October 29, 2014 § 26 Comments
Brian Cookson, president of the UCI, announced today that disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong’s planned participation in the annual “Tots on Bikes” fundraiser would not be permitted. “It’s quite simple,” said Cookson. “He cannot ride.”
When reached at his Austin villa, Armstrong was surprised at the ruling. “I wasn’t planning on riding,” he said. “We stand behind our kids and help them balance on a bicycle. It’s a father-and-kid event, not a bike race.”
Cycling in the South Bay reached Mr. Cookson while on holiday in front of the Berlin Reichstag, and spoke with him about Armstrong.
CitSB: Why can’t Lance go to this kiddie event? It seems pretty innocuous.
Cookson: Armstrong has been banned for life, and under the terms of his ban, he cannot do anything that relates to cycling. Nothing. This includes seemingly harmless activities such as standing in the aisle at Wal-Mart and shopping for a bicycle, much less actually coming into contact with young cyclists.
CitSB: It’s a bit of a stretch to call 3-year-old children “cyclists,” don’t you think?
BC: Not at all. These children are the grass roots. Simply being around them will send the message that the UCI tolerates drug cheats.
CitSB: What about all of the other drug cheats who still play prominent roles in the UCI, not to mention the coaching and management of the sport?
BC: Those drug cheats are different. They simply cheated. We must never forget that Lance stole the precious dreams of children, and Betsy.
CitSB: But how can the UCI block his participation in a private charity fundraiser?
BC: It’s quite simple, actually. The Tots on Bikes program receives its event insurance through USA Cycling, and therefore all anti-doping restrictions apply.
CitSB: So there’s going to be drug testing as well?
BC: Of course. You never know when a particularly sneaky infant will transfuse a few blood bags in order to win the “Proper Pedaler” ribbon.
CitSB: Is this really a wise use of the UCI’s resources? Hasn’t Lance suffered enough?
BC: Oh, not at all. We’re currently working on an agreement with the state of Texas, where he currently lives, to sell insurance to the state for one or two of its outdoor events. We believe that this will give us complete jurisdiction to control everything that Mr. Armstrong does for the rest of his life, including when and where he’s allowed to, you know, …
BC: I didn’t know if I could say that sort of thing in this publication.
BC: We must never forget that Lance stole all of those precious childhood dreams and Betsy. No punishment is severe enough, and we must remain eternally vigilant that he is not allowed to corrupt the morals of our youth again.
CitSB: Like the Iglinsky brothers, who just got caught doping on the watch of ol’ doper Vinokourov?
BC: Exactly. Never again.
CitSB: And Roman Kreuziger, and Jonathan Tiernan-Locke?
BC: Right-o. Never again after them.
CitSB: Do you ever see a time when the lifetime ban might be lifted.
BC: Oh, absolutely.
BC: After he’s dead. Possibly.
CitSB: Possibly? How can you continue to ban a dead person?
BC: It’s in the terms of the anti-doping agreement. We can prohibit his corpse from participating in any UCI-authorized event. But I do foresee a time, perhaps in ten thousand years or so, when the ban could be lifted, that’s assuming he comes clean with the Truth and Reconciliation and Dicking Off Committee.
CitSB: How can he come clean? He’ll be dead.
BC: I suppose he should have thought about that before stealing all of those precious childhood dreams.
CitSB: And Betsy.
BC: And Betsy.
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October 28, 2014 § 17 Comments
On Saturday night we celebrated the 2nd Annual South Bay Cycling Awards. It’s not often that you get to spend an evening with your best friends, surrounded by mediocre food, great beer, and a six-foot inflatable plastic penis. But when you do, you remember it.
The planning end of things was going smoothly. Over 120 cyclists had RSVP’d, which meant that ten would show up and the other 150 would be people who hadn’t RSPV’d but who remembered about it that morning and didn’t have anything better to do. Those who had something better to do, which was pretty much everyone, did it, only to find out that what they were doing wasn’t really all that fun.
The event was held at On the Rocks, a miserable, terrible place with bad service and inept management that was a perfect match for our bizarre collection of misfits and drunks. Despite having made arrangements a month in advance, and checking up with the manager several times, we got a call on Friday night wanting to know if we were still going to have our event on “Sunday.”
“No. We’ll be there on Saturday, like we told you.”
“Oh.” Uncomfortable silence. “Well, there’s a football party that will be going on at the same time out there on the back patio with you but I guess it will be over by around 6:30 or so, so I guess it’s no problem.”
We arrived at 5:00, an hour beforehand to set up, start drinking early, and hang up the Wanky Bedsheet only to find that the football party was a fairly large group of LSU fans watching their beloved football team beat the other team with a miraculous array of touchdowns, touch-ups, base hits, penalty kicks, and impressive moves with their football bats. The reason that the management thought it would be “no problem” is because when we told them we’d have well over a hundred and fifty cyclists in attendance, they heard the word “cyclists” and stopped listening, just like the double-cheeseburger cagers who see cyclists and stop giving a fyling fluck.
Fortunately, we were all used to being treated like shit and being ignored, so On the Rocks was quite the natural venue. The only thing that wasn’t all right was the beer, which we’d ordered in advance.
“You have our two kegs?” I asked.
“What kegs?” asked the manager.
“The ones I ordered.”
“Oh, those. You didn’t bring them with you?” It was a novel response, really, and took a pretty clever wit to ask a guest to your bar if he’d brought his own kegs.
But I had to say, “No. I don’t usually travel with my two, 100-pound aluminum beer kegs unless I’m on my bicycle, and tonight I drove.”
Six or seven IQ points rallied across the thick forehead of the manager, who then said, “Well, I think I may have a couple in the back.” Quite a relief it was, to know that a sports bar had beer, so I paid for the kegs and got to work immediately emptying them. Since we weren’t paying a room fee, I was underwriting the cost of the kegs and the bar would make its money by charging $2 a glass — a great deal for the riders who’d get to guzzle premium Strand Brewing Co.’s 24th Street Ale for a couple of bucks, and a great deal for the bar, who would sell two kegs guaranteed and get to keep whatever didn’t get drunk.
The bar was very happy at this clever deal because as the cyclists trickled in, among them Smasher and Boozy, it was obvious that this wasn’t a crowd that could put much of a dent in two full kegs of six-percent beer. Had the manager Googled Smasher and Boozy he would have known that the only thing he’d have left in his kegs by the end of the night was oxygen.
Shortly thereafter the swag wagon from SPY Optic showed up, carting huge boxes of t-shirts, gimme caps, stickers, wristbands for the beer, and several thousand dollars’ worth of their best performance eyewear to hand out to award recipients. The t-shirts were for the entire staff of On the Rocks, including the kitchen staff, so we could fly the SPY colors throughout the bar.
One by one the classy employees at On the Rocks came over, picked up the t-shirts and caps, then went into the back and stuffed the swag into their purses. Niiiiiiiice!
Finally, New Girl arrived with a giant cake that was bigger than Dallas and decorated with a Wanky Awards motif because nothing tastes better with beer than cake. It was, after the six-foot penis and the martini glass with a plastic penis inside courtesy of Pablo, the most awesome prop of the evening, and unlike the penises, it tasted great.
As things were getting underway, the giant inflatable penis was wreaking havoc with planning, as no one could get it properly blown up. One after another, valiant cyclists with giant lungs would wrap their lips around the giant penis and blow, but to no avail. Finally a man among men, none other than A-Trav, took over, stuffed the cock into his mouth, and blew it like no cock has ever been blown (up) before. With the big dick swollen and standing tall, the party could begin.
Unlike the inaugural awards in 2013, when everything was completely made up on the spur of the moment, the level of high expectations for 2014 had meant that I’d meticulously scripted the entire event and left no detail unplanned. However, in the two hours before we started handing out the awards, I was forced to consume too many fermented recovery drinks, and forgot what I was supposed to say or do.
As I staggered to the front and the PA system was ignited, it turned out that there was nothing to worry about. The LSU fans were so busy screaming and roaring and bucking each other in the futt that nothing anyone said over the PA could be heard beyond the first row of attendees. We began by honoring the awardees from 2013, a process that involved Sausage going through the crowd and hanging a big cardboard star on Mardi Gras beads around the necks of the recipients, along with a sticker that noted their particular distinction.
Next, the Mayor of the South Bay, Iron Mike, presented the Godfather with a bottle of wine for the Godfather’s accomplishments and contributions to stuff. The bottle, a 15-year-old Opus cabernet, was worth more than the net assets of the entire assemblage of cyclists, which is to say $45.87. The Godfather gave a beautiful and moving speech that was drowned out by the LSU fig puckers, who screamed, shat themselves, and drizzled cheap beer from their armpits each time the team scored another grand slam.
According to the vague notes I could halfway make out on my damp note cards which smelled vaguely like Strand Brewing Co.’s 24th Street Ale, I gave thanks to all of those who were kind enough to help make the event happen yet smart enough to confiscate all cell phone cameras before standing next to the inflatable penis. Most concerned was one of the podium strippers, whose father is up for re-election in Kentucky in a few days, and who had said that if any of the pictures with the big dick and the judge’s daughter showed up on the Internet before November 5th, there would be some unexplained disappearances in Southern California the following week.
We thanked Joel Elliott for the beer from Strand, and we thanked SPY Optic for the recipient awards and for giving the staff at On the Rocks something to sell to their friends and/or customers to augment the night’s tips. In keeping with the spirit of too much liquor, and not enough time, Ole Smokey Mountain Moonshine had donated a custom jar of moonshine for each award recipient.
Although everyone was ordered not to drink their award on the premises, the clogged gutters around three a.m. showed that many ignored this sage advice.
Next, an old fedora was passed around to collect money for a rider. Several hundred dollars, a couple of bad checks, and whole bunch of I.O.U.’s were donated, showing the incredible generosity of the cycling community. Also in the hat was a 100 dollar bill, which must have been donated by the Mayor, since he’s the only cyclist who has a hundred dollars, much less carries it around in his pocket.
Since the rider who had hand-crafted the Wanky Awards last year — beautiful painted horseshoes on gorgeous blocks of wood with embossed nameplates — was unable to attend, the recipients were not going to get their coveted physical award. However, Manslaughter leaped into the breach, and completed all 20 plaques in a frenzy of artistry, good taste, and beer that gave each plaque an amazingly unique look, like the heads of babies who are delivered after difficult, 46-hour labors that involve forceps and lots of pulling and yanking and squashing.
In other words, they were beautiful.
Some attendees who were unfamiliar with the Wanky Awards wanted to know “what they were all about.” So I told them. These awards are about community. Friends and enemies. Fights and reconciliations. Laughing at ourselves. Saying thanks. Showing compassion when it’s hardest to show. Encouraging our friends. Supporting those who have lost a loved one, filing restraining orders, and making fun of Prez.
What we are is a family. And what is a family? It is a group of people who are more or less continually mad at each other. Yet despite being mad, we are also often on medication, which makes the madness easier to bear and sometimes even comes across as happiness. Those in our extended cycling family not on medication were in rehab, and could not be with us.
As one big dysfunctional family, the Wankys are an evening where we can reach across the aisle, even if it’s only to steal the other person’s drink when she’s not looking or get the phone number of some little cutie while our wife is drunk and hitting on some guy. Mrs. WM showed up dressed as a naughty nun, but I’m sure that was a coincidence. Most of all the Wankys are a time when we can forget our grudges for an evening, if only so that we can forge newer, stronger, more long-lasting grudges, grudges that, we can only hope, will last forever.
Speaking of grudges, no award ceremony could ever exist without disappointment. In most award ceremonies, where people are distinguished for their accomplishments, those who don’t receive the trinket or, dog forbid, even get nominated, attendees often go home feeling ashamed, angry, left out, embarrassed, and hurt. Fortunately, at this award ceremony people felt that way even if they did get an award. So, as Knoll would say, there’s that.
A note on the award selection committee: There were four members: Me, Olive, Stanley, Stella, and Spanky. Olive and Spanky (the Chihuahuas) generally voted as a block, whereas Stella and Spanky (the bulldogs), were more independent. I cast the tie-breaker when votes were evenly split. Selections were made based on nominations that people emailed in or on strange faces and names that came to me in the dead of night.
The key to the Wankys is, of course, that you must be present to win. People who begged, lied, outrageously self-promoted, offered sex, beer, money, or free tires got preference. People who let their actions speak for themselves and hoped they would be rewarded for their modesty were essentially ignored. If you weren’t selected this year, now you know why, and there’s always next year, and yes, I accept PayPal.
With the Wanky Bedsheet hung across the fence, the penis fully inflated, the podium strippers all lined up, the crowd thoroughly hammered, and the LSU fig puckers humping their empty pitchers of Miller Lite, we could finally begin. And we did.
The award categories and awardees were as follows. Sit down, or click over to your favorite clothing-optional web site; this is gonna be a long one.
Mad Dog Award for Best Advocate: Greg Seyranian for his role in “It’s a Wonderful Life”
Eric Bruins for his role in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”
Gary Cziko for his role in “Dr. Strangelove”
Greg was instrumental in getting the critical mass for the Big Orange weekend rides on PCH that eventually changed the entire way that the CHP and LA Sheriff’s Department enforce the law on this roadway. What was once a terrifying, glass-and-debris-filled fustercluck of a ride has now become the world’s best bike lane thanks to Greg’s leadership and advocacy. Groups of cyclists on this extraordinarily beautiful road no longer have to hug the gutter, dodge parked cars, opened doors, garbage pails, and Cher, and can instead take the lane and ride safely and legally without fear of police persecution. Greg’s leadership is one of the most impressive examples of bike advocacy ever, and it affects thousands of people every single week.
Eric Bruins was an equally instrumental advocate, but rather than duking it out with Greg in a special mud pit we had designed for the occasion, he was unable to attend due to a last-minute emergency that involved riding his bike to San Diego and having a legitimately good time.
Gary Cziko has also provide incredible support for the advocacy efforts on PCH and through his continual contributions to the CABO listserv, where he has quickly become one of California’s leading advocates on bicycle law, safety, and training. Plus, he has that awesome dress shirt with the pizza stains on it.
I Can Get it Cheaper on The Internet Award for Best Bike Shop: Peyton Cooke for his role in “Beer Goggles”
Ted’s Manhattan Beach Cycles for its role in “Little Shop of Horrors”
Sprocket Cycles for its role in “Saturday Night Fever”
Peyton is best known for being available any time of the day or night that doesn’t conflict with Happy Hour to help fix your bike (Happy Hour generally runs from noon to midnight, Mon – Sun). He has a private garage conveniently located behind Strand Brewing Co., where he can get your bike needs taken care of while you swill IPA at the bar.
Ted’s Manhattan Beach Cycles is owned by someone not named Ted — Manny Felix, one of the best mechanics and shop proprietors in the South Bay, is the go-to guy for people in and around Manhattan Beach for sales, service, and some of the funniest stories ever.
Sprocket Cycles, located in Redondo Beach and run by Paul Che, is another superlative bike shop where you can get all of your cycling needs taken care of as long as they’re legal.
Whippersnapper Award for Best Young Rider: Diego Binatena for his role in “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure”
Sam Warford for his role in “A Bridge Too Far”
Kristabel Doebel-Hickock (self-nominated) for her role in “Miss Bossypants”
Diego won this award in 2013, and followed up again as a Wanky Award recipient in 2014 with his fantastic race results which landed him a pro contract for 2015 with the Hagens-Berman U-23 pro cycling team. I and several others were hoping for a pro contract on their O-50 pro cycling team, but so far I’ve heard zip. Diego is also an Eagle Scout and an amazingly well-mannered young man considering how much of his life he’s spent around cyclists.
Sam Warford had a breakout year, upgrading from Cat 15 to Cat 1 in the space of two seasons. Along with impressive race results this year, the 20-year-old will be riding for the SPY Optic Pro-1-2 team in 2015. Sam is a soft-spoken and very kind young man, plus he will tear your lucking fegs off.
Kristabel, otherwise known as “Tink,” nominated herself for this award in an excellent display of shameless self-aggrandizement, for which she gets major kudos. The failure to offer sex or money eliminated her chances of winning this competition, but in her first full year as a pro she was recognized as the best young rider at some huge pro race in Philly.
Jared the Subway Dude Award for Person Most Transformed by Cycling: Jonathan Paris for his role in “Fast Food Nation”
Michael Barraclough for his role in “Meatballs”
Robert Efthimos for his role in “The 40 Year Old Virgin”
Jonathan used to live on cheeseburgers and in the winter he survived cold temperatures with his deep layer of blubber. Then, a couple of years ago, he became vegan and started riding his bike. Aside from a famous near-fistfight over a peanut butter sandwich after he’d gone without food for a few hours, Jonathan is a wonderful poster child for how cycling can change your life for the better. Now, instead of hanging out at McDonald’s, he hangs out at Starbucks when he’s not ripping off your lucking fegs.
Michael Barraclough is another rider who has reinvented himself and spared the lives of thousands of poor baby cheeseburgers by focusing on a healthy lifestyle and also cycling. He’s a great-natured guy who everyone loves to ride with and who encourages others to give it their best.
Robert Efthimos found cycling and in the space of a few short years went from being a normal, successful, well-adjusted man at a high-powered law firm to a guy who takes videos of sweaty men on bikes. We’re still trying to put a positive spin on it in negotiations with his lovely wife.
Potty Trained Award for Most Improved: Peta Takai for her role in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”
Tom Hall for his role as Taz the Tasmanian Devil in “Looney Toons’s Devil May Hare”
James Cowan for his role in “Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby”
When Peta arrived in the South Bay a couple of years ago, many people thought she was “PETA,” the animal rights organization. However, when they learned how to say her name properly (rhymes with “meta”), it took two full years to understand anything she said because she spoke with that funny Kiwi accent. In addition to mastering California English, she has also become an accomplished racer and super fun person to have in the peloton.
Tom Hall rocketed up through the wanker ranks in the space of a short year, but has not lived in LA long enough for us to crack his Tasmanian code. He seems to be a nice fellow, and can certainly rip your lucking fegs off, but until we can actually understand what he’s saying, the jury’s still out.
James Cowan is yet another linguistically-challenged South Bay rider who hails from the land of bangers and rash, blood pudding, and a queen who even in her best days looked like a dishrag wearing the world’s ugliest hat collection. James has improved dramatically and is one of the NPR riders who can always be counted on to hammer at the front until he cracks. That used to be, like, immediately. Not any more.
Gang of Idiots Award for Best Cycling Club: Wonton Heavy Industries, LLC for its role in “The China Syndrome”
Big Orange for its role in “Police Academy”
SPY Elite Cycling Team for its role in “Bad News Bears”
This award was pretty much sewn up well in advance by Big Orange due a corrupt, incestuous relationship with the Wanky Awards’ chief organizer in which everything is decided in secret, on the down-low, and in contravention of most laws and all good morals. However, at the last minute Wonton Heavy Industries papered Wanky’s inbox with the most disgusting, blatant, self-serving, shameless slew of self-promoting shit that has ever been seen. So pathetic and groveling and lacking in even a shred of modesty were these attempts that Wonton easily beat out Big Orange and staged a come-from-behind even more dramatic than that being practiced by the LSU fig puckers across the way.
Big O had this one in the bag; their open door policy has brought in more riders and has helped make the roads safer for cyclists than any other club. They mentor, provide financial support for racers, and are the epitome of a friendly roadie club — something that is generally an oxymoron. Still, it was the Wonton come-from-behind that won the day.
SPY Elite Cycling Team was a distant third, as most of its riders didn’t even bother to show up. Oh, well! We still had a frothy time on Sunday morning when MMX and Phil Tinstman obliterated the Kettle Ride, averaging 457 watts from Temescal to Cross Creek.
Multitasker Award for Best Rider in Multiple Disciplines: Marilyne Fichante for her role in “The French Connection”
Jeff Bryant his role in “The Perfect Storm”
Jon Davy for his role in “Every Which Way but Loose”
Frenchy is the only Wanky recipient to be stripped of her award immediately after getting it. We screwed up the nameplate somehow, but when we figured out the problem we gave the plaque back. Frenchy’s excellence on the road, in MTB, and in cyclocross made her a natural recipient, plus her cute French accent.
Jeff Bryant was out somewhere, probably riding 100 miles at 28 miles an hour and then realizing that he’d forgotten to turn around at mile 50 so his 100-miler was now a 200-miler.
Jon Davy, who won his first national title on the track this year, couldn’t come because it was a thoroughly bad environment.
Wanker of the Year: Stathis Sakellariadsi for his role in “Zorba the Greek”
Brad House for his role in “Psycho”
Seth Davidson for his role in “Strange Brew”
Stathis begged for this award, and the morning of the ceremony he said that if he were given something besides Wanker of the Year then he would still give his WOTY speech. So he got it, commemorating the zillions of blown lights on the NPR, billions of “the look,” and dragging those on his wheel over to the yellow line so they can’t get a draft. Of course, he’s also one of the fastest riders around …
Brad, who won the award in 2013, was renominated on the strength of his acceptance speech in 2013, something we’re all still trying to un-hear and dis-remember.
I got the most votes for WOTY, but Spanky, Stella, Olive, and Stanley enforced the rule that “Wanky can’t get a Wanky.” So sad.
Money Down a Rathole Award for Best Promoter: SPY Optic for its role in “Inglorious Basterds”
Chris Lotts for his role in “Fred Claus”
Dorothy Wong for her role in “Rough Riders”
Okay, my fingers are falling off and I’m barely halfway through. SPY got this for the BWR, the SPYclocross series, the thousands it has donated in merchandise, marketing, and manpower to promote and support races, and for the countless teams it has sponsored. Most importantly, Michael Marckx is a friend among friends, and I’d have found a way to distinguish SPY no matter what.
Chris deserved an award, but he was at the phat pharm this weekend.
Dorothy was promoting a race. Plus, I’m pretty sure she’s not a drunk.
NPR Champ: Suzanne Sonye for her role in “Over the Top”
Eric Anderson for his role in “Raging Bull”
Cameron Khoury for his role in “Bridesmaids”
Suze is an icon, a champion, and a woman of strong opinions. She also won a Wanky in 2013 for Hard Woman of the Year. We love Suze even when she’s telling us we’re shull of fit, mostly because we are. She has mentored countless cyclists and keeps us honest. Sort of.
EA Sports, Inc., won the NPR Champ award last year, so this year he had to be satisfied with the little cardboard star.
Cameron is an up-and-coming youngster who has a great sprunt and is slowly finding his way towards the front. Occasionally.
Donut Champ: Derek Brauch for his role in “The Spy Who [didn’t] Love Me”
Stathis Sakellariadis for his role in “To Live and Die in LA”
Keven Sandoval for his role in “Breaking Away”
Derek is a fixture on the Donut and one of the best all-around racers in SoCal. He is canny, a great clumber, and has one of the best accelerations around, which makes him a superb leadout. On the Donut he’s always one of the last ones standing, and was one of the first to support the Great Alley Detour, which has now been more or less abandoned by wankers everywhere.
Stathis couldn’t get two Wankys in 2014 because last year he didn’t show up to collect his KOM and Donut Champ awards.
Keven is always a factor on the Donut. A prime factor, which means he can only be divided by himself.
Pin it On Bitch Award for Best Male Racer: Charon Smith for his role in “The Passion of the Christ”
Aaron Wimberley for his role in “The Fast and the Furious”
Robert Frank for his role in “No Country for Old Men”
Charon won a ton of races this year and did it with class. He’s a mentor, a coach, a gentle guy, and a great competitor. Kind of makes you wonder what he’s doing in cycling. Next year he is poised to inflict even more damage with an even stronger, faster team than in 2014.
Aaron is one of the best racers in SoCal, but he raced against Charon most of the year. Aaron is quick, has no equal in bike handling skills except for his teammate John Wike, and knows exactly how to read a race. Of course so does everyone else in the 35+ category. You read it like this: “Watch Charon.”
Robert Frank raced way beyond his 47 years by completing most of the elite men’s national road race championship, and absolutely slaying throughout the year.
You’ve Been Chicked Award for Best Female Racer: Kristabel Doebel-Hickock, again self-nominated, for her role in “Twiggy”
Lauren Mulwitz for her role in “Slaying the Badger”
Emily Georgeson for her role in “Night of the Living Carrots”
Okay, I’m totally done typing this thing and can’t imagine that anyone is still reading. If you are, my condolences. Tink is a pro and she won the queen stage at the Cascade Classic. ‘Nuff said.
Lauren has won in multiple disciplines this year and is one of the best up-and-coming racers.
Emily is incredibly talented, trains hard, and is very race savvy. She has had very good results this year; look for a break-out year in 2015.
Pay it Forward Award for Best All-Around Rider: Robert Efthimos for his role in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”
Joel Elliott for his role in “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell”
Chris Gregory for her role in “New Girl”
Robert dedicates time and energy to make our cycling community great. He takes and posts videos, helps organize clubs and events, and is a reasoned head in a community of deadheads, hotheads, and boneheads. He makes us all look good. As good as we can be, anyway.
Joel brews beer. He shares it. What else do I need to say?
Chris is always there to help. She’s the first one to say “yes,” and never complains, even though dog knows there’s a lot to complain about. She’s also one of the best podium strippers in the business, and did a great year in 2014 as well as in 2013.
Crashtacular Fred Award: Heather Somebody for her Broken Arm
This one was weird. We weren’t going to give out the award because the winner couldn’t attend. But at the last minute some gal with a broken arm dashed up and said “Gotta be present to win, I’m present, and I’m winning!” and she flashed her arm in a cast and took the award. If we’d had bouncers we’d have called them, but instead we were so impressed by her brass balls that we relinquished the plaque along with SPY wear and Ole Smokey Mountain Moonshine. She will treasure the beautiful twisted horseshoe splashed in blood and wrapped in wound netting that was so artistically designed by Manslaughter.
KOM Award for Most of Life Wasted on Strava: Lane Reid for his role in “The Losers”
Brian Perkins – Lifetime Strava Achievement Award – for his role in “Wasteland”
Miko Espanol for his role in “The Longest Mile”
Lane has entered the hall of shame as a two-time loser, having won the Strava award in 2013 as well.
“Tree” Perkins was out chasing a KOM and couldn’t attend.
Miko logged 1,000,000 miles of vertical climbing on Strava, proving his eligibility for medical treatment.
Tougher than Nails and Broken Glass or HTFU Award: Phil Tinstman for his role in “The Eiger Sanction”
MMX for his role in “Dirty Harry”
Pete Smith for his role in “The Smurfs”
Phil won the Beverly Hills Grand Fondo, which will likely qualify him for master’s worlds in September. He also turned in amazing rides on the BWR and won a bunch of tough road races. Hard dude, for sure.
Michael Marckx, perennial tough guy, wasn’t as tough as Phil.
Pete Smith, who seems like a gentle fellow until you see him on the bike, was a close third.
Larger than Life Award: David Perez for his role in “Brokeback Mountain”
Tony Manzella for his role in “Godzilla”
Greg Leibert for his role in “Up”
Prez. The man. The legend. The Puerto Rican fashion stylista salsa dancer sprunter crash expert … gone this year due to a job (cyclists can look up that word on Google), Prez is back in black! And green/yellow/purple/orange, etc.
Tony Manzella. Dude. Fere the whuck were you?
Greg Leibert wins too many awards. Gotta give some oxygen to the mere mortals. One of the best people ever and a friend among friends, it brokeback my heart to see you not get another award.
For Better or Worse, Mostly Worse Award for Best Spouse/SO: Sherri Foxworthy for her role in “The Dukes of Hazzard”
Jami Tschetter for her role in “Trophy Wife”
Jeanette Seyranian for her role in “Gone with the Wind”
Don’t worry Sherri, no penis pictures will be posted until after the judge’s erection on November 4. Sherri is the patron saint of wankers who hang around the shop complaining about all the sand in their shorts. She puts up with more shit on a daily basis than a manure wholesaler. And always with a smile and a well-placed curse word!
Jami is the ultimate bike racer widow. She goes to the races, puts up with her hubby’s obsession, and pretends to be interested in the junior high school drama. Best of all, she loves beer and she can DANCE!
Saint Jeanette has performed various miracles related to putting up with cyclists, and the Vatican is simply awaiting confirmation of the one where she turned water into carbo replacement drink before she is officially beatified.
Ian Davidson South Bay Rider of the Year: Kevin Phillips for his role in “The Natural”
Greg Seyranian for his role in “The Pied Piper”
David Miller for his role in “Dodgeball”
Kevin’s got it all. Natural talent, incredible work ethic, tactical wits, and the most important thing of all — a fantastic sense of humor. Kevin has been the leader of the South Bay for years and has influenced hundreds of riders with his unique brand of friendliness, skill, and decency. Plus he’s won a ton of national titles and held the hour record. Little stuff like that.
Greg has already been written about and crapcakes, I’m tired.
David Miller is going places, and prison isn’t one of them. This year he turned in amazing performances on the bike and showed himself as one of the most affable, decent people in the peloton — in addition to being a leader. Your turn is coming, wanker, but you need to focus a bit more on bribing the Chihuahuas. You had the bulldogs, but Olive and Stanley split the vote.
That’s it folks, until next year. Thank you!
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October 27, 2014 § 10 Comments
A few weeks ago I was hanging on for dear life as Jean-Louis, the young Frenchy phenom, dragged me up to the Domes. One by one our companions faltered, then softened, then were smeared on the climb like quiescent bug guts.
He slowed down towards the end and generously let me hang on. At the top I heaved and spit and gasped. If Jean-Louis were one of my kids, he’d be the third-oldest. “You do a good ride,” he smiled.
“Urgle,” I answered.
“Oh, yes, eet eez nossing. You do a good ride. How old are you?” He wasn’t even sweating.
“I turn 51 in December,” I said, trying to make myself as old as possible.
“Really? Zat is so old. You are riding very good. Eet eez easy to tell here in America ze riders who do ze intervals. Zey have ze second punch.”
“Damn,” I thought to myself, recalling an interval that I once did back in ’87. “I better start doing some intervals.”
I live atop a hill that is the perfect interval climb. It’s not too steep, it’s about 20 minutes long, and it has varying pitches. I always climb it slowly because I am slow. However, with Jean-Louis’s comment as a motivation, I resolved to use this daily slog as my daily interval.
Riding without a power meter or heart strap or lately even a watch, my only way to measure the effort is perceived exertion. Since I generally perceive all exertion as painful, it shouldn’t be too hard, I thought, to turn my daily slow slog into a slightly less slow slog that would qualify as a JLFI, or “Jean-Louis French Interval.”
After a few weeks I noticed that indeed, despite my flubbery tummy, bad posture, and general weakness, that one daily interval was making me faster. Without any way to measure it, though, all of the improvement was in my head, where I do my best riding anyway.
Today as my pal and I were returning from a brutal bike path ride to Santa Monica, where we bopped into Phil’s Coffee and paid $4 for something that, had we made it at home, would have cost 25 cents, a couple of Hop-in Wankers jumped on our wheel in Manhattan Beach. They snuggled up into our draft and didn’t say a word.
In Hermosa we stopped at the light. I turned to HIW #1. “Hi,” I said. “What’s your name?”
“Stacy,” he said.
“That’s a girl’s name, isn’t it?” I asked.
HIW #2 didn’t say anything because he was focusing on his track stand, which all pro Cat 3’s do at the Hermosa Pier stoplight because of the late fall thongs who might be watching. HIW #2 was wearing a POC helmet, POC glasses, POC jersey, POC bibs, and POC socks, astraddle a Ritte van Vlaanderen frame.
“What’s your name?” I asked.
HIW #2 took a break from his track stand. “Kyle.”
Kyle moved to the fore and I dropped back with Stacy. “Man,” he said. “This wind today is awful.”
“How would you know? You’ve been sitting on a wheel for the last six miles.”
“Yeah,” he agreed, “but I usually ride alone.”
We came to the short climb up by Rat Beach. Pal and I and POCleberry upped the pace. I got out of the saddle and grunted. Stacy got out of the saddle too, but he didn’t grunt, his rear derailleur did. It had apparently not had much force put on it over the course of its 25-year lifespan.
A massive pop-and-sproing emanated from his drivetrain. He looked down just in time to see his bike fall apart. We kept going and didn’t see him again.
In a moment we had reached the bottom of Malaga Cove, the starting point of my JLFI. “Poor old POCleberry,” I said. “I’m gonna ride him off my wheel.”
We hit the lower slope and I twisted the cranks. After a couple of minutes I wasn’t just on the rivet, the rivets were being nailed into my balls. Pal rolled up to me. “Hey, dude,” he said. “Gotta turn off here.”
“Bye,” I gasped.
October 24, 2014 § 39 Comments
I came across a cyclist’s traffic law rant a couple of days ago. You can click on the link, or read my summary below:
- He obeys the traffic laws (mostly)
- Riders on his group ride break the traffic laws
- Riders on his group ride endanger pedestrians on the bike path
- Cyclists are their own worst enemy
- He’s gonna quit riding with those wankers
This is a common mix-and-mash polemic bruited by many cyclists, and it combines good points with utter horseshit. The good things are obvious — masses of cyclists who race down a shared-use bike path are endangering weaker, less protected pedestrians. That’s no more acceptable than racing your car on the street. Because you are “training” or in a hurry or because you have to win the sprunt doesn’t make it okay to endanger others.
From there, however, lots of cyclists fall off the logic cliff, and it’s very rocky down below. First, traffic law violations on the street, where a group of cyclists runs a red light or stop sign, are not what causes most accidents. Most collisions between bike and car are caused by car. In non-car accidents, bicyclists typically fall off their bicycles due to road conditions or bike handling errors, not because they were scofflaws.
Here are some examples from the last few days alone:
- Droopy-headed rider hit magnolia seed cone on group ride. Shoutypants, riding behind Droopy, braked. Dreamy, riding behind Shoutypants, wasn’t paying attention, and slammed into Shoutypants, whose face splatted against the pavement. This is a group ride where red-light running is endemic. In three years, and despite thousands of blown red lights, not a single rider has fallen off his bicycle or been hit by a car due to running a red light. Not once.
- Rider 1 was carefully descending from the college. Road construction crew had failed to remove incredibly deep and dangerous sand from the edge and center of the roadway. The sand, from recent paving, was the same color as the new asphalt and almost invisible. Rider 1 slid out, broke his collarbone and three ribs.
- Rider 2 was descending by the accident scene of Rider 1. Rider 2 also hit the sand and broke her pelvis.
- Dude in Santa Monica got doored, separated his shoulder and trashed his $10k bike.
- Rider on Newport Coast Drive was hit by a drunk driver and suffered catastrophic injuries.
- Rider dropping down the hill to the MB Pier almost got taken out by right-turning cager who didn’t see the cyclist next to him.
- Rider slipped on some sand on the bike path and fell off her bicycle.
These aren’t cherry-picked examples; I could easily add a hundred similar incidents. But I couldn’t give you one — not one — example of a cyclist who either got hit or who fell off his bike because he ran a stop sign or a red light. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen, so please feel free not to email me your personal experience of how you fell off your bike when you scofflawed a stop sign.
The point is that you need to STFU when it comes to correlating traffic safety to obeying stop signs and red lights. Obeying traffic laws is good for lots of reasons, and having rules within your group makes for better group rides. But the reason people get hit by cars isn’t because they scofflaw. Bikers mostly get hit because cagers don’t see them — they’re impaired, they’re texting, or the cyclist is invisible, hugging the shoulder in a deathgrip.
The idea that cagers will hit cyclists because they “hate us for running stop signs” is as silly as the idea that motorists hit pedestrians because they hate them for stepping out of the crosswalk. For the most part, cagers hit things they don’t see, and if you’re really concerned about not being hit, the best step you can take is to run a bright headlamp and taillight every time you cycle.
Many riders have the mentality of second-class citizens, claiming that motorists “hate” them because they break the law. Newsflash: most of them don’t hate you, and the ones who do are going to hate you whether you stop or not. You, as a bicycle rider, are an annoyance every time you slow down a car or cause a cager to have to do something other than mash the gas pedal and point the car. Stopping at stop signs won’t make you less of an annoyance when you slow down a car, although the cagers might not mutter “fucker” under their breath like they do when you scofflaw through four red lights while salmoning up a one-way street.
Cyclists are not their own worst enemy. Cyclists’ worst enemy is something called a “car.”
If you want to follow the law and set rules for your group, then do so. If your group is a crazy bunch of marauding stop sign killers and that sets your teeth on edge, go ride somewhere else, start your own group, or go to the group at the beginning of the ride and tell them to quit scofflawing. If they laugh, tell you to FO, or shell you on the first climb, then go pedal elsewhere. But quit calling me my own worst enemy, because my worst enemy is beer.
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October 21, 2014 § 12 Comments
It was Friday. I decided to pedal down to the Center of the Known Universe and have a cup of coffee. The sun was shining and it was in the high 60’s. Why go on a “serious” bike ride when you could leisurely pedal along the strand, taking in the waves, the surfers, the volleyball players, and the last few thongs of fall?
I reached CotKU in a great mood, shelled out $1.75 for a bad cup of coffee, and parked my rear on the bricks as an endless stream of talent ambled by. On the far side of the street stood an old man, waiting for the signal to cross. The light changed and he began limping across the street. His face was set in a scowl, but even though the light turned red long before he reached my side of the street, the turning cars and oncoming traffic waited patiently.
He got to the bricks and scowled some more. “Can I make sitting here?” he gruffly asked.
“Sure, pal. Sitting’s free.”
He sat down and scowled for a few moments, his angry eyes darting at the blue sky, the blue ocean, and the talent. I sipped my coffee. “Hey, you fella,” he said.
“Yes?” I answered.
“I gonna question for you.”
“Shoot,” I said.
“Let’s me say I was walking on a path down by this beach.”
“And let’s me say that some dumb bastard son of bitch on bicycle hits me and I fall onto a floor.”
“Sounds very reasonable.”
“So I’m lying on floor and some dumb bastard son of bitch on bicycle runs away from me and I’m me leaving there lying on a goddamned floor.”
“That sounds reasonable, too. Bad, but reasonable.”
“I’m lying on floor with broken goddamn ribs, I have three of them. You know how much it goddamn hurt trying to sleep on broken rib?”
“It hurt a goddamn bastard lot, that how much. And I’m lying there on a floor hurting like goddamn bastard and a walker man walks by and you know what he say?”
“He say to me ‘Are you okay, fellow?’ Can you believe a dumb bastard like that? And I say ‘What you think I’m okay, I’m lying on a floor with goddamn broke rib you dumb son of bitch. You can’t say anything more smart than that why don’t you keep your stupid mouth shut?”
“Then what did he do?”
“He go off and leave me there.”
“Sounds extremely reasonable.”
“So I got question for you.”
“You a riding on a bike kind of fella, eh? So if you run me over like a goddamn bastard and knock me onto a floor, how come you ride off like nothing happen? This country gone to shit because of you biker.”
“You’re asking me what I would do? Or you’re asking me if I’ve ever hit-and-run on a pedestrian?”
“I’m asking why everyone such a dumb bastard. You can’t say something makes a good sense, why don’t you keep a goddamn mouth shut?”
I thought about answering, but realized that it would probably fall into the “dumb bastard keep a goddamn mouth shut” category, so I kept browsing the talent and sipping my coffee.
“My rib hurt so goddamn much if I had a gun I shoot every goddamn bicycle in Manhattan Goddamn Beach.”
I glanced to make sure he wasn’t going to pull out a pistol and punctuate the conversation by shooting me in the head.
“And I gonna tell you something else, fella,” he said. My coffee was only half gone, but it didn’t taste good anymore.
“No, fella, you aren’t.” I pitched the cup in the trash, threw a leg over my bike, and started rolling down the hill. The bike gained momentum as it left behind the angry little black cloud sitting back there on the bricks. And then it hit me. It was still a beautiful goddamn day.
October 20, 2014 § 12 Comments
Weekend wankers often wonder, “What makes the pros special?” and its corollary, “Why is that other wanker always ahead of me?”
The first question has been tackled in this blog post; read it if you really and truly haven’t been able to figure out why pros are fast and you are slow. The only things the writer left off the list are –
- They are young, you are old.
- They have good genes, you have blue jeans.
- They use drugs to enhance performance, you use drugs to perform enhancement
Along the same lines, there is a reason that the same hackers on the weekend ride keep beating you, and will always beat you.
- Beer. You are a drunk, and the people who beat you are not. For example, when Boozy, Smasher, and I sat down after the Donut Ride with a giant box of donuts and two cases of IPA, it was still only 10:30 AM. Ollie, who had crushed the ride and left everyone in tatters, politely declined our post-ride invitation and went home to put on his compression boots and sleep for six hours in an oxygen tent.
- Fatness. You are fat, and the people who beat you are skinny. For example, when Stathis the Wily Greek pedals away from you 5 mph faster going up a steep grade, the last thing you will see are the intricate vascular patterns on his calves and thighs. The last thing he will see when he passes you are several folds of a soft, white, jiggly tissue commonly found on whales.
- Meanness. You are nice, and the people who beat you are cruel. For example, when you are on the rivet on the SPY Thursday morning ride, hanging by a thread to MMX’s wheel, he will never ease off. Instead, he will carefully judge your state by listening to the rapidly increasing sound of your breathing, and then twist the pedals just hard enough to kick you out the back. He will really enjoy it, like plucking the legs off an insect while leisurely roasting it to death with a lighter.
- Goals. The people who beat you have racing/performance goals, but your goal is to beat everyone to the fridge. For example, after our first case of IPA and box of donuts for breakfast yesterday, Boozy announced that next year he would go on a diet and get motivated. However, when he woke up a few hours later, he didn’t remember it and instead asked if there was still any ice cream in the freezer.
- Fear. You are afraid of getting dropped, and the people who beat you are afraid of being seen in your vicinity. For example, when Rudy shows up on the ride you cower and hide from the front, fearing lots of leg-pulling-off as described in #3 above. He, however, fears that merely being around you for more than a second or two will be proof that that his career is nearly over, and he will therefore pedal quickly away.
- Excuses. You have many, and the people who beat you have few. For example, when Boozy, Smasher, and I were finishing our second breakfast case of IPA (but before Mrs. WM had come home from Zumba and thrown us out), we agreed that we would have totally won the Donut Ride if Boozy had used a different bike, Smasher had not bonked when he saw someone else start eating a gel, and I had been on a motorcycle.
- Teammates. Yours suck and theirs don’t. For example, the only people I had to help me yesterday were Olive and Stanley, two chihuahuas who occasionally provide contract work services for my law firm on complex litigation matters. They didn’t even bother to show up for the ride, much less pace me up to the leaders. The Wily Greek, on the other hand, had 72 riders blocking for him by falling off their bicycles and gumming up the chase with ambulances and police vehicles.
There’s very little you can do to change any of this, by the way, with the exception of a good 12-step program. And hey, it’s almost lunch time.
October 17, 2014 § 7 Comments
The alarm went off at 4:00 AM. I had barely recovered from the NPR thrashing of the day before, and hurriedly gulped my coffee in order to make the 6:30 start time of the Thursday SPY ride in Encinitas. In addition to my busy pro masters off-season group ride schedule, which would be a big part of my resume for the coming year, I also had some serious business matters to attend to regarding a couple of employees who live and work for my firm in North County San Diego.
The ride started gently but finished like every grisly airplane accident: Body parts strewn about the asphalt, muffled groans of the survivors, and horrified looks of impending death carved into the ghoulish faces of the dead. The raging attacks of Abate, Full-Gas Phil, Dandy, Stefanovich, MMX, and Smasher reduced the 50-strong group to less than ten riders at the end.
After the ride, Abate, Smasher, and I pedaled around aimlessly until we found donuts. A fat, greasy, sugary bag of dough later we pedaled some more and said good-bye. I still had my serious business matter on my mind, and it wasn’t going to be pleasant. My associates had frankly been under-performing in some key metrics. Although we’d had a number of performance reviews, nothing changed.
Oliver would always say, “Yes, sir, I understand, I’ll start doing [ ---- ] right away,” but he never did.
Stanley, on the other hand, would want to debate things. “That’s not how it happened,” or “You need to take into consideration the fact that … “
It was very frustrating to have these guys collecting a paycheck and refusing to do what they were told. Very frustrating. And since they’d been with me for a couple of years, and I’d invested considerably in their training, it was going to be hard to let them go.
“What should I do?” I asked Smasher.
“You should have a beer.”
“It’s 8:45 AM.”
“Okay, then you should have two.”
“Only a terrible alcoholic would have beer before nine o’clock, and only a hideously terrible alcoholic would know where to find any.”
“There’s a little cafe near my place,” he said. “They serve great breakfasts and cold beer.”
We went to the cafe and ordered. The “breakfast” was a scrambled egg in a paper cup and a piece of cardboard painted to look like toast. The beer, on the other hand, was tap-fresh Stone IPA served in iced glasses. After a couple, the employee problem didn’t look so bad.
“Look,” said Smasher, who shares an apartment with my associates. “They aren’t bad, they just aren’t super motivated. Some things they do well, other things, not so much. Focus on their attributes, try to see it from their perspective.”
We had two more pints, then another two, then threw away the cardboard and eggs. “Let’s walk over to your place,” I said. “Now’s as good a time as any to have the talk.”
“Agreed,” he said. Through the fog I could see three or four other early morning customers washing down their AM beer with cardboard.
“What a bunch of drunks,” I said disgustedly to Smasher.
We reached Smasher’s place and the associates were there. They knew I meant business, but no matter how much they wagged their tails I didn’t crack so much as a smile.
We sat down on the couch. “Look, guys,” I said. Then I faltered. “I’m gonna take a quick nap and then we’re going to have to talk business.”
I stretched out on the couch and fell asleep for thirty minutes or four hours. As I lay there I could feel the warm furry little bodies of Oliver and Stanley curled up around my feet, which went from cold to toasty. They snuggled against my leg, repositioning only to increase the toasty-leg-factor.
When I awoke they opened their eyes, then came over to lick my nose. “Let’s get to work guys, shall we?” I said.
They nodded and bounded downstairs. All good.