Archibald & Rufus

January 22, 2018 § 1 Comment

Today was the 2018 debut of Archibald & Rufus, the South Bay’s most infamous, mouthy, and ass-crackingly funny bike racing announcers on Planet Zebulon. It was also the first of six crits in the CBR race series, which brought more cockroaches, fleas, termites, lice, bedbugs, tapeworms, earwigs, maggots, and blowflies to the surface than the Black Death.

In other words, race season had begun!

The pre-race warm-up consisted of physically warming up, as the thermometer was barely breaking 36 degrees no matter where you stuck it. Iron Maiden did her pre-race laps in a down jacket; I chattered around the course in tights, undershirt, speedsuit, long-sleeve jersey, and a hoodie. As I warmed up I passed Dandy, who had driven up from San Diego for this edition of the Clash of the Infirm and Loose Bowels.

“What’s the plan, Dandy?”

“Fuggit, it’s so cold, attack from the gun.”

So we did.

The Brit and the hipster

Dandy and I have raced for decades and we raced together on Team Concentration Camp for four years, so we understand each other perfectly and we know crit racing even more perfectly. A mentally defective four-year-old can easily understand CBR crit rules, and so can even a few of the racers.

  1. You have zero chance of winning.
  2. You have zero chance of getting on the podium.
  3. Take all of your skin home with you.

Dandy and I, having fully internalized #1 and #2, set about punishing ourselves with a series of pointless attacks and accelerations that exhausted us, achieved nothing, and set the table perfectly for Steve Gregorious to mop the field with his can of Whoop.

In addition to setting up Big Steve, we also had to set up announcers Archibald & Rufus–without some silly antics on our part they would have nothing to talk about, an inexcusable crime since Archibald had worn his best British overcoat and wool ivy cap, and Rufus had donned his finest overcoat, wool fedora, and de-fingered punchemup gloves. These gentlemen dressed better than any bike race announcer anywhere, ever, commensurate with the stature of this great sporting event.

Archibald & Rufus & the turkey’s behind

As Dandy and I mashed through the start-finish, dragging the field behind us in stylish Cat 5 fashion, a pair of hammers launched for the prime. “The thermometer has now popped out of the turkey’s butt!” roared Archibald, “just in time for Thanksgiving!!!”

The two people in the crowd roared, and Rufus followed up with his trademark line: “With mayhem like that in the field, it’s raining meatballs!!!” Several spectators looked up, and one even grabbed a fork.

By the time the pack had absorbed us and rotated us to the back, Dandy and I had pretty much packed up our empty lunch pails and begun heading for the door. As we slunk shamefully to the shade of our respective team tents, Rufus called out our heroics. “That race was sure animated by those two guys who don’t know how to race!” Dandy and I stripped off our numbers and pretended that we didn’t know who they meant.

END

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About SouthBayCycling.com: This the all-things-cycling blog about cycling in the South Bay and cycling in Los Angeles, maintained and authored by me, Seth Davidson, Torrance-based bicycle lawyer, bike racer, and personal injury attorney.

CBR Crit #1: Big bang theory

January 17, 2018 Comments Off on CBR Crit #1: Big bang theory

If you look at the SoCal bike racing calendar, it is pretty slim pickings for road racing. The first road race of the year, Tuttle Creek, got torn off the calendar, presumably to be rescheduled, where “presumably” means “if Steve gets around to it.” After that there is the Santa Barbara road race, famed for the dude who flipped off the bridge and miraculously survived with a Spidey save, the UCLA road race, and the Victorville road race. Everything else is basically a crit. The CBR crit series is especially like a crit. Having a race calendar with nothing but crits is like having a sex life with nothing but handjobs. You may get good at it, but it leaves a lot be desired.

However, Jeff and Kris Prinz have charged into their second year as owners of the CBR crit series. They have done an amazing job with it. The team area now sports a plethora of colorful tents and racers instead of its former aura, which was more reminiscent of a holding tank filled with alcoholic suicides. When the CBR races take off, they do so under a big inflatable banner that makes you feel like you’re special and not some dork in his underwear about to fall on his head fighting for a candy bar prime.

But most importantly, the CBR crit series is like a necessary encounter with a proctologist’s latex finger: Smooth, unpleasant, and over quickly. That’s crit racing, folks, so get used to it. Of course it is vastly superior to a 2km ITT where a pair of 70+ gentlemen fight for a world chumpionship jersey so that they can put rainbow stripes on their business cards and compare their exploits to Peter Sagan.

Go ahead and register now!

The CBR crit series is a lot of fun and I plan to be at all of them; I did a bunch last year, and the year before, and the year before … Now that I’m in the RFO (really fuggin’ old) category of 55+, it means that I can race three races all before noon, which is good, because in this category anything that happens after twelve gets hunted down and killed by my mid-day nap. But there are a lot of other great reasons to race the CBR series, for example:

  1. You’re supporting people who are doing their damndest to keep a niche, weird, socially awkward sport alive, and it’s cheaper than rehab.
  2. Bike racing is fun as hell when you’re not crashing, getting dropped, getting chopped, giving up, or having all your hair fall out and testes shrink down to green pea-size nuggets because of the steroids.
  3. Although losing sucks, and losing is basically all you’ll ever do at a bike race, the odds are better than PowerBall.
  4. Jeff and Kris have a cool podium you can stand on when you win (See #3).
  5. Madcap announcers Dave Wells and David “Raining Meatballs” Worthington are more fun to listen to than a drunk family squabble over who gets to eat the last Eskimo Pie.
  6. You can’t be a bike racer if you don’t race yer fuggin’ bike.

Especially, especially, especially #6. See you there.

END

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For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog and pay to support what you might otherwise take for free. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

About SouthBayCycling.com: This the all-things-cycling blog about cycling in the South Bay and cycling in Los Angeles, maintained and authored by me, Seth Davidson, Torrance-based bicycle lawyer, bike racer, and personal injury attorney.

Here comes the Hun

January 16, 2018 Comments Off on Here comes the Hun

There is a nasty part of every day recently, and by recently I mean since about 2011, when it dawns on me that I have to sit down at the computer and write something that will offend enough people to get them to read the first paragraph, but not so many that I will be beaten to a pulp the next time I show up at a bike race or group ride or social mixer, raging inside at not being able to douse my soul in suds but insanely proud at resisting the call of the demon drink, like water torture infused with cocaine.

Today I pretty much knew what I was going to write about, which is a way of saying I had no fucking idea what I was going to write about because I am possessed by a mean bastard who waits until I hammer out the slug and then rips up the rails and sends me down a blind, bleeding, raucous, raw rabbit hole filled with mines, razors, concertina wire, and chocolate. I can handle everything except the fucking chocolate.

It was a simple story, really, about a bike racer whose nickname is “the Hun” not because he is an invading, one-man-horde of death and ruination, but because he is a Magyar, an Eastern European man born and raised in the Kingdom of Hungary, from whence the Huns originally were spawned and issued forth to ransack, pillage, burn, and upturn the citadel of Rome before giving into the weather, the art, the women, the boys, the poetry, and the wine, especially the wine, which, once hooked upon, turned them into the same soft and easily eaten cronuts of the emperors they’d only recently disemboweled and whose heads they’d set tastefully on bloody pikes.

I was going to talk about Attila the Hun and what a badass he is, and it was going to be complimentary and kind and a gentle revelation of a decent father and son, but what is the fun in that? Who wants a fucking fairy tale on the eve of MLK Day, when our Racist-in-Chief is celebrating the enslavement of a race by whacking golf balls, way over par and tipped in at the last minute by his lying henchmen who have stolen our national wealth and sold our fake democracy to the Russians? Who wants a happy ending, well, everyone who hasn’t been to China recently, I guess, and hasn’t seen that the iron fist of George Orwell has been increased 5,000% in size through daily workouts at Gold’s Gym and clothed in lululemon yoga gloves to make the rusty nails protruding from the knuckles look sexier, that’s who.

So, no happy story with a pretty ending for you today. It’s Tuesday and the job is in full meatgrinder mode, and even if you can’t keep your fingers clear, try not to stick your tongue into it.

This morning’s Tuesday Horror Story started on Sunday at noon at Telo, the world’s worst training crit ever. Even if you like wind and pain, even if you get wet and weak inside when you think about having someone stand on your left eye, nah, even then it was a shitty day. The whole idea behind moving Telo from Tuesday to Sunday was a stupid idea; “On Sunday there’s no traffic,” “We need a training crit between January and March, when Telo is SUPPOSED to start up,” and the dumbest fucking lie ever told, “It will be fun.”

Newsflash: Bike racing isn’t fun unless you’re doing the fake old supermaster jagoff World Championship 70+ ITT where you compete against one other idiot so that you can scurry home and brag that:

a. I’M A WORLD CHAMPION JUST LIKE PETER SAGAN and

b. I’M GOING TO PUT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STRIPES ON MY BUSINESS CARDS

For everyone else, bike racing is a nasty, painful, disappointing, sadistic exercise in masochism and deflation and delusion that runs aground on physics, physiology, and mental decrepitude, and nowhere are the shoals as sharp and shark-ridden as Telo.

On Sunday it was a horrible contingent of actual bike racers. Not fake-fuck posers who buy all the fancy shit and wear all the fancy clothes and wouldn’t get near a number and a safety pin for all the trinkets on Strava, but actual people who raced actual bikes against actual other people for no other reason than the misery and disappointment of physical and mental collapse.

Prime among this tribe of angry people was Attila (his real name), “the Hun,” (not). With a paltry field, we started, took the first lap easy, and began attacking. After thirty-five minutes everyone was ready to call it a day, a week, a lifetime, anything but “not over,” yet for all that it was not over. Jon Davy seized the exhausted moment, kicked it hard in its tender private parts, and Attila followed. By then the minuscule field of a dozen had dwindled to six, with various collapsed and beaten competitors doing lackluster laps, randomly hopping in and out, unsure why they were there or what they were doing.

Dog knows I don’t know.

After a couple more laps Derek Brauch sprang free, Greg Leibert followed, and as I waited for Josh Alverson to do something, anything, they rode away and that was that. Derek was finally dumped, Greg bridged to Jon and Attila, and they took turns attacking Jon. Attila got free and soloed for an ugly win, not as ugly as the wreckage and destruction that the Huns had visited on Rome, but close.

Afterwards everyone sat around in the heat, dehydrated, sunstroked, in shock at having done something so hard and stupid when, for a mere $45, we could have spent six hours on I-10 doing a real 60-minute race in Ontario with racers who were not only more real than we but also way smarter. The Hun didn’t care. As he has done so many times past, in road races and in crits, he came, he smashed, he won ten dollars and a loaf of bread, and he went home happy, the skins and heads of his victims stapled to his jerkin.

No one is sure if Sunday Telo will ever happen again. I hope it doesn’t. But in the meantime, the demon has let me out of his clutches and this particular post is done.

END

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About SouthBayCycling.com: This the all-things-cycling blog about cycling in the South Bay and cycling in Los Angeles, maintained and authored by me, Seth Davidson, Torrance-based bicycle lawyer, bike racer, and personal injury attorney.

Bike rule breaking

January 14, 2018 Comments Off on Bike rule breaking

Steve Tilford had a great list of 101 Bike Racing Rules. I liked them so much that I hand wrote them out and taped them to my top tube. People would ask what they were and I would tell them. Interested, they would read, and they would be disappointed.

“Everyone knows that!”

Or “Duh.”

Or “If you have to write those down you’ve lost before you’ve even started.”

I maintain that if you can consistently do even the first five of Steve’s bike racing rules you are going to win a race. And they are damned hard to do. Why? I’ll tell you why.

1) Never be in the front pulling for no reason. This is the single most important bike racing rule there is. It’s hard not to be on the front if you have the legs to win a race because you want to show you have the legs, first. Second, if you have good legs you will usually be towards the front, and as people start to fry and as moves start to happen, you will wind up on the front. Third, showboating. How awesomely fun is that? Fourth, some people get on the front and just love to hammer. Until they fry. And are dropped, or miss the move, or quit, or flat just get beaten.

2) Always know which direction the wind is coming from. First, wind directions change. Second, you tend to do what others do, and especially in cross winds some riders will echelon wrong. Third, often the wind isn’t that strong and you expose yourself on the sides thinking it’s not that bad. Guess what? When other riders aren’t taking the wind, it really is that bad and you’ll pay for it shortly.

3) Know the course. Understand the layout, the start, the finish, and picture where the strategic points, hills, and wind direction occur. First, when you’re excited you are worried about your 100% carbon wheels that are full carbon and whether your number is pinned on right and whether everyone notices your trick new tubulars. Second, even on the same course that you’ve done a million times, the strategic points change due to wind, temperature, field size, and especially field composition, so you tend to take your course knowledge for granted and fail to reanalyze. Third, even if you think the course through, after a few laps you tend to stop. The great racers reevaluate the course ever single turn, every single lap, using these bike racing rules to come in ahead of you.

4) Constantly ask yourself if you’re in the right position. Positioning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing, especially at the end. It’s a race, remember? First, people often don’t know where the right position is because they haven’t spent time on #3. Second, positioning takes constant attentiveness; going in circles dulls you into complacency. Third, often the best position requires fighting to get there and even more fighting to hold it.

5) Know when to do a single pace line and when to ride a double echelon. First, you tend to do what everyone else does. Second, you don’t practice either very much. Third, you’re in the rear clump of the peloton where there is only clumping, not pacelining.

6) Don’t shout at other riders telling them what to do. It just pisses them off and makes them want you not to do well, and it gives them crucial information that they will use to beat you. First, nervous energy. Second, anger issues. Third, fear. Fourth, shouting is fun.

7) Don’t look back to see what’s going on behind you. First, the fear of getting caught. Second, uncertainty about whether your move was a good one. Third, lack of commitment.

8) Don’t show off in races. Races are judged by who crosses the line first. First, showboating is the best and therefore the hardest not to do. Period.

9) Always observe and rate the guys you’re racing against. First, you tend to assume that people you know are always the same from race to race. They aren’t; fitness and doping regimens change! Second, you tend to gloss over the top guys and focus on the ones you’ve beaten before because it’s kind of a bummer to look at Charon’s legs and realize you couldn’t beat him with a motor.

10) Know where the finish line is and where you plan to sprint from. First, most racers never intend to sprint. Second, it’s hard to plan the end from the middle or the beginning, and stick to it. Third, self doubt.

Steve spent a lifetime coming up with these bike racing rules. They work!

END

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Super Bowl I

January 10, 2018 Comments Off on Super Bowl I

The year was 1967. At a hastily chosen venue picked just three weeks before the game, the AFL-NFL World Championship Game became what was retroactively dubbed “Super Bowl I,” the greatest ridiculous event in the history of sports. With a name borrowed from the wildly popular Wham-O kids’ toy, the “Super Ball,” the Super Bowl’s journey to become America’s lasting contribution to obesity, alcoholism, and TV ad saturation came about in the most inauspicious of ways.

Unable to sell out the Los Angeles Coliseum, a mere 60,000 of the 90,000 seats were filled. Fifteen million televisions in LA County were blacked out due to broadcasting rules. Coaches wore blazers and short sleeve dress shirts. Thousands of spectators wore ties. A couple of nutballz whizzed around the stadium in hydrogen-peroxide jetpacks powered by Bell Labs, the next generation of personal transportation that wasn’t.

Globally famous entertainment was had by the marching bands from the University of Arizona and Grambling State University along with the release of 300 pigeons, one of whom crapped on Frank Gifford’s microphone. Parts of the massive electronic scoreboard came detached and plunged into the empty stands, avoiding what would have been certain death had anyone been there.

Yet for all its failures, this fitfully started work-in-progress became the behemoth it is today, a watchword for diabetics, couch potatoes, and gambling addicts the world over. In that first game, millions of viewers watched the heroics of legends like Starr, Gregg, and McGee as they launched that modest first Super Bowl into the airwaves, a perfectly thrown touchdown pass destined for the end zone of fame and eternal glory. From humble beginnings came greatness.

Much like that first Super Bowl, pitting archenemy NFL against the upstart AFL, this past Sunday marked the beginning of a sporting event so astounding that, despite its modest participation and relatively empty stands, promised to change forever the history of sport.

I’m speaking, of course, of the new date and time for the epic Telo training crit in Torrance. Historically held on Tuesday from 6:00 to 7:00 PM from mid-March through September, this past weekend saw the first ever Telo Sunday, run from noon to one. With technical and food support provided by ShiftMobile, a host of eager competitors showed up to contest this legendary race at a new date and time.

A hard fought battle with repeated attacks saw a breakaway with Marco “The Origin” Cubillos, Surfer Dan Cobley, Kevin “Roundhouse” Nix, and Brooks “Lotta” Hartt. After a series of attacks and counter-gasps, it was me, Surfer Dan, and Lotta. Coming into the final turn I surprised Surfer and Lotta with my hidden internal bicycle motor and was able to cross the line for my first ever Telo win, something that the history books will judge as vastly more important than anything that ever happened in Super Bowl I with the likes of Lombardi and Starr.

Unlike those heroes of Super Bowl I, who earned a measly $12,500 per person (and an even measlier $7,500 for each losing Kansas City Chief), male and female winners of Telo received a freshly baked loaf of the incomparable Mrs. WM’s home-baked bread. Marilyne Deckman donated her loaf to the hungry pack of wolves, who tore it apart and devoured it on the spot.

Telo is going off next Sunday as well. Do you want to be part of history, and perhaps even be the breadwinner? Be there!

 

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TUE for Tuesday

December 15, 2017 Comments Off on TUE for Tuesday

I read the sad news about Chrissy Frump’s adverse analytical finding which wasn’t a positive or a failed drug test and didn’t involve him breaking any rules but was more of a misunderstanding that requires further clarification to determine the complex, myriad factors that led to a non-doping violation positive potentially resulting in the loss of a grand tour title because of its non-dopingness.

Chrissy and Team Mystery Package will get to the bottom of it and have retained O.J. to help them find the killers, with Bone-Idle Wiggins on retainer in case there is a witch hunt.

In the meantime I did a lot of research about asthma and pro cyclists, which is another way of saying I typed in “cyclists asthma” and read the first three propaganda pieces churned out by Cycling News, which quickly interviewed a pro cyclist team doc (we’ll get the straight dope from him!) who explained that every pro cyclist is or should be an asthmatic and that the banned drugs wouldn’t help anyone perform anyway, certainly not by improving their breathing in an aerobic sport like … stage racing.

Anyway, after reading about how horrible cycling is for the lungs and that it is a gateway to asthma, I reflected on the past weekend’s upgrade race at our local parking lot crit, CBR. And now that I think about it, there were asthmatics everywhere. I don’t think you would see more pulmonary disease on an emphysema ward or in a West Virginia coal mine.

My own race, a Cat 2/3 upgrade event where people with nowhere to go in the sport of cycling beyond Suck Land pay money to get beaten again as they seek points rarer than the hammer that made the Ark of the Covenant, I realized that my inability to upgrade was a result of my lifelong asthma.

Unlike a lot of asthmas-come-lately, I had asthma from as early as junior high school. I remember wheezing and gasping horribly every time Mrs. Morcom handed out the Friday algebra test, and no amount of second-hand marijuana smoke inhaled in the bathrooms seemed to cure it. My asthma was crippling and led to an “F” which I had to make up in summer school in order graduate, which in turn led to even more asthmatic suffering that even more second-hand pot smoke (force inhaled) failed to cure.

It wasn’t until I began Serious Cycling at age eighteen that my asthma went away, but it was subcutaneous asthma, where it worked its invidious clogging of my lungs invisibly. To outsiders I appeared fit and quick and successful in a few shabby races and able to ride hundreds of miles a week, but inside I was a ruined asthmatic mess. Sometimes my asthma was so bad that when we hit a steep hill the only way I could get away from the pulmonary pain was by pedaling faster for an hour or two.

Anyway, as an older competitor it is clear that my asthma has prevented me from winning more races. Just the other day when Dave Holland was beating me in a time trial, I was on the verge of beating him but for the seven or eight asthmatic breaths that took almost a minute out of my finishing time. And in the hill climb, when everyone rode away from me, I would have beaten them had it not been for my asthma.

This played out again on Sunday at the upgrade race, where I was on the verge of winning except for my subcutaneous asthma. My only consolation is that everyone else in the race had asthma too, or if they didn’t, they would one day. In the meantime I’ll just send off my TUE for salbutamol with a sprinkle of EPO, HGH, and some Kayle Sauce, and keep my fingers crossed.

END

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Droopy McDongle

December 12, 2017 Comments Off on Droopy McDongle

I think I am on record stating that bike racing is dumb and its practitioners somewhat dumber. I think I am on record that “world championship” masters bike racing on the track is especially dumb. You are 70. You beat one other person. You are not a world anything. You are a dude with a big belly who spends $700/month on an ex-Olympian coach and thousands more on the highest tech equipment available so you can ride faster (for a 70-year-old) for two kilometers than one other ancient fellow.

However, Sir Beater of One Other Person on Earth non-World Champion, you are only marginally more pathetic than the rest of us who race bikes. Why is this? Because there is no ridiculousness of which you’re guilty that the rest of us aren’t, too. You just can’t split hairs in a sport where people shave their legs.

And although it will be a long-away day before I recognize anything about the global significance of your accomplishments, I am more than willing — today — to respect your effort. And I respect every person who takes the time and effort to compete fairly. Competition is draining and requires preparation and intelligence, and much more of all those things if you are to be any good at it.

Sure, I think your faux world championship old fellow I-beat-one-other-dude-on-earth championship jersey is silly, but I have high regard for your effort. And that’s what bugs me about doping at the amateur level. And it’s what really bugs me about newly minted asshole Clayton Shepard, who won a couple of medals at masters worlds in LA a few months ago and then won a sanction from the UCI for being a provisional doper. It seems that Dr. Shepard (he’s a dentist) got a bit carried away and tested positive for GW501516, also known as GW-501, GW516, GW1516, GSK-516 and on the black market as Endurobol. It was invented in the 1990s and was abandoned because it caused cancer to develop rapidly in virtually all organs.

Not that rapidly developing cancer is important when you compare it to a fake world championship race for hobby bicyclist senior citizen dentists.

Anyway, here is how the race unfolded when Dr. Shepard came to race on the track at L.A. and went back to Minnesota crowned Champion of the Entire World of Men of a Certain Age Riding Bicyles, Namely 60-64 Except for Those Who are 59 but Turn 60 in 2017.

https://youtu.be/8KjDvOjghds?t=4h58m56s

That is the link to the 60-64 worlds scratch race. The race is 30 laps, 7.5km. It starts at 4:58:56. One lap to get up to speed and then it’s game on. The perp, Clayton Shepard, is number 389. Mike Hines, a friend of mine and multiple champion, is 371.

Here is Shepard going from the gun and dragging a guy with him. Shepard pulls through too hard and gaps the guy out, who is aero AF to try to get back onto the wheel of this quickly moving cement wall. Shepard is casually looking across the track while pulling solo and checks to see how far he has to go to get around. Because when you are riding that fast on a velodrome you always want to gaze around. Maybe you might know one of the three people in the stands!

shepard

Here is Shepard after getting his lap and then riding straight through the field, at 30 mph, and going solo again, because why not? 30 mph is not that fast for a car.

shepard2

And here is a nice view of him and his pot belly in his ultra-non-aero Sherman Tank position, riding solo as he boringly clocks out 31 mph laps. Trackies will tell you, as will all racers, that when you are riding solo and being chased by an entire field, an aerodynamic position doesn’t matter at all, and in fact, the bigger around you are the better the wind flow. Totally natural and normal. Move along, there’s nothing to see here.

shepard3

Eventually Hines jumps across and catches Shepard as he is taking his second lap on the field. Unfortunately there is a crash at about ten laps to go, 5:04:00. Then they do a re-start for the last ten laps, and we have a break of four dudes, including Hines, who is the 2017 US national champion in the 2K IP, and who raced with distinction as a senior amateur (2nd at U.S. Crit Nationals), and has done hundreds of races in his successful career. Oh, he’s also a genetically gifted aerobic and anaerobic beast. Notably, Doc began racing in 2012 and has done less than 40 road races his entire life. Totally normal that he would go from pack finisher in Minnesota to ass-kicker in SoCal against tried and true racers.

They restart at 5:24:00 and give the four dudes in the break their gap, and so of course(!) Shepard goes straight to the front and drags the group around like some pro dog walker hauling around a bunch of scared puppies to take his second lap on the field and their first.Of course it still looks like he’s out on a coffee ride, a mere 31 mph, while all the rest are bleeding out of their ears and crouched down like beetles in a hurricane trying to hang onto the juggernaut from Minnetonka.

shepard4

Doc Shep hasn’t quite mastered the art of faking a little bit of pain and effort to make it look less ridiculous (Cat 5 Provisionally Suspended Doper), though, because his breakmates are getting gapped with his beastly pulls, sitting up straight. Think that’s normal or natural or easy? Try it sometime! Hines is on the back, trying to stuff his organs back into his mouth.

shephard5

Now they lap the field and Doc of course rides through the group again because there’s no one else in this race but him. Hines throws down hard and comes around Shepard with three to go, which is kind of a not an ideal move as his break companions get a free ride to the sprint. Hines leads out the last three laps; maybe he’s seen the writing on the syringe?

shepard7

In the last lap Shepard puts away the coffee cup and powers past Hines, ho-hum, with a rider from Guyana passing Hines for second.

shepard8

So who is this douchebag? Well, from his FB site, here he is fishing. I think I remember that training manual in Chris Carmichael’s early days, before he was sued for doping young athletes, “Bike Racing Conditioning through Pro Bass Shops.” Was this photo before he got on a program? Because now his legs are a block of muscle and mass, and as everyone knows, we gain muscle mass as we age due to greater levels of testosterone in our system and a more active endocrine system.

shepard9

See? All you have to do is go fishing, yank a few teeth, and get a little older. You will get those legs, too!

shepard10

And the obligatory FB page grab, https://www.facebook.com/clayton.shepard.7, doubtlessly edited by now as he demands a B sample and tries to explain how he’s a victim and blah blah blah low T tainted meat etc.

shepard11

So far, there’s really nothing to this story. Doc Shepard appears to be a cheater. He appears to have cheated with drugs. And he appears to have been punished, at least provisionally. And of course I still appear not to care …

But I do. And what I care about are not the silly jerseys and the cheap medals (I tape my winning numbers to my front door, yo, both of them), but the disrespect. I’ve seen Mike Hines train and I’ve raced against him. He is very good. He works very hard. He takes no shortcuts. He has overcome horrendous injuries. He has won races in virtually every discipline in virtually every age category.

And some of this could be said about virtually anyone who’s pinned on a number for more than a couple of seasons. Maybe racing doesn’t make you a pro, but it makes you a whole lot more skilled on the bike than the rest of the people out there riding. And in my opinion, it’s the effort and commitment that deserves respect, regardless of what you think about the particular event and regardless of how you finish. No win is easy. No win is a gift. No win comes without going deep, either mentally or physically, and usually both. For a lot of people, just getting to the line is an odyssey.

Respect is important. It’s through riding and racing with people that you come to appreciate them. It’s through shared endeavors that you can put aside your differences long enough to agree on the rules and follow them; this is what breeds respect, and it’s why people who respect each other work so damned hard not to offend. It’s why respectful societies are less violent ones, more equitable ones. It’s why we agree to abide by the results.

Doc Douchebag takes the admitted absurdity of racing in your underwear, and through it he tarnishes the good character and earnest efforts of truly decent people. He takes the position of Vince Lombardi–that winning is the only thing, as big a lie as was ever told.

My hat’s off to every racer who competed, my hat’s off to every racer who won a heat or an event or a jersey, my hat’s off to people who cared enough about our silly sport to do it right, fairly, and with respect.

And my hat is especially off to the drug testers. Another one bites the dust.

END

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