July 20, 2012 § 1 Comment
The New Pier Ride unofficial team kit is officially here!
You have seven days left to order! Click below to order now!
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.
The NPR Kit: Your Fashion Statement of Belonging
Order Here, Now! shop.kitorder.com/StageOneNPR
Joe Yule, Yule Design, StageOne Sports, and several dozen other major corporate entities operating underneath the Yuletide umbrella of cycling fashiondom, in conjunction with Wankmeister Industries, a global conglomerate of interlocking directorates that controls virtually every aspect of international finance and commodities, and which lurks behind most elections in the free world, have teamed up to create a cycling kit that supersedes, updates, modifies, replaces, and improves upon every other NPR kit that has ever before been conceived or produced.
Just in time for fall, you now have the chance to place an order for a limited time—seven days only—so that you can be one of the few, the proud, the unmistakable wankers of the LA cycling scene.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
June 4, 2012 § 4 Comments
It’s all about the shirk.
The thing about racing or hard club rides or the regular weekly training flailfest is that everything happens so quickly you can’t possibly register or remember all of it. What really happened? Who really did what? Who in the world knows?
With my new helmet cam, though, I don’t have to try and remember who did what, or who was where, or what last-second crisis sprang up to terrify my bowels. It’s all on the 32-gig memory card.
The link below takes you to a condensed version of the New Pier Ride from last Thursday. There’s lots of action, which is to say, lots of people avoiding the front.
Are you following a wheel? Are you sitting at the back? Are you waiting for the sprint? Then perhaps it’s time you Go To The Front.
This video cannot be viewed on mobile devices…
May 10, 2012 § 2 Comments
So you’re in the South Bay. Lucky dog! And you’ve got your bike…luckier dog! Here’s a list of the standard rides, including a couple of the “top-secret don’t fucking show up here” ones, which are, of course, the ones you should make a priority.
- Dearly Beloved Clusterfuck Of The Ages: The Donut Ride
Begun a long time ago in front of a Winchell’s Donut Shop far, far away, the Donut Ride goes off every Saturday at 8:00 AM in the Riviera Village of Redondo Beach. 8:00 AM means “8:05 or 8:10 or whenever the group rolls out.” It NEVER means “8:00 AM.”
You have your own Donut Ride wherever you live, and this one is no different. Slow start, hammer up a hill, hammer on some flats, hammer along some some rollers, hammer up a hardass motherfucking 8-minute climb (“The Switchbacks”), stop, preen, let the wankers catch up, roll down the hill and then either climb back up from the other side or call it a day and hit the coffee shop.
This super-rad video was taken by local hammer Derek Brauch, beginning near Trump National and going all the way to the top of the Switchbacks. Watch ‘em pop and fry!
- It can be an absolute beatdown, especially when local pros Sergio Hernandez, Rudy Napolitano, or visiting beasts like Mike Friedman or Tyler Hamilton show up.
- In good weather, which is most of the time, it’s a huge group with lots of places to suck wheel and cower from the front.
- After ascending the Switchbacks, there are numerous ride variations tailored to your level of wankerdom, including a hard climb up from the Reservoir + Homes & Domes + Glass Church hammer & sprint + Via Zumaya. You’ll be crushed if you eat the whole Donut. It’s never sugar-coated.
- Best scenery of any Saturday ride, anywhere.
- It can be a total wankfest if the fast dudes are all off racing somewhere and nobody wants to pull.
- Stopping and preening is pretty stupid and cools you down prematurely.
- The LA Sheriff’s Dept. and PV cops sometimes harass and endanger the group in the name of “safety.”
- It’s no fun getting kicked out of the back at Trump and flailing all the way to the top by yourself with some fat dude wearing sneakers and carrying a floor pump.
- If you’re one of those people who thinks that everyone’s shit smells bad except your own, it can be a real downer riding with ordinary humans, sitting as you are atop UCI world rankings.
- Twice-Weekly Ballbuster Before Work: New Pier Ride a/k/a NPR
This was originally the worst ride in the South Bay. It went along the bike path, meandered through parking lots, wandered over narrow bridges, perambulated along jogger trails, then turned into a series of mad, pell-mell dashes through a deadly gauntlet of traffic lights, stop signs, destroyed roads, and horrific morning traffic. That was the Old Pier Ride.
The New Pier Ride starts at the same place, the Manhattan Beach Pier (a/k/a Center of the Known Universe, “CotKU”), every Tuesday and Thursday, and rolls out promptly at 6:40 AM. “6:40 AM” may mean “6:38″ or “6:39.” If you show up at 6:41, be prepared to chase and chase hard. The ride now skips the bike path, rolls through an alley of death for a mile or so, pops out onto Vista del Mar, keeps a fast tempo all the way to Pershing, and then is a complete hammerfest with four laps around Westchester Parkway. Don’t ever do this ride and say “It wasn’t very hard.” That will prove you were nowhere near the front.
- Distinguish yourself here, and you’ll likely get mentioned on the most influential bike blog in the universe.
- Guaranteed to get your heart rate up, and then some, before work.
- Huge group on most days, 70-80 riders, so lots of places to suck wheel and cower.
- No big hills, just one small bump on Pershing and on the Parkway.
- If you get dropped you can pick up the pack when they come by in the other direction. And get dropped again.
- Pros like Rahsaan Bahati, and local beatdown artists like Greg Leibert, Harold Martinez, Eric Anderson, John Tomlinson, Aaron Wimberly, and others will usually show up wearing their best pair of stomp boots.
- The post-coital coffee chill at the Center of the Known Universe, a/k/a the Starbucks at Manhattan Beach, is the apogee of all that is fun about being a marginally employed bike wanker. We sit. We joke. We check FB updates. We delay going to work. We soak in the sun. We slobber as the local talent slinks by. What’s not to like?
- Distinguish yourself here, and you’ll likely get mentioned on the universe’s most influential bike blog.
- Too many places for the frail and the infirm to suck wheel and cower.
- Too many sprunters sit in and do nothing the entire time, then spank everyone in the sprunt.
- Unclear finishing line. Is it the beginning of the third traffic island? No one really knows, so it’s usually a case of “raise your hands and declare victory wherever your legs give out.”
- If you break free, there are numerous riders who never seem strong enough to go with you, but are always strong enough to chase you down.
- Occasional near-death traffic experiences.
- If You Show Up Uninvited You Will Be Crushed And Destroyed: The REMR (pronounced “reamer,” a/k/a Really Early Morning Ride)
This ride leaves every Thursday from the Center of the Known Universe at either 5:30 or 5:45. No one will tell you when. It will be dark. The other riders will materialize out of the shadows and grimly nod to one another. No one looks happy. That’s because no one is.
The best reason to crash this ride is that, even though you’ll be squished like a bug, you’ll be squished like a bug even if you are invited. It’s hosted by the South Bay Royalty, presided over mainly by Jeff Konsmo and Dave Jaeger. Unless they tell you before the ride that they’re going easy, they will crush you like a tin can. The ride rolls crisply out to PV, buries it up the Reservoir climb, crushes it up Better Homes, then squelches the life out of you up to the radar domes on Crest. When the king and queen are preparing for states/nationals, they throw in a handful of additional brutal climbs at race pace. No matter how good you think you are, you’re not.
- Pain beyond your wildest fears.
- Being dismembered by the fang and claw of nature.
- Once in the office you will stare at your computer screen with a befuddled gaze until it’s time to go home.
- The Biggest Wankfest Of The South Bay: The Kettle Ride
Ride leaves every Sunday at 7:00 AM, or 7:05, or whenever, from the Center of the Known Universe, across from the Kettle Restaurant from which the ride got its name. It is the United Nations of South Bay Cycling, attracting all manner of biker. It can be a big ol’ group when the weather’s nice and junior’s Little League games are done for the year, or it can be tiny when it’s a horribly frigid SoCal winter day, which can mean an unendurably cold 63 degrees and a light drizzle. As C.U. Tomorrow says, speaking for thousands of South Bay cyclists, “I don’t touch my helmet ’til the thermo hits 75.”
The group stops at the “Knoll Loading and Unloading/Pick-up Party Area,” or KLAUPUPA [Pronunciation key: “Clow-poopa”], a/k/a public toilets at Ocean Park on the bike path in Santa Monica. Aged prostates are relieved and the group continues on to PCH, where all heck breaks loose. There is a mad slugfest for 6 or 7 miles to Cross Creek in Malibu; midway some riders turn right to climb Topanga or choose a hillier route. Huge sprunt finish at the bridge in Malibu. Most riders turn around and go home, others continue up PCH for more Sunday frolic.
- Big ol’ group of wankers, and wankers are fun.
- Nice warm up and chance to chat with friends if you’re planning on doing one of the hillier routes.
- Great ride if you just want a brief paceline interval.
- Beautiful scenery.
- Excellent beach talent on the bike path return; most sightings of the first thong of spring occur here.
- The ride’s too easy, especially since MMX moved off to North County San Diego.
- PCH can be hairy and dangerous.
- The non-climbing route is pancake flat and boring.
- That fat dude with the sheer, all-white kit two sizes too small sometimes shows up, and you can wind up having to stare down the hairy brown eye of death if you’re inadvertently on his wheel.
- Shakes the Clown makes this a regular ride of his.
- The Secret Saturday Ride For The Anointed: The Nameless Ride
The Nameless Ride is the Saturday alternative to the Donut. It leaves CotKU at 6:00 AM and comprises the aforementioned royalty along with their retinue. No fucking around. The ride goes north and does a handful of hard climbs. Wankers will be ostracized and dropped. All participants required to know the secret handshake. No one will wait for you after you’ve been cracked on some lonely canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains, as vultures circle above and hungry coyotes eye your wretched, stringy body as you lie writhing in the ditch. The ride is as short as 70 miles and as long as 100; 120+ if you’re coming from Pedro or PV.
- Feeling inadequate.
- Being ignored.
- Getting dropped.
- All of the above.
- The Best Ride In America: The Wheatgrass Ride
The Wheatgrass Ride rolls out from Malaga Cove Plaza on Sundays just after 8:00 AM. It’s a short, 1.5 hour romp around the PV Peninsula that goes up the Reservoir hill, Homes & Domes, Glass Church, long climb up Hawthorne to PV Mall, and a post-coital discussion of various things while quaffing coffee, Jamba Juice, and wheatgrass. The ride was started by Iron Mike Norris, a/k/a the Mayor of the Hill, or just plain “Dad.” He provides wheatgrass for all participants at the end as punishment for not going to church.
The scenery is spectacularful. There’s regrouping at the radar domes. The pace is only as hard as you want to make it. The group is very welcoming. No one gets snobbed on or ostracized, even Bike Toss Mike when his lechery gets the better of him. If you want to race like a madman with Stathis the Wily Greek or G3 the Mad Scientist, you can. If you want to test your mettle against Tink (and have your mettle wilt like a butter pat in the sun), you can.
Best of all, Wheatgrass is the ideal place to make your blogging debut. Something funny’s sure to happen, and you’ll be surrounded by the legends of the Hill. Iron Mike, Sunshine Rich, Big Bowles, Junkyard, New Girl, Pilot, Canyon Bob, Carlos, the Godfather, Vince di Draftlio…they’re all there. Most awesomely, you’ll get to meet Fussy, the human encyclopedia on everything that has ever happened in the South Bay. You’ll hear about the dude who used to take a mannikin to all the races and dress it with his jersey so his number would be pinned on perfectly, and that’s just the beginning. More funny stories per minute will be told than anywhere since Abe Lincoln was a circuit lawyer.
- The ride is short.
- No matter how hard you go, it’s not that hard.
- Tink will drop you and step on your manhood.
- You’ll be forced to drink wheatgrass at the end. Unless you’re Pretty Boy.
- You won’t be able to brag to your SO that you “did a hundred.”
- The ride is pure fun.
- People treat you like a real person.
- Everyone’s welcome, even Crazy George with the gym shorts, the saggy socks, and the rock collection he carries in his backpack.
- Someone will always stop and help you change your flat. Or your diaper.
- You’ll feel like one of the group your first time out.
- Nothing is as much fun as a sunny Sunday morning catching some rays, spreading some manure, and enjoying some post-coital smack talk with like-minded friends.
- Doin’ The Double: TELO Tuesday Training Race
After doing the NPR on Tuesday morning, you have the evening option of the TELO Training Race, which goes off every Tuesday at 6:00 PM from the spring time change to the fall time change. It is named after Telo Street in Torrance, a feeder road that leads into a lovely little office park.
The first lap is neutral, and the race lasts for an hour or until an errant vehicle takes out the field, whichever comes first. Packs are as small as 30 and as large as 60. As recently as a couple of years ago the pattern was this: Fast pace for a few laps, slow down, hard attack establishes break, pack chills for the rest of the race, breakaway hammers it out for the win. This rarely if ever happens anymore. The pace is so fast that breaks just can’t make it. There’s almost always a bitter headwind on the back half of the course, which is two long sides with a chicane and two short sides. Sprinter wheelsucks are always waiting in the wings.
- Super fast, super hard way to end your Tuesday.
- Close to South Bayers and free.
- Great way to get in a double workout if you do the NPR in the morning.
- Generally very safe racing. Crashes are rare, traffic knows about the race and is generally very considerate.
- It’s a crit. Yawn.
- If it comes down to a sprint between you, Aaron Wimberly, Paul Che, and Christian Cognigni, there’s no fucking way in hell you’re going to win.
- Wheelsuck sprinters who treat training races like the real thing. Yawn.
No, Virginia, Halloween isn’t a holiday: The Holiday Ride
When there is a national holiday, whichever day it falls on is the Holiday Ride. This often creates confusion on the part of most people in Manhattan Beach, and quite a few others in the South Bay who don’t really have jobs, and for whom every day is a holiday. So I get emails and texts from them like, “Hey, is there a Holiday Ride tomorrow?”
“Tomorrow,” of course, is usually Halloween, or Gothic Rune Day, or National Prayer in School Day, or the day We Honor Our Teachers but Still Pay Them Shit Day. These are not national holidays, however much you like to use them as an excuse not to finish those three shaping orders that have been 80% completed for the last six months, and therefore, no, there won’t be a Holiday Ride.
If it’s Christmas, New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, MLK Day, 4th of July, etc., everyone meets at CotKU at 8:00 AM and leaves super promptly at 7:59. You’ll never catch if you show up late. If the weather’s sunny expect 200+ idiots.
The ride goes north to Santa Monica, turns right on San Vicente Blvd., makes another turn or two and then hits Mandeville Canyon. From the light at Mandeville, it’s game fucking on. The speed instantly snaps the mob into a single file line of death. If you think you’re a contender (you aren’t), don’t be more than ten wheels back.
People begin frying and charring immediately. It’s an endless climb, never very steep except at the last few hundred yards, where it turns into a wall. The finish rarely includes more than two or three people. The remaining 200 or so are flogging the little meat in ones and twos all the way back down the hill.
- It’s the ultimate “see and be seen” ride
- You get to see all the rich folks’ houses in Brentwood, or at least the ones you can see with your fucking face plastered to the stem, your eyes watering like a firehose, and sheet snot pouring out all over your face
- The climb up the canyon is intense and humbling
- It’s always a full-on beatdown
- Too many idiots
- Angry canyon residents have tried to kill cyclists using “their” road
- It’s always a full-on beatdown
May 8, 2012 § Leave a comment
I don’t know who coined the phrase, “Cheaters never win.” It was obviously someone who was never elected to office, never practiced law, never worked in banking, never submitted reimbursement requests to MediCare, never was married, or never won the TdF.
To make it strictly accurate, the phrase should be re-worked to say, “Cheaters didn’t win on the NPR today.”
We had a huge group at the Pier including the usual suspects: G$, Mighty Mouse, New Girl, Bull, Heeleys Dad & Jr., USC John, Fireman, Suze, Cary, Scott Apartmentsyndicate, Gooseman, Chris D., Kramer, Wolfeman, Lisa C., and guest appearances by Roadchamp, DJ, Damien “The Omen,” and on and on and on. And on.
Everyone began yelling “Bike path!!” on roll-out, so we stomped up the hill instead and took the Alleyway of Death just to be contrarian. The usual barely-caffeinated drivers backing out of their garages, runners stepping off curbs, huge potholes, and blind roadway entrances kept things lively until we hit Vista del Mar. As the nice 2×2 formation gradually ratcheted up the pace, G$ rolled to the fore and ordered that the pace be cut so that people could catch back on.
I hung my head, scolded, and retreated towards the back. It was a big-ass group.
It’s a new sport called Dodgecar
The mechanics of the NPR are kind of funny, because in addition to picking up people along Vista del Mar, once we bend right to go up Pershing there’s always a big group of 20-40 people camped out in the parking lot waiting for us to come by. They are stopped. In a parking lot. Unclipped. Around a blind corner. At the bottom of a hill.
We are single file. Coming down a long, fast grade. Through a green light. At about 30.
If we hit the red light, it gives the campers a chance to adjust their maxi-pads, apply the final coat of lip gloss, clip in, and then get started up the hill so that when our light turns green they can meld with the group. If we hit the green light, there is pandemonium worthy of a soccer match between pre-schoolers. Leaping on bikes, flailing cleats clicking into chains instead of pedals, curses, shouts, wobbly starts in the wrong gear, swerving bikes at 5 mph veering out of the parking lot into the middle of the 30 mph swarm…in short, it’s the kind of early morning clusterfuck that makes you glad you’re on your bike, and makes you determined to be the clusterfucker rather than the clusterfuckee.
This morning, having been relegated by G$, I nosed towards the fore as we approached the light. Red. Just before I touched the brakes…hallelujah!!…GREEN! I mashed it hard as a lumbering SUV in front of me turned on its right-hand blinker. So far so good, but there was nowhere for it to turn, except into the parking lot of campers, who were now wildly flailing to exit and hook onto the tail of the missile.
I easily cruised around the car, but it scrubbed off the 60 or so riders behind me except for Roadchamp and Bull.
Vapor, rolling out of the parking lot at a standstill, was none too pleased. “Hey, wankers! Be careful! And quit attacking while we’re stopped!”
Don’t piss off the dude who rides tempo at 32
By the time I got to the top of the small hill, I’d been joined by Roadchamp, Bull, Seanergy, and Suze. The Sho-Air dude from a couple of weeks ago was parked on the side of the road, glumly eyeing us as he changed a flat. We pounded on.
At the overpass, the pack was in another county. Roadchamp and Bull were taking gnarly pulls from hell. Seanergy was working. I was wondering how they had spotted my testicles lying in the road while we were going so fast, yet still managed to stop, pick them up, and them stuff them down my throat. Which made breathing hard.
When we hit the Parkway, Sho-Air Shawshank redeemed himself, and then some. He began pulling so hard that our tiny group could barely rotate around him, much less match his speed. Shawshank now had the bit between his teeth, and we had a breakaway. As with other completely futile fantasies grounded in an unfirm grasp of reality, we thought it might stick. No break has ever stuck from the beginning of the NPR.
Come on baby, light my fire
Meanwhile, back in the pack, Vapor was pissed. We’d blitzed him by surprise (though in my own very, very weak defense I always mash it up Pershing) and now we had a huge gap with some horsepower. Vapor began taking pulls that were so fast and sick that Fireman reported entire lungs being coughed up from those unlucky enough to be on his wheel. If you’ve ever done Tim Roach’s Hour of Power at the velodrome and had Vapor show up, you’ll know what this was like. The dude can go harder and faster and longer than anything without an internal combustion engine. And when he decides to pour on the coal, the combustion is what happens behind him.
Fortunately, our little cadre of cheaters was soon joined by other cheating wankers. Tree Perkins, who’d been out toodling around, hopped into our group and took a couple of pulls. Adam Tattooed Leg Dude got overhauled, hopped in, and helped out for a lap. Big fat Equipe wanker out for a Parkway pedal joined our team and almost sort of halfway kind of thought about maybe taking a pull before he quit.
And the entire way Roadchamp, Bull, Shawshank, and Seanergy were flogging the big meat harder than a teenage boy on his first visit to pornhub.com.
All good things must end. Bad things, too.
Just before the light at the beginning of the third lap, we all came together, ridden down by the efforts of Vapor and sub-efforts by some of his lieutenants, including G3, Austin Heeley, USC John, and G$. “Cheaters never win!” he yelled.
A spirited discussion between him and Roadchamp ensued. As the cheater-in-chief, I thought it best to keep rolling lest the donkey tail get pinned on me, where it mostly belonged. I glanced around and people looked destroyed. At that moment Mighty Mouse roared to the fore, and I could tell that she’d worn her very best dick-stomping boots to the party. Whatever sausages hadn’t been speared and roasted, she proceeded to stomp to a fare the well.
The end was predictable. I made one last flailaway attempt that never even gained separation. The group was shot to shit, and hardly anyone had any gas at all in the finale, except for Vapor and Motorhead. Motorhead took the sprint with what looked like a nice lead-out from Vapor. I was so far back that the only way I got the results was from smoke signals.
Moral #1: Don’t piss off Vapor with a sneaky, cheapass move and expect to stay away.
Moral #2: If you’re hoping we’ll start easy at the bottom of Pershing, you might be disappointed.
Moral #3: That taste of puke in your mouth at 7:30 AM? Well, it beats sitting in traffic.