Please support the cranky old vet who sleeps in his car

August 31, 2012 § 2 Comments

Thanks, Chris. Thanks for being dependable. Thanks for always putting on a race that’s timely, that’s safe, that’s fun, and that’s smack dab in the middle of where so many SoCal cyclists live and train.

Thanks for not putting up with any shit, and for calling things like you see them. Thanks for caring enough about local racing to do this over and over and over, even though you sometimes sleep overnight in your car because things get underway so early.

Thanks for helping ensure that the races are properly officiated and, for the most part, drama free. Thanks for running events where the check always clears and where the primes are something a lot nicer than a cheap water bottle with a lousy nipple. Thanks for enduring the politics and for doing your best to make sure your vision prevails.

Thanks for your funny Facebook posts, and for your unflinching willingness to hold views even when it pisses off people who might otherwise scratch your back. That takes guts. Thanks for not bowing down to all the “-isms.” Thanks even more for not holding it against people whose beliefs are different, and for being a big enough man to take it just as much as you dish it out.

Thanks for caring about homeless creatures. The way a person treats animals says as much about their character as the way they treat people.

Thanks for giving us the opportunity to race our bikes. If you weren’t out there putting on these races, our calendar would be a whole lot thinner. If you could come up with a deal so that Charon, Meeker, Rudy, Justin, Jamie, and some of those dudes all had to do an extra couple of laps so that the rest of us would (mathematically) have a chance, that would be cool. Just a thought.

Pay it, don’t say it

This Sunday, September 2, 2012 at the world infamous Dominguez Hills CBR course, Chris puts on the final race of the SoCal Cup. I hope you’ll show up, pay your money, and do a race or two, even if, like me, you’ve got a snowball’s chance.

Most of all, though, I gotta say thanks to Vera, not just for all the work she does…but for putting up with Chris!

The panty thief

August 30, 2012 § 19 Comments

I walked in the door, took one look at her face, and knew it was bad. Real bad. Real, real, real bad.

“What are you gonna been doing on my t-shirts drawer?”

“I can explain.”

“Lookit at the this one!” She held up two t-shirts, clean ones, that had been unceremoniously lying on the floor. “And what you gonna say about the that one?” She snatched up another.

“Look, honey, what happened is…”

“I don’ wanna hear no ‘This honey happened is’ poop talk! What are you gonna be saying on the this one? Huh?” Now she had moved to the shorts drawer, and there, spilling out of the drawer and onto the carpet were six or seven pairs of shorts.

“I was finishing up at court, see, and…”

“You ain’t gonna do no up court finishing and come home and dump out onna my shirts and shorts! You ain’t gonna touch on my shirts and shorts! You been marrying on me twenty-five years and you don’ never gone in my clothes drawers!”

“Please calm down! There’s no need to shout.”

There was actually a pretty good reason to shout

“I’m gonna tell you onna shouting! What is THIS? You gonna tell me on THIS? What’s onna THIS?” Now she had moved to the panty drawer. The holy, untouchable, perfectly folded, immaculately organized panty drawer was now the focus of my attention. “What’s a gonna been happening on THIS?”

“It does kind of look like a tornado went through it,” I admitted.

“I’m gonna tell on you about some tornado!” she shouted. “That’s a my panties drawer! Why you goin into my panties drawer? You got no business in my panties drawer! I ever gone into your biker tool box with the wrenchy things you don’ can’t use right and always bustin stuff so you take it to a bike shop for fixing and cost a lotta money? I ever mess with that, no I don’t! Why you messin my panties?”

While she caught her breath to get ready for another round of hollering, I took my chance to explain. “Well, what happened is, Brad and Tink had a bike wreck and got hauled off to the hospital in an ambulance. I was gonna go see if they needed anything.”

“What’s a Bradandtink?”

“Brad and Tink. Tinkerbell. They’re biker friends.”

“Ohhhh,” she rolled her eyes. “Itsa dumb biker story again time getting all run over on the car.”

“No, no car. So I’m on the way to the hospital and G3 calls and says ‘Can you get some clothes for Tink?’ and I say ‘Sure.'”

“This Tinks person’s a girl or a boy?”

“Tink is a girl.”

Mrs. WM’s eyes narrowed, which looked pretty gnarly because they’re already pretty narrow. “How come you a boy gettin’ clothes on a girl? How come she ain’t wearin’ on her own clothes?”

“She was, but they cut ‘em off in the ER because she was concussed and shredded with road rash.”

“Why it matters she’s a cussin’?”

“Concussion. Knocked out. Blam-o to the head. So I went to get her a change of clothes so when she got discharged she’d have something to wear. Simple.”

Mrs. WM looked at me. Her eyes widened as it hit her. The color drained from her face.

“Aw fuck,” I thought. “Here it comes.”

Here it did indeed come

She wasn’t angry anymore. She was in a panic. “You gonna gave on my panties to the girl?”

“Now, before you get all excited, honey…”

“Please don’t tell me you gonna gave on my panties to the girl. Please don’ tell me onna that. Please don’ on the Jesus.”

“Honey, I went through the drawer and took out a pair at the bottom. They’re like, practically brand new. They were so clean and sparkly I had to put on my sunglasses when I held ‘em in the light.” That part was actually true. Mrs. WM had a thing about panties being clean enough to eat off of. So to speak.

“What’s a color?”

I could tell she was racing through her inventory. “They were kind of gray. Don’t worry, honey. I’d never give her those big granny things or the skinny little thong-dealie with the fadeaway in the center.”

The mental picture clicked. “They were on a kind of gray with a little pattern speckle, isn’t they?”

“Yep. That’s the pair.”

“I don’t ever wore that hardly once or twice.”

“See? I checked, honey. They was clean enough to run up a flagpole, or plop out on the desk at a job interview. You’re golden. She might not have even worn ‘em.”

Mrs. WM cracked a sharp glance. “What kina girl ain’t wearing on underwears?”

“Biker chicks. They’re all commando half the time anyway. Trust me.” Oop, I thought. Too heavy on that last one.

“How you gonna know onna biker girls underpants or not?”

“Uh, well, you can kind of see there’s no pantyline when you’re riding behind them.”

“How come you ridin onna girl’s behind? You always tellin’ me about you’re going on the fast and can’t no one stay on your behind. Now you’re tellin’ me about a girls underwear panties line ridin’ on her behind?”

“Here, honey,” I said. “Let me help you pick this stuff up.”

She glowered. “You thinkin’ about touching on my panties again and we’re gonna have to be another big problems.”

“Yes, dear,” I said, and slowly backed away.

New USA Cycling category descriptions are out!

August 29, 2012 § 2 Comments

USA Cycling has released a new and definitive set of category descriptions for road racing. These supplant the previous rulebook definitions found in Sections I(A)(ii) through (vi). USA Cycling offers these descriptions to help new cyclists understand the difference between the categories, and greatly simplifies the descriptions found in previous editions of the rulebook.

Category 5: What is this death thing of which you speak?

Category 4: Today is a good day to die.

Category 3: Today is a good day for you to die.

Category 2: Today is a good day for me to kill you.

Masters 45+: No dying today.

Masters 55+: I refuse to die in a bike race.

Masters 65+: Let’s enjoy riding our bikes wearing colorful clothing, okay?

Why you wanna be a more skinnier?

August 28, 2012 § 10 Comments

I’m now on Day 4,985.251 of the Plainsman’s Diet, but it feels a lot longer than that. Before sharing with you the incredible story of my diet success, I need to respond to a few questions that have been posed to me by people whose stature in my life demands an answer.

Mrs. Wankmeister: “Why you wanna be a more skinnier? It’s a already a bad elbow poking in the bed, next time soon it’s a pointy bones gonna take out my eye.”

Concerned Friend at Party: “Why are you trying to lose weight? You’re already very unhealthy looking. I mean that in a bad way, though.”

Son: “What’s with the weight loss crap? Less muscle equals weaker. Why would anyone want to get weaker?”

All My Cycling Friends: “WHAT’S YOUR SECRET, DUDE????”

My secret

The Plainsman’s Diet was developed by the hardy men and women who crossed the Great Plains seeking their fortune in the American West. It’s chief (and only) feature is constant, unrelenting hunger temporarily assuaged by pitifully inadequate amounts of food.

With the Plainsman’s Diet, you can eat anything you want as long as it doesn’t stop you from being so fucking hungry that you chew the inside of your cheek hoping to get a flap or two of raw skin to tide you over ’til dinner. As I mentioned in a previous post, there are two unmistakable signs that the PD is working its magic: You are so faint with hunger and so consumed with the idea of food that you think you will go mad. Second, everyone and everything looks like a hamburger.

If you think I’m about to recommend that you embark on the PD, you’re wrong. First off, you don’t have the willpower. No one does. The misery and discomfort are too extreme as your stomach rumbles and churns and grinds, no longer begging for a morsel but demanding that you act in conformance with THE dictate of survival: Eat.

Second, the Plainsman’s Diet comes with a special “Failure Attachment” that will make you really, really miserable. Unlike other diets, where you can blame the composition of the diet, or the bad health effects, or the expense of the supplements, or whatever, with the PD you will simply fail because you cave to hunger. This is awful, because it has nothing to do with willpower and everything to do with evolution. We are programmed to rebel and rebel mightily when denied nourishment. As Mao said, “Revolution comes from the roar of an empty belly.”

Yeah, yeah. Just give us the plan.

Okay, here it is.

Friday
Workout: 1.5 hours at the gym
Breakfast: Coffee with lowfat milk, piece of toast
Workout: Ride bike to work
Lunch: One slice of skinny bread with a translucent layer of peanut butter and an apple. More coffee, but with whole milk.
Workout: Ride home from work
Workout: One hour at the gym
Dinner: One large serving of spaghetti with meat sauce, salad, yogurt with berries for dessert
Midnight workout: Wake up with vicious hunger pangs so sharp that they actually hurt. Like, I mean “hurt” hurt.

Saturday
Workout: 1.5 hours in the gym, lifting little pink 5-lb. girly dumbbells and twirling a medicine ball
Breakfast: Coffee, dollop of lowfat milk, narrow slice of toast with a smidgeon of jam
Workout: 42-mile Donut Ride Beatdown with coffee
Lunch: Bagel with one egg, some cream cheese, and a slice of smoked salmon. Water.
Workout: Lay in bed and pray for dinner to come quickly
Dinner: Tiny, shrunken, miserable little dwarf filet of fish, micro-bowl of rice, micro-bowl of miso soup, spinach, midget bowl of berries and yogurt
Workout: Sit at the computer and cruise food websites. Getting a woody looking at http://www.chickenfriedsteak.com, but too lethargic to do anything about it.

Sunday
Breakfast: Poppyseed bagel with pathetically thin smear of jam. Coffee. Lowfat milk.
Second Breakfast: More coffee. Yummy scone at Lofty Coffee with walnuts.
Workout: 62-mile Birthday Ride from Hell via Buttraper Cave with SPY and Swami’s wankers
Workout snack: Mid-ride, borrowed Rice Krispies ball with raisins from Erik. Staved off death and made it back to Encinitas.
Lunch: Small bowl of oatmeal with walnuts, blueberries, no sugar or milk. Coffee with a dollop of half-and-half. Man that shit tastes good!
Post lunch snack: Apple
Workout: Go to the office and work on lawsuit. Insane with hunger like you can’t even begin to believe.
Dinner: Big plate of spaghetti with meat sauce, two large helpings of salad, three slabs of bread, small bowl of berries and yogurt
Workout: Roll from side to side of bed hoping that breakfast will come quickly

Monday
Workout: One hour at the gym lifting more tiny weights and falling off the exercise ball. Ouch.
Breakfast: Coffee with lowfat milk, mega itty bitty piece of toast with slightly thicker layer of jam and leftover 1/4 banana sliced on top
Post-breakfast Office Snack: More coffee, but a dollop of whole milk
Post snack snack: Apple. More coffee.
Workout: Hunger shudders (bend over desk and shake and pray for lunch to start, shivering from toes to ears)
Lunch: PB half-sandwich. More coffee.
Post-lunch snack: More coffee. Chew fingernails and hope there’s enough grime underneath them to count as food.
Workout: More robitussin/aspirin/Xanax medicine ball twirling. Sit down every five minutes from hunger.
Post-workout snack: Hot green tea. Bowl of boiled soybeans. Glass of iced tea.
Dinner: Not sure yet, but hoping it’s soon, as it’s already 8:04 PM and no good smells are coming out of the kitchen.

So, does it work?

Yep. I’ve dropped ten pounds in about four weeks. I have a two-and three-quarters-pack, and my ostrich middle is gone. My skinny jeans have a couple of extra inches in them. In the waist, I mean.

And although it could be a coincidence, I’m only getting dropped on the climbs after the first three minutes, rather than after the first three seconds, and as we all know, hanging around on a climb for an extra minute or so as stronger riders pummel you senseless is worth being completely fucking miserable beyond belief for the remaining 6.9999 days of the week.

Another big positive to always being ravenously hungry, in addition to relentless unhappiness mixed with profound depression, is that you actually taste food again. The moment a morsel, any morsel, hits your tongue, it’s a flavor explosion.

“Food!” your brain shrieks. “Beautiful, lovely, tasty, aromatic, flavorful, delectable ambrosia of the gods, this is the finestĀ  cuisine I’ve ever had!” When Cervantes said that hunger is the best sauce, I wonder if he knew it was also true for peanut butter and soybeans?

In a terrible and ill sort of way, profound hunger sharpens your appreciation for taste, even as the constant deprivation of nutrients causes your stomach to shrink into a tiny little pouch incapable of holding very much, with the result that after a few bites you’re pretty darned full. For ten minutes, anyway.

I had a really clever and insightful ending for this, but the sudden wave of hunger that toppled me from my chair and has me panting on my knees in the middle of the floor as I desperately nose the carpet for crumbs made me forget it. And it’s not coming back, at least until after dinner.

[Note to reader: This post has received a Profanity Rating of +1 from the Clean Bloggers of America Anti-Profanity Coalition.]

Am I gonna get dropped?

August 27, 2012 § 28 Comments

The conversation seems to always go like this. “Hey, Wankster, I’m thinking about doing the Gonadcrusher Ride. Is it pretty hard?”

“Yeah. I guess so. I mean, it depends. We usually stop and regroup.”

“So it’s pretty fast, huh?”

“It’s fast in places, sure.”

Pause. “Am I gonna get dropped?”

The angry cyclist

In the past, I always used to say, “You should come out and give it a try. Even if you come off, we’ll regroup.”

Or if it was the Pier Ride, I’d say, “You might pop off the back, but you can just cut across and hop back in. That’s how you get stronger.”

I’m not going to say that any more, because the other day I was accosted by a very pissed off dude. “Hey, you lied to me,” he said.

“I did?”

“Yeah. The Chokenpuke Ride was way too fast. You said it was a mellow ride, but I got dropped coming out of Dickstomp Canyon. I might as well have ridden by myself. No one even waited.”

This dude was actually pissed. At me. “Oh,” I said. “I’m sorry.”

Then I thought about it. “No. I’m really not.”

My new story

From now on, the conversation is going to go like this. “Hey, Wankmeister! I’ve been thinking about coming out and doing the Ballbreaker Ride. Is it hard?”

“Yes. It’s harder than nails and broken glass.”

“Oh.” Pause. “Do you think I’ll get dropped?”

“You’ll get spit out the back the minute the pace ticks up and no one will wait for you or hang back to hold your hand or give so much as a flying fartfuck. You’ll feel like a worthless pile of dung as you see the entire peloton, including small children, old ladies, and young girls, race away from you. No one will even know you’re missing. Or care.”

“Gosh. It’s that hard, huh?”

“No, not really. But you will get dropped, either because you’re weak, or because you lack mental fortitude, or for the OTHER reason.”

“The OTHER reason? What’s that?”

“The OTHER reason is that everyone gets dropped at some point. Getting dropped is part of road riding if you’re going to ride with people who are competitive. But you’ve built this big cocoon of fantasy around your cycling to protect you from the reality that you’re not very good, and so when you get dropped it crushes you because the droppage impinges on your fantasy.”

So who’s really good, then?

“I suppose you think you’re really good, then?”

“I’m not very good at all. Neither are you. Neither are any of us. The only people who are really good are easy to identify.”

“How?”

“Someone pays them to ride their bike. Everyone else spends money to ride their bike, like you and me. It’s one of the many ways we know we’re not really very good.”

“There’s tons of guys around here who can kick your ass. It’s on all your videos. Are you saying they aren’t any good?”

“That’s exactly what I’m saying. They are better than you. They are better than me. They are better than lots of people. But they’re not good enough for someone to pay them to race.”

“Dude, you sure have low self esteem.”

“Actually, it’s quite high. But I don’t need to inflate it with things are untrue. Facts don’t lower my self esteem. They raise it, if I’m man enough to admit them. I happen to be a slow bicycle rider who is old and easily beaten by countless people. I still enjoy riding and competing, and you should, too. But you won’t.”

“How do you know that?”

“Because your main concern is getting dropped, when common sense and simple observation should tell you that everyone gets dropped. Lance got dropped. Eddy got dropped. Some days you just get dropped, and if you’re riding with people who are a lot better than you, you’ll get dropped every single time.”

“That sucks.”

“If it does, you should join one of those groups where no one gets dropped.”

“Is there such a thing?”

“The ride leader is always some dude with a hairy back and greasy navel, has a little mirror on his helmet, and he polices the ride. He tells you when to slow down, when to speed up, when to do a pace line, when to ease up on the climbs, makes everyone stop at the stop signs, and makes sure that no one ever gets dropped. It’s a lot of fun if you like kindergarten.”

“What if you just don’t want to hammer?”

“Then what the fuck are you doing the NPR and Donut Ride and LaGrange Ride for?”

“It seems like there ought to be some kind of middle ground.”

“That’s just your way of saying ‘I want a ride where I can hammer when I feel like it, but won’t get dropped when other people start feeling frisky.’ It’s just another way of maintaining your fantasy that you’re a good cyclist when you’re just a bone idling wanker. Anyway, now that the road racing season is pretty much over, there’s always a good ride or two going north on PCH. Two by two, steady pace, and good guys leading the ride. You don’t have to go out and hammer.”

“So you’re telling me you like getting dropped?”

“I hate it. But you know what I hate even more?”

“What?”

“Telling myself I’m really strong when I’m really not. And it’s hard to bullshit myself when I’m kicked out the back by some teenage kid.”

Long pause. “So, I heard you went down to San Diego and rode with the SPY and Swami’s guys again.”

“Yep.”

“Did you have a good time?”

“It was awesome.”

“Did you get dropped?”

“Now that you mention it…I did.”

Wankmeister cycling clinic #12: Wazzup with Lance?

August 25, 2012 § 19 Comments

Dear Wankmeister:

I’m not a cycling fan because it’s so boring. Riding bicycles? For a living? But I read that Lance Armstrong got busted for doping even though he passed 500 piss and blood tests and is the most tested athalete in the history of sport. WTF?

Curiosity-like,
Rover

Dear Rover:

He is the victim of a witch hunt. This where people hunt for witches, which don’t exist in the real world. So they find an ugly old lady with a droopy bosom and scraggly hair, call her a witch, and then put her on a giant wooden scales with a duck to see if she floats like a piece of wood in water or sinks. Then they burn her. Have you ever seen shirtless Lance Armstrong? Major droopy bosom. No scraggly hair, but a pretty scraggly face. Ergo witch. Now they’re going to burn her. Him. It.

Salem (means “peace” in Hebrew)
Wankmeister

Dear Wankmeister:

I’m a Harvard-educated attorney who specializes in personal jurisdiction. It’s absurd for USADA to claim that they had jurisdiction over this matter. Pennoyer v. Neff.

Case restingly,
Natty Turnbull

Dear Natty:

The legal issues in this case are exceedingly complex. Please see the handy-dandy chart I’ve devised to help you crack the “code.”

Legal Issue Legal Precedent Legal Outcome
Who has the most $? USADA USADA wins
Who has jurisdiction? The richer party USADA wins
Is USADA a govt. agency? They act like one USADA wins
What is the statute of limitations for doping? Fucking forever USADA wins
Is Lance a douchebag? Last 20 yrs. of his behavior Yes
Where is Johan Bruyneel? Never missed a big race Living in a cave
Who gets Lance’s jerseys? Bjarne Riis: Kept ‘em The only clean team in sports: US Kegel Team
What happens to Vaughters et al.? [Keep a straight face here] Nothing
What’s the evidence that he doped? [Quit screeching with laughter] Come on. Really, now.

First Year Lawyerly,
Wankmeister

Dear Wankmeister:

I’ve been a Livestrong fan since its inception. Now my son Billy is asking me shit like, “Daddy, is Mr. Lance a cheater?” and “Daddy, are you going to quit wearing those cheater bracelets?” and “Daddy, what are you going to do about that big tattoo?”

Chagrinedly,
Roll J. Model

PS: Do you know anyone who would like a couple of crates of really cool yellow bracelets, extra cheap?

Dear Roll:

If you cave on this, your relationship with young Billy is toast. Forever. The best defense is an overwhelming offense. See if you can get him to crack with one of these opening gambits–

  1. “Son, if you believe he’s a cheater, then you’re calling me a liar for calling Mr. Lance a great champion. Five is kind of young to be living on the streets, isn’t it?”
  2. “Son, if it’s written in the media it’s a lie. The media are liars, every single one of them, except the ones who refuse to be suckered in by the lies of the media. So who are you with? The liars or your Dad and Mr. Lance? Choose wisely. It’s cold in the winter when you’re living on the streets.”
  3. “Son, it really hurts to have you say this about me and Mr. Lance. But it’s going to hurt you more when I get through beating your ass with this belt.”

With discipline,
Wankmeister

Dear Wankmeister:

Justice has been done. A terrible cheater and fraud on humanity has been brought to account for his misdeeds. This is the happiest day of my life.

Thankfully,
Tubby Benders (Former hall monitor)

Dear Tubby:

I’m very happy for you. Now please go to Costco. I hear they’re having a 2-for-1 “Get a Life” sale this week. You can borrow my membership card.

Contemptuously,
Wankmeister

Dear Wankmeister:

LA did a lot of good by curing cancer. Shouldn’t that count for something?

Perplexedly,
Freddy Samaritan

Dear Freddy:

Let’s imagine you raped the shit out of a bunch of kids. Then, while you were raping the shit out of them and fucking them up for life, you formed a charity through your famous football job to help displaced children, which also helped you find more kids to rape. After factoring in the good you’d done for those kids you actually helped, do you know what you’d be? A child rapist and a convicted felon. Get it?

Ethically unchallenged,
Wankmeister

Dear Wankmeister:

When can we get back to cycling?

Bored to death with this shit,
Average Joe Cyclist

Dear Average Joe:

Saturday morning at 8:00 AM, Riviera Village, Redondo Beach, California. Life begins again.

Damn straight,
Wankmeister

Some people…

August 24, 2012 § 9 Comments

If you’ve ever ridden much with Aaron Wimberley, and you don’t like him, you’re probably an asshole. On second thought, scratch “probably.” You are an asshole.

I’ve always admired him, and not just because he’s fast, and tough, and has great bike handling skills, and always fights fair. And not just because he’ll talk your ear off. And not just because he’ll talk trash and laugh good-naturedly when you talk it back.

Those things are all great qualities, but the thing I admire most is that he shares.

Dude, you really suck

A few weeks ago after a brisk beatdown on the NPR, he came up to me while we were sipping froo-froo coffees at the Center of the Known Universe.

“Dude,” he said with a laugh. “You know what I’m gonna start calling you when you attack?”

“Lightning?” I asked hopefully.

“Fuck, no. I’m gonna call you the Big Blue Bus ’cause you pull away so fucking slow that everybody, including that dude on the skateboard, has time to jump on your wheel.”

“Oh,” I said, feeling pretty tiny and cockroachish.

“Yeah,” he continued. “Just like the Big Blue Bus, dude, everybody’s parked happy in their seat and staring out the window while you flog yourself into a pile of meat and sweat, and then they all blast by in the sprint, dumping you quicker than a turd from Montezuma’s Revenge.”

“Well, I’m just slow.”

“Fuck no you’re not slow. You got power galore and you go fucking fast when you get up to speed. But like the bus, it takes you too long. All these wankers have time to climb aboard, read the paper and get a peddy. You need to work on your snap. Here’s how.”

He proceeded to give me some solid advice about how to become, if not Greased Lightning, at least a turbo bus.

Mr. Snappy

There’s another guy who’s a regular on the NPR, Trevon Salazar. He’s young and incredibly quick, but he never manages to make his way to third or fourth wheel in time for the finish. He’s always choking on someone’s fumes.

Aaron took him aside, too, and although I wasn’t there, the conversation must have gone something like this.

“Dude, your sprint positioning sucks balls. And your top end looks like you bought it at Wal-Mart.”

“Oh…” [Feeling very, very tiny.]

“Yeah. Get your ass out on the Parkway one of these evenings with me and Derek and a couple of teammates and we’ll practice giving you leadouts. You gotta be on the right wheel and then when your competition kicks, you’ve gotta have the top end to pass. It ain’t fucking rocket science.”

Take notes. Do as told. Watch good results flow.

On this morning’s NPR I didn’t do a single Big Blue Bus curb attack. Instead, I waited and hit it hard, springing free so that even though I got reeled in, the chasers had to actually chase. Each time there were nice gobs of snot and spittle hanging from the mouths of the chasers, and when they caught, there was never any counter.

After the second effort Aaron grinned over at me. “Good job, Bus. That’s how to do it!”

In the finale I grabbed Aaron’s wheel and actually made it to third in the field sprunt, my best ever.

But the most impressive thing was watching Trevon after a week of working with Aaron. Today, even though I was locked on Aaron’s wheel, with 400 yards to go Trevon just took it from me. When the last leadout man pulled off, Aaron unleashed, and not only did his understudy hold the acceleration, but he came by him neatly and with a bike length or two to spare.

“Good job, dude,” Aaron said.

How many people do you know in bike racing who’ll train their competition, and then congratulate them on a job well done?

Not very many, I bet.

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