June 18, 2015 § 24 Comments
So, this little gem just came in over the transom, edited by me for brevity and clarity …
At the past NCNCA Board of Directors meeting, a motion was approved by the board regarding out-of-district racers taking part in NCNCA District Championship events moving forward.
For Northern Caifornial/Northern Nevada Championship events, the NCNCA will allow riders to participate who are ineligible for the championships, but the designation “Champion” and any awards/jerseys involved in that designation will be awarded only to riders who are licensed in the Northern California/Northern Nevada USAC District.
The vote was unanimous.
Not much to add, except this: Hats off to Tim Burgess, the NCNCA board, and all of the NorCal riders who supported this decision. You folks are awesome, and thank you for not firebombing my apartment.
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June 15, 2015 § 14 Comments
When people sniffing around the edges of competitive cycling ask me about bike racing, I always tell them this: Preparation is key.
Not, of course, that there are any such people, but if there were that is what I would tell them.
And of all the critical preparations, none is more important than nutrition. Since Mrs. WM abandoned me for a 3-month orgy of Japanese food and home cooking courtesy of her mom, the world’s best cook in a nation of great cooks, I have been making do admirably because nutritional preparation is key to major races like the CBR crit #6.
This is a major race even though, despite diligently promoting the hell out of it and shaking the crust off my teammates to get them to show up, CHRIS LOTTS STILL HASN’T COMPED A SINGLE FUGGIN’ RACE ENTRY.
Anyway, I wanted to do well at this race and so I prepared nutritionally for it. However, the day before the race we were running low on food, well, actually we’ve been running low on food for a long time now since I’ve decided to boycott the supermarket until we eat through the stores that MRS. WM HAD LAID UP IN ANTICIPATION OF THREE NUCLEAR WINTERS.
This isn’t a contradiction; we are running low on fresh foods but not on flour, for example. You can’t have enough flour, and we don’t not have enough.
So sure, it’s going to be hard to eat all that flour, but not as hard as it will be to eat the twelve large cans of salt. So getting ready for the race meant preparing some flour and salt. Fortunately, the one thing Mrs. WM had left an ample supply of was Nestle chocolate chips. She bakes cookies once every three years, so we had twelve bags of chocolate chips in case someone needed to get diabetes over the weekend.
“Honey,” I said before she left, “please don’t go to the store and buy anything. Whatever it is, we have enough.”
“Okay,” she said.
Later that afternoon she came in, loaded down with grocery bags. “Did you just go grocery shopping?” I asked.
“I thought I asked you not to.”
“I didn’t buy any ‘food’ food.”
“What did you buy?”
“Toilet paper and chocolate chips.”
“But we already have twelve bags and I’m on a diet.”
She smiled and unloaded the bags.
The night before the race I took out the flour and butter and sugar and salt and baking soda and vanilla extract and chocolate chips and pecans, and I made a giant bowl of cookie dough for dinner. It was getting late and I didn’t feel like cooking because I wasn’t sure how the oven worked so I took out the peanut butter and Nutella jars and the remainder of the ice cream and put it all on top of the cookie dough and ate a couple of big bowls and drank some milk and a lot of coffee and then I went to bed.
The next morning I didn’t feel very good but I felt worse after breakfast, which was more cookie dough. For vegetables I sauteed an onion and some garlic and mixed it with Cheerios because I’d drunk all the milk the night before.
At the bike race I saw Prez, the most well prepared bike racer in history. He always gets to the race early to warm up, and this time was no exception. He’d arrived eight whole minutes before the race started, which is a long time for him. He was in a great mood. “Hey, Wanky,” he said. “Guess what?”
“I forgot my bike bag and don’t have any shoes. And my bike.”
Pretty soon twelve people were scurrying around to find him a pair of shoes. No one would loan him any because his foot fungus is pretty infamous, but a Cat 5 who didn’t know any better offered up a pair of New Bongasnoop Xtra Race Shoes. They were four sizes too big but Prez didn’t care.
“Hey,” he shouted to no one in particular, “does anyone have a helmet I can borrow?”
Someone did, but they knew that no helmet on Prez’s head is safe, so we ended up going up and down the line of parked cars trying to find one that was unlocked. We did and borrowed a really nice $400 POC aero helmet. “I’ll put it back as soon as I’m finished,” Prez said as we checked to make sure the sheriff patrol wasn’t around.
Back at the starting line with one minute to go Prez yelled to the onlookers. “Does anyone have a bike? I forgot my bike.”
He was in fact the only fully kitted out, aero-helmeted guy on the line without a bike. The same Cat 5 guy who just wanted to be nice gave Prez his $10,000 carbon bike with full carbon wheels and 100% carbon. “Be careful!” he said.
“That’s my middle name!” Prez said, pleased that he’d be able to wreck someone else’s machine this weekend.
With two laps to go Prez, who is the key lead-out man for Surf City’s train, roared up through the pack to take control of the lead-out and give his boss, Charon Smith, another lightning bolt pull to victory. “Dammit, Prez!” Charon shouted, “you’re doing it again!”
Prez had boxed in his boss, forced him into the curb, and was about to take out his front wheel. “Sorry!” he said, but not before the sound of screaming, cursing, and twelve broken bikes rent the air. A loose wheel arced overhead, temporarily blotting out the sun. Prez stepped on the gas, took out four people, ran over a pylon, hit a small child on the sidewalk, bounced off a tree, and flipped into a tent. The poor Cat 5’s bike shattered into a billion pieces at the poor kid’s feet.
Prez staggered to his feet, shading his eyes to watch Charon hit the jets and win his 67th victory of the season. As the poor Cat 5 cried inconsolably, sobbing about the five years it had taken him to save up for his bike, Prez stripped off the fungal shoes and patted him on the back. “Don’t worry sonny,” he said, “next time you just need to be a a little bit better prepared.”
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June 13, 2015 § 4 Comments
The best race series in SoCal happens every year in the vacation resort cities of Buellton and Lompoc, nestled cozily in the Santa Ynez Valley of Santa Barbara County. The 805 Series is promoted by bike racer and all-round good guy Mike Hecker, and as with most bike races that are put on by actual bike racers, it’s a good one, and that doesn’t even get to the more than $38,000 on offer in cash prizes, plus over $7,000 in merchandise.
I’ve done the series the last two years and can vouch for the following:
- There will be wind.
- The races will run on time.
- The prize money is great.
- The vibe is even greater.
The 805 is run as an omnium and racers can compete all three days, one day, or two days. The last two years, the second day of racing has been run on the Avenue of the Flags in Buellton. It’s a breakaway course with a long finishing straight and is just moments from the Firestone Brewery, on of California’s best.
The third day’s course is in downtown Lompoc, a very cool little town that really supports this event. The course is technical compared to the typical four-corner crit, but by no means screamingly so. As with the races on Friday and Saturday, wind is always a factor.
Last year after the Saturday race I stopped into a shop for some coffee in Buellton and remarked to the clerk about how windy it was.
“Windy?” she said. “This ain’t windy.”
Maybe not, I thought, but it was blowing at a solid 20 mph.
The small town vibe is enhanced by the beer garden and wine garden that are usually set up across from the finish line in Buellton. From a racing perspective, the races are a fantastic change of venue from the usual, and the fact that the event is run as an omnium makes the racing especially fun.
Pre-registration closes Wednesday night. Don’t miss it!
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June 10, 2015 § 55 Comments
Two days ago I ran a little thing about the NCNCA rule that prohibits outsiders, aliens, foreigners, ineligiblers, and anyone south of the Calmason-Caldixon Line from competing in the Elite District Championship Road Race, which is the state championship road race for the State of Northern California, the 51st star sewn onto Old Glory.
I was shocked that my nasty, rude, mean-spirited, offensive, and vitriolic post could possibly upset anyone, but it did, and the unhappy comments poured in, along with a new nickname, “Sparky,” bestowed by one Timothy Burgess, an NCNCA board member, non-racer, and Official Nickname Bestower. He also blessed the comment section with the phrase “penis wagging,” which was frankly a classic. It made me think of a dog, only standing up, sort of.
What was more shocking than the outrage was that anyone in NorCal agreed with me, but apparently two or seven people did. I will have to find out who they are and block them.
After the electrons settled, a couple of things became clear. One, I was wrong about the rule. NCNCA can do whatever they want and no one can stop them. One of the things they want to do — since 2013, as I was told on the phone — is to exclude every P/1/2 rider who doesn’t have “California–NCNCA” listed on their license from competing in their State of Northern California Elite District Championship Road Race, a/k/a the Pescadero RR.
I was wrong because apparently the USAC rule that defines eligibility for state championship road races (US citizen, resident of the state) doesn’t actually mean “state” in the sense of one of the states that makes up the USA. What “state” means, I was told is “racing district” (supporting documentation for this claim was provided by an official who claimed USAC “forgot” to put it in the rule book), which can sometimes be a state but other times can be a “racing district.” There is nothing in the rule book that says this, or that defines a racing district, or that equates such a district with a state, or that says a state championship is an elite district championship, but that doesn’t matter.
What matters is that NCNCA does it this way, and as the promoter so eloquently put it, SoCal riders are *NOT* welcome in the P/1/2 race at Pescadero.
So, I was wrong.
But that’s okay because my post was really about something else. It was about actions that depress rider turnout at races, and many commenters focused instead on whether or not the exclusion was fair, or legitimate, or founded on the USAC rules. Let’s punt the point for the sake of discussion and return to my real motivation, which is to have more people race their bikes in road races. The promoter and others pointed out that Pescadero is just one race and that there are many others in NorCal that anyone can enter. One commenter exuberantly claimed there were “hundreds of race days.”
I doubt that there are hundreds of road races in NorCal each season, but perhaps there are. What I doubt strongly more is that a business model based on insulting, abusing, and excluding potential customers is really very much of a business.
Let’s imagine that a grouchy, irate customer with a blog and a leaky prostate wrote a vitriolic letter to Wal-Mart complaining about lousy service and being made to feel unwelcome. Do you think that the customer service department would tell the person that he was *NOT* welcome at that store, but that there were hundreds of other stores to choose from? Would Wal-Mart call the customer a lousy shopper, or a drug user, or suggest that the customer’s mere presence interfered with the shopping of locals from the neighborhood?
Of course not, and Pescadero is no Wal-Mart. The road racing in NorCal has a bit of the mythical about it, at least when viewed from down here in the SoCal ghetto. People speak about the courses, the aggressive racing, the spectacular scenery, and the high caliber of riders in something close to hushed tones. “This,” they say, “is real road racing.” [Disclosure: They say nothing of the sort about the crits.]
Much of it may be hyperbole, or that hard courses are harder when you’re far from home and don’t know the route, but many guys I respect have vouched for the brutality of NorCal road racing–and always in a good way. It is the hard racing that keeps this tiny cadre coming back, the kind of hard racing that lots of people never even aspire to try. To summarize, it is hard, very hard, and filled with hardness. I don’t know for sure, but would not be surprised to find lots of 100% carbon made fully of carbon there as well.
Whether NorCal is better, or less doped than any other –Cal is beside the point. It’s different, and lots of good riders live and race there, and word gets around about the excellence of the road courses. My own attraction to Pescadero was simple. It’s billed as one of the best and most beautiful and most challenging and most flat-fucking-awesome races in a state (the State of Northern California) that is already known for setting the bar high. On a tour a few years back we had lunch in Pescadero. I’d say it was beautiful but that word is much too poor to reflect the place.
Plus, all-around stud Kevin Metcalfe had a very cool race description of the event.
There was another reason to nut up, book a room, and make the drive, which would have started at 7:00 PM on Friday and required another rider to spell me at the wheel. That reason is simple: SoCal doesn’t have anything comparable this late in the season. In fact, Pescadero breaks a six-week road racing drought in the State of Northern California and the State of Southern California. If you want a tough, 75-mile masters road race, that opportunity ended here in Bakersfield back in April.
SoCal’s calendar is of no concern to NorCal, but maybe it should be. Not everyone here wants to race crits every weekend. There are riders who would make the trek north if there was a bit of momentum, and even the addition of five racers in an event can “affect the outcome of the race.” I can see groups from south of the Calmason-Caldixon Line making the trek north, especially as the epicness of the racing gets broader exposure. I even have connections with a bike racing blogger who has been known to trumpet the awesomeness of a venue as loudly as he excoriates poor sandbox behavior, doping, and cycling “advocates” who support helmet laws.
Yet the current nontroversy has trumpeted to one and all that SoCal riders are *NOT* welcome at Pescadero in the P/1/2 race. Sure it’s beautiful, epic, challenging, and unforgettable, but hey, sucks to be you. As Tim Burgess suggested with a twist of either cutting sarcasm or blase stupidity, this sounds like a great opportunity for an enterprising promoter to put on a race!
[Note to Tim: That enterprising promoter is *NOT* welcome John, and the race already exists. It’s called “Pescadero.”]
There is of course the whole issue of why any self-respecting bike racer would want to win a championship jersey against a weaker rather than a stronger field, but as the TV show was called, “Diff’rent Strokes.” In my case, I’m sorry to have missed the race although there was excellent circuit racing in Chula Vista that day and I got an undreamed-of fourth place in the 50’s and a miracle 10th in the 40’s on a tough, windy, hilly course. Had I gone to Pescadero I would have been lucky to have finished.
So, really, who needs Pescadero? Well, I do, but Pescadero obviously doesn’t need me. Yet all is not lost. What’s this place called “Leesville”?
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June 8, 2015 § 143 Comments
The failure of licensed racers to race is the biggest barrier to a thriving sport, but there are other factors. After non-participation, the biggest obstacle in California is the local racing association. The SNCNA and NCNCA seem locked in a deadly competition to see who can strangle the sport the quickest.
I’ve always thought that the northern district was better than the southern one, a misperception that definitely falls into the category of wishful thinking. This past weekend I signed up for the Pescadero Road Race.
I’ve never raced in NorCal because it is too far away, even though their road races are legendary. “NorCal,” people whisper, “is where you find real road racing in California. Not this punk crit SoCal crap.” I wondered what road race could be harder than Punchbowl, or Boulevard, or Castaic, or Vlees Huis, or Tuttle Creek, and decided to find out.
Of course in order to make the trek I’d need company, and Wily, ever eager to do hard road races, agreed to split the $96.00 we’d have to pay at Ye Old Millipede Motel in Redwood City. Two days before liftoff Wily shot me an email. “Dude,” he said, “they won’t let me register.”
“It’s their state elite championship race and they only allow district residents to race it.”
“That can’t be right. Every state lets non-residents race, they just can’t compete for the jersey. Anyway, you’re a resident of the state.”
“Nope,” he said, and forwarded me the emails.
Of course the only possible reason to ban non-district elite racers from the race is so that the tiny penis NorCal riders can not only win the jersey but also be first across the line. In our own elite championship race, the SoCal champion got fourth place, being beaten by out-of-state/out-of-district riders. No one cared, of course, least of all the promoter, because the more riders the more competitive the field the better the race’s reputation and the more money.
Wily first inquired as to whether or not he could race. The promoter responded:
Nope. Norcal only. Why not try one of the other 1/2/3 races?
Sounds good, Wily thought, What other race is it he’s referring to? Answer: There isn’t one. This was the promoter’s very clever way of saying Kcuf Ouy.
Wily next took a more analytical approach.
Pursuant to USA Cycling Rule 7J3(b), “State Championships are open to US Citizens and permanent residents (green card).” This plainly entitles me to register and race, as I’m a US citizen and licensed USA Cycling rider. Subsection (d) only gives the Administrator discretion with regard to ineligible riders, which does not apply to me as I am clearly eligible. Subsection (e) only applies to members of the local association, i.e. NorCal, which again, I am not. Can you cite me to any rule or authority that would allow you to prevent me from entering? If not, please confirm that I will be allowed to register and race.
He quickly learned, however, that analysis is useless with idiots. The promoter responded with this gem:
This is an Elite district championship, not state. You must be in the NCNCA district.
It’s a gem because this is not a rule except in the very loose sense of “I’m saying it therefore it is a rule.” Events held under USAC permits must conform to the USAC rule book with regard to all aspects of the race. What’s funnier is that the promoter calls it an “Elite district championship, not state.” There is, of course, no such event.
Other SoCal riders began inquiring and the promoter gave them the same runaround — you can’t race in THIS P/1/2 race but you can race in one of the OTHER 1/2/3 races, unless you don’t qualify because those are all masters races, which means you can’t race ANY of the races.
It’s not up to me to bypass the registration restriction. The flyer publicly states NCNCA only and the officials
expect me to enforce that for the two championship fields. You’re always welcome to come and race another field. If you reg’ed online there is a no refund policy in effect.
My favorite is the last line: If you already paid, Kcuf Ouy.
So now the asshole promoter claimed that it was up to the officials whose rules he was merely enforcing. So Wily pinged the chief poobah. As soon as I saw her 281 area code at the bottom of her email, I knew she was going to be an idiot because that’s the area code for Houston, my hometown.
Wily then tried this tack:
Is there any other rule than the ones you’ve cited that allows you to ban me from entering this race? If there is, please point me to it, as the rule you’ve cited to mentions state championships, an event you now claim that you are not hosting. If there is no other rule and you still won’t allow me to register, please confirm that you won’t allow me to register since it is a 7-hour drive and doesn’t make any sense for me to come up the night before, stay in a hotel, and show up only to be refused entry due to some rule that you claim USAC forgot to put in its rulebook because they somehow forgot that California has two districts, even though there are specific provisions that talk about states with multiple districts.
The promoters should be aware that their flyer constitutes false advertising and, according to an attorney who has reviewed the rule book and the flyer, it is a possible violation of the Consumers Legal Remedies Act as well.
I and the other SoCal racers who have contacted the promoter are very upset about this arbitrary exclusion from the race. It’s a violation of the USAC rules and it’s also illegal.
Instead, Wily received a response that will go down in history as one of the best pieces of Kcuf Ouy that anyone affiliated with NCNCA has ever sent out. And of course the maroon who sent it has the excellent email handle of firstname.lastname@example.org, which is, you know, so cool.
These championships were once called “district” championships. USACycling, for reasons of its own, decided that they should be called “state” championships and that is how they are addressed in the rule book. It is likely that USAC forgot that California is divided in half along with Nevada, so Northern California and Nevada are administered by NCNCA as one state and Southern California and Nevada are administered by SCNCA as another. Most other Local Associations in the country coincide with state borders.
The dividing line between the two “states” is the line running east-west across California with San Luis Obispo, Kern, and San Bernardino Counties to the south, and Monterey, Kings, Tulare, and Inyo Counties to the north. Clark County Nevada is southern and the rest of Nevada is northern.
Your license states your residence as Palos Verdes which, of course, lies well south of that line, deep in southern Los Angeles County. That puts you in the “state” administered by SCNCA.
NCNCA has determined that only riders living in its “state” of Northern California and Nevada are allowed to race in its “state” championships, much like other state’s championships are restricted to in-state residents. NCNCA has held NCNCA-only elite championships for many years and this very question has arisen before. USAC has long stood by NCNCA’s determination.
Rule 7J1. “State Championships are allocated by the Local Associations to race directors based on the criteria that the LA or its administrator shall determine.”
Rule 7J1 puts the race director in the position of having to enforce NCNCA’s ruling even though he would love to have you pay your entry fee and race on the spectacular Pescadero course.
I’m sorry that you will miss out on this great race.
NCNCA Officials’ Committee Chair
The first bit of analysis is priceless. NorCal is excluding SoCal because the USAC rules committee “forgot” about California being divided into two districts. They forgot about it so totally that there is an entire subsection devoted to states with multiple districts, of which there are two: Nevada and California. I will remember this argument the next time I’m in court. “Hey judge, the legislature forgot to put this in the law so I added it for them.”
Then the Hon. Hardaway launches off into crazyland, explaining that since districts are the same as states according to the forgotten rule, you have to determine a rider’s “state of residence” by a fictitious line that divides NorCal and SoCal, kind of like Mason-Dixon. It’s in the forgotten rulebook, look it up.
Then, carried away by his Civil War remembrances, he reminds Wily that Wily is “deep in southern Los Angeles County,” who voted to secede and join the confederacy and is therefore not entitled to the protections of the Union army. Finally, we are directed to Supreme Court precedent, as we are told that USAC has “long stood by NCNCA’s determination.” You can find the text of the decision here: 60 U.S. 393 (1857).
Best of all, Hardaway quotes a rule, 7J1, and then simply invents what it says even though the actual rule, which he goes to the trouble to type out, says nothing of the kind.
In case Wily hadn’t gotten the message, it’s this: KCUF OUY!
The idiot with the Houston area code then piles on with this beaut:
I believe your question about racing Peacadero has been answered based on the rule book, our district boundaries and the race flyer which indicates the Elite 1/2 race is for NCNCA racers as well as the email from Mike Hardaway, the chair of our officials committee where he clarifies how the Nor Cal and So Cal districts are viewed.
Then, with everyone singing from the same page, the promoter decides to dispense with all of the indirect rigamarole and cut to the chase scene:
I have reviewed your communications with the officials and myself as well as several other SCNCA individuals. My decision is SCNCA members are *NOT* welcome to race in any of the elite championship races in 2015 that I promote.
Everyone understand what *NOT* welcome means? It’s the new stealth marketing ploy to get people to drive seven hours and pay nonrefundable entry fees in order to *NOT* race.
So to hell with the rules, to hell with promoting races, to hell with getting more riders to race, and to hell, especially to hell, with everyone who holds a racing license from The State of Southern California as Defined by the Invisible Mason-Dixon Line, in other words, in case you have trouble with all this backwards spelling and convoluted reasoning: FUCK YOU.
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June 4, 2015 § 18 Comments
Sir Bradley Wiggins, a Tour de France winner, four-time Olympic gold medalist, and member of the Royal Order of Knights Who Say “Ni” will attempt to break the hour record set on May 2, 2015 by Alex Dowsett this coming Sunday at the London Velodrome. The venue sold out thirty minutes after tickets went on sale as British cycling fans went on a purchasing rampage to get seats at what promises to be a historic ride.
Nigel Sagbottom, a lifelong cycling fan who had queued up the night before to get a ticket, was euphoric. “I love cycling, it’s my life, and this is going to be exciting beyond words, really. The entire nation will be holding its breath to see if Sir Wiggins can, you know, get up the mountains in less than an hour.”
Gertrude Appledore, another excited ticket holder, was similarly enthusiastic. “We’ve been following Sir Wiggo’s career since his first cycle races as a lad, I believe it was the 50cc class that he started out in, and now the chance to see him win on a superbike at the track is once in a lifetime, really. He’ll be running a 1000cc with a four cylinder, I hear. So yes, we’re thrilled.”
The British public, long fixated almost exclusively on football, has taken to cycle racing with intense passion, and Wiggins’s continual media exposure through the SKY media network and his own unique brand of lethargic charisma has brought the sport to unparalleled heights in this football-crazed nation. According to David Dongle, sports media analyst at Britties Love Footy, a cable sports channel in West Anglia, much of the groundwork is owed to super sprinter Mark Cavendish.
“Before Cav,” says Dongle, “the average Briton didn’t know a cycle race from a menstrual cycle. But now that’s all changed. After Cav won that ‘ere Tour, and Wiggins won that ‘ere other ‘un, and then when they was teamed up with Lance to cure Betsy’s cancer, it sort of caught on, almost as big as the time Liverpool’s Traore catastrophically back-heeled the ball into his own net to gift Burnley a shock victory at Cardiff.”
The British man on the street, although unable to afford the tickets which were fetching up to $2.99 each, expressed the nation’s fascination with the sport of cycling when Smugsy McStains, a Manchester pipefitter, said this: “Boik racin’s for fuckin’ pussies, mate. If I wanted to watch skinny fellas ride around in their bloody underpants I’d sure not do it in public, y’know?”
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June 2, 2015 § 16 Comments
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry broke his femur yesterday while training for the 2015 Tour de France outside of Geneva, Switzerland, putting his 2015 Tour campaign in doubt.
“According to my team boss Jonathan Vaughters, I was always on the bubble but with the compound fracture it’s possible I’ll sit out until 2016,” said Kerry through a spokesperson. “But I’ve got three purple hearts and I’m not giving up yet.”
Garmin-Cannondale owner Vaughters did not immediately confirm Kerry’s statement. “Well, uh, yeah, I know the Senator, he’s a great guy, we’ve done a few rides together, he’s strong as a horse, I mean, a 71-year-old horse, but this is the first I’ve heard about him doing the Tour with us. Isn’t he like the Secretary of Parks or something? Doesn’t he already have a job?”
The accident occurred at the bottom of the Col de la Colombière, a 16.3-km climb that has featured in the Tour twenty times, most recently in 2010. Although short, the steep 10.2% section at the end of the climb often weakens riders prior to the finish of the stage, which typically ends on a more challenging col such as Morzine, La Plagne, or Alpe d’Huez.
Kerry, who describes himself as “More of a 265-lb. rouleur to help with the sprint train than as a weapon in the high Alps,” had been in Geneva negotiating the final text of a nuclear arms deal with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif. John Kirby, a State Department spokesman, denied that the high level talks would impact Kerry’s training for his Tour campaign. “Not in the least,” said Kirby. “He’ll be back on the trainer in two weeks. He’s let his staff know that Job One is preventing loss of muscle mass. The centrifuge inspection thing can wait.”
Zarif was less sanguine. “What is, how you say in English, the fuck up with this? He is riding bike while we are doing bomb Israel plan? This crazy.”
Kerry emphasized his Tour readiness by pointing to public statements made by Vaughters, who described him in an interview with the Wall Street Journal as one of the best American road riders in his age group. “I’d be top ten at nationals, easy,” said Kerry, “if I raced.”
When asked how many 71-year-olds typically compete at nationals, Vaughters said that it was, “Uh, like, seventeen or so, I think. So I can confirm that from what I’ve seen he’s definitely top ten out of most of those seventeen. Ten of them, anyway.”
Kerry’s grueling schedule as America’s top diplomat has not interfered with his mission to get a pro contract, ride the Tour, and make $12,000 per year. Since his presidential bid in 2004 Kerry has evolved from what Boston regulars called “A complete Fred, just another rich dick with too much money and not enough mirrors at home to show him how he looks in spandex,” into “A completely delusional masters racer who, like all true profamateurs, doesn’t bother to race. Think Robin Williams without the jokes.”
The accident occurred at the beginning of the climb, when Kerry, one of the most powerful people on earth, ran into a curb and flipped over the bars like you might have done in Third Grade. Phillipe Patek de Nutella, the governor of Haute-Savoie in France, had accompanied Kerry with his security detail when the accident happened. “I no know what passed, n’est-ce-pas? He riding, comment dit-on ‘Fred’ en anglais, as a Frederique with wheel not straight and overlapping rear wheel rider in front. Then turn to whistle at girls and boom-boom he hit curb and bam-bam down like old cheese.”
Photos show that at the time he fell Kerry was wearing a pair of floppy yellow arm warmers that have not yet been released to the general public by Ugg Cycling as it transitions from women’s footwear into cycling apparel.
Kirby, the State Department spokesman, was upbeat about Kerry’s recovery, although he conceded that dealing with the crisis in Burundi, Boko Haram, the collapse of Iraq, Islamic State’s control of Syria, the outbreak of war in Yemen, the strong likelihood of armed conflict between Saudia Arabia and Iran, Grexit and the collapse of the euro, China’s aggression in the South China Sea, and the deaths of thousands of Rohingya as they flee brutal oppression in Myanmar may have to take a back seat for a few months.
“We’re confident that we can rebuild him stronger than he was before. And if he makes the Tour squad this year, at least he’ll know a critical part of the route.”
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