Some people…

August 24, 2012 § 9 Comments

If you’ve ever ridden much with Aaron Wimberley, and you don’t like him, you’re probably an asshole. On second thought, scratch “probably.” You are an asshole.

I’ve always admired him, and not just because he’s fast, and tough, and has great bike handling skills, and always fights fair. And not just because he’ll talk your ear off. And not just because he’ll talk trash and laugh good-naturedly when you talk it back.

Those things are all great qualities, but the thing I admire most is that he shares.

Dude, you really suck

A few weeks ago after a brisk beatdown on the NPR, he came up to me while we were sipping froo-froo coffees at the Center of the Known Universe.

“Dude,” he said with a laugh. “You know what I’m gonna start calling you when you attack?”

“Lightning?” I asked hopefully.

“Fuck, no. I’m gonna call you the Big Blue Bus ’cause you pull away so fucking slow that everybody, including that dude on the skateboard, has time to jump on your wheel.”

“Oh,” I said, feeling pretty tiny and cockroachish.

“Yeah,” he continued. “Just like the Big Blue Bus, dude, everybody’s parked happy in their seat and staring out the window while you flog yourself into a pile of meat and sweat, and then they all blast by in the sprint, dumping you quicker than a turd from Montezuma’s Revenge.”

“Well, I’m just slow.”

“Fuck no you’re not slow. You got power galore and you go fucking fast when you get up to speed. But like the bus, it takes you too long. All these wankers have time to climb aboard, read the paper and get a peddy. You need to work on your snap. Here’s how.”

He proceeded to give me some solid advice about how to become, if not Greased Lightning, at least a turbo bus.

Mr. Snappy

There’s another guy who’s a regular on the NPR, Trevon Salazar. He’s young and incredibly quick, but he never manages to make his way to third or fourth wheel in time for the finish. He’s always choking on someone’s fumes.

Aaron took him aside, too, and although I wasn’t there, the conversation must have gone something like this.

“Dude, your sprint positioning sucks balls. And your top end looks like you bought it at Wal-Mart.”

“Oh…” [Feeling very, very tiny.]

“Yeah. Get your ass out on the Parkway one of these evenings with me and Derek and a couple of teammates and we’ll practice giving you leadouts. You gotta be on the right wheel and then when your competition kicks, you’ve gotta have the top end to pass. It ain’t fucking rocket science.”

Take notes. Do as told. Watch good results flow.

On this morning’s NPR I didn’t do a single Big Blue Bus curb attack. Instead, I waited and hit it hard, springing free so that even though I got reeled in, the chasers had to actually chase. Each time there were nice gobs of snot and spittle hanging from the mouths of the chasers, and when they caught, there was never any counter.

After the second effort Aaron grinned over at me. “Good job, Bus. That’s how to do it!”

In the finale I grabbed Aaron’s wheel and actually made it to third in the field sprunt, my best ever.

But the most impressive thing was watching Trevon after a week of working with Aaron. Today, even though I was locked on Aaron’s wheel, with 400 yards to go Trevon just took it from me. When the last leadout man pulled off, Aaron unleashed, and not only did his understudy hold the acceleration, but he came by him neatly and with a bike length or two to spare.

“Good job, dude,” Aaron said.

How many people do you know in bike racing who’ll train their competition, and then congratulate them on a job well done?

Not very many, I bet.

In their own words (sort of)

August 2, 2012 § 4 Comments

This morning’s New Pier Ride was a wankfest deluxe, replete with a dozen different flats, a founding NPR wanker who tumped over on his side at 2mph and trashed his frame, a cement mixer swooping by at warp speed, four hundred thousand medium-sized rocks scattered along the 2.5 mile western leg on the Parkway, bar-bumping, shoulder-rubbing, hollering, hiding, sprunting, attacking, crumpling, wheelsucking, and of course Going to the Front.

The clarion sounded last night, announcing on the Internets that MMX would be coming up from North County to work off his hangover; that Fukdude would be gracing us with his national champion presence; that Prez would be there in a new lime green kit; that Erik the Red would be on a scalp-collecting mission, and that every newbie, oldbie, dumby, and Gumbie would be flailing and flogging in a mad attempt to not get kicked out the back on the first lap.

The wankers answered the call in force. Promises of an audience with the Godfather, promises of sunny weather, and promises of a merciless beatdown resulted in seventy wankers rolling out from the Pier, with an additional 30-40 getting picked up along Pershing.

How was it, then…?

“Today was a dynamic one for me, filled with highs and some lows. I slept three hours and rolled up to the Pier still drunk. I was pumped at the prospect of an exciting, solid ride.”

“I got there early and rode up the bike path. There were lots of people. and they kept coming and coming, like roaches to a pile of fresh puke.”

“Wow, a big ride for Marc’s birthday. Not that anyone knew.”

“WM has cultivated an impressive ride. Blew me away how it kept growing and swelling all the way to Pershing and then along the Parkway.”

“It was cool to see people I haven’t seen in a while.”

“This ride and Wankmeister’s crazy blog got me back into cycling. I’ve been doing this ride for two months and it just gets harder even though I’m getting fitter. Today was the fastest ever.”

“From Pershing I left the wankoton and moved to the front of the class. Got in a nice hard slap at the front after the overpass.”

“Had Wankmeister on my wheel for a long stretch, pulling into the wind. At the front I felt fantastic and never anaerobic, I could have danced all night.”

“I kept waiting for the pace to quicken, but it never did.”

“Did a few rotations and drifted back five or ten wheels, then repeat.”

“Seemed like the first first real acceleration was the second lap, when one or twenty numb nuts let Eric and a couple others go down the road. I had to chase like a motherfucker.”

“Is this ride always this hard? I used to be a bowler. Bowling’s just not this hard.”

“King Harold did a wonderful flat back pull up toward the u-turn, start of Lap 3. I was third wheel. Harold flicked an elbow and the second wheel sat up and moved right, like a total fucking wanker, leaving me to bridge that little gap and then pull all the way up to the turn. Fucking wankers. Don’t they read your blog? Go to the fucking front.”

“Finishing up the 3rd lap I hit a huge rock no one pointed out and nearly lost control. Pinch flatted, which took me out toward the start of the last lap. Major bummer; I was so primed and ready turn on the jets. I think there were twelve flats today.”

“Is there a slower B ride?”

“I kept trying to Go to the Front, but just ended up Going out the Back.”

“Strava flail. How hard was this ride, anyway?”

“The New Pier Ride is incredible. Props to Douggie, Trey, and the other wankers who thought this up. Never seen a regular ride like it, or even heard of one. Fantastic stuff.”

“This ride is a fredfest. Saw two fucking freds almost murder each other and take me out.”

“Won’t be doing this again. Fast enough to tire you out, but not fast enough to make you faster. Fucking trucks and rocks and lights and traffic and crazy people on their first bike ride. This NPR shit blows.”

“People of all stripes come from all over. Its amazing. Really inclusive, which is unusual for road cycling.”

“I didn’t get my coffee this morning because we had a power outage at my apartment. Needless to say, OTB.”

“There were the usual fast guys and lots of new guys who think they are fast until they get near the front and melt like ice cream in a reactor core. I watched a number of guys near me who never took a pull. Now, granted, some of these guys are the guys who were waiting for the sprint (as though this was a race)–we know who they are. But there were others who never got to the front but would linger near it, kind of like a dude with a naked chick who sticks his face down near her crotch and sniffs but won’t drop trou and start humping. I don’t like these people. Hump or go home.”

“I noticed you on the front numerous times, Wankmeister, but I think your legs were zapped. Good posing, though, even though you slowed us down every time you pulled through, you wanker.”

“I saw Eric on the front a few times, including that attack I had to chase down. He’s a badass.”

“The guy in the SBW was awesome. Is that the Dennis Herrera dude you were telling me about? Driving the front. I loved riding with him.”

“Awesome all the other girls out. Makes me feel good to have other girls riding nearby. And they’re strong and getting stronger.”

“Bull would pull but he would get so gassed he’d let gaps open up after, only to come back to the front for another pull. Relentless = awesome.”

“Returning to the South Bay, you had the typical wankers hitting the gas, even though they had all been wearing invisibility cloaks on the Parkway. WTF?”

“Fucking endless list of riders who never pulled, not even once. That Pischon dude took a monster hit westbound on Lap One. Beastly. Prez got the bit between his teeth once, too.”

“Fast guys are fast: Lonergan, Hair, Davy, Eric, Big Steve.”

“So many people do this ride, get dropped and jump back in make it scary. I especially don’t like the guys who get dropped and then when the lead group catches them they feel compelled to jump towards, but never on, the front. Scary bunch of wankers.”

“Ride is awesome because when you get shelled you can hop back in. I’ve gotten hella stronger in six months and can almost finish the ride.”

“Post ride festivities indicate there is a real community feel that has developed from this ride. Kudos.”

“People taking care of each other is a good sign. The camaraderie is apparent and it’s contagious. This is beautiful. Saw people always stopping to help with mechanicals and flats. Just don’t see that much.”

“I wish I could do NPR more often!”

“Thanks to all the SB wankers for creating such a great ride and for making me feel a part of it.”

“Is this a regular ride? What time does it start?”

“Can you dig all the westsiders who come down for this? Legit.”

“Huge turnout, largest I’ve ever seen. Wanker to hammer ratio was decent.”

“Lots of fresh faced wankers I don’t know. Not so fresh faced at the end, just rent with shrapnel and had the look of the black plague about ‘em. They’ll toughen up.”

“Does this ride always have all these rocks? I fricking flatted. Yo, wankers, point shit out and help thy fellow rider, that is if you’re not riding over your head and can remove your hands from the bars without crashing out thirty people.”

“Great pace, not too fast, not too slow.”

“Fireman brought it home over Hair in a nail biter.”

“Great to see MMX out and briefly catch up. Dude’s riding strong.”

“Fuck that was a giant group festering at the pier before ride. The last time I saw that many idiots in one place was when I watched a joint session of Congress.”

“Every lap I poked my nose in the wind and soon thereafter thought I would be dropped.”

“The ride was incredibly hard. However I noticed several dingleberries at the ass end who were neither poo nor hair  yet were stubbornly there. Someone oughta shake them loose.”

“Post ride coffee looked like a class reunion. I almost got a phone number. These biker chicks are smokin’ hot.”

“Dave Perez likes having his picture taken. And why was he lying on the ground at Fukdude’s feet?”

“My favorite part of the ride:  Some wanker shouting ‘Stop riding on the rocks,’ as if those little pebbles were a problem. Pussy needs to ride a few miles in rural Madison County. He’d be praying for rocks. Our roads are paved with possum teeth, the bones of Republicans, and small bore bullets.”

“This Cancellara looking dude I’ve never seen in my life goes, ‘Hey is this the last lap?’ and I go ‘Yeah,’ and he goes ‘Then you lead it out, I’ll jump on your wheel and take the vee, ok?’ Uh yeah, sure, and you wanna pork me in the ass afterwards as well?”

“It was the fastest NPR to date, 24mph + average speed, not counting the boulders flying everywhere, fucking pachinko cycling at its finest as Trey flailed in the corner and broke his bike. Not that he cares, ’cause now he has an excuse to get a new one.”

“My legs are still sore in weird places from racing San Marcos with my fit all fucked up!”

“Can you introduce me to that cute chick I was riding behind? She is so hot.”

“I came to ‘sit-in on a social ride,’ because ya, SPY MMX is here, let’s be social because they are the BEST!”

“Ride started out super chill…seemed extra slow to the base of Pershing. Then people started flying and others started gasping, I was like, wow, do these hackers have medical clearance to be out here?”

“Can you introduce me to MMX after the ride? I’ve always wanted to meet him.”

“I set a PR on the whole ramp section meaning it was the fastest in a long time.”

“This just wasn’t even a social ride, I mean nobody really seemed to be in social mode unless that meant look to the person behind you and give them the ‘Noooo, you go!’ look or look ahead at where you can go to make everyone else have to go faster.”

“What’s wrong with people? Might as well attempt to take a pull, why not?”

“Surfer Dan told me to go to the front today and tell people he told me to. Of course he wasn’t there. Surfing.”

“I took a short pull that clearly seemed slow to everyone else because someone quickly came by me. Thanks.”

“Everyone seemed to be hurting a lot after about Lap 1. Wankers!”

“I went to the front when I could. Problem was that I kept jumping on wheels of people that liked to act like they were going to the front and then slow down like five wheels before it. Guyyyysss, that’s not the front!”

“After four laps we had completed what Strava records as the fastest total time for the four laps I have ever done with two laps being the fastest ever. So it was a damn fast four laps. Anybody who thinks it wasn’t hard was in the caboose.”

“I actually wanted to sprint, but I had never heard so much yelling, cursing, and wheels going squiggly! But, I was close enough to the front to see the people that were legitimately sprinting and I must say it was damn impressive!”

“When we turned off the Parkway a SPY guy, Perez, and a couple others went back to hammering. I followed. Another PR.”

“Ramp…fastest ever. Four laps…fastest ever. Return to Imperial…fastest ever. There was no fucking break.”

“They should call this the Lots of Rocks, Flats, Yelling, and Gasping Ride.”

“It was a huge ride that became much smaller once the gas got turned on. Props to everyone who kept getting back in the mix!”

“I felt like my head was a giant pimple that was about to burst!”

“What a bunch of whiners! Why would you come on a ride that is supposed to be a total beatdown and then complain when you get an awesome workout?”

“I say thank you to people after they get me through a workout that I never could have done alone. You just got stronger without asking for it!”

“Wanker crashed out turning onto Imperial on the way back. It looked like he pulled a Tink and just fell over. Hope he was okay.”

“NPR as of late and especially today: more LADIES, and all the ones that have been coming regularly are getting stronger and stronger!”

“The Pier almost sank from the weight…of bodies, not bikes.”

“NPR participants will lobby Manhattan Beach planning committee to widen the alley.”

“More horsepower today than the Arkansas Tractor Pull Championships. But not as many IQ points.”

“Big names, astonishing jerseys, 110 wankers. Doesn’t get much better than this!”

“Can your Tuesday AM ride do this?”

“Burlap Jack, Mountain Mouse, Pippy Aus-Stocking, the SPYfia family shooting the place up, guns blazing, bodies everywhere, blood gushing from new orifices, but afterwards everybody friendly as hell. Even Daniel.”

“In order to make the World Way overpass in the top 10 required having the tip of the saddle touching the lower intestine. Fuck that hurt.”

“Getting back to Westchester, the tip of the saddle was now rubbing the pancreas.”

“First lap was like a fuck’n MMA cage fight, with 20 dudes in the cage at once who only knew how to groin kick and eye stab. Nasty shit.”

“Second lap, beside the white boulders… there were flashes of white light…and fifty wankers pedaling triangles in the gutter as their heads spun around like Linda Blair. Hope they got their demons outed.”

“The so-called sprint was more like Custer’s Last Stand, minus the surprise. All the wankers knew the killing was going to happen. Scary shit.”

“Wankmeister, you’ve taught a lot of people that beatdowns are to be valued. Now could you teach them to Go to the Front?”

New and Dramatic Once-in-a-Lifetime Offering!

July 20, 2012 § 1 Comment

The New Pier Ride unofficial team kit is officially here!

You have seven days left to order! Click below to order now!

shop.kitorder.com/StageOneNPR

History

In 1987, a hardened group of dedicated triathletes including Marc Spivey began “The Morning Ride” in Hermosa Beach, leaving at 6:00 AM from Fleet Feet on Pier Avenue. The original course went out to Playa del Rey, through the Marina, and back again. As the ride gained popularity, cyclists began to comprise the majority of riders, and the triathletes went back to their solitary goofball ways, pushed aside by the true heroes of the road.

When Westchester Parkway was built, the ride added a lap on the Parkway, climbing up from Pershing, with a finishing sprint somewhere near the third traffic island on the return to Pershing. The ride retained this configuration for many years. At some point along the way the start time changed to 6:40 AM, most likely due to the laziness of the riders and the darkness during winter. Also, as the universe continued to pull all things towards its center, the starting place became the Manhattan Beach Pier. It picked up the moniker “The Pier Ride” as a result. Stubby McGee, the world renowned cosmologist has recently identified the Manhattan Beach Starbucks just up from the pier as the Center of the Known Universe, or CotKU, for short.

The Old Pier Ride has long been an LA institution, but it has also had a long list of drawbacks. The first drawback was the stoplights, which are numerous. The second was the narrow roadway along Admiralty and Washington. The third was the condition of the road surface, which was often atrocious. For lots of riders, i.e. the geri-wankers, the start and stop nature of the ride was perfect because it provided lots of chances to catch your breath, and there was rarely any fear of getting dropped…at least for more than a couple hundred yards.

Riders who were racing, or who wanted a more intense worked, or who lived in that sad dystopic netherworld of thinking they would one day race professionally in Europe, typically avoided the Old Pier Ride for the same reasons that other riders liked it: too many stops, too much wankage. No one ever joined the Old Pier Ride to get fit, or at least no one ever admitted it. Sometime in early 2011, the situation became dire. Long segments of Admiralty were torn up and covered with giant steel plates. Often, the fast stretches were a deadly mix of gravel, steel plates, and badly cracked asphalt. Even battle-tested LA riders, accustomed to bad streets, hairy traffic, hair-of-the-dog drivers, and soupy summer smog were starting to have nightmares about the ride.

In October or November 2011, long-time South Bay cyclists and Pier Ride wankers Doug Peterson and Trey Smith took matters into their own hands and proposed a new route, cutting out the marina altogether and concentrating the ride on Westchester Parkway, where the peloton would do four laps instead of one, with a single loop from Pershing up and over World Way at LAX. Everyone seemed willing to try it out, as Admiralty had become untenable for even the most die-hard OPR fans.

From its very first running, the new route was a success. The roads were wider, better paved, and had fewer traffic signal interruptions. The ride was smoother and the average speed was higher. Instead of being a marshmallow fest, the New Pier Ride became a dickstomp par excellence, with each edition of the ride resulting in citations for littering due to the dickage left in ruins along the Parkway.

The finishing sprint, which had been part of the ride for years, was safer because the four laps tended to tire riders out, leaving fewer people in contention. As word spread, more and more people began doing the ride, finding it to be a more consistent and better workout than the previous version. The New Pier Ride has become the de facto morning ride now for many riders in the South Bay.

The NPR Kit: Your Fashion Statement of Belonging

Order Here, Now! shop.kitorder.com/StageOneNPR

Joe Yule, Yule Design, StageOne Sports, and several dozen other major corporate entities operating underneath the Yuletide umbrella of cycling fashiondom, in conjunction with Wankmeister Industries, a global conglomerate of interlocking directorates that controls virtually every aspect of international finance and commodities, and which lurks behind most elections in the free world, have teamed up to create a cycling kit that supersedes, updates, modifies, replaces, and improves upon every other NPR kit that has ever before been conceived or produced.

Just in time for fall, you now have the chance to place an order for a limited time—seven days only—so that you can be one of the few, the proud, the unmistakable wankers of the LA cycling scene.

The features of this extraordinary StageOne kit, handcrafted in Italy, are outlined below:

1)      Double-helix orgasmatron fiber weave: These kits are made from a unique, space-age fiber guaranteed to increase the length and intensity of your sexual climaxes, on the bike or off.

2)      Sponsor highlights: The rear pockets of your NPR jersey will highlight the following companies who have done so much to make this ride a legend.

a)      Sckubrats: The post-coital meeting place for every NPR, where the marginally employed will stave off bankruptcy for a few more days. Maybe. “Fuque Worque!” says the Sckubrats mermaid with her cycling helmet and middle finger pointed skyward.

b)      RuggedMAXXX2: The world’s leading producer of herbal male enhancement pills, RuggedMAXXX2 has long helped NPR men, and their lucky women, enjoy the enhanced benefits that only come from a python-like organ.

c)      Justim Stomp Boots: Each NPR combatant puts on his or her own pair of custom stomp boots prior to the CotKU meet-up, and Justim’s boots have special grooves in the sole to allow for extra stompage. Get your stomp on!

d)      SPY Optic: The best eyewear on planet earth, allowing you to see each grinding blow as you crush the wheelsucks with your tremendous power.

Kit Components

Order Here, Now! shop.kitorder.com/StageOneNPR

This amazing kit’s components are as follows:

Incredibly amazing NPR short-sleeve jersey: This is rad and bitchin’. StageOne PRO cut slim and sleek to fight the wind and to encourage you not to have that third donut.

Incredibly unbelievable NPR bib shorts: No asscrack cycling shorts on the NPR, no sirree! You’ll pedal with your hairy bunghole covered up nice good with bib shorts, StageOne’s top of the line PRO bib.

Incredibly astounding NPR armwarmers: No more shuffling through your sock drawer trying to find a pair that match your kit. These match from the get-go!

Incredibly mindblowing NPR socks: When the wanker on your wheel is barely able to hang on, the last thing he’ll see is the cruel admonition on your socks for him to Go to the Front! Socks are white, and rad. Get a handful of these puppies, for sure!

Incredibly astonishing NPR tee-shirt: Apres-NPR, you’ll need this to wander around the house in, legs all buttery from the beatdown, even as you imagine your next heroic pull on Thursday. Made by Active-T, run by local Dutch dude Marcel Hoksbergen.

Sizing

Order Here, Now! shop.kitorder.com/StageOneNPR

Please don’t fucking ask me about sizing, unless you’re going to get something for me. I wear a small jersey, medium bibs. Your size, and how StageOne correlates to your arms, ass, chest, breasts, thighs, pecker, etc. is a complete mystery to me, and always will be. That’s a good thing, unless we’re beneath the sheets together and trying to fit the round peg into the vertical slot. There’s a StageOne sizing chart on our ordering site, but if you’ve ever been able to shop using a sizing chart, you’ve probably also been able to assemble something from Ikea by reading the directions. Chapeau.

For those of you who want to actually come and try the stuff on to make sure that it fits you in all the right places, sample fitting kits will be available at the StageOne World Headquarters in Redondo Beach.

Please do your due diligence on this, but whatever you do, don’t ask me about it. I’ll shrug. If the stuff doesn’t fit, you’re hosed. I won’t take it back, offer you an exchange, help you change your baby’s poopy diapers, or listen to your rant. Go ahead and call me a cocksucking thief now, while we’re both in a good mood, and get it out of the way. Maybe you can pawn it off on some newbie sucker who’s doing the ride for the first time.

Exchanges/Returns

Order Here, Now! shop.kitorder.com/StageOneNPR

When you buy a really expensive new car, it comes with a warranty. In fact, you even get a warranty with virtually any bullshit appliance, even those rotary nose-hair clipper dealies. So if you want a warranty, go buy one of those items. This shit is bike clothing. Although I’ve worn the crap out of my StageOne pro stuff, love it, and have talked to numerous riders and racers who also wear it and love it, I can’t guarantee that this run of clothing will be any good. It may fall apart the minute you put it on, for all I know. So when the colors run, and the thread melts, and the fabric turns to linseed oil, don’t come running to me asking for a refund. I will tell you that you are hopelessly fucked and the money has already been sent to UPenn for my son’s sophomore year tuition.

On the other hand, I personally have huge faith in StageOne’s clothing products. They’ve stood up to bitter abuse and thousands of hard miles, and they remain as solid, well made, and comfortable as the day I first pulled them on. That’s the kind of quality you get out of Italian sweatshops that you just can’t get here in the good old U.S. of A. paying a humane wage to Americans. The 7-day workweek, child exploitation, and no minimum wage of the early 20th Century did have its benefits.

The other thing to keep in mind is that Wankmeister Industries and StageOne operate out of the smallest corner of a dimly lit basement, and they aren’t making squat off this deal, other than spare coffee money, the pride of seeing NPR worn by the LA wankoton, and the estimated $5.6 million in profits that we will reap from this incredible cash cow. We’ve already calculated that if we sell 2.3 million kits we will be able to break even, and with sales of 1.5 billion kits we will be able to retire by 2045. You’ll say you knew us when.

This is all a not-so-nice way of saying that you’ve bought bike shit before and been burned, or not liked it, or wanted your money back. Do yourself a favor if you’re really concerned about product quality and fit, talk to some of the riders who wear it, or better yet, don’t order anything. The riders you talk to will be brutally honest, at least in regard to those matters about which they’re not lying through their teeth. It goes without saying that if you change your mind after you’ve ordered, you’re hosed. No refunds, no changes, no exchanges, nil, zip, nada, nope, no way. Our tiny basement corner is going to be overflowing with shit in a few weeks, and I’ll be dogdamned if I’m going to crawl through the mountain of crap trying to see if I can swap out your male xxl bibs for an xxs ladies’ chamois. No can do.

Ordering Procedure

Order Here, Now! shop.kitorder.com/StageOneNPR

How can a couple of marginally employed deadbeats like us offer you such an incredible deal? Simple, we put the risk on someone else, namely you. For a limited 7-day period you can go to shop.kitorder.com/StageOneNPR and place your order, paying up front for something you’ll have to wait two months to receive. After that ordering time elapses, it doesn’t matter how much you come running to me with your sob story about how you just found out, or your alimony check just cleared, or you thought you’d ordered it but when the peyote wore off you were naked, in jail, and couldn’t get to a computer…doesn’t matter.

I will tell you that the ordering period is closed, and I will make no exceptions. None. Ever. For anyone. Except a few people. This means you’ll have to watch all your happy friends pedal around the Parkway nattily attired in the coolest kit ever to hit the South Bay, and your only recourse will be to wait for the next ordering period, which could come as soon as September or as soon as never.

Once your order has been placed, and the order period has closed, you will have to wait. It will seem like forever or eight weeks, whichever is longer. You’ll be so tempted to email and text and call. “When will the kits be here?” “I paid like six months ago. Where’s my shit?”

Your inquiries will be placed in a small asbestos wastebasket and burned. I will not answer them unless accompanied by a service of process. This stuff will be ready in about eight weeks from the closing date, with “about” being the key word. We’re talking bike kits, folks, the one thing that no cyclist ever has been able to do on time except for Kevin Phillips. I’m not Kevin.

I know it’s hard to wait for something this awesome, this good, this incredible, when you’re used to getting your vibrator next-day-delivery from Amazon, but we’re cyclists. We are lazy. We’re only punctual for the NPR because it won’t wait. So you’ll have to suck it up and wait. We’re doing our best in between bike rides, coffee, and sleep, so instead of riding our asses for shit being late, buy us a free iced coffee and thank us for trying to make a quick buck off you, our friends.

Finally

Order Here, Now! shop.kitorder.com/StageOneNPR

If your life is like everyone else’s you have priorities. A priority is defined as that which you do before all else. The alternate definition is that which you’re supposed to do before all else, but in fact relegate until you’ve finished updating FB, checking the Tour results, and eating lunch. If you’re going to order one of these kick-ass kits, make it the first kind of priority. Do it now.

Right.

Now.

And thanks!

I wuz too sweepy to wide my bicycle

July 12, 2012 § 13 Comments

The chieftains of the South Bay had called a council of war. The band of wankers in North County had sent a message through their esteemed chief MMX, a warrior of great repute, that one of the Swamis band would come to the South Bay to participate in the holy spirit ceremony known as the New Pier Ride. Although he would bring no weapons beyond his fearsome legs and slightly bulging tummy, this mighty man from Swamis would return to North County with a full accounting of the South Bay NPR.

It was a serious matter. Each mighty chieftain sat in his place around the flickering embers awaiting his turn to speak.

First to break the silence after each wanker had swigged from the holy flask of energy drink was the mightiest chieftain, the great G$. “Serious times are these,” he said, with great gravity. “Much will depend on what this warrior from the south sees here. Should he return with reports of a weak and disorganized band of wankers, these marauding and somewhat unclean barbarians from the south will be emboldened to attack us on our own ground. So say I.”

Next to speak was the mighty wankette, Suze of the Sonye clan. “Yet if this warrior returns to his ancestral home with dick a’pounded, yea, even with deep and painful imprints upon his member from the repeated and merciless stompings of our people, then will they think long and hard before sending a war party to our hallowed hunting grounds. A stomped dick is a fearsome thing, no less when given from the boots of a warrior squaw.”

The flask was passed again, and each chieftain partook. All eyes turned to Erik the Red, who calmly spat into the fire. “These people of the North County, I have seen them. A mighty warrior here and there, to be sure, and the home of the fearsome clan of SPY. But who among us has not stomped the dick of a Swamis wanker, weak of spirit, weak of leg, and childlike of lung? Who among us has not sent these miserable curs running home to lick the pussy on flat course or hilly, long course or short, trial of time or finish of sprint? Who, I say?”

The assembled chieftains nodded in assent.

The fearsome Prez then lifted his coup stick. “Hark to the shriveled penises tied to my coup stick!” he cried. “There, a tiny and dried one from Swamis, note it for its generally poor coloration, lack of vigor, and general smallness! There, a middling sized one, yet so crushed and stomped and beaten flat by the mighty stomp boots of the South Bay that it hardly resembles the organ of a man. What have we to fear from these pint-sized warriors whose members are of such smallness that their stomping is made difficult due to such tininess? Let them come! We will banish them back from whence they came!”

Fighting Squaw Mighty Mouse then spoke. “Each of you great chiefs has spoken with wisdom. Yet let us not be the first to declare war. True, these Swamis be tiny of penis. True, these Swamis be fodder for our boots, so mighty of stomping. True, their assembled force could easily be crushed as a coke can by an eighteen-wheeler. Still, have we not some benefit in welcoming this knave, and sending him home with a show of our strength?”

Josh of the Funny Accent nodded. “The fighting squaw speaks truly. Let this contemptible Swami join our holy rites, and let him return home holding his dick in many broken parts, with foreskin in tatters. But let us not depend on happenstance. Send out the signal to all among our mighty clan, those distant to the West and East, our brothers and sisters all, and bid them bring their mightiest legs, their strongest lungs, their bravest warriors to the Tuesday rites. Let this Swamis visitor return home, if he can, with memories so filled with bitterness and pain that none will dare venture forth from their unswept hovels, filled as they are with cheap trinkets and dung.”

The oath was then sworn. Each chieftain lifted her or his coup stick, decorated as they were with the tiny and shrunken scrotums of the Swamis, and returned to their respective camps.

The fatal Tuesday dawned gloomy and cool. The drumbeat had been sent out over the Book of Face, and from the farthest reaches of the county came grim-faced men and women, heroes of the iron horse, adorned with the colors of their clan, legs shining, prepared to mete out the punishment of pain. By the fateful time of forty minutes past the hour of six such giants of the road as Man of the Fires, Steve of the Bigness, Erik the Red, Holder of the Baum, Yard Full of Junk, Girl of Newness, Suze of the Sonye Clan, Davis Mike of Great Seniority, Tinker of Ringing Bell, as well as the grizzled and battle-tested ancients of the tribe including Tim of the Gillibrand, Cary the Elder, and a host of young braves eager to test the sharpness of their lances.

But, lo! As the fierce host stood waiting for the arrival of the Swami with the slightly bulging tummy, the Master of Wanks held high the Phone of i-ness. “Hearken, my fellow warriors! Your courage and resolve have been met with sloth and fear!”

With these words, the Master of Wanks read the mail of electronicity that had been sent to his Phone of i-ness. “I stayed up late last night and overslept,” read the message of the Swami. “I will try to make it next week.”

Howls of laughter and ridicule cut the early morning air. “Knocker of puds!” called one.

“Dick of microscopicity!” howled another.

“Perfect emblem of Swamidom!” cried several in unison.

With great mirth the host rolled forth, another epic New Pier Ride to be told around campfires for ages to come.

Me, my brother, and my bike

June 27, 2012 § 22 Comments

Yesterday’s New Pier Ride was dedicated to my brother, who took his life on June 16, 2012. Slightly more than seventy people rolled out from the Manhattan Beach Pier at 6:40 AM. By the time we turned onto Westchester Parkway, the peloton was easily a hundred strong.

Christine Reilly, Stella Tong, Greg Leibert, Lauren Mulwitz, Joe Yule, Vickie VanOs Castaldi, Izzie VanOs Castaldi, Chris Gregory, Tink, Suze Sonye,  Jay Yoshizumi, Brian Perkins, Gus Bayle, Rahsaan Bahati, Cary Alpert, Sarah Mattes, Greg Seyranian, Dara Richman, and David Perez brainstormed and got the word out so that people were at the Pier well in advance of the start time. Vickie and Greg took the sixty-five handmade armbands, beautifully lettered by Izzie with “R.I.P. Ian, ’62-’12” and tied one to each person’s arm. Then Dave Kramer introduced Greg, who made a short, moving, and beautiful speech about my brother, someone he had never met.

I then clipped in and led us out onto the bike path. Once I pulled off and floated to the back, I was overcome by the sight of the countless yellow armbands fluttering in the breeze. My friends had done this for me, as well as people I’d never even met, like Emily and her boyfriend Chris, who came over from the west side just to be there. Others who couldn’t make it like Dara and Laurie were there in spirit, and still others showed up at TELO in the evening and shared their sympathies and condolence. I’ll never be able to repay any of them.

It’s a very good debt to owe, forever.

Girls and bikes

I got into cycling as a result of my brother, indirectly. His second year of high school he got in a horrific fight with my mom about the car. Our parents had divorced a couple of years before, and it was the kind of hateful, acrimonious, bitter divorce that paralyzes the kids and poisons your life for the next few decades, like battery acid in the ice cream. Ian was tired of fighting over the car and one day he went out and bought a black

Fuji touring bike. It cost $300, an incomprehensible amount of money.

Going from a Jeep Golden Eagle Cherokee to a bicycle? I had one conclusion: “Dork.”

Within a couple of weeks, though, I discovered the source of his inspiration. His girlfriend was a cyclist, and they biked everywhere together. “Whatever,” I thought. “He’s still a dork.”

Then a couple of weeks after that I began to hear moaning and groaning coming out of his bedroom. This was way before Internet porn. This was awesome, and he was a dork no more. “What a stud!” I thought. “That bike deal is pretty cool!”

Buses and bikes

Although I didn’t rush out and get a bike to aid in the quick dispatch of my virginity, the idea remained that bikes were cool. This was partly because Ian had let me test ride his Fuji a few times, and it was so different from the rusted out Murray that I’d used for three years to commute to Jane Long Junior High that it hardly felt like a bicycle.

My freshman year in college at the University of Texas, 1982, my parents refused to let me have a car. I lived in the Village Glen Apartments out on Burton, six or seven miles from campus, and had to take the shuttle bus, which in those days was run by union-busting Laidlaw. They employed only hippy stoners from the 60’s and 70’s to drive the buses, and paid just enough to keep the hippies in weed, ensuring that there would never be any unionizing.

The Village Glen was one of the last bus stops on the Riverside Route before getting on I-35 and going to campus, so in the morning the buses were often full. That meant having to get out to the bus stop extra early, as the first bus or two rarely had room for even one more passenger. One morning in October I was standing in the rain waiting for the bus. The first one passed me and splashed me. The second one passed me. The third one roared by with an “Out of Service” sign on the front.

I screamed at the driver and flipped him off. He braked. I’d never seen a whole bus go sideways. Out bounded the raging hippy, fists balled and murder in his eyes. If I hadn’t been so tiny and petrified he would have killed me. Instead he screamed. “How about I beat you into a fucking pulp you snotnosed little fuck?” he roared.

“Uh, I, I, I’m really sorry. Please don’t kill me!” I begged.

“You ever fucking give me any attitude on a bus I’m driving I’ll break you in half you little prick. They don’t pay me enough in this shit job to put up with bullshit from spoiled little assholes like you!”

“Yes, sir,” I mumbled.

[To crack dealer] “So, should I start using crack?”

I had to wait another twenty minutes in the cold, pelting rain. During those twenty minutes I went from being grateful that I’d get to school with all of my teeth to angry at being a bus sheep. My resentment built throughout morning classes and exploded in an epiphany when my last course finished at noon. “I’m gonna buy a fucking bike, just like my brother did! Fuck Laidlaw! Fuck that hippy stoner fucker! Fuck the rain!”

I practically ran down 24th Street to Freewheeling Bicycles and Crackhouse, where I realized something else after walking the aisle. “Fuck, I’m broke!”

Fortunately, Uncle Phil Tomlin had just the bike for me, a Nishiki International with Suntour derailleurs, Dia Compe brakes, and Sugino cranks. At a paltry $375.00, I’d be able to easily afford it as long as I didn’t eat in November. Food or bike? It was an easy choice, especially with Uncle Phil kindly and professionally assisting me with my first bikecrack purchase.

The rest is history, and a year later I’d already been voted “Most Likely to be Killed by a Car or Truck” by my riding buddies. 1984 was my breakout year, when I dominated the Bloor Road to Blue Bluff Time Trial and won a coveted Laverne and Shirley board game for first place. The thirty years after buying that first bike have flown by, and somehow I’m still riding with the same happiness and joy as the day I pedaled that Nishiki out of the Freewheeling parking lot.

This is gonna hurt me and it’s gonna hurt you

So this thing that has given me more joy and happiness, this thing that has surrounded me with friends who are often closer than family, is a gift from my brother. I thought about that while Greg spoke. He paid me the ultimate compliment in the process, saying that they had come to honor my brother because without him, I wouldn’t be part of their community.

There’s no other way to say this than to say I felt more loved than I have ever felt in my life. Sweaty, muscled men threw their arms around me, and sweaty, muscled, beautiful women did, too, each one saying something that sounded like love, regardless of the words. And as proof that these weren’t just empty phrases, when we hit the bottom of Pershing they went so hard so fast that I was almost blinded by the pain.

“This one,” Jaeger said as he came by with the ferocity of a jungle beast, “is for Ian.”

There’s a place for gentleness and for camaraderie; it’s called the bricks on the Manhattan Beach Starbucks after the ride. The New Pier Ride itself is a place for the unbridled beatdown, the relentless attacking into the wind, the crushing of the weak by the strong.

“Memorial lap in silence?”

“Fuck you, dude.”

“Give ol’ Wankmeister the win?”

“Over my dead body. He wouldn’t want it and I wouldn’t give it.”

Suffice it to say that today I was the weak, and others were the strong, and the law of the jungle prevailed, as it always should. But even though I was the weak and struggled at the end, I didn’t get crushed. I got carried along by the unlikeliest thing of all, a raft of soft yellow ribbons floating in the breeze.

Anatomy of a flailfest

June 4, 2012 § 4 Comments

It’s all about the shirk.

The thing about racing or hard club rides or the regular weekly training flailfest is that everything happens so quickly you can’t possibly register or remember all of it. What really happened? Who really did what? Who in the world knows?

With my new helmet cam, though, I don’t have to try and remember who did what, or who was where, or what last-second crisis sprang up to terrify my bowels. It’s all on the 32-gig memory card.

The link below takes you to a condensed version of the New Pier Ride from last Thursday. There’s lots of action, which is to say, lots of people avoiding the front.

Are you following a wheel? Are you sitting at the back? Are you waiting for the sprint? Then perhaps it’s time you Go To The Front.

New Pier Ride SEXY PORNISH VIDEO LINK HERE!

This video cannot be viewed on mobile devices…

South Bay Rides

May 10, 2012 § 2 Comments

So you’re in the South Bay. Lucky dog! And you’ve got your bike…luckier dog! Here’s a list of the standard rides, including a couple of the “top-secret don’t fucking show up here” ones, which are, of course, the ones you should make a priority.

Dearly Beloved Clusterfuck Of The Ages: The Donut Ride

Begun a long time ago in front of a Winchell’s Donut Shop far, far away, the Donut Ride goes off every Saturday at 8:00 AM in the Riviera Village of Redondo Beach. 8:00 AM means “8:05 or 8:10 or whenever the group rolls out.” It NEVER means “8:00 AM.”

You have your own Donut Ride wherever you live, and this one is no different. Slow start, hammer up a hill, hammer on some flats, hammer along some some rollers, hammer up a hardass motherfucking 8-minute climb (“The Switchbacks”), stop, preen, let the wankers catch up, roll down the hill and then either climb back up from the other side or call it a day and hit the coffee shop.

This super-rad video was taken by local hammer Derek Brauch, beginning near Trump National and going all the way to the top of the Switchbacks. Watch ‘em pop and fry!

Pluses

  • It can be an absolute beatdown, especially when local pros Sergio Hernandez, Rudy Napolitano, or visiting beasts like Mike Friedman or Tyler Hamilton show up.
  • In good weather, which is most of the time, it’s a huge group with lots of places to suck wheel and cower from the front.
  • After ascending the Switchbacks, there are numerous ride variations tailored to your level of wankerdom, including a hard climb up from the Reservoir + Homes & Domes + Glass Church hammer & sprint + Via Zumaya. You’ll be crushed if you eat the whole Donut. It’s never sugar-coated.
  • Best scenery of any Saturday ride, anywhere.

Minuses

  • It can be a total wankfest if the fast dudes are all off racing somewhere and nobody wants to pull.
  • Stopping and preening is pretty stupid and cools you down prematurely.
  • The LA Sheriff’s Dept. and PV cops sometimes harass and endanger the group in the name of “safety.”
  • It’s no fun getting kicked out of the back at Trump and flailing all the way to the top by yourself with some fat dude wearing sneakers and carrying a floor pump.
  • If you’re one of those people who thinks that everyone’s shit smells bad except your own, it can be a real downer riding with ordinary humans, sitting as you are atop UCI world rankings.
Twice-Weekly Ballbuster Before Work: New Pier Ride a/k/a NPR

This was originally the worst ride in the South Bay. It went along the bike path, meandered through parking lots, wandered over narrow bridges, perambulated along jogger trails, then turned into a series of mad, pell-mell dashes through a deadly gauntlet of traffic lights, stop signs, destroyed roads, and horrific morning traffic. That was the Old Pier Ride.

The New Pier Ride starts at the same place, the Manhattan Beach Pier (a/k/a Center of the Known Universe, “CotKU”), every Tuesday and Thursday, and rolls out promptly at 6:40 AM. “6:40 AM” may mean “6:38″ or “6:39.” If you show up at 6:41, be prepared to chase and chase hard. The ride now skips the bike path, rolls through an alley of death for a mile or so, pops out onto Vista del Mar, keeps a fast tempo all the way to Pershing, and then is a complete hammerfest with four laps around Westchester Parkway. Don’t ever do this ride and say “It wasn’t very hard.” That will prove you were nowhere near the front.

Pluses

  • Distinguish yourself here, and you’ll likely get mentioned on the most influential bike blog in the universe.
  • Guaranteed to get your heart rate up, and then some, before work.
  • Huge group on most days, 70-80 riders, so lots of places to suck wheel and cower.
  • No big hills, just one small bump on Pershing and on the Parkway.
  • If you get dropped you can pick up the pack when they come by in the other direction. And get dropped again.
  • Pros like Rahsaan Bahati, and local beatdown artists like Greg Leibert, Harold Martinez, Eric Anderson, John Tomlinson, Aaron Wimberly, and others will usually show up wearing their best pair of stomp boots.
  • The post-coital coffee chill at the Center of the Known Universe, a/k/a the Starbucks at Manhattan Beach, is the apogee of all that is fun about being a marginally employed bike wanker. We sit. We joke. We check FB updates. We delay going to work. We soak in the sun. We slobber as the local talent slinks by. What’s not to like?

Minuses

  • Distinguish yourself here, and you’ll likely get mentioned on the universe’s most influential bike blog.
  • Too many places for the frail and the infirm to suck wheel and cower.
  • Too many sprunters sit in and do nothing the entire time, then spank everyone in the sprunt.
  • Unclear finishing line. Is it the beginning of the third traffic island? No one really knows, so it’s usually a case of “raise your hands and declare victory wherever your legs give out.”
  • If you break free, there are numerous riders who never seem strong enough to go with you, but are always strong enough to chase you down.
  • Occasional near-death traffic experiences.
If You Show Up Uninvited You Will Be Crushed And Destroyed: The REMR (pronounced “reamer,” a/k/a Really Early Morning Ride)

This ride leaves every Thursday from the Center of the Known Universe at either 5:30 or 5:45. No one will tell you when. It will be dark. The other riders will materialize out of the shadows and grimly nod to one another. No one looks happy. That’s because no one is.

The best reason to crash this ride is that, even though you’ll be squished like a bug, you’ll be squished like a bug even if you are invited. It’s hosted by the South Bay Royalty, presided over mainly by Jeff Konsmo and Dave Jaeger. Unless they tell you before the ride that they’re going easy, they will crush you like a tin can. The ride rolls crisply out to PV, buries it up the Reservoir climb, crushes it up Better Homes, then squelches the life out of you up to the radar domes on Crest. When the king and queen are preparing for states/nationals, they throw in a handful of additional brutal climbs at race pace. No matter how good you think you are, you’re not.

Pluses

  • None.

Minuses

  • Pain beyond your wildest fears.
  • Darkness.
  • Being dismembered by the fang and claw of nature.
  • Failure.
  • Collapse.
  • Doom.
  • Defeat.
  • Once in the office you will stare at your computer screen with a befuddled gaze until it’s time to go home.
The Biggest Wankfest Of The South Bay: The Kettle Ride

Ride leaves every Sunday at 7:00 AM, or 7:05, or whenever, from the Center of the Known Universe, across from the Kettle Restaurant from which the ride got its name. It is the United Nations of South Bay Cycling, attracting all manner of biker. It can be a big ol’ group when the weather’s nice and junior’s Little League games are done for the year, or it can be tiny when it’s a horribly frigid SoCal winter day, which can mean an unendurably cold 63 degrees and a light drizzle. As C.U. Tomorrow says, speaking for thousands of South Bay cyclists, “I don’t touch my helmet ’til the thermo hits 75.”

The group stops at the “Knoll Loading and Unloading/Pick-up Party Area,” or KLAUPUPA [Pronunciation key: “Clow-poopa”], a/k/a public toilets at Ocean Park on the bike path in Santa Monica. Aged prostates are relieved and the group continues on to PCH, where all heck breaks loose. There is a mad slugfest for 6 or 7 miles to Cross Creek in Malibu; midway some riders turn right to climb Topanga or choose a hillier route. Huge sprunt finish at the bridge in Malibu. Most riders turn around and go home, others continue up PCH for more Sunday frolic.

Pluses

  • Big ol’ group of wankers, and wankers are fun.
  • Nice warm up and chance to chat with friends if you’re planning on doing one of the hillier routes.
  • Great ride if you just want a brief paceline interval.
  • Beautiful scenery.
  • Excellent beach talent on the bike path return; most sightings of the first thong of spring occur here.

Minuses

  • The ride’s too easy, especially since MMX moved off to North County San Diego.
  • PCH can be hairy and dangerous.
  • The non-climbing route is pancake flat and boring.
  • That fat dude with the sheer, all-white kit two sizes too small sometimes shows up, and you can wind up having to stare down the hairy brown eye of death if you’re inadvertently on his wheel.
  • Shakes the Clown makes this a regular ride of his.
The Secret Saturday Ride For The Anointed: The Nameless Ride

The Nameless Ride is the Saturday alternative to the Donut. It leaves CotKU at 6:00 AM and comprises the aforementioned royalty along with their retinue. No fucking around. The ride goes north and does a handful of hard climbs. Wankers will be ostracized and dropped. All participants required to know the secret handshake. No one will wait for you after you’ve been cracked on some lonely canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains, as vultures circle above and hungry coyotes eye your wretched, stringy body as you lie writhing in the ditch. The ride is as short as 70 miles and as long as 100; 120+ if you’re coming from Pedro or PV.

Pluses

  • None.

Minuses

  • Feeling inadequate.
  • Being ignored.
  • Getting dropped.
  • Crying.
  • Death.
  • All of the above.
The Best Ride In America: The Wheatgrass Ride

The Wheatgrass Ride rolls out from Malaga Cove Plaza on Sundays just after 8:00 AM. It’s a short, 1.5 hour romp around the PV Peninsula that goes up the Reservoir hill, Homes & Domes, Glass Church, long climb up Hawthorne to PV Mall, and a post-coital discussion of various things while quaffing coffee, Jamba Juice, and wheatgrass. The ride was started by Iron Mike Norris, a/k/a the Mayor of the Hill, or just plain “Dad.” He provides wheatgrass for all participants at the end as punishment for not going to church.

The scenery is spectacularful. There’s regrouping at the radar domes. The pace is only as hard as you want to make it. The group is very welcoming. No one gets snobbed on or ostracized, even Bike Toss Mike when his lechery gets the better of him. If you want to race like a madman with Stathis the Wily Greek or G3 the Mad Scientist, you can. If you want to test your mettle against Tink (and have your mettle wilt like a butter pat in the sun), you can.

Best of all, Wheatgrass is the ideal place to make your blogging debut. Something funny’s sure to happen, and you’ll be surrounded by the legends of the Hill. Iron Mike, Sunshine Rich, Big Bowles, Junkyard, New Girl, Pilot, Canyon Bob, Carlos, the Godfather, Vince di Draftlio…they’re all there. Most awesomely, you’ll get to meet Fussy, the human encyclopedia on everything that has ever happened in the South Bay. You’ll hear about the dude who used to take a mannikin to all the races and dress it with his jersey so his number would be pinned on perfectly, and that’s just the beginning. More funny stories per minute will be told than anywhere since Abe Lincoln was a circuit lawyer.

Minuses

  • The ride is short.
  • No matter how hard you go, it’s not that hard.
  • Tink will drop you and step on your manhood.
  • You’ll be forced to drink wheatgrass at the end. Unless you’re Pretty Boy.
  • You won’t be able to brag to your SO that you “did a hundred.”

Pluses

  • The ride is pure fun.
  • People treat you like a real person.
  • Everyone’s welcome, even Crazy George with the gym shorts, the saggy socks, and the rock collection he carries in his backpack.
  • Someone will always stop and help you change your flat. Or your diaper.
  • You’ll feel like one of the group your first time out.
  • Nothing is as much fun as a sunny Sunday morning catching some rays, spreading some manure, and enjoying some post-coital smack talk with like-minded friends.
Doin’ The Double: TELO Tuesday Training Race

After doing the NPR on Tuesday morning, you have the evening option of the TELO Training Race, which goes off every Tuesday at 6:00 PM from the spring time change to the fall time change. It is named after Telo Street in Torrance, a feeder road that leads into a lovely little office park.

The first lap is neutral, and the race lasts for an hour or until an errant vehicle takes out the field, whichever comes first. Packs are as small as 30 and as large as 60. As recently as a couple of years ago the pattern was this: Fast pace for a few laps, slow down, hard attack establishes break, pack chills for the rest of the race, breakaway hammers it out for the win. This rarely if ever happens anymore. The pace is so fast that breaks just can’t make it. There’s almost always a bitter headwind on the back half of the course, which is two long sides with a chicane and two short sides. Sprinter wheelsucks are always waiting in the wings.

Pluses

  • Super fast, super hard way to end your Tuesday.
  • Close to South Bayers and free.
  • Great way to get in a double workout if you do the NPR in the morning.
  • Generally very safe racing. Crashes are rare, traffic knows about the race and is generally very considerate.

Minuses

  • It’s a crit. Yawn.
  • If it comes down to a sprint between you, Aaron Wimberly, Paul Che, and Christian Cognigni, there’s no fucking way in hell you’re going to win.
  • Wheelsuck sprinters who treat training races like the real thing. Yawn.

No, Virginia, Halloween isn’t a holiday: The Holiday Ride

When there is a national holiday, whichever day it falls on is the Holiday Ride. This often creates confusion on the part of most people in Manhattan Beach, and quite a few others in the South Bay who don’t really have jobs, and for whom every day is a holiday. So I get emails and texts from them like, “Hey, is there a Holiday Ride tomorrow?”

“Tomorrow,” of course, is usually Halloween, or Gothic Rune Day, or National Prayer in School Day, or the day We Honor Our Teachers but Still Pay Them Shit Day. These are not national holidays, however much you like to use them as an excuse not to finish those three shaping orders that have been 80% completed for the last six months, and therefore, no, there won’t be a Holiday Ride.

If it’s Christmas, New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, MLK Day, 4th of July, etc., everyone meets at CotKU at 8:00 AM and leaves super promptly at 7:59. You’ll never catch if you show up late. If the weather’s sunny expect 200+ idiots.

The ride goes north to Santa Monica, turns right on San Vicente Blvd., makes another turn or two and then hits Mandeville Canyon. From the light at Mandeville, it’s game fucking on. The speed instantly snaps the mob into a single file line of death. If you think you’re a contender (you aren’t), don’t be more than ten wheels back.

People begin frying and charring immediately. It’s an endless climb, never very steep except at the last few hundred yards, where it turns into a wall. The finish rarely includes more than two or three people. The remaining 200 or so are flogging the little meat in ones and twos all the way back down the hill.

Pluses

  • It’s the ultimate “see and be seen” ride
  • You get to see all the rich folks’ houses in Brentwood, or at least the ones you can see with your fucking face plastered to the stem, your eyes watering like a firehose, and sheet snot pouring out all over your face
  • The climb up the canyon is intense and humbling
  • It’s always a full-on beatdown

Minuses

  • Too many idiots
  • Angry canyon residents have tried to kill cyclists using “their” road
  • It’s always a full-on beatdown

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