The taste of bitter, Devil’s Punchbowl 2012, Part 4

May 1, 2012 § 4 Comments

Meanwhile, back at the race…

Steelhead had died 999 deaths in the suicide breakaway, but not 1,000 deaths because he’d already died once two years ago at Boulevard when he rode up to G$ and said, “Hey, dude, I finally made it over the first climb with you!” then hit a rock, splatted on his head and would have bled out except that STEEL DON’T BLEED.

After getting kicked out of the break, Steelhead took a breather, and with no teammates in the break drilled his brains out to bring back the two leaders, who came into sight just about the time that Steelhead threwsa rod, seized up, and was forced to put in an order for an all-new engine from Jessup Chevrolet. However, he also had to pay the extra $582.22 towage fee, as his carcass was dragged around the rest of the course in a more or less completely broken down state.

Purple Parks and Axena were finally brought back on the last climb up the big hill, and the tired remnants of the lead group slowly trimmed itself down to six. The heads of the snake were G$, DQ Louie, Jack Benny, Purple Parks, Ignoble, and Axena. Axena made a final attack with another rider in a one last bid for glory, getting a small lead on the rest of the lead group.

You’re my friend and I respect you that’s why I completely lied and stabbed you in the nuts

With Ignoble gassing it through the sandy, off-camber turn of death, the group chased up to Axena and his fellow traveler. G$ countered, gapping the group and taking DQ Louie with him. That’s when the hijinks began.

G$: “Pull through, bro. I need help.”

DQ Louie: “I’m done, man.”

G$: [to himself] “Done? That must mean he’s going to be content with second and give me the win. He’s an honest rider and would never trick me. Plus, he’s probably forgotten about UCLA.”

DQ: [to himself] “Does that sorry cocksucker think I’ve forgotten about UCLA and the way I hooked Axena, Big Orange protested, I got relegated, and Glass Hip was given the win? Fuck him.”

G$: [to himself] “Yeah, we’ve raced together for years. He’s a class act. Not like a lot of these other douchebaguettes who will lie and cheat and fake it and then whack you at the line.”

DQ: [to himself] “I can’t believe it. G$ is going to tow me to the line! What a sucker! I’m so gonna whack his ass at the line.”

G$: [to himself] “If it was anybody else, there’s no way I’d tow them to the line. Especially not a good field sprunter like DQ. But he said he was done, and he’s no liar. Okay, legs, uncork!”

With a mile to go, G$ switched into glide. The leaders were left to choke out their death rattle on his fumes. And then, as the line approached, DQ Louie hit the jets and took the win.

G$ couldn’t believe it at first. Then, little by little, he began to taste it. Devil’s Pukebowl. Hopes dashed. The taste of bitter.

Post-race interviews

After the dramatic stab-from-behind victory of DQ Louie in the 45+, Wankmeister patrolled the crowd and spoke with various participants. Their comments are below.

WM: How was the race?
Roxy [Bike Palace]: It went well. But it was hard. Really hard. I think I almost broke my hoo-ha.

WM: How was the race?
Mighty Mouse [Unattached]: It sucked.
WM: Why?
Mighty Mouse: This highly experienced racer dude who’s been coaching me and is a Pukebowl veteran gave me the wrong starting time, so I missed my race.
WM: And who is this highly experienced dude?
MM: Do you know G$?
WM: You were depending on G$ to get you to the race on time?
MM: Yeah. Why?
WM: Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

WM: How was the race?
Tink [Big Orange]: It went great! Thanks, Wanky! I followed your advice!
WM [nervously]: Uh, what advice?
Tink: Where you told me to suck wheel and never work in the break! They kept prodding me to go to the front, but I refused, and then finally I only took weak, slug-like, ineffective 10-second pulls! It was awesome! I got third!
WM: Uh, there’s a group of chicks coming our way with clubs and a pitchfork. Why don’t you crawl under my car for a few minutes?

WM: So, when does your 40+ race go off?
Fireman [warming up on trainer]: Ten minutes.
WM: Are you ready?
Fireman: Yeah. You got any food?
WM: Uh, sure. Here’s part of a half-eaten BonkBreaker from my last race.
Fireman: Fuck. Thanks, dude. I’ll take it.
WM: Good luck.
Fireman: Hey, could you do me a favor?
WM: Sure.
Fireman: Give me your rear tire, wouldja? Mine has a blister on the sidewall and is about to pop.
WM: My rear tire?
Fireman: Yeah. I’ll put your good tire on my wheel, and this fucked up one on yours.
WM: This bad one that’s about to pop?
Fireman: Yeah. Is that a problem?
WM: Uh, I guess not.

…after Fireman’s race, via text message…

Fireman: Fuck, dude. That was a 48-mile time trail.
WM: How’d the tire hold out?
Fireman: It was too heavy. That’s why I got dropped.
WM: Oh. Sorry. At least you didn’t flat.
Fireman: Yeah, a flat would have been great.

WM: How was the race?
G3 [Big Orange Cat 3, not to be confused with G$]: Fucking sucked. My tactics sucked.
WM: How so?
G3: Typical negative Cat 3 bullshit. I fucking hate racing with the 3’s. What a bunch of wankers.
WM: Why don’t you race 45+?
G3: Uh, no.


The Hand of God, Part 4: Capture the Flagg

April 25, 2012 § 9 Comments

Incredibly, Wankmeister’s legs were golden this epic day at Vlees Huis Ronde as he pedaled madly in his Spy Blue team kit through the anus of the Central Valley. Perhaps it was the blinding heat mixed with the nasty particulates and suffocating ozone that make Bakersfield’s air the most polluted in North America, a combination of stench, pain, and discomfort that can really only be approximated by growing up in Texas or living near Amarillo, boxes that Wankmeister has ticked off his gut-bucket list with the fattest Sharpie out there.

Perhaps it was Wanky’s new “Grind Over And Thrust” climbing technique which he has begun using to compensate for the VO2 maxiness of his betters.

Perhaps it was Wankmeister’s decision to go off-grid and just begin following the advice of his coach, Captaintbag, who, after telling Wankmeister that he should give up racing, also told him that if he insists, then JUST GO HARD.

Most perhaps of all, though, it was likely the visages of misery, suffering, despair, and disbelief mixed with the expressions of failure, humiliation, and defeat that were scrawled across the faces of everyone remaining in the lead group. Wankmeister had never lasted so far forward into a hard California road race. Here he was, surrounded by the most recidivist of the forcats de la route, and they looked like shit.

Golden legs. Brutal course. Smothering heat. Everyone else all fucked up. If the legs held, with a smattering of strategy Wankmeister could be a factor in the finish. If not, smoking all this crack sure had been fun.

We will show you mercy. Then after you look at it we will put it back in the box and kill you.

As the leaders sped up the first big climb on the second lap, Flagg of No Quarter attacked and gapped the field. Knowing that my legs couldn’t possibly hold out for a 20-mile breakaway, and that cleverness mandated conservation, I chose suicide by surging from the group and bridging the gap. We worked mightily together, with Flagg taking huge, mile-long pulls up the climb, and me taking brief, four-second pulls on the descents until the field was out of sight and a distant memory.

As Flagg of No Quarter upped the pace, I muttered, “Urgh,” or perhaps it was “Gurgle.” Whatever the sound your vocal cords make when your throat has been slit and the blood mixes with the final exhalation of air…that’s the sound I made. Flagg looked at me as I took my final, puny pull. “No worries,” he said. “You did your best.”

Then Flagg of No Quarter did his best, and vanished up the climb.

The Hand of God smites the unworthy

The field, which had once been a distant memory, now became a visible, living, breathing, fast approaching mob of the undead, with the Hand of God leading the chase. Ten thousand hundred million billion years old, white-haired, bent from the weight of the universe, bedecked in the 456 million-colored sleeve stripes on his champion of the universe jersey, THOG pushed, then pulled, then thrust the group forward until, after my ten mile breakaway attempt, I was swallowed up.

A series of droppage and catchage ensued, where I came off on the climbs and chased back on the downhills, usually with the help of Darling Todd. As we made our second and final ascent up Leibert’s Corner, the Hand of God looked back and saw the cluster of unworthy dingleberry sinners still entwined in the hairs on his rear.

THOG took out his giant Paddle of Doom and carefully inspected it for giant, rusty nails protruding from the end. Finding none, he reached into his jersey pocket and inserted several of the largest and rustiest. Then, with one mighty swat of the Paddle of Doom, THOG smacked the living shit out of the dingleberries who had, ’til then, tenaciously clung to his ass.

We were pounded loose with that one whack. The fire in my stove had gone completely out, and try as I might I couldn’t even reignite the pilot light. The other dingleberries rolled slowly up the road, dislodged from the leaders, while THOG led the remnants back onto the main road, capturing the Flagg, and bringing everyone back together.

In a matter of two miles I was 3:30 down.

The Hand of God meets the steel-toed boot of Satan

With four miles to go, G$ launched an attack into the headwind. None could follow save THOG and DJ. As the large gap filled with even more real estate, some sprunter dude gave the mother of all efforts and bridged. Just as he latched on, he took a second to catch his breath. In that second, G$ unleashed a mighty kick from the steel-toed boot of Satan.

Sprunterdude panicked and threw a chain, with G$ now hitting the bottom of the 1k climb to the finish. THOG waited for DJ to bridge, apparently unaware that the only time DJ bridges is when there are three other players at the card table and it’s his bid.

THOG unleashed the thunderbolt of doom, but too late to fend off the blow to the skull by the pointy, steel-toed boot of the devil. In a reverse of the 2011 finish, it was the devil first, the Hand of God second.

List of the casualties.

I dribbled in four hours or so later to secure 19th place, the exact same result from 2010. What a difference two years of training, a $15,000 bike, and experience make!

Back at the Suburban, Roadchamp was stitching his gums together with some baling wire, wondering why, after a 12-hour surgical procedure and losing two pints of blood, he’d not had the legs to go with the leaders. “Must have been the heat,” he concluded, carefully draping a towel around the meat cleaver trophy in the hopes that no one would notice.

King Harold came in later that night and immediately called his girlfriend to sob about the heat, the misery, the thirst, the hills, and most of all the massive cramps that soon engulfed him. We changed his didey, gave him a Wankmeister pacifier made out of granite and barbed wire, and headed home.

No one told any stories of epic danger, death, and courage in the face of utter destruction, however. We’d all just lived through one.


The Hand of God, Part 1: What day is today?

April 22, 2012 § 1 Comment

Words can’t describe the brutality of the 2012 Vlees Huis Ronde, held in Bakersfield. Oh, wait a minute. Yes, they can.

It started off the way that bike races this time of year always start off. “Hey, honey, I’m racing in Bakersfield tomorrow. Want to come and hand me up water in the feed zone?”

“Bakersfield? Is that the really hot ugly place with no shade?”

“I don’t know if I’d call it ‘ugly.'”

“I would. It’s that sandblown, windswept, terribly hot place with bad air and oil derricks everywhere. I hate that place. Aren’t the races there really long and, like, the bikes only come by once every hour or something?”

“Oh, honey, it’s not that bad. I mean, yes, you’re right, but for Vlees Huis we actually come by once every hour and a half or so.”

“Well, I hate that place and it stinks and the dry dirty air hurts my throat and it’s bitterly hot and I hate it and there’s trash everywhere and every third person is driving a pickup or has meth mouth. If Maggie hadn’t been there with me that time I would have killed myself.”

“Okay, aside from all that, is there like a REASON you won’t go. I really need water in the feed zone. They say it’s going to be in the high 90’s.”

It’s pretty much always in April. On the 21st.

“Since you ask, yes, there is a REASON I don’t want to go.”

“What’s that?”

“Tomorrow’s my birthday.”

[Tune in tomorrow for “Wanky Dodges a Marital Dissolution”]

Wankmeister cycling clinic #9: Why should I go to the front on the NPR?

April 20, 2012 § 5 Comments

Dear Wankmeister:

Would you lay off with the “go to the front” bullshit already? It’s, like, boring. The only time Thurlow, Glass Hip, G3, Hippstar (may his soul rest in peace), Fukdude, and Hair ever go to the front it’s to attack like a bat out of hell and either escape or break the field. Sitting on the point like a fucking clodhopper is for wankers. Oh wait, you are the King of the Wankers. I didn’t upgrade to Cat 3 on good looks. I play to win.

Devlin Mizjones

Dear Devlin:

First, do us all a favor and stop comparing yourself to the above-named racers. They are badass and they win (well, I guess you can go ahead and compare yourself to Hair). In short, you should go to the front on the NPR because there are only five people–at most–who have a snowball’s chance of winning the sprint. You’re not one of them.


Dear Wankmeister:

Going to the front on the NPR is stuppid. Racing is conserving like how when you fuck you try to hold it all til the end not blast away in the first twevle secunds like some fukkin tenager in the back seat of Dad’s Chevy. That’s how you win.

Holdin’ back,
Billy Doublebags

Dear Billy:

Since you have zero chance of winning the sprint, being “strategic” to conserve energy is stupid. Conserve it for what? Watching porn on the couch after the ride? It’s the same kind of tactical fail as taking condoms on a trip to the supermarket with your grandparents. On a training ride you got to fire the cannon, same as H.L. Mencken’s election strategy: “Vote early, vote often.”


Dear Wankmeister:

WTF do I want to go to the front for? I’m just in it for fitness, dude, and for the shot at winning the sprint. Who gives a shit what you think? Lay off, already.

Wally Watercooler

Dear Wally:

Since you have zero chance of winning the sprint, you need to understand that you build fitness at the front, not nestled in the middle of the pack behind that goober with the pot belly and the the knees that go out at right angles wearing the size M shorts on a size XXL derriere, shorts that are old and threadbare and right in front of your face while you pedal under the awful gaze of the evil brown eye and try not to barf all at the same time.


Dear Wankmeister:

You really don’t get it, do you? NPR isn’t a “race.” I just want to improve my bike handling. I could give a shit about hero pulls. Plus, there’s no harm in seeing what I can do in the sprint and maybe claw me a “vee.”

Cam Corners

Dear Cam:

Since you have zero chance of winning the sprint, you’ll become a better handler by riding in proximity to the best riders, who ride at the front, not by tailgating the crazy lady with the penchant for throwing herself over the handlebars.


Dear Wankmeister:

I work long hours at a very stressful job. For me, the NPR is chance to get in a good workout before the grind begins, and maybe score a win against the “big boys.” Going to the front seems suicidal, frankly.

Leta Lovinlife

Dear Leta:

Since you have zero chance of winning the sprint, you need to understand that if you are comfortable, it’s not a good workout. It’s not even a workout. Look at the wankers who, year after year, muddle along in the middle of the pack and never take a pull. In order to get a good workout you gotta go to the front and take your medicine. And it will hurt.


Dear Wankmeister:

For me, the NPR is all about street cred. I spend a lot of my disposable income (okay, all of it) on bike shit. My cyclaholism has cost me three marriages, two residential evictions, and numerous job displacements. I want “the boyz” to see I’m serious about this shit and to ogle my new Crumpanator Carbon wheels, which are rad, plus maybe get lucky and ding ‘em in the sprint.

Goosey Grabass

Dear Goosey:

Since you have zero chance of winning the sprint, the quickest way to be seen and earn “cred” is by going to the front. No one cares if you flame out. Everyone cares that you made the effort. There’s a recall on those Crumpanators, BTW, something about rim failure at speeds over 21 mph. You’re probably safe, but just in case.


Dear Wankmeister:

I’m still not convinced. My goals are simple…get home in one piece, and maybe be in position towards the end to sneak one by the sprunters. How’s this “GTTF” crap going to help me?

Dow Ting Thomas

Dear Dow Ting:

Since you have zero chance of winning the sprint, please believe me when I say that sitting at the back with the pack going 35 mph is a bad idea. Why? Because when the pack slows, the wankers at the back who are mashing like madmen just to hang on, with their heads down and eyes glued to their front tire, will slam on their brakes at the last second. You’ll slam into them. Crushed orbital bones sound like fun? Get thee to the front. Or to a nunnery.


Dear Wankmeister:

I’m all about winning. I’m a winner. There are winners and losers. The winner comes in first. Everyone else is a loser. Same in life. You’re a winner or a loser. Winners are rich. Losers write blogs. So how does this “go to the front” shit help me win? Sounds like some moron ploy to make me go do all the work and some other goof gets the glory. That blows. FYI, I’m the dude who helps himself to seconds first. Invite me to your party and I’M the present I bring to the host. Get it? There’s a universe out there, and it rotates around me. So rotate this shit, Wankmeister, and explain yourself some more. ‘Cuz I’m not buying it. How’s this GTTF crap going to make me good in a fast crit?

Neville Gazer

Dear Neville:

Since you have zero chance of winning the sprint, in order to hang in a tough crit, you have to practice in a group where the pace is high, like in real races. The only way this happens is if people take turns at the front. It may look cool to be dawdling along at 21 and then watch Hair launch an attack at 35, but in reality his races are never like that. They’re incredibly fast, and they stay fast. Since you have zero chance of winning the sprint, as I may have mentioned, perhaps it’s time you were introduced to the concept of doing your share. This is common among people who have integrity. They hate to see the same people doing all the work, so out of a feeling of duty, fairness, and honor, they drag their sorry asses to the front to give some a rest and the others a pounding. Knoll is a classic example of this. No matter how many custard pies he’s eaten in the last six months (and it’s usually a lot), he will motor his way to the front and pull like a motherfucker, even if he blows and pops his eyes out of the sockets. Fireman is another sorry motherfucker who will stick his pointy fucking elbows out and beat the goddamn pedals like a farmer going after a rattlesnake, doesn’t matter if he’s just gotten off an overtime shift at the firehouse where he’s had to drink beer and fart in the TV room for three days straight. St. Johns is another worthless fuck who will climb up to the head of the peloton and rip your goddamn heart out, even if he craters and rolls over in the ditch after taking his pull. MMX, before he got too high and fucking mighty for the South Bay and went off to become the King of the Hell of the North, was another two-bit bastard who’d mash it at the front until his dick fell off rather than Freddy freeload at the end of some lameass paceline. Jaeger? That weak turd will pull and pull hard until he pops and drops, and he won the fucking BWR. Uberfred’s another has-been goober who will nose his way into the wind even when his paunch is hanging down to his ankles, just because he can’t stand being lumped with the wheelsucking, freeloading, cheapassing, dingfucking shirkers. Surfer Dan? Same fucking thing. Put him in a fast group and he’ll be out on the point tying your dick into knots because FAIR is FAIR, and SHARE is SHARE. Bull? Go ’til you blow, baby, and don’t come off the front until the road tilts up. King Harold? Sonofabitch invented the flatback, puts pain-inducing medicine in his intravenous drip, and thinks rear wheels are for him to pass and you to follow. USC John? Piece of shit grits his teeth and attacks, pulls, accelerates, and thrashes so much at the front that it makes my taint sore just watching him. These are just a few of the lions of the NPR peloton, and I haven’t even mentioned Vapor or G$ or Davy Dawg, much less the Tinksters, Suzesters, Mousesters, Tongsters, Mattesters, Dukesters, Gangstas, Christinestas, Supergirl Kelly and the other chicks who push their way as far forward as they can even when surrounded by guys. Do your share. You’ll be sorry you did, but happy, in a beat to fuck, miserable, pain infested kind of way.


Strap me to the chair, Dame Vicious von Flogg

April 7, 2012 § 6 Comments

“How was the ride today, Dad?” my youngest asked when I wheeled in the bike after 95+ miles up the coast, up Latigo, down Kanan Dume, down the coast, and back home up VdM.

“It was fine,” I said. Then I collapsed on the bed.

Mrs. WM hurried in. “Are you okay?” She was worried.

“Urgle,” I answered.

So many things happened on this glorious, sunny, 80-degree day in Southern California that I can’t begin to put them into a coherent whole, which makes sense given the fact that I was incoherent for so much of the ride. What I can tell you, though, is this: there’s something wrong with men who go in for bondage and whips and chains. The idea that some broad is going to put on a weird costume, tie you to a chair, and beat the shit out of your nether regions with a whip until you moan in pain, sob in agony, beg for mercy, and finally collapse in a wet puddle of self-loathing, blood, urine, and sweat, and that you’re going to pay her for it…that’s sick.

It’s sick because you see, if you’d just shown up on the Saturday ride this morning you could have gotten all that and more for free.

Dame Vicious von Flogg: We began a torrid pace at the bottom of Latigo. Spider accelerated up the first little climb, I hopped on his wheel and was quickly shed. Checkerbutt and Fireman followed Spider and got dropped, leaving me flailing off the back where I was quickly overhauled by Dame Vicious von Flogg.

Dame Vicious weighs about 40 pounds, and she cheerily hopped out of the saddle as she passed, tossing her rear wheel into my front fork. She’s got a bit of learning to do, but that’s the peril of being a wheelsucker–you’re at the mercy of the wheel you’re sucking. The pain was almost unendurable as she gradually reeled in Fireman, who’d been canned by Checkerbutt. “Yo, Fireman,” I said. “You’re getting caught and dropped by a chick!”

He fought viciously to get on my wheel, then took a hero’s pull in the universal manspeak of “I ain’t gettin’ dropped by no chick.” After that effort fizzled, Dame Vicious came back to the fore and laid down a relentless tattoo of kicks, punches, and blows to the groin. Before long Fireman began the Dangle of Death, opening gaps and then fighting to get back on. I was glued to Dame’s wheel, eking out every tiny bit of draft from her tiny frame.

Dame Vicious then cheerily looked back. “Goody news!!”

“Urg?” I asked.

“Yep! Daddy says I don’t have to get a job next year and can spend another year getting in shape to ride my bike!”

“That fucking sucks,” I moaned, just as Fireman hung his head, rolled his bloodshot eyes, and lolled his tongue in the Death Rattle of Drop.

Soon the road turned into only a mild incline, and Dame Vicious did the only sensible thing: pulled out her crop, shifted into the big ring, and began to whale me about the head and shoulders, all the while chattily wondering what the best way was to learn not to throw her wheel back into my spokes as she threw her wheel back into my spokes. Every few minutes she’d pause the beating to let the accumulated blood drain from my eyes, then resume it.

We passed people like we were on a motorcycle. I greeted each one the same way: “You just got dropped by a chick.”

Finally, one of the droppees said, “I am a chick!”

“That’s even worse, then,” I panted as Dame Vicious exchanged the whip for a chain studded with small sharpened spikes.

Soon we had Checkerbutt in our sights. Dame Vicious rode him down like a terrier overpowering a three-legged rat, and as we passed him I said, “You just got hunted down and dropped by a chick.”

“Well you’ve been sucking wheel the whole damned way, you wanker,” he retorted. Then he added, in the universal manspeak of wounded ego, “I was just taking it easy because I didn’t want to be alone.”


Then he attacked us. I fought on, and Dame Vicious countered, gapping Checkerbutt, who recovered and attacked again. By the fourth exchange I came unhitched, kind of like when a camper comes undone midway up Loveland Pass. They exchanged blows all the way to the top, with Checkerbutt finally putting a three-second gap on…a chick…after a 40-mintue climb.

Fireman caught me and flogged me and dropped me just before the summit. Spider was at the top enjoying his new sub-40 minute conquest of Latigo. The rest of the wankers trickled in, each showcasing various stages of defeat, despair, and hopelessness.

Checkerbutt: Came up from the City of Cadmium and Mercury Poisoning to represent the Long Beach Freddies in a throwdown with the Second Tier (some would say third) of the South Bay. With the exception of the chick who rode him down and made him sing for his supper, and the caning he got from Spider on Latigo, he whipped the snot out of everyone else, ticking off a 2nd Place on Strava for the Kanan descent and giving me the leadout of all leadouts into Will Rogers. I didn’t have the heart to come around his sorry checkered ass, so I gave him a push as his innards began spilling out from his ears.

Tubetop: Sidekick to Checkerbutt, he rode the way we’re more accustomed to seeing the Long Beach Freddies ride–weakly. This was his payback for the funny email he sent after Solvang. The last I heard from him was a distress phone call from Peet’s in Santa Monica, asking Checkerbutt how to get back to the car in Manhattan Beach.

T. Rex: Blew the pack apart heading out on PCH, shredded everyone in the sprint to Cross Creek, finished the sprint on Kanan Dume at 55 mph…plus.

Cheetah: We were pleased and honored to have been joined by one of the greatest U.S. cyclists of all time, Nelson Vails. Nelson accompanied us most of the way out PCH. Talk about riding with royalty. I reminded him of the only time I’d ever met him. It was at Camp Mabry during the Tour of Texas. I rode up to him and said something and he turned around, smiled, put his hand to his mouth like he was talking into a CB, and said, “10-4 good buddy.” I was amazed he didn’t remember this incredibly precious 2-second interlude we’d shared back in 1984.

Walshie: Kept the gas on along PCH, then dropped off to ride with his friend of so many years, Nelson.

DJ: Avoided the humiliation of having Dame Vicious von Flogg grind him under her jackboot by motoring on to Camarillo and opting out of the Latigo dominatrix chair.

Sparkles: Kept the wheels turning in yet another awesome chick display of strength and fitness.

Douggie: Coming back on PCH he unleashed the crusher attack of death on the short wall just before Latigo, decimating the already toasted group. Then he dropped himself, leaving me and Fireman to flog for a while until he and Checkerbutt caught back on. Despising the safety of Malibu Colony we opted for Pepperdine Hill. Fireman crunched it and Douggie followed through with the pull of black death, Checkerbutt gasping and me doing whatever happens when you breathe more deeply than a gasp. From that point on Douggie hammered like a madman. As we climbed up onto Vista del Mar we got passed by this insane dude with one red pannier, a steel frame, and a fixie, and he went by like we were standing still. Unfortunately, that’s when Douggie could actually smell the coffee at CotKU, and he ran down Mr. Fixie, who jumped in with me and Checkerbutt only to find that 29 mph on a fixie means your fucking legs come detached from your hips. I’ve never seen anyone sustain 350 rpm for a kilometer, but when his sacrum came tearing out his ass it was all she wrote.

Knoll: Had the misfortune to popularize the ride as “mellow,” when in fact it wound up being Sledgehammer of the Broken Sacrum. Knoll utilized every trick in the book, but came up a few chapters short, at least by his usual standards, i.e. pummeling the shit out of me on long climbs.

Hockeystick: Took one brief pull on PCH, failing to alert the peloton to parked cars, overtaken Team in Training-ers, crevasses in the road, etc. However, eyeing BWR next weekend, he opted for an even longer route with more climbing after Latigo.

Major Bob: Hammer. Climb. Hammer. Seek out new climbs. Hammer.

Trixie: Rolled like a champ out on PCH, then clawed her way up Latigo with a very respectable ride, leaving certain veterans to be named later choking on her fumes. Plus, she was extra cute in her blue kit.

Betsy: Rolled with us to Latigo, then did her own ride continuing on PCH. Another hot chick biker who looks good in blue.

Jens: The man who least deserves his nickname lived up yet again to his reputation as Go to the Front Antimatter, a unique force in the cosmos that is diametrically opposed to ever taking a pull. However, he momentarily overcame this powerful negative attraction to sharing the work when he was observed engaging in a micropull on PCH for .000093 seconds, measuring a power output of 12 watts. Progress!

Arkansas Traveler: With the absence of Pinched Nerve Patrick, AT took up his rightful place at the back of the peloton ascending Latigo and successfully maintained PP +1. When I descended to see if he’d been killed and eaten by a mountain lion, I found him doing with Junkyard what he’d done the week before with me–enjoying the ride. What’s with that guy? Or should I say, “Respect.”

Junkyard: It was a painful day of death and dismemberment for our valiant hero, who, after putting his head under a concrete block and having the block broken by a Korean taekwondo blackbelt wielding a large hammer, dragged himself back to the StageOne World Headquarters to begin preparations for the Perry-Roobay celebrations scheduled tomorrow for 6:00 AM plus Zeke farts.

Big Bowles: Another masterful day of shirking by the master of shirk.

Toronto: No matter how many megadeals he crafts during the week, nothing, and I mean nothing, can ever stop Toronto from joining the mob and taking his beating like a man. Always in line to take his pull, always ready to crack and flail when the riding crop of unmercy falls about his tender parts, Toronto got his revenge on Dame Vicious von Flogg atop Latigo by unzipping his jersey and grabbing hold of his massive paunch to explain the source of his climbing unprowess. This led to a paunch-off, where each of the weak, flaccid, elderly, and thoroughly beaten old men took turns comparing the amount of flab they could grip in one fist. Dame Vicious staggered over to the side of the road and vomited, and justice was done!

Skinbag: On the way back, Skinbag advised me that although Dame Vicious had dropped every single man except for Checkerbutt and Spider, he’d put the wood to her on the Kanan descent. I corrected his deluded version of events. “Dude, she waited for half an hour at the top of Latigo for your sorry ass. If it’d been a race she’d have gotten to the bottom of Kanan with enough time for a pedicure before you showed up.” “Well, she’s riding illegally.” “Illegally?” “Yes. Those aren’t junior gears.” “Dude, she’s fucking twenty-two.” Silence…

Godfather: Met up with us in Redondo, enjoyed seeing you, buddy!

Florida Dan: Present, but ultimately unaccounted for.

Cedric le Belge: Present, filled with flail.

Pilot: Rolled out with us…went on to Trancas??

VV: Took the sane route and rode with us to PCH, then went out to Trancas.

Big O Sean: Nice riding with you, dude.

G$: Spied on the way back through Hermosa. Hi, Money!

Mighty Mouse: Spied on the way back through Hermosa. Hi, Mighty!

Suze: Spied on Vista del Mar. Hi, Suze!

G3: No-show because he couldn’t get out of bed in time for the ride. Tsk, tsk.

*Post-ride checklist for sausages with mortally wounded egos (select all that apply):
1. Dame Vicious dropped me because I wasn’t really trying.
2. Dame Vicious dropped me because I rode really hard this week and was tired.
3. Dame Vicious dropped me because she’s so light.
4. Dame Vicious didn’t drop me, I decided to let her go. [Recommended selection]
5. Dame Vicious is 30 years younger than I am.
6. Dame Vicious isn’t a very good bike handler so I let her go because I didn’t want her to crash me out.
7. Dame Vicious just doesn’t have a good enough draft. [Not recommended, as it points out the fact that you couldn’t hold her wheel.]
8. I rode the Donut and got my ass handed to me by Rudy and G$, which is acceptable because they’re two of the best MALE riders in California, whereas if I’d gone on your ride and gotten shellacked by some kid chick who’s only been cycling for a few weeks I’d have to sell my bike and become a blogger.

Post-coital New Pier Ride wrap up

February 29, 2012 § 10 Comments

Yah, the New Pier Ride is a huge improvement. Instead of being a demented free-for-all nutfuck crazyass fredfest mass sprint of death filled with homicidal drivers and chugholes and steel plates of quadriplegia, there are no longer any chugholes or steel plates.

So, yesterday…Hair wins the sprint. I think. I was four time zones back. But here’s what really matters: Hair was constantly either on the attack, chasing breaks, or drilling on the front to keep the pace high. THEN he took the sprint. MD, absentee from doing any work whatsoever, muscled out a strong 2nd. G$, who finished with 400 attacks, got third. Vapor, who burned through twelve tanks of rocket fuel, finished up there somewhere after towing the entire peloton repeatedly and burning enough matches in his repeated attacks to light a bonfire.

Douggie and Suze briefly escaped on the third lap after making the turn. It was lovely to see such good friends working in harmony on the bike. Canyon Bob took one long pull on the finish of the second lap then sat in until the very end, when he dragged the entire pack up to the lone flailing breakaway on the hill on the last lap so that it could end in a sprint, Bob’s forte. How’d that work out for you, buddy?

Here’s what else matters: on the New Pier Ride, as in life, there is a group of the usual suspects who work, attack, chase, recover, and attack again, again, and again. I’m talking about Vapor. G$. Hair. Wehrlissimo. Fireman. Tree. G3. Davy Dawg. Beef Freeman.

And now, some commentary: What’s with the other 79 sausage strokers who show up on this stupid training ride and take somewhere between 0 and 1 pulls? Like, are you in contention for the sprint? And it’s the first time you’ve seen the front? On the fucking Pier Ride? Are you kidding me? I don’t care if you’re a girl, or a boy, or somewhere in between, take a fucking pull, and then, when you’re gassed, recover and take another. Repeat until you barf up your entrails.

The worst that can happen is you will get shelled, but that’s the beauty of the new route. Just stuff your parts back in your pants, take a few deep breaths, and hop back on when the group comes by on the other side. You may not get any stronger or better looking, but at least you won’t be considered a contemptible piece of shit by the people who are out there animating the ride.

New Pier Ride wrap-up from last Thursday: After an endless series of leg-breaking, spirit sapping, trauma inducing attacks and counterattacks, Fireman, G3, and I escaped on the rise to the overpass after the turn beginning the fourth lap. G3 was killing it, and us, and had been riding like a madman. Fireman beat me for the vee by the the width of a tire + 400 or so meters. Afterwards everyone complained about “cheating,” “running the last red light,” and similar sore loser remarks, to which I replied, “Cheaters sometimes win, whiners never do.”

The Pier Ride is dead, long live the Pier Ride

February 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

Douggie sent out the Word via FB: new Pier Ride route. We’d be axing the Marina death race through the stop lights, the crazy acceleration along Admiralty from a standing start to Mach 12 in four seconds weaving through the honeycomb of massive cracks in the bad pavement as we spilled into the neighboring lane, chock-full of angry commuters, the short but too-long-but-pointless-non-sprint sprint along Via Marina where the first person to throw up his hands gets the V, the massive chughole on Pacific that took down VV and left her with enough road rash to bump the stock price for Tegaderm by 15%, the stealth bike killers lurking behind each of the stop signs on Pacific en route back to Washington, the semi-pothole right there at the turn back onto Via Marina where, if you’re not careful, you’ll smack the shit out of it and torch a rim, then back onto Admiralty for the true crazy-ass fuckfest of gnarly steel plates and their upjutting lips of carnage, the giant ripped up shards of broken pavement, stripped down dirt studded with gravel big enough to chew up a brand new Gatorskin, furious traffic, more stoplights, and the final insane dash back down Fiji Way where it might be Big Steve, or Davy Dawg, or Tree, or Eric, or Hair, or for sure Rahsaan or Danny Heeley or some pro who dropped into LA for the weekend, ramping it up to 40 mph or maybe 45 depending on how big a sucker you look like when the story’s being retold at the coffee shop, to the big-ass finale finish that, again, no one quite knows where it is, but is definitely there, somewhere, decided again by the first pair if hands to lift off the bars, and back onto the bike path where you dodge the UCLA crew knuckleheads blocking the path with giant sculls, furry-legged Bike Path Racers putting the wood to Greg and Marco and Bernard and Eddy and Lance IN THEIR FUCKING DREAMS and almost colliding with us in the process and of course the high point of all high points, Asshole Number One locking arms with Asshole Number Two as they stick their pedestrian elbows out into our faces as we pass, then over the steel plate on the bridge where Perez likes to slip, fall, and crack his forehead every now and again, and picking razor sharp shells out of your tires that the gulls have dropped onto the path in winter, through the narrow rebar poles, either one of which if you hit will kill you, back onto Pacific, maybe past the multicolored fatboy Mapei team all the way to the triangle, then left…..

All that shit gone with one simple message on FB. Dog bless you, Douggie, and we knew it was real when Rahsaan posted the magic words: “Sounds good to me.” Because you know, if it sounds good to Vapor, it’s fuckin-A good enough for me, and you, and you, and you, and you. And you. Not to mention you, Taylor Swift, you fucking hillbilly, and I don’t care what anyone says it DID look like a fucking KKK rally at the Grammy’s, or at least the lead-up to one.

Preparation is key

I timed my departure perfectly. Alarm at 5:30. Slam the coffee. Slam the raisin bran. Dash to the toilet to drop my morning steamy Santorum, along with a couple of smaller Gingriches. Lube the legs. Pull on the kit. Dance around for a few minutes as the embro puts the fire on my balls. Ratchet down the Specialized S-Works Pro Road Shoe which, for $360.00, still doesn’t fit right or stay ratcheted down. Hop on bike. Notice rear tire is flat. Say, “Motherfucking goddammit shitfuck to hell!” Throw down bike. Wake up Mrs. Wankmeister. Timidly say, “Sorry, sweetie! Nothing! Everything’s fine, snookums!” Whisper under breath, “Goddammit motherfucking shitfuck pissit crapwad to hell!” Yank off rear wheel. Yank out tube. Check clock. If not out door in five minutes, no way I’ll make the ride. Only have one spare tube. Take it out. Partially inflate. Throw on floor. Run into kitchen. Run back. Notice tubes are tangled. Can’t remember which one is new, which one flat. Both have a little air. Whisper some more “shitfucks” under my breath. Take a gamble and pick the one on top. Stuff it onto rim. Pop on tire. Grab floor pump. Floor pump tips over, smacks the Scratch, makes hellacious racket. Sweetly say, “Sorry honey sweetums!!” Whisper a dozen more motherfuck goddamn shittohellandbacksonsofbitches. Pump up tire. Tire deflates. Rip out tube. Rip off another string of oaths. Is “dicksnot” a real cuss word? Is now. Put in other tube. Pinch shit out of finger. Stab palm with plastic tire iron. Run out of cuss words. Embro, coffee, and panic have lathered me into a steaming sweaty foamy froth. Get tire changed. Air ‘er up. Dash out the door. Get down to parking garage. Forgot garage door opener buzzer. More gods get damned, mothers fornicated with. Go back upstairs. Go back downstairs. Hop on bike. Freezing morning air ices everything inside jersey and shorts. Cuss some some. Check Garmin clock. Ride leaves at 6:40 sharp. Thirty minute ride from the apartment to there. It’s now 6:30. Probably not gonna make it without a time machine. Hammer all the way to Westchester.

The goose is loose

As I’m trolling up the parkway, off in the distance I see the mass of riders approach. I do a u-turn just as the point comes rolling through, with the Goose Man on the point, all Rapha-ed out in black and nasty pink, to hell with tearing out a page from the Perez fashion manual, he’s taken the whole damned book.

They let me squeeze in just as Wehrlissimo rolls by, there’s Davy Dawg, there’s Big Steve, there’s Tree, there’s G$, there’s Vapor, there’s the Fireman, there’s Southbay Eric, there’s Tink, there’s Surfer Dan, there’s Hair, there’s Suze, there’s Methuselah Tim, there’s Douggie, and then in a long ragged line there’s every wannabe, couldabeen, gonnado, and oughttatry in the South Bay. Instead of the Old Pier Ride, where we just do one loop, the New Pier Ride features three nasty laps around the parkway, and I’ve intercepted them at the end of the first lap.

We do the first turn, Vapor turns up the heat and the popcorn starts popping as the wankers, tankers, whackers, and hackers fry off the back. We crest the rise up to the overpass and a yellow city truck comes blowing by at fifty, and with the entire left lane to himself decides to get closer and grazes the charging peloton, missing me by inches. G$ uncorks an acceleration so hot that the blue stripes on his knee-high SPY hosiery turn green, Wehrlissimo chases and melts, and we make the second turn. I charge off past the light with Flapper Brad and a fellow IF wanker. The group blasts by, with Goose Man leading the flail.

Vapor takes over at turn 3 and it’s another long line of hurt, misery, despair, desperation, self-loathing, and clawing to stay onto the wheel in front of you. The pack has dwindled considerably, with many of the hackers deciding that they’d be more productive at work or on a gurney than out flailing in the middle of this beatdown, and we hit turn four. Last time up the hill there’s a small break, I’m stuck with the flailers and the harder I pedal the slower I go. The break explodes, everyone sits up, and the flailers reattach.

The final push for the sprint comes, and unlike the Old Pier Ride, where the sprinters are fresh and rosy-cheeked and flexing and ready to wreak havoc, they are for the most part so fucked over, tired, and roasted from the three laps of death that they can only watch as Vapor, who could win every one of these wankfests at will but instead prefers to lead out the children to give them a workout, turns on the jets and with Hair tucked on his wheel and Davy Dawg tucked on his wheel blows out a contrail of pain and misery and speed so fierce that the only one who can come around is Hair, who switches to glide and pulls away with the victory, the money, the fame, and the glory of being the first ever winner of the New Pier Ride being his and his alone.

Meanwhile, back at the flat

On the last lap I’d hit a rock full force and been forced to do the entire thing, I found out later, on a slowly deflating rear tire. Surfer Dan, G$, and Tink stopped, Dan gave me a tube and assisted with the change. I explained that but for the flat I would have probably ridden 25 mph faster than everyone else. They all nodded and rolled their eyes.

On the way back we discussed the New Pier Ride. Better? Yes. Safer? By far. Roastier? No comparison. Plan on going back to the Old Pier Ride once they finish their strip mining project/core to the center of the earth experiment on Admiralty? Noooooo way. The Pier Ride is dead. Long live the Pier Ride.

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