Sunny day up

September 27, 2016 § 7 Comments

Today was a sunny day.

In the morning I rode my bicycle.

I went on the NPR. It is what some NIMBYs in Rancho Palos Verdes call an “organic ride.” I did not see any pesticides.

Some people went very fast. Roberto, Evens, Steinhafel, Eric A., Head Down James, Davy and etc.

Some people went very slow.

Most people went so-so.

It was a lot of fun.

On the way to the coffee shop Eric flatted. We stopped to help, which means we stood around and cracked jokes.

Then Major Bob flatted. More jokes and etc.

At the coffee shop Major Bob bought me an iced coffee.

I drank it quickly because I was hot.

It tasted really good.

I chatted with Lisa and Michelle and Jay and Matt. They were happy and smiling. Everyone was smiling. No one was mad. We laughed about handcuffs and spitwad battles and the back seat of a cop car.

Then I rode home with some friends. Ramon, Christian, Greg, and I pedaled up the hill.

On Basswood I got a flat.

Greg changed it quickly for me, he is super fast, and a few more jokes were cracked.

I came back to my apartment and took a shower.

Then I ate some eggs.

They were sunny side up, too.



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Wiggins admits doping to negate unfair advantage

September 26, 2016 § 28 Comments

In a revealing tell-all interview surrounding Bradley “Bone-Idle” Wiggins’s use of banned steroids prior to his 2012 Turdy France victory, the cycling star sat down with Cycling in the South Bay to explain his use of triamcinalone leading up to the most important victory of his career.

CitSB: So it looks like the Fancy Bear hackers have nailed you to the floor on this one.

BIW: Not a bit of it.

CitSB: Here you are shooting up a performance enhancing, banned steroid before the only Turdy France you’ve ever won.

BIW: It wasn’t enhancing. It was dehancing.

CitSB: Dehancing?

BIW: Yes.

CitSB: Can you explain?

BIW: I’d love to. Leading up the 2012 Tour I’d won everything. Tour of Romandie, Dauphine, that kiddy race in Manchester where I got the tricycle and 14 Euro gift certificate. I was crushing it.

CitSB: Right.

BIW: So I sits down with Dave and the boys and we says “This is gonna be bone idling wankerdom if I hit the Tour with these legs, I’ll put an hour on the field in the first five minutes.” That’s how good I was going with marginal volcano doping gains. I was better than the rest of those bone idlers by so much. You can ask me mum.

CitSB: Your mum?

BIW: Yeah, that’s right. She’ll tell you how good I was going and all pan y agua, mate. So Brailsford and the boys were like, “Wiggo, you gotta slow down and give the other boys a chance, especially those whiny French bastards.” So we did what we had to do. I’m not ashamed of it.

CitSB: What was that?

BIW: We got on a dehancing program. Took meself a whole slew of steroids to slow meself down.

CitSB: Uh, don’t you mean “speed yourself up”?

BIW: No, mate, you don’t get it, do you? Look here. I’m reading off the label for triamcinalone, just happen to have a couple of vials here: “Not for ophthalmic use. Systemic absorption may produce reversible hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis suppression, manifestations of Cushing’s syndrome, hyperglycemia, and glucosuria; when a large dose of a potent topical steroid is applied to a large surface area or under an occlusive dressing, evaluate periodically for evidence of HPA axis suppression and (Pediaderm TA/Spray) for impairment of thermal homeostasis. Application of more potent steroids, use over large surface areas, prolonged use, and the addition of occlusive dressings may augment systemic absorption. Signs and symptoms of steroid withdrawal may occur (infrequent) requiring supplemental systemic corticosteroids. Pediatric patients may be more susceptible to systemic toxicity. Chronic corticosteroid therapy may interfere w/ the growth and development of children. D/C and institute appropriate therapy if irritation develops. Use appropriate antifungal or antibacterial agent in the presence of dermatological infections; if favorable response does not occur promptly, d/c until infection is controlled. (Cre/Lot/Oint) Withdraw treatment, reduce frequency of application, or substitute to a less potent steroid if HPA axis suppression is noted. (Pediaderm TA/Spray) Withdraw treatment, reduce frequency of application, substitute to a less potent steroid, or use a sequential approach if HPA axis suppression or elevation of body temperature occurs. (Pediaderm TA) Sensitivity reaction may develop to a particular occlusive dressing material or adhesive; a substitute material may be necessary. (Spray) Flammable; avoid heat, flame, or smoking during application.”

And that’s not the half of it. Listen to this: “Causes burning, itching, irritation, dryness, folliculitis, hypertrichosis, acneiform eruptions, hypopigmentation, perioral dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis, maceration of the skin, secondary infection, skin atrophy, striae, miliaria.”

Plus, it fucks you up if you’re nursing.

CitSB: That all may be true, but it greatly speeds recovery and enhances performance on the bike, and you took it when you would have needed it most.

BIW: C’mon mate, who are you kidding? Cushing’s syndrome? Glucosuria? It took at least 100 watts off me FTP. Plus, it messed with me lactation. The littl’uns went hungry for over a month.

CitSB: And that’s how you won the Tour?

BIW: You got me word on it, mate. Scout’s honor.



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The Atheist Training Bible for Old Bicycle Racers, Chapter 21: Don’t you dare

September 23, 2016 § 19 Comments

The most fertile or febrile part of your year is here. It’s the time when you can do other things than cycle. You can explore new activities and develop new skills, strengthen your weaknesses and strengthen your strengthiness. You can give your legs, and most importantly, your feeble mind a rest. You can relax a little bit and even try out sports that you’ve always been a bit interested in but have never had the time or energy to squeeze in between your 3-a-day interval workouts.

You can do all of that and more. Don’t.

Specifically, don’t do the following:

  1. Tell me about how you’ve started running. Running is for runners. You are an old worn out shoe of a fake bike racer doper who dribbles pee at night. Running will improve none of that and only hurt your knee. Plus, you will never be a runner. You are a jogger. If you can say, “I’ve taken up jogging in the off  season!” with a straight face, okay, go ahead.
  2. Post gym selfies. The gym is a place where insane cycling delusions go to get pumped up on steroids. Lifting weights only improves your ability to lift weights. Doing squats only helps you squat down better with a chest of drawers on your back. You are not a lifter, you are a weight-obsessed worn out old shoe and lifting even a carton of milk gains useless muscles and hints to your S/O that you might be able to do something useful around the house. Strava Jr. tosses his water bottles, cell phone, and socks at the base of the Switchbacks and whips you like a pissed off wench in a dominatrix show, and he ain’t lifting no weights.
  3. Sign up for yoga. Yoga will help you live a better more fulfilling life, ergo it’s stupid as fuck. Mindfulness is the enemy of the crafty, shrewd, back-stabbing instincts that will allow you dominate the 55+ mid-pack position in every crit finish. And shut up yesterday about flexibility. You should look the same way off the bike as on: hunched, bowbacked, goofy-kneed, crany-necked, and as unsteady on your pegs as a drunken sailor. The more permanently hunched you are in real life, the more aero when they pry apart your arms and legs to set you on the bike.
  4. Hit the pool. You know how many people drowned in pools between 2004 and 2014? 3,536. You know how many people drowned on bikes since the beginning of time? One. And it was a triathlete (of course) who got the order mixed up and biked off into the ocean at Kona.
  5. Base miles. The only thing you had better be doing with the word “base” in it is “freebase.” Bike miles are for hammering. If you don’t hurt, why are you even alive? Rest when you’re dead.
  6. Training camp. If your clubteam has a training camp, change clubteams. Training camp implies a) You haven’t been training and b) You think roasting marshmallows over a burning tire and crapping in a trench is fun. If a), get the hell out of the yoga gym pool, slap it in the big dog and go knock out six consecutive 700-mile weeks that are heavy on sprints, 20-minute threshold efforts, 1-hour time trials, standing starts, and hill repeats. If b), sell your bike and become a scoutmaster.
  7. Cyclocross. Cylocross will leave you exhausted, injured, slow, and in the possession of a bike that’s so bad for riding you have to carry it. The only thing ‘cross has going for it is that it’s fun, and nothing ruins a road season, a road racing mentality, or life in general as thoroughly as fun.
  8. Group rides. These will wreck your season because you will get to know, like, and appreciate your clubteam mates. Nothing sucks away your ability to lie, cheat, betray and crush a person like friendship and empathy. The only acceptable group rides are ones you advertise as “no drop, beginners welcome” and begin at 32 mph into a stiff headwind.

That’s all for now. Gotta go do some intervals. It’s already Sepfuckingtember.



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September 22, 2016 § 29 Comments

After reading a thoughtful article about the benefits of unplugging, shared by a friend who’s recovering from a broken collarbone after crashing on the NPR, I switched everything off last night around 7:00 PM and didn’t turn back on until I woke up, just after five. I woke up without an alarm.

Then today I powered down at 4:30 PM, plowed through thirty more pages of a book that is dense but that, as one friend put it, “Is a hairbrush for the tangled mind.” I did some other etceteras and was looking forward to bed when I realized I couldn’t very well blog on paper.

During those few hours of relative mental calm I reflected on the terrible chain collision that happened on Tuesday’s NPR. A big chunk of asphalt didn’t get called out, one rider hit it, another launched over it but didn’t fall, and a third went down hard. At least five other riders hit the deck. One left in an ambulance with a fractured scapula and broken ribs, another broke a clavicle, and a third suffered a severe concussion.

There was plenty of blame to go around, but none of it resolved a key question. Does the Big Group Fake Race belong on the streets anymore?

Leaving aside for the moment that no one was killed but easily could have been, and leaving aside for the moment that the NPR has been the site of many bad falls, one serious car-bike collision, and at least four huge gang pile-ups … wait, we can’t really leave that aside because that’s pretty much the point.

If the pace is slow, everyone bunches up and it’s sketchy as hell. Then the group is frisky for the sprint and people who shouldn’t be going full-gas in a packed group are. It’s scary.

If the pace is fast, everyone from mid-pack back is gassed and can barely keep their head up. Any irregularity in the road, large rock, or sudden change in speed up ahead can cause the kind of catastrophic chain reaction that we saw on Tuesday.

For a few months we had a police escort, but the powers that be eventually quashed that and now the group is back on its own. At least now everyone stops at red lights.

We all know that riders assume the risk and that when you’re feeling good the risk is worth assuming. It’s when everything goes sideways that you really have to wonder.

  • Why am I here?
  • Why are you here?
  • Are there too many people?
  • Is it time to euthanize this ride and do something else?



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Remaining pro cycling fan convinced the sport is “clean”

September 20, 2016 § 33 Comments

James Smegdahl, America’s remaining fan of professional cycling, was interviewed by Cycling in the South Bay after the recent Fancy Bear hack revealed that 2012 Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins was a lying liar who lied, and probably also a cheating cheater who cheated.

CitSB: How does it feel to be America’s last fan of professional cycling?

JS: I wouldn’t say “last.” My dog watches it, too.

CitSB: Were you surprised by the Fancy Bear revelation that Wiggo had been injecting corticosteroids before and during the Tour despite saying in his book that he’d never taken a shot for anything except that one time he got the clap?

JS: No.

CitSB: Why not?

JS: The way I see it, Obama is a muslin and he was born in Muslania.

CitSB: Muslania? Where is that?

JS: It’s where all the muslins come from.

CitSB: Well, it’s pretty damning, isn’t it? On the one hand, in his autobiography Wiggo says he’s never injected anything except for maybe dehydration, and on the other he’s received a couple of TUE’s, one for an entire year, that allowed him to constantly inject steroids.

JS: But he was allowed to inject them. It was legal.

CitSB: But he denied doing it. And they boosted his performance.

JS: Lance had a backdated TUE for corticosteroids and he didn’t get kicked out of the ’99 Tour and he wasn’t a muslin, either.

CitSB: That’s the point, isn’t it? Wiggo, who claims to have raced clean, was using the same procedures that Lance used to race dirty when he won his first Tour.

JS: You wouldn’t have that problem if we had a wall. And Mexico’s gonna pay for it, too.

CitSB: Excuse me?

JS: We gotta make America great again. How come you hate America?

CitSB: But Wiggo is British.

JS: Trump has a Trump golf course in Great Britland, too.

CitSB: You mean in Scotland?

JS: Where’s that?

CitSB: It’s part of Great Britain.

JS: That’s what I said.

CitSB: You said “Britland.”

JS: Quit picking on my words. Anyway, it’s not doping if you can back it up. And Wiggo backed it up. He’s won more Olympic medals than any British athlete ever.

CitSB: But doesn’t this call into question whether he was clean when he won them?

JS: No.

CitSB: Dave Brailsford promised total transparency, but has provided anything but. The same time he’s been touting marginal gains through better training, Wiggo’s been juicing on the sly. Doesn’t that make you suspicious?

JS: Have you ever been to Creation Park?

CitSB: No.

JS: You should. It would answer a lot of your questions. They have Noah’s ark and dinosaurs like they had during Jesus’s time. It shows how the dinosaurs got on Noah’s ark and floated away with him.

CitSB: I see.



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Doughboys. And doughgirls.

September 19, 2016 § 14 Comments

There is something about organized rides that I don’t like. Oh, there it is! It’s the word “organized.” As soon as the flyers start waving, the waivers start flying, the entry fees start piling up, and the rules start getting disseminated, I get limp all over.

I remember when I did my first century ride. It was sponsored by the Austin Bicycle Club. I think Terry Wittenberg Bob Lowe were still on ABC then, riding with Shimano stuff in an all-Campy era. There was no waiver, but there was a sign-in, and you rode off when you rode off.

There was no sag and no post-ride celebration. There wasn’t even a finish. You did the route and patted yourself on the back and lied about your time, which you measured with this old-timey device called a “wristwatch,” and then when you got home you soaked your feet and head in epsom salts.

Since 1982 I’ve done a baby’s handful of organized rides. The biggest one I ever did, and encouraged others to do, was the Belgian Waffle Ride, four times from 2012-2015. I’m still recovering from the beatdown of 2012, and the psychological scars will likely never heal.

A grand fondue I’ve never done. First of all I don’t like fondue. Second of all I don’t like grand. So there you have it, no grand fondue for me. Mostly though I don’t like grand fondues because here in California the biggest one is the Levi Leipheimer Grand Ex-Doper Fondue.

It blows me away that people who claim to love cycling and clean sport will pay money to this asshole. He is the embodiment, along with George Hincapie, of success through cheating, and then, after retiring in disgrace, making several hundred thousand dollars every year on cyclists who gladly pay money to ride their bikes under the banner of a complete, almost wholly unrepentant drug cheat.

But I progress.

A few weeks ago it was brought to my attention that Phil Gaimon, America’s top professional road racer, is hosting his own grand fondue. It’s called the Malibu Gran Cookie Dough. So I was interested because I love cookies, and I love cookie dough, and I love Malibu. Still not a big lover of gran, but whatever.

When considering whether or not to sign up for this event, which was going to cost me over $100 bucks, and considering that these were roads I could ride for free anyway, and considering that I hate organized riding, several things occurred to me:

  1. I’d be supporting a clean athlete.
  2. I’d be creating a mini-platform to rant against the Thorfinn-Sassquatch/Levi Dopeheimer types.
  3. There’s no way in hell I’d ever do this route if it weren’t on a grand fondue, even though it’s one of the most fantastic routes imaginable.
  4. If you conduct a pre- and post-ride weigh in, and if you do the ride properly, you are guaranteed to be calorie positive.

Read #4 again. Calorie positive. Grand fondue. Shit ton of beautiful Malibu canyon climbs. Once-in-a-lifetime permit to ride Sycamore Canyon Road. Calorie positive.

Did I mention calorie positive?

Most grand fondues and century rides are set up so that you can flog yourself for six hours and then collapse in a puddle after you’ve uploaded your Strava file, which ranks you 897th for the day, 8,970th for all time, but first among 53-year-old men who weigh 153 pounds. Then after puddling, you drag yourself up to a picnic bench, drink a bunch, eat a bunch, and watch as your body tries to shift from survival-starvation mode to calorie-alcohol-overload.

There’s a reason they have a crash cart and defibrillator paddles at the finish rather than at the start.

But the Malibu Gran Cookie Dough is different. You can flog yourself if you want, but why? Instead of marking the route with tents offering sugary gloop with extra sugar, the MGCD offers actual food stops where you can feast on real coffee and real food dreamed up by Jeff Mahin, one of America’s very finest chefs and, not coincidentally at all, a specialist in the art of making cookies.

If you stop at the right stops, drink in the spectacular scenery, meander out for a ride instead of a race, and bring a big appetite, you’ll never be able to brag that you crushed it or that you did the hardest ride in the galaxy or that you broke Strava. Instead you’ll be able to claim that you did a big fun ride and you did it calorie positive.

Did I mention calorie positive?

[Photos used permission of Phil Gaimon.]



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The grapes of wrath

September 17, 2016 § 18 Comments

Velo Club La Grange has an annual mass start bike race called the Piuma Hill Climb. It’s a club race and there’s nothing on the line except bragging rights, which means everything is on the line.

Every bike club in America should emulate VCLG. There were ninety-nine starters, none of whom had any hope at all of doing anything other than getting their tender parts beaten into mush.

At the top of the climb, which was 8.1 miles long, La Grange and Helen’s Cycles had set up tents and CPR stations complete with defibrillators and Joe Pugliese. I’d call Joe the Annie Liebovitz of cycling photography but that’s a disservice to his amazing ability. Better to call Annie the Joe Pugliese of celeb photography.

Back in Santa Monica the club had catered a massive, all you can eat gourmet buffet by Rick Friedman. Rick is the Joe Pugliese of cycling food buffets, and my photo of the food, which is an awful picture, reflects my lack of camera prowess, not the presentation or taste. Need I say more?

The ride itself was an out-of-body experience. Piuma is a legendary Santa Monica climb. It starts with a vicious little wall, and today the starter was none other than Tony Manzella, who pegged the first few minutes at 500 watts to make sure that everyone was blown to bits at the gun. Which they were.

In general I hate Strava because people who tout their KOMs rarely have much prowess in real life, head-to-head competition. Tony is not that way. He’s a complete Strava dork and he backs it up with performances like he did today, shelling 90 people in the first hundred yards, towing the fastest riders up the hill like they were hooked to a ski rope, detonating halfway up, and still getting one of the fastest times of the day.

My ride was unexceptional except that it began with the typical delusions. “Today I’m going to hang with Tony and Chad and Matt,” and “Today I’m going to stomp the dicks off Jaycee and Cowan,” and “I’m just going to hang tough and suffer like a dog.”

The suffer part happened at least.

In the first fifty feet Matt Wikstrom, the relentless engine of pain and winner of the climb in some inhuman time or another, eased up next to me. “Let me in, buddy,” he said, motioning for Tony’s wheel. Interpretation: “I don’t want you to gap me out, wanker.”

I know my betters and slid back.

After a few minutes some kid named Sean attacked the lead group, and I stayed with the acceleration until I didn’t. Then I was alone. I looked back and in those first few minutes we had gone so fast that the road behind was completely empty, like my legs.

Jaycee Carey, who is older than last year’s carbon wheelset, blew past me, motioning me to get on his wheel. He is friendly that way, kind of like the guy in the sawmill who says, “Put your hand on this rotating blade that we use to saw through fat trees, you will like it.”

I followed him as he dragged me up and past a couple of other riders who had been puked out the back. We formed a small group, Jaycee caught his breath, then rode off. (Note: James Cowan, who I had vowed to bury, buried all but two or three other riders in another amazing performance by Head Down James.)

My foursome grupetto hung together until the top of Piuma, when Roberto and the dude who had done most of the work jumped away. The two dudes I was with looked like they were trying to swallow a shovelful of salt, and I’m not kidding, all the way up Piuma guys were actually moaning. Not grunting, moaning, like what you do when your thumb is caught in a sewing machine that is stuck on overlock. I heard more moaning going up that fucking hill than in a cheap porn flick.

Roberto and I were alone on Schueren until he dumped me on the last turn, which sort of made up for his whimpering. I straggled in for ninth place, 37:30, which involved more brutality and sadness than I can ever remember.

At the top of Scheuren we got our pictures taken by Joe, filled our water bottles, watched the other corpses stagger in on their hands and knees, and lied about how we did all the work, how we almost hung with Matt and Tony and Cowan, etc., and how next year instead of being older, slower, dumber, and uglier, we’ll really turn in a stellar performance.

The camaraderie was amazing and everyone was happy at having participated. There were no ridiculously overpriced entry fees, there was free food at the end, there was amazing sag at the top, there was amazing photography to commemorate our tummies (Dan Champan shot a ton of pixels as well), there was gorgeous weather, and it was all part of a normal Saturday on the bike–no need to drive out of town, get a room, or do anything other than show up, pin on a number, and get your dick pounded off.

I’m going back to Piuma tomorrow to see if I can find mine.

Thanks VC La Grange for a truly miserable morning of fun!



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