Good old-fashioned tunnel vision

April 1, 2015 § 18 Comments

I don’t do the New Pier Ride much anymore. Every Tuesday and Thursday morning a massive group of idiots meets up at Westchester Parkway and races for four laps. The “idiots” part I totally relate to, and the “races” part I relate to even more. But after the ride was suspended last October due to construction, a different routine began for me, and the only thing harder to change than a routine is a well-glued-on tubular. In the freezing rain. Bare-handed.

Simply put, the NPR has its pluses and its minuses.

Pluses:

  • Happens punctually twice weekly.
  • Lets you suck wheel if you’re too weak to GTTF.
  • Lets you get in a solid workout before work.
  • Lets you suck wheel if you’re too lazy to GTTF.
  • Intense sprunt finish the last 400 yards after sucking wheel for four laps while you refused to GTTF.
  • Plentiful opportunities to suck wheel and let others GTTF.
  • See your friends.
  • See your enemies.
  • Hide and cower in the back, sucking wheel as you chat with friends or curse enemies.
  • Epic post-coital coffee at the Center of the Known Universe, where you deny ever having sucked wheel and brag about how you incessantly hammered at the front.
  • Lets you think you’re getting stronger as you suck & cower at the back.
  • Occasional appearance of really good riders who drill it from the gun and shatter the field.

Minuses:

  • Occasional appearance of really good riders who drill it from the gun and shatter the field.
  • Almost impossible to shake the wheelsuckers due to stoplights.
  • Fresh-legged wheelsuckers who try to kill you in the sprunt finish.
  • Rare but crashtacular Fred-and-bike-pile-ups.

On Monday I got a special request from Sausage to come do the NPR. Svein the Unhandsome, a Norwegian national masters champ and all-round dickstomper was in town for a vacation. When he lived in LA, Svein the Unhandsome had a policy of “kill the men and sell the women and children into slavery,” and Sausage was hoping that I would come out and relive good old times with the gang, which had never been good.

The morning of the ride there was a bit of nervousness on the Pier as we stood around in the gloom and evaluated each others’ body fat percentages. “Did ya see Hollywood’s Facegag post?” Sausage muttered to me.

“No.”

“He suggested that the South Bay wankoton should have an extra cup coffee before the NPR.”

On cue, up rolled Hollywood with his mile-high henchman, Mack Cassin. Hollywood had flatted out of the San Dimas Stage Race and had some, uh, excess energy, as we soon found out. The punch up Pershing immediately split the field; only Svein the Unhandsome could hang. Thankfully, a stoplight gave us all a second chance.

With torrid stomping of the dicks and clubbing of the baby seals, by the time we hit the Parkway more than half the field had implemented NPR Strategy #1: race across the street and hop in with the leaders when they came tearing back by. Josh calls these folks “hop-in wankers.”

Hollywood and Mack took turns braining the baby seals, with some hard efforts by the Unhandsome, the Wily Greek, and a single cameo appearance by Sausage, who looked like he’d had the skin removed. Huge gobs of droopy, gooey snot hung up in my mustache and beard, mixed in with flecks of bloody spit and pieces of twice-eaten oatmeal.

The collection of hop-in wankers grew and grew, but the merciless clubbing never abated. Gaps opened. Heads hung. Teeth gnawed stems. Brown stains sprouted in the chamois of many.

On the third lap Hollywood, the Wily Greek, James C., and I sprunted away. After a few moments it was just Hollywood, with me plastered to his rear wheel as he inexorably went faster and faster, his club raining nail-studded blows on my head and balls, the gobs of bloody spit dangling into my chain, and my field of vision shrinking and shrinking until it became a pair of tunnels focused exclusively on the rear wheel and triangle of his bike.

Locked in the lethal hanging-head position I knew that I should look up. What if there was something in the road? What if he was headed straight for a brick wall? What if I died?

None of it mattered. I was so completely filled with pain that I had reached a perfect state of detached consciousness: no anger, no fear, no sadness, no happiness, no future, no past, only pain, the vessel filled up and slopping over with pure pain, a giant body-wide root canal being performed with a hand drill and a rusty pocket knife.

Then we hit a light and reality returned, along with the chasing wankoton.

As Billy Stone would say, some went faster, others slower. Someone won, the rest did not. Svein the Unhandsome was seen crawling back to finish his vacation on his hands and knees. Cat 4 Dave had curled up in a small bush and was chewing on leaves and pieces of bird nest. Chunks of the hop-in wankers were strewn about the Parkway like bits of corn in an explosive bowel evacuation.

Back at the Center of the Known Universe, we all bragged about how great we were. “You coming out again on Thursday?” Sausage asked.

“No,” I said. “This ride is too easy for me.”

END

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