Best ride ever

March 21, 2018 § 1 Comment

This was simple. We were at the second Telo of the year and it was a pretty tough crowd. The rider to beat is always the same: Evens Stievenart. Two-time winner of the 24 Hours of LeMans Bike Race and unofficial 24-hour world record holder, Evens typically shows up for Telo after having already put in four or five hours.

My goal has always been to beat him, as ridiculous as that is.

Today as the race started he said, “Let’s attack early.” I didn’t know what he meant by “let’s.”

Three minutes in, he attacked, and we got away as I was stuck to his wheel. Eric Anderson, Josh Alverson, and Aaron Wimberly brought us back after a few minutes. Evens drifted to the back and attacked again. The Methods to Winning riders brought us back. The third time we were brought back but you could tell people were suffering to do it. The fourth time there were a number of crazy hard efforts from the field to bridge, but we went clear for good.

I sat on Evens’s wheel for fifty minutes. I never looked at my watch because I knew that if I did I would quit. I have never hurt so bad for so long in my life doing anything, ever. I played every mental trick in the book to keep from giving up. And I found myself taking lines through the turns that I’d never taken before, so crucial was every inch of proximity to his rear wheel.

At any given point Evens could have easily dusted me off, but didn’t.

Over the one-mile course, each lap I pulled for exactly fifteen pedal strokes, coming out of the last turn and getting us back up to speed on the tailwind section. Evens battered for the remainder of every single lap, especially into the 20-mph headwind section that is a little under half a mile long.

With one lap to go Evens was still sitting on the front. I rolled up next to him. “Don’t you dare give this to me,” I said.

“Don’t worry,” he answered with a smile. “I won’t.” Evens is unique because he has a massive time trial engine as well as a crazy fast sprint.

He led into the last corner and opened up his 1,000-watt finish after an hour of full gas time trialing. I stayed on his wheel until he reached max velocity, itself a lifetime achievement, then came around. I pulled even with his front wheel, still fifty meters from the line. He stomped twice and put five bike lengths between us, easily. Eric Anderson mopped up the field sprint for third.

After we finished I thanked him for letting me sit on.

“No problem,” he said. “I would have never let you win, though, because I know how badly you want it, and if you ever beat me you will never come back.”



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No second chances

March 14, 2018 § 1 Comment

You always get another shot, right? That’s what I was thinking after finishing the 6:50 today, manhandled by lokalmotor Eric Anderson who, with the help of teammate Greg Lonergan, easily bested the five members of Team Lizard Collectors.

We had our trademark teammate chasedown stragety going full bore with half a lap on the Parkway remaining. I was stuck to Eric’s wheel like a dingleberry while Lonergan dangled at the back, gassed from the four-lap rotation.

Eric “Wall Street” Bruins jumped away, opening a nice gap, and the other Eric had no choice but to chase, or so he thought. Without warning, a lizard collector jumped, dragging Eric, the rest of the Collectors, and gassed Lonergan up to Wall Street. A couple of other fruitless lizard launches ensued, easily covered by Anderson.

With Wall Street, G$, Baby Seal, Surfer Dan, and I, it seemed like sensible tactics would have been to keep launching individual attacks and forcing Eric to cover, but we are Team Lizard Collectors, and we don’t do sensible. That’s when down-for-the-count Lonergan exploded up the side, opening such a big gap so quickly that he was going to win the imaginary sprunt for the #fakewin if someone didn’t chase him down. Note: That someone wasn’t going to be his teammate Eric, who clearly hadn’t graduated from Team Lizard Collectors’ tactical school of self-immolation.

A couple of hard efforts later and TLC had shut down Lonergan, but we were all tuckered out and Eric was fresh as milk from a cow’s teat. I did the pointless pull to the line, figuring that with three lizard collectors in our four-man group, surely someone would get second, and we did!

All the way home I consoled myself with the thought that there would always be another chance. When I arrived, clattering along the walkway, I noticed a small but unnatural brown lump on the narrow branch of a small tree. The branch was hanging out directly over the fake stream that funnels leaves and junk through our complex.

I looked at the lump again, then stopped. Something atop the lump was moving. I walked closer. As the covering leaves above and the ones below resolved in my line of sight, I saw that it was no ordinary brown lump, but rather an extraordinarily tiny nest, and the moving items atop the nest were two baby hummingbirds, not more than a couple of days away from their first flight.

I’ve watched birds all my life but have never seen a hummingbird nest up close. The fledglings looked at me anxiously and fidgeted in their nest. That’s when I noticed the deep (for them) and treacherous (for them) stream. Pretty soon their mom would be unable to feed them and they’d have to launch from the nest.

In turns they would stand on the ledge of that tiny brown refuge, lined as it was with soft feathers, and flitter a few feet away, trying to master the extraordinary complexities of flight, landing, and return to the nest. A momentary miss and one or both would end up in the stream. I watched them for a long while, and they watched me.

Then I walked away, gutpunched, pondering nature’s lesson.

No second chances.



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Fear factor

March 12, 2018 § 2 Comments

I am just as aware as the next racer of the rapidity with which things can go sideways in a bike race, and most of the time it doesn’t get to me. The race is the risk, the risk is the race.

So when I drove out to the Tour de Murrieta on Saturday in a lightly pelting rain, of course it didn’t simply cross my mind, but rather it parked there, the knowledge that wet races add a dimension of risk, a dimension of danger, a dimension of some other idiot sliding out and knocking me off my bike, a dimension of me picking a bad line and eating a tree trunk “and etcetera,” as Billy Stone would say.

We got there fresh on the heels of Bad Mom Day. You’ve had those occasionally, I bet. I’ve had them since I was born. Bad Mom Day usually begins with some unasked-for meeting or visit or encounter, full of smiles and happiness and maternal love, but within a few hours it degenerates into mean, nasty, brutish brawling, with the offended mother harumphing back to her Texas lair to brew up a new strategem for sewing discord, discontent, and emotional dsytrophy.

Bad Mom Days usually leave a thick residue of anger and resentment that bike racing either provides the perfect outlet for, or it provides the perfect opportunity for a bicycle falling off incident a/k/a BFOI.

Word on the street

We pulled up and parked. I got out in the rain and walked over to registration. On the way I saw Racer X, sopping wet, dismantling his bike and shoving it into the car. He was wearing bitchy pissedoff meanface. “How’d it go?” I asked.

“Fucking sucked.”

“How come?”

He pointed to a lovely fracture on the rear triangle. “$3,000.00 race entry fee, that’s how come.”

“You okay?” I asked, belatedly realizing that no bike racer is “okay” when he has a trashed full carbon frame that is all carbon and made of 100% carbon.

“Fuck no, I’m not okay,” he grumbled. I walked on.

A bit farther I ran into Daili Shang, the effervescent, full-gas Cat 4 woman who has had some great results in her first racing season. “How’d it go?” I asked.

She answered with a hug and a big smile. “Great except for my crash.”

“Are you okay?”

“Yes, but my shoulder really hurts. I’m going to get it x-rayed.”

“How’s the bike?”

“Fine, I think. I got back up, took my lap, and finished.”

“Damn, good job.”

She smiled and offered me a cup of coffee from the La Grange PX. I took it and ambled on. Next I ran into Chris DiMarchi, Phil Tinstman, and Superdave Koesel, who had finished racing a few minutes ago. These guys would have a hardened, steeljawed look at a baby shower; coming out of a rain-soaked, high-speed, shit-spewing crit they looked like cavemen ruminating on the skulls they just beat in with a club.

“How was it?” I asked.

They looked at me for a minute, mulling over the dumb question before answering. “Well,” said Chris, “80 psi. Tell everyone in your race 80 psi.”


“For sure. Guys running 100, 110, were bouncing all over the place, sliding on their asses like drunk ice skaters.”

“How’d you guys do?”

They pondered this second stupid question. “Phil let me win,” Dave said.

“I went with five to go,” Chris added. “They came by me solo on the last lap.”

“Any tips for the course?” I asked.

“Yeah,” Phil said. “On the corner where there’s the alternating brick and asphalt, make sure you stay on the little patch of brick and don’t roll over the asphalt or you’ll get introduced to Mr. Curb. And there’s a nasty grate you want to avoid.”

“Guys’ rear wheels were catching all kinds of air when they hit it,” Chris helpfully added, coloring in the picture of danger and mayhem that I’d already sketched out in full.

“Did you have any problems?” I asked Phil.

“No,” he said.

“How come?” I asked.

The quota for stupid questions had been reached. “I picked good lines,” was Phil’s response.

The more you know the less you go

About this time the women’s P/1/2/3 race was wrapping up, with Esther Walker twenty-five seconds up on the field, flying through the turns. The pack charged hard for the line with Shelby Reynolds easily taking the field sprint. None of the women seemed the least bit perturbed by the rain; just another day at the office, pal.

We drove over to the Sckubrats where I had a coffee and a #fakechicken sandwich. An hour later we returned to the course. It was still raining but now the P/1/2 men’s race was going off. I watched it for a few minutes. Single fucking file. Full fucking tilt through the turns. People hanging on for dear life. A bunch of riders already down, or out, or IDGAF and homeward bound.

Suddenly I felt afraid. Not concerned or mildly worried. Afraid.

I got back in the car. “What’s wrong?” Yasuko asked.

“Not today,” I said.



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The Calzone Crit

March 11, 2018 § 2 Comments

Surfer Dan lined up at the table, squaring off against Boozy P. and Smasher. Surfer was undefeated in ten consecutive food crits at Chez Davidson, having always left capable of eating more than he was served. Boozy P. was a Cat 2 eater and definite underdog, as his calzone sprints were going to be undermined by his propensity to beer dope, which took away valuable appetite and stomach space. Cat 4 racers Olive and Stanley were not considered a major threat.

The gun went off and Surfer came up on the inside on the appetizer laps, eating half a tub of hummus and slaughtering half a bag of helpless, mewing baby carrots. Boozy P., who was only on his fifth IPA ten minutes into the race, snagged an edamame prime as Surfer sat up to catch his breath and down another two bottles of San Pelligrino.

Olive and Stanley shuffled around at the back, spending the appetizer laps nosing around in the garbage can, dragging out paper towels sopped in olive oil and pieces of sausage, and staying generally unfocused on the race. Smasher opted to save his bullets for the calzone, and appeared unconcerned while Surfer polished off the hummus and the squalling carrot babies.

Suddenly the homemade calzone came out of the oven, next to a giant green salad with feta cheese and avocado, which appeared next to it on the table. Smasher attacked, hacking off a piece of calzone bigger than his head, and choking it down his gullet in two mighty swallows, one of which included a half-chew. Boozy P. sprinted hard for the end pieces and wolfed them down. Surfer followed Smasher’s attack, which had gapped out Boozy P., and countered Smasher by inhaling a double-slab.

The calzone’s homemade crust had been stuffed to popping with Italian sausage, pepperoni, ricotta, fresh mozzarella, grated parmesan, mushrooms, and basil. Stanley and Olive sniffed around the edges of the table, but were repeatedly denied by the Surfer/Smasher breakaway, and were unable to bridge up to Boozy P., who was stuck out in no-man’s land.

Just as it looked like the two-man break was going to stick, Boozy P. made a superhuman effort by stuffing his entire salad into his face with his fist, and making it across to the break. Olive and Stanley couldn’t follow his wheel, no matter how hard Stan thought about the taquitos he’d stolen off the table at the 2014 Davidson Taquito Crit in an unforgettable come from behind victory.

In the twinkling of an eye, a calzone the size of a small paper shredder had vanished. The last piece went into Boozy P.’s mouth. As the competitors eyed one another, out of the oven popped calzone number two, and Boozy P., now on his tenth IPA, suddenly found himself in difficulty despite digging deeply into his suitcase of courage, which was unfortunately filled only with dead soldiers and bottle caps.

Surfer attacked first, shearing off a calzone slab resembling the calving of an Antarctic glacier. The gap was big, but Smasher smashed the calzone with his fist, squirting copious piles of cheese and meat and crust onto his plate. In one deft move he had seen Surfer’s calzone and raised him a double slab.

Coming into the final lap both riders were cross-eyed and queasy as the cheese and meat took its ugly toll. Huge rivers of sweat poured off their faces. Everyone stank of olive oil. Surfer and Smasher began playing cat and mouse with each other, nibbling on salad, sipping on water and baby carrots, and throwing cagey edamame moves with their elbows as they jockeyed for position.

But lo! As the two experienced pros locked onto the last piece of calzone, preparing for the final lunge to the line, Stanley somehow managed to come across the gap! While Surfer and Smasher eyed each other, Stan made his patented table-grab, snatched the last piece of calzone off the table and took home the spoils, scoring another daring win for the South Bay’s champion chihuahua!

Afterwards, Stan went out onto the balcony and pooped in satisfaction.

#winning #won



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Tour de Murrieta

March 9, 2018 § 1 Comment

This Saturday and Sunday … the Tour de Murrieta! Great racing on two great courses. Break out the race machine and the race outfit and race yer fuggin’ bike!!!


How to race yer fuggin’ bike

March 7, 2018 § 2 Comments

One of my best friends on Planet Zebulon (not to mention earth) sent me a report from the cockpit after the UCLA Road Race this past weekend. G$ is one of the best bike racers there is. He wins time trails, hill clumbs, crit thingies, and most of all, toughballs road races. He is a nice guy but not really because what he does to other racers isn’t nice.

At first blush you might think what follows is a race report. However, I ran it through the Wanky Bike Race Report Transmogrifier in order to interpret it for us mere mortals. I’m reprinting below in segments, along with the transmogrifier’s output.

Race Report: It was supposed to be a rainy, dark and stormy morning, and in Venice at 7:00 AM, it was. I’ve gotta admit I was looking forward to a nasty weather race filled with cold, snow, wind. I knew that bad weather would thin the field, and only the stupid and the strong would bother racing, both, actually, and sometimes in the same person.

Transmogrifier Output: Twiggly Jeff K. and others with crashophobia would be home in bed.

Race Report: This year the promoter took away the 55+ category, so I was stuck racing with possibly the fastest non-pro race category, the 45+.

Transmogrifier Output: G$ was going to be racing against twiggly climbing hammers twelve years his junior. In old fart years, one year equals seven younger fart years.

Race Report: As I drove the 1.5 hours to the race it rained for the first hour, but the last 30 minutes it was dry, cloudy and threatening, but dry! And not that cold, maybe 51 degrees whereas it was supposed to be 44 and rain, with gusty winds, and huge turd squalls, hailing meatballs. It was windy, and I was pretty happy that it wasn’t cold and rainy! And so many of the guys who thought it was gonna be nasty, all stayed home! Better for me!

Transmogrifier Output: G$ is a bike racer. Many other licensed riders with very expensive equipment and fancy clothing are not.

Race Report: Tom Doung had set up a little Big Orange team campground; nice! Tom and our race committee are awesome.

Transmogrifier Output: Big Orange team genie Tom Duong is the best dude ever. Sets up the tent, prepares the traditional goulash stew, brews the Body of Beach Performance elixir, and ensures that all Big O racers are lavishly cared for. Other teams can only dream of this level of professional support.

Race Report: It was so nice weather wise, I changed my whole plan, and went with basic SoCal morning gear: Bibs, jersey, arm warmers, and I did have my clear rain jacket for an emergency meatball storm. Pro tip from a non-pro: The clear rain jacket that stows in your rear pocket is super key for rain racing, since the officials can still see your number thru the clear jacket and you can keep it on while you race, if you need to as the meatballs hail down.

Transmogrifier Output: Don’t race in your down jacket and ski goggles.

Race Report: There were a few really fast guys in the race, LaGrange hammer James Cowan,  tough guy and national crit champ Matthew Carinio, and of course my nemesis, Thurlow Rogers, world road and time trial champ, Olympian, etc., and his teammate, Tony Brady, who has won the 35+ San Dimas time trial, and regularly beats us all in road races. Great …

Transmogrifier Output: This race was gonna be so fucking hard it made your legs hurt just looking at the start list. You’d be better off in a dungeon chained to a rack than trying to contest this lung-busting, leg-shredding, ego-shriveling death march.

Race Report: As we started, it was a pretty good headwind up the climb, and we all climbed pretty slowly, since everyone believed it would damage the leader more than the followers. Nevertheless, the hill is super hard at any speed and we lost most of the 25 or 30 brave souls who drove all the way out to this place to ride by themselves, so now there were only six of us.

Transmogrifier Output: Everyone got dropped in the first two miles. Out of the toughest of the tough leaky prostate racers in SoCal, all were dipped into the wood chipper ten minutes in. Now doesn’t a 48-mile windy, hilly solo TT sound funnnnn?

Race Report: The descent was fast, and cross-windy. I hit 55 mph, yikes!

Transmogrifier Output: You or I would have crashed and died.

Race Report: As we hit the bottom of the downhill, we entered a rolling section, about five miles long, which led into the 1-mile climb where there was a KOM award for the first racer up the hill to claim. So as we rounded the corner and began this section, Tony Brady accelerated, and rode away with no response from anyone. I couldn’t believe it, I was sitting fourth wheel, you could see everyone thinking, “It’s certainly not my responsibility to chase!” Unless of course, you just wanted race for second. “Guys! He’s not coming back!” I yelled, hoping that someone would hit the gas for even ten pedal strokes and bring him back, now it was more like twenty pedal strokes, and he was up the road! I should have gone but I would have just given everyone a free ride up to the leader, and I guess everyone else was thinking the same thing. I yelled again, “You guys really just wanna race for second?” I heard only one response. Thurlow said, “You mean 3rd?” Meaning that he would beat to bits everyone in our little group. Smartass!

Transmogrifier Output: G$ hesitated and everyone (four other mostly dead riders, one of whom was the leader’s teammate) waited for him to close the gap. He didn’t.

Race Report: Well, Thurlow was in the ‘ol catbird seat and that’s because, he could do the least amount of work in our group, and whatever we did, if we chased, he could sit on, and if we didn’t chase, he could sit on. Either way he would be the freshest at the end to win the bunch sprint, and if we didn’t catch his teammate, their team would win and maybe get second, too. And if we did catch his teammate, Thurlow had a great chance of winning because he is a fast finisher.

Transmogrifier Output: Bike racing arithmetic is pretty simple.

Race Report: Oh, and guess what? Nobody could work, it must have been a national holiday. “I’m too tired,” “I have a hangnail,” etc. And there was a guy in the group wearing a plain blue jersey, who I didn’t know, whose two race numbers were flapping around like open parachutes! A rookie move, using only four pins, one in each corner, creating two little parachutes on the rider’s back, and noisy in the crazy wind. Were we rationing safety pins or something? Rookie or not, he made the split and was in with the front riders, and of course he wasn’t working either.

Transmogrifier Output: A hangnail is a truly painful, bike racer career-wrecking condition. Unless you have an inhaler. Also, flappy numbers please stay home.

Race Report: So, I got in the wind and kept trying to keep the pace high, and every so often, I’d put in an attack, when the others let a gap open up behind me. But oh man, those guys were all tired as heck and had major hangnail issues preventing them from taking a turn at the front, but they could triple the watts in a flash to chase me down. That really drives me crazy. If I could have just slipped away from those bloodsuckers I would gladly have put my head down and made a real effort to catch the one-man Brady Bunch.

Transmogrifier Output: G$ made the race so fucking hard that people were barfing hairballs. If he was gonna get second, or third, it was going to cost the sitters a liver.

Race Report: Tony had one minute and twenty seconds on us as we started the main climb, and we had 3 laps and 37 miles to go. I set the pace up the climb, and then again on the stair steps, with very little help from the others. Thurlow was glued on my back wheel and I wasn’t going anywhere without him. Thurlow is a funny cat. I have beaten him year after year in the uphill San Dimas time trial, by a lot! Sometimes in the 1-minute gap area, but in a road race, he can lock onto my wheel, and I can climb my little heart out, but he will not lose my wheel! He can suffer like no other! He is also a 4th Quarter kind of racer, for instance the last two years at the Mammoth Gran Fondo, by mile 80 I was in the front group, consisting of pros and former pros, and we dropped super old ex-pro Thurlow Rogers (58), but he chased back on, and beat me both times. We’ve only raced each other for the last sixteen years.

Transmogrifier Output: Thurlow has won more bike races than the rest of the field combined had ever entered.

Race Report: Anyway, up the climbs we kept losing a guy or two, and they they would chase back on during the downhill, and we get Tony back to just under one minute, continuing our dysfunctional chase. Flappy looked strong, and he would sometimes rotate through, and take a hard pull, even up the climbs, so he really had my attention. He was mostly sitting on, but showing that he can really lay down the wood. With two laps to go, and just after the main climb, I hit the jets hard and tried to escape our small group, and I did! I thought I was free but here came Flappy, and guess what? Because he didn’t want me to be lonely he brought all his buddies with him. So, I have to admit the race was getting to me, and I was angry that these guys could smash such hard efforts to chase me but would barely lift a finger to chase the danged leader of the race. I yelled at Flappy, “What the heck was that?” and he responded, “Did I do the bad?” with some French or Russian accent, and I responded “Yes, you did the bad! Why are you wasting so much energy chasing me when you won’t even help chase the leader?” It occurred to me that he might not have had any idea what I had just said to him, but since I had been bitching to all the guys in our group for the last two hours, you’d think that he would be apprised already that I was less than pleased with everyone sitting on watching me do the work. All the while Thurlow was just laughing, and enjoying my little show, knowing that he was gonna mop us all up for second place. Meanwhile Brady Bunch was two minutes ahead. The moto official was giving us updates two times a lap, which was really cool.

Transmogrifier Output: Bike racing is hard and frustrating and miserable and nasty, which is why we do it.

Race Report: Anyway, I really can’t remember now as I’m writing this what the hell lap we were on, but I do remember that Flappy started to help! And with a lap to go, he was taking some real meaty pulls, that if you’d put tomato sauce on ’em and served up some pasta you’d have had dinner for twelve. Now there were just three of us. Thurlow, Flappy, and me, and as we hit the top of the main climb for the last time, I was getting tired. Thurlow attacked hard and got a little gap, and everything I know about Thurlow is that he doesn’t come back without a fight. Luckily, we entered that little downhill portion just before the stair step climb, and I slammed it into meatball gear, and Flappy and I caught back on. Now Flappy puts it in his meatball gear and sets a stinky hard tempo up the climb, and we dropped Thurlow! That never happens! I mean, we really lost him. You could have sent out a St. Bernard and it wouldn’t have found him. As we crested the top, I couldn’t see him. We prepared for the long downhill, and I really wanted to stay on the gas because nobody goes down a hill like Thurlow. More meatballs! We did not let him catch back up!

Transmogrifier Output: Every time you finish a bike race ahead of Thurlow, light a candle, circle the date on your calendar, and make sure you have a photo because no one is gonna believe you.

Race Report: We rolled fast down the hill, and there was no sight of Thurlow, I think we even lost the St. Bernards.

Transmogrifier Output: At the end of a hard hilly road race against top-shelf competition, Max and G$ still had enough meatballs in the pot to ride harder than they did at the start.

Race Report: When we got to the bottom, Flappy said, “I will not challenge you for the place of second, my name is Max.” Well, you could have knocked me over with a mini-meatball, mostly because I was roasted, but also, because that was a really unexpectedly cool gesture.

Transmogrifier Output: Flappy is a good dude, ergo, not really a bike racer.

Race Report: Moto guy said we were only fifty seconds from the leader, so, more meatballs!! Max and I worked together over the rollers. We got to the bottom of the last climb, both on fumes, but now we were forty seconds from Tony and there was no possible way to catch, unless he fell off of his bike, and maybe not even then. As we approached the finish line, Max fell back a bit and let me ride across ahead of him. Racing … for … second … place.



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Plenty meat on them doggone bones

February 25, 2018 § 3 Comments

There was a musician from the 40’s and 50’s named Joe Williams who played a nine-string guitar and who wrote really good songs. One of my favorites was “Long, Tall Woman,” and the line I liked most was “I want a big fat woman, plenty meat on them doggone bones.”

The whole thing about weight loss and improved cycling performance is of course ridiculous. James Stout, wherever he may be now, wrote a great article three years ago about eating disorders in cycling. And although he was writing about the pervasiveness of eating disorders in the pro peloton, he missed, or at least failed to dwell on, that the extreme skinniness of modern racers is one way they’ve compensated for not being able to dope as copiously as in years gone by. The extra power has to come from somewhere, right?

But the real crazy train with regard to weight and cycling isn’t among professionals and elite amateurs whose jobs and Olympic hopes depend on a win, but among the fatty old hackers at weekend races whose only skin in the game is the tender skin of ego. I know; my ego is as bloated and sensitive as the Hindenburg, and dog knows I’ve gone down the rat hole of the Wanky Diet at least once.

Still, for virtually every racer out there who is doing it for all that nonexistent fun we hear about, you’ll race better with plenty meat on them doggone bones.

Exhibit 1? Dandy Andy.

Dandy showed up fat and happy for the Rosena Ranch beatdown yesterday, gleefully gripping in his right fist a thick strip of bacon around his stomach that would have fed a camp full of hungry cowboys. “I need to lose weight!” he said, stretching out the bacon far enough that the zipper on his jersey shrieked at earsplitting decibels.

“Dude,” I said, “I hope you do. Because maybe it will slow you down. And if that zipper goes, someone’s getting hurt.”

Dandy and I rode together for years on Team Concentration Camp, where I experimented with the Kimchi Diet, consisting of salted cabbage and oxygen, and Dandy carefully weighed his oatmeal grains with a scales calibrated to micrograms. Neither of us raced worth dung.

Then a couple of years ago Dandy threw the scale in the dumpster and focused on the loves of his life, a/k/a the Three B’s, Bread Butter & Bacon. And his bike racing results went through the roof. Last year he manhandled most of the field at Rosena Ranch to get second, and this year he smashed the field in the second Ancient Duffers Category in CBR, riding a hard as nails 4-man break for 40 minutes to also climb on the podium.

Yesterday was a Dandy Tour de Force. He missed the winning two-man move, then punished the field for nine laps with repeated hammerings on the riser and into the wind on the backside of the course, then blew the field apart with two laps to go. A friend described it as “There was the break, there was Dandy’s four-man chase, and then there were bits and pieces wondering when the agony would end.”

Rolling into the headwind finish, Dandy attacked his break companions like a hungry shark and rolled in solo.

After the race he came up to me and grabbed the bacon. “Dammit Wanky, I gotta lose this stuff.”

I stared glumly, ruing the abuse he had rained down upon me for the past thirty miles. “Whatever, Dandy,” I said.



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