dirt. Nonetheless, he attacks the breakaway. Gets reeled in by Surfer Dan. Attacks again and dusts off the remaining hangers-on. Gets reeled in.

Still finishes with the break for fifth. Tells me after the ride, “You rode smart for once.”

Me: “I wasn’t riding. I was holding on for dear life.”

#5. The real artillery was either home getting oiled or out doing a real race at CBR

Kalashnikov and G$ started the ride, which was about 150 strong, but parted company in Marina del Rey to go and do a real bike race instead of a kit parade w/15-minute hillclimb effort + frappucino at CotKU. Roadchamp was home, resting after a hard weekend of riding and putting the finishing touches on his afterburners for the state road race next weekend in Bakersfield. King Harold, Launch, Vapor, Critchamp, et al. were racing, placing, or winning.

#6. Tink is amazing

Check out the first part of the video where she winds up the pace and keeps the gas on. You can’t see the wreckage in the rear because I’m too busy sucking wheel to look back and catch it with my helmet cam, but she’s causing mayhem and destruction behind her. She sheared three minutes off her Mandeville PR and finished just after the first chase group. She now holds the QOM for Mandeville and sits 20th on the men’s leaderboard. This girl is simply incredible.

#7. The camera makes your butt look fat

It’s a 170-degree wide angle, and my nose is pretty much stuffed up your rear end, further magnifying the ginormousness of your hindquarters. Trust me, in real life your derriere is svelte, lean, muscled, and the stuff of magazine covers. It’s the fault of the camera that we all look like candidates for a bovine butt porn shoot.

#8. Surfer Dan is a total badass

Yesterday he went up to NorCal and got 8th in the state road race. This morning he turned on the jets going up San Vicente and kicked most of the holidayers out the back. On Mandeville he ramped it up, led the vicious chase to reel in his teammate, chased down Jaeger twice, shrugged his shoulders when Wankmeister cowered in the rear, and drilled it all the way to the top. He was gracious and not in the least bit miffed by Tree’s finish line antics or by my wheelsuckage, proving that the really good guys just go do their ride and never bitch about the result, while we wankers run home to our keyboard, uncork and savor a vintage 1876 whine.

BMiB3

May 27, 2012 § 2 Comments

We went out yesterday evening and saw MiB3. It’s a movie about these badass dudes dressed in black, and they fight aliens and shit. They bust the shit out of the aliens with weird weapons and blast them into pieces and in the process they almost get killed themselves.

At the end of the movie the world gets saved and everyone was happy except me, who had to part with $24. I liked those twenty-four dollars and I already miss them a lot.

So I was sitting there watching this badass dude smash the fuck out of this freaky alien and the alien crumbled into bits and I was thinking “What the fuck am I paying money to watch some badass dude in black and a black badass dude beat the fuck out of some alien when I just spent my whole fucking Saturday watching badass black men in black beat the fuck out of a bunch of wankers on bikes? And it didn’t cost me no 24 fucking dollars.”

Badass black men in black, coming soon to a public toilet near you

We got to the Ocean Park toilets this morning and picked up Guns, Bucks, Vapor, and Critchamp. Except for Bucks, they were all pretty much dressed in black. I was thinking “Fuck this is going to be a BMiB beatdown.”

Then up rolls a white dude in mostly black, Launch, and we were all like “Fuck this is going to be a BMiB + WMiB beatdown to the tenth degree.”

Of the assembled wankers, most of us were thinking variations of what Arkansas Traveler said: “This doesn’t look good.”

Or the boys from church: “We don’t see much in the way of a blessing here.”

Or Prez: “I rode all the way from Pedro to be part of a massacre?”

Or the Dentist: “Are we drilling it all the way back from Encinal?”

From Ride to the Rock to the Highway to Hell Ride

Last August we started doing a Saturday ride from the Center of the Known Universe out to The Rock on PCH. It was in preparation for the annual Ironfly ManTour. The good thing about the ride was that it got you an easy hundred, the pace was steady with no attacks or rotating pacelines, the group stayed together, and we avoided the lung-busting climbs up through the canyons along PCH. In short, it was the perfect wanker ride.

The down side to the ride was that it was easy, the pace was steady with no attacks or rotating pacelines, the group stayed together, and we avoided the lung-busting climbs up through the canyons along PCH. In short, it was a terrible ride if you wanted any intensity.

Earlier this year I heard Tom Danielson talk about how great a climb Decker Lane was. Decker is one of the climbs we pass on the way to The Rock on PCH. So several weeks ago we put together a new route that tried to fix some of the shortcomings of the other route. We still did the steady, social, 2 x 2 paceline all the way to Trancas, with people getting a chance to warm up, chat, and get that good vibe you can only get from an organized, steady, longish ride.

After Trancas, we then climbed Decker. Decker is such a steep, vicious, long, and nasty climb that you can’t do it at an easy pace. It’s a true legbreaker. Fortunately, just before you reach Decker, we also pass Encinal, which is a longer, much  gentler climb that merges with Decker at the top, so everyone has a choice. Ride so hard you want to vomit, or get in a steady power climb, the choice is yours.

At the top of Decker, we regroup, and descend Encinal to PCH.

From there, it’s game on. We start as hard as we can, immediately fall into a rotating paceline, and people fry off the back. By the time we climb out of Trancas on PCH, and certainly by the time we get over the roller before Latigo, the group is left with its final members, who continue drilling it all the way back to Temescal Canyon in Santa Monica. The total drillfest is about 24 miles.

MiB set out to destroy the aliens

We got started on the PCH return trip, and before going too far we overtook Prez, who had been separated from the group due to a navigational error. Originally intending to climb with the power group up Encinal, he mistakenly turned with the homicide group up Decker. When Tree, Launch, and the Dentist took off, Prez found himself last man in the wanker group that included me, Arkansas Traveler, Tumbleweed, and Sophia Loren. As Sophia pedaled by him, he made a u-turn and returned to PCH.

However, no one at the top knew that Prez had turned around, so after waiting for a while, Launch, Dentist, and I partially descended Decker looking for him. Ouch. We concluded that he’d pulled an Abandy Schleck, and went back up again.

When we passed Prez on PCH, he hopped into the rotating paceline, and when his turn came he took a monstrous pull. It strung the group out into a single file as he mashed the pedals in fury. When he finally came off the point and started floating back, I advised him, “Dude, you better take really short pulls. The MiB are getting ready to take out their reverberating carbonizers, and if you don’t wanna get vaporized, you better save a few blasts in the De-Molecularhazard Excell 12.” Unfortunately, I should have taken my own advice, as Launch, Vapor, and Critchamp began blasting aliens right, left, and center.

Launch uses the Cosmic Integrator coming out of Trancas

By the time we hit the bottom of the hill coming out of Trancas, the MiB had blasted, wasted, toasted, and roasted a host of aliens. Some of their stray shots had also, unfortunately, blasted a few of my fellow wankers, who were now cut adrift on PCH and forced to suffer home alone.

With the exception of Launch and the Dentist, everyone started skipping pulls. As we hit the bottom of the hill, Launch took out the cosmic integrator, a device used to meld body parts of the best aliens onto his own body. The result was an extremely powerful Launch, who melds on three additional lungs, two extra heart chambers, and a third leg. A cracking and rending sound is heard as the remnants of the wankers split and break on the climb.

Over the top the group has been whittled down to Launch, Dentist, Vapor, Vapor Jr., Critchamp, and later by Tree and Checkerbutt, who’ve chased and caught. I’m absolutely on the rivet and just managing to come through as Vapor, Launch, and Critchamp take turns with huge pulls. Launch drags us halfway up the stinger that leads to Latigo, and Tree uncorks with a jump so hard and fast that he springs completely free of the group.

I was barely hanging onto Launch’s wheel when he spotted a Remoonian and whipped out his atomizing blaster. It was the last hundred meters my entire body had begun to shudder. This happens when I’m on a wheel and about to get dropped, but have pushed it too far into the bottomless pit of red. First my legs started to shake, then my arms, then my head, then my eyes wobbled, and finally a massive, sharp pain stabbed my heart like cardiac arrest plus lung failure plus a golf club thrust into my chest cavity with the fury of an AT&T phone service rep after losing an argument with Mrs. WM over a one-cent charge on our four hundred-dollar phone bill that didn’t belong there.

Alien colonies vaporized on Pepperdine Hill

I looked up just in time to roll over the crest, still attached to Launch’s wheel. Everyone was now suffering from radiation sickness from the atomizer, and the only riders who remained were Launch, the Dentist, Critchamp, me, and Vapor Jr. The Remoonian’s head had been shot off and the road was littered with green eyes and what looked like green ham. I wondered if he hadn’t shot a Seussian by mistake.

Launch dragged us all the way to the bottom of Pepperdine Hill and the turnoff to Malibu Colony. He must have spied an advance patrol of the Arquillian fleet, because he accelerated up the hill like a spaceship. There was a crackling sound as Critchamp imploded, followed by a dragging sound as the Dentist’s drill suddenly stopped working, followed by a whine and moan as I began to sob.

The Dentist let me get on his wheel and towed me to the top of the hill, where Launch was pleasantly waiting, hardly having cracked a sweat and surrounded by the rubble, blood, goo, alien body parts, and broken machinery of the devastated Arquillians. We waited for seventeen or eighteen hours until Critchamp and Vapor Jr. caught up. From then on it was merciless.

Checkerbutt, who had sneaked along the Malibu Colony Rd. and stolen a shortcut, thereby avoiding the two sections of Pepperdine Hill, reattached himself at Cross Creek. After a few rotations Vapor Jr. was spit out the back. After a few more rotations everybody was gassed except Launch, who kept pulling through as if it was his first pull of the day. I didn’t skip any pulls, but towards the end pulls were so slow and weak that everyone looked forward to them as they were “recovery pulls.” Critchamp and the Dentist never wavered, and Checkerbutt, with copious resting and turn skipping, came through each time full tilt.

In the run-up to Temescal, Launch spied an evil Kylothian and opened up a gap on the rest of us as he rushed to vaporize it and protect the aliens on the LA beaches from the aliens of outer space. I sprinted for a couple hundred yards to get on his wheel, and then found out the terrible truth: the only thing worse than getting ridden off Launch’s wheel was being on Launch’s wheel. I suffered terribly, and then two seconds later gave up.

We regrouped on the bike path, and shortly thereafter my legs cramped. I got off my bike just in time for a chick on a beach cruiser to hit me from behind and careen off into the sand, upsetting her bikini top and partially spilling the goods, which was nice of her.

At the Peet’s in Santa Monica people rolled in until we were all reunited. I thought that my ride nutrition, consisting of a cup of coffee, a Dr. Pepper, and a BonkBreaker midway through the ride was inadequate for such a terrible beatdown, and certainly wouldn’t get me the last 20 miles home + climb up to the top of PV. So I had another coffee and a cup of oatmeal.

Launch was still smiling and relaxed. Then it dawned on me. Was he the alien? Was he?

Wankmeister cycling clinic #11: The lefty wobbly

May 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

Dear Wankmeister:

All my friends call me “Lefty Wobbly,” even though my name is Herbert. I got this awful nickname because every time I look over my left shoulder to see what’s going on behind me, you know like cars or who’s on my wheel or checking for cops before I blow through the stop signs in Hermosa, my bike kind of veers off to the left. I’ve tried everything to fix it. But no matter what, as soon as look over my shoulder, I head off to the left, which is really dangerous because it takes me out into the lane and stuff. I get majorly honked at when this happens and usually almost killed to death, plus chop wheels of whoever’s behind me and crash out all my bros. They don’t like that too much.

I want to be rock solid straight like all the good chick riders and dudes and get rid of this sorry ass nickname. “Lefty Wobbly?” What about “Straight Hard Iron Tough Dude Like Fukdude?”

Annoyedly and frightenedly at the same time,
Herbert Bungpucker

Dear Herb:

Wankmeister sifts through eighty zillion emails a day from his reader, so when this one hit the inbox it positively made my day. Finally, a legit question. Admittedly, the asker’s a total wanker, but the question is rock solid, unlike your lookback technique. So instead of reviewing some dumb book or some dumber bike race, Wanky’s gonna put on a clinic. Strap on your seatbelt.

The reason your bike veers left (aside from the fact that you’re a goofball) is because the turning neck muscles slightly pull on your left shoulder when your head spins around. The slight motion tenses your left arm, the muscles contract a tad, and that “tad” moves the bike to the left. The muscles on your left side also tighten because your turning head, which weighs about 10 pounds hairless (and much less with the typically atrophied cyclist brain), swings out to the left, kind of like if you had a giant watermelon on your shoulders that suddenly leaned off to one side. Of course it’s going to pull everything with it.

So the whole point is to stop the muscles in your left shoulder and arm from tightening up when the watermelon goes looking for whatever it’s looking for. There are four ways to do this.

1. Get a dork mirror. There are zillions of kinds of these. They all work perfectly, which is to say they make you look like a perfect dork. The big drawback is that everyone will laugh at you and say, “Yo, dork!” This is a small price to pay for not getting run over by a car. Unfortunately, even if you go big and get one of those whomperdaddy motorcycle mirrors, or one of those massive adjustable four-frame deals they hang from the window of an 18-wheeler, at some point you’re still going to have to turn around and look, which kind of puts you back to square 2, which is next.

2. Let go with your left hand. If you’re riding on the tops, just let go with your left hand. Your right hand is plenty to stabilize the bike and keep you from crashing, and with your left hand off the bars, your rotating watermelon will still pull your left shoulder and arm, but since the hand isn’t connected to the bars, who gives a shit? The bike will go in a straight line. You can then gaze over your left shoulder for hours, or until you smash into a parked car, whichever comes first. There’s a great example of this in the 2001 Paris-Roubaix video, where Romans Vainsteins turns back to see what’s behind him. He drops his left hand to his side and turns all the way around on the bike. Of course, if you have the 2001 P-R video and know what I’m talking about, you can do this shit in your sleep.

3. Right bow bend. Maybe for some reason you don’t want to let go with your left hand. Like, you’re on the NPR and there are thirty idiots in front and thirty idiots behind and you’re scared out of your fucking mind, but you still want to see if that cute chick you invited to the ride is on your wheel. In this case, with your hands on the tops, relax your right elbow so that it droops. When you spin the melon, the droopy right elbow compensates for the pulling on the left shoulder and arm, and the bike stays straight. This works because the drooping right arm pulls the bike to the right, and the turning head pulls the bike to the left. The two movements cancel each other out, kind of like when you say “Blow job?” and she says “Chick flick?” and so you end up doing nothing.

4. Chin tuck. Sometimes you have to do a super quick check, like when you’re firing through the turn in a crit with two turns to go and you’re setting up to get 78th in the sprint, ahead of that dude who beat you out for 75th last week. Turn your head, but rest your chin on your shoulder. This keeps the watermelon from flapping in the wind and from hanging out over the edge of your shoulder and starting the death spiral of veering to the left. If you want to be completely rad, you can do the bow bend with the chin tuck simultaneously.

So there. Don’t say I never taught you anything.

Pedantically,
Wankmeister

Why not “Dongwhacker Hill”? Why not, I say?

May 25, 2012 § 5 Comments

So, like, I like riding my bike. And I like reading shit about other people who ride bikes.

You probably do, too.

Have you noticed, though, how hard it is to give a crap about the Giro d’Italia?

It’s like cleaning out the hall closet. You get up in the morning and say “Today’s the day I’m gonna clean the hall closet!” Then the morning goes by because it’s such a nice day and you’ve had a leisurely cup of coffee and you’ve got the whole day to do it, so heck, you think, “I’ll do it in the afternoon.” Afternoon goes by and then it’s dinner and the food coma or beer fog sets in and you’re just like, “Aw fuckit, I’ll do it tomorrow. First thing tomorrow morning.”

Keeping up with the Giro is kind of like that.

You’re supposed to keep up with it. You kind of want to keep up with it. You know that the REAL cycling fans keep up with it. But truth be told it’s no sexier than the hall closet.

I’ve identified the main reasons that we don’t like the Giro, and listed them below for your convenience.

1. Too many foreign words

Everything’s in Italian. This is the biggest problem. If it was in English, it would be lots easier to read about. Studies show that putting foreign words in the middle of a sentence makes the sentence go down like dirt pizza. The only cycling language worse than Italian is Flemish. How’s a normal person going to even start to get a handle on “Hooydonck?” Mouth it out loud to yourself in a public place around small children and you’ll get arrested.

One way to fix the foreign words in the Giro is to make them in English. So yesterday, instead of saying they went from “Pfalzen to Cortina d’Ampezzo” you could say they went from “Hooterville to Dongwhacker Hill.” Even your grandpa could read through that without choking. Granny, maybe not so much.

2. No peer pressure

If you don’t know what’s going on with the Turdy France, you’re made to feel like an outcast. Your buddies have TWAP’s (tour watching parties), and even your non-biker friends seem to have a vague idea of what’s going on. “So is Lance gonna win again this year?” That kind of stuff. It’s like March Madness–if you can’t even pretend you know or care, you’re in deep social shit. Plus, if you have a Giro-watching party what are you gonna bring? Italian beer?

People who are up on the Giro are weird. Kind of snobby, almost like they know too much. Remember that dude who used to know how to use a slide rule? You didn’t pull him behind the bushes and beat the snot out of him because of anything personal, it was just the fact that he a) knew what a slide rule was for and b) knew how to use it. That’s why you were practically required to do some equalizing on his narrow ass.

3. Too many Italians

The success of the Turdy France is based on the fact that there are hardly any more French people in it. I know the French have won the World Cup in soccer, and they’ve had some good tennis dudes, but at the end of the day, or rather at the beginning, nobody wants to sit around and watch French people do athletic stuff. When the Turdy started letting Germans win, and Americans win, and Danish win, it started getting interesting. Even the Spaniards are okay. They’re the crazed bastards who kill raging bulls with a fucking folding knife. Muy macho.

So the Giro sucks because it’s basically just a bunch of Italians. I know they’re great bike racers and great soccer players and great singers and cooks and the world’s best war cowards, but in your heart of hearts you just don’t want to see them doing athletic stuff. Maybe a couple of them. Fucking. In a porno video. Otherwise, you get more than two Italians together at one time and you start wondering when somebody’s gonna put a horse’s head in your mattress. Blame it on Mario Puzo.

Fixing the problem

Fortunately, there’s a solution to all this. It’s long. It’s skinny. It’s got a weird Swedish name. It’s from Canada.

The “it” is Canadian rider Ryder Hesjedal. Despite the funny name and the double-entendre name, he’s a real Canadian: He only likes three seasonings (salt, pepper, ketchup). He knows which leaves make the best toilet paper. He thinks hockey is what happens before they get brain surgery. But for our purposes, he’s something else…an incredible bike racer.

Ryder Hesjedal, whose name is almost harder to pronounce than an Italian one and will therefore be called “Sam Johnson,” has ridden an extraordinary Giro, which sounds like a Greek sandwich but isn’t, and so we’ll call it “Tour.” Johnson pulled out all the stops in Stage 19, unleashing a beatdown on his Italian GC rivals Joey Humdinger and Billy Tubbsworth. By finishing second on the monolithic climb up Mt. Dongwhacker, he is now in position to take the overall victory on Sunday.

Sunday’s final stage will be a 31.5 km time trial finishing on the streets of Italy’s most majestic city, Hooterville. Despite being written off before the start of the stage up Mt. Dongwhacker, Johnson took thirteen seconds out of Joaquim Rodriguez’s (English name: Pooter McGee’s) lead at the top of the maglia rosa (“manly jersey” in English) standings and now lies just 17 seconds behind him. Just as importantly he also extended his own lead over Humdinger and Billy Tubbsworth.

After today’s sensational ride, Johnson is poised to win it all. Good on ya’ mate. (Canada’s part of Australia, right?)

Really bad bike book

May 23, 2012 § 18 Comments

I bought a copy of this book about bikes. It cost me $9.95. Man, did it suck.

The book is called “Just Ride.”

The dude who wrote it is named Grouch Peterson, or that’s what I’ve named him, anyway. He runs Rivendell Bikes and, like many expert bike builders, is extremely smart and extremely opinionated. Plus, he’s wrong about all kinds of shit, which is why I like him. Loud-mouthed, opinionated people who are wrong most of the time appeal to me. I can’t imagine why.

“Just Ride. Just Don’t Ride a Racing Bike”

This should be the subtitle of the book. Peterson, who is one grouchy bastard, argues that racing bikes and their accoutrements are inappropriate for the great majority of people who ride them. He believes that rather than low-slung, back-bending, neck-straining, perineum-mashing, wrist-crunching plastic frames made for 125-lb waifs whose lives revolve around the Turdy France, people would be much better off riding dork bikes.

Which, conveniently, is just what he sells.

In fact, his bikes are so dorky they almost look cool, the key word being “almost.” Crank up the stem to where it’s sticking so far out it looks like a tongue-check at the doctor’s office. Make the frame geometry gigantic, with only a nubbin of seat post sticking out. Add seventy-three spokes to your rims. Drill the fuck out of every part of the bike so you can hang your panniers, your bag, or your Christmas tree from it.

Paper it over with fenders, put on a 4-lb leather saddle, make sure the tires are triple wides with bulletproof casing, tack on a bell, and prop the whole shebang up with a double-hooter kickstand, and, according to Groucho, you’ve got yourself a real bicycle. The problem is, he’s right.

You’ve also got a bike that people will stop, pull you off of, and beat the shit out of you just for the fun of it. It’ll be like being the wimpiest kid in junior high and showing up at school with a t-shirt that says, “I Dare YOU to Kick My Ass.”

The problem with the anti-racing bike mantra

It’s kind of like blogging against Facebook. We all recognize that it has supplanted something that was once the norm, i.e. human interaction, but on the other hand, it’s here to stay, just at a greatly diminished price from its IPO. Grouch Dude’s complaint about racing bikes and how fucked up they are is based on the premise that hardly anyone races. The BAB (or bad-ass bike, as I call it), has been developed with racers in mind and adopted by the general market as the standard, even when hardly anyone races, will race, or has ever raced.

“That’s fucked up,” says Pissed Off Dude, “and what you need to get unfucked is a dorkacycle.”

Unfortunately, you can never get unfucked up. Once you’ve seen some skinny little fuck in lycra shorts and a stretchy camisole bombing down some hairy descent in the Dolomites at 100 kph, once you’ve seen some primordial, thick-legged beast vanquishing the souls of hundreds on the stones to Roubaix, once you’ve looked at the full-on acceleration of a fearless human missile ripping through an elbow-infested, tightly packed throng on his way to a 65 kph finishing sprint…once you’ve seen these things and the thousand other acts of inhuman skill and daring, you’re not ever going to be satisfied with the Rivendell Portly Fellow’s Dorkacycle.

Who is the Rivendell Dorkacycle for, then?

I should point out that Rivendell is the home of the elves in the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R Tolkein. So it’s for sure a good bike if you’re an elf.

It’s also a good bike if you’re one of those people with a firm grip on reality. Here’s a handy-dandy checklist to see if you have a grip on reality.

  1. I could have been a great bike racer.     Yes/No
  2. My true athletic potential has not yet been realized.    Yes/No
  3. If I didn’t have [a job/a family/child support payments/ a probation officer] I would be a successful bike racer.     Yes/No
  4. I am a skilled and accomplished athlete.     Yes/No
  5. Cycling has improved my health.     Yes/No
  6. Cycling has improved my mental outlook.    Yes/No

If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, you’re nutfuck crazy. You have no grip on reality whatsoever, and are purely delusional. A Rivendell Dorkacycle is definitely not for you.

Extensive marketing by Bad Mood Dude identifies ideal Dorkacycle consumers

The Rivendell Dorkacycle purchaser has a really firm grasp on reality, unlike you batshit crazy blog readers who are completely fucking off at work by reading this junk as you surf through other bicycling web sites. The Rivendell Dorkacycle rider does his taxes on time. He puts the cap on the toothpaste tube. He never dashes out of the bathroom leaving a floater in the well.

The dorkacycle rider plans her menus and is good at cooking, cleaning, AND laundry. She follows a carefully planned budget, never has more than one glass of wine with dinner, and never, ever gets shitfaced drunk, strips off her panties and bones the hunky neighbor.

The dorkacycle enthusiasts see life with great clarity: We humans are born, we plod away at a mind-numbing job, we collect a small paycheck relative to our innate genius and ability, and then we die. Life is a kind of chore to be gotten through steadfastly and without too much drama, and to be terminated in an elder care facility while some nasty minimum wage assistant roughly changes your diaper.

The dorkacycle assists these realists by plodding along with them, not too fast, not too riskily, predictably, evenly, sensibly, and on a budget. Since it’s welded with old-world metals like steel, it lasts forever, never needs repair, survives with minimal maintenance, and will be a historical artifact even ten million years from now.

The whackadoodle dreamer crazyshit racing bike

These are made from carbon, which is a fancy way of saying “plastic.” They look rad. They go really fast. You will, the harder you pedal them, increase the chance of getting killed or injured. They are painted rad black, rad red, rad green, rad blue, rad orange, or just plain rad. They have rad-o-matic electronic shifting and superrad carbon race wheels that weigh .00002 grams and look mondo bitchin’.

They make you think you’re a pro, a stud, a studette, a racer, a warrior, a champion, a Turdy France contendah, a Prez lookalike, a TELO hero, a hardman of Flanders, the incarnation of steel and power and all-mighty greatitude.

Of course that fades the second you get to the office and your boss chews you out and calls you a moron.

But those few minutes in the morning, or in the evening, or on the weekend, when it was YOUR universe, and YOU commanded it?

I’ll keep my racing bike, thanks. You, Grouchhead, can keep your dorkacycle.

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