Birth of a bike ride

December 5, 2014 § 26 Comments

Rides come and go, mostly go. When the New Pier Ride was ruined by construction on Westchester Parkway, a new ride was subbed in. Dreamed up by local rider Junkyard, the new Thursday ride has now reached a point of such viciousness that its founder not only gets shelled in the first three minutes, but it’s gotten so hard that he can’t even get out of bed.

Now that, friends, is a hard bicycle ride.

The Thursday ride leaves at 6:35 AM sharp from the fountain in Malaga Cove. The route is simple:

  1. Right on PV Drive.
  2. Right on Paso del Campo.
  3. Right on Via Campesina.
  4. Right on Via Chico, through the arch, and back to PV Drive.
  5. On the sixth lap, left on La Cuesta, where the ride terminates at the top and you vomit.
  6. Back to Riviera Village for coffee and lies.

The awesomeness of the ride is expressed by the fact that it immediately starts with a climb, so people immediately get shelled. No imagining, no hoping, no fantasy that you actually had sort of a good ride. You start and if you don’t have the legs you’re gone. There is something beautiful about this type of summary execution, where the usual habit of lingering, wheelsucking, and flailing by at the end becomes a nasty sort of trial, judgment, and punishment within the first few hundred yards.

However, the fun doesn’t stop there because the beginning climb isn’t that steep, and the following climb up around the golf course isn’t that steep. So with practice you can get strong enough to hang on, although the humiliation and crushing sense of defeat that comes from getting repeatedly shelled the first few times you do the ride is usually enough to make people go away and never come back. The net effect is that after a few laps are three groups.

  1. Stathis the Wily Greek.
  2. Everyone else.
  3. The fragments.

But it gets better because there are no stoplights. On the NPR, indeed every group ride in L.A., the ride is controlled partially by stoplights, and largely by stoplight whiners. Essentially, when you’re off the front on the NPR with one other wanker and you have a pack of 85 chasing with a tailwind and you’re pedaling harder than teakwood and you approach a red light and you run it, at the end of the ride all the wheelsuckers and never-seen-the-fronters and wait-til-the-end-sprunters and why-are-we-hammering-it’s-Novemberers will berate you for scofflawing. Never mind that there was never any danger, and never mind that the whiners are the very people who will pull the craziest death-shit in the middle of a pack fighting for a wheel. The point is that they want to detract from your awesomesauceness and your heroic brokeaway antics. Plus, they’re pissed that their sprunt didn’t count because you had already crossed the imaginary line in a fantasy victory.

Not so with the Thursday ride! There are no stoplights to run, only stop signs, and the stoplight whiners never, ever, ever show up for the ride. It’s like killing two birds with one stone, then fricasseeing them and eating them for dinner.

The ride offers up lots more goodness, for example racing tactics. There is always one idiot or two who will attack from the gun and establish a healthy gap. Said idiot, who often writes a daily blog, then gets reeled in and crushed. But rather than simply floating to the back to regroup and attack again, the torrid pace and the constant rolling climb punish the would-be attacker to such an extent that the next hard acceleration, typically unleashed by Derek, or by EA Sports, Inc., or by 26, obliterates the hangers-on so that Sausage, Spivey, Fireman, and I wank along until they shell me, too.

In short, you can get all the misery and failure of a race every single week without paying a nickel or driving a mile.

But wait, there’s more! Repeat riders get stronger (can you imagine that?) so the ride gets even harder. 26, who never finished without getting shelled, put the wood to everyone yesterday. When a big boy like that gets as comfortable on rolling power climbs as he is in sprints, it’s going to mean mayhem.

Best of all, with the exception of the time that Sausage got dropped, turned around, and hopped back in with us as we came by, there is no cheating. Once you get unhitched, you’re on your own to struggle and suffer and try to catch the little red blinking light in front of you. Or you pair up with another wanker and suffer in tandem.

The ride is short; just under one hour long, and after finishing the climb on the last lap you jog left and go up La Cuesta. It’s only a little more than a quarter-mile long, but at 12 or 13 percent it feels like a light-year. Now if we can just get the ride’s founder to start showing up again.

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

§ 26 Responses to Birth of a bike ride

  • Brian in VA says:

    Now that’s a bike ride! Must figure a way to tote my bike to the left coast so I can get a whuppin’ too!

  • A-Trav says:

    Dude. Westchester looks like it’s going to be months before they finish:(

  • JunkYard says:

    Dear Mr WankWiener…

    I dreamt up this suffer-fest with freaks like you in mind. And to my hearts content, you are truly embracing it. From the looks of the photos atop of Via La Cuesta yesterday it’s living up to my dream. You looked like death warmed over.

    As for my absence yesterday, my beautiful girlfriend (twenty years my junior) had me pinned to the sheets. I’m sure I can have her write a note to present at next weeks outing.

    This is THE ride the South Bay has needed for years.
    More wankers are welcome to get SHELLED, and join me.
    – JunkYard

  • Imaginary Friend says:

    To your point about no cheating, I would add that you shouldn’t pretend (it’s not cheating, but worse) like you did all 6 laps by hopping on the back of the lead train after only 5 just so you’re not the last one up La Cuesta–because you would be if you’d gone all 6. Folks who don’t ride all 6 but want to pretend like they did should either ride with their bibs on the outside or make themselves useful and tote up a 24-pack of Gatorade for the true finishers.

  • Dan K says:

    I’ll be there next Thursday. Traveling for work the next week, and then out of town for Christmas, but there on NYD (unless someone talks me into a different holiday ride). I love this ride, even though I still expect to be dropped on the first climb for some time.

  • Sausage™ says:

    I’ve been dropped plenty of times on the PVNPR, but that time I dropped my chain right at the start! Chasing at 500W didn’t do the trick. I didn’t ride all the way from the far far away Northern Lands in the dark just to roll around that golf course 6 times by myself.

  • deb says:

    Your vivid accounts always make me want to give these rides a try….. well, OK, not really. Still fun to read about, though.

  • Waldo says:

    In an unrelated and inexplicable development my employer has blocked blogs, leaving me to squint as I read the tiny print on my phone. This can be explained only by the firm’s takeover by Astana.

  • Woody Foster says:

    Do you have any rides like this on a Sunday or Monday??

What’s this?

You are currently reading Birth of a bike ride at Cycling in the South Bay.


%d bloggers like this: