May 27, 2012 § 2 Comments
We went out yesterday evening and saw MiB3. It’s a movie about these badass dudes dressed in black, and they fight aliens and shit. They bust the shit out of the aliens with weird weapons and blast them into pieces and in the process they almost get killed themselves.
At the end of the movie the world gets saved and everyone was happy except me, who had to part with $24. I liked those twenty-four dollars and I already miss them a lot.
So I was sitting there watching this badass dude smash the fuck out of this freaky alien and the alien crumbled into bits and I was thinking “What the fuck am I paying money to watch some badass dude in black and a black badass dude beat the fuck out of some alien when I just spent my whole fucking Saturday watching badass black men in black beat the fuck out of a bunch of wankers on bikes? And it didn’t cost me no 24 fucking dollars.”
Badass black men in black, coming soon to a public toilet near you
We got to the Ocean Park toilets this morning and picked up Guns, Bucks, Vapor, and Critchamp. Except for Bucks, they were all pretty much dressed in black. I was thinking “Fuck this is going to be a BMiB beatdown.”
Then up rolls a white dude in mostly black, Launch, and we were all like “Fuck this is going to be a BMiB + WMiB beatdown to the tenth degree.”
Of the assembled wankers, most of us were thinking variations of what Arkansas Traveler said: “This doesn’t look good.”
Or the boys from church: “We don’t see much in the way of a blessing here.”
Or Prez: “I rode all the way from Pedro to be part of a massacre?”
Or the Dentist: “Are we drilling it all the way back from Encinal?”
From Ride to the Rock to the Highway to Hell Ride
Last August we started doing a Saturday ride from the Center of the Known Universe out to The Rock on PCH. It was in preparation for the annual Ironfly ManTour. The good thing about the ride was that it got you an easy hundred, the pace was steady with no attacks or rotating pacelines, the group stayed together, and we avoided the lung-busting climbs up through the canyons along PCH. In short, it was the perfect wanker ride.
The down side to the ride was that it was easy, the pace was steady with no attacks or rotating pacelines, the group stayed together, and we avoided the lung-busting climbs up through the canyons along PCH. In short, it was a terrible ride if you wanted any intensity.
Earlier this year I heard Tom Danielson talk about how great a climb Decker Lane was. Decker is one of the climbs we pass on the way to The Rock on PCH. So several weeks ago we put together a new route that tried to fix some of the shortcomings of the other route. We still did the steady, social, 2 x 2 paceline all the way to Trancas, with people getting a chance to warm up, chat, and get that good vibe you can only get from an organized, steady, longish ride.
After Trancas, we then climbed Decker. Decker is such a steep, vicious, long, and nasty climb that you can’t do it at an easy pace. It’s a true legbreaker. Fortunately, just before you reach Decker, we also pass Encinal, which is a longer, much gentler climb that merges with Decker at the top, so everyone has a choice. Ride so hard you want to vomit, or get in a steady power climb, the choice is yours.
At the top of Decker, we regroup, and descend Encinal to PCH.
From there, it’s game on. We start as hard as we can, immediately fall into a rotating paceline, and people fry off the back. By the time we climb out of Trancas on PCH, and certainly by the time we get over the roller before Latigo, the group is left with its final members, who continue drilling it all the way back to Temescal Canyon in Santa Monica. The total drillfest is about 24 miles.
MiB set out to destroy the aliens
We got started on the PCH return trip, and before going too far we overtook Prez, who had been separated from the group due to a navigational error. Originally intending to climb with the power group up Encinal, he mistakenly turned with the homicide group up Decker. When Tree, Launch, and the Dentist took off, Prez found himself last man in the wanker group that included me, Arkansas Traveler, Tumbleweed, and Sophia Loren. As Sophia pedaled by him, he made a u-turn and returned to PCH.
However, no one at the top knew that Prez had turned around, so after waiting for a while, Launch, Dentist, and I partially descended Decker looking for him. Ouch. We concluded that he’d pulled an Abandy Schleck, and went back up again.
When we passed Prez on PCH, he hopped into the rotating paceline, and when his turn came he took a monstrous pull. It strung the group out into a single file as he mashed the pedals in fury. When he finally came off the point and started floating back, I advised him, “Dude, you better take really short pulls. The MiB are getting ready to take out their reverberating carbonizers, and if you don’t wanna get vaporized, you better save a few blasts in the De-Molecularhazard Excell 12.” Unfortunately, I should have taken my own advice, as Launch, Vapor, and Critchamp began blasting aliens right, left, and center.
Launch uses the Cosmic Integrator coming out of Trancas
By the time we hit the bottom of the hill coming out of Trancas, the MiB had blasted, wasted, toasted, and roasted a host of aliens. Some of their stray shots had also, unfortunately, blasted a few of my fellow wankers, who were now cut adrift on PCH and forced to suffer home alone.
With the exception of Launch and the Dentist, everyone started skipping pulls. As we hit the bottom of the hill, Launch took out the cosmic integrator, a device used to meld body parts of the best aliens onto his own body. The result was an extremely powerful Launch, who melds on three additional lungs, two extra heart chambers, and a third leg. A cracking and rending sound is heard as the remnants of the wankers split and break on the climb.
Over the top the group has been whittled down to Launch, Dentist, Vapor, Vapor Jr., Critchamp, and later by Tree and Checkerbutt, who’ve chased and caught. I’m absolutely on the rivet and just managing to come through as Vapor, Launch, and Critchamp take turns with huge pulls. Launch drags us halfway up the stinger that leads to Latigo, and Tree uncorks with a jump so hard and fast that he springs completely free of the group.
I was barely hanging onto Launch’s wheel when he spotted a Remoonian and whipped out his atomizing blaster. It was the last hundred meters my entire body had begun to shudder. This happens when I’m on a wheel and about to get dropped, but have pushed it too far into the bottomless pit of red. First my legs started to shake, then my arms, then my head, then my eyes wobbled, and finally a massive, sharp pain stabbed my heart like cardiac arrest plus lung failure plus a golf club thrust into my chest cavity with the fury of an AT&T phone service rep after losing an argument with Mrs. WM over a one-cent charge on our four hundred-dollar phone bill that didn’t belong there.
Alien colonies vaporized on Pepperdine Hill
I looked up just in time to roll over the crest, still attached to Launch’s wheel. Everyone was now suffering from radiation sickness from the atomizer, and the only riders who remained were Launch, the Dentist, Critchamp, me, and Vapor Jr. The Remoonian’s head had been shot off and the road was littered with green eyes and what looked like green ham. I wondered if he hadn’t shot a Seussian by mistake.
Launch dragged us all the way to the bottom of Pepperdine Hill and the turnoff to Malibu Colony. He must have spied an advance patrol of the Arquillian fleet, because he accelerated up the hill like a spaceship. There was a crackling sound as Critchamp imploded, followed by a dragging sound as the Dentist’s drill suddenly stopped working, followed by a whine and moan as I began to sob.
The Dentist let me get on his wheel and towed me to the top of the hill, where Launch was pleasantly waiting, hardly having cracked a sweat and surrounded by the rubble, blood, goo, alien body parts, and broken machinery of the devastated Arquillians. We waited for seventeen or eighteen hours until Critchamp and Vapor Jr. caught up. From then on it was merciless.
Checkerbutt, who had sneaked along the Malibu Colony Rd. and stolen a shortcut, thereby avoiding the two sections of Pepperdine Hill, reattached himself at Cross Creek. After a few rotations Vapor Jr. was spit out the back. After a few more rotations everybody was gassed except Launch, who kept pulling through as if it was his first pull of the day. I didn’t skip any pulls, but towards the end pulls were so slow and weak that everyone looked forward to them as they were “recovery pulls.” Critchamp and the Dentist never wavered, and Checkerbutt, with copious resting and turn skipping, came through each time full tilt.
In the run-up to Temescal, Launch spied an evil Kylothian and opened up a gap on the rest of us as he rushed to vaporize it and protect the aliens on the LA beaches from the aliens of outer space. I sprinted for a couple hundred yards to get on his wheel, and then found out the terrible truth: the only thing worse than getting ridden off Launch’s wheel was being on Launch’s wheel. I suffered terribly, and then two seconds later gave up.
We regrouped on the bike path, and shortly thereafter my legs cramped. I got off my bike just in time for a chick on a beach cruiser to hit me from behind and careen off into the sand, upsetting her bikini top and partially spilling the goods, which was nice of her.
At the Peet’s in Santa Monica people rolled in until we were all reunited. I thought that my ride nutrition, consisting of a cup of coffee, a Dr. Pepper, and a BonkBreaker midway through the ride was inadequate for such a terrible beatdown, and certainly wouldn’t get me the last 20 miles home + climb up to the top of PV. So I had another coffee and a cup of oatmeal.
Launch was still smiling and relaxed. Then it dawned on me. Was he the alien? Was he?
May 8, 2012 § Leave a comment
I don’t know who coined the phrase, “Cheaters never win.” It was obviously someone who was never elected to office, never practiced law, never worked in banking, never submitted reimbursement requests to MediCare, never was married, or never won the TdF.
To make it strictly accurate, the phrase should be re-worked to say, “Cheaters didn’t win on the NPR today.”
We had a huge group at the Pier including the usual suspects: G$, Mighty Mouse, New Girl, Bull, Heeleys Dad & Jr., USC John, Fireman, Suze, Cary, Scott Apartmentsyndicate, Gooseman, Chris D., Kramer, Wolfeman, Lisa C., and guest appearances by Roadchamp, DJ, Damien “The Omen,” and on and on and on. And on.
Everyone began yelling “Bike path!!” on roll-out, so we stomped up the hill instead and took the Alleyway of Death just to be contrarian. The usual barely-caffeinated drivers backing out of their garages, runners stepping off curbs, huge potholes, and blind roadway entrances kept things lively until we hit Vista del Mar. As the nice 2×2 formation gradually ratcheted up the pace, G$ rolled to the fore and ordered that the pace be cut so that people could catch back on.
I hung my head, scolded, and retreated towards the back. It was a big-ass group.
It’s a new sport called Dodgecar
The mechanics of the NPR are kind of funny, because in addition to picking up people along Vista del Mar, once we bend right to go up Pershing there’s always a big group of 20-40 people camped out in the parking lot waiting for us to come by. They are stopped. In a parking lot. Unclipped. Around a blind corner. At the bottom of a hill.
We are single file. Coming down a long, fast grade. Through a green light. At about 30.
If we hit the red light, it gives the campers a chance to adjust their maxi-pads, apply the final coat of lip gloss, clip in, and then get started up the hill so that when our light turns green they can meld with the group. If we hit the green light, there is pandemonium worthy of a soccer match between pre-schoolers. Leaping on bikes, flailing cleats clicking into chains instead of pedals, curses, shouts, wobbly starts in the wrong gear, swerving bikes at 5 mph veering out of the parking lot into the middle of the 30 mph swarm…in short, it’s the kind of early morning clusterfuck that makes you glad you’re on your bike, and makes you determined to be the clusterfucker rather than the clusterfuckee.
This morning, having been relegated by G$, I nosed towards the fore as we approached the light. Red. Just before I touched the brakes…hallelujah!!…GREEN! I mashed it hard as a lumbering SUV in front of me turned on its right-hand blinker. So far so good, but there was nowhere for it to turn, except into the parking lot of campers, who were now wildly flailing to exit and hook onto the tail of the missile.
I easily cruised around the car, but it scrubbed off the 60 or so riders behind me except for Roadchamp and Bull.
Vapor, rolling out of the parking lot at a standstill, was none too pleased. “Hey, wankers! Be careful! And quit attacking while we’re stopped!”
Don’t piss off the dude who rides tempo at 32
By the time I got to the top of the small hill, I’d been joined by Roadchamp, Bull, Seanergy, and Suze. The Sho-Air dude from a couple of weeks ago was parked on the side of the road, glumly eyeing us as he changed a flat. We pounded on.
At the overpass, the pack was in another county. Roadchamp and Bull were taking gnarly pulls from hell. Seanergy was working. I was wondering how they had spotted my testicles lying in the road while we were going so fast, yet still managed to stop, pick them up, and them stuff them down my throat. Which made breathing hard.
When we hit the Parkway, Sho-Air Shawshank redeemed himself, and then some. He began pulling so hard that our tiny group could barely rotate around him, much less match his speed. Shawshank now had the bit between his teeth, and we had a breakaway. As with other completely futile fantasies grounded in an unfirm grasp of reality, we thought it might stick. No break has ever stuck from the beginning of the NPR.
Come on baby, light my fire
Meanwhile, back in the pack, Vapor was pissed. We’d blitzed him by surprise (though in my own very, very weak defense I always mash it up Pershing) and now we had a huge gap with some horsepower. Vapor began taking pulls that were so fast and sick that Fireman reported entire lungs being coughed up from those unlucky enough to be on his wheel. If you’ve ever done Tim Roach’s Hour of Power at the velodrome and had Vapor show up, you’ll know what this was like. The dude can go harder and faster and longer than anything without an internal combustion engine. And when he decides to pour on the coal, the combustion is what happens behind him.
Fortunately, our little cadre of cheaters was soon joined by other cheating wankers. Tree Perkins, who’d been out toodling around, hopped into our group and took a couple of pulls. Adam Tattooed Leg Dude got overhauled, hopped in, and helped out for a lap. Big fat Equipe wanker out for a Parkway pedal joined our team and almost sort of halfway kind of thought about maybe taking a pull before he quit.
And the entire way Roadchamp, Bull, Shawshank, and Seanergy were flogging the big meat harder than a teenage boy on his first visit to pornhub.com.
All good things must end. Bad things, too.
Just before the light at the beginning of the third lap, we all came together, ridden down by the efforts of Vapor and sub-efforts by some of his lieutenants, including G3, Austin Heeley, USC John, and G$. “Cheaters never win!” he yelled.
A spirited discussion between him and Roadchamp ensued. As the cheater-in-chief, I thought it best to keep rolling lest the donkey tail get pinned on me, where it mostly belonged. I glanced around and people looked destroyed. At that moment Mighty Mouse roared to the fore, and I could tell that she’d worn her very best dick-stomping boots to the party. Whatever sausages hadn’t been speared and roasted, she proceeded to stomp to a fare the well.
The end was predictable. I made one last flailaway attempt that never even gained separation. The group was shot to shit, and hardly anyone had any gas at all in the finale, except for Vapor and Motorhead. Motorhead took the sprint with what looked like a nice lead-out from Vapor. I was so far back that the only way I got the results was from smoke signals.
Moral #1: Don’t piss off Vapor with a sneaky, cheapass move and expect to stay away.
Moral #2: If you’re hoping we’ll start easy at the bottom of Pershing, you might be disappointed.
Moral #3: That taste of puke in your mouth at 7:30 AM? Well, it beats sitting in traffic.
April 20, 2012 § 5 Comments
Would you lay off with the “go to the front” bullshit already? It’s, like, boring. The only time Thurlow, Glass Hip, G3, Hippstar (may his soul rest in peace), Fukdude, and Hair ever go to the front it’s to attack like a bat out of hell and either escape or break the field. Sitting on the point like a fucking clodhopper is for wankers. Oh wait, you are the King of the Wankers. I didn’t upgrade to Cat 3 on good looks. I play to win.
First, do us all a favor and stop comparing yourself to the above-named racers. They are badass and they win (well, I guess you can go ahead and compare yourself to Hair). In short, you should go to the front on the NPR because there are only five people–at most–who have a snowball’s chance of winning the sprint. You’re not one of them.
Going to the front on the NPR is stuppid. Racing is conserving like how when you fuck you try to hold it all til the end not blast away in the first twevle secunds like some fukkin tenager in the back seat of Dad’s Chevy. That’s how you win.
Since you have zero chance of winning the sprint, being “strategic” to conserve energy is stupid. Conserve it for what? Watching porn on the couch after the ride? It’s the same kind of tactical fail as taking condoms on a trip to the supermarket with your grandparents. On a training ride you got to fire the cannon, same as H.L. Mencken’s election strategy: “Vote early, vote often.”
WTF do I want to go to the front for? I’m just in it for fitness, dude, and for the shot at winning the sprint. Who gives a shit what you think? Lay off, already.
Since you have zero chance of winning the sprint, you need to understand that you build fitness at the front, not nestled in the middle of the pack behind that goober with the pot belly and the the knees that go out at right angles wearing the size M shorts on a size XXL derriere, shorts that are old and threadbare and right in front of your face while you pedal under the awful gaze of the evil brown eye and try not to barf all at the same time.
You really don’t get it, do you? NPR isn’t a “race.” I just want to improve my bike handling. I could give a shit about hero pulls. Plus, there’s no harm in seeing what I can do in the sprint and maybe claw me a “vee.”
Since you have zero chance of winning the sprint, you’ll become a better handler by riding in proximity to the best riders, who ride at the front, not by tailgating the crazy lady with the penchant for throwing herself over the handlebars.
I work long hours at a very stressful job. For me, the NPR is chance to get in a good workout before the grind begins, and maybe score a win against the “big boys.” Going to the front seems suicidal, frankly.
Since you have zero chance of winning the sprint, you need to understand that if you are comfortable, it’s not a good workout. It’s not even a workout. Look at the wankers who, year after year, muddle along in the middle of the pack and never take a pull. In order to get a good workout you gotta go to the front and take your medicine. And it will hurt.
For me, the NPR is all about street cred. I spend a lot of my disposable income (okay, all of it) on bike shit. My cyclaholism has cost me three marriages, two residential evictions, and numerous job displacements. I want “the boyz” to see I’m serious about this shit and to ogle my new Crumpanator Carbon wheels, which are rad, plus maybe get lucky and ding ‘em in the sprint.
Since you have zero chance of winning the sprint, the quickest way to be seen and earn “cred” is by going to the front. No one cares if you flame out. Everyone cares that you made the effort. There’s a recall on those Crumpanators, BTW, something about rim failure at speeds over 21 mph. You’re probably safe, but just in case.
I’m still not convinced. My goals are simple…get home in one piece, and maybe be in position towards the end to sneak one by the sprunters. How’s this “GTTF” crap going to help me?
Dow Ting Thomas
Dear Dow Ting:
Since you have zero chance of winning the sprint, please believe me when I say that sitting at the back with the pack going 35 mph is a bad idea. Why? Because when the pack slows, the wankers at the back who are mashing like madmen just to hang on, with their heads down and eyes glued to their front tire, will slam on their brakes at the last second. You’ll slam into them. Crushed orbital bones sound like fun? Get thee to the front. Or to a nunnery.
I’m all about winning. I’m a winner. There are winners and losers. The winner comes in first. Everyone else is a loser. Same in life. You’re a winner or a loser. Winners are rich. Losers write blogs. So how does this “go to the front” shit help me win? Sounds like some moron ploy to make me go do all the work and some other goof gets the glory. That blows. FYI, I’m the dude who helps himself to seconds first. Invite me to your party and I’M the present I bring to the host. Get it? There’s a universe out there, and it rotates around me. So rotate this shit, Wankmeister, and explain yourself some more. ‘Cuz I’m not buying it. How’s this GTTF crap going to make me good in a fast crit?
Since you have zero chance of winning the sprint, in order to hang in a tough crit, you have to practice in a group where the pace is high, like in real races. The only way this happens is if people take turns at the front. It may look cool to be dawdling along at 21 and then watch Hair launch an attack at 35, but in reality his races are never like that. They’re incredibly fast, and they stay fast. Since you have zero chance of winning the sprint, as I may have mentioned, perhaps it’s time you were introduced to the concept of doing your share. This is common among people who have integrity. They hate to see the same people doing all the work, so out of a feeling of duty, fairness, and honor, they drag their sorry asses to the front to give some a rest and the others a pounding. Knoll is a classic example of this. No matter how many custard pies he’s eaten in the last six months (and it’s usually a lot), he will motor his way to the front and pull like a motherfucker, even if he blows and pops his eyes out of the sockets. Fireman is another sorry motherfucker who will stick his pointy fucking elbows out and beat the goddamn pedals like a farmer going after a rattlesnake, doesn’t matter if he’s just gotten off an overtime shift at the firehouse where he’s had to drink beer and fart in the TV room for three days straight. St. Johns is another worthless fuck who will climb up to the head of the peloton and rip your goddamn heart out, even if he craters and rolls over in the ditch after taking his pull. MMX, before he got too high and fucking mighty for the South Bay and went off to become the King of the Hell of the North, was another two-bit bastard who’d mash it at the front until his dick fell off rather than Freddy freeload at the end of some lameass paceline. Jaeger? That weak turd will pull and pull hard until he pops and drops, and he won the fucking BWR. Uberfred’s another has-been goober who will nose his way into the wind even when his paunch is hanging down to his ankles, just because he can’t stand being lumped with the wheelsucking, freeloading, cheapassing, dingfucking shirkers. Surfer Dan? Same fucking thing. Put him in a fast group and he’ll be out on the point tying your dick into knots because FAIR is FAIR, and SHARE is SHARE. Bull? Go ’til you blow, baby, and don’t come off the front until the road tilts up. King Harold? Sonofabitch invented the flatback, puts pain-inducing medicine in his intravenous drip, and thinks rear wheels are for him to pass and you to follow. USC John? Piece of shit grits his teeth and attacks, pulls, accelerates, and thrashes so much at the front that it makes my taint sore just watching him. These are just a few of the lions of the NPR peloton, and I haven’t even mentioned Vapor or G$ or Davy Dawg, much less the Tinksters, Suzesters, Mousesters, Tongsters, Mattesters, Dukesters, Gangstas, Christinestas, Supergirl Kelly and the other chicks who push their way as far forward as they can even when surrounded by guys. Do your share. You’ll be sorry you did, but happy, in a beat to fuck, miserable, pain infested kind of way.
February 29, 2012 § 10 Comments
Yah, the New Pier Ride is a huge improvement. Instead of being a demented free-for-all nutfuck crazyass fredfest mass sprint of death filled with homicidal drivers and chugholes and steel plates of quadriplegia, there are no longer any chugholes or steel plates.
So, yesterday…Hair wins the sprint. I think. I was four time zones back. But here’s what really matters: Hair was constantly either on the attack, chasing breaks, or drilling on the front to keep the pace high. THEN he took the sprint. MD, absentee from doing any work whatsoever, muscled out a strong 2nd. G$, who finished with 400 attacks, got third. Vapor, who burned through twelve tanks of rocket fuel, finished up there somewhere after towing the entire peloton repeatedly and burning enough matches in his repeated attacks to light a bonfire.
Douggie and Suze briefly escaped on the third lap after making the turn. It was lovely to see such good friends working in harmony on the bike. Canyon Bob took one long pull on the finish of the second lap then sat in until the very end, when he dragged the entire pack up to the lone flailing breakaway on the hill on the last lap so that it could end in a sprint, Bob’s forte. How’d that work out for you, buddy?
Here’s what else matters: on the New Pier Ride, as in life, there is a group of the usual suspects who work, attack, chase, recover, and attack again, again, and again. I’m talking about Vapor. G$. Hair. Wehrlissimo. Fireman. Tree. G3. Davy Dawg. Beef Freeman.
And now, some commentary: What’s with the other 79 sausage strokers who show up on this stupid training ride and take somewhere between 0 and 1 pulls? Like, are you in contention for the sprint? And it’s the first time you’ve seen the front? On the fucking Pier Ride? Are you kidding me? I don’t care if you’re a girl, or a boy, or somewhere in between, take a fucking pull, and then, when you’re gassed, recover and take another. Repeat until you barf up your entrails.
The worst that can happen is you will get shelled, but that’s the beauty of the new route. Just stuff your parts back in your pants, take a few deep breaths, and hop back on when the group comes by on the other side. You may not get any stronger or better looking, but at least you won’t be considered a contemptible piece of shit by the people who are out there animating the ride.
New Pier Ride wrap-up from last Thursday: After an endless series of leg-breaking, spirit sapping, trauma inducing attacks and counterattacks, Fireman, G3, and I escaped on the rise to the overpass after the turn beginning the fourth lap. G3 was killing it, and us, and had been riding like a madman. Fireman beat me for the vee by the the width of a tire + 400 or so meters. Afterwards everyone complained about “cheating,” “running the last red light,” and similar sore loser remarks, to which I replied, “Cheaters sometimes win, whiners never do.”