September 29, 2014 § 8 Comments
It started out as a bad idea and quickly grew into a terrible one. By the end of the inaugural South Bay Cycling Awards, a/k/a “The Wankys,” wooden penis ashtrays had been handed out, cheap basketball trophies had been transferred, a massive cake had been eaten, stuffed baby seals had been clubbed with a hammer, sexy women with slitty dresses had paraded around onstage, and numerous cyclists were removed from the gutter feet first.
Of course, as everyone knows, once you have something that is a colossal failure, the only thing to do is repeat it the following year and hope that the magnitude of the badness is greater than that of the year before.
So I present you with the 2nd annual South Bay Cycling Awards, to be held on October 25, Saturday, from 6:00 PM until Whenever:00 AM. The only item that will be making a return from 2013 is the famous Wanky Bed Sheet awards banner, designed five minutes before showtime by Marc a/k/a Toronto. The wooden penis is gone, the stuffed seal is gone, and the basketball trophy has been given to all three of my children as a collective Christmas-and-birthday present.
2014 offers huge improvements on last year. First, rather than showing up at Naja’s (to the surprise and dismay of the management), and commandeering their bar, we have told the folks in advance at On the Rocks in Redondo Beach that there will be a half-dozen very polite, abstemious cyclists who would like to reserve a table for a few hours. They needn’t know that last year’s sellout crowd of 120 will be greatly exceeded.
Second, The Wankys will feature two kegs of beer from Strand Brewing Co., the South Bay’s premier brewer, and those two kegs will sell for $2 a glass until the contents have been fully consumed, or until Manslaughter has slaked his thirst, whichever comes first.
Third, the award categories have been refined, although the much-coveted and greatly feared Wanker of the Year™ award will return, publicly recognizing that rider who epitomizes the qualities of wankerdom: Delusion, Commitment, Lack of Talent, Bad Dieting, Awful Riding Skills, Unbridled Enthusiasm, and a Deranged Sense of Humor. I am not, unfortunately, eligible to receive this award, though many have suggested that no one could possibly be a more fitting recipient.
The dress code will be strictly enforced. Those who are dressed will be strictly required to remain so. Those who are not will likewise be required to maintain the status quo.
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October 15, 2013 § 8 Comments
Monday: Cruising around, ran into Fukdude, Mel, and Kyle. We had an important business meeting at Java Man, where I told them some stories from a cross country trip back in ’85. They appeared to believe part of it. Updated Fukdude on the average size of Gulf Coast mosquitos for his upcoming bike trip from New Orleans to Pensacola. “Just put on a lot of Deet, huh?” he asked. “No,” I said. “That just pisses ’em off. Best defense is a full body suit, helmet and face mask, no exposed skin anywhere, and pray it’s not 95 degrees and 95 percent humidity. Which it always is.”
Sunday: Tumbleweed whipped up a classic sausage ‘n vegetables meal after our ‘cross race at Vail Lake. It was awesome, and washed down with several cold Lagunitas IPA’s, it was even better. Tumbleweed rode a great race until the final fifty feet, when, charging through the start-finish, a 15-foot strip of snow barrier came unhitched in the wind and wrapped around his bars and front tire in mid-sprunt. Thankfully, he landed on his head, so he was fine. T-Dub’s helmet count for 2013: four. And we’re not done yet!
Saturday: Had to forego the Donut in order to attend Parents’ Breakfast at my daughter’s law school. I showed up in my finest BWR t-shirt and appeared scruffy enough that one of the professors mistook me for a student. We immediately got into a huge argument over — I’m not making this up — “The Trial of Jesus.” I tried really hard to shut up but it didn’t work. Finally he said, “Well, I see I’ll have you in my property class next semester!” and it was very threatening. “Don’t count on it, pal,” I snarled. He then looked more carefully at my name tag and realized that despite my scraggly beard tuft and bad breath, I was a parent. Then it was, like, BFF!
Friday: Two heroic bicycle champions of the South Bay, Surfer Dan and Erik the Red gathered at Chez Wanky to send off Josh “the Net” Alverson for his 3-month sojourn to Australia. Erik and Net had requested the galactically famous Wanky Fromargs, and shortly after saying “I can’t really taste the liquor in these,” both gentlemen were slumped back in the couch, drooling, and staring off at the ceiling. Rumor has it that both awoke the following day before noon.
–Tara Unversagt returned from Manchester (a small town somewhere in Utah, I think), with four world championship jerseys and a silver medal for her 50+ division. Hats off to her, to Tim Roach, and to Phil “The Food Guy,” who now boasts an impressive string of skinny people doing impressive things on the bike.
–The Mike Nosco Memorial Ride is coming up on November 3rd. This event celebrates the life of Mike Nosco, who died in a traffic accident, and funds from the ride go to defray expenses of families who are treating a serious illness. It is a bike community event of the first order. Follow this link for more information and to sign up.
— Crazy and awful shit happens in the world of bicycles. In this case, local messenger Luis Avina was assaulted, mugged, and had both his legs broken by the attackers, who wielded hammers. You can get the details and make a contribution here. I did!
— Tim Roach and his henchmen pulled off a tremendous three days of racing at the VeloCenter in Carson with the Hollywood Championship Cycling 3-Day races. Bringing in top European pros and a full house of spectators, this was, by all reports, some of the best racing that’s been seen at the VeloCenter in a long time. I got no excuse for missing it other than tequila, Parents’ Day, and ‘cross racing.
–Confirmed wanker and full-time NPR hobbyist Dan Martin pwned the punks this weekend in a CBR Cat 5 upgrade race. The thoroughly humiliated 2nd place 23 year-old had to go home and explain to his mom how he lost a bike race to someone who could have been his great-grandfather. “The young man is fast. The old man tough and wise. And apparently fast, too.”
August 14, 2013 § 9 Comments
- Mighty Mouse gold buckled at the Leadville 100, along with Jay LaPlante. South Bay hammers Mike Hotten and Aaron Dalyrmple came in just over 8:30 for amazing performances. Mrs. Hotten and G$ won “Hand-up Bitch Buckles” for their incredible performances. Local rider Cheryl Parrish gave it her all, got ground up into little pieces, and has already made plane reservations for 2014 to have at it again! Props to all who competed.
- My teammate Eric Anderson pulled off an impressive 3rd place at the Torrance crit behind Aaron Wimberley and Charon Smith. Props to Josh Alverson for hard work throughout the race.
- Kevin Phillips got bronze at elite track nationals in the 4k pursuit. The dude’s 40, and competing against Olympians. Who’s the badass?
- Melanie Phillips, Renee Fenstermacher, and Tara Unverzagt pulled on stars-and-stripes jerseys at the masters nationals track championships in Indy. Tara also won best all-round racer, and national titles in several other events. Coaches Roger Young and Tim Roach deserve a big share of the credit as well.
- Cobra Penis, our NPR devotee and videographer extraordinaire, continues to make the South Bay famous through his videos (often in tandem with Keith Howes), his video viewing parties, and his enthusiastic attitude. If we had ten more Cobra Penises, we’d all be … pregnant?
- Hats off to Joy McCullough of CashCall Mortgage for her win at Torrance this past weekend, and to her teammate Deven Dunn who also stood on the top step of the Men’s Pro/1/2 race.
- Peninsula Cycle Club and LaGrange … thanks for putting on two fantastic back-to-back weekends of bike racing.
- Strand Brewing Co., thanks for making your 5,000 gallons of fresh beer available to racers and spectators alike.
- Francisco, get your ass back out on your bike!
- Jack from Illinois (not his real name), I’m still working on the kitten’s tale of “Lick Me Again, Mommy!” And thanks for coming out to CA and beating up on the locals.
February 18, 2013 § 27 Comments
I pedaled over to the CRB crit this morning and it was cold. I had a cup of coffee. I bought three cookies for fifty cents. I got my number and forty-seven safety pins and began pinning it on. Armin Rahm let me sit in one of his chairs, which warmed my back. Kristy Morrow and Haldane Morris were getting ready to race instead of toting the giant cameras with which they can normally be seen.
Along with Danny Munson, BJ Hale, Brian Hodes, Greg de Guzman, PinkShorts, Christy Nicholson, and a slew of other fine race photographers, Kristy and Haldane make up the photo corps that documents the local races with such amazing quality and detail.
After I got my number pinned on I was going to go over and chat with Kristy about the photos she’d taken at the UCLA road race yesterday. At that very moment, I felt a deep and powerful rumbling in my lower gut.
A very public performance
This was unusual; although I’m a bit of a dribbler before racing, I’m hardly ever a crumper, and this was a lowdown churning sending a message to my brain saying, “Find a deep hole quick or we’re gonna need a hazmat squad!”
I clattered over to the cages, and since my 50+ Elderly Prostate race was going off in fifteen minutes there was already a solid line. Pottymouth that he is, Chris Lotts understands the importance of potties, and there were four stalls to accommodate us. As I stood in the queue it lengthened behind me. My turn came, not a second too soon, either.
I dashed in, hung my jersey on the peg (careful not to drop anything on the floor, eccch), and quickly sat down. There was action in the cage to my right and to my left. Righty was dribbling, and Lefty sounded like he was in the mop-up stages of his pre-race crump.
What happened next was astonishing. I know that it couldn’t have had anything to do with dinner the night before, which consisted of two large servings of spicy pork bulgogi, four servings of spicy kimchi, three servings of spicy cucumbers in vinegar, lots of hot herbal tea, all topped off with a big bowl of yogurt and fruit. I also know that it couldn’t have had anything to do with the fibrous breakfast I’d just eaten, the pot of hot coffee I’d just drunk, the forty-five minutes of hard pedaling to get to the race course, the extra hot cup of coffee I’d just downed, the chocolate chip cookies I’d just eaten, or the handful of dates I’d just scarfed. Nope, it couldn’t have been any of those things.
But it might have been all of them combined, because I let out an enormous braaaaaack, then a whummmmmp, then a staccato tackatackatackatacka fusillade of small arms fire, then a massive flurlurlurlurlurrrrrrp discharge of the River Ganges that sounded like a waterfall filled with raisins and dates, then a high-pitched bibibibibibiiiiii whine like a bottle rocket, then another deep whummmmmp, and then an airy, balloon-emptying blaaaaaat, terminating with a pfssssssssst.
It all happened in the clench of a sphincter, and after the racket subsided and the sounds stopped bouncing off the inside of the plastic shell, I realized that all around me there was…nothing. Righty was silent. Lefty was silent. All chatter and banter outside the cage had gone mute.
Before I had time to get embarrassed, the second movement of my public symphony commenced. This time it began with the fusillade, went straight to whump, and finished with the blaaat, which sounded like a kid trying to blow a proper note on a trumpet for the first time, and failing.
I pulled up my shorts and bravely opened the door. Thirty or so awed and very frightened bike racers stood there, all but a couple averting their gaze. No matter that they all had to go so badly that they were tap dancing in their cleats, not a single person moved towards my potty, which was now vacant.
I looked straight at Mr. Next In Line. “Might want to give that ‘un a second or two to air out,” I said.
He nodded, pale, and didn’t budge.
Oh, the race?
Since I’d already won Pro 1/2/3/4/5/Masters/Women’s/Juniors’ potty competition, the race was anticlimactic. I attacked a couple of time, chased a couple of breaks, and went for a no-hoper solo flyer on the last lap which ended the same way such boneheaded moves always do: Caught with half a lap to go, dropped by the supercharged field, and rolling across the finish DFL many seconds in arrears.
After the race I rode over to my office in Torrance to work for a few hours. “Work” of course involved checking out the photos taken by Kristy and Haldane the day before.
There were some great ones. Me quitting the race in ignominy. Mike Easter winning in his national champion’s kit. Jeff Konsmo sprinting for the win. The local Pearblossom tweeker driving around, flipping off cyclists, and telling them to “ride on the sidewalk.” [Author’s note: The nearest sidewalk is 47 miles away, in Los Angeles.]
After a few minutes, one thing became obvious. The same thing that’s obvious after every race: People were stealing the photos.
Can we call it what it is?
When a photographer takes a picture, and you take it without their permission, it’s stealing. It’s no different from taking someone’s money, or their spare wheelset, or their wallet.
Virtually all of the local race photographers have their photos in a gallery on Smugmug or some similar site. This means you can go to the gallery, PAY FOR THE PHOTO, and then download it. It often costs a whole two or three dollars.
But bike racers being bike racers, the trend is to steal the image, remove the watermark, and then use it as a profile picture or main feature on a team web site. Why don’t the thieving thieves consider this thievery? Because they have figured it out in their own minds that it’s not stealing. Here’s how they rationalize the theft:
- “I gave the photographer credit for the photo.” Nice. So you not only stole it, you rubbed his nose in it. Photo thieves think there’s this giant Photo Credit Bank in the sky, where, as long as you “give the photographer credit,” the bank rains money down on them. Guess what? There is no Photo Credit Bank. Guess what else? Just because you admit you stole something doesn’t mean you didn’t steal it.
- “I’m helping promote their work. It gets their name out.” Right. Kind of like how you promote Michael Jackson by illegally downloading his music without paying for it and then play it to “get his name out?” Or the way you promote Steven Spielberg by ripping off his movies? That kind of “promotion” is called “stealing.”
- “They don’t care. They’re just glad we appreciate their work.” Yes, they do care. And you’re not appreciating it. You’re stealing it. If you appreciated it, you’d pay for it.
- “It’s part of their cost of doing business. They sell some of those photos, which makes up for the ones they don’t sell.” Exactly. In retail it’s called “shrinkage,” or, more technically, “shoplifting.” It’s a cost of doing business all right, the cost of crime.
- “So sue me.” Glad you brought that up. Check out these links to find out the kind of hot water that can be boiled up around your tender parts for stealing pictures: Blogger sued for infringement; Company sued for photo theft; Ways you can get hosed using images without permission.
So what’s a feller to do?
When one of our local photographers takes your picture as you battle it out for 37th place in the Masters 75+ race, tags you on Facebook, and it pops up as a notification, check it out and see if you like it. If you do, go the web site and buy a copy. But don’t take it, strip the watermark, and use it as your profile picture. After you’ve bought it, it’s good form to confirm with the photographer how you plan to use it and that they approve. It’s not only polite, it could keep you out of hot water, and most importantly it will keep them coming to the races and making us the beneficiaries of their superlative work.
If you’ve got hundreds of photos on your Facebook page, take a minute to scroll through them and make sure that if they’re race photos you haven’t copied and pasted without buying or getting permission. One or two falling through the cracks might be understandable, but more than that and it’s a pattern. A bad one.
None of this is supposed to be an explanation of your legal rights, or, Dog forbid, legal counsel. Rather, it’s a plea to quit ripping off your friends, and if you’ve ripped them off by mistake, or in error…correct the mistake. You’ll find that money, timely paid, covers a multitude of sins.
If you’re ever in doubt, ask first. You’ll be glad you did, and they’ll be even more so.
And if you need a quiet place to sit down and think all this over, just don’t go into Stall No. 3.
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January 18, 2013 § 11 Comments
As of today I’m free at last, free at last, thank Dog almighty I’m free at last. “Why?” you ask. Because henceforth when I get asked The Question(s) about The Cyclist I get to say, after thoughtfully furrowing my brow, this: “Well, it’s a good question. I suggest you go out and ride your bicycle in order to answer it.”
Elbow testing: Junkyard thwacked his rebuilt elbow yesterday at the start of the NPR, right where the electronic circuitry connected to the shoulder bone, which was connected to the brain bone, which was connected to the new PV Kit bone, which got shredded and tore a hole bigger than Dallas. The ‘bow, however, is rock solid minus a touch of cosmetic road wear. They DID build him better than he was before.
Bellyflop: Neumann/aka Hockeystick/now known as “Belly” did a track stand at the turnaround on the NPR, had his wheel chopped, and tumbled off his bicycle. No harm done, and he was quickly helped by Rahsaan. He did, however, bounce when he hit. I’ve never seen that before. Belly, time to try the South Bay Wanker Diet. It’s painful, but it works and it’s free. PS: Track stands in the middle of swirling roadie packs = Numbskullish.
First blood: Charon Smith scored his first win of the year at Ontario last week, finishing so far ahead of the field that he had time to completely recover from his sprint effort and shave his head by the time he crossed the line. The finish photo shows everyone with teeth gritted, faces twisted, bodies hunched over the bars looking like they’re running from a zombie army, and Charon with arms raised, mouth closed, and no visible signs of exertion as he cruises to the win. I’m pretty sure there were some intense post-race team huddles at MRI/Monster Media, and they went like this:
“Don’t ever let it finish in a bunch sprint again, dogdammit!”
“I told you we’re going to have to break away to win! Only way to outsprint Charon is by making him do the 1/2 races, where he belongs.”
“We can’t have him in a break, ever!”
“At CBR we’ll attack the entire race until we get away!”
“If we work together with the other 99 riders in the race, we might have a chance!”
By the way, good luck with that plan!
Get ready for CBR: The first South Bay crit of the year happens on Sunday when Chris Lotts puts on the Dominguez Hills Anger Crit Thingy. Please show up to support local road racing in SoCal. Yes, you’ll be pack meat, just like last year. So what?
Winter’s over: The South Bay endured seven (some say eight) days of brutal winter this month, where early temperatures got down to 39, and the highs never crested 65. Thankfully, the bitter temperatures are over, and we’re slowly returning to lows in the high 40’s, highs in the high 70’s. Don’t put away your heavy winter clothing yet, but for sure rotate it to the back of the closet.
Bad wind news: G$ is in Scottsdale testing his bike position in a wind tunnel. Great. A faster G$. Just what those of us in the Elderly Fellows category need.
Gitcher waffle on: The Belgian Waffle Ride is set for April 7, 2013. It will be the hardest one-day ride of the year, where chicken tactics, wheelsucking, and letting others do all the work will earn you nothing more than infamy and a purple card. This will be first and foremost a contest between you and the road. Finish it and you’ll know satisfaction!
Mad props to Dorothy: The 2012 cyclocross season has ended in SoCal, and it couldn’t have gone better or been done without the extraordinary efforts and work and innovation and enthusiasm of Dorothy Wong. I bailed after about ten races. That shit is hard. Next year, which I suppose would be this year, I’ll be in for the whole season now that I know what I’m in for. Thanks to Dorothy for making ‘cross such a success.
Equipment flail: After dissing on my Night Rider lighting system and replacing it with the tube-shaped Serfas light, I can happily report that the Serfas is far superior except that it shuts off every time I hit a bump, and after about four or five bumps it won’t restart without a 1-minute pause or longer. That’s a long-ass time when you’re bombing down VdM on Bull’s wheel at dark-thirty. For $150.00 you’d almost expect something that would work, but then you remember, “It’s an elite cycling product, so of course it’s a pile of shit unless you spend at least $500.00.”
Smooth looking skin: Since incorporating kimchi into my diet, Mrs. Wankmeister has advised me that my skin is softer, more lustrous, and gradually shedding the leathery, scaly, rough, scabbed-over look that comes with road cycling. Though I don’t give a rat’s ass about the beauty aspect, I do believe that healthier skin will stave off the skin cancer in my future for at least a year or two, and Professor Google confirms that kimchi is the wonderfood for healthy skin. The downside of course are the kimchi farts. Those things are vicious, however, they too have a beneficial effect on skin, as anyone on your wheel gets an instant facial dermal peel when one of those suckers rips into their face. You have to be careful, though, because they can also melt the polarizing slits on your expensive cycling glasses.
January 15, 2013 § 20 Comments
G3 told me on the Donut Ride a few weeks back that one of his Hollywood producer friends followed this blog and might get in touch to retain me as a “consultant.”
This was intended to flatter me, which it did, so I told G3 that his friend was a thieving fucking douchebag, and the only reason any Hollywood anything reads so much as the wall in a public toilet is to steal it and plagiarize it to a fare thee well.
“Not my friend!” protested G3. “He’d never rip you off!” Then G3 paused. “But his partner sure would.”
So, like Douchestrong’s confession, it was PREDICTED HERE FIRST: Now, get ready for the pilot TV show based on Cycling in the South Bay, followed by the mother of all copyright infringement lawsuits.
G3, is your Hollydouche producer hosebag listening? If he steals so much as a fucking indefinite article from these hallowed columns of honeyed prose and sparkling dialogue, he’ll find himself on the reaming end of more ass-lashing litigation than there are dickstomps on a cold, wet, windy NPR.
Next blog post: Sensitive, warm, thoughtful cycling poem.
December 29, 2012 § 34 Comments
Have you ever noticed how there’s no such thing as a simple ride? Once you’re on your bike, shit happens. The reason we don’t think anything of it is because we forget most of it by the time we’re home.
Why do we forget?
Because when you’re on a bike, you’re out “in life,” where shit happens. You’re not cooped up in the car, or couch surfing, or nailed to a theater seat. You’re out in the world, going slightly more or slightly less than the speed of the world around you, unprotected from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.
So much happens so quickly, and it’s all interspersed with intense activity, that when you get home all you want to do is eat, shower, and sleep. Once that’s done, the details of the ride are a distant memory, or no memory at all.
Nothing special happened today
I met up with Jeff, Harry, and Rod for a leisurely pedal from the Center of the Known Universe to Mandeville Canyon. It was California cold, which is to say in the mid 40’s which is to say that a whole lot of cyclists stayed in bed despite the clear skies and beautiful morning.
The extra effort of pulling on a pair of booties can be, like, such a drag.
After drag racing up Mandeville, with Rod playing pacemaker until he fried, and then Jeff putting King Harold and me to sword, we turned around and descended. While clipping along San Vicente’s long, fast, straight downhill at well over 30 mph, a large magnolia seed cone fell from a limb and hit me in the face.
It was such a blow that it jerked my head back. Had it not been for my glasses, which absorbed much of the blow, my eye could have been taken out. I’ve often thought that the extra wide frame of my SPY Quanta frames afforded me extra protection, but this day proved it (insert applause for shameless plug here). As it was, I was lucky to retain control and pull over. Aside from a small cut, minor bruising, and a fine string of oaths, I was unhurt.
As we pedaled on, Jeff reminded Rod of the time that a giant piece of steel had flown up and hit him in the shin. “Remember that?” asked Jeff.
As if anyone ever forgets excruciating pain! “Oh, hell yes,” said Rod. His entire shin swelled up, he’d had to dismount, doubled over in pain…it was quite epic. Pain filled. Memorable.
This of course recalled insect bites. “Remember when that dude got stung in the eye by a bee?”
“Yeah, and his whole body swelled up like a giant grapefruit, and EMS had to come and take him off to the ER.”
“Or what about the time we were riding along and almost got hit by that piano?”
Everyone nodded, recalling the near disaster when a piano fell out of the back of a truck, bouncing along the tarmac at 50 mph, keyboard, legs, and chunks of wood flying like spears, scattering the terrified peloton.
“What about when G$ went over the guardrail at 40?”
“Or when Hottie hit that giant rock going down the Switchbacks at speed?”
“Remember when the angry driver got out and pulled a pistol?”
“That was scary as hell. And the naked chick on the motor scooter?”
“Ten stars! What about the time Stern-O wrecked an entire frame by running over a stick and getting it caught in the rear triangle?”
“High tide on the bike path when that huge wave came over the breakwater, knocked Jack off his bike and took his water bottle out to sea.”
“Stern-O’s wipeout at speed going into Pedro. Rolled a new silk sew-up at 40 in the turn dropping down Western. What the hell was he doing with silk sew-ups on a road bike?”
“Strauchmann’s one-legged crash and bike toss that almost took out Yule’s recently repaired elbow!”
“That freddie who got bit by a rattlesnake while changing a flat up on Piuma.”
“That dude who stomped off in the weeds to take a leak and found a small pot farm.”
“All those condoms and underwear in a neat pile underneath the bridge.”
Pretty soon we were home. And except for the punch in the face by the falling seed cone that almost blinded me and caused a horrific crash, it was a perfectly normal day.