July 26, 2013 § 23 Comments
I sneaked out of bed trying not to wake Mrs. WM and not to disturb the man with the hammer and the lightning bolts, who was now also playing “Do-Re-Mi” on an out-of-tune violin. I succeeded on one count and made it into the kitchen.
“Where’s the fuggin’ oatmeal?” I muttered. “Where’s the fuggin’ coffee?” I muttered.
With the oatmeal cooking and the coffee poured, I slumped over on the table. My temples were going to burst as the bow sawed crazily on the strings, out of synch with the lightning bolts and hammer whacks.
“You okay?” Mrs. WM was standing in the kitchen.
I looked up at her in misery.
“You don’ lookin’ okay.” She put the frying pan on the stove. “You can’t go onna Donuts Ride with that hangin’ over just eatin’ oatsmeal and coffee.”
“I didn’t want to wake you up.”
“You think you makin’ a coffee grinder like grindin’ a tree stump not gonna wake me up?”
I tried to say “Sorry” but the hammer and violin wouldn’t let me.
“You can’t be onna drinky pants like that at your age,” she said quietly. “You gettin’ onna drinky problem, you know? Drinky pants inna middle day when you oughta be onna workin’? Throwin’ out onna wall inna hallway like you was a college ager?”
“I’m so sorry,” I mumbled.
“Itsa okay, honey, I’m lovin’ you anyways.” The smell of fried eggs and sausage filled the kitchen as the great city’s pre-dawn night lights sparkled in through the window glass. “I don’ care onna wipin’ up some throwin’ up. I done worse in twenty-six years. But you keep up with the drinky pants and you gonna hurt people not just yourself.”
The only thing that could have made me feel worse than a bunch of shouting was the soothing lilt of her voice, mixed in with sausage. “How’d I get all cleaned up last night?”
“I cleaned you all up like you was a poopy baby. But I threw away onna your socks. They was too nastiful.”
“I won’t do it again.”
“I don’ wanna hear ’bout what you gonna do and not do,” she said, putting the plate in front of me heaped with fried eggs and sausage and toast and butter and jam and oatmeal. “I just wanna see you bein’ okay because I’m lovin’ on you no matter what.” She leaned over and kissed my forehead.
Jumpin’ Jack Flash
I rendezvoused with Jack from Illinois (not his real name) and Glass Hip a few minutes before the Donut Ride launched. “I’ve never done the new course,” said Jack.
“You hardly ever even did the old one.”
“Instead of stopping at the college atop the Switchbacks and comparing penises, we continue up to the radar domes. It adds a solid ten minutes to the climb and completely changes the tenor of the ride.”
“Do we get to compare penises at the domes?”
“They’re usually too shriveled for measurement by that point.”
“I’m looking forward to this,” Glass Hip piped up. “It’s the one legendary SoCal ride I’ve never done in almost twenty years. It should be fun.”
“Yes, it will be fun,” I said. “Kind of like having someone gnaw off your genitals with a rusty can opener is ‘fun.'”
Whereas Jack from Illinois was a kind, gentle, happy, smiling, pleasant, generous fellow who, deep inside, was a gnarly and steaming mess of rhubarb, bitter herbs, dog spit, old scabs, and the raw memories of a childhood spent locked in a closet while his older brother banged on the door with a hammer, firecrackers, and a loaded pistol, Glass Hip was the opposite.
Glass Hip, ugly as a fist, was, to the outer world, covered in scales, mottled with the scars and blotches of badly abused leather, and permanently emanated an aura of cruelty, viciousness, cheapness, and a full-throttled desire to mount, crush, and destroy all competitors of any kind. On the inside, however, deep down, far down in fact, way beneath all that, hidden from view and unseen by any living human, under layers and layers of protective viciousness, obscured from even the most discerning, lay a small, minute, tiny, hard-to-see, practically invisible, microscopically small kernel of warmth and kindness and generosity that burned with such brightness it could turn the hardest butter pat into a slightly less firm one.
In other words, these two heroes of the road were polar opposites, with the exception, of course, of the qualities they shared, and one of those qualities was this: They invariably thrashed me, cracked me, and rode me off their wheels whenever the pace picked up, which it did the moment we hit Malaga Cove.
Have pity on an old man
“The additional climb that’s been tacked onto the Switchbacks has completely changed the tenor of the ride,” I told Glass Hip.
“Used to be, everyone sat in until Portuguese Bend then the attacks came fast and furious, with huge accelerations at the bottom of the Switchbacks and throughout.”
“Now people cower in their own poop until the very last minute.”
“Then they attack?”
“Naw. They wet themselves. There’s a big group at the bottom and then it gradually whittles down into a small handful, which then disintegrates in the final killing ten minutes up to the domes.”
Canyon Bob, however, hadn’t gotten the memo, and fired off a pull of death as we approached Trump, shelling most of the field and leaving the remnants hanging onto his wheel in a gagging, ragged line. At the bottom of the Switchbacks, Stathis the Wily Greek and Sammy Snubbins attacked.
Hanging Chad followed, and so did I.
A thick fog covered the Hill and we were soon alone. G3 and G$ had attacked way back at Golden Cove and were far ahead. The rest of the field was in pieces. By the second turn I was in Old Man Hell. My breathing was so deep that it reached down into my colon. The stabbing pains from the hangover had been replaced with stabbing pains in my thighs, butt, arms, neck, face, and hair, especially my sideburns, which ached beyond any description.
At some point I realized the futility of it all. I am a few months shy of fifty. Hanging Chad is thirty. Stathis is twenty-six. Sammy is nineteen. Sammy and Stathis took turns, each one pulling so hard and fast that it felt like a flat interval. “I’ve never survived climbing with either one of these dwarves,” I told myself. “What makes me think I can do it today?”
Hanging Chad read my mind and folded. Stathis looked back at me and said something. “I think it’s English,” I said. “But mixed in with my breathing like that, it’s hard to tell.”
What was obvious was that Stathis was not breathing hard or even, apparently, trying. He pulled as far as Ganado and looked back, flicking me through.
“Are you crazy?” I telepathically transmitted. “I’m barely hanging onto your wheel. I’m old and slow and weak and frightened and riding far outside myself. You are young, strong, and not even sweating. This moment, when I have somehow survived this far on the Switchbacks hanging onto your wheel, will go down as the second greatest ride of my life, but you will have forgotten it by lunchtime. Have pity on an old, feeble wanker and let me suck wheel for just a few moments more.”
Stathis looked back at me again with the kindness and empathy of a great white shark about to tear its prey in half, or of a Republican contemplating a bill that included help for the poor, or for old people, or for children. With that brief glance he telepathed this: “Yes, you are old and weak, but you are on my wheel, so you are, by definition, stronger than all those who are not. Therefore you are legitimate prey. I feel no mercy or sympathy for you, as the moment I let you survive you will brag to the world, likely on your blog, about how you climbed with me all the way to the top, a half-truth that will lower me and exalt you. I feel no pity for you nor any desire to do anything other than crush you mercilessly under the heel of my jackboot. Your cries and pleas mean nothing to me, to the contrary, the louder you squeal the more I will enjoy the sound of my club against your eggshell skull.”
With that, he yawned and rode away. Sammy followed.
Cut adrift and resigned to being reeled in, I was surprised to see Hanging Chad come by at full speed. I hopped on and enjoyed the Cadillac draft of this triathlete-turned-savior. At the college he blew and I soldiered on. Stathis overhauled G$ and G3, completely consuming their three minute lead, followed by Sammy, then me.
Next up were Glass Hip and Jack. “We had you in our sights,” said Glass Hip, he whom I have never beaten on a climb.
“I got lucky.”
“Yes,” he agreed. “You did.”
“Don’t suppose it will happen again.”
“No,” he agreed. “It won’t.”
And it didn’t, as he pummeled me the rest of the ride.
With this one great feat, however, my confidence began to surge, because the following day was the MMX Birthday Ride Beatdown, a North County San Diego Fuckaganza in which many were invited to a happy celebration of cycling and fun and camaraderie in which there would be neither fun nor camaraderie but only a punishing, humiliating beatdown administered without regard to friendship or anything else.
In the back of mind, there were other things bubbling around the edges, too. I’d be heading to Houston after the birthday beatdown to be with my mom, who was scheduled for major surgery to combat a very aggressive breast cancer with which she’d been diagnosed. Sunday would involve a huge physical effort as well as a huge logistical effort. I’d have to get from North County to LAX in time to make the last flight of the day, which would put me in Houston at midnight.
I got back home and had lunch, then opened the fridge to grab a beer. “Nah,” I said. “Not today.”
July 25, 2013 § 12 Comments
Every bad ending has its roots in a bad beginning. In this case it was a steaming hot platter of spicey fried pork, which I inhaled. Then I looked greedily at Woodrow’s plate.
“Are you done?”
“I think I have space for those ribs.”
“The ones on your plate.”
“There’s nothing left except the bones.”
“Are you kidding? A rib’s not properly eaten until you’ve gnawed the gristle and stripped the membrane.”
“Yuck. It’s all yours, Dad.”
The next day was Friday. “You sure up onna early,” said Mrs. Wankmeister.
“Huge day today. Gotta get in early and ambush the day.”
“You not ridin’ onna bike? Itsa time wastin’ day all your bikin’ friends ain’t got onna job and wastin’ all day Friday like it’s onna weekend day.”
“Nah. Got too much on my plate. If I’m at the desk by seven it will set me up for the rest of the week. If I fiddlefuck around with those wankers we’ll wind up drinking coffee and swapping lies at Terranea until eleven.”
“What do you want onna breakfast?”
“I’m not hungry after all that greasy pork and all that gristle last night.”
“You gonna work onna cup of coffee and you gonna fail crash onna desk because no energy.”
“I know my body.”
“I know it onna lot better because you actin’ onna guilty because you eatin’ all a dinner like a trash disposer an now you gonna try to get the day onna one cup of coffee but you gonna be hungry like cats and dogs and come home hungry and eat ten times as more. Why you don’t eat onna oatmeal now?”
“Nah. I’m good.”
Then I checked my phone and saw a text from Junkyard. “Coffee cruise. You in?”
“Nah,” I texted back. “Gotta work. Big day ahead.”
I pulled on my kit and got halfway to work. “Dang, it’s early. I suppose I could do part of the coffee cruise and peel off for the office after twenty or thirty minutes. That would still put me in early.”
I turned off and met the gang. “Hey,” said Junkyard with a nod, the silent acknowledgment of a fellow lazyshit bike bum deadbeat. “What happened to the big day?”
“I’m gonna pedal with you guys for a few minutes and then head on to work.”
“Yeah. Sure. Let’s roll.”
At 10:30 I checked my watch. “Fuck! How’d that happen?”
“How’d what happen?” asked Junkyard, now on his fourth cup of coffee and well into a story about some girls, a stolen bike, three cases of beer, a garage, and a job interview.
“I gotta go, guys.” I jumped on my bike and dashed to the office. By eleven I was hard at work.
At 11:30 the phone rang. It was Jack from Illinois (not his real name). “Hey,” he said.
“Hey. What’s up?”
“I just got into town. Go for a pedal?”
“Can’t. Big day today at the office.”
“What were you thinking of?”
“Quick spin around the Hill with Crabs. You’d be back by two.”
“Well, I’ve still got my riding shorts on.”
“Meet me in twenty?”
Bad things come to those who wait
I met the crew. “Man, I’m hungry.”
“Didn’t you eat lunch?” asked Jack from Illinois (not his real name).
“Just some coffee this morning. But I’ll be fine.”
“Sure, you will. Let’s roll.”
Three and a half hours later we got back to Redondo Beach, and I was dehydrated and famished. “Let’s grab a beer,” suggested Crabs. “That’ll perk you up.”
“Beer,” added Jack with a smirk. “It’s what’s for dinner.”
We sat down and ordered the first round. “You guys gotta come by our new place sometime,” I said.
“Nice place, huh?” said Crabs.
“More of a dump, actually. But our neighbor is smoking hot and hangs out on the adjacent balcony all day with a thong and a bathing bra. She’s very talented.”
“She talks to an old worn out shoe like you?”
“Never had the nerve to even say ‘hello.’ I’m waiting for the perfect moment to make the right impression.”
“Hey, easy on that beer,” Jack said as I drained the first tumbler. “It’s gonna hit you like a sledgehammer.”
“Afraid it already has.”
“Why don’t you get something to eat?” he said as we ordered another round.
“Fuggit, I’ll be fine.”
By the third round it was clear that “fine” was not a condition that I would be in for the remainder of the day, which was now an early evening. Crabs had left us, and as Jack simultaneously phoned Mrs. WM and ordered me a double cheeseburger with bleu cheese and sautéed onions and jalapeños and avocado, I put in for a fourth pint, this final, giant nail in my coffin being something called a Triple IPA and arriving dark and bitter and cold and ornery and evil and, with the abandon of the first three, being tossed carelessly down my throat with this difference, that instead of roiling my already distressed and churning stomach with nothing but its companions, it mixed and matched and heaved and rolled with the monstrous burger which, Jack later said, “You appeared to devour in whole swallows, without chewing.”
“I gotta go,” I slurred. “Bfor’ I get too drunk.” There was three of everything and the deck of the ship pitched and rolled atop the heavy seas.
“We’re too late for that. You gotta wait. Your wife’s coming to get you.”
“She is? She don’t have a bike.”
“Right. She has a car.”
On cue Mrs. Wankmeister appeared. She wasn’t happy. “What you wanna be drinky pants alla day when you supposed to be onna workin’?”
“I was gonna…”
“You was gonna be drinky pants and now I’m onna taxi service because you’re onna too drunk for ridin’ home or standin’.”
“I don’t need no taxi,” I muttered as I slumped over in the passenger seat.
“You’re lookin’ onna drinky pants green face and you better not be throwin’ out all onna inside my car!”
“I won’t!” I tried to shout back, but couldn’t because of the cheesebeer that kept fighting to crawl out of, or rather pour out of, my throat, and the ensuing struggle to keep down the admixture meant that all I could say was, “Urghhh.”
“You get out now!” she commanded.
I struggled to my feet, crossed the parking lot, and somehow ascended the stairs and reached my door. Turning to the wall I leaned over and opened my mouth as the cheeseburger mixed with four pints of beer and bile splattered against the wall and formed a pool in which I stupidly stood, waiting for the eruption to stop.
“Are you okay?” It was the smoking hot neighbor, of course, and I paused for a moment to reflect on my impeccable timing.
“Uh-uh,” I said, and completed the ejection, wondering why my feet were now soggy and warm and squishy between the toes, and wondering why everything smelled like beer vomit, and wondering what would happen if I sat down, and after sitting down, wondering why my bottom felt warm and soggy like my feet, and what that squishy wet feeling was seeping up through the pad of my riding shorts and into the crack of my butt.
Tomorrow, we ride
At 5:00 AM my phone rang. Was it really my phone? Or was it my head? Or was it both? It was.
Then the hangover inventory began. “Where am I?” I asked myself.
“You are in bed.”
“How did I get here?”
“Someone put you here.”
“But the last I remember I was sitting in my own vomit.”
“You’re now wearing clean PJ’s and your favorite Smurf underwear.”
“Why do I smell good?”
“Someone must have bathed you.”
“But I was fully dressed and covered in very nasty pieces of hamburger and bleu cheese and beer.”
“Someone has taken care of you, it appears.”
I looked over at the other side of the bed. That slight turn of the head set off whanging hammers and grenades and lightning bolts of pain in my skull. She wasn’t awake yet. So it would at least be an our or so before The Reckoning.
The phone kept ringing. “Hello?” I said.
“You alive?” It was Jack.
“How do you feel?”
“Great. As long as I don’t move and there’s no noise above a whisper.”
“Well, the Donut Ride is at eight, so start eating aspirin, eggs, and drinking water. You’ve got three hours.”
“Not happening. And quit screaming.”
“I’m not screaming and it is happening. Glass Hip’s in town and you promised me you’d ride with us. It’s his first Donut since he moved to California in 1996. Sack up.”
The crazy man with the hammer and the lightning bolts paused for a minute. Here was a hard choice. Stay in bed and be there when Mrs. Saint Wankmeister awoke, or get up and escape under cover of darkness for the Donut Ride, knowing that each movement for the next four hours would be a living, agonizing hell.
The wrath of Mrs. WM? Or the wrath of Glass Hip and assorted Donut idiots who would pummel me in my weakness?
“I’l meet you in thirty,” I said.
June 11, 2012 § 9 Comments
Monday, the day after a hugely successful day at the races, is so depressing. The office still looks the same. The pile of shit that was on your desk, the pile from which you so joyfully fled at 4:59 PM on Friday, is still there, towering, leaning, and reeking of procrastination babies that have been sitting at the bottom of the pile for so long they’ve sprouted chest hair and developed deep voices.
You try as hard as you can to do the thing that you’ve done every other Monday in 2012: shove the hard shit further down the stack and cherry pick the easy shit that can be knocked out in a minute or two. Check your email. Refill your coffee. Peek again at the bottom of the pile to see if the procrastination babies have grown fangs yet. It’s when they’re at the fanged stage that you’re fucked and will have to wrestle with them as they spring free from the pile, scattering everything else to the four winds as you battle what was once an easily solved problem but what has now grown into a fire breathing monster sprung from the gates of hell.
Fortunately, the biggest procrastination baby hasn’t fanged yet and only has tiny little bumps on its gums, which means a few more reams of shit can be heaped atop the pile to weigh him down for another brace or two of Mondays until he’s strong enough to claw his way out and ruin your week for real.
Rich Meeker: Dude won the 45+ category in a sprint, which doesn’t need saying because he showed up. The last time I was in a race with Rich I never saw him, so this was cool because I got within 30 or 40 yards and gawked good and proper. THOG-like, he notices everything that happens in the race. He’s always towards the front, but never at it unless attacking or bridging or smoking the field for the win. Bastard. At least my helmet cam makes his butt look fat.
Charon Smith: Dude won the 35+ category in a sprint, which doesn’t need saying because he showed up. Some guy in second place almost nipped him at the line except that he was forty-seven bike lengths back. A bunch of people I don’t know won the other races, so fuck them. Then Charon went and did some ridiculous shit in the P/1/2 race, winning the field sprint or some shit like that. At least he got smoked on the climb by a girl on the Saturday ride, even though he busted a gut trying to catch her.
Eric Anderson: Second race after upgrading to Cat 2, he nails fourth in the 35+ and 12th in the P/1/2. Eric is the only sprinter I know with the Bahati-esque quality of pulling so fucking hard that your entire body trembles and shudders from the pain. How long before Eric makes Charon quit sitting up with 300m to go and actually pedal to the line?
David Perez: The reason DP is always praying so hard is because of all those demons inside. The big hairy one with four tails, twelve eyes, and a rusty pike with skulls on it is called “Upgrade Demon.” It’s the demon that he coughed up at the starting line after linking hands with the atheistic antichrist spawn of satan otherwise known as HoverHawk. Once the demon was out in the open, DP rode a hell of a race, tossing the demon back into the eternal lake of fire and nailing down 13th place in a star-studded field of legitimate crazies. This is a great result for our local South Bay boy, and here’s hoping that more are on the way!
Chris Lotts: Seeing Chris come bombing by me in the crit was like watching a giant bowl of jello being flung from a fast-moving car. You keep watching to see if it’s going to come apart, but the only thing that came apart was Wankmeister. Chris showed again that no matter how much of a strain he puts on the 500-lb. test line that holds his clothing together, he CAN STILL KICK YOUR ASS IN A CRIT.
Wankmeister self-evaluation: Attacking with Gary Walls and John Nist 10 minutes into the race was really stupid. Chasing down David Worthington was awesome, as he flipped me off for the camera. Rad!! Chilling at the front with Greg Leibert while our teammates rode in the breakaway was interesting. What’s with all those lazyfucks who go to all that trouble to get in a break and then won’t work together? Are they related to Jack from Illinois? Or do they think they’re going to beat Rich Meeker in the sprint? Or do they just not know they’re in a break? Props to teammate Alan Flores, even though he was herding frogs, for getting up the road with those doofuses. My attack on the incline with just over one lap to go was meaningless, but better than doing nothing. Maybe. Although I finished next-to-DFL, it was my next-to-best race ever, thanks to my GoAmateur helmet cam, which captured all of the spitting, snot-blowing, bad cornering, time spent out in the wind instead of intelligently drafting, and cries of fear from the hapless schmoes stuck behind me.
Next up on WM’s race schedule: The Castaic Jailhouse Crit, an awesome 3.75-mile circuit race with a hill, providing a rare alternative to the typical four-corner crit that makes racing in SoCal so boring. Ooops…recent update by the promoter: Due to zillions of new rapists, child molesters, killers, and marijuana smokers being incarcerated at the same time that the state budget’s being cut, the Castaic jail grounds have canceled the circuit race. However, a race will still go on, only as a (surprise) four-cornered crit, .75 mile in length. Nice work, felons.
April 6, 2012 § Leave a comment
The tarck is a place where you go ’round and ’round, but nothing ever changes except for you, who gets tarder and tarder until you quit, most usually dejected at not having reached whatever hopeless goals you began with. It is, like life, a metaphor for life.
I’m locked into the weekly Friday tarck session of your worst nightmare at the newly re-branded Velo Sports Center in Carson. Fridays were once a happy time when I would meet up at Malaga Cove with Howard Hughes, and with Jack from Illinois (not his real name) when he was in town. We’d pedal over to Hermosa and watch Chief get dressed, which was its own form of entertainment, and often lasted well into the morning. Then Chief would make the monster 250-yard pedal down to CotKU, we’d quaff a cup of coffee, sometimes delaying the inevitable with a ride around the hill, but usually going straight into the office, and Chief would, if he’d been in trial, engage in some long-distance “punitive riding” up the coast.
That’s all a distant memory. Now on Fridays I am bound to the Habitrail from Hell, where, by virtue of having rented a locker, I am now forced to use it once a week or feel the gentle yet steely reproofs of my lockermate who, by the way, has terrible designs on me. Although he’s only been cycling for a few years, and is older than an igneous rock deposit, he is fierce, fast, canny, disciplined, and focused beyond belief.
The opposite of me, in other words, who is smiley, slow, clod-like, lazy, and scattered to the four winds.
Each Friday we do a 40 or 50 or 100-lap warm-up on the blue line, alternating every two laps. With ten to go I take the front, we drop down to the pole lane, and I try to fend him off in the final 500 or 250 meters. He’s never come around me except for the time he miscounted and passed me after the final lap, but he’s, like 287 years older than me and comes close to beating me every time. Each time he’s just a little bit closer.
So now I go to bed every Thursday with worry on my head that’s the size of a block of granite, and I wake up at 5:00 AM each Friday wondering only one thing: “How’m I going to keep that bastard at bay again today?” This is, by the way, why Eddy retired from cycling. He couldn’t take the incessant pressure to win. [No snide comments, please, about how beating an octogenarian in a warm-up isn’t “winning.” My coach, @captaintbag1, has already advised me that since I totally suck and can’t win anything of significance I should choose events that I really can win, even if they’re just totally faux races. This is one. Rather, this is the only one. So shut the fuck up now.]
Anyway, we weren’t the only ones at the tarck this morning. Here’s who was there and what was done by them, a nice little passive voice construction that will hopefully piss at least someone off who works in the Language Arts field, which, when I was a kid, had the really weird name of “English.”
Oldasdirt: After 99 laps, with one to go I jumped hard, opened up a few bike lengths, and just managed to stave him off. It didn’t feel like a victory so much as a reprieve from the inevitable execution.
CM & W: How often do you see an older brother doing what older brothers are supposed to do, i.e. helping a sibling instead of pounding the living snot out of them? CM took his little sister out on the tarck and they had a fantastic workout. She is a little motor and we will be seeing her in a stars-and-stripes jersey soon. Of course I acted like a dick when I yelled at CM not to cross the tarck with his cleats on, even though it turned out that he had been wearing the proper rubber clogs. You see, I crossed the tarck once in my cleats and Johnny saw me from, like, three miles away and read me the riot act. So for the past year I’ve been looking for someone I could read the riot act to, but just ended up accusing the innocent. CM was cool about it, though, as I immediately apologized.
Kurt S.: Have you ever watched a rocket lift off? Kurt was doing starts. Whoever’s going to beat him at nationals this year better bring an engine in their down tube, because Kurt is absolutely flying.
Katherine: Parent of CM & W, she was out there getting in a solid workout with the guys.
Jack K.: Most people think Jack lives at the tarck, but he doesn’t, or at least he’s not paying rent. Jack is the most consistent early morning tarck rider and jaw flapper in SoCal. If he can’t talk about it, that’s because the words to do so haven’t yet been invented.
Niva: Joined me and Oldasdirt midway through our warm-up, then dropped us without so much as an effort with four to go. I don’t know what she’s training for, but I’m putting my money on her to win it.
Bigdude in blue: Dude just pedaled around the tarck and looked happy as a clam doing it.
Since I only did the 100-lap warmup with Oldasdirt I got into the office early. Which is a bad thing. Right?
April 2, 2012 § 4 Comments
Sometimes even an important cycling blog like this doesn’t have anything interesting to say. So I will be concise and do this like rabbit droppings, you know, a little poop nugget here, a little poop nugget there.
Poop nugget one: Major Bob was a beast on Thursday’s NPR. He towed me all the way to the line in our trademark last-lap suicidal breakaway of death but I blew up, got caught by the pack, and finished behind the fat walrus guy with the backpack. Prez sank back to his usual wheelsuck and win-the-sprint M.O., but don’t laugh, as practice makes perfect and he won Sunday’s San Diego Cat 3 crit to ensure that he will remain aloft in the SoCal Sandbagger of the Year Competition.
Poop nugget two: Jack from Illinois( not his real name) joined Howard Hughes of the South Bay and me and the Chief, former master of all he surveyed, now confined to the miserable reservation of Saturday kiddie soccer games and delayed Sunday pedals so that his significant other gets in her Lululemon workout first, for a glorious coffee cruise. Chief began his comeback in earnest, which included pedaling the entire 250 yards from his house to CotKU, drinking a cup of coffee, and pedaling all the way back.
Poop nugget three: Friday night the world was in an addled state of consti-ticipation as each of the 125 million ticket holders gloriously made plans for spending his/her/its share of the Mega-Millions pot of gold.
“I’ll help ol’ Aunt Sukey by getting her a new house and a car and a 24-hour assisted care home nurse to pay her back for all those times she kept me out of juvenile prison.”
“I’ll start a foundation to provide a home for all the cats!”
“I’ll live quietly and modestly, keeping my wealth secret, while anonymously becoming an incredible donor to worthy causes everywhere!”
“I’ll fund a multi-million dollar ‘cross series to make it the biggest sport in America!!!”
“I’ll create trust funds for all of my cousins and nieces and nephews but set it up so that even though they’re rich they won’t be spoiled.”
“I’ll buy more hookers and blow than there are ‘fuggs’ in a captaintbag blog post.”
Frenziedly huddled around the computer screen, those same people who fall into the category of “voluntary taxpayers who don’t understand statistics or probability” looked grimly at the first few digits in the winning number, quickly scanning through each combination on their 73 separate tickets, numbly and dumbly acknowledging, gradually, that it really was true: Let’s say you know a Canadian. Then the names of every Canadian in Canada are put into a hat. You draw the name of the one person you know. There. Those were your odds of winning the lottery.
As the cold, hard numericity of statisticality and probabilityness sunk through the hardened outer core of almost impenetrable delusion, depression was quickly followed by beer, then tequila, then hatred for both Kentucky and Louisville, with the odd curse heaped on the heads of Tim Tebow and Kyle Busch. “Fucking stupid ass bullshit lottery fuckshit waste of money bullcrap shit. At least I’m still going riding tomorrow.”
Poop nugget four: “Tomorrow’s ride” was a semi-planned pedal arranged by Clodhopper, and joined in by Iron Mike, Jack from Illinois (not his real name), Howard Hughes of the South Bay (first group ride since 2006), New Girl, Pilot, Fussy, Hockeystick, Nancy, Guns, Knoll, Trixie, Junkyard, Tri-Dork, Toronto, Tumbleweed, Arkansas Traveler, Abercrombie & Fritch, and a bunch of other people who quit early because the day was a cold, rainy, miserable, nasty, cloudy, shitsoaked perfectly typical cycling day in Northern California, except we were in paradisiacal Southern California, where everyone is weak, spoiled, “soft around the edges and in the center,” and smart enough to choose hot coffee and a morning throw with the S.O. rather than six hours of slogging through shit on a bike.
By the time we reached Cross Creek all the riders with IQ’s higher than the ambient air temperature had packed it in, and our small cadre of idiots soldiered on towards Latigo. Nancy had kept going when we stopped at the Union 76 in order to get a head start on the inevitable droppage that awaited, and sure enough, even though I plowed so slowly up the infinite hell that is Latigo Canyon Rd., so slow in fact that Arkansas Traveler easily kept the pace and told me all the details of hairdressing in Appalachia during the days that it was still a hanging offense for men to be engaged in such occupations, we nevertheless caught and dropped Nancy as he crawled up the endless grade.
Upon arriving at the summit, we abandoned our “all for one, one for all” motto in favor of “all for one, one for all, except Nancy,” and bolted back home down Kanan Dume, a road favored by Junkyard so that he could get into a descender’s tuck and bomb the downhill in blinding rain and fog at 50 mph. I got home with 95 miles, more or less, and no Strava upload or WKO+ analysis to stand between me, the hot shower, the mountain of flapjacks, and bed.
Poop nugget five: While @mmaiko swooned over Fabs Cancellara and the Ronde van Vlaanderen in the most amazing Twitter twaddle ever, and while thousands more cycle fans followed the whole sorry mess of racing over the cobbled climbs of Flanders, MMX, Stormin Norman, I, and a small cadre of idiots joined up at CotKU for the Sunday Kettle ride. It was uneventful except for the brutal beatdown along PCH, and we returned to Catalina Coffee in Redondo Beach for a hearty breakfast. Fireman was lounging in one of the chairs and we all sat around and made fun of people who have turtle tattoos on their legs, generally agreeing that if you’re going to tattoo your legs it should be with a death’s head or a giant cock or lightning bolts or a spread-eagled nude…anything but a turtle.
Poop nugget six: With 80 solid miles of hard riding on our legs we pedaled over to the Torrance Crit, where I raced the 45+ in the team SPY colors, proving myself a douchebag traitor to the noble Ironfly brigade with whom I’d raced all year. As we rolled out, Johnny and Alan gave me my instructions, which went something like this: “Look, you suck and are a traitorous vermin and are of no benefit to anyone plus we don’t like you. However, if, at the end of the race, there’s a chance to sneak up the road, do that hopeless crazyfuck suicide move you always do that fails and make the pack chase. We’ll chill if you’ve got the legs to hold out for the vee, which no one in their right mind believes you do, and if they pull you back, which is a mathematical certainty, we’ll be fresh for the finish.” With three laps to go I hit the gas, flogged like a harpooned goat for what seemed like forever, got reeled in with half a lap to go, and watched as teammate Jimmy M. skidded across the asphalt on the next-to-last-turn, grating off more butt flesh than an angry dominatrix in a spanking video. Not that I’ve ever watched one of those. Johnny got third, T. Rex got fifth, and Alan got seventh.
Then, the most incredible thing that has ever happened to me in over 30 years of cycling happened: T. Rex came over and stuck a $20 bill in my jersey. “That’s your share, dude. Good work.” I fainted, of course, and when I came to, numerous people patted my hand and explained that, yes, it did happen that even worthless wankers received a part of the take in a well-run team combine. “Holy fuck,” I yelled. “If you subtract that from the $50 entry fee, I only lost thirty U.S. dollah!!!” Then I fainted again.