Chunk it good

March 1, 2019 § 9 Comments

It is a lot more painful than I thought it was going to be, getting rid of books, especially since they are all about cycling. For example, this gem:

This is a great play about local cycling team LJ Velo, and how they built a new racing team so that their star sprunter, Doris Nancy, who won all her races last year, could win all her races again this year, too, but without having to wear the ugliest bicycle underwear in the biz. The patriarch of the team, David Nederland, presides over a dysfunctional family even as he has been diagnosed with hypertrophic gonadism. In the play’s climax, “Big Naddy” finally learns the truth about his gonadism while his errant daughter Doris sprunts around him for the win. Again.

I really enjoyed this book. It is about how a bike racer goes off to fight in Italy during World War I, gets wounded, gets his girlfriend pregnant, rows a boat across Lake Como to escape the Nazis (who hadn’t been invented yet), lives in a cabin, and hangs out with the woman until she dies in childbirth, allowing him to go back to his first love, CBR. Plot criticism: After rowing across Lake Como, the protagonist doesn’t steal a bike and do Il Lombardia. Lame.

This is a super twisted cycling book about a bike racer who doesn’t get along very well with his wife until she gives birth to a child with a birth defect, at which time he decides to improve the relationship by murdering the child, which will also let him get back to his first love, CBR. Unfortunately, he learns just before he murders the child that it doesn’t have a birth defect, but rather an extremely high VO2 max, so high that it is actually VO3, so he keeps the child so that it can grow up to win at Rosena Ranch. Maybe.

This post-modern poem is about a bicycle racer who goes out for a ride one night and meets a bunch of ghosts at CBR, one of whom is wearing Rapha even though he has his own clothing company, and who bears an uncanny resemblance to Diego Tenabina. Super cryptic.

This is another bicyclist-in-WWI novel. The bicyclist has two girlfriends, neither of whom likes him, and both of whom have other boyfriends on the side because all he does is talk about bike racing, and he is always too tired for sex due to posing on the ‘Gram, killing it on the ‘Bag, and occasionally riding his bike but only when it is sunny. (Book was originally published as “Pillow Babies in Love and Heat.”)

This is a collection of poems from the great Chinese bike race promoter Prints, including a beautiful selection of works such as “Why is Race Participation Plummeting?” and “How Can I Charge MORE?” as well as the timeless classic “You are as Beautiful as an Industrial Park Crit.”

Well, I am going to donate all these books to the library. Tomorrow.

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Wankmeister cycling clinic #31: 7 habits of successful masters racers

January 20, 2019 § 6 Comments

I came across this excellent bit of racing advice that every aspiring masters racer will do well to peruse, then peruse again. It contains many important secrets to help you achieve your silly delusions athletic goals.

However, there are seven OTHER habits of successful masters racers that are just as important as the ones cited in this article, perhaps more so. Wanky lays it out there for your benefit, ‘cuz no one else will.

  1. Drugs. Winners cheat, and cheatin’s the new black, so wear your cheat with pride, like a Kayle LeoGrande full body tat.
  2. Fashun. You can lose the race and still win the runway. In other words, if every day ain’t New Kit Day, you’re spending way too much money on junior’s college education.
  3. The ‘Bag. You can lose the race but you cain’t ever lose the #socmed throwdown. With the right camera angle you can make that 2-second pull you took going into turn four on the third lap look just as juicy as the dogs who were actually sprinting for the win, 45 minutes later.
  4. Stuff. You can lose the race, but you better not lose it with last year’s neutronium frame and nuclear fusion-powered drivetrain. Whatever drops in December better be bolted on and powered up when you pin on the number in January. Losing’s cool. Looking like a loser ain’t.
  5. Scusifying. No one loses who has a great excuse, and you’ll be rolling up to the line already blabbing about your season-ending case of gonorrheal gingivitis. “Just here to support the team with my doping violations,” a/k/a Strickie, yo.
  6. Micro-fields. Y’know how you’re a Cat 1 but haven’t entered a Cat 1 race since 1997? Don’t let higher math trick you into doing a race that matches your category. Instead, find the oldest races with the tiniest fields, get on the podie in a field of four, and turn that shit into ‘Bag-‘Gram gold. Wanky has done that hisself more times than he can count.
  7. Thassit. There ain’t no number seven. You lock up 1-6 and you have your masters career soiled. I mean nailed. Down.

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Tink kicks ass, doesn’t bother taking names

January 12, 2019 § 6 Comments

Local rider and professional cyclist Kristabel Doebel-Hickock, voted 2018’s Rider With The Hardest Name To Spell, stood on the podium at the end of Stage Two in the Women’s Tour Down Under yesterday.

Although she refused to credit her victory to her three or four rides with shadow coach Wanky, the editorial board here at Cycling in the South Bay was determined to take credit for her success whether it was due or not.

We called Kristabel in Australia, waking her up from a deep slumber a few hours before she had to get up and start preparing for the crucial Stage Three. “Who is this?” she asked.

“It’s me, your shadow coach.”

“Who?”

“Me, Wanky.”

“How did you get my number? And why are you calling me in the middle of the night?”

“I wanted to interview you about how I trained you into the racer you are today.”

The line went dead, but I was not deterred, so I began calling my sources in the South Bay, riders who had played a pivotal role in developing Tink into one of the most feared riders in the pro peloton. My first call was to Chief, the man who had discovered Tink one day as she pedaled along the bike path.

“Yo, Chief, Wanky here. Did you see the story about Tink?”

“I did, indeed.”

“Could you say a few words about how you discovered her?”

“Sure. I’ll never forget it. She passed me on the bike path one day and I immediately recognized world class talent, so I rode up to her to give her some advice.”

“What was the advice?”

“I was going to tell her she was talented and should join a development club like Team Lizard Collectors.”

“Then what happened?”

“Nothing. I was breathing so hard when I caught up I couldn’t talk. She saw a greasy old man sweating last night’s hangover profusely out of every pore, and sprinted away.”

“Got it.” Next I phoned up the rider who had taught her more than anyone, Team Lizard Collector’s legendary Dear Leader, G3. “Yo, G3. Tink killed it at the Tour Down Under yesterday. Any quotes about how you taught her everything she knows?”

“Of course, of course. First I put her on a rigid schedule. Mondays off. Tuesdays LT efforts for 2 hours. Wednesdays big ring intervals up Via del Monte. Thursdays NPR with sprints. Fridays easy spin. Saturdays Donut Ride. Sundays 2 x 2 pacelines to the Rock at 75% of threshold.”

“And then what happened?”

“I dunno. She did the Monday day off that I advised and then got a coach. I only rode with her a couple of times after that.”

“And is that when you shared your wisdom with her?”

“Sort of. But she kept dropping me so I couldn’t really talk much.”

“Check. Thanks, bro.” Next I called up Psycho Mike. “Yo, Mike. Wanky here. Didja see the news about Tink?”

“You betcha.”

“Any choice quotes about how you helped her become the great rider she is today?”

“After the restraining order I couldn’t really help her that much.”

“Oh, right. Thanks.” Finally I rang up G$. “Yo, Money. You see the news about Tink?”

“Hellz!”

“Can you give me a coupla quotes about how you trained her to be one of the world’s best?”

“Wanky,” he said. “Genes.”

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2019 Paris-Roubaix moves to office park

November 24, 2018 § 5 Comments

Due to safety concerns regarding grass growing between the pave in the Arenberg Trench, race organizer ASO has made the decision to move next year’s Paris-Roubaix to an office park.

“Arenberg is too dangerous,” said Pierre Chateaubriand-Camembert, head of Les Amis de Paris-Roubaix, the organization responsible for maintaining the pave on the race’s historic cobbled sections. “People can get hurt.”

Although organizers considered covering the pave with asphalt, widening the roads, and holding the race only during sunny weather, Les Amis ultimately concluded that the traditional parcours was simply “Trop dangereuse.”

“We find that excellent race conditions, indeed, the best in the world, are currently in Californie du Sud, where Le Office Park and Le CBR make for the most exciting bicycle racing anywhere. The time has come to retire the pave,” said Chateubriand-Camembert.

Local fans were displeased but understanding. “Yes, it has a hundred year history and many great moments, but now everyone is doped, controlled by a radio, and measuring every effort with a power meter. What difference does it make?” asked Jean-Claude Michelin, a long-time spectator.

Belgian fan Wout Wouthout was skeptical. “At this office park, I have one question. Can we buy beer there, vomit on ourselves, and pass out in the ditch?”

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A star is born!

November 12, 2018 § 30 Comments

The worst thing about masters doping scandals is that there is nothing even vaguely scandalous about them. Outrage? At what? Some narcissistic, saggy old fart stealing money from other narcissistic, saggy old farts?

In the case of Steven Strickler, the latest in a hoary line of SoCal masters “athletes” to get busted for doping, there is not much I can add. I’ve raced with Strychnine for about ten years and have never beaten him when it mattered. He couldn’t climb but like Meeker the Beaker and Tatty-Poo LeoGrande, he could sure race an old farts’ crit.

The last few years I always wondered how a guy who looked well into his third trimester could consistently get on the podium. “Experience. Savvy. A lifetime of bike racing,” I always thought as I eyed his prodigious gut. It never occurred to me that aw-shucks, Gomer Pyle Strickler was a drug cheat, which is my way of saying “I am a complete fucking moron.”

This past year he stood on the podium a bunch, often on the top step. I was always impressed when he showed up with his monster gut, fit as a beach ball, and still somehow made the split. “Talent and a lifetime of bike racing,” It didn’t occur to me to add, “and a whole bunch of banned drugs.”

Although I always assume the very worst about anyone who races a bike, not limited to doping, Strychnine never seemed like a doper. First, my theory has always been that the vast majority of dopers are in the middle and end of the field. Second, the people who invariably get on my radar are the donkeys who grow the legs of a racehorse, like this wanker who I wrote about a while ago and is still just killing it. You know, the guy who can barely hang on one year and is dragging the field around like a tin can a few months later.

Strychnine was also disarmingly aw-shucks. Unlike The Beaker, who made you want to take a shower after talking with him, or like Tatty-Poo, who had the silent churn of a guy thinking about how to immediately exercise his 2nd Amendment rights, Strychnine was a grinning goofy dude who was savvy and quick.

Team statement

Now I’m waiting for the team’s statement. Something along the lines of “Steve is a complete fuckhead for tainting all of us, ripping off promoters and competitors, and doing it in our team colors.” Uh, yeah. Ain’t gonna happen. Just like when The Beaker got the boot and everyone over at Amgen kind of mumbled and then went on about their business. “Rich who? Oh, the guy we’ve been racing with for ten years? Him? Uh, I dunno, man. I had noooo idea.”

What team is Steve on, you may be wondering? None other than the G3 Foundation, a non-profit that allegedly supports clean groundwater projects in poor countries. I say “alleged” because here’s the organization’s info on Guidestar. Oh, and super cozily, Strickler is also CEO of the company that shares the non-profit’s name. Lots of transparency here, folks.

As you cruise through G3 Foundation and Strickler’s FB page, they are simply carrying on as usual. No comment about Steve’s cheating, no comment about Steve tainting the entire team, zip. Why? Because no one on the team feels tainted? Racing with, sponsored by, and buddies with a drug cheat is no big deal? Huh.

But don’t get too bothered by this “business as usual” approach because it’s simply business as usual. Doping so thoroughly part of the SoCal masters racing scene that if it is ever eradicated, the fields will be thin, indeed. Oh, what I am I saying? THEY ALREADY ARE. As the threat of having to pee in a cup gets more real, gran fondos and The Stravver look lots better. Strickie is a cheat, a dude who would gladly dope for the thrill of a win, but what does it say about all the people who simply mumble and carry on?

Hint: Nothing good.

A brief history of SoCal Masters Doping

The illustrious list of masters cheats includes Rich Meeker, Nick Brandt-Sorenson, Kayle LeoGrande, and now Steve Strickler. With the exception of Brandt-Sorenson, whose “about” section on his clothing web site says that he “stopped racing 14 years later after competing against some of the world’s top professional cyclists” (AND WHY WAS THAT, NICKY?), these guys have won a whole bunch of races.

On the bright side, Strychnine’s demise may hasten one worthy goal, which is the total collapse of masters racing. Although I’m not hopeful enough to think it will spill over to the aged track cheaters competing for a “world champion” jersey as they out-dope two other feeble riders for their “world champion” title, perhaps this bust will add one more nail to the coffin of USAC-sanctioned masters cheating, uh, I mean, racing.

Chris Lotts, one of most offensive people to ever promote a bike race and therefore perfect for the job, had it right when he identified masters racing as the sport’s predominant cancer. Mast-holes suck time, attention, and money from the only area that can possibly sustain competitive cycling–juniors and Cat 5/4 racer recruitment and development.

Was I the only person who noted the sick contrast of having the #fakeworld #masterstrackchampionships at the same time that America’s underfunded, largely ignored elite track program was in town? The same program gunning for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with #3 in the world omnium racer Daniel Holloway? Is there any incongruity there? Guess not … better hit the boards hard to get my rainbow jersey as I beat that other 70-year-old.

Witness the absurd lengths to which mast-hole road racing has metastasized, even as events vanish and new rider numbers implode. Mast-hole teams demand and get bikes, clothing, and equipment discounts when college clubs are groveling for $500 sponsorships to defray gas costs. National road champions like Justin Williams have to compete for resources with guys who “race” in the 55+ category.

But you can feel good about your membership on G3 because they are helping poor people get clean drinking water. They say. And what’s a few injectables when we are saving lives over in Africa? Africa is a country right? Well, they’re saving people somewhere.

If anything, everyone with a USAC license who is over the age of 40, if not 35, should shred his/her license and donate the money to a junior or a Cat 5/4 rider. Why? Because you can’t possibly have any reasonable doubt left that old fart races are rife with cheaters.

Probably would have lost anyway

The fact is that the winning dopers, without drugs, wouldn’t have won as much. But they still would have won. Bike racing is too much a combination of smarts and strength for a few injections to put you over the top. Look at Icarus Wankarus, the documentary that exposed the Russian Sochi doping program, if you want to understand the old adage that you can’t make a donkey into a racehorse.

Filmmaker and super donkey Brian Fogel did everything right in his quest to dope to victory and he still sucked. Why? Because he fucking sucked, and people who fucking suck can’t buy the podium with a syringe.

Strychnine, The Beaker, Tatty Poo, and Thorfinn-Assquat were good bike racers. If they had stayed off the juice they wouldn’t have won as much, and some of the glory would have been spread around a bit more, if glory is what you call winning $50 while standing atop a wooden box and being buffeted by a sandstorm in the desert as absolutely NO ONE looks on or gives two broken fucks.

Every year ya gotta re-up

No matter what anyone says, after a certain number of years #fakeracing bikes, you find yourself asking the hard questions as you contemplate forking over money for yet another overpriced USAC racing license. Questions like this:

  1. Why am I such a moron?
  2. What is wrong with me?
  3. What normal person could possibly enjoy this?
  4. Why can’t I quit?
  5. Would someone shoot me now?

As the circle of douchebag cheaters gets bigger and bigger, what possible reason is there to continue? The scenery at the brokedown bizpark crit?

For this worn out old shoe, there is no reason. At least I can thank Steve Strickler for finally showing me the door.

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Screenshot (56)_LI

See ya, President Sausage

October 15, 2018 § 2 Comments

It was a sad day for bike racing in SoCal when Robert Efthimos stepped down as president of Velo Club La Grange, but probably not a sad day for President Sausage. After four years of handling the grit, the nit, and the shit that comes with being the figurehead of the biggest racing club in the U.S. and the one with the oldest pedigree on the West Coast, there is no way on earth he can possibly regret not having to deal with emails like this:

Yo, Sausage. My kit that I got two years ago and only have 20,000 miles on has a thread loose on the left inside lower leg panel. Can I get these defective bib shorts replaced?

How do I know he got emails like that? Easy. Because that’s a copy of one I sent.

Of course it’s not true that being El Presidente is thankless. Everyone who knows what the job entails thanks their lucky stars that it was he, not they, who was on a firing line where every shit pistol was loaded, cocked, and aimed at your inbox.

Sausage legacy

Different people will appreciate different aspects of what Robert brought to the job. Some will praise his diplomacy, pointing out that in four years he never shouted, screamed, pulled hair (his own or others), or tossed anyone out of a window.

A different executive would have had heads on platters if someone had tanked up the bitchin’ Mercedes-Benz Sprinter customized race van with gasoline instead of diesel, but not President Sausage. He realized that to err is human, but to colossally fuck up is simply in the nature of bike racers borrowing someone else’s car/bike/race wheels/spouse/etc.

Others will point to President Sausage’s skillful ability to manage and organize teams. Under his watch VCLG’s racing results skyrocketed and race participation blossomed. The women’s racing squad got every bit as much attention as the men’s, and more when it was called for.

Robert always knew how and when to say “thank you,” how to give credit to others, how to leverage the goodwill and dollars of sponsors, how to make sure that the club contributed to broader social and cycling advocacy issues, how to integrate safety and education into the know-it-all culture of competitive cycling, how to have opinions without being judgmental, how to pump up club events like the legendary La Grange Cup, how to accommodate non-racers in a racing club, and how to show respect and appreciation to every member regardless of how fast they rode or what kind of rig they pedaled. Oh, and he was a kick-ass herder of cats.

That’s all well and good. So thank you, President Sausage.

But for my part I appreciated something else.

Watt’s it all about, Alfie?

Robert Efthimos was — and is — a fuggin’ bike racer.

He is a nice guy, sure. Diplomatic, yes. Sharper than any razor. Hell, yes.

But in the competitive sphere he always brought his very best, and as president of a racing club, that is what made the difference. Whether on NPR, Amalfi, the NOW ride, sojourns to the South Bay’s Donut Ride, Telo, or racing the weekend crits, Robert was a fuggin’ bike racer, and a good one.

My best recent memory of him was this year when he magically appeared on the Flog Ride after a 2-year absence. Unbeknownst to me, he was a week away from a state TT attempt and wanted to put the final edge on his blade. He shredded the course (and us) and set a top-10 overall time on a segment that has been raced full gas by national champions.

Not sure how he did in the TT, but I don’t care. He never hesitated to do the hard rides and do his cutthroat best to win.

In my opinion this is part of why he had such credibility and respect among racers and non-racers alike. Ultimately if you are the head of a racing club and you don’t race, everything you say will be heard with an asterisk.

When President Sausage spoke–always in a normal tone of voice, with patience and perspective, there was invariably an exclamation mark at the end, the explanation mark that you can only write with your legs.

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sausage_pain

Business plan

June 30, 2018 § 7 Comments

Here’s the USAC bike racing value proposition:

Day of the week: Saturday/Sunday

Wake up time: 5:00 AM

Departure time: 7:00 AM

Drive time: 1.5 hours

Entry fee: $40.00 (“service fee” if you pre-reg, late fee if you sign up day-of)

Drive time: 2-3 hours on LA freeway weekend traffic

Return time: 3:00/4:00 PM

Gas: $20.00

Lunch: $20.00


For all this you get:

45 minutes of bike racing

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