Shocking *yawn* news

November 6, 2019 § 9 Comments

Wisdom is called wisdom because it has been proven over time. Those who intentionally ignore wisdom are fools.

The only advice that Eddy Merckx ever gives people who want to know how to become better is this: “Ride your bike more.”

And hard on the heels of his protege’s junior world road title, Olympian and Lux coach Roy Knickman said this: “Our program is based on lots of riding and lots of racing.”

Contrast that with the programs offered up by most experts and local club “coaches,” programs whose only heavy lifting involves social media preening, wattage prescriptions, “controlled” rides presided over by a “ride boss,” and admonitions to not “overtrain.”

How the fuck can you overtrain when you don’t even train? That’s what I want to know. Fields would have scoffed at this like you can’t imagine.

And when it comes to doing local, hardass events like BWR, Phil’s Double Fudge, Nosco, the Full Fig, why aren’t these rides packed with people trying to get better?

So you can imagine how stoked I was to learn that the NPR was extended to five laps to make it safer (questionable) and harder (UNQUESTIONABLE). Of course the West Siders still play hop-in wanker by shaving off the start of the ride, and numerous of them still only do four or even three laps, but the pack is smaller, the speeds are higher, and if you aren’t on your game you’re gonna come unstitched like a cheap pair of bib shorts.

Enter Exhibit 1 of “I guess in order to go faster I will have to work harder,” a/k/a Denis Faye.

Denis is one of those midlife crisis dudes who discovered cycling as an alternative to life’s headaches, and over the last few years just keeps getting stronger. His signature move is to NOT dick around on the NPR but to hit out hard, hit out early, and devil-take-the-hindmost.

He used to get caught and dropped a lot but now? Not so much.

Yesterday he opened the festivities with a fist to the mouth and was followed by Wes Morgan, barely recovered from Nosco on Sunday. They rolled away fast. Their “neutral zone” is back in bed.

On Pershing, SoCal’s fastest and strongest rider, Evens Stievenart, dropped a bunker buster on the peloton, strung it out to 35, and the chase was on. West Side hop-in-wankers glommed on at the Parkway, there were a series of counterpunches that shattered the group, and Jeff Mahin rolled with Evens in tow, or vice versa.

They caught Denis and Wes, eventually shelled Wes, and Denis hung on by a meat thread for five entire laps. The peloton chased its brains out and never got close. I was shelled on the first lap and only re-glommed thanks to a stop light. I got shelled again on the third lap and again re-attached thanks to the traffic signals. Later on I mercifully flatted and was able to rest before playing hop-in-wanker myself and catching the group for the last lap and a half.

Denis made it to the finish with two of the strongest riders in LA, not because he’s any good, not because he’s a wattage maven, not because he has a structured ride program, but because he rides a lot, races ‘cross on the weekends, is grittier than a EULA, and isn’t afraid to go all-out.

That’s how it used to be, folks.

That’s how it still is.

It’s called “wisdom” because it works.

END


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Poke the bear

October 11, 2019 § 6 Comments

There are lots of rules in cycling. One of those rules is, “In the sprunt, get out of the way.”

This is the rule for 99% of riders. If you are not leading someone out or getting ready to unleash your killer sprunt, you are in the way. You are a “clogstacle.”

As a career clogstacle, I understand how this works. On the last lap of the NPR #fakerace, I tenaciously grab the wheel of EA Sports, Inc. People try to horn in but I elbow them out of the way.

With 1k to go the pace goes from torrid to unbearable. People are now fighting like mad for any shelter from the wind and are ready to kill in order to latch onto the wheel of EA Sports, Inc.

This is when I stand up, take my briefcase off the overhead rack, and quietly shuffle to the back of the bus while the real racers do their thing, i.e. risk death and catastrophic injury for the massive jolt of hormones that are released when you kill the mastodon with your sharpened stick.

Fortunately, there is constant churn at the #fakerace, and someone is always having to learn the Rule of Clogstacles. Last Tuesday the scholar-in-training was Aaron Somebody in a USC team kit.

There were a mere 400 meters to go and hardly anyone was left in the tattered front group. EA Sports, Inc., was locked onto the wheel of Dante Young as Davy Dawg wrapped it up so that the tires were whining like a cur getting beaten with an iron rod.

At this very inopportune moment, the USC rider decided that where he really wanted to be was where EA Sports, Inc. was, and physics not readily allowing two bodies to occupy Dante’s wheel at the same time, USC Boy did what any self-respecting sprunter would do. He leaned into EA Sports, Inc. to nudge him off the wheel.

Unfortunately, dense masses of muscle and ice cream do not nudge easily, and EA Sports, Inc. nudged back, sending USC Boy off on a somewhat different line of travel.

Undeterred, USC Boy came back to the buffet line to see if he could get another helping. This time the nudge was more of a hard bang, but dense muscle and ice cream and a 20-lb. weight advantage and a 150-lb. meanness advantage weren’t impressed.

EA Sports, Inc. moved his bars forward and then drifted back a few inches so that now the two gentlemen’s handlebars were locked together. “What do you think you’re doing?” EA Sports, Inc. politely inquired.

“That’s my wheel,” USC Boy said.

“I don’t see your name on it,” EA Sports, Inc. replied.

As the speed hit the mid-30’s and the actual sprunt was about to occur, and as EA Sports, Inc. was in the clear position to slightly twiggle his bars and send USC boy somersaulting atop the pavement, USC Boy relaxed on the pedals, the bars unhooked, and EA Sports, Inc. went flying around Dante for the immortal, unforgettable, legendarily mythic NPR #fakerace #fakewin.

I quit observing, folded up my Hubble telescope, and caught up to the scraggle at the light. EA Sports, Inc. and USC Boy were having what is often called an animated discussion but in cycling means “almost coming to blows” about who did what when how and why.

USC Boy tried to explain that he wanted to improve, that he was seeking instruction from the master, that he only wanted to rectify misunderstandings, but at the same time was insisting that EA Sports, Inc. had opened up a bit of a gap that he was merely trying to exploit.

“Dude,” EA Sports, Inc. said, “there was a massive gap all right.” He pointed his thumb at me. “But it wasn’t at the sharp end of the spear.”

USC Boy considered that for a moment, nodded, and went off to the university for what was presumably his second round of schooling for the day.

END


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Rolling thunder

August 29, 2019 § 2 Comments

Let me die free.

Let me die like this: hammering off the front on the world’s dumbest and most exhilarating group ride ever, the New Pier Ride.

Let me die like this: helmetless, the wind blowing through the locks that I yet have, by colpons oon and oon, my hairless enemies gnashing their teeth, eating their livers in my wake.

Let me die like this: young and enthusiastic riders, not beaten down by conformity and fear of death, bridging up and refueling the break with the force of twenty bulls.

Let me die like this: pinned on Ramon’s wheel as Pornstache passes, hye on hors he sat, frame too big, catching wind as a spinnaker, throwing watts onto the pedals like copious ocean foam upon the rocks.

Let me die like this: John Candy Trump ignominiously cutting the course and reappearing out of the neighborhood just in time to blow by him, my caboose latched onto the Pornstache Express.

Let me die like this: a thousand slow deaths as Ramon and Pornstache take turns motoring even farther from the dejected and dispirited group.

Let me die like this: face bismotered and slathered in, uh, pain.

Contorted in awful misery, yo.

Let me die like this: the end in sight, having saved every ounce left in these old bones, punching once and dislodging the raging bull.

Let me die like this: watching the bull counter and ride away.

Let me die like this: with Pornstache slapping his ass in the universal bikespeak of “hang on, hang on, hang on.”

Let me die like this: the Pornstache catch, the raging bull fade, and the leadout at every punishing mile per hour that Pornstache’s legs can churn.

Let me die like this: coming around with every ounce of strength in my sagging body, gifted the #fakewin at the #fakerace by a #truefriend, arms raised in the #fakesalute, all caught on video by Fran Sur in the LAX police follow car.

Let me die free.

END

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Did you do the NPR?

July 9, 2019 § 8 Comments

There has been a lot of discussion lately about what the NPR actually is. I am not good with flow charts and stuff, but what follows might help you out if you are wondering whether you really did the NPR.

Did you start at the Manhattan Beach Pier?

NO — You did not do the NPR.

YES — You might have done the NPR.

Did you leave at 6:40 AM?

NO — You did not do the NPR.

YES — You might have done the NPR.

Did you turn right at Imperial?

YES — You did not do the NPR.

NO — You might have done the NPR.

Did you wait for the group at the top of Pershing?

YES — You for sure did not do the NPR.

NO — You might have done the NPR.

Did you get dropped, cut across the Parkway, then hop back in with the group, a/k/a Hop-in Wanker?

YES — Don’t even think about saying you did the NPR.

NO — You might have done the NPR.

Did you run a red light?

YES — You might have done the NPR.

NO — You might have done the NPR.

When you ran the red light(s), were you in a breakaway or solo OTF?

NO — You didn’t do the NPR.

YES — You might have done the NPR.

Did Elijah yell at you?

NO — You need to do more action to get noticed.

YES — You might have done the NPR.

Did you peel off on Lap 3 so you could watch the finish?

YES — You did not do the NPR.

NO — You might have done the NPR.

Did you complete all four laps plus Pershing plus VdM plus the Alley?

NO — You didn’t do the NPR. Sorry.

YES — Go ahead, post it up on the ‘Bag, the Gram, and the Stravver. You did the NPR.


END

No place for old men. Or women.

March 6, 2019 § 17 Comments

I went to the NPR yesterday and hung on for dear life.

All the people drilling, grilling, and killing were twenty years younger, at least.

All the old farts who used to line it out at the front were cowering, grabbing wheels, wondering when the root canal was going to end.

A whole second NPR has formed now, the Old Fux NPR, consisting of Great-grandfather Time Timmy G., Jim H., and a whole bunch of superannuated bristlecone pines who plod around the course with various hangers-out and hangers-on.

I’ll be joining them before long, it seems.

I can see how some people get depressed at the harsh reality of their doddering weakness and infirmity, and deal with it by riding somewhere else, or creating a secret OF Ride, buying a cruiser bike, or finally, finally, getting serious about golf.

For me, it’s a breath of fresh blast-furnace air to get pummeled by crazy strong riders in their 20’s and 30’s, because that is how it is supposed to be. It is nice to be reminded of the true order of things, which is this:

You get old, you get weak, and you die, if you’re lucky. If you’re unlucky, you just die.

Major Bob and I were laughing about it on the parade pedal back to the coffee shop. “I don’t even know who these young guys are,” he said.

“And I’m pretty sure they don’t know who we are, either.”

“Or who we were.”

“Yeah. It’s just, ‘Get out of the way, old fuck. Your senior citizen seat is at the back of the bus.'”

“That’s the way we were, too.”

“Yep.”

_______________________________

END

Boyz badly beaten

December 29, 2018 § 5 Comments

Today CitSB sat down with Lauren Mulwitz after her amazing NPR #fakerace #fakewin on Thursday in order to get her take on this hard-fought battle.

CitSB: So, you’re now the second woman to ever win the NPR. How does it feel? Best feeling in the world?

LM: Second best.

CitSB: Right. How did it unfold?

LM: There were a bunch of riders and I beat them.

CitSB: Yes, got it. What happened exactly?

LM: Everyone pedaled hard and went crazy fast.

CitSB: Yes?

LM: But I went just a little faster.

CitSB: Um, okay. What about the strategy? How did you pull it off?

LM: I pedaled as hard as I could.

CitSB: Is it true that Charon was in the field?

LM: I think so. They were behind me so I don’t really know.

CitSB: Ouch! And Evens? Did you beat Evens, too?

LM: I don’t know. Was he back there?

CitSB: Ouuuuuuch! Ouch!

LM: Look, it was NPR. I don’t know who all was there.

CitSB: Oh, that is painful, just painful. So how did it unfold?

LM: Cressey and some really strong dude bridged on the golf course bump and the pack didn’t chase. They let me have it.

CitSB: Riiiiiiight. Kind of like a late Christmas gift?

LM: Yes, I guess so.

CitSB: Because everyone on NPR is so nice and friendly and loves to see women win?

LM: Well …

CitSB: Nice job out there.

LM: Thanks!

CitSB: But don’t go beat all the guys again, okay? Please?

END

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Work together!

December 2, 2018 § 1 Comment

Cyclists often have a conflicted relationship with law enforcement. This is because law enforcement often does not give so much as one-tenth of a broken fuck about cyclists. They often don’t know the law, don’t care about the law, and have even been known to willfully ignore it to the detriment of the cyclist.

My best worst memory was having a Hayes County sheriff’s deputy outside of Buda pull his service revolver and point it at my head as I tried to escape by riding off in a bar ditch. I fell over so he didn’t have to kill me for failing to pull over.

But it’s not always that way. There are cops out there who know the law, and even more unicorn-ish, cops who actually cycle.

One of those cops is officer Fran Sur. And he’s the classic example of why it matters to have law enforcement on your side.

Last week on the NPR an apparently crazed and/or insane and/or drug-addled and/or drunken driver came close to mowing down the group. He then flipped a u-turn and had a second go, which thankfully came to naught.

Officer Sur, who works for the LAX PD, was immediately on the scene and helped apprehend the suspect. It’s not the first time he has gone above and beyond to make sure that cyclists are respected on Westchester Parkway. An avid and dedicated triathlete (forgiven, dude), and member of Big Orange, he’s an example of what happens when cops and cyclists are one and the same.

Nor is he the only one. Many cops ride, a few of them race, and they are dedicated to making sure that the laws are fairly enforced, not just against cyclists, but against drivers, too.

END

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