The wind in my hair

April 14, 2012 § 4 Comments

I got out of bed at 5:00 this morning and it hit me like a thunderbolt: “I gotta feel the wind in my hair.” Unprotected cycling, like its procreative counterpart, has fallen out of fashion in the last twenty-five years.

For good reason, as AIDS and catastrophic head injuries just aren’t that much fun.

Or for good reasons, all of which roared their loudest to drown out the perfectly on-pitch note of bad judgment urging me to ditch the lid.

Voice of prior opinions: “You’ve blogged on the wisdom and necessity of helmets, you hypocrite!”

Voice of prior criticism: “You repeatedly hassled Knoll for riding without a lid! Repeatedly!”

Voice of insurance coverage: “Comparative negligence for failure to wear a helmet will greatly reduce your recovery in litigation when you get whacked by Mr. Mom on her way to church.”

Voice of aggravation: “Where’s your fucking helmet, dude?” [Repeated by friends a thousand times.]

Voice of love: “Your family depends on you!”

Voice of vanity: “How you gonna blog with the back of your head staved in?”

Voice of experience: “Which nursing home would MMX et al. be in today without one?”

Voice of responsibility: “Think of the message you’re conveying to beginners!”

Voice of derision: “You going to  be the new CC, or the new Guillermo on the block? What’s next, a penis piercing and full-body tattoo?”

Voice of fear: “This is gonna be the day you go down. On your head. You dumbass.”

And of course the Voice of Fear was shrillest of all.

Did someone say "Happy face"? I think they did!

The only voice that counts

With a rapidity that only comes from practice, I ignored the cacophony of reason and sound judgment and listened only to the on-pitch note, which sounded exactly like Martin H. You see, a couple of weeks back I’d posted an old photo of myself on FB, happily zinging helmetless down a hill in 1987. Martin’s comment? “Damn I loved riding without a helmet.” Oh, siren, how you do call.

From the moment I read his comment and looked at the picture, the memory of the wind whistling through my hair grew stronger and stronger. Then, out of nowhere, came the Supreme Court’s ruling that it is reasonable to strip search and probe the anus/vagina of anyone in custody, even people in custody for terroristic crimes like walking a dog without a leash, or driving with an expired license.

The justification for dispensing with the Fourth Amendment is the same one we’ve used to jettison the right to habeas corpus and other trivial rights that have been around since the time of the Magna Carta: safety, or more properly, safety in the jails. That pesky Fourth Amendment, like riding without a helmet, makes us unsafe. And which would you rather have? Freedom or safety? Wind whistling through your hair…or safety?

One order of wind whistling through my hair, over easy, with bacon on the side, please. And kindly shove the safety up your ass. They’ll pull it out the next time you’re in custody.

This morning it was plain as day. I wanted wind through my hair. Why? Because people like Prez and Howard Hughes and Glass Hip and Leo Castillo don’t have any. They could take their helmets off all day long and never have the flow of the wind broken by anything rougher than a glass ball.

And truth be told, like most of the other fellers in the peloton, each year my acreage is getting rockier. Patches of dirt are cropping up where there once was nothing but thick vegetation. Danger and recklessness and bad morals and disapproving stares be damned, this morning I was going helmetless.

Are you really?

Someone left the apartment hallway window open last night, and a 40 mph breeze almost blew me off my feet as I waited for the elevator. So let me get this straight, Mr. Meister. You’re going out in a monsoon to participate in the South Bay’s iconic idiot parade and fredfest, i.e. the Donut Ride, and you’re doing it without a helmet? Is that right?

Yes. And I actually shook with a little bit of fear. That’s how deeply I’ve been enslimed in the protective coating of Safety At All Costs.

Once I actually began bolting downhill at 35 mph, however, I realized that the helmetless thing was totally unnecessarily, at least for today, as the wind was so strong it would have blown through my hair in a full facemask moto GP helmet.

But as the descent kept descending and the wind kept howling and my hair kept whistling and my scalp kept tingling, I knew that I’d done the right thing. There’s something about unprotected cycling…if you grew up on it, it’s still down in your bones.

Unprotected cycling is no magic talisman

The Donut was pretty small, less than 70 wankers, probably due to the incredible wind storm. When Major Bob and I caught the group, which had left while we were watching Rodley spill coffee on his crotch at the Bean & Leaf and listening to Fussy tell us about the guy with the little penis who showered five times a day and the monster Caddy that Joe B. and his Vietnamese buddy used to drive to races that had a trunk so big that they could put both bikes in it without taking off the wheels…

When we caught the group I noticed that Sergio Hernandez was with us. Sergio on ride bad. Sergio on ride much big pain. Sergio on ride you get droppy-droppy quicky-quicky, after ride no braggy-braggy, dick draggy-draggy in dirty-dirty.

Out of Malaga, Sergio heaped on the coals and towed us to Paseo del Mar. Josh from PVCC took a two-mile pull that decimated the group, as the effort was into a howling, and I mean howling, crosswind. Sergio kicked it through Lunada Bay and rode away with Josh. They got stopped at the Hawthorne light. We caught them and waited three minutes. Only then did the tattered remnants of the ride catch up.

Sergio began flogging the dog again through Terranea. I kept looking down at my legs, wondering why I was getting dropped, wondering why everyone was riding single file, wondering why there was no everyone. I kept getting almost dropped on the downhill to Portuguese Bend, and then, just as I thought I couldn’t possibly get dropped any more, Sergio took out the whip and beat us all into another single file of crackage and droppage.

Now there was hardly anybody left, and shortly past the PB Beach Club, Tom M., Marco C., and others just sat up, giving me the “Fuck this shit,” look. Major Bob and I hung onto Sergio briefly, until he dropped us, taking Josh and Backpack Eric with him. They was gone.

On the Switchbacks I chased down Kurt A., who dropped me after getting caught, and we went back and forth all the way to the top, when just after the final turn he imploded, coughed up a lung and a kidney, and went from pedaling squares to pedaling something made with a Spirograph.

My Donut was harder than yours

I know that each week the Donut is harder than the week before, with the absolutely hardest and most epic and most incomprehensibly hideous ones always being the ones I wasn’t on. So I heard that last week it was so hard that they’re thinking of accepting Strava times as substitutes for a race resume if you’re trying to get a wildcard into the TdF, and even so, this week’s was even harder.

As the shards from the group staggered in, minutes, hours, days, sidereal months later, it was clear that the main thing on everyone’s mind was “How do we make sure we don’t have to do this again with a legit UCI pro?”

Unsafe maneuver safely executed

I’m happy to report that I survived the death-defying stunt of riding without a helmet, much as I survived it for most of the years I’ve been cycling. I’m also happy to report that next time I go out, it will almost certainly be with a helmet. Almost.

Wankmeister cycling clinic #8: Last minute BWR questions

April 13, 2012 § 16 Comments

Dear Wankmeister:

I’ve gotten one of the coveted BWR invites. Can my gal tag along?

Joindat Thehip

Dear Joindat:

Marital and other successful relationships follow this simple rule: don’t ever get too far apart, but don’t ever get too close, either. In other words, it’s okay to share beds and exchange bodily fluids, but it’s not okay to stand at the bathroom mirror flossing your teeth while your partner’s crumping a hairy beet.

As to the Belgian Waffle Ride, I’m unsure what you mean by “tag along.” Spend the night before the ride with you in the hotel? Sure. Remain on standby in Carlsbad so she can come scrape you out of the mud pit on Country Club Rd. after you’ve sunken up to your neck and thrown in the towel? Of course. Sign for the cadaver? Not a problem. Anything beyond that, though, the answer is probably “No.”


Dear Wankmeister:

I didn’t get one of the coveted invites, but I read about the ride on a bike forum. Is the invite thing just a clever marketing ploy to boost attendance? Is there a problem if I just show up and do the ride? How you gonna stop me?

Tubby Talksalot

Dear Tubby:

Don’t feel bad about not getting an invitation. Neither did about six billion other people, including President Obama, all of the Nobel Prizewinners from last year, and Tom Boonen. You’re in top tier company, and can now tell your forum friends, “Me and Tommeke ain’t doing that ride.” The reason for the invitations is simple: BWR has limited quantities of food, drink, sag support, and security staff with batons and riot shotguns. They’d love to make the ride available to bike forum hackers like you…but not really.

By the way, when you hear about a wedding or other social event that requires an invitation, do you normally chalk it up to a “clever marketing ploy” or do you assume that the holders of the event actually knew who they wanted to attend? (Hint: the way you answer this question will determine whether you stay home, or show up and get politely but firmly turned away with cudgels, curses, tasers, and rubber bullets.)

Socially graceful,

Dear Wankmeister:

I just scored a set of carbon tubular Zipp 808’s with bladed neutronium oxide spokes and deuterium nipples on eBay for $3,000. I raced on them in Ontario and they are the bomb as far as crit wheels go. Wanna know how fast these wheels are? I almost took Charon in the sprint. Another 500 or 600 meters and I woulda had ‘im. Whaddaya think for BWR? Go or no go?

Zippy Didoodah

Dear Zippy:

Let me put it this way, if I may. The Belgian Waffle Ride will not reward “trick,” or “aero,” or “high performance” items, including you. It will, however, reward “durable,” “battle-tested,” “relatively heavy,” and “built like a brick shithouse.” That which is capable of surviving long-term abuse and a merciless, inhuman beating will do well. I’m not talking about your bike.


Dear Wankmeister:

First: I had an invite but have decided not to go on the BWR. The Mulholland Challenge is that weekend plus I have church on Sunday plus my daughter Pixie has an important cheer practice plus my wife and I usually do a Saturday night date night plus I have a pretty tough work week on Monday and would probably be a bit tired after BWR. Second: Can I sell my invitation?

Smith Adams

Dear Smith:

First, you are to be commended for recognizing the impossibility of you actually completing BWR, and rather than just failing to show up, which would be rude, taking the time to create a mosaiced, finely-textured and detailed tapestry of shitbag excuses why you can’t attend. I know you already feel better, as the crushing pressure of fear, terror, inadequacy, delusion, confusion, and raw, paralyzing self-doubt have now been lifted in one quick string of plausible but completely untrue pretexts for not attending.

Second, no.


Dear Wankmeister:

This is kind of a double question thingy. Is BWR a good way for me to lose weight? Then, is it okay to load up on Girl Scout cookies for my pre-ride nutrition? These are related.

Jenny Craig

Dear Jenny:

BWR is a very good way for you to lose weight. You will not weigh nearly as much once your legs have fallen off somewhere after Bandy Canyon but before Questhaven.

As for the Girl Scout cookies, and I hate to sound rude or intrusive here, but are you a communist lesbian? An Indiana lawmaker recently discovered the Internet, and after expending himself on the search results from “humongous dude does chicken,” wandered over to the Google search aisle for Girl Scouts.

Here’s what fearless Rep. Morris learned: “The Girl Scouts of the United States of America and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts have entered into a close strategic affiliation with Planned Parenthood, which is trying to sexualize young girls through the Girl Scouts. Even worse, only three of the 50 role models promoted by the Girl Scouts have even a briefly-mentioned religious background. All the rest are feminists, lesbians, or Communists,” he wrote.

Morris noted that the “radically pro-abortion” Michelle Obama is honorary president of Girl Scouts of America, which “should give each of us reason to pause before our individual or collective endorsement of the organization.” After learning all this, Morris pulled his two daughters out of the Girl Scouts and instead put them in American Heritage Girls Little Flowers, a parent-run group for recovering Girl Scouts.

So basically, if you’re a radical pro-abortion atheist communist lesbian first lady girl sexualizer, yeah, load up on the cookies.


Dear Wankmeister:

I saw the FOX news story saying Ryan Trebon will be at BWR. Who is that wanker? He looks too big to be any good.

Frieda Flintstone

Dear Frieda:

Ryan Trebon is a newly minted cyclocross racer who, after three years of hard training, has graduated from public racing to the Cat 5’s. He’s coming on BWR to learn some tips and tricks from folks like you, so go easy on him, especially the sandy, muddy, rocky, and gravelly parts. He’s hoping that if he finishes before sundown someone will take him under their wing and show him how to mountain bike, too.


Dear Wankmeister:

This ride looks way to hard. Where can I buy a winner’s jersey? Also, I like the KOW jersey. I want one of those, too.

Sammy Sniffles

Dear Sammy:

The great thing about cycling is that in order to look like your favorite pro racer all you have to do is click-and-pay. This is because the UCI’s cornerstone principle is that professionals must use bicycles and equipment available to the general public. This everyman, communal nature of the sport is what separates cycling from F-1 racing, NASCAR, or wars in Asia: it’s just out of the average Joe’s means to purchase the latest Formula race car or an A-10 with uranium-enriched bullets such as currently employed as badass motherfucking terrorist destroying, American hero ass-saving angels of destruction in the netherworld of a fucking wasteland that is Afghanistan.

Even though your rides inevitably end with a shellacking, a beating, and a humiliating dustoff before the hard part ever happens, nothing can take away the pride and satisfaction of pulling on a brand new version of Team Tommeke and pedaling out the door on the same bike that won Roubaix.

In the same vein, the BWR winner’s jersey and KOW (King of the Waffle) jersey are for sale, available to any couch potato schmo, not simply the crushing superhuman who surmounts the mud, the gravel, the dirt, the climbs, the rollers, the wind, the rain, the sprints, the attacks, and the slow death by attrition. To order, please send a cashier’s check for $983.25 per jersey to: Wankmeister Productions, POB 1, Guernsey Isles, UX-20189.

Dear Wankmeister:

While perusing the parcours, I noticed that the portion on Country Club Road looks yucky and gooey. Will there be a skinny on that giant mud puddle or are you expected to trudge through, which would get my pretty little shoes tres soaked? Or, can I bring along Davy Dawg to lay in it so we can ride over him? He’s such a team player!

Goody Twoshoes

Dear Goody:

The problem with bringing Davy Dawg is that although he weighs 300 lbs. and is twelve feet wide, he is all muscle. As you may recall from freshman physics, muscle, unlike lard, sinks. So even if you brought Davy Dawg and laid him down in the mud, he’d go right to the bottom of the quicksand hole and you’d still get your shoes all icky. If you are still determined not to get your shoes muddy, I would recommend you do the ride with galoshes. Most of the other riders will have them, along with bright yellow rain slickers.


Dear Wankmeister:

I received one of the coveted invites, however, I’m a very giving kind of dude, so I was wondering how much in the way of feminine anti-chafing products I should I bring to hand out to friends?

Veggie Sill

Dear Veggie:

It’s odd that you expect this gathering of hardened competitors will require feminine anti-chafing products. Perhaps you should be more concerned about the tender state of your undersized manparts? I have it on good authority that some of the participating biker chicks will be showing up prepared to stomp dick, kick scrote, and inflict all manner of rude and unladylike physical insults to the majority of the sausages on the ride. But I could be wrong, even though Wankmeister IS NEVER WRONG.

Unfailingly correct,

Why you should buy these beat to shit frames

April 12, 2012 § 10 Comments

I get the whole product review thing. Manufacturer sends spanking new product to journalist swag whore, who pimps the product to his readers by saying what a great thing it is even if it’s a piece of shit, because even if it’s a piece of shit another MFR will send him new swag in three weeks anyway. Readers, who have sadly misplaced confidence in swag whore, and who are unaware of swag whore’s incestuous relationship with MFR, run out and buy the product.

Like I said, I get that.

And because it involves swag, and pimping, and whoring, and backroom dealing, and a fair measure of duplicity and deceit, I think it’s awesome.

However, I have a problem with the process–there’s no post-coital cigarette to wrap up the whole sordid deal.

The proper post-coital cigarette for swag whores

In other words, after posting that glorious review of the 2008 Oakley Dipshits, why don’t we get a follow-up review six months or one year later? I understand that it doesn’t fit with the product cycle, but you’d think that it would fit with the alleged “journalistic integrity” that at least some of these writer-blogger swine claim to have regarding the shit they pimp. Maybe if products got the obligatory “It’s wonderful” blowjob followed by “This was a real turdblossom” beatdown half a year later, manufacturers in the bike industry would take a longer and harder look at the crap they sell, and cyclists wouldn’t wind up with so much totally worthless crap cluttering their garage or bedroom.

A great example is my (former) Zipp 404’s. When they came out, they were the bomb. Rim dimpling and all kinds of neat shit guaranteed to slice through the wind and turn the lamest mule into a racehorse. After a couple of years of constant wear, tear, abuse, smashing, bashing, almost-crashing, and hard labor of every kind, they didn’t roll worth a shit. The plastic fairing came loose and had to be replaced. Micro-cracks started appearing where the nipple fits into the plastic. Spoke nipples corroded and cracked. I know what you’re going to say…”Well, what did you expect?”

The answer is, I expected them to still be pretty sweet after a couple of years since they were so expensive. Had I known that Zipps roll with the smoothness of a gravel truck after hard use I might not have bought them. In any case, it would have been great information to have. But the swag whores don’t review stuff that way. No one will ever pick up the 404’s from 2009 and in 2012 give them the painstaking, meticulous kind of review that they received from the reviewers when they came out (you know who are, whores). A string of post-review write-ups about the various editions of the 404’s might make people more cautious, or, if the results are positive, more enthusiastic when the newest, latest, and greatest rolls off the production line in Taiwan.

Pabulum for the proles

In the world of two-dollar whores masquerading as virgins, no one beats VeloNews. Take a minute to read this review of Oakley’s latest offering. It has everything: admission that the product hasn’t been tested at all; admission that the product went straight from swag box to article review; recommendation that you should buy something now that will be evaluated LATER.

You know that the only real evaluation this product will ever get is yours if you buy it. If it’s crap, there’s another few hundred bucks down the drain. Hey, it’s only money!

A real post-coital review

On November 4, 2011, I reviewed a pair of SPY Quanta prescription glasses that had been provided to me as swag. I’d used them for about a month, maybe two, by the time I wrote the review. I loved them.

Since first putting them to use in late September, I have about 150 hours of riding time in these frames, maybe more. Since I ride early in the morning and they’re a clear prescription lens, the first 1-2 hours of my ride are usually with the Quanta, especially in winter when the sun comes up so late. They are also the only frame I wear on the indoor track in Carson, at the Home Depot’s VeloCenter, where I ride once a week.

I was initially impressed with these SPY glasses simply because they handled my large correction and, unlike the Oakleys they replaced, had a wide field of vision. I can now say that my impression was completely correct, only more so. The wrap around has literally changed the way I ride. It greatly minimizes my need to turn my head and allows me to ride making full use of my peripheral vision.

Having not ridden with any meaningful peripheral vision for thirty years, this is like having a new set of eyes. No longer forced to crane my neck to get the details of the wanker coming up on the inside, no longer forced to jerk my head to the left when the roar of an angry engine sounds like it’s going to pass with inches to spare, I can now do what normal-eyed people do everywhere: use my peripheral vision. It has kept me upright on several occasions, and allowed me to chop offending wankers at will.

The incredible field of vision that spans the edges of the lens is due to a special process SPY uses when they grind the lenses that allows the focal point of the lens to be off center, so rather than having a single “sweet spot” in the middle of the lens through which you get the clearest look, the prescription spreads the focal point throughout the curvature of the lens. I don’t know how they do it, maybe with magic soup or pixie dust or some shit, but if you are a terribly near-sighted rider, these glasses will literally open your eyes.

As a true performance frame, the Quanta has five distinct gripping points that I’ve never had in another pair of glasses. The wraparound end of the arms is covered with a typical rubber grip along the last couple of inches, so the point where the end of the arm meets the skin above your ear secures the frame. Next, the upper portion of the arms are bent so that they follow the contour of your skull, creating two additional, continuous points of contact to keep the glasses in place. I’ve ridden with long hair and with a buzz cut since having these glasses, and they handle mega-hair and skinhead with equal ease. Copious amounts of sweat affect the frames’ grip not at all.

The final contact point is the substantial nose piece, which has giant, hooked metal nails that you pound into your septum with a hammer, allowing the rusty barbs to grab the cartilage like a fish hook stuck down the craw of a shark. It’s a bit painful, but nothing like what you’re going to experience on the BWR.

Actually, the nose piece is made of soft rubber with shallow grooves that grip your nose firmly. Despite crazy-ass sprinting on the velodrome, wild-ass sprinting on the road, flailing from side to side on the steeps in the Santa Monicas, desperately spinning my head around to see how many inches I’ve gained on the field in one of my blistering attacks, these glasses don’t budge at all.

Despite riding in an area that is often socked in with heavy fog, the inside of the lenses almost never fogs up. The more I ride with the Quanta, the more I appreciate their lightness for such a large, wraparound frame with big prescription lenses. Best of all, they’ve been subjected to multiple falls, punches, drops, kicks, and last-minute jersey pocket cramdowns as I fumble with my dark-lens Diablos once the sun is up. There’s virtually no scratching on the lenses even with more or less constant abuse.

The capacious storage bag wads up into nothing, and is made of a material that never seems to get dirty no matter how many times you use it to clean the lens. I know that sounds impossible and crazy and beyond the outer limit of believable, but so what? It’s the truth.


So now you understand that I love these glasses. However, I’m not simply recommending that you buy a pair of Quanta frames. I’m also recommending that you take the same critical eye you may have towards this “review” and use it on the glitzy, we-admit-it’s-all-marketing approach used by VeloNews to promote Oakley and their ilk. Demand that people who tell you buy something have the balls to show up six months later and tell you how that worked out in real life. Demand that the people who review the stuff you buy have an investment in it.

Which leads to the next part…my investment in SPY.

Since first learning that my friend MMX is running the show, and since getting a chance to test drive glasses that have radically improved the safety and enjoyability and performance of the avocation I love, I’ve invested significantly in SPY.

“How does a dead-broke blogger dude who has to get his eyewear for free have enough money to invest in a listed company?” you’re probably wondering.

Here’s how: my investment isn’t financial. It’s emotional. I’ve watched a guy with whom I’ve ridden thousands of miles take the same approach to SPY that he takes to riding his bike. Full-on. Ethical. At the front. Demanding the very best from himself, and refusing to accept anything less from those around him. Undying commitment to growth through the grass roots.

I’ve watched him use home-grown talent to design his bike kits through StageOne and Joe Yule, watched him outsource kit manufacturing to Squaddra, another Carlsbad firm, watched him give the sock deal to San Diego-based DeFeet, watched him hire (and work the shit out of) local cyclists, motocross racers, surfers, MTB’ers, ‘crossers, skiers, and snowboarders, and you know what else?

I’ve watched him pour money, product, sponsorship, and energy into grass roots cycling, everything from races, to big clubs, to casual non-racing Freddies who nonetheless walk the walk. If it were only these things, that would be enough for me to encourage–nay, demand–that you chunk your Oakley/Smith multinational eyewear in favor of SPY. But in addition to all that, he’s hellbent on putting the best possible product in front of your eyeballs. Stuff that looks good, that protects your eyes, and that improves your performance.

On top of that, a percentage of SPY’s profits go to local charities that help people see better.

And you’d rather throw your money into the coffers of multinationals that also make chick handbags and buy materials from the cheapest suppliers no matter where they’re located? You’d rather support a cycling eyewear company whose only investment in the sport is pouring money into pro teams? Really? Do you also beat your dog?

Please don’t beat your dog

At the end of the day, as people like to say when they’ve run out of substance and are going to try and shove some non sequitur piece of choplogic down your throat, there’s an even better reason to support this company and their eyewear, even if it means you have to toss your Assos Zeghole swag, admit that it sucks, and do the right thing. How many CEO’s of listed companies actually participate as full-throated competitors and promote their product through grass roots events like the Belgian Waffle Ride?

Do you want to support someone who is an anonymous corporate drone chopping wood for the shareholders in Hong Kong, Sweden, and the UK…or someone who’s out there supporting YOU?

A letter to mother

April 11, 2012 § 1 Comment

Dear Mom:

I really love you a lot. I hope you know that. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be what I am today. Well, I guess it’s not all your fault. Anyway, just wanted to take a sec and tell you you’re the best mom ever, and it’s been good times being your son. Just remember, anyone can be a father, but only a mother can be a mommy!

So, anyway, I had some details I wanted to go over with you for the “post-BWR me” if that’s cool and if now is not a good time that’s cool too. My first choice is the solid cherry. Its got a patented locking mechanism that’s so no one can get inside I guess. I want to have my SPY kits with me and once people know where I am they will probably try to swipe them so the locking mechanism would shut that down cold. I reckon it would.

Then I’d like the satin finish, which is very classy and sort of says “This dude was rad” which is pretty cool to be said about I reckon. That is what they will be saying on BWR when I kick their dicks in. Next its got wood bars instead of those aluminum ones so my buds will have something natural to grip when they carry it plus it’s has a safety bottom. I don’t know what that’s for exactly but I reckon its so you don’t fall out of the bottom once you get all mushy but even if you fall through the bottom like so what? Its just dirt.

Then the most rad part is it has a adjustable bed and mattress that is rad. It will be cozy after the BWR beatdown and feel good to. You could adjust your position if you wanted to or if they had to dig you up for to check to make sure you were dead the first time they could readjust all the goop on the mattress which is rad. Now get this it also has swing bar hardware and mom I dont cuss to much but what the fuck is that? And its got a reversible pillow and overthrow I reckon thats for if the pillow gets smelly which it woould after about an hour cuz your fucking dead and they can reverse it so it’s not so smelly. But I’m thinking if youre dead what the fuck do you care what the pillow smells like you know. The overthrow is cool to. That’s like a throwover they just throw it over you just make sure it dont cover up my Sidis which are rad.

Its only $3795 which is cheaper than the all copper one which is rad too and to make it uber rad could you get it with the Wilberts Bronze Triune thanks mom! That’s like the overcase that the solid cherry goes into, kind of like a double bagger on your dingdong when you think the first rubber might bust. But the triune costs $3895 extra (ouch) I love you mom but im not worth that much, I mean unless you really love me.

Now then it prolly sounds like a lot of money and I know that you have been struggling and living is tough in that tarp and cardboard thing they made for you down at the Occupy place but still for only $3795 the solid cherry is a deal its cheaper than my Specialized Scratch frame which I want put in with me too. I know I cant ride it when I’m dead but theres no freaking way I’m gonna let Hockeystick get it. No on that and I mean no. And he dont get my BWR finisher jersey either because he quit early with Miller and Mazer and Junkyard and Toronto and Arkansas Traveler and they was all just thongwatching and beating off down at the beach while I was paying the ultimate price sacrifice. “All gave some (except those wankers), some gave all.”

NOw there is also a thing on the same internet weg site I found as the solid cherry called “An inexpensive alternative for families. Cloth covered caskets are moderately priced as a result of the construction materials used in their manufacturing process.” and it says it’s made out of hemp cloth. Now thats cool because hemp is dope I’m pretty sure being stoned to fuck for eternity is rad but I don’t want to be rolled like a joint and stuck in the ground fuck no mom. Cherry wood, solid, please. If you want to toss in one of your bongs and an ounce of the good shit thats cool to but again keep an eye on Hockeystick back in the day they called him “Bogart.”

So next lets work on my obiterary notice which should be in the major newspapers like Velonews NYCBikeSnob and Twitter. I already no what it should say so you wont hve to haggle with the funeral director. Those guys are dicks sometimes and you would be too if everytime a dead body came over you were like “Oh maam thats so terrible I’m so sorry what a tragic loss you must be devastated,” but inside your really going “Rock on, another stiff, cha-ching!!” That’s fucked up.

I want the obiterary to be same as my headstone and to say exactly like these words: “Wankmeister was a badass motherfucker. He didnt take nofucking prisoners and didn’t ask for any, either. He was a real badass. He knew the BWR was gonna kill his fukkin ass but he didn’t give a fuck I reckon he didn’t no sir. He fucking drilled it as long as he could until he blew a cork and fucking died and all his socalled buddies ran over his dick. Then he was dead. And all the pussies who said BWR is for pussies and sent him links to that UltraPlanet bullshit stuff for pussies well they are a bunch of pussies. RIP. Born a long fucking time ago and died young making a good-lookin corpse. Plus he was coached by Captaintbag who is rad.”

Now my ballbearers are gonna be my best buds I want Hockeystick not cuz hes my best bud but so everyone can keep an eye on him from swiping the Scratch he’s got his eyes on it I’m telling you and no I’m not paranoid. And I want G3 because he will be crcking jokes and peeing on the fake flowers for laughs that will be rad. And I want Zeke because he is Dog. And I want New Girl and LEgit Girl and Sparkles and Mel and Mighty Mouse and Tink and Trixie and Dara and VV and all the other smokin hot broads put them in bikinis please little tiny ones. And I want MMX so we can serve him with the lawsuit papers for killing me on the BWR in the first place that fukker. And I dont care that hes drunk and in Milwaukee I want Filds and the Amsterdam Hammer and Unkl Phil to. If Glasship shows up witch he won’t he still owes me for firing me just before Christmas that douche and not severancing me any money.

For my clergy they should be Catholic-Jewish-Baptist and do the regular thing with the goat but keep the blood off my cherry solid. I will leave it to you mom to figure out what they say but make sure it includes this: “Oh Dog [this is wehre Zeke will wag his fukkin tail and knock over the vase and stick his nose up the girsl crotches] he was a badass send his fukkin ass to heaven and if you cant do that because he was an atheist send him to hell but in no event to Lubbock. He kicked in a lot of dicks in his time and he always gave a lot of you sorry fukkers in the audience his wheel even though you didn’t deserve it. Bless us this day our heavenly bread in the valley of evil though we may walk to radness amen, in Dog’s name, dudes.”

Don’t worry about decorating the grave just my old Garmin and printouts of my Strava KOM’s is enough especially that badass on the downhill of VDM nobody’s ever gonna crack that beatch. Bull is so far in second place he’ll never beat that KOM. You can give away my Capo socks too. But not my BWR finisher’s tee-shirt although Hockeystick will offer you money for it tell him to fuck off and he still owes me five bucks.

Now then you will have to pick a funeral director which is also the same as the embalmer. If more than 24 hours goes by between the end of the BWR and interment, the law hereabouts says that the remains got to be refrigerated or embalmed so dont put me in the fridge please. I don’t want somebody reaching in for a cold one and hauling out my frozen dick.

You can skimp on the embalming too if you just go straight to burial and save the money mom. Don’t get too freaked out the embalmer washes the body with spermicidal soap and replaces the blood with embalming fluid to preserve the body but I won’t have much blood it will all have drained out on Bandy Canyon, sure, mostly through my eyes and ears and nose. They may reshape and reconstruct disfigurements using materials, such as clay, cotton, plaster of Paris, and wax because frankly I’m gonna look all fukked over after BWR and there’s no point in open-casket gawking if my fukkin elbow is coming out my ass.

They also may slather on the cosmetics to make me look more naturally colorful pinkish rather than gray and yellow, and cut-n-glue to get rid of the grimaces. Then dress the body and place it in a casket but SPY kit all the way baby. Put some of my Ironfly shit in there to so Fukdude isn’t too pissed but how pissed can he be he never invited me on his pursuit team and theres nobody in the fuckin 45+ to race with anyway and so Fireman doesnt go ballistic. Ironfly sox would be rad.

Although I want burial in a casket, cremation might be fun too, which is where they burn the shit out of you in a special giant deal like a barbecue cooker, it can be more convenient and cheaper. AFterward you can be easily ship the bones and ashes and shit around to friends and shit or keep them at home in your tent, or even scatter them over the ocean which is weird because I cant swim. Mom, if you put my cremains in some kind of receptacle dont make it in the kitty litter box because they will get shat on and cat poop is way worse than dog poop except for Zeke. You can get something rad at the Container Store

IF you end up going with this place I’m sending you to, “Bill’s Family Funerals, A Place for the Whole Family,” which is a family-run business kind of like a bike shop, its in Carlsbad so they’ll be able to get my cadaver straight from the BWR finish to the funerary, you have to treat them like a bike shop. Don’t fucking take the first price and always get the team discount. Thats NOT 15 percent which is the FRED discount. Always get 30% that is for the HAMMERS. fucking Stern-O never fucking pays retail dont you either mom. Thirty percent.

You can also get some great deals on the internet better than Bill’s but like at a bike shop go to Bills first and get all the info and even test drive the cherry solid to make sure its rad then order it online lots cheaper. Bill will still service the body and do al the shitwork just like a LBS. Not your fucking problem mom if they dont make any money and go bankrupt you didnt’ tell them to be a funeral shop . Dont sign up for any bullshit post-death support group activities bullshit either. Do you really want to sit around on Friday evenings with some douchebag crying over how daddy got plucked away in the flower of his youth and he was only on his fith DUI? course not.

You can get a rad hearse like the one in the picture and the driver is pretty rad because he’s badass enough to keep Hockeystick from stealing the Scratch and the bong but I’d rather go in Surfer Dan’s vanagon which is old and rusted to fuck but highly rad. G$ can make some bitching rad logo with purple and green and orange and shit and some big ass angry orange on the front and fly it like a flag off the vanagon.

And one last hing, mom. If they try to pin that fucking purple jersey on my dead body don’t you let them. Don’t you fucking dare.


Your Son

Softmen and the kittens of Flanders

April 9, 2012 § 1 Comment

Early yesterday morning, California time, the hardmen were fighting for glory on the roads to Roubaix as the heir to the mantle of “Lion of Flanders” equaled Roger deVlaeminck’s four wins in the Hell of the North.

As Tom Boonen rode a star-studded field of classics specialists off his wheel in a stunning attack 50km from the finish, a different group of cyclists, still bleary from the early hour, sat around the TV at StageOne Sports World HQ in Redondo Beach. Cheeks pooching out with chewy, tender, sugary muffins, tummies expanding just a tad bit further with each swallow of the buttery croissants, we, the softmen of SoCal, represented the kittens of Flanders. At our feet bounded Zeke the Wonder Dog, snarfling up whatever scraps hit the floor, clearing the table with his 40-lb. tail, nuzzling the crotches of the embarrassed ladies, emitting periodic blasts of wonderdogfarts, and feeling generally pleased that so many people had showed up at such an early hour to scratch his back, rub his head, and titillate his olfactories.

Thoughts determine words. Words determine actions. Actions determine character.

The only thing that anyone with a brain could possibly think after watching Boonen’s tour de force was, “I’m a weak pussy.” In that vein, our small group that included Sparkles, Junkyard, Toronto, Big Bowles, Hockeystick, and VV pedaled up to Malaga Cove to hook up with the Wheatgrass Ride.

We met up with Iron Mike, Clodhopper, Wild Carrot, Ihatetherain, Mephistostaphipapadopoulous, Nimrod, Canyon Bob, Pilot, Sumo, Cutiepies, Psycho Mike, Dutchy, and Fishnchips. And although we were prepared for an epic pedal, we weren’t prepared for the tire.

By tire, I mean Big Bowles’s tire. We had started the pell-mell dash towards the glass church, with Clodhopper bulling away on the downhill like a giant load of dirt that had been dumped off a cliff. Clodhopper’s former self is a waif-like shadow of his current self, as sitting on his wheel is affectionately known as the “Cadillac draft.” The only down side is his backside, which peers out from beneath the threadbare lycra shorts whose expiration date passed in ’97 to reveal the unblinking evil eye of Mordor, so awful to look at but from which it is so impossible to avert your gaze.

Why it’s worthwhile to endure the stare of the hairy eye

In addition to the gigantic swath he cuts through the wind, Clodhopper is a great wheel because when the going gets nasty, no one can suffer like he can. Beneath the layers of walrus-ite and packed into the chest cavity of this enormous lunk are the heart and lungs of a former world record holder in the 1600m relay. You can see the video here.

Now I know that you’re really proud of that podium in the Cat 4’s, and I know that it really meant a lot when you got that colorful jersey in the masters road race, but can we please put your lameness in perspective? Clodhopper once held the fastest time over 1600 meters ever recorded by any human being who ever ran.

Unlike bicycling, which is available at the elite competitive level only for people who can afford to spend on their bicycle a sum equal to the average annual income of the average human being in 2012, running is available to everyone with two legs. Whereas the competitive pool for cycling is a tiny genre within a microscopic niche inside a practically invisible crevice, the competitive pool for runners puts the poorest on a par with the richest. Got legs? You can play the game.

So you can forgive (maybe) Clodhopper’s pennypinching on the shorts, you can forgive his slightly expanded waistline, and most of all, you can appreciate the strength, power, and ability to suffer of this pedal-mashing, hairy-assed, cupcake-snorting leviathan.

It seemed like a good idea at the time

As Clodhopper drove us through Portuguese Bend, the ragged line of desperate wheelsucks clawed and gasped as they clung to whatever vestiges of Clodhopper’s draft were still available after about sixth wheel. And as the menu always dictates, Big Bowles had found shelter against the wind nestled in behind the portly protection of Fishnchips.

This time, however, Big Bowles’s recipe for survival hit a snag. The protection afforded by Fishnchips’s posterior was so vast that it blocked out Big Bowles’s view of the road. It blocked the shoulder, the hillsides, the Pacific Ocean, and, if you had sat behind him long enough, it would have eventually caused a solar eclipse, so total, wide, and complete was the gigantitude of the Welshman’s gluteus maximus fatticus.

Somewhere near the turnoff to Artiste’s house, everyone swerved to avoid a giant piece of asphalt lying atop the tarmac. Big Bowles, blinded by the hugeormity of Fishnchips, discovered the asphalt piece by striking it at 32 mph with his front wheel. Oh, how quickly the joys of a snug draft turn to terror and destruction! He managed not to crash, and for a brief moment those who hadn’t cared enough to alert him to the asphalt voiced concern regarding his wheel. “You okay, dude?” they asked just before they accelerated over the final hump, dropping him completely.

“I’m fine,” Big Bowles wailed. “These are self-sealing tubeless tires!”

There is no such thing as a self-sealing bicycle tire

The romp up by the Glass Church resulted in a shattering of sorts, with me pedaling an itsy bit, Ihatetherain taking a dig, and Clodhopper making one massive, cetacean-like pull all the way to the next-to-last bump. Ihatetherain jumped away, followed by Iron Mike, and then all were sent packing by El Peruano, who had joined us in Portuguese Bend and decided to put the group to the sword.

I sucked wheel as long as possible before ditching El Peruano and racing first to the sign, ahead of Sumo and Mephistostaphipapadopoulous, only to find that our finish-line “No Parking” sign on a wooden post had been replaced by four “No Parking” signs on metal posts. I reached the first sign and sat up, declaring victory.

By the time Big Bowles limped up to the group, his self-sealing tire wasn’t sealing all that great. “Gimme a shot, Bobby,” he said to Canyon Bob, who always carries a hand pump so that he can bail out the other wankers who use all twelve C02 cartridges on their first flat. Canyon Bob gave him the shot, and Big Bowles’s self-sealing tire continued its leaking frenzy.

“What’s with this darned thing?” Bowles asked. “I’d better go ahead and put in a tube. These tubeless tires can be ridden with a tube if you have to. They’re pretty cool that way.”

What was with that darned thing

The next thing I knew, Big Bowles had taken off the wheel and removed the tire from the rim, and the green slime tire sealant was covering his hands, quickly spreading to his face and then even his feet so that he looked like Brer Rabbit cagefighting with the Green Tar Baby from Mars.

The green slime sealant picked up bits of glass, rock, gravel, dirt, gum wrappers, cigarette butts, used condoms, and even an old gas cap, so that by the time Big Bowles was finished with the surgery he looked like a punk rock Christmas tree. We stuck him back on his bike and continued the plod up Hawthorne.

Clodhopper and I got mostly up the climb and then pulled over next to the bus stop across from the Ralph’s to wait for the others. As we stood there, up whizzed one of those Chevy’s that they made to look like a PT Cruiser, only with better velour seats. Out jumped a fellow in a three-piece suit and red necktie, stopping his car smack in the lane of traffic, and dashed over to the trash can next to the bus stop.

After a few quick rustles and dives, he ran back to his car, hands filled with a few bottles and a couple of cans. “That’s a hard way to earn seven and a half cents,” I marveled.

“After subtracting the cost of gas he’s losing money,” mused Clod. “Massively.”

We watched as the PT Chevy zoomed up to the next bus stop and repeated his cash collection, marveling at how unbelievably cheap and poor the rich people were in RPV, and how you’d never see such a thing in PVE, as they do it late at night.

After a while we got to the Jamba Juice, where Iron Mike and Psycho Mike treated everyone to multiple rounds of wheatgrass, a foul concoction that “cleanses the blood,” which is another way of saying that your turds are bright green for the next few days.

Psycho Mike had brought along a buddy, Cap’n Jim, pilot of a San Pedro tugboat, who almost caused StageOne to have an aneurysm by wearing a pair of Bike Palace shorts and a white/green/brown jersey that had the outline of a human skeleton (front and back) with all the organs in perfect Gray’s Anatomy placement.

We savored our wheatgrass, and called it a day. Big Bowles called a cab.

KOM’s, QOM’s, and FON’s

April 8, 2012 § 9 Comments

“King of the Mountains” used to only be a TdF designation. Now it’s Stravanese for “fastest dude on a particular stretch of road.” QOM, in obeisance to gender-equality-and-making-sure-women-have-a-reason-to-use-Strava, is “fastest chick on a particular stretch of road.”

But this leaves out the designation that most of us acknowledge as worthiest of all, the force of nature. The FON.

What’s a FON? A FON is a rider, not necessarily a physically gifted one, who dominates through sheer force of will. The FON doesn’t really care about anything except finding the most extreme edge of the hurt envelope, and pushing it until there’s no one left who can follow. Whatever else a FON is, they’re hard. They suffer, and they don’t give a rat’s ass about the weather or the seasons or the terrain.

A FON can be friendly, or not. What distinguishes them is that, once the race begins, they are pitiless. “Nichts wird geschenkt.” Sometimes masked with humility, sometimes dripping with arrogance, a FON will never show mercy, though he may shake your hand and congratulate you at the end on your impressive second place. Behind him.

Here’s my personal list, based on experience and observation:

1. Jeff Fields. No apparent physical aptitude for road racing. Won countless crits and road races over a twenty-year stretch through sheer force of will and refusal to countenance losing to his inferiors, which was everyone. Smart, canny, wrung blood from turnips, and was always unwilling to concede defeat, even when beaten. The first and toughest and bad-assedest FON I ever met.

2. Roger Worthington. Less apparent physical aptitude even than Fields. Unbelievable beast and hater of losing. Wins at all costs. Outsprints the faster guy, outclimbs the billygoat, out time-trials the specialist, chases down and crushes the starry-eyed youth even in the on-legged decrepitude of his dotage. Runs on venom and bile. Just when you think you have him in a choke hold, you realize he’s got you by the balls.

3. Thurlow Rogers. You’ll never get to know him on the bike because he rides everyone off his wheel. Decades of wins in every facet of road cycling. Rides his bike to annihilate and destroy. Doesn’t understand anything except “full throttle,” as in “throttle the competition.” If you’ve raced against him, he’s beaten you. If you’ve beaten him, chances are good there was a deal.

4. Scott Dickson. First American victor and record holder for number of Paris-Brest-Paris wins. If this doesn’t mean anything to you, Google it, fool. Scott is the quintessential hardman. Trains in Iowa. Year round. Talks cheerfully to you while he gradually whittles you down into a puddle of quivering meat. Pardons his victims, but only after they’re dead. Drinks his whiskey straight. Has ridden a hundred miles every day, rain, shine, or snow, since before your father was born.

5. Michael Marckx. Surfer-runner-triathlete-madman-cyclocrosser who believes that the only effort worth putting out is the total one. Despises all placings other than first. Doesn’t believe in “moral victories.” Pain is proof that whatever you’re doing is working. Excruciating pain is proof that everyone else has been dropped. Satisfied only when everything has been perfectly executed, or you’ve been ground down into slop.

6. Greg Leibert. Strangely happy and friendly guy who indiscriminately obliterates his competition. His only mode is attack. Solo wins. TT wins. Breakaway wins. Never takes the easy path, never calculates the safe route, hits and hits and hits and hits until the wall comes tumbling down. You’re the wall.

7. Old Dude Who I’ve Sworn Never to Mention by Name on my Blog. New to cycling, is a methodical killing machine. Listens, imitates, studies, learns. Cabinet full of trophies in his third year of racing. Not interested in your excuses, or more importantly, in his. First Supermaster ITT, silver. Relentless. Gets in your head. Friendly on the outside, black widow beneath the veneer.

8. John Morstead. Weird engineer dude who destroyed everyone in Texas in the 80’s and 90’s and rejected an offer from 7-11 because he thought cycling wasn’t as good a career as engineering. So in addition to being a FON he’s smart. Son was a kicker for the Saints. Picked up bike racing after a 20-year layoff, showed up on his steel steed and rode away from the field. FON + fuck you, posers.

9. Dean Buzbee. Words don’t do justice to this battle-axe. Cycling motto is “Just hammer.” Doesn’t care when, where, or with whom. Just hammers and wins. Terrain, weather, season, all irrelevant. Just hammers. Showed up at the Texas state time trial one year and won the whole shooting match without a shred of aero anything, anywhere.

10. Andy Coggan. Somewhat unhinged scientist power-geek who, when he races, wins. Just like that. Sets records. Shatters egos. Redefines an entire sport with his research on human performance. Dimly aware that the rest of the world regards him as a cross between Godzilla and Enrico Fermi. More interested in understanding performance than demonstrating it, thank Dog.

Who’d I leave off?

*Updated list…after receiving some suggestions and thinking about it a little more, I’ve added the following:

11. Rahsaan Bahati. I left him off the list the first time around because he has so much natural talent and, worse than that, because he’s such an incredibly nice guy. Then I considered that virtually everything he’s achieved, he’s done without the help of a team, on the pure force of his indomitable will to win…that he came from one of the toughest neighborhoods in America…and most of all, that when it comes to racing no one ever gives him so much as a millimeter…yeah, Force of Nature for sure.

12. Christian Walker. Left him off the list because he also seems like a guy who produces due to incredible natural ability. In the words of Knoll, “Chris Walker can put you in the snot bubble with him and park you in misery until something dies in you. He merits a mention.” Part of being a FON is having some quality that’s not explained by talent, skill, training, or hard work. It’s the unwillingness to concede defeat, and the character defect of hitting and hitting and hitting, no matter how big the odds, until you win. Knoll and G$ say he’s a Force of Nature? That’s good enough for me.

13. Kevin Phillips. Hammer? Yep. Winner? Yep. Won’t even consider putting you on his master’s pursuit team unless you’re willing to cough up blood and commit to making the top step? Yep. Spiritual leader of all that is cycling in the South Bay? Yep. All-round badass on the bike, friend, inventor of the Man Tour? Yep, yep, and yep. Force of Nature? Yep there, too.

14. John Wike. In many ways, John is the ultimate FON. Looks like he should be a doughnut salesman, not a bike racer. Has no particular suitability for cycling that anyone would recognize…until you see him ride. Takes huge risks and almost always pulls it off, i.e. has the biggest balls out there, nutsack covered with a layer of hair and hide that is thicker than an elephant’s ass. Holds the downhill speed record on Tuna Canyon. Bubbles inside with a thirst for conquest, rides with passion and panache, glory and guts.

15. Lance Armstrong. Uh, no. He’s a genetic freak. Ask Eddy Coyle, Ph.D.

16. Eddy Merckx. When you’re the greatest cyclist in the history of the sport, you don’t need to be on some stupid list dreamed up by a Cat 3 blogger. Same for anyone who’s ever won [insert name of badass European classic/stage race here].

Strap me to the chair, Dame Vicious von Flogg

April 7, 2012 § 6 Comments

“How was the ride today, Dad?” my youngest asked when I wheeled in the bike after 95+ miles up the coast, up Latigo, down Kanan Dume, down the coast, and back home up VdM.

“It was fine,” I said. Then I collapsed on the bed.

Mrs. WM hurried in. “Are you okay?” She was worried.

“Urgle,” I answered.

So many things happened on this glorious, sunny, 80-degree day in Southern California that I can’t begin to put them into a coherent whole, which makes sense given the fact that I was incoherent for so much of the ride. What I can tell you, though, is this: there’s something wrong with men who go in for bondage and whips and chains. The idea that some broad is going to put on a weird costume, tie you to a chair, and beat the shit out of your nether regions with a whip until you moan in pain, sob in agony, beg for mercy, and finally collapse in a wet puddle of self-loathing, blood, urine, and sweat, and that you’re going to pay her for it…that’s sick.

It’s sick because you see, if you’d just shown up on the Saturday ride this morning you could have gotten all that and more for free.

Dame Vicious von Flogg: We began a torrid pace at the bottom of Latigo. Spider accelerated up the first little climb, I hopped on his wheel and was quickly shed. Checkerbutt and Fireman followed Spider and got dropped, leaving me flailing off the back where I was quickly overhauled by Dame Vicious von Flogg.

Dame Vicious weighs about 40 pounds, and she cheerily hopped out of the saddle as she passed, tossing her rear wheel into my front fork. She’s got a bit of learning to do, but that’s the peril of being a wheelsucker–you’re at the mercy of the wheel you’re sucking. The pain was almost unendurable as she gradually reeled in Fireman, who’d been canned by Checkerbutt. “Yo, Fireman,” I said. “You’re getting caught and dropped by a chick!”

He fought viciously to get on my wheel, then took a hero’s pull in the universal manspeak of “I ain’t gettin’ dropped by no chick.” After that effort fizzled, Dame Vicious came back to the fore and laid down a relentless tattoo of kicks, punches, and blows to the groin. Before long Fireman began the Dangle of Death, opening gaps and then fighting to get back on. I was glued to Dame’s wheel, eking out every tiny bit of draft from her tiny frame.

Dame Vicious then cheerily looked back. “Goody news!!”

“Urg?” I asked.

“Yep! Daddy says I don’t have to get a job next year and can spend another year getting in shape to ride my bike!”

“That fucking sucks,” I moaned, just as Fireman hung his head, rolled his bloodshot eyes, and lolled his tongue in the Death Rattle of Drop.

Soon the road turned into only a mild incline, and Dame Vicious did the only sensible thing: pulled out her crop, shifted into the big ring, and began to whale me about the head and shoulders, all the while chattily wondering what the best way was to learn not to throw her wheel back into my spokes as she threw her wheel back into my spokes. Every few minutes she’d pause the beating to let the accumulated blood drain from my eyes, then resume it.

We passed people like we were on a motorcycle. I greeted each one the same way: “You just got dropped by a chick.”

Finally, one of the droppees said, “I am a chick!”

“That’s even worse, then,” I panted as Dame Vicious exchanged the whip for a chain studded with small sharpened spikes.

Soon we had Checkerbutt in our sights. Dame Vicious rode him down like a terrier overpowering a three-legged rat, and as we passed him I said, “You just got hunted down and dropped by a chick.”

“Well you’ve been sucking wheel the whole damned way, you wanker,” he retorted. Then he added, in the universal manspeak of wounded ego, “I was just taking it easy because I didn’t want to be alone.”


Then he attacked us. I fought on, and Dame Vicious countered, gapping Checkerbutt, who recovered and attacked again. By the fourth exchange I came unhitched, kind of like when a camper comes undone midway up Loveland Pass. They exchanged blows all the way to the top, with Checkerbutt finally putting a three-second gap on…a chick…after a 40-mintue climb.

Fireman caught me and flogged me and dropped me just before the summit. Spider was at the top enjoying his new sub-40 minute conquest of Latigo. The rest of the wankers trickled in, each showcasing various stages of defeat, despair, and hopelessness.

Checkerbutt: Came up from the City of Cadmium and Mercury Poisoning to represent the Long Beach Freddies in a throwdown with the Second Tier (some would say third) of the South Bay. With the exception of the chick who rode him down and made him sing for his supper, and the caning he got from Spider on Latigo, he whipped the snot out of everyone else, ticking off a 2nd Place on Strava for the Kanan descent and giving me the leadout of all leadouts into Will Rogers. I didn’t have the heart to come around his sorry checkered ass, so I gave him a push as his innards began spilling out from his ears.

Tubetop: Sidekick to Checkerbutt, he rode the way we’re more accustomed to seeing the Long Beach Freddies ride–weakly. This was his payback for the funny email he sent after Solvang. The last I heard from him was a distress phone call from Peet’s in Santa Monica, asking Checkerbutt how to get back to the car in Manhattan Beach.

T. Rex: Blew the pack apart heading out on PCH, shredded everyone in the sprint to Cross Creek, finished the sprint on Kanan Dume at 55 mph…plus.

Cheetah: We were pleased and honored to have been joined by one of the greatest U.S. cyclists of all time, Nelson Vails. Nelson accompanied us most of the way out PCH. Talk about riding with royalty. I reminded him of the only time I’d ever met him. It was at Camp Mabry during the Tour of Texas. I rode up to him and said something and he turned around, smiled, put his hand to his mouth like he was talking into a CB, and said, “10-4 good buddy.” I was amazed he didn’t remember this incredibly precious 2-second interlude we’d shared back in 1984.

Walshie: Kept the gas on along PCH, then dropped off to ride with his friend of so many years, Nelson.

DJ: Avoided the humiliation of having Dame Vicious von Flogg grind him under her jackboot by motoring on to Camarillo and opting out of the Latigo dominatrix chair.

Sparkles: Kept the wheels turning in yet another awesome chick display of strength and fitness.

Douggie: Coming back on PCH he unleashed the crusher attack of death on the short wall just before Latigo, decimating the already toasted group. Then he dropped himself, leaving me and Fireman to flog for a while until he and Checkerbutt caught back on. Despising the safety of Malibu Colony we opted for Pepperdine Hill. Fireman crunched it and Douggie followed through with the pull of black death, Checkerbutt gasping and me doing whatever happens when you breathe more deeply than a gasp. From that point on Douggie hammered like a madman. As we climbed up onto Vista del Mar we got passed by this insane dude with one red pannier, a steel frame, and a fixie, and he went by like we were standing still. Unfortunately, that’s when Douggie could actually smell the coffee at CotKU, and he ran down Mr. Fixie, who jumped in with me and Checkerbutt only to find that 29 mph on a fixie means your fucking legs come detached from your hips. I’ve never seen anyone sustain 350 rpm for a kilometer, but when his sacrum came tearing out his ass it was all she wrote.

Knoll: Had the misfortune to popularize the ride as “mellow,” when in fact it wound up being Sledgehammer of the Broken Sacrum. Knoll utilized every trick in the book, but came up a few chapters short, at least by his usual standards, i.e. pummeling the shit out of me on long climbs.

Hockeystick: Took one brief pull on PCH, failing to alert the peloton to parked cars, overtaken Team in Training-ers, crevasses in the road, etc. However, eyeing BWR next weekend, he opted for an even longer route with more climbing after Latigo.

Major Bob: Hammer. Climb. Hammer. Seek out new climbs. Hammer.

Trixie: Rolled like a champ out on PCH, then clawed her way up Latigo with a very respectable ride, leaving certain veterans to be named later choking on her fumes. Plus, she was extra cute in her blue kit.

Betsy: Rolled with us to Latigo, then did her own ride continuing on PCH. Another hot chick biker who looks good in blue.

Jens: The man who least deserves his nickname lived up yet again to his reputation as Go to the Front Antimatter, a unique force in the cosmos that is diametrically opposed to ever taking a pull. However, he momentarily overcame this powerful negative attraction to sharing the work when he was observed engaging in a micropull on PCH for .000093 seconds, measuring a power output of 12 watts. Progress!

Arkansas Traveler: With the absence of Pinched Nerve Patrick, AT took up his rightful place at the back of the peloton ascending Latigo and successfully maintained PP +1. When I descended to see if he’d been killed and eaten by a mountain lion, I found him doing with Junkyard what he’d done the week before with me–enjoying the ride. What’s with that guy? Or should I say, “Respect.”

Junkyard: It was a painful day of death and dismemberment for our valiant hero, who, after putting his head under a concrete block and having the block broken by a Korean taekwondo blackbelt wielding a large hammer, dragged himself back to the StageOne World Headquarters to begin preparations for the Perry-Roobay celebrations scheduled tomorrow for 6:00 AM plus Zeke farts.

Big Bowles: Another masterful day of shirking by the master of shirk.

Toronto: No matter how many megadeals he crafts during the week, nothing, and I mean nothing, can ever stop Toronto from joining the mob and taking his beating like a man. Always in line to take his pull, always ready to crack and flail when the riding crop of unmercy falls about his tender parts, Toronto got his revenge on Dame Vicious von Flogg atop Latigo by unzipping his jersey and grabbing hold of his massive paunch to explain the source of his climbing unprowess. This led to a paunch-off, where each of the weak, flaccid, elderly, and thoroughly beaten old men took turns comparing the amount of flab they could grip in one fist. Dame Vicious staggered over to the side of the road and vomited, and justice was done!

Skinbag: On the way back, Skinbag advised me that although Dame Vicious had dropped every single man except for Checkerbutt and Spider, he’d put the wood to her on the Kanan descent. I corrected his deluded version of events. “Dude, she waited for half an hour at the top of Latigo for your sorry ass. If it’d been a race she’d have gotten to the bottom of Kanan with enough time for a pedicure before you showed up.” “Well, she’s riding illegally.” “Illegally?” “Yes. Those aren’t junior gears.” “Dude, she’s fucking twenty-two.” Silence…

Godfather: Met up with us in Redondo, enjoyed seeing you, buddy!

Florida Dan: Present, but ultimately unaccounted for.

Cedric le Belge: Present, filled with flail.

Pilot: Rolled out with us…went on to Trancas??

VV: Took the sane route and rode with us to PCH, then went out to Trancas.

Big O Sean: Nice riding with you, dude.

G$: Spied on the way back through Hermosa. Hi, Money!

Mighty Mouse: Spied on the way back through Hermosa. Hi, Mighty!

Suze: Spied on Vista del Mar. Hi, Suze!

G3: No-show because he couldn’t get out of bed in time for the ride. Tsk, tsk.

*Post-ride checklist for sausages with mortally wounded egos (select all that apply):
1. Dame Vicious dropped me because I wasn’t really trying.
2. Dame Vicious dropped me because I rode really hard this week and was tired.
3. Dame Vicious dropped me because she’s so light.
4. Dame Vicious didn’t drop me, I decided to let her go. [Recommended selection]
5. Dame Vicious is 30 years younger than I am.
6. Dame Vicious isn’t a very good bike handler so I let her go because I didn’t want her to crash me out.
7. Dame Vicious just doesn’t have a good enough draft. [Not recommended, as it points out the fact that you couldn’t hold her wheel.]
8. I rode the Donut and got my ass handed to me by Rudy and G$, which is acceptable because they’re two of the best MALE riders in California, whereas if I’d gone on your ride and gotten shellacked by some kid chick who’s only been cycling for a few weeks I’d have to sell my bike and become a blogger.

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