August 25, 2013 § 20 Comments
The City of Malibu has posted an online survey at http://malibu.metroquest.com/. You can take the survey to let the city know what you think are the most important issues regarding safety improvements to PCH.
Or, you know, you could just do something else.
Let me give you 10 reasons to take a few minutes out of your busy life and complete the survey.
- Marisela Echevarria, 36, lost control of her bike on PCH as vehicles passed by, and struck her handlebars on a parked vehicle, causing her to veer into the side of the bus. She was then dragged under the bus and killed when the bus crushed her with its rear wheels. Date of death: 10/13/2012.
- Luis Adolfo Olmedo, 53, was struck and killed by a cager on PCH between Encinal Canyon Road and Mullholland Highway. Olmedo had just finished fishing near El Pescador State Beach and was crossing PCH from the shoreline side. Date of death: 2/26/2013.
- Sarah Salam, 21, was struck and killed by a cager driving a limo as she attempted to cross PCH after leaving Moonshadows restaurant.
A burned out streetlight, located steps away from the collision, and other preventable maintenance considerations likely played a role in her death. Date of death: 4/20/2013.
- Rodrigo Armas, 45, was struck and killed on PCH by a drunken cager who worked for the City of Malibu. He was participating in an annual organized ride. The cager fled the scene of the accident. Date of death: 7/5/2009.
- Christian Armas, 14, was struck by the same drunken cager who killed his father, and sustained injuries to his leg and multiple bone fractures.
The pair were equipped with regulation lighting for night cycling. Date of injury: 7/5/2009.
- Amelia Ordona, 74, was crossing PCH in the early morning to catch a bus on the way home from her job as a caretaker, when she was struck by a hit-and-run cager, then run over by multiple other cars. Most of the cagers who ran over the corpse didn’t bother to stop. Date of death: 3/18/2010.
- Emily Shane, 14, was run over on PCH by a distracted cager while she was walking along the side of the road in order to meet a family member at Point Dume Village shopping center. Date of death: April 3, 2010.
- Erin Galligan, 29, was was hit from behind while cycling on PCH and dragged to death by a hit-and-run cager in a pickup. Her body was thrown so far from the point of impact that police had to search for her body. Date of death: July 10, 2012.
- Numerous other fatalities including two Pepperdine Law School students who were killed in a head-on car-to-car collision with a drunk cager; a tow truck driver killed by another hit-and-run cager while he working on a vehicle, and myriad cyclists and pedestrians who have been seriously injured by cagers in the last ten years on PCH.
- You, aged 40-something, were riding down PCH on Sunday morning when a cager drove by so close that you were almost knocked off your bike by his mirror. There was only a narrow three-foot space on the edge of the road, covered with rocks, debris, glass, and cracked pavement, onto which you could veer for safety. You were almost killed, and it ruined your ride.
Although many Malibu residents come across as hateful, vengeful, stingy, selfish, and filled with venom towards bicycle riders, they are a small minority. Most Malibians are just like rich entitled cagers everywhere: They don’t like it when shit gets in their way and slows down their car, whether it’s a slow-moving truck, a traffic jam, a bicycle, or, you know, a corpse in the middle of the highway.
The city recognizes that PCH is a death trap and that they have traffic fatality and injury rates commensurate with a city many, many times larger. This survey is part of a planning process that may — may — eventually ameliorate the toxic combination of crazy-fast speeders and crazy-slow bicycle riders. Rather than gutting up for the next memorial ride to commemorate the life of another bicycle rider killed by a cager in Malibu, please take a few minutes to complete this survey.
August 19, 2013 § 11 Comments
Some people go about their lives making a huge difference, quietly.
Connie Cycling has been introducing cycling to kids from across the socioeconomic spectrum at the Carson velodrome since 2005. Connie Paraskevin, one of the greatest track racers in U.S. cycling history, runs the program, but it’s not just about minting bike racers or nurturing the next generation of Olympians.
Connie’s work is something much more important than grooming young athletes: It’s helping kids find their limits, then break through to the other side even if they never enter a bike race. I asked Connie to give me an example of how kids use her cycling classes to “break on through.” She had a plethora of examples, and I liked this one a lot.
The story of “Carl”
Carl came to Connie’s program, like many kids do, in search of a sport. He wasn’t sure he wanted to race, but he was pretty sure he wanted to ride. His parents wanted him involved in an athletic activity for all the usual reasons, but nothing he’d tried had worked out. “No problem,” Connie said. “Track cycling attracts lots of kids like yours.”
Carl was smart and consistent. The first year he got a feel for the track and for learning to ride. He and his classmates learned the techniques unique to riding a bike with no gears and no brakes around a wooden track with 45-degree banking.
The second year Carl added to his skills and continued to improve. He never showed any interest in racing, and the program never pushed him to race, but it was evident that he had a lot of ability. The third year his skills were quite good and his technique was getting refined, so the classes evolved from skill and technique into training and workouts. His body had matured as well and he was better able to hand the more intense efforts.
This was the first time that the track was really starting to challenge him. The coaches knew what he could and couldn’t handle, and it was apparent that he had never pushed himself. “That’s natural with some kids,” Connie says. “Whereas some are aggressive from the start, others play their cards more cautiously. Carl was more cautious, and never got even got close to where his real limits were, or even out of his comfort zone. Still, he rode well and continued to improve.”
One day the class was doing a drill called “Hares and Hounds.”
Connie laughs. “It can be brutal. The coaches set up the riders in order based on what we know about each rider’s abilities. We send out a rider who’s the ‘hare,’ and the others are the chasing ‘hounds.’ It’s an exciting and intense workout!”
Carl was the hare. At “go” he kicked up onto the boards, and kicked hard. Somewhere, in between the moments he was waiting in line and the split second in which he heard the word “Go!” a switch was flipped. Carl was on fire. He put everything he had out there on the boards.
The coaches stared in amazement at this transformation that happened in front of them as Carl smashed through his own personal, internal barriers. “The full-out effort and rocket speed? He’d been able to do that for a long time,” says Connie. “But the will to do it? It happened right then on that day. And once the switch was flipped, it never flipped back off. Ever.”
After the workout finished, Carl had another “first.” He went to the trashcan and puked. It was a shocker to him as he coughed up what was left of his lunch. He’d never gone so fast and so hard and so deep, and his body was telling him unmistakably, in case he hadn’t noticed, that today was different.
A few minutes later he walked up to Connie and looked at her in the eyes, inches away. This is what he said: “Coach Connie, after we finished the Hounds and Hares, I hated you. I’ve never felt so bad in my life.”
Connie smiled at him. “You gave it everything you had.”
“Can I thank you?” Carl put out his hand.
“Sure.” Connie shook it and gave him another smile.
“I get it now,” he said.
According to Connie, that’s the moment that she had been waiting for — for three long years. She knew that this would stay with him forever, the day in his life when he first went beyond himself. Months after the breakthrough, Carl’s father said, “He’s a different kid since that day. His confidence, how he handles himself, it all changed just like that.” He snapped his fingers to illustrate.
Says Connie: “What Carl did that day, that is success. Not a national championship. Not membership on the U.S. Olympic team. Not winning a race. Success is that moment in life when all of that kid’s efforts coalesced and allowed him to flip the switch. Cycling was the vector, but the success was what happened inside him.”
Connie’s program is the same for all kids regardless of their background in that it recognizes a basic fact. This fact is that athletes who excel, although they all stand on the line to compete in the same event, they have all reached that starting line by a different path. Some were given everything, some made do with almost nothing. Some had huge talent, others were endowed with nothing but work ethic and will. “Everyone has arrived at the same place, but from a different path and background,” says Connie. “Ten different people, ten different paths. This diversity is what we respect, honor, and encourage. Our job is really the easiest one of all: To help them flip the switch.”
Keeping the wheels rolling
Like any organization, Connie Cycling thrives only to the extent that it has financial resources to devote to its programs. On October 13, 2013, I hope you’ll join me for the Connie Cycling Foundation’s “Ride & Raise” 20-mile charity pedal in Long Beach. You register for the event by paying a $35 registration fee, and then you can choose to either raise additional funds through the sponsorship of friends and family, or you can simply show up and ride your bike. There are no fundraising requirements or minimums.
Connie Cycling’s work has made a lasting impact on the lives of thousands of children. It has introduced them to what I believe to be the most democratic, exciting, and revolutionary activity known to mankind — bicycling — and it has put kids on bikes and a healthy trajectory when they might have taken another less beneficial path. Join us on October 13 to celebrate the mission of Connie Cycling, to celebrate the life and work of Connie Paraskevin, and to keep the wheels turning.
August 10, 2013 § 4 Comments
You can’t be a pro masters racer in SoCal without sponsors. You know, they’re the people who spend money on you for no obvious reason. The people who donate clothes, equipment, and services so that you can live the dream, and boy, is it ever a dream, if not a full-blown fantasy psychosis.
Our team, SPY-Giant-RIDE, bends over backwards to make us think we’re special and to treat us like we matter, even though I’ve shown at 35 races this year that I’m not and I don’t. It has made for a tremendous couple of years as we’ve benefited from the perfect formula for happiness, which is: Swag + Bikes + Racing + Fun + Friends = Happiness.
Here’s what some of the SPY-Giant-RIDE athletes have to say about the gear and services they use.
- Ryan Dahl: I can’t thank MMX and SPY-Giant-RIDE enough for all that they have done for the team. It really is a privilege to be a member. Every rider on the team is an exceptional athlete and person, and I’m proud to be able to call each and everyone of them my friend. On top of the great friendships, we have been fortunate enough to wear and ride the best equipment made. Of course, MMX has good taste and a focus on quality products, and we all reap the benefit of that. SPY: They really are the best eyewear company out there. The designs are fresh, the optics are crisp, and the SPY brand is one that I am so proud to represent. GIANT: You know you have a good bike when you polish it to a shine every night. I love this bike. BONT: I’ve always known Bonts were the best so when I found out they were going to be sponsoring us I was really stoked. They are raw performance; nothing else compares. ZIPP: I polish these every night, too. These wheels are so fast, and perfect in every way. But everyone knows that, too!
- Garnet Vertican: When I think back to last CX season, one of the products that stands out as having helped me land on the podium twelves times was my GIRO helmet. It performed flawlessly in every condition and situation, it weighs almost nothing, and stays in position no matter how rough the course is. The comfort and style of this helmet was top notch. Lots of riders focus on bikes and other components, which are really important, but the comfort and stability of your helmet is important as well. Giro fits perfectly, super, super product. SPY: Love my glasses, especially when the mud and dirt get flying!
- Steven Davis: GIANT: I have been fortunate enough to have ridden some of what the industry might consider the best bike frames on the market, but I’m certain that there is only one “best” of anything. That for me is the Giant TCR road frame. When racing and training, my enjoyment comes during the climbing phases. My excitement and appreciation comes from the way the Giant responds. Stiff, light, aero, and compact would be a few key descriptions of what it provides for me. The Giant is uber responsive to those fast accelerations or attacks on steep grades, then once unattached and free to fly, my Giant allows me the speed necessary to stay away via its aero-prowess. One of a kind technology! BRL Nutrition: I have been traveling on the road, racing since the first of June at multiple stage races across the U.S., and what BRL has provided me with is the ability to recover and maintain optimal health, and to keep my immune system strong so that I don’t succumb to illness. With travel, six-day stage races, different time zones, altitude, and everything else that comes with racing the circuit, stress can saturate your system. With BRL supplements and performance-oriented nutrition, I have been able to push my physical limits and maintain my health. BRL allows me to continue moving forward by taking care of a huge aspect of this sport–health via nutrition. SPY: The frames are light, compact, and so easy to wear. The lenses are crisp, sleek, and most certainly stylish. The company and its employees are irreverent badasses and technological innovators. I am lucky to be an ambassador for such a gnarly group of against-the-grain, unsatisfied with the status-quo, avant-garde trendsetters! BONT: “Performance machine” is how I would describe their shoes. The technology is in place for a cycling shoe that is created for one reason and one reason only: Optimum performance at the highest level of the sport. STAGE ONE APPAREL: Joe Yule, the designer for our team kits, has an eye for the fashionably sensible yet eye-catching in a crowded peloton filled with flashy colors. He’s just got a nose for what will look good, an ear for staying on top of the industry’s needs, a feel that makes the user comfortable, and a taste for what works.
- Damian Stevens: The support from SPY has been tremendous. They’re the key sponsor and everyone they’ve put together from their internal operations to fellow partners/sponsors has been insane. There is nothing but support. No egos, and no BS, except for Seth, but that’s because he’s mostly drunk. Straight-up, solid people who offer the best gear known to any cyclist out there. We’re eternally fortunate and beyond. I’ve never had this kind of experience on a team. To sum it up? Gratitude, and peace.
- Logan Fiedler: This has been an amazing year full of happy moments that have been shared with some of the nicest/strongest guys I know. The bar is set high when you’re representing the lightest, stiffest bike on the market, and if you don’t believe me, test ride one. I had my last “race” bike sold within two weeks of riding my Giant. Having the SPY logo on your jersey has been something to be proud of. No one puts on an event like the Belgian Waffle Ride, no one supports the sport of cycling more than SPY, no one cares more about their racers than SPY and NO other company has a CEO who will make you ride home with your tail between your legs after he rides you off his wheel. Notes from the year: Our SQUADRA kits are badass and better than those worn by most pro teams. Our BONT shoes make our legs an extension that connects to the pedal with the stiffness and lightness of our bikes. They are molded and they fit like a glove. SRAM is just badass and hasn’t mis-shifted or jumped a gear all year.
- Erick Sobey: GIANT: This bike just feels “tight.” When I mount up, the SLR becomes a part of me. ZIPP: My new ZIPP gear bag is my new life bag. BONT: A great way to surgically attach your legs to your pedals. I don’t even remember which sunglasses I used to wear, and now, I don’t even remember that I’m wearing sunglasses because SPY are the lightest, most secure, and most advanced lenses I’ve ever experienced. No sweat marks EVER!! Oh, and they will make you look great!
- Josh Goldman: GIANT: The TCR has been a simply amazing frame. Coming off a Specialized S-Works SL4 in 2012, I was skeptical after being very satisfied with that bike, but the TCR did not disappoint. It is extremely light, dives into corners with ease and confidence, climbs better than any bike I’ve ever ridden, and makes the rider feel very connected to the road by way of the integrated seat post. Thanks for a great season Giant! SPY: Are there any other glasses on the market, seriously? I cannot say enough about the amazing people, products, and community support from SPY. SPY is truly a world class organization committed to its customers and to being the best. After many years with a competitor, I was truly blown away, I was HAPPY with the perfect lens combinations and performance of the SPY Screw! Their lifestyle optics are second to none and everyone in my family loves them! BRL: I am very picky about my nutrition, its ingredients and quality. Endurafuel was there for me every hard ride, race, and final effort, efforts that were so hard almost everyone got shelled. I experienced a substantial advantage with Endurafuel in my bottle and am confident my performance could not have been what it was without it!
- Eric Anderson: SPY: The Cutters are by far the coolest and yes most functional performance glasses I have ever worn. I’ve never worn another pair of glass that have generated so much attention. “Wow, those are cool,” “Wow, those look like my grandpa’s glasses,” and “Those don’t look like other cycling glasses!” To which I respond, “Yes they are cool, yes your grandpa is cool, and these really are great performance glasses.” To be honest, my Screws and Quantas have been collecting lately, that’s how much I love the Cutters. BONT/GIANT: This combination is the sprinter’s delight. I can’t imagine a stiffer combination of frame and shoe. Without any actual data to verify this claim I’ll go out on a limb and say 99.9% of your effort gets transferred to the pavement when you clip into a Giant TCR Advanced SL with Bont Vaypors. One note about Bont sizing, if you use their online measurement method they come in exactly as they say!
- Oliver Stanley: Let’s crush some motherfuckers on Sunday! This is our course! I know we can do this, WM, even though you’re a flailing wanker! SPY: Sweet styles, multiple lens options, and perfectly clear vision with these things. My biggest problem with the SPY glasses is deciding which ones to wear! Favorite right now? Black Cutters with the Happy Lens. They make me happy, as advertised! GIANT: Where do I start? This TCR Advanced SL is an absolute weapon. Compact, light, aero, and responsive. This bike will make any wheel sucking tosser feel like a pro. I climb onto the TCR and I’m ready to smash the pedals like a hammer on a nailhead. It just feels right, every time. BONT: Yup, these are the shoes for me. Little bit of heat forming in the old kitchen oven and they fit like ass-kicking slippers. I came over to Bont from another high end shoe company, and there’s no going back for me. These Bonts are solid; they’re lightweight, super stiff, and mad stylish. I could wear my Bonts all the time. Maybe I’ll get another pair for lounging around the house and heading out to the bars. The chicks dig them. ZIPP: Speed weaponry, indeed. I’m rolling on a set of 404 tubular Zipp wheels and they just work! Great ride quality, super light, yet stiff and responsive. A set of Zipp wheels will give any bicycle that badass look. Don’t believe me? (I’m talking to you here, Wanky!) Pop some 303′s into your bike, stand back, and feel like a badass. Even YOU will go faster. Okay, maybe not you, WM. These tubular 404 Zipp wheels have given me the confidence to get out there and make the break, or jump across that gap and chase down the leaders. I’m not much of a sprunter, but with my 404′s I’m ready to go head-to-head with anyone. The product line doesn’t stop at wheels and tires. My carbon Zipp handlebars are the best I have ever ridden. Great ergonomics, light as a feather and zero flex. GIRO: I love my Giro helmet. Ventilation is second to none. Stylish, yet fully functional design. I really can’t tell that I’m even wearing a helmet most of the time because it’s so light and comfortable, but I’m glad it’s there to keep me safe and hold my SPY sunglasses in place! SQUADRA: All cycling kits are the same, UNTIL you’ve worn Squadra. Oh my, what a difference. The SPY-Giant-RIDE Pro Issue bib is perfect. The cut is supreme, holding everything in place without being too smothering. I’m not just talking about the business parts, either. The relatively low waist band allows free breathing and stays cool in warmer conditions. The pad/chamois offers a comfortable ride for hours and hours, and those long leg bands keep a firm but even pressure on the quads. The Pro Issue jersey is the best jersey in the business. Slightly longer sleeves keep my arms just that little bit more protected and stop the dreaded sleeve roll into the armpit. The material breathes and contours to the body. On race day I bust out the aerodynamic Squadra Speed Suit. It fits like nothing else except maybe a great condom, gives me that all important aero advantage and to be quite honest, it makes me feel like a bad bitch. I would wear it every day, but I don’t think I could quite pull that one off. I’m not Stathis. STAGE ONE: I don’t know how these guys do it, but oh wait, that’s because IT’S JUST ONE GUY AND HE’S A GENIUS. Every season, when you think you have the coolest looking gear, the new Stage One kits just blow the old stuff out of the water. It just doesn’t make sense. I was so stoked on my 2012 SPY kit, hand washing it instantly after each ride so I could wear it again. Until…BOOM! The 2013 kit arrives and I’m all 2013 clad. Poor old 2012, he never stood a chance. Thanks to every sponsor and every single person that has a hand in building and supporting our racing team. I feel so lucky to be surrounded by such a positive and friendly crew. To those I have met, and more importantly, the folks behind the scenes that I have not yet had a chance to meet, thank you so very much!
- Jim Miller: RIDE Cyclery: The best bike shop I’ve ever had the pleasure of patronizing. Service is done quickly, accurately and with a smile by Blaize, the best damn mechanic anywhere. Aside from being a cool kid, Dillon is super friendly and exceedingly knowledgeable about the products in the store, and he’s always willing to help you find something or explain the finer technical details. Of course it all starts at the top with Brent! He’s put his heart and soul into his business and it shows in everything this amazing crew does. GIANT: The best bike I have ever ridden. Period. The experience is made even better by getting to work with the Giant team, which has gone out of its way to get us their great bikes and help us promote the team in a way that leaves a big impact. GIRO: They have been amazingly generous in providing us with the best fitting helmet on the market. BRL Labs: Their products, EPO Boost and Endurafuel, work very well. Bob Gentile is a great ambassador for their brand and I’ve enjoyed working with him. SPY: Hey, we make the best eyewear anywhere, and we’re not owned by some big Italian conglomerate. Okay?
- Chris Nesbitt: As soon as I could start riding again, RIDE had my GIANT bike ready to go. My TCR had only suffered a few scuffs and scratches despite a wreck at speed north of 35 mph with multiple rollovers, a testament to this bike’s build quality. Furthermore, SPY had already arranged a replacement kit, helmet and shades, as all had been destroyed, so I could resume training immediately! While I missed the balance of the 2013 season recovering physically, I am excited to enter 2014 and begin to contribute. With this kind of support and equipment behind me, it’s humbling to say the least. I am proud to represent SPY-Giant-RIDE on the road!
- Harold Martinez a/k/a Critboss a/k/a King Harold: SPY: Best casual and sport eyewear I have ever worn. I’ve never looked cooler in a race or at a rave. Put these bad puppies on when me and the missus get down and it’s a whole ‘nother ballgame. BHL: EPO Boost is an amazing product. Not only does the powdered drink mix taste good but it keeps me riding stronger with less fatigue and a shorter recovery. RIDE Cyclery: What can I say? First Class Operation. Excellent support, great prices, top team of mechanics, and that’s coming from a wanker engineer. STAGE ONE APPAREL: Designer of the finest cycling kits in North America, okay, the galaxy. If your kit is not being designed by Stage One, stay home or hide in the pack because chances are it was designed by some junior high school punk with a pirated copy of Photoshop. StageOne is pro from top to bottom, and Joe Yule is the world’s foremost cycling kit designer, which is kind of like being the world’s most famous snake charmer. SQUADRA: Most comfortable chamois I have ever saddled up in, and after 30 years of racing, the twins have been rubbed and chafed by more chamois than I care to remember. I can ride for days in Squadra bibs. The twins love them, and when I peel them off, the missus is ready for a whole new ballgame. GIANT Bicycles: Hands down the best bicycle in the world, okay, the universe. It’s like cheating a little bit every pedal stroke. When I hop off this bad boy after a hard ride and the missus sees me all covered in sweat, well, it’s a whole new ballgame. SOCK GUY: Best cycling socks for my feet! Cool and comfy all day long. I even wear them off the bike, but not in bed. Usually. GIRO: Lightest and best looking helmet on the market. Fits my melon just right!
- Derek Oldfield: For 2013, I’ll be entering into my second year as a SPY-Giant-RIDE cyclocross rider. My 2012 and 2013 experience with SPY-Giant-RIDE has been nothing but frills and good times with strong athletes who push my limits and make me a better cyclist. I really appreciate having the opportunity to be part of this grassroots team and am excited to see the ‘cross season approaching! It feels great when you have the backing of companies that are really involved in competitive cycling. The equipment is the best! Awesome SPY eyewear, killer kits from STAGE ONE and a fast GIANT TCX bike that has made a world of difference at my races! RIDE Cyclery has been amazing as well! Thanks to Brent, Blaize, and Dillon, as they all contributed to helping me figure out the logistics to building the right bike for me! RIDE has great customer service and it’s been awesome working with them!
- Lars Finanger: The one piece of equipment I never leave the house without are my SPY shades. Whether it’s an early morning triathlon (yup, I’m a tri- geek) or a late afternoon crit, their lineup has an excellent variety of frames and lenses that keep my eyes protected and happy. My favorite model is the Daft, in large part because I ride my time-trial bike three days each week. It’s the lightest pair of sunglasses I’ve ever used and the biggest advantage is not having to get disoriented from staring at a frame like you end up doing with other manufacturers’ so-called offerings.
- David Anderson: Last year had so many highlights, but the thing that stood out the most was capturing the Bear. Our equipment makes a difference in performance. If you don’t have it, you don’t win.The EPO Boost by BHL had me floating around the state championship course for 45 minutes and it felt like a mere ten. Performance eyewear rarely works well for racing ‘cross, and I’ve tossed quite a few optics off my face just so I could see what was happening around me. Then came along the SPY Screw (under lens). No fogging, no sweat streaks, no glasses bouncing off my face, just pure clarity. If you don’t think seeing makes a difference between winning and losing on a ‘cross course, well … Wearing SPY was one less thing to worry about, plus they look so damn good. I praise my GIANT bike to anybody that will listen. I always lay out that I’ve ridden quite a few ‘cross bikes in my day and my Giant is by far the best bike I’ve ever ridden. The confidence that I have when lining up for a race took me to a number of podiums this year. The stability and tracking is what slows things down in a very fast and hectic environment. I was taught years ago that you need to go slower to go faster in this discipline. When you;re stomping the pedals after the hundredth hairpin the bike just jumps with every pedal turn. What a joy. Thank you sponsors for all that you’ve given!!!
- Andy Schmidt: I have an extremely flat foot that prevents me from wearing shoes with any type of arch support. In the past I have relied on shoes with zero arch and zero support for riding. Most of the time it felt like I was standing directly on an oversized pedal. My foot would basically slide around if I left the top straps too loose, or they would cramp and go numb from over-tightened straps. Every ride would end in sore tired feet. BONT Vaypors are amazing because of the Super Mold Technology. Stick the shoe in the oven for 20 minutes, then put your foot into the warm shoe and feel it mold. The instructions are simple, and I was a little skeptical of the promised outcome. I followed the instructions and spent extra time pushing the arch down, and didn’t pay attention to the molding that was going on around the rest of my foot. So, off I go on my first significant ride in the Bont Vaypors. What I immediately noticed was that my foot was a single unit with the pedal. I rode and didn’t feel my foot sliding around inside the shoe and I didn’t even have to crank the top straps. More importantly, it felt like my foot was a part of the bike rather than two separate units. In one single ride the Bont took me one hundred miles and 10,000 vertical feet. For the first time ever, I didn’t experience any cramps, soreness, or fatigue in my feet. The shoe has perfect power transfer. That is what makes the Bont so fabulous. SPY: Best eyewear ever. You gotta see if you want to ride well, and SPY lets you see and it protects your eyes. SPY put the other eyewear companies to shame. The quality is the best and the grassroots support for our support makes you appreciate the company even more.
- Wankmeister: Fuggit, I love all this shit. This team is so awesome, and the attitude of “strength through destruction” comes from the top down. My SPY eyewear never leaves my face. Ever. Think about that for a minute. My Giant bikes, I sleep with. Yeah, I got grease marks in funny places. My Squadra kit fits like a tailored tuxedo. StageOne makes me look like a gigolo on a bike. RIDE Cyclery makes sure my bikes and wheels are running perfectly. Lost Abbey keeps me drunk. But most of all, it’s the people. A better group of wankers I’ve never run across, nor hope to.
- Alan Flores: It goes without saying that SPY eyewear is the best I’ve ever worn. Not much to add except that their glasses are great on the bike or off. I was starstruck the first time I threw a leg over my GIANT Advanced TCR ISP. The balance of stiffness, from the 1 ¼ – inch steer tube and massive carbon stem was matched by the smooth transfer of power to the drivetrain, so that all my energy was used to push the bike forward. I raced my new GIANT that following weekend, winning easily. I am not a strong time trial rider, but by taking a long shot attack off the front of the race I was able to maintain a large gap on the field for much longer than I ever have before. That move drew out the best riders in the field to join me the breakaway. The conclusion of the race came down to a six-man sprint finish, in which my GIANT proved superior by taking me to victory. Simply put, the GIANT Advanced TCR is “superbly responsive.”
- David McNeal: Two years ago when I was new to California and to the race scene, and not knowing a sou,l I approached MMX during ‘cross season about racing on the Masters 35+ SPY team with the promise to put the best eyewear in the world on the podium in CX. With an open heart and an open mind, MMX threw me a kit and some SPY Alpha’s without any questions, and thanks to the team’s support I was able to get 3rd in the Master 35+ overall series, as well as win in the Masters 35+ SoCal CX series. I couldn’t have done it without the awesome support from SPY, GIANT, and RIDE Cyclery. Of course, getting to pedal in the SQUADRA kits designed by Joe Yule at STAGE ONE SPORTS made a difference as well. Light-as-air GIRO helmets, BHL supplements, and the best ‘cross footwear on the market made by BONT made me feel like I was a UCI pro racing in Europe. Most of all, though, I’m profoundly grateful to the SPY-GIANT-RIDE team that has helped me make Southern California my new home, and to my teammates who have made me part of their SGR family. And thanks as well to Seth for his write-ups and most of all for the post-race beer hand-ups. I couldn’t be prouder to be an ambassador for this team.
- John Hatchitt: It’s impossible to single one of our amazing sponsors as the best. They’ve all had a huge impact on my racing this year. My SPY performance eyewear has come through again and again, helping me see better, protecting my eyes, and helping me look good on the bike! The first time I used my ZIPP 303′s, I was rolling down the hill from my house and thought, “Wow! These are the real deal!” They are fast, light, and amazingly smooth. I got them with the intention of using them only for ‘cross, and rode them to numerous podiums as well as my biggest ‘cross victory to date, the top step in the “UCI Cross After Dark.” Once the road season started I pulled off the knobbies and glued on road tires. They have been my go-to race wheels all season, with never a creak or an out-of-true wheel to date. My GIANT TCX ‘cross bike was incredible, and of course I love my STAGE ONE kits. Most of all, I love the team. It’s been a blast, and the only thing that’s going to be better is 2014!
August 9, 2013 § 79 Comments
Date: Thursday, October 3, 2013, 7:00 – 10:00 PM
Location: TBD, Most likely the Strand Brewery or Naja’s, depending on the number of attendees
The heroines and heroes of the South Bay will be recognized for their outstanding achievements at an upcoming awards ceremony. I am now accepting nominations for the following categories. Only nominations submitted in the comments section of this blog will be considered. Final decisions will be made by tallying votes, then ignoring them.
In order to be considered for an award, the rider must meet one of the following qualifications: The nominee must live in the South Bay, ride in the South Bay, have once ridden in the South Bay, know someone who knew someone who once rode in the South Bay, live in the continental United States, or be a real person, living or dead. No other nominations will be considered, except Sasquatch.
Most Improved Rider: Rider who stepped it up to “the next level.”
August 8, 2013 § 13 Comments
The phone rang at 2:00 AM. The only reason the phone rings at 2:00 AM is because someone in Texas has died or someone has been arrested for DUI and needs a cheap lawyer. I always answer such calls with immeasurable dread.
“Hello?” I said.
“Hey,” the thick Texas drawl answered back. “Sorry for the late call.”
I frantically tried to place the voice, but couldn’t, so I faked it. “That’s okay.”
“Dude,” the voice continued, “when are you going to put my name in the blog?”
What’s it all about, Alfie?
It was my teammate from Texas who lives in Santa Barbara. “You called me at two o’clock in the morning to ask me that?”
“Sorry, man, but it’s been keeping me up night and day. My old lady reads the blog religiously and she’s always, like, ‘When are you going to be in it?’ It’s destroying my marriage, bro.”
“Just any old mention. Doesn’t have to be fancy like all that cool shit you write about Zink and MMX and Ryan and Red Light. Just my name, you know? It would mean the world to her. And to me, of course.”
“Of course. But, dude, in order to get, you know, mentioned, you have to do something.”
“You’re joking, right?” He was offended. “You put anybody in that fucking thing. One time you even wrote about Stern-O.”
“Yeah, and he’s still pissed about it.”
“So do one like that. Make it all funny and shit where I look like a stud but you make fun of me a little bit. Not too much, though. C’mon. it’ll get me some ‘favors’ from the wife. Help a fella out.”
“I’ll see what I can do.”
What I did
A couple of weeks went by and I’d forgotten completely about it. Then a long email arrived, and it went sort of like this:
Hey, man, I know you’re busy and stuff but you’re putting out like a blog a day and there’s nothing in it about me. WTF? My old lady is really upset. Can’t you just throw my name in there? Something like, “He is a total badass and a hammer and a total bro and a real leader and has a good sprint and leads out his buddies and is respected by everybody in the peloton plus he’s handsome.” You can even use that quote, you have my total permission.
So I wrote him back, and it went sort of like this:
I’m trying to remember what you look like. Are you the dude with the beard who was showing the team your pubic tattoo and penis piercing that day after you crashed on the first lap and took out our designated team leader? Or are you the guy who had the tummy tuck and breast reduction surgery? Shoot me a JPEG to refresh my memory.
Upping the ante
Today I logged onto Facebook and saw a post from my Texas teammate that said, “I ride my bike a lot. I do. But really, the only goal I have left for this year is to somehow, some kind of way, to get Wankmeister to mention me just once, in an email, blog, whatever…just once.”
I felt terrible, so I decided to go ahead an mention his name as soon as I can remember what it is.
August 7, 2013 § 15 Comments
That’s what I was thinking as Punkin moved aggressively to take Zink’s wheel. Punkin had been pedaling madly and never spent a second at the front. Now, just before the launch up the first nasty roller, he had decided that what he wanted was the Cadillac draft: Zink, he figured, was big, strong, and able to tow him to the promised land.
I let him in. “You want Zink’s wheel, Punkin?” I thought. “Okay. Let me know how that works out for you.”
Punkin grabbed The Wheel, and The Wheel surged up the hill with the ferocity that only Zink seems to have in these situations. Punkin pedaled hard, then harder, then started trying to find the right gear, something in between an 18 and a 19, say, an 18-1/2 or perhaps an 18-3/4.
Smoke began pouring out of his ass. His head drooped. Zink beat the pedals even harder and Punkin rolled out of the formation, his left engine hit, his right engine in flames, and the nose already pointing downwards as he began spiraling out of control. We didn’t see him again.
This day had started like every other Big Ride Day. The night before I’d laid everything out, packed my bag, ground the coffee, charged my lights, and set the alarm for 3:45 and then again for 4:00 AM to make sure I would be able to wake up and be out the door on time at five.
And like every other cyclist since the beginning of time who has prepared the night before, I was late. I continually woke up all night, anxiously awaiting the alarm, but it wasn’t until 3:30 that I fell into the sleep of the dead so that when the clock went off fifteen minutes later I was in the profound REM sleep of someone who’s been up all night.
I snoozed the alarm until four, staggered up, fixed the coffee, put on my kit, drank my coffee, and checked email. The next time I looked up I only had five minutes before departure. No problem. I got up and remembered I hadn’t aired up my tires. No problem. Aired ‘em up. Then I noticed my taillight wasn’t affixed. Ran into the bedroom. Couldn’t find it. Began hollering. Woke up the household. Finally found it, amazingly, where I’d left it the night before.
Went to put it on. The velcro strap came loose. Dashed back into the bedroom. Wife now livid. Turned on the light. Wife started throwing ashtrays. Ran to the drawer where I kept random bike shit that doesn’t go in the toolbox but can’t be tossed because you might need it someday. Dumped out the drawer and began feverishly looking through spare helmet pads, extra GoPro sticky pad thingies, spare bolts and washers, extra tire levers, and a stack of decals. Where was the fucking extra velcro strap?
Now my five minutes were long gone. Ran to the bike. Strapped on the velcro. Hooked on the light. Stumbled out to the car. Forgot my coffee. Ran back up three flights of stairs. Got the coffee. Ran back to the car. Got the bike and bag into the car. Now I was fifteen minutes down. The drive to North County would be insane, and it was.
First, my son, ye shall have communion at the holy Leucadia Donut Shoppe
I got to Leucadia with fifteen minutes to spare and hit the donut shop. Then I sped over to the Starbucks where the ride started. I scarfed the donuts, drained a coffee mug, and hopped on my bike just as the ride rolled out.
All of the other riders had ridden there and were warmed up. I was colder than a math teacher.
We set a wonderful, leisurely pace for the first hundred yards. Then Lars the Viking gently increased the speed to thirty-five. Zink came through at 36. Nails came through at 37. Ryan came through at 37.5. Everyone else got kicked out the back, reducing our starting group of forty to about five riders.
We regrouped at a light, if “regrouped” is what you call a gaggle of gagging, gasping bicycle riders whose tongues are stuck in their forks. Zink whipped it up again on PCH as he, Dahl, Viking, Sobey, and a handful of other SPY riders pushed it all the way to Carlsbad. The ragtag group of wheelsucks wouldn’t, or couldn’t take a pull, with the exceptions of Stefanovich and Jim, who both found the front just long enough to remember why they’d been in the back.
“Gee, I’d love to, but … “
As we hit the first nasty roller I thought about all the people who had told me how much they’d “love” to come do this ride. None had made it. I appreciated their wisdom.
One flailer who appeared to be on life support rolled up and patted me condescendingly on the head. “You’re doing better!” he said. Zink kicked it up another gear, I followed, and Headpat disappeared into oblivion. I love riding people off my wheel after they compliment me.
After the endless series of rollers, each of which permanently shed another fistful of gasping wheelsucks, we finally eased off. “This one’s tempo,” said MMX.
Viking, Zink, Dahl, and Sobey didn’t get the email, though, as they stomped off with the enthusiasm of a newly licensed executioner trying out a new Zwilling blade. MMX, Dandy Andy and I were gapped out. MMX mashed away for as long as he could, doing 23 rpm in his trademark meatgrinder pedalstroke, then ceded the front to Dandy Andy. Dandy flogged it like a monkey trying to write kanji and somehow closed the gap. I spit up an appendix and part of my shoe, then caught my breath with a 7/0 treble hook on 400-lb. test line and a Daiwa Dendoh Marine power assist reel.
Thanks to the “tempo” climb and the robotic thumping of MMX, Zink and Viking, MMX closed out the day with thirteen KOM’s and a new course record. I finished with a migraine and a sense of astonishment that on a 29-mile ride there could be over three hundred Strava segments. Dahl gave me a funny look at the end.
“Dude,” he said. “When you were eating the kimchi diet and the vegan thing and no gluten and no beer and only masturbating biannually you were slower than an IRS refund. Now that you’ve switched to beer and donuts you’re actually keeping up. What’s that all about?”
“I dunno,” I said. Then I hopped into my car, dashed onto the freeway, drove like mad to the McDonald’s in San Clemente, inhaled a Big Mac, and fell asleep in the parking lot.
Go big or go home? I had gone big AND was going home. And the next time you get a hankering to find out how tough your local Tuesday morning ride actually is, give me a call. The passenger seat’s always empty.
August 3, 2013 § 33 Comments
Okay, not a movie actually, more like a book.
Actually, an e-book.
But with your help it MAY one day become the best selling book since Dream of the Red Chamber.
Why a book?
I need the money.
How did it come about?
I printed out all of my blog excreta through December, 2012. It came out to 1,238 single-spaced 8 x 11 pages in 10-point type. After taking a look at the pile I got a huge headache, drank a lot of beer and then forgot about it.
Then what happened?
My good friend Barbara told me to email her the whole clump. She said she would read it and separate the wheat from the chaff. “If there’s no wheat, I’ll at least grade the chaff for you,” she may have said.
So that’s how you came out with a polished diamond?
No. That’s how I came out with 882 pages of “not completely awful” chaff.
Wankmeister, if you think anyone’s going to read 800-plus pages of anything, you’re crazy.
Right. So I whittled it down to about 200 pages, big font, double spaced, with photos of hot naked cyclists in the middle. The cover photo is from the San Pedro GP by Danny Munson.
Just like that?
No, I had more help from Barbara. Then Derek B. gave it a read and a critique. Finally, once it was all polished up and I’d read it another four times for typos, I sent it off to my favorite bicycling editor, Lesli Cohen. Once she finishes it I’ll call it good and publish it.
Which publisher are you using?
That’s a joke, right?
So what’s it about?
It’s about cycling in the South Bay, so I decided to call it “Cycling in the South Bay.”
Ah-hah. When is it coming out?
Two weeks, give or take a day.
Where can I buy it?
Amazon/Apple/Barnes & Noble.
How much will it cost?
Will there be a “bro deal”?
Yes. My bros will buy extra copies. And they will give it super favorable reviews on Amazon.
Aren’t you worried that it will be a POS?
No. I can blame it on Barbara, Derek, and Lesli. And Chris, who encouraged me to do this in the first place.
Is it going to be fiction or nonfiction?
No, no, no. I mean, which one will it be? Fiction or nonfiction?
It’s all 100% true except for the parts I made up.
What if your local buddies get pissed off at what you say about them?
None of them can read, actually. And the ones who can will go straight to the nude photos.
And what about the ones who get left out, like Chris Lotts? They’ll be really pissed.
As long as they buy the book to find out, who cares? Look, the damned thing was 1,200 pages long. In order to get it down to size I had to dump more shit than a manure truck. Anyway, Chris loves me. Mostly. And I’ve had plenty of people ride up to me and offer cash not to be mentioned. Which I’ve accepted, by the way.
Okay. Well, I’m looking forward to it.
August 1, 2013 § 52 Comments
Every so often I see an article like this: “Cyclists! As long as you keep breaking the law motorists are going to keep hating you. We must show that we are law-abiding members of the public if we hope to be treated with the respect we deserve.”
This is stupid and it’s wrong.
Cagers hate you because of the law of the jungle. When a tiger and a mouse meet on a path, the mouse steps aside. Your bicycle, a weak and puny plastic thing, impedes the forward motion of a hulking 2,000-lb. slab of steel. The jungle law says you must step aside, but the California Vehicle Code does not. So the cagers hate you even when they yield the right of way.
Before you start whining you should ‘fess up: You’re no different from the soccer mom in the SUV. Remember last Sunday on the bike path coming back from Malibu, and how the path was clogged with all those fucking walkers? Remember how you roared past them at 15-20 mph shouting “On your left!” Remember how annoying it felt, especially since the path said “Bikes Only”?
Yeah. The natural human reaction when a slow moving, weaker bicycle obstructs a faster moving, bigger car, is to be pissed off, and you can’t tamp down the cager’s road rage by stopping at the stop signs.
Here’s another example. Have you ever seen a cyclist on Hawthorne or PCH during rush hour and thought “What the fuck is that fucking fuckfuck doing riding on this busy fucking street at rush hour? What a fucking moron!”
Of course you have.
As long as bicycles get in the way of cagers, the cagers are going to hate them and it won’t matter if you stop at the stop signs. They will still shoot you, splat you and run away, kill you, kill you, and then finally, yes, kill you.
No one ever had his rights vindicated by being nice
You have a right to ride on the road. It can’t be taken away because you ran some red lights.
“Mr. Smith, due to your abysmal record of having run ten red lights and thirty stop signs this year, the court hereby revokes your right to ride your bicycle.”
Not gonna happen, although your scofflaw approach may get you run over and killed.
The only thing that obeying the law on your bicycle does is increase or decrease your chances of being hit, depending on the situation. It will never make any cager anywhere stop hating you. It will never stop someone who has made up his mind to hit you from hitting you. Most importantly, it will never cause someone to intentionally hit you if they haven’t already decided to do so.
Think about motorcycles. Most cagers who don’t ride think motorcyclists are batshit crazy sucides. But it doesn’t make them want to kill the guy on the Ducati in flip-flops and a t-shirt and an eggshell brain bucket who’s splitting lanes on the 405 at 70 when the traffic’s at a standstill.
At worst it makes you think “That dude’s gonna die soon and I’m not gonna feel sorry for him one bit.” It never makes you intentionally hit him. By the same token, seeing some old fart on a Goldwing with his wife, dog, and three kids on the back doesn’t make you love motorcyclists or change your opinion that this is their death wish.
The take home? Motorcyclists still have the right to be there. If they break the law they can lose their license — unlike cyclists — but you’re really fucked up if the way a person rides a moto makes you decide to kill them or not.
You have a right to be in the road on your bicycle. The only way you can keep that right is to exercise it. You won’t change the hearts and minds of the hater cagers by being a Boy Scout, although you may thereby avoid becoming a statistic. The only thing that will really change the way people think is making bicycles a permanent part of the traffic landscape.
Until then, the best thing you can do to change attitudes is to … ride your bike. Simply existing will piss off certain cagers, no matter how you ride.
July 30, 2013 § 2 Comments
Dan and I raced for the freeway. It was going to be tight, but in the dozens of times I’d made this drive on a Sunday the only place the traffic really stacked up was around San Clemente. We came to a squealing halt after about three hundred yards. It took fifteen minutes to get to the on-ramp.
“Looks like you’re gonna miss your flight,” Dan said.
“Yes, it does.”
“Maybe the traffic will clear up.”
“I don’t think so. It’s never been like this.”
“Just wait until we get on the freeway.”
We got on the freeway and the traffic stopped completely.
“Wow,” said Dan. “This is awful.”
“Kind of hard to believe that you scheduled a fricking bike ride the same day you had to make an important flight back home to be with someone who really needed you.”
“Yeah,” I muttered, feeling horrifically bad.
“Just kidding,” Dan said. “You hungry?” he asked, trying to change the topic.
“But there’s no time to stop.”
“And even if there were, there’s nowhere in between here and home where we can get something healthy.”
“I’m not eating any more junk food today.”
“That shit this morning was gross. I think it’s why I kept getting dropped.”
“Yeah,” Dan agreed. “That McSausagebomb lurched over to the left side of my stomach when we hit the low-water crossing and the weight imbalance is what crashed me out.”
“I would have totally made those climbs if it weren’t for those donuts. They provided lots of energy for the first five minutes but after that they were just like wet sand.”
Anatomy of a crushdown
As the traffic inched along I turned to Dan. “Why are these stupid rides in North County always so hard? I hate them.”
“They’re fun, huh? It’s because of MMX.”
“Ever notice how he’s always mashing on the gas?”
“What do you mean?”
“He never rests except to catch his breath after an effort. Then he’s pushing the pace again. Dude’s only got two speeds, ‘full’ and ‘throttle.’”
“That doesn’t explain it. He’s not superman.”
“No, but those other wankers are. He’s assembled a crew of crazies who ride just like he does. So as soon as he swings off, another one comes through, always mashing the pedals. It’s like being in an insane asylum where everyone has the exact same mental illness and the same symptoms.”
I wasn’t convinced. “What about the terrain? I think it’s also the terrain.”
“That’s part of it, too. It’s all rolling and hilly down here, no big climbs but never flat. It just wears you out. The minute you want to rest, some knucklehead pushes the pace up the next roller. Pretty soon your legs give out and you quit.”
“Even THOG looked tired at the end of the ride.”
Dan laughed. “THOG is never tired.”
Call of the wild, or call of Five Guys, anyway
The traffic continued to crawl and the clock continued to tick. With a one-hour minimum check-in time, it was going to be touch and go at best. Finally the traffic started to lighten and out of nowhere a five or ten minute window of opportunity opened.
“You still hungry?” I asked Dan.
“Starving. But no junk food for me.”
“Me, either. But we might have an extra ten minutes.”
“I’m not doing another McDonald’s.”
“What about Five Guys? There’s one just off the freeway a mile or so up the road.”
“Okay,” he said. We roared in, Dan barefoot and still in his shredded and bloody kit. We ordered really bad and unhealthy food, but to compensate we ordered a lot of it. With the clock ticking we desperately pounded down cheeseburgers, sauteed mushrooms, sauteed onions, jalapenos, Cajun fries, coke, peanuts, and a pair of hot dogs.
I slipped into my seat on US Airways with two minutes to spare.
Bags cost extra, but 200 extra pounds are free
Mine was a window seat. The aisle seat had a tiny young girl in it. The middle seat was occupied by a woman who easily weighed three hundred pounds.
“Do you mind if I lift the arm rest?” she asked once we were airborne.
“Not at all,” I said, and in truth, I didn’t. Most people hate air travel and their worst nightmare is sitting next to a sweating behemoth, but that’s not my worst nightmare. My worst nightmare is having to get from LA to Houston on a covered wagon expedition that takes six months and involves significant risk of Indian attacks, starvation, and death.
You know, like it used to be before we had what Louis CK calls “The magical flying chairs.”
I didn’t mind it when my neighbor fell asleep and her ginormous forearm rested on my leg, or when she spilled over into most of my seat, pushing me up against the window. I didn’t mind it when she started to sweat, because I thought about how easy and pleasant it was in my flying chair compared to riding a horse, or walking, or sailing around the Horn in a flimsy wooden boat beset by hurricanes, ocean storms, deadly shoals, and six months of seasickness.
My neighbor, however got very angry with me.
I had dried out completely in the cold air of the cabin. The air was also starting to make me sneeze. I felt a big one coming on. I clutched my mouth to cover it, but when the sneeze came it shook my head like a rag doll. All of the sand and grit from the ride which had been stuck to my scalp and hair from the sweat was no longer so stuck.
With the first paroxysm I showered my neighbor with a fine spray of sand. She awoke, startled at the grains on her ample bosom and side of her face. Before she could figure out what was happening, I blew again. This time it was a veritable rain of dirt, and she was grossed out and furious and, worst of all, trapped. She tried to pull away but there was nowhere to pull. She tried to put down the arm rest but couldn’t get the meat folds back inside the armrest.
As the third shake-and-spray covered her, I noted that it was all sticking to her because she’d been sweating. Reaching a huge arm up to the flight attendant button she pushed away at it.
“Could I please have another seat?” she demanded.
“Is something wrong?”
“This gentleman keeps sneezing on me.”
“I’m very sorry,” I said. “I’m allergic to heights.”
“And he’s covering me with dirt.”
“Can I wipe you off?” I offered. I extended a helping hand which, unfortunately, was still pretty grimy, especially beneath the nails which I hadn’t trimmed recently and which the bike ride had turned a fine shade of black.
“Get away from me!” my neighbor said.
The flight attendant came back and escorted her to a different part of the plane. Incredibly, my sneezing stopped. I was disappointed, as I had hoped to get to know her and have an interesting discussion about something. It was going to be a sad flight as I tilted back my chair and slept, uninterrupted, the rest of the way.
July 29, 2013 § 4 Comments
How did I get into this? I’m already at Part Five and haven’t even finished boring you with the group ride. It’s Sunday at 8:40 PM. I spent the entire day at the San Marcos crit getting dragged around the windy, hilly course by sadists. Now I have no idea how I will finish this stupid blog. Oh, I know! Bullets! Or better yet, finish the group ride saga with a numbered list!
- Dropped on the climb up Lake Hodges.
- Flailed with Dandy Andy and Hatchetman.
- Laughed at by Surfer Dan as we hit the sand trail because I veered off the trail a bit.
- Laughed at Surfer Dan a few miles later when he launched off the sand trail and into the bushes.
- Obliterated by Stinger, Lars, Ryan, MMX, Zink, THOG, and everyone on the rock garden trail.
- Obliterated by same up sandy wall Questhaven climb.
- Obliterated by Josh, Alan, Lars et al. on the run-in to Encinitas.
- Swore to never return to North County ever again.
Make it to the church on time
My LAX flight left at 4:30. It was a long way from San Diego County but doable unless the traffic was bad. The weekend traffic in the afternoon from San Diego to LA is always bad.
We got back to Encinitas at 12:30. My bike was covered in dirt and sand and gunk and filth. So was I. There was no time or place to bathe before I had to swap out my kit for jeans and a t-shirt so that I could go straight to boarding when I got to the airport.
I stripped on the sidewalk wrapped in a towel. I grimaced at the thought of how the sand and dirt were going to feel trapped inside my jeans on a 2-hour drive and 6-hour flight.
Then I noticed gushing rivers of sweat pouring off my body. I slipped on my underwear. I took off the towel. I used the streaming rivulets of sweat to wet the towel and scrubbed.
Sweat is a great cleaner. It kept pouring off my skin until the towel was a soaked sweat rag. Pretty soon I’d wiped off all the grime so that I was sparkly clean with a twinkly shiny layer of sparkly sweat. There was a clot of sand between my toes that I couldn’t clean with the sweat, so I worked up a good gob of spit and drooled on my foot. Then I toweled the hell out of it.
I suppose the nice families sitting outdoors at the Lofty Bean coffee shop didn’t often see a grown man standing on the sidewalk in his underwear spitting on his feet. Perhaps that is why they stared, but I left before the police arrived.
Next issue: Surfer Dan and Wankmeister swear a pact to never eat any junk food ever again, not even if they happen to pass by a 5 Guys burger joint while ravenously hungry after the hardest bike ride of their lives, and they especially swear not to do such a thing if it would make them miss a very important flight that they were already cutting way too close anyway.