October 7, 2014 § 12 Comments
Now that the ‘cross season is underway, we need to take a moment to do a sack check of who’s doing what to whom.
- The ‘cross stage is set for October 12, when the first SPY Cyclocross beatdown of 2014 will take place in Chino, which promises to be blistering hot, challenging, and the best excuse we’ve had all year to hang out with friends and drink copious quantities of liquid sandwiches. The SPY Cyclocross series is sanctioned by USA Cycling, which means that riders can earn points that let them stage towards the front of the field at nationals, rather than having to sink down to their necks in the mud and muck of 155th place at the starting line.
- You can’t talk about cyclocross in SoCal without talking about Ryan Dahl. He’ll be on hand at the SPY race in Chino, ready to dole out a major serving of whup-ass to anyone in the 35+ A category. He’ll be joined by David MacNeal and Garnet Vertican, two cyclocrossers who have been on exceptionally good form. However well any of these wankers do, I plan to drink them under the flyover afterwards.
- Talk of cyclocross naturally leads to conversations of insanity, poor judgment, and the 2015 most-likely-to-die-on-a-bike award. This, in turn, leads to discussions about the recent KOM set by the Wily Greek on Tuna Canyon. For those who aren’t “in the know,” Tuna Canyon is a very long, exceedingly steep death-climb in the Santa Monica Mountains that can only be climbed on a narrow, twisting road while salmoning. Half the achievement is doing the climb, the other half is not getting splatted by terrified motorists in full sphincter-clench mode who see bicyclists going the wrong way up the one-way road. Anyway, it’s a legendary climb and Wily has carved his initials on that particular mule’s behind.
- Local South Bay wanker Carey Downs a/k/a Tumbleweed pulled off his first ‘cross win of the year last weekend in Long Beach, beating a field of dead people in the 55+ category. He received the much sought after Long Beach victory cup, a chalice filled with mercury, cadmium, and a choice selection of other minerals found in the local water supply.
- No South Bay form report would be complete without an update on the status of Prez, recently returned from a grueling work schedule just in time to miss all the races and begin training for the high point of his year: The off-season of 2014. He’s already begun gym workouts, track sessions, and 140-mile fatburner days in the big ring, and judging from the 347.9 donuts he was carrying in his skinsuit when I saw him on Sunday, he’ll need every one of those miles and then some. Of course it has been a sad and boring year on the local group rides without Prez to run into the occasional parked car, but his return will keep everyone on their toes. Welcome back!!
PS: Don’t miss any of the races in the SPYclocross Series — details below.
September 25, 2014 § 14 Comments
“Manslaughter and I are going for a slow spin around the hill. Leaving in five minutes.”
I read the text and started changing. I caught them in downtown Redondo, flipped it, and we started around the peninsula. It was 9:30 AM on a Wednesday, and too early on-a-day-that’s-not-a-Friday to contemplate drinking. The chatter was the same as always. Derek talked about losing weight. Manslaughter giggled. I wondered what I was going to blog about.
Manslaughter began talking about Santa and Jesus, and how he didn’t believe in either. Then Derek turned and said, “That’s fine, being an atheist and all, but then what exactly is your plan for getting into heaven? You don’t cruise across the line into heaven in the middle of the pack, sucking wheel. Getting into heaven is a time trial, and Jesus better be in your support vehicle.”
“Not to mention your water bottle,” I added.
Manslaughter giggled and suggested taking a “dirt road.”
“What kind of dirt road?” I asked.
“A flat one,” he lied.
Derek and I agreed since we were on our road bikes and, hell, we had done the BWR, right? How bad could it be? Manslaughter turned off the pavement to the left of where Tink had once splatted and where Toronto’s daughter had hit the seam in the road and launched into the curb and where Little Sammy Snubbins had flipped into oncoming traffic at 30. Ah, memories.
The dirt was fine until it turned up, then up again, then massively up. Manslaughter, currently ranked #23 in the nation for mountain biking, and therefore a never-miss descender and climber, misjudged a turn, fell off his bicycle, and ended up looking like a pubic crab on its back wiggling a very tiny bike in the air. We laughed and passed him, trying and failing to run over his neck.
Derek slowed, having lost too much weight the night before, and I raced by. I kept him behind me by weaving all over the steep and narrow trail. I’m not sure why he kept saying “motherfucker,” but he did. After a while we caught a rider on horseback.
“That horse is pretty sketchy,” I thought. “If I sneak past it I bet it freaks and maybe kicks and kills Derek and I win to wherever the fuck this climb goes.” Manslaughter had been dropped a long way back, which was fine, except that he was the only one who knew the route.
I picked a tight passing lane and went to shoot through it. The horse sensed my presence and looked like it was going to turn away from me, which was fine, until I realized the pivot was actually an aiming maneuver. The last thing I saw was its rump rising up to make room for its rear legs to clear and then lash out.
The next thing I knew, I wasn’t on a hot dirt road in Palos Verdes anymore. It was cool out and cloudy, but I was above the clouds. I saw a big pair of gates. I could see through them. There was Prez, wearing a halo and what appeared to be a peacock suit made of lycra, winking at me and holding a pair of new Michelin tires over his head with no video camera. There was Erik the Red, waving. Those were the only two people I knew.
Then I saw Charon manning the gates. He had a big book in front of him. “Wanky! You signed up for the wrong race again! Better head on down to your proper category.”
I felt myself falling. Now it was hot again, really hot, but at least I saw more people I knew. Hell, I knew everyone. But there was a black river of steaming hot energy gel to cross in order to get to them. I climbed into the boat waiting on the shore as a hooded guy started to row me across. “Brad?” I asked. “Brad House? Is that you?”
“Naw,” said the oarsman. “He went to somewhere really hot and miserable and filled with sinners. He’s in Texas.”
I debarked and got into a long line. “Where do I sign up for the 50+?” I asked.
Lane, who happened to be standing next to me, said, “I don’t know. I’m here for the Strava competition.”
“Who the hell is in charge around here?” I demanded. Soon enough I got to the sign-in table.
A huge three-headed angry Marine wearing an FBI men-in-black suit and Blues Brothers SPY shades glowered at me. “What the fuck do you want, cupcake?”
“Chris?” I said. “Is that you?”
“Who were you expecting to meet? Mitt Romney? You just signing up for eternity? Only $10 for the second eternity.”
“There’s been some mistake,” I said. “Manslaughter’s the atheist. He’s the one who wanted to suck wheel on Jesus. I’m always at the front. How do I get back up to Prez and those tires?”
“Ha, ha, cupcake,” Chris laughed as he gave me my number. “You’ve just been entered in the BWR from Hell.”
I shuddered. There in the distance stood MMX with a whip and a giant purple card, beating a drum that was slightly out of tune. He sneered at me. “What’s wrong, Patsy? There’s only 8 billion miles of dirt through a live volcano this time.”
“No!” I screamed. “Noooooooooooooooo!”
Suddenly I was lying on my back and the horse lady was saying, “He didn’t give me three feet when he tried to pass. He’s lucky poor old Sukey didn’t kill him.”
Manslaughter and Derek were splitting a bag of sport beans waiting for me to wake up. “If you help me wipe up the blood,” I said to them, “I’ll have Mrs. Wankmeister pick up a case of Racer 5 and make us some quesadillas with mushrooms and salsa.”
It sounded like a good idea to Derek and Manslaughter. Suddenly it was okay to drink before noon on a not-Friday-day. And we did.
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March 21, 2014 § 46 Comments
The most recent South Bay cycling kerfluffle and 24/7 Facebag drama was a beaut. The facts, such as they weren’t, went something like this: Gimme Mah Trinket, a super fast live-to-ride badass MTB racer showed up at the Third Annual Fredfest and Dorkathon Cross Country Bicycle Race in Scratchypits, CA. Having won the Leadville-qualifying Barburner, and having completed Leadville itself once and sort-of-but-perhaps-not-really completed it a second time, Gimme signed up for the beginners’ Cuddly Puppy Division race.
It was a full cuddly puppy field with six or seven riders, all of whom except for Gimme were excited to be racing their first ever, or second ever, or whatever MTB cross country race. Now I must insert here that I didn’t even know that you raced cross country on a bicycle. I thought cross country was a kind of foot race, so when I was told that the controversy occurred at a cycling cross country race my first reaction was “Fugg’ yeah, I bet those runners were sure pissed at getting beat by the bikers. I would be, too.”
The cuddly puppies lined up with battle-hardened, steely legged Gimme Mah Trinket and got devoured. How badly did they get devoured? Gimme stomped their dicks by seven minutes. She finished so far ahead of the puppies that race officials temporarily lost contact with her ACARS.
The cuddlies struggled in across the line, puppy butts covered in dirt and briars and brambles and sweat and gel packs that had exploded in their jerseys and drizzled down into their buttcracks. And they did what puppies do when they get their noses rubbed in their own shit. They whined. And the whine they whined was the greatest, most famous, most oft-repeated complaint ever made anywhere by any wanker in the history of the USCF: Gimme Mah Trinket is a SANDBAGGER!
Gimme didn’t really care. Her license listed her as a Cuddly Puppy despite being one of the strongest South Bay women on the road and in the dirt, she’d raced her category, and most importantly, she got her trinket. It was a beautiful, hand-carved, antique, hand-decorated water bottle from 1998 made during the Chee’ Pass Dynasty in China. Then she went to the official and upgraded to a Cat 1. Apparently you can go from a Cat 3 to a Cat 1 in MTB just by saying, “Gimme a one, please.”
Let the wailing begin
The cuddly puppies were outraged. They’d trained hard. They’d committed millions of dollars to this fine sport. They’d hired a coach, given up smoking meth, and told all their friends at work that they were going to do a “bicycle race.” How unfair that a pro, a superstar, a hard woman, a ruthless, toothy, shark-blooded killer with a zillion miles under her belt would sandbag the Cuddly Puppy division? At the Scratchypits race, no less! The outrage!
A measure of just how much of a beginners race it was bubbled to the surface merely by airing the “Sandbagger!” complaint. If USA Cycling were a book with a subtitle, it would be this: “USA Cycling: Sandbagging for Fun and Trinkets.”
The whole purpose of categories is to allow for organized sandbagging. If bikers wanted a real bike race, here’s how it would be run:
- Men, women, mutants, cuddly puppies, ex pros, current pros, leaky prostates, loose bowels, juniors, seniors, and almost-corpses would line up together.
- The ref would blow a whistle.
- The first person across the line would be declared the winner.
This would result in a genuine bike race with genuine results. The winner could say, “I was the best racer that day.” The down side is that races would have only thirty or forty riders, all of them would be in their late 20’s, and the same three people would win every single race. In other words, hardly anyone would get a trinket. The bigger down side is that USA Cycling and the various race promoters wouldn’t be able to promote races, because with entry fees from thirty riders you can’t cordon off a street, supply ambulances, promote the event, and hire a couple of cheap plywood boxes for a podium.
This is why cycling has zillions of categories, groupings, rankings, and divisions, so that no matter how weak, feeble, inexperienced, or strategically stupid you are, there is “some” chance that you’ll get a trinket. Trinkets get spread more democratically, race promoters get paid, and USA Cycling gets to send out another surly, obese, ill-tempered official to scream at you on a motorcycle.
Think of race categories for what they really are: Affirmative action for the weak, slow, and stupid. Without cycling’s affirmative action program, 99.999% of all racers would never experience the thrill of getting a $20 prime, or enjoy the glory of standing on a plywood box in the blazing sun, or posting their “results” on Facebag. Our society would be poorer as a result. Moreover, at least in the SoCal crit scene, without affirmative action no white people would ever win anything, and we can’t have that.
Do you really want a bike race?
The Scratchypits kerfluffle, if anything, proved that trinket racing really works, and it’s not the first time that a veteran sandbagger has been booted upstairs to a harder division due to whining cuddlies. The most famous sandbagging case in SoCal history was the Great Prez SoCal Cup Upgrade and Meltdown, where our hero sandbagged as a Cat 3 for several years. Just as he was on the cusp of winning the SoCal Cat 3 Cup, some cuddly puppy’s angry mom complained to the refs. “Prez is a sandbagger! Little Pookums can’t win anything! Upgrade him!”
Prez got force upgraded, and so emotionally destroyed that the trinket was so rudely snatched away despite being within inches of his sweaty grasp, that he dropped out of racing for an entire year. Worse, now that’s he’s back as a Cat 2, he is forced to race with the 35+ Masters division, the biggest category of sandbaggers in the entire sport. These are the guys who are for the most part Cat 1’s, Cat 2’s, and ex-pros, but who’d rather win most of the time than lose all of the time. However, unlike the Cat 3 races, riders like Prez go from winning sandbagger to pack meat, as it’s often difficult to finish and impossible to win. No more trinkets for Prez.
G$ tells a similar story about his own history of sandbagging. “When I was a Cat 3, I never wanted to upgrade. But after winning four out of sixty races, they force upgraded me. Some junior’s mom complained and said me and Roadchamp were dominating everything. Boom. Cuddly puppy upgrade. But I was like, dude, I’m forty years old. How’m I gonna race with the Cat 2’s? Their road races are a hundred miles long. I have a job, sort of. But they upgraded me anyway.”
G$ went on to collect plenty of trinkets, but only as a masters sandbagger. In sum, the category system is there for you to sandbag. You pick the race you think you have the best chance of winning, and the race you can most likely win is always the one against the weakest field. The weakest field is always the oldest or the slowest or the least experienced category. This is how trinkets are won, how juice boxes are collected, and how well-practiced podium poses are executed for the three adoring fans.
Any other system would result in a bike race, and no one in their right mind wants one of those.
Least of all the cuddly puppies.
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February 13, 2014 § 6 Comments
On Monday morning my inbox broke from the email deluge. Then on Tuesday the volume doubled. Today it finally tapered off and I’ve been able to read through all 34,872,011.92 emails regarding the catastrophic meltdown of Prez at the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre crit in Brea. Here’s a sampling of the anger:
“U suck WM. Prez wuz yer number one Wanky Training Plan ™ rider and he DNF’ed. FUKKKK UUUU!!”
“Wanky Training Plan is a fraud and a sham. Prez couldn’t even finish the Brea crit using your fakish training plan. I want my money back once I pay you.”
“Sad days all around for us WTP ™ adherents. We heard through the grapevine that Prez got shitcanned at the local Sunday crit using your training plan. Huge loss of confidence in your advice, Wanky.”
“Dear Mr. Wankmeister: This is your formal notification of a class action lawsuit filed against you as a result of your fraudulent Wanky Training Plan ™ and its utter failure to get Prez across the finish line, much less a victory in a recent bicycle race. Blah, blah, blah.”
“Heartbroken. Prez DNF. Wanky Training Plan ™ a failure. There is no Dog.”
“Whats next Wanky or should I say Bernie Made-off, as in ‘made off with all my money’? Your a crook and the Wanky Training Plan ™ is a faik. Going back to Elron Peterson and his one-legged drills. Look stupid I may, and broke it may make me, but defeat with honor.”
“Yo, Wanky! I saw Prez sobbing in the gutter after NPR yesterday. Claimed the WTP ™ has made him SLOWER. WEAKER. LAZIER. FATTER. WTF?”
I can explain
First of all, it’s true. After following the Wanky Training Plan ™ religiously, plus 2,500 hours in the gym, plus $8,762.09 spent on a special spin bike coach, plus an entire season dedicated to becoming the anchor in the SCC lead out train, Prez did in fact get shitcanned in the final laps of the race when the brutes on SCC brought it up to 35 mph and held it until the end, when Inkjet and Loverboy closed the deal in first and second place.
It’s also true that Prez not only followed the WTP ™, but he got a custom Wanky tattoo on his special place so that he could remind himself how dedicated he was to the plan. And it’s also true that he paid the Wanky Foundation (a non-profit group dedicated to helping wankers overcome their fear of doing hard road races) $75,000 for a signed diploma from the Wanky Institute and a collectible pair of Wanky’s old underwear from back in the glory days.
The reason that he came unglued, quit, gave up, threw in the towel, and failed to finish the race had nothing to do with the Wanky Training Plan ™, a scientific system developed in conjunction with research from the Harvard labs, Olympic racing data, tea leaves, astrology, and input from Crazy Betsy the Psychic Reader.
No, the reason Prez abandoned, backed down, bailed out, bowed out, buckled under, capitulated, caved, chickened out, collapsed, cried uncle, folded, pulled out, stopped, and surrendered was because he forgot to take his Wanky Toughness Pills ™ before the race.
What’s a Wanky Toughness Pill ™ ?
Elite members of the Wanky Training Plan ™ who have been diagnosed as having Low Toughness by a medical professional, psychotherapist, or playground bully are eligible to receive one bottle of Wanky Toughness Pills ™ to treat their Low – T.
When a racer follows all of the steps in the training plan but is still unable to hang in when the going gets tough due to his emotional frailty, he is put on a special regimen of raw kale and toughness pills. The Low – T is then ameliorated, turning the former milquetoast into a badass leg breaking pain drinking nail eating muddafugga.
Without divulging patient confidentiality, Prez suffered from extremely Low – T. His T was so low that he couldn’t even take a pull on the NPR, kind of a threshold level of mental weakness that only a few baby seals are capable of de-spiring to. In sum, he received a double dosage of Wanky Toughness Pills ™ designed to remedy his habitual characteristic of “When the going gets tough, I get another frozen daiquiri.”
After the race we spoke and he admitted that he’d forgotten to take his toughness pills. However, he also said that in order to make up for this week’s epic collapse he had taken the whole bottle, eaten four pounds of raw kale, and was going to show up for UCLA Punchbowl to show “those skinny little fuggheads how it’s done.”
So before you go clamoring for a refund, watch for race results. You’ll see who’s been taking their toughness pills, and who hasn’t.
August 11, 2013 § 25 Comments
I have noticed that on big group rides like the Donut, I’m not nearly as fast as most of the others, even though my coach tells me I’m awesome, especially just after the monthly check clears. Even Prez beats me on the climbs. How can I go faster?
Please push down harder on the pedals.
I was on the Donut Ride this morning and some dude came up to me who wasn’t, frankly, very nice. He said, “Yo, dude with the Arizona State Champion jersey. Did you win that or buy it at a fucking garage sale?” I was pretty insulted. I told him I’d won it this year. Then, even ruder, he said, “What did you championize, bro?” Championize? He was making fun of me. So I told him I was the Cat 5 state crit champ. That shut him up. So, two questions for you. 1) Who was that asshole? and 2) What’s a guy gotta do around here to get a little respect? They aren’t exactly handing these jerseys out on street corners, y’know?
1) That asshole was me. 2) At a minimum you’ll need to not get dropped by the women on the false flats.
Bearer of bad newsily,
I sure do hate the new Donut Ride route. It sux big greasy donkey hooters. It’s too much climbing and it was already too much climbing. You might as well call it the “Rudy and Stathis Ride.” Total bullshit. At a minimum we should have a no drop “B” ride that takes others’ abilities into account, where we can regroup every twenty minutes or so, etc.
There is a place were “B” rides are very fashionable, and where the weak, the sick, the elderly, the infirm, and the lame can ride at a friendly pace while discussing frame angles and wattage. It’s called “San Diego.”
I read all your stuff and do everything you say. I went on your kimchi diet and lost 75 pounds, getting me down to about 132 (I’m 6’4″). After a while I got really sick, all my skin fell off, I lost my job from the absences and the giant scabs, then my girlfriend of ten years left me because of those kimchi farts. Now I see that your “new thing” is donuts and beer. I’m really eager to take this plunge, but once bitten, shame on you, twice bitten, you shouldn’t be petting pit bulls, y’know? So what’s the straight skinny? Donuts and beer, is it legit?
PS: I also tried that nose breathing thing you were raving about and now I get bad nosebleeds all the time and that Prez dude still drops me on all the climbs.
Donuts and beer are the bomb, but they only work when you’ve done a 6-month kimchi purge, which you have. So you’re good to go. You should augment the donuts and beer with butter or with foods that are deep fried, like bubblegum or, best of all, deep fried butter. They’re working on a new recipe for deep fried frying oil, so when they get the right mix of mercury and cadmium to stabilize the frying oil to allow it to be fried, you can add that to your power mix. Trust me on this.
We read your blog from time to time out here in southern Illinois, and everyone pretty much agrees you’re a douchebag farty-fuck. Just wanted you to know that.
I understand that of the two actual bike racers you have in that part of your fine state, one of them spends all his free time in California, and the other has recently retired due to chronic tenderness of the loins.
I was so friggin’ stoked to finally get to do the Donut Ride this morning and ride with that Prez dude! He is the bomb! And he is stylish and cuts a pretty swashbuckling figure! Then better yet (as if it could get any better!!) he talked to me!!!!!!!!!! I was asking him training questions and he totally gave me the scoop!!! I was like, “What’s with the 54 x 11 all the time?” Know what he said? “Power training!” Friggin’ rad!! Everyone sure was powering by him!!! And I was like, “What about nutrition?” and he was like “Muscle Milk plus Muscle OJ plus Muscle Water plus Sweaty Excrescence of Skunk Testicle, it’s the bomb!” Then I was like, “Fashion tips?” and he was like “White and black are your base colors; use purple and pink and gangrene yellow for the accents. Match your kits with custom socks and gloves that also go with your eyeliner.” Eyeliner! How rad is that???
So glad you hooked up with The Man! He’s been in therapy for the last year since his forced upgrade, but has finally come out of his shell and is gearing up for 2014. You might want to avoid following his wheel too closely, though, or mentioning the words “Charon” or “Smith.” He gets pretty agitated.
Down and dirty: Is Froome really on the juice?
Does the Pope like an all-boys choir?
I’m perfectly happy with my nickname. I love it, in fact, and really appreciate all the time and effort you took to bestow it on me. My fiancee loves it, my co-workers love it (they Googled me last week), and all my teammates think it’s super. I love it so much I’d never think of asking for a new one, ’cause I’ve heard that only results in getting a really BAD nickname, unlike the cool one I really love and want to keep. Anyway (good riding on the Donut and other rides, btw, you’re killing it, you’re a beast and a monster [PS: props on the TV announcing gig, you ROCKED it], I know you’re going to kill it at nationals), so, I just wanted you know how much I love the blog and my nickname. Awesome stuff, good times! (Fist bump, bro!!). My fiancee’s mom is coming into town for the wedding here in a few weeks, and she was Googling me too, and she saw my nickname and was like WTF? I told her how cool it is and that it really means you respect the hell out of me but she’s from an Asian culture and she just didn’t “get” it, you know? There’s no way I’d ever give up my nickname, not even for her. Still, she got to complaining to my fiancee (who LOVES the nicky, as I said), and it’s become something of an “issue” here right before we get married. So, this is a long way of saying that — and this is NOT for me — could you get me a nickname that uses the word “cobra” or “stingray” or “lethal” and we’ll just use it until the MIL goes home, and we’re through with the wedding and things have settled in? You rock, buddy!
Done, my friend. Henceforth you are “Cobra Penis.” See you on the road, and give my best to your mother in-law.