Broken record

May 4, 2013 § 33 Comments

I hate to be the one to break your Strava bubble, but “PR” is an oxymoron. There’s no such thing as a “personal record,” any more than there’s a “personal Super Bowl victory” or a “personal presidential election.”

A record is a mark set by someone that at least two people have done. You know Chris Horner’s time up Mt. Palomar? That is a record. Eleven hundred people have done it and his time is the fastest. It’s a record time.

Even though when you climbed it on Tuesday two and a half hours slower than Chris and it was the fastest of your 67 attempts, it’s still not a personal record. It’s two and a half hours slower than the record. You can call it your personal best. You can call it your fastest time up Mt. Palomar. You can call it proof that your $2,000 power meter and $15,000 bike and $950/month personal coaching regimen are making you faster…but it still pegs you in about one thousandth place relative to the RECORD.

Nothing personal about it.

All cycling metrics point to one conclusion: You suck

Strava’s business model is simple: Provide data to wankers that shows they’re getting better. Since none of us is getting better, and in fact all of us are getting older and therefore worse, and since those of us who are improving quickly reach a plateau, there has to be a way to snake-oil us into thinking that we’re improving.

So Strava sells you a premium membership where you can join a smaller subset of records (65+ men with an inseam of less than 25″ who sleep on the left side of the bed), and thereby convert some of your meaningless “personal records” into something more meaningful: A higher spot on the age adjusted, inseam-length adjusted, side-of-the-bed adjusted leaderboard.

Unfortunately, even after adjusting yourself into 75th place, which is a huge jump from 1,000th, physics still mercilessly claws its way to the front. Your “progress” plateaus, and your ability to climb the flailerboard grinds to a halt. So it’s back to personal records, and chasing the illusion of improvement even though all the data point, or rather, scream deafeningly, to a wholly opposite conclusion: You not only suck, you suck more than you did on this segment last year. Introspective riders feel the icy hand of death tightening its grip around their throat if they look at the data too closely past about age forty.

Note to the Stravati: There’s a reason you prefer Strava to bike racing

I don’t vomit often, but when I do it’s usually after someone takes one of my KOM’s. I’ve only got seventeen of them left, and there’s not a single one that couldn’t be handily snapped up by any number of Stravati who live for that kind of thing.

It’s no defense, but I never tried to set a single one of those KOM’s, which is probably the reason they fall so easily. The handful of times I’ve gone out and tried to grab a KOM, I’ve failed, usually miserably. I use Strava for the same reason that I wear pants. It’s a social convention the lack of which would earn too much opprobrium. I also use it as a handy calorie counter. And finally, I use it for you. Just when you’re starting to think your performance is dropping, or you’re really not very good, you can click on my most recent ride and feel relief: There’s someone in your neighborhood who’s slower and an even bigger bicycle kook than you.

This, I believe, is a powerful source of inspiration for flailers and wankers throughout the South Bay. Through Strava, I keep them riding. It’s a social service, and you can thank me via PayPal.

What you can’t do is get away with the pleasant little self-deception that your KOM is as good as a bike race. You can’t even get away with the delusion that it’s as good as an old-fashioned group beatdown on the NPR.

You know why that is? Because it isn’t. Masturbating your way to the top of a leaderboard on Strava, when unaccompanied by ball-busting accomplishments on group rides or in real mass start races in which you have to actually pay an entry fee and pin on a number, are just that: Digital auto-titillation.

Believe it or don’t, I’m fine with that. Riding a bicycle is like consensual sex between adults: I not only approve of it, I’m wholly uninterested in your particular activities. I’m not a libertarian, I’m a “don’t give a fucktarian.” If you’re out pedaling your bicycle, in my book you’re winning.

If your riding is confined to setting Strava records without racing or group riding, though, you are wanking. Can we be clear about that? Good. Because last Thursday a new South bay cycling record was set. Not on Strava, where anonymous, zipless riders virtually compete  using all manner of tricks, traps, aids, pacers, run-ups, and “special assists” to set the record.

No, this Thursday record was set the old-fashioned way. Clubbers clubbed. Baby seals got their heads staved in. Pain was ladled out in buckets. And only the strong, the ornery, the mutton-headed, and the relentless survived.

One thing that’s never happened on the New Pier Ride

…is a successful four-lap breakaway. Dan Seivert and I once, on a cold, rainy, windy winter day in 2012 attacked on Vista del Mar and stayed away for four laps, but it wasn’t a real breakaway. We sneaked off three or four miles before the real ride began, there was zero horsepower in the field, and no one even knew we had attacked. Although we hurt like dogs and congratulated ourselves for the heroic effort, it was more a flailaway than a breakaway. Plus, no one cared. To the contrary, they tortured us with the worst torture known to a group ride breakaway: “You were off the front? If I’d known that I’d have chased.”

Last week, though, word went out that MMX was coming to town to do the NPR. This meant one thing: Merciless beatdown in the offing.

There were at least ten thousand baby seals at the Manhattan Beach Pier when the ride left at 6:40 AM. We hit the bottom of Pershing and it immediately strung out into the gutter and then snapped. The Westside seals were all lounging on the roadside atop the bump, because they’ve learned from repeated beatdowns that it’s better to jump in after the first hard effort than to try and jump in as the group comes by at the bottom of the little hill. Just as they were finishing their first bucket of raw mackerel, we came by like a whirlwind.

As we passed the parkway, Josh Alverson drilled it.

Then Peyton Cooke drilled it.

Then Johnny Walsh drilled it.

MMX, who had started at the back and worked his way up to the point, later noted that from the bottom of Pershing it was pure mayhem. Many of the baby seals were killed with that first single devastating blow to the head. Others, un-hit, were so stunned by the acceleration that they simply pulled over, unclipped, and skinned themselves.

Robert Efthimos reported that Thursday was his 128th time up World Way ramp, and it turned out to be his single highest average wattage ever for a lap on the NPR. He churned out those numbers stuck at the back of the herd after the break left.

After the ramp, Greg Leibert blasted away, stringing it out into a line of about 15 riders, with a small clump forming at about 16th wheel and turning into an amorphous lump into which 80 or 90 baby seals still cowered. After Greg swung over, MMX opened the throttle, dissolved the clump and turned the entire peloton into a single line with countless little blubbering seals who began snapping and popping like plastic rivets on a space shuttle.

We turned onto the parkway in full flight, with Johnny Walsh, Marco Cubillos, Josh, and “26” pounding the pedals. This is the point where after the initial surge, the front riders usually slowed down, or the neverpulls in back made their first and only real effort of the day to chase down the nascent break. Marco, John, Josh, and 26 kept going, and were soon joined by Greg, Jeff Bryant, Jay LaPlante, some dude from La Grange who was incinerated shortly thereafter, and one of the South Bay’s legendary purple card-carrying, neverpulling, wheelsuckers extraordinaire whose name shall not be mentioned.

MMX looked ahead from the pack as the break gained ground, surged, and bridged. Then he closed the door and threw away the key.

No break has ever stayed away on the NPR for all four laps. The course won’t allow it due to stoplights, the high tailwind speeds of the chasing field, and the relatively flat nature of the course.

We made the first turn and had a gap. Atop the bridge Jeff Bryant unleashed a monster pull, but then, over his head by the extreme effort, he and Greg were unable to latch onto the break as it accelerated at the next turnaround. Accounts differ, with some claiming a car pinched them, and others claiming they were too gassed to catch, but in any event the break didn’t feel like waiting, as there were already too many orange kits in the group. This meant the Greg/Jeff duo had to chase.

The pack was in a different time zone, which meant nothing as we’d just completed one lap and there was plenty of time for them to organize and chase in earnest. What we didn’t know is that they were already chasing in earnest, and the stoplight gods were smiling on us.

Having taken the initiative in trying to fend off the entire baby seal population of the South Bay, we were being rewarded with a string of green lights even as the baby seals were being punished with reds. Naturally, post-ride the baby seals that survived chalked everything up to the traffic signals rather than the sheet-snot that covered our faces and the haggard, beaten look of those who rode the break for the entire four laps.

Greg and Jeff, unable to reattach, finally hopped across the road and jumped in as we whizzed by. Greg then attacked us balls-out the remaining lap and a half. Ouch. Every time we brought him back another of our matchboxes was incinerated.

On the final stretch, after berating Sir Neverpull for never coming through, MMX unleashed the leadout from Klubtown. Sir Neverpull, suddenly discovering that with the end in sight he wasn’t quite that tired after all, leaped just in time for his engine to blow and his legs to detach from his torso. Jay LaPlante sprunted around the MMX lead-out with Josh fixed on his wheel. Going too far out and in too small a gear, Jay settled for second after a doing yeoman’s work in the break.

We celebrated this, the first ever four-lap breakaway on the NPR, with coffee and sunshine.

And yes, it was a record.

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.

In their own words (sort of)

August 2, 2012 § 4 Comments

This morning’s New Pier Ride was a wankfest deluxe, replete with a dozen different flats, a founding NPR wanker who tumped over on his side at 2mph and trashed his frame, a cement mixer swooping by at warp speed, four hundred thousand medium-sized rocks scattered along the 2.5 mile western leg on the Parkway, bar-bumping, shoulder-rubbing, hollering, hiding, sprunting, attacking, crumpling, wheelsucking, and of course Going to the Front.

The clarion sounded last night, announcing on the Internets that MMX would be coming up from North County to work off his hangover; that Fukdude would be gracing us with his national champion presence; that Prez would be there in a new lime green kit; that Erik the Red would be on a scalp-collecting mission, and that every newbie, oldbie, dumby, and Gumbie would be flailing and flogging in a mad attempt to not get kicked out the back on the first lap.

The wankers answered the call in force. Promises of an audience with the Godfather, promises of sunny weather, and promises of a merciless beatdown resulted in seventy wankers rolling out from the Pier, with an additional 30-40 getting picked up along Pershing.

How was it, then…?

“Today was a dynamic one for me, filled with highs and some lows. I slept three hours and rolled up to the Pier still drunk. I was pumped at the prospect of an exciting, solid ride.”

“I got there early and rode up the bike path. There were lots of people. and they kept coming and coming, like roaches to a pile of fresh puke.”

“Wow, a big ride for Marc’s birthday. Not that anyone knew.”

“WM has cultivated an impressive ride. Blew me away how it kept growing and swelling all the way to Pershing and then along the Parkway.”

“It was cool to see people I haven’t seen in a while.”

“This ride and Wankmeister’s crazy blog got me back into cycling. I’ve been doing this ride for two months and it just gets harder even though I’m getting fitter. Today was the fastest ever.”

“From Pershing I left the wankoton and moved to the front of the class. Got in a nice hard slap at the front after the overpass.”

“Had Wankmeister on my wheel for a long stretch, pulling into the wind. At the front I felt fantastic and never anaerobic, I could have danced all night.”

“I kept waiting for the pace to quicken, but it never did.”

“Did a few rotations and drifted back five or ten wheels, then repeat.”

“Seemed like the first first real acceleration was the second lap, when one or twenty numb nuts let Eric and a couple others go down the road. I had to chase like a motherfucker.”

“Is this ride always this hard? I used to be a bowler. Bowling’s just not this hard.”

“King Harold did a wonderful flat back pull up toward the u-turn, start of Lap 3. I was third wheel. Harold flicked an elbow and the second wheel sat up and moved right, like a total fucking wanker, leaving me to bridge that little gap and then pull all the way up to the turn. Fucking wankers. Don’t they read your blog? Go to the fucking front.”

“Finishing up the 3rd lap I hit a huge rock no one pointed out and nearly lost control. Pinch flatted, which took me out toward the start of the last lap. Major bummer; I was so primed and ready turn on the jets. I think there were twelve flats today.”

“Is there a slower B ride?”

“I kept trying to Go to the Front, but just ended up Going out the Back.”

“Strava flail. How hard was this ride, anyway?”

“The New Pier Ride is incredible. Props to Douggie, Trey, and the other wankers who thought this up. Never seen a regular ride like it, or even heard of one. Fantastic stuff.”

“This ride is a fredfest. Saw two fucking freds almost murder each other and take me out.”

“Won’t be doing this again. Fast enough to tire you out, but not fast enough to make you faster. Fucking trucks and rocks and lights and traffic and crazy people on their first bike ride. This NPR shit blows.”

“People of all stripes come from all over. Its amazing. Really inclusive, which is unusual for road cycling.”

“I didn’t get my coffee this morning because we had a power outage at my apartment. Needless to say, OTB.”

“There were the usual fast guys and lots of new guys who think they are fast until they get near the front and melt like ice cream in a reactor core. I watched a number of guys near me who never took a pull. Now, granted, some of these guys are the guys who were waiting for the sprint (as though this was a race)–we know who they are. But there were others who never got to the front but would linger near it, kind of like a dude with a naked chick who sticks his face down near her crotch and sniffs but won’t drop trou and start humping. I don’t like these people. Hump or go home.”

“I noticed you on the front numerous times, Wankmeister, but I think your legs were zapped. Good posing, though, even though you slowed us down every time you pulled through, you wanker.”

“I saw Eric on the front a few times, including that attack I had to chase down. He’s a badass.”

“The guy in the SBW was awesome. Is that the Dennis Herrera dude you were telling me about? Driving the front. I loved riding with him.”

“Awesome all the other girls out. Makes me feel good to have other girls riding nearby. And they’re strong and getting stronger.”

“Bull would pull but he would get so gassed he’d let gaps open up after, only to come back to the front for another pull. Relentless = awesome.”

“Returning to the South Bay, you had the typical wankers hitting the gas, even though they had all been wearing invisibility cloaks on the Parkway. WTF?”

“Fucking endless list of riders who never pulled, not even once. That Pischon dude took a monster hit westbound on Lap One. Beastly. Prez got the bit between his teeth once, too.”

“Fast guys are fast: Lonergan, Hair, Davy, Eric, Big Steve.”

“So many people do this ride, get dropped and jump back in make it scary. I especially don’t like the guys who get dropped and then when the lead group catches them they feel compelled to jump towards, but never on, the front. Scary bunch of wankers.”

“Ride is awesome because when you get shelled you can hop back in. I’ve gotten hella stronger in six months and can almost finish the ride.”

“Post ride festivities indicate there is a real community feel that has developed from this ride. Kudos.”

“People taking care of each other is a good sign. The camaraderie is apparent and it’s contagious. This is beautiful. Saw people always stopping to help with mechanicals and flats. Just don’t see that much.”

“I wish I could do NPR more often!”

“Thanks to all the SB wankers for creating such a great ride and for making me feel a part of it.”

“Is this a regular ride? What time does it start?”

“Can you dig all the westsiders who come down for this? Legit.”

“Huge turnout, largest I’ve ever seen. Wanker to hammer ratio was decent.”

“Lots of fresh faced wankers I don’t know. Not so fresh faced at the end, just rent with shrapnel and had the look of the black plague about ‘em. They’ll toughen up.”

“Does this ride always have all these rocks? I fricking flatted. Yo, wankers, point shit out and help thy fellow rider, that is if you’re not riding over your head and can remove your hands from the bars without crashing out thirty people.”

“Great pace, not too fast, not too slow.”

“Fireman brought it home over Hair in a nail biter.”

“Great to see MMX out and briefly catch up. Dude’s riding strong.”

“Fuck that was a giant group festering at the pier before ride. The last time I saw that many idiots in one place was when I watched a joint session of Congress.”

“Every lap I poked my nose in the wind and soon thereafter thought I would be dropped.”

“The ride was incredibly hard. However I noticed several dingleberries at the ass end who were neither poo nor hair  yet were stubbornly there. Someone oughta shake them loose.”

“Post ride coffee looked like a class reunion. I almost got a phone number. These biker chicks are smokin’ hot.”

“Dave Perez likes having his picture taken. And why was he lying on the ground at Fukdude’s feet?”

“My favorite part of the ride:  Some wanker shouting ‘Stop riding on the rocks,’ as if those little pebbles were a problem. Pussy needs to ride a few miles in rural Madison County. He’d be praying for rocks. Our roads are paved with possum teeth, the bones of Republicans, and small bore bullets.”

“This Cancellara looking dude I’ve never seen in my life goes, ‘Hey is this the last lap?’ and I go ‘Yeah,’ and he goes ‘Then you lead it out, I’ll jump on your wheel and take the vee, ok?’ Uh yeah, sure, and you wanna pork me in the ass afterwards as well?”

“It was the fastest NPR to date, 24mph + average speed, not counting the boulders flying everywhere, fucking pachinko cycling at its finest as Trey flailed in the corner and broke his bike. Not that he cares, ’cause now he has an excuse to get a new one.”

“My legs are still sore in weird places from racing San Marcos with my fit all fucked up!”

“Can you introduce me to that cute chick I was riding behind? She is so hot.”

“I came to ‘sit-in on a social ride,’ because ya, SPY MMX is here, let’s be social because they are the BEST!”

“Ride started out super chill…seemed extra slow to the base of Pershing. Then people started flying and others started gasping, I was like, wow, do these hackers have medical clearance to be out here?”

“Can you introduce me to MMX after the ride? I’ve always wanted to meet him.”

“I set a PR on the whole ramp section meaning it was the fastest in a long time.”

“This just wasn’t even a social ride, I mean nobody really seemed to be in social mode unless that meant look to the person behind you and give them the ‘Noooo, you go!’ look or look ahead at where you can go to make everyone else have to go faster.”

“What’s wrong with people? Might as well attempt to take a pull, why not?”

“Surfer Dan told me to go to the front today and tell people he told me to. Of course he wasn’t there. Surfing.”

“I took a short pull that clearly seemed slow to everyone else because someone quickly came by me. Thanks.”

“Everyone seemed to be hurting a lot after about Lap 1. Wankers!”

“I went to the front when I could. Problem was that I kept jumping on wheels of people that liked to act like they were going to the front and then slow down like five wheels before it. Guyyyysss, that’s not the front!”

“After four laps we had completed what Strava records as the fastest total time for the four laps I have ever done with two laps being the fastest ever. So it was a damn fast four laps. Anybody who thinks it wasn’t hard was in the caboose.”

“I actually wanted to sprint, but I had never heard so much yelling, cursing, and wheels going squiggly! But, I was close enough to the front to see the people that were legitimately sprinting and I must say it was damn impressive!”

“When we turned off the Parkway a SPY guy, Perez, and a couple others went back to hammering. I followed. Another PR.”

“Ramp…fastest ever. Four laps…fastest ever. Return to Imperial…fastest ever. There was no fucking break.”

“They should call this the Lots of Rocks, Flats, Yelling, and Gasping Ride.”

“It was a huge ride that became much smaller once the gas got turned on. Props to everyone who kept getting back in the mix!”

“I felt like my head was a giant pimple that was about to burst!”

“What a bunch of whiners! Why would you come on a ride that is supposed to be a total beatdown and then complain when you get an awesome workout?”

“I say thank you to people after they get me through a workout that I never could have done alone. You just got stronger without asking for it!”

“Wanker crashed out turning onto Imperial on the way back. It looked like he pulled a Tink and just fell over. Hope he was okay.”

“NPR as of late and especially today: more LADIES, and all the ones that have been coming regularly are getting stronger and stronger!”

“The Pier almost sank from the weight…of bodies, not bikes.”

“NPR participants will lobby Manhattan Beach planning committee to widen the alley.”

“More horsepower today than the Arkansas Tractor Pull Championships. But not as many IQ points.”

“Big names, astonishing jerseys, 110 wankers. Doesn’t get much better than this!”

“Can your Tuesday AM ride do this?”

“Burlap Jack, Mountain Mouse, Pippy Aus-Stocking, the SPYfia family shooting the place up, guns blazing, bodies everywhere, blood gushing from new orifices, but afterwards everybody friendly as hell. Even Daniel.”

“In order to make the World Way overpass in the top 10 required having the tip of the saddle touching the lower intestine. Fuck that hurt.”

“Getting back to Westchester, the tip of the saddle was now rubbing the pancreas.”

“First lap was like a fuck’n MMA cage fight, with 20 dudes in the cage at once who only knew how to groin kick and eye stab. Nasty shit.”

“Second lap, beside the white boulders… there were flashes of white light…and fifty wankers pedaling triangles in the gutter as their heads spun around like Linda Blair. Hope they got their demons outed.”

“The so-called sprint was more like Custer’s Last Stand, minus the surprise. All the wankers knew the killing was going to happen. Scary shit.”

“Wankmeister, you’ve taught a lot of people that beatdowns are to be valued. Now could you teach them to Go to the Front?”

New and Dramatic Once-in-a-Lifetime Offering!

July 20, 2012 § 1 Comment

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History

In 1987, a hardened group of dedicated triathletes including Marc Spivey began “The Morning Ride” in Hermosa Beach, leaving at 6:00 AM from Fleet Feet on Pier Avenue. The original course went out to Playa del Rey, through the Marina, and back again. As the ride gained popularity, cyclists began to comprise the majority of riders, and the triathletes went back to their solitary goofball ways, pushed aside by the true heroes of the road.

When Westchester Parkway was built, the ride added a lap on the Parkway, climbing up from Pershing, with a finishing sprint somewhere near the third traffic island on the return to Pershing. The ride retained this configuration for many years. At some point along the way the start time changed to 6:40 AM, most likely due to the laziness of the riders and the darkness during winter. Also, as the universe continued to pull all things towards its center, the starting place became the Manhattan Beach Pier. It picked up the moniker “The Pier Ride” as a result. Stubby McGee, the world renowned cosmologist has recently identified the Manhattan Beach Starbucks just up from the pier as the Center of the Known Universe, or CotKU, for short.

The Old Pier Ride has long been an LA institution, but it has also had a long list of drawbacks. The first drawback was the stoplights, which are numerous. The second was the narrow roadway along Admiralty and Washington. The third was the condition of the road surface, which was often atrocious. For lots of riders, i.e. the geri-wankers, the start and stop nature of the ride was perfect because it provided lots of chances to catch your breath, and there was rarely any fear of getting dropped…at least for more than a couple hundred yards.

Riders who were racing, or who wanted a more intense worked, or who lived in that sad dystopic netherworld of thinking they would one day race professionally in Europe, typically avoided the Old Pier Ride for the same reasons that other riders liked it: too many stops, too much wankage. No one ever joined the Old Pier Ride to get fit, or at least no one ever admitted it. Sometime in early 2011, the situation became dire. Long segments of Admiralty were torn up and covered with giant steel plates. Often, the fast stretches were a deadly mix of gravel, steel plates, and badly cracked asphalt. Even battle-tested LA riders, accustomed to bad streets, hairy traffic, hair-of-the-dog drivers, and soupy summer smog were starting to have nightmares about the ride.

In October or November 2011, long-time South Bay cyclists and Pier Ride wankers Doug Peterson and Trey Smith took matters into their own hands and proposed a new route, cutting out the marina altogether and concentrating the ride on Westchester Parkway, where the peloton would do four laps instead of one, with a single loop from Pershing up and over World Way at LAX. Everyone seemed willing to try it out, as Admiralty had become untenable for even the most die-hard OPR fans.

From its very first running, the new route was a success. The roads were wider, better paved, and had fewer traffic signal interruptions. The ride was smoother and the average speed was higher. Instead of being a marshmallow fest, the New Pier Ride became a dickstomp par excellence, with each edition of the ride resulting in citations for littering due to the dickage left in ruins along the Parkway.

The finishing sprint, which had been part of the ride for years, was safer because the four laps tended to tire riders out, leaving fewer people in contention. As word spread, more and more people began doing the ride, finding it to be a more consistent and better workout than the previous version. The New Pier Ride has become the de facto morning ride now for many riders in the South Bay.

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The features of this extraordinary StageOne kit, handcrafted in Italy, are outlined below:

1)      Double-helix orgasmatron fiber weave: These kits are made from a unique, space-age fiber guaranteed to increase the length and intensity of your sexual climaxes, on the bike or off.

2)      Sponsor highlights: The rear pockets of your NPR jersey will highlight the following companies who have done so much to make this ride a legend.

a)      Sckubrats: The post-coital meeting place for every NPR, where the marginally employed will stave off bankruptcy for a few more days. Maybe. “Fuque Worque!” says the Sckubrats mermaid with her cycling helmet and middle finger pointed skyward.

b)      RuggedMAXXX2: The world’s leading producer of herbal male enhancement pills, RuggedMAXXX2 has long helped NPR men, and their lucky women, enjoy the enhanced benefits that only come from a python-like organ.

c)      Justim Stomp Boots: Each NPR combatant puts on his or her own pair of custom stomp boots prior to the CotKU meet-up, and Justim’s boots have special grooves in the sole to allow for extra stompage. Get your stomp on!

d)      SPY Optic: The best eyewear on planet earth, allowing you to see each grinding blow as you crush the wheelsucks with your tremendous power.

Kit Components

Order Here, Now! shop.kitorder.com/StageOneNPR

This amazing kit’s components are as follows:

Incredibly amazing NPR short-sleeve jersey: This is rad and bitchin’. StageOne PRO cut slim and sleek to fight the wind and to encourage you not to have that third donut.

Incredibly unbelievable NPR bib shorts: No asscrack cycling shorts on the NPR, no sirree! You’ll pedal with your hairy bunghole covered up nice good with bib shorts, StageOne’s top of the line PRO bib.

Incredibly astounding NPR armwarmers: No more shuffling through your sock drawer trying to find a pair that match your kit. These match from the get-go!

Incredibly mindblowing NPR socks: When the wanker on your wheel is barely able to hang on, the last thing he’ll see is the cruel admonition on your socks for him to Go to the Front! Socks are white, and rad. Get a handful of these puppies, for sure!

Incredibly astonishing NPR tee-shirt: Apres-NPR, you’ll need this to wander around the house in, legs all buttery from the beatdown, even as you imagine your next heroic pull on Thursday. Made by Active-T, run by local Dutch dude Marcel Hoksbergen.

Sizing

Order Here, Now! shop.kitorder.com/StageOneNPR

Please don’t fucking ask me about sizing, unless you’re going to get something for me. I wear a small jersey, medium bibs. Your size, and how StageOne correlates to your arms, ass, chest, breasts, thighs, pecker, etc. is a complete mystery to me, and always will be. That’s a good thing, unless we’re beneath the sheets together and trying to fit the round peg into the vertical slot. There’s a StageOne sizing chart on our ordering site, but if you’ve ever been able to shop using a sizing chart, you’ve probably also been able to assemble something from Ikea by reading the directions. Chapeau.

For those of you who want to actually come and try the stuff on to make sure that it fits you in all the right places, sample fitting kits will be available at the StageOne World Headquarters in Redondo Beach.

Please do your due diligence on this, but whatever you do, don’t ask me about it. I’ll shrug. If the stuff doesn’t fit, you’re hosed. I won’t take it back, offer you an exchange, help you change your baby’s poopy diapers, or listen to your rant. Go ahead and call me a cocksucking thief now, while we’re both in a good mood, and get it out of the way. Maybe you can pawn it off on some newbie sucker who’s doing the ride for the first time.

Exchanges/Returns

Order Here, Now! shop.kitorder.com/StageOneNPR

When you buy a really expensive new car, it comes with a warranty. In fact, you even get a warranty with virtually any bullshit appliance, even those rotary nose-hair clipper dealies. So if you want a warranty, go buy one of those items. This shit is bike clothing. Although I’ve worn the crap out of my StageOne pro stuff, love it, and have talked to numerous riders and racers who also wear it and love it, I can’t guarantee that this run of clothing will be any good. It may fall apart the minute you put it on, for all I know. So when the colors run, and the thread melts, and the fabric turns to linseed oil, don’t come running to me asking for a refund. I will tell you that you are hopelessly fucked and the money has already been sent to UPenn for my son’s sophomore year tuition.

On the other hand, I personally have huge faith in StageOne’s clothing products. They’ve stood up to bitter abuse and thousands of hard miles, and they remain as solid, well made, and comfortable as the day I first pulled them on. That’s the kind of quality you get out of Italian sweatshops that you just can’t get here in the good old U.S. of A. paying a humane wage to Americans. The 7-day workweek, child exploitation, and no minimum wage of the early 20th Century did have its benefits.

The other thing to keep in mind is that Wankmeister Industries and StageOne operate out of the smallest corner of a dimly lit basement, and they aren’t making squat off this deal, other than spare coffee money, the pride of seeing NPR worn by the LA wankoton, and the estimated $5.6 million in profits that we will reap from this incredible cash cow. We’ve already calculated that if we sell 2.3 million kits we will be able to break even, and with sales of 1.5 billion kits we will be able to retire by 2045. You’ll say you knew us when.

This is all a not-so-nice way of saying that you’ve bought bike shit before and been burned, or not liked it, or wanted your money back. Do yourself a favor if you’re really concerned about product quality and fit, talk to some of the riders who wear it, or better yet, don’t order anything. The riders you talk to will be brutally honest, at least in regard to those matters about which they’re not lying through their teeth. It goes without saying that if you change your mind after you’ve ordered, you’re hosed. No refunds, no changes, no exchanges, nil, zip, nada, nope, no way. Our tiny basement corner is going to be overflowing with shit in a few weeks, and I’ll be dogdamned if I’m going to crawl through the mountain of crap trying to see if I can swap out your male xxl bibs for an xxs ladies’ chamois. No can do.

Ordering Procedure

Order Here, Now! shop.kitorder.com/StageOneNPR

How can a couple of marginally employed deadbeats like us offer you such an incredible deal? Simple, we put the risk on someone else, namely you. For a limited 7-day period you can go to shop.kitorder.com/StageOneNPR and place your order, paying up front for something you’ll have to wait two months to receive. After that ordering time elapses, it doesn’t matter how much you come running to me with your sob story about how you just found out, or your alimony check just cleared, or you thought you’d ordered it but when the peyote wore off you were naked, in jail, and couldn’t get to a computer…doesn’t matter.

I will tell you that the ordering period is closed, and I will make no exceptions. None. Ever. For anyone. Except a few people. This means you’ll have to watch all your happy friends pedal around the Parkway nattily attired in the coolest kit ever to hit the South Bay, and your only recourse will be to wait for the next ordering period, which could come as soon as September or as soon as never.

Once your order has been placed, and the order period has closed, you will have to wait. It will seem like forever or eight weeks, whichever is longer. You’ll be so tempted to email and text and call. “When will the kits be here?” “I paid like six months ago. Where’s my shit?”

Your inquiries will be placed in a small asbestos wastebasket and burned. I will not answer them unless accompanied by a service of process. This stuff will be ready in about eight weeks from the closing date, with “about” being the key word. We’re talking bike kits, folks, the one thing that no cyclist ever has been able to do on time except for Kevin Phillips. I’m not Kevin.

I know it’s hard to wait for something this awesome, this good, this incredible, when you’re used to getting your vibrator next-day-delivery from Amazon, but we’re cyclists. We are lazy. We’re only punctual for the NPR because it won’t wait. So you’ll have to suck it up and wait. We’re doing our best in between bike rides, coffee, and sleep, so instead of riding our asses for shit being late, buy us a free iced coffee and thank us for trying to make a quick buck off you, our friends.

Finally

Order Here, Now! shop.kitorder.com/StageOneNPR

If your life is like everyone else’s you have priorities. A priority is defined as that which you do before all else. The alternate definition is that which you’re supposed to do before all else, but in fact relegate until you’ve finished updating FB, checking the Tour results, and eating lunch. If you’re going to order one of these kick-ass kits, make it the first kind of priority. Do it now.

Right.

Now.

And thanks!

I wuz too sweepy to wide my bicycle

July 12, 2012 § 13 Comments

The chieftains of the South Bay had called a council of war. The band of wankers in North County had sent a message through their esteemed chief MMX, a warrior of great repute, that one of the Swamis band would come to the South Bay to participate in the holy spirit ceremony known as the New Pier Ride. Although he would bring no weapons beyond his fearsome legs and slightly bulging tummy, this mighty man from Swamis would return to North County with a full accounting of the South Bay NPR.

It was a serious matter. Each mighty chieftain sat in his place around the flickering embers awaiting his turn to speak.

First to break the silence after each wanker had swigged from the holy flask of energy drink was the mightiest chieftain, the great G$. “Serious times are these,” he said, with great gravity. “Much will depend on what this warrior from the south sees here. Should he return with reports of a weak and disorganized band of wankers, these marauding and somewhat unclean barbarians from the south will be emboldened to attack us on our own ground. So say I.”

Next to speak was the mighty wankette, Suze of the Sonye clan. “Yet if this warrior returns to his ancestral home with dick a’pounded, yea, even with deep and painful imprints upon his member from the repeated and merciless stompings of our people, then will they think long and hard before sending a war party to our hallowed hunting grounds. A stomped dick is a fearsome thing, no less when given from the boots of a warrior squaw.”

The flask was passed again, and each chieftain partook. All eyes turned to Erik the Red, who calmly spat into the fire. “These people of the North County, I have seen them. A mighty warrior here and there, to be sure, and the home of the fearsome clan of SPY. But who among us has not stomped the dick of a Swamis wanker, weak of spirit, weak of leg, and childlike of lung? Who among us has not sent these miserable curs running home to lick the pussy on flat course or hilly, long course or short, trial of time or finish of sprint? Who, I say?”

The assembled chieftains nodded in assent.

The fearsome Prez then lifted his coup stick. “Hark to the shriveled penises tied to my coup stick!” he cried. “There, a tiny and dried one from Swamis, note it for its generally poor coloration, lack of vigor, and general smallness! There, a middling sized one, yet so crushed and stomped and beaten flat by the mighty stomp boots of the South Bay that it hardly resembles the organ of a man. What have we to fear from these pint-sized warriors whose members are of such smallness that their stomping is made difficult due to such tininess? Let them come! We will banish them back from whence they came!”

Fighting Squaw Mighty Mouse then spoke. “Each of you great chiefs has spoken with wisdom. Yet let us not be the first to declare war. True, these Swamis be tiny of penis. True, these Swamis be fodder for our boots, so mighty of stomping. True, their assembled force could easily be crushed as a coke can by an eighteen-wheeler. Still, have we not some benefit in welcoming this knave, and sending him home with a show of our strength?”

Josh of the Funny Accent nodded. “The fighting squaw speaks truly. Let this contemptible Swami join our holy rites, and let him return home holding his dick in many broken parts, with foreskin in tatters. But let us not depend on happenstance. Send out the signal to all among our mighty clan, those distant to the West and East, our brothers and sisters all, and bid them bring their mightiest legs, their strongest lungs, their bravest warriors to the Tuesday rites. Let this Swamis visitor return home, if he can, with memories so filled with bitterness and pain that none will dare venture forth from their unswept hovels, filled as they are with cheap trinkets and dung.”

The oath was then sworn. Each chieftain lifted her or his coup stick, decorated as they were with the tiny and shrunken scrotums of the Swamis, and returned to their respective camps.

The fatal Tuesday dawned gloomy and cool. The drumbeat had been sent out over the Book of Face, and from the farthest reaches of the county came grim-faced men and women, heroes of the iron horse, adorned with the colors of their clan, legs shining, prepared to mete out the punishment of pain. By the fateful time of forty minutes past the hour of six such giants of the road as Man of the Fires, Steve of the Bigness, Erik the Red, Holder of the Baum, Yard Full of Junk, Girl of Newness, Suze of the Sonye Clan, Davis Mike of Great Seniority, Tinker of Ringing Bell, as well as the grizzled and battle-tested ancients of the tribe including Tim of the Gillibrand, Cary the Elder, and a host of young braves eager to test the sharpness of their lances.

But, lo! As the fierce host stood waiting for the arrival of the Swami with the slightly bulging tummy, the Master of Wanks held high the Phone of i-ness. “Hearken, my fellow warriors! Your courage and resolve have been met with sloth and fear!”

With these words, the Master of Wanks read the mail of electronicity that had been sent to his Phone of i-ness. “I stayed up late last night and overslept,” read the message of the Swami. “I will try to make it next week.”

Howls of laughter and ridicule cut the early morning air. “Knocker of puds!” called one.

“Dick of microscopicity!” howled another.

“Perfect emblem of Swamidom!” cried several in unison.

With great mirth the host rolled forth, another epic New Pier Ride to be told around campfires for ages to come.

Me, my brother, and my bike

June 27, 2012 § 22 Comments

Yesterday’s New Pier Ride was dedicated to my brother, who took his life on June 16, 2012. Slightly more than seventy people rolled out from the Manhattan Beach Pier at 6:40 AM. By the time we turned onto Westchester Parkway, the peloton was easily a hundred strong.

Christine Reilly, Stella Tong, Greg Leibert, Lauren Mulwitz, Joe Yule, Vickie VanOs Castaldi, Izzie VanOs Castaldi, Chris Gregory, Tink, Suze Sonye,  Jay Yoshizumi, Brian Perkins, Gus Bayle, Rahsaan Bahati, Cary Alpert, Sarah Mattes, Greg Seyranian, Dara Richman, and David Perez brainstormed and got the word out so that people were at the Pier well in advance of the start time. Vickie and Greg took the sixty-five handmade armbands, beautifully lettered by Izzie with “R.I.P. Ian, ’62-’12” and tied one to each person’s arm. Then Dave Kramer introduced Greg, who made a short, moving, and beautiful speech about my brother, someone he had never met.

I then clipped in and led us out onto the bike path. Once I pulled off and floated to the back, I was overcome by the sight of the countless yellow armbands fluttering in the breeze. My friends had done this for me, as well as people I’d never even met, like Emily and her boyfriend Chris, who came over from the west side just to be there. Others who couldn’t make it like Dara and Laurie were there in spirit, and still others showed up at TELO in the evening and shared their sympathies and condolence. I’ll never be able to repay any of them.

It’s a very good debt to owe, forever.

Girls and bikes

I got into cycling as a result of my brother, indirectly. His second year of high school he got in a horrific fight with my mom about the car. Our parents had divorced a couple of years before, and it was the kind of hateful, acrimonious, bitter divorce that paralyzes the kids and poisons your life for the next few decades, like battery acid in the ice cream. Ian was tired of fighting over the car and one day he went out and bought a black

Fuji touring bike. It cost $300, an incomprehensible amount of money.

Going from a Jeep Golden Eagle Cherokee to a bicycle? I had one conclusion: “Dork.”

Within a couple of weeks, though, I discovered the source of his inspiration. His girlfriend was a cyclist, and they biked everywhere together. “Whatever,” I thought. “He’s still a dork.”

Then a couple of weeks after that I began to hear moaning and groaning coming out of his bedroom. This was way before Internet porn. This was awesome, and he was a dork no more. “What a stud!” I thought. “That bike deal is pretty cool!”

Buses and bikes

Although I didn’t rush out and get a bike to aid in the quick dispatch of my virginity, the idea remained that bikes were cool. This was partly because Ian had let me test ride his Fuji a few times, and it was so different from the rusted out Murray that I’d used for three years to commute to Jane Long Junior High that it hardly felt like a bicycle.

My freshman year in college at the University of Texas, 1982, my parents refused to let me have a car. I lived in the Village Glen Apartments out on Burton, six or seven miles from campus, and had to take the shuttle bus, which in those days was run by union-busting Laidlaw. They employed only hippy stoners from the 60’s and 70’s to drive the buses, and paid just enough to keep the hippies in weed, ensuring that there would never be any unionizing.

The Village Glen was one of the last bus stops on the Riverside Route before getting on I-35 and going to campus, so in the morning the buses were often full. That meant having to get out to the bus stop extra early, as the first bus or two rarely had room for even one more passenger. One morning in October I was standing in the rain waiting for the bus. The first one passed me and splashed me. The second one passed me. The third one roared by with an “Out of Service” sign on the front.

I screamed at the driver and flipped him off. He braked. I’d never seen a whole bus go sideways. Out bounded the raging hippy, fists balled and murder in his eyes. If I hadn’t been so tiny and petrified he would have killed me. Instead he screamed. “How about I beat you into a fucking pulp you snotnosed little fuck?” he roared.

“Uh, I, I, I’m really sorry. Please don’t kill me!” I begged.

“You ever fucking give me any attitude on a bus I’m driving I’ll break you in half you little prick. They don’t pay me enough in this shit job to put up with bullshit from spoiled little assholes like you!”

“Yes, sir,” I mumbled.

[To crack dealer] “So, should I start using crack?”

I had to wait another twenty minutes in the cold, pelting rain. During those twenty minutes I went from being grateful that I’d get to school with all of my teeth to angry at being a bus sheep. My resentment built throughout morning classes and exploded in an epiphany when my last course finished at noon. “I’m gonna buy a fucking bike, just like my brother did! Fuck Laidlaw! Fuck that hippy stoner fucker! Fuck the rain!”

I practically ran down 24th Street to Freewheeling Bicycles and Crackhouse, where I realized something else after walking the aisle. “Fuck, I’m broke!”

Fortunately, Uncle Phil Tomlin had just the bike for me, a Nishiki International with Suntour derailleurs, Dia Compe brakes, and Sugino cranks. At a paltry $375.00, I’d be able to easily afford it as long as I didn’t eat in November. Food or bike? It was an easy choice, especially with Uncle Phil kindly and professionally assisting me with my first bikecrack purchase.

The rest is history, and a year later I’d already been voted “Most Likely to be Killed by a Car or Truck” by my riding buddies. 1984 was my breakout year, when I dominated the Bloor Road to Blue Bluff Time Trial and won a coveted Laverne and Shirley board game for first place. The thirty years after buying that first bike have flown by, and somehow I’m still riding with the same happiness and joy as the day I pedaled that Nishiki out of the Freewheeling parking lot.

This is gonna hurt me and it’s gonna hurt you

So this thing that has given me more joy and happiness, this thing that has surrounded me with friends who are often closer than family, is a gift from my brother. I thought about that while Greg spoke. He paid me the ultimate compliment in the process, saying that they had come to honor my brother because without him, I wouldn’t be part of their community.

There’s no other way to say this than to say I felt more loved than I have ever felt in my life. Sweaty, muscled men threw their arms around me, and sweaty, muscled, beautiful women did, too, each one saying something that sounded like love, regardless of the words. And as proof that these weren’t just empty phrases, when we hit the bottom of Pershing they went so hard so fast that I was almost blinded by the pain.

“This one,” Jaeger said as he came by with the ferocity of a jungle beast, “is for Ian.”

There’s a place for gentleness and for camaraderie; it’s called the bricks on the Manhattan Beach Starbucks after the ride. The New Pier Ride itself is a place for the unbridled beatdown, the relentless attacking into the wind, the crushing of the weak by the strong.

“Memorial lap in silence?”

“Fuck you, dude.”

“Give ol’ Wankmeister the win?”

“Over my dead body. He wouldn’t want it and I wouldn’t give it.”

Suffice it to say that today I was the weak, and others were the strong, and the law of the jungle prevailed, as it always should. But even though I was the weak and struggled at the end, I didn’t get crushed. I got carried along by the unlikeliest thing of all, a raft of soft yellow ribbons floating in the breeze.

The extraordinary, incredible, amazing story of today’s NPR

June 14, 2012 § 4 Comments

Your morning begins like this, his morning begins like this, her morning begins like this, and my morning begins like this: “Fuck. Is it time to get up already?”

Shortly after the get-up-now-you-fucker ringtone, I got a text buzz from Hair, who had planned to meet me at the top of VdM, from whence we would pedal to the ride. I didn’t even have to look at the screen. The only reason a riding buddy texts you at 5:20 AM is to say, “I’m a lazyfuk and not coming. See you at the Pier,” which is exactly what it said.

Strap it on, bitch

I got up. I put on my undershirt. I put on my bibs. I put on my jersey. I put on my armwarmers and socks and gloves and helmet. I put my tire lever thingy and spare tube and plastic wallet and shit into my back pocket. I aired up my tars and I filled my water bottle, the one that says CalBikeLaw.com just in case some fucker runs me over and I need to dial up my lawyer’s website while I’m bleeding out in the gutter.

I opened the hall closet and rummaged through the shoes that were all dumped on top of each other, looking for my stomp boots. The big red ones with gnarly ridges on the soles so that when I get to stomping on somebody’s dick and it gets caught in the soles the ridges hook onto it good. The big red ones with 47 eyeholes for lacing it up with thick leather laces. The big red ones with the left foot pointy steel toed for drawing blood, and the right steel toed one for just kicking the shit out of something until it’s blunt too.

I laced up those motherfucking stomp boots good and tight.

Then I got my GoAmateur camera and bolted that motherfucker onto the rails of my bike seat using a mos-def K-Edge GoAmateur Seatcam Rail Clamp. It sounds like an antivenin for venereal disease, but it isn’t.

I strapped that bitch onto my bike seat good and tight.

This hero sandwich ain’t got no beef

We got to Pershing and I hit the jets up the little riser. Then I fizzled at the little bend and Hair came stomping by and gapped everyone. Then G$ came stomping by and gapped everyone. Then I drifted back into the wankoton and sucked wheel. I had flat legs and was going to have to sit in and hide from the front like all the other wankers on the NPR usually do.

And you know what I learned? It’s ridiculously easy. I barely cracked a sweat. What a fucking joke. No wonder everyone’s always smiling and chatty and catching up on the news and complimenting each other’s thick, luscious eyelashes and shit.

So then I went and took a pull and felt really terrible, so I stopped doing that. There was a passel of wankers who had steel in their eyes and fire in their bellies and they were determined to get up to the front and lay it down. But they were having difficulty finding the front. I overheard ‘em.

“Hey, Wanker #3491, where’s that there front?”

“I was gonna ask you the same thing!”

“Is that it up there?”

“I think so!”

“Let’s go up there, then!”

And off they went and I followed for a way, but sure enough, they got lost and couldn’t find it. I felt sorry for them and tried to help. “Hey, you pussy motherfuckers! The front’s up there! Where all that open space is! And where there’s ten guys in a single line! And where the wind is blowing that steel flagpole double! Get up there and take a pull you lazy motherfuckers!”

They doubled up their efforts and charged up towards the front, but just where the double-wide draft of Pischon and the triple-wide draft of Big Steve and the quadruple-wide draft of Fr8 Train stopped, that’s where they got lost again and drifted back to the back.

Save your bullets, especially when they’re BB’s

On the beginning of the third lap Paul Che attacked into the headwind. Stathis the Wily Greek and Ryan Begley and some other Big Orange dude went with him, and I struggled up to the rear. We had a good gap but got stopped at the light. Just when we put our feet down the pack caught us and the light turned green and there I was in the thick of the wankoton again.

Everybody was so darned happy and the pace was so damned slow, the pack spread out five or six people wide. What a wankfest. It strung out a little with the tailwind, but if you cowered behind Big Steve you got up the little climb without hardly turning your legs, much less hurting. On my right was Hockeystick. On my left was Gooseman. What more proof did I need that it was easy?

Please momma, I promise I’ll stop wetting the bed

On the beginning of the fourth lap I attacked into the headwind. G$ and Don the Referee Dude went with me. We flailed along for a while until the wankoton sort of gave up. G$ took a big pull. Don the Referee Dude came through and flailed, then cracked. I saw he was hurting, and he really seemed like a good guy and I liked him and respected his effort, so I put the knife in his nuts and turned up the pace a couple mph when I came through. He fell out through the bomb bay doors and was gone.

G$ hunkered down and adjusted the “kill” setting on his stomp boots and began to kick the shit out of his pedals like they were made of dicks. It was all I could do to hang on. The wankoton had gotten a big ol’ mouthful of headwind and was choking on it like a dog trying to swallow peanut butter, and we had a gap of 40 or 200 nautical miles. At the turnaround we were about twenty seconds up.

G$ sat up. “I’m going back there, Wanky. You got this one. Get it!”

This was like when my mom used to drop me off at the Harmon School in Houston, before she got my my stuffed tiger, Georgey. I wanted to cry. “Please don’t leave me, mom! I promise I’ll stop peeing in my bed! I promise I’ll stop chewing the liners in your dress shoes! I promise I’ll quit feeding ammonia and aspirin to the dog!”

But it was all to no avail. G$ left me to my own devices, just like at the Harmon School when I had to walk through the gate, sobbing bitter tears as the evil pack of cruel bullies gleefully waited their turn to rip me to shreds. So I wiped my eyes and put my head down and kept stomping the pedals. Pretty soon I was up the riser and had crossed the bridge.

No one in the history of anything has ever been chased down by Prez

You know how when you meet a nice girl and in the first few seconds you kind of hit it off and you both get that good vibe without having to say anything, and then before you’ve even had a chance to introduce yourself she says, “Look, I don’t do anal unless we’re married”?

Well, that’s how it is with Prez. Prez don’t do chasing (not sure about the premarital anal). So you can damn well bet I was chagrined to get caught 100 meters before the finish line, which is the start of the third traffic island, and to have Hair pass me at 40mph, followed by Erik the Vicious, followed in turn by Prez. I checked my post-ride video and there was Prez, leading the chase and leading out Hair and Erik to pimp me after a five-mile breakaway.

I could tell you that I stopped at the stoplight because it was red and because there was a cop there and because I’m a noble and honest dude who doesn’t believe in cheating to win something as silly as a group ride that you can’t even win anyway, but you’d call bullshit and say I was a lying, cheating, underhanded fuck who would stop at nothing to win, including spiking my water bottle with RuggedMAXXX2 and running all the lights, because that’s the kind of bastard I am.

And you’d be mostly right.

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