August 31, 2014 § 11 Comments
I rang the doorbell. “Come on in,” said Eric, so I did. The Donut starts at 8:05, he lives about ten minutes away, and it was 7:45. “Want some coffee?” he asked.
“Sure,” I said.
He ground the beans and started boiling water as he leisurely poured some cereal into a bowl. I wasn’t worried about being late, because Eric’s never late. I was worried about the pain.
At 7:55 he ambled off to fill his bottles and “get ready.” I went outside and waited. I was shaking because I knew what was coming.
At 8:00 he rolled down the driveway with me. “We got plenty of time,” he said. “That ride never leaves on time anyway.”
What he meant was, “We’re going to go really fast now.”
It’s a long gradual downhill after climbing from his house up to PV Drive all the way to the start of the Donut Ride in Redondo Beach, with only one brief bump. You know what it’s like when you go, cold legs, from zero to thirty-five in a few pedal strokes? It was like that.
Hanging onto his wheel for dear life, a black Suburban came up behind us but wouldn’t pass even though we were on the shoulder. I kept flicking it to come by, but it wouldn’t. We were doing forty, and finally it came through. No wonder it wouldn’t pass: Clodhopper was at the wheel. “Hop on, boys,” he shouted.
Eric dived onto the bumper as Clodhopper wrapped it up to fifty. I came off at fifty-five and Eric vanished. I caught up to him at the start of the Donut, legs completely blown before the ride even started.
The 80-strong ride tore out of Malaga Cove lickety-split, mercilessly kicking the weak, infirm, and hungover riders out the back. A month or so ago we started doing “the Alley,” a vicious little wall-and-rest-and-steep-kicker that comes early on in the ride. The Alley has eliminated the safe-haven wheelsucking that has always plagued the Donut Ride by allowing wankers to coast along until the big climb up the Switchbacks. Now, the group separates early. One group does the Alley and pays for it the rest of the day; the timid and weak avoid it, only to be swept up and spit out later in the ride. Those who consistently do the Alley get stronger or they quit cycling, what’s known in the business as a “win-win.”
Although initially despised by all who did it, the Alley is now not so much despised as it is thoroughly hated.
Today was no exception. Boy Wonder Diego Binatena led the charge; Sausage, Rudy, Aaron, and a handful of others roared after him. Everyone else was pinned, by their foreskins, with rusty carpet tacks. Shortly after the first stop light, the Wily Greek attacked and took Derek, Rudy, Boy Wonder, and a couple of others. We came close to catching them, as in “the three-legged dog came close to catching the cheetah.”
Chatty Cathy, who had hopped in at the stoplight with a bunch of other course-cutters, came up to me after the break escaped. “Nice new kit you’re wearing!” he said.
“Why don’t you shut up and get your sorry fucking ass up to the front and chase down the break instead of hopping in after the hardest part of the ride and sucking wheel like a leech?”
Chatty Cathy shrugged. “Okay,” he said. Then he went to the front and obliterated about twenty people who were already hanging on for dear life. Then he ramped it up even more and came within 200 yards of pulling back the break. He swung over. “How was that?” he asked.
I spit blood and pooped a little poop. “Urgle,” was the best I could manage.
On the way down from the Domes I spied my teammate Derek on the side of the road with a flat. There is nothing better than being on a ride, feeling destroyed, looking for an excuse to quit, and spying a friend with a flat. I pulled over, and a few other broken souls did, too. The ride roared by.
We spent the next hour riding slowly and enjoying the day. On the final climb up Via Zumaya, a miserable, steep, and endless slog, I was alone and tired and didn’t care. Midway up the climb there was another clump of riders, also changing a flat. More happiness ensued as I dismounted and sat on the curb. Some lady from the neighborhood was walking her poodle and had stopped to chat. She had a very strong South African accent.
“Are you from Texas?” I asked.
“South Africa,” she archly replied.
“Oh,” I said. “You sound like a Texan.”
She laughed politely and the conversation seemed poised to end, which was bad since the flat had been changed and that meant I would have to remount and keep riding. “Where did you go to high school?” I asked her.
“Really? I had an old girlfriend who went to high school in Johannesburg.”
The nice lady could now tell she was being hit on by some idiot who didn’t know South Africa from Texas. She raised an eyebrow. “Oh, really?”
“Yep,” I said. “She went to King David.”
The lady’s jaw dropped. “You’re joking.”
“Nope,” I said. “But you wouldn’t know her. You’re way too young; she’s fifty now.”
“And how old do you think I am?” she coyly asked.
I looked at the landmine and deftly stepped over it. “Early 30’s max,” I lied.
She blushed. “I’m fifty. What was your girlfriend’s name?”
By now the other bikers had regained their composure and stood there, laughing. “I like your style, Wanky,” said Aaron. “Ride up and swoop in. Nice work.”
I ignored him. “Her name’s Annette. Annette Davis.”
The blood drained out of her face. “This can’t be happening. We were best friends.”
By now I had thrown a leg over my bike and got ready to pedal off. I looked at her intently and paused. “Yes,” I said. “I know.”
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December 22, 2012 § 5 Comments
Too many days there are too many things that happen for me to organize them into a theme or even a coherent thought, so the day goes by and so much that needs saying goes unsaid, or in my case, unblogged!
Today, in no particular order except the first item:
- Prez showed up for the Donut Ride in full Santa kit. No, you don’t understand. I mean full Santa kit. His tall black Santa boots were fitted over his cycling shoes so that his cleats could lock into the pedals. His Santa hat was fixed to his helmet so that it flopped but the helmet was rock solid (protecting what, we’re not sure). He had red cycling shorts. Yes, red. As in the color red. He had a red jersey. He had red gloves. Aside from being the most amazing get-up I’ve ever seen on a bike, he did the genuine Santa impersonation by Going to the Front as we rolled out of Redondo Beach, then pulling the other reindeer (all 100 of them, including Dopey, Stinky, Lazy, Bashful, Twitchy, Flinch, Crazy, Stupid, Slothful, Sexy, Naughty, and Embroey) up out of Malaga Cove and all the way to Lunada Bay. Santa, I’ve been naughty this year. I hope that means I get a whip or some handcuffs.
- Stathis the Wily Greek unleashed a tour de force on the Switchbacks. The wankoton sucked eggs all the way to the bottom of the climb. Then he let loose. I followed for ten seconds before blowing. It shattered the entire field. None could follow. John Hall, Craig L., and several others duked it out for the scraps. Mark Alvarado got shelled, but then blasted by me at the end in an amazing show of speed. Eric Anderson climbed with the climbers. Keith, Marco, Rico, others all represented.
- Marshall P. rode like a champion up Zumaya. At the tail end as I was about to overhaul him he gave a big kick and was gone. Kudos!
- Tink is riding “at power.” This means she goes faster than 99% of all the other riders but doesn’t ever accelerate or attack. 2013 is going to see some scalps hanging from her coup stick. Glad I don’t race against her.
- The Serfas handlebar-mount headlight (500 lumens) is awesome. More about that in a separate post.
- Nite Ryder lighting systems just went from fave to frown. More about that in a separate post.
- Todd Buckley and Rahsaan Bahati put together an all-day ride to Camarillo. All-star cast included Charon, Suze, and many others. Wish I could have made it.
- Pischon Jones is down at least 15 pounds. I saw more lean meat on that boy than you could find at a Weight Watchers convention. Dude has the discipline hat on. Props!
- SoCal cyclists are so weather-wussified it’s hilarious! MS, before the Donut started: “Gosh, I’d forgotten how cold it is here in SoCal!” It was about 50 degrees. He’s coming from two years of school in Jamaica, and after the holidays is moving to Chicago. Does it ever get below 50 in Chicago in the winter? Har!
- Joe Yule got the hardware out of his elbow this week, and he and Manny Guzman got into a “Whose 13-inch elbow scar is gnarlier?” photo contest on FB. Not for the queasy of stomach…
- Great bike sales and seasonal deals in the South Bay at Bike Palace, Sprocket Cycles, PV Cycle Center, and Manhattan Beach Cycles.
- Super nice waves this morning at the Cove. Indicators was breaking, and so was Lunada Bay. SoCal cyclists may be weather wussies, but it’s pretty cool to be pedaling your bike in late December in sunny, warm weather while gorgeous sets roll in on the point.
- Dave Jaeger’s French Toast Ride approaches. It’s going to be grim.
- SPY Optic and Ride Cyclery have two big holiday rides, one on 12/24 and one on 1/2. The 12/24 ride will be a swords-drawn survival of the cruelest. You have been warned!
‘Nuff for now. Gotta shop. My, uh, favorite family activity…
September 2, 2011 § 4 Comments
Monday is Labor Day, a time of celebration and rest for those whose efforts and occupations keep this great country moving. It less well known that the Friday preceding Labor Day is also celebrated as “Unlabor Day,” a time when we doff our hats to those who have been able to milk the system so that they may enjoy a wonderful lifestyle without having to lift a finger. One among our small cadre of South Bay cyclists stands particularly tall in this regard (not naming any names), and today a stellar lineup including Rodley, Marcus Aurelius, King Harold, Howard Hughes of the South Bay, the Chief, and Jaegermeister spent Unlabor Day morning on the stoop drinking coffee, telling lies, and watching a dog urinate on the bikes leaned against the hitching post. My bike.
Big Mike accompanied us from Malaga Cove, but turned back at MBSB in order not to be photographed and therefore publicly associated with the unwashed. Mr. I’m In Trial was in trial, and the Honey Badger sent his regrets. Jack from Illinois (not his real name) was a no-show, but with us in spirit. A very angry and evil spirit, might I add.
Jeff K. made a cameo ride by and nodded in our direction without actually saying “hello,” “good morning,” or “fuck you, losers.” That’s okay; I’m sure at least one of those thoughts crossed his mind, and that’s good enough for me. Jeff and G$ are representing the slackers of the South Bay at Master’s Nationals in Bend this weekend, and in further celebration of Unlabor Day we gave thanks to those godlike men willing to labor in the saddle for glory even as we ordered a second round of scones. The Chief, who is in serious training for MT4, got in a particularly hearty ride by going all the way back with us to Hermosa Beach before heading home, which gave him a total of five miles for the morning. Unlaborers of the world, unite!