World fame on Amazon

March 24, 2017 § 21 Comments

There are two ways to know you’ve hit the big time.

  1. Your $2.99 blog finally gets four subscribers, none of whom is a family member.
  2. You get mentioned on an Amazon bicycle customer review.

One of these just happened. Click here.

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The Legend of Shirtless Keith

March 18, 2017 § 45 Comments

If you ever meet someone who claims to know what’s up in the South Bay, you can ask this simple question. “Do you know Shirtless Keith?”

The answer will tell you all you need to know.

Shirtless Keith isn’t legendary or even mythical. He’s way beyond that. He is the Holy Grail in bicycling.

Shirtless Keith rides (you’ll never guess) without a shirt. And instead of girlish Italian cycling shoes with fancy clip-in pedals, he rides with boots. Big, heavy boots. Boots that you can use for pedaling a bike or for walking 10 miles one-way to the brewery. Yep, he did that. And after having a few beers, he walked home.

When it comes to nutrition, Shirtless Keith don’t need no fancy-shmancy biker Barbie food. “Cyclists” carefully consume properly balanced foodstuffs made by elves who grew each organic ingredient on a small plot of earth farmed by earthworms and hippies from the 60’s. When Keith starts running low on fuel, you know what he eats?

Pop-Tarts.

Yep. You heard me right. And when he gets a hankering for a Pop-Tart he doesn’t reach into his jersey pocket because, shirtless, he don’t wear no stinkin’ jersey. Instead he pulls over, unstraps the bungee cord on his rack that holds down the Pop-Tarts, and eats it on the spot. And Shirtless Keith don’t need no water bottle. When he gets thirsty he rides over to a water fountain and drinks.

You think I’m joking? That’s okay, you’re just proving that you don’t know squat about the South Bay.

Keith rides an old cromoly Raleigh with knobby tires and a steering tube that’s longer than a fishing pole. Keith don’t need no carbon and no 25mm tires. All Keith needs is a 55-tooth chain ring, and that’s all he’s got. If the 55 is too big that just means he has to pedal harder.

And Keith don’t need no Internet coach. He rides 48 miles a day, seven days a week. But his favorite day is Saturday because that’s when the Donut Ride goes off. Keith rides around until the group comes barreling up to the Domes and he hops in with the leaders, goes to the front, drops a couple of people (usually me), then swings off and finishes the climb by himself.

Keith’s signature move is to troll for wankers. It never takes long to hook some mid-40s dude on a $15,000 rig. The dude takes one look at Keith’s boots, 40-lb. bike and shirtless back, rolls his eyes, puts the hammer down, and blows by. Dude looks back and sees that yeah, he passed Shirtless Keith, but now Shirtless Keith is passing him. Fast. Dude hops onto Keith’s wheel and pretty soon he’s stuffed into the pain burrito as Keith gets the 55 rolling.

Then Keith stands up and starts pounding like the world’s biggest mashed potato maker, and pretty soon the dude is gazing down at his $5,000 power meter which is telling him that he left his FTP back in Portuguese Bend and it’s exactly fifteen seconds to detonation time.

Shirtless Keith rides away.

If you talk to him he is humble and polite and the friendliest guy on the Hill. One time he hopped in with the Aussie women’s national team and rode with them around the peninsula. Like the classy guy he is, he asked if he could join before hopping in.

The funny people are the ones who tell him to “get a road bike” because he’ll “be a beast.” These are always people he’s shelled, by the way, like a rotten pecan.

Keith don’t wanna be no roadie. Keith don’t want no road bike and no fancy outfit. Keith wants to ride his bike, troll for wankers, hop in on the Donut every now and again, and enjoy cycling his way, on his terms, not yours. One Shirtless Keith is better than all the Velominati put together.

Like I said, the Holy Grail.

shirtless_ketih

Shirtless Keith bringing the heat on Crest!

shirtless_calves

Boots. Cutoffs. Leather belt. Man’s legs. Pop-Tarts. 12-inch steering tube. Legend.

shirtless_keith_trump

Shirtless Keith Google Street View, Trump Golf Course.

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Shimano defends exploding full carbon wheels that are 100% carbon

March 11, 2017 § 10 Comments

Cycling fans were shocked to see Gianni Moscon’s Shimano full carbon wheels explode in the team time trail on the opening stage of Tirenno-Adriatico, also known as “The Race That No One Knows Exactly Where It Is But Prolly In Europe Somewhere.”

Moscon’s full carbon Shimano wheels, made of 100% carbon and verified through rigorous testing to contain huge amounts of carbon, bigly, detonated mid-race causing him to experience a dramatic bicycle falling off incident and, with the prominent name of Shimano attached to the wheels, also caused Shimano to experience an even more dramatic falling off of sales incident.

The fourteen thousand shards of carbon were carefully collected and sent to G. Lonergan for repair, however, after careful evaluation, he reported from his world famous Duct Tape Labs that “I can fix it, but not in time for tomorrow’s race.”

The shards were then sent to Shimano’s research facility in Fukushima, Japan, where the company released a statement confirming that the wheels had passed rigorous testing under nuclear core meltdown conditions and that the Shimano 100% carbon full carbon wheelmakers were proud of their “flawless record.”

Industry insider Puddin’ McOlskool was skeptical. “Their fuggin’ flawless record ain’t so fuggin’ flawless now, now is it?”

The Shimano statement continued: “PRO is continuing its investigation into the issue we saw with Team Sky at the team time trail of Tirreno-Adriatico. We are continuing to look closely into all factors that could cause the incident.”

Cranky McSlammstem, tech analyst for CitSB, deconstructed the statement. “First off, see, they’re already blaming it on PRO, their wheel division, kind of like your right hand blaming something on your ding-dong that you’re holding. Second off, they’re calling it an issue, when what they mean is ‘our randomly exploding wheels.’ Sounds better, eh? I mean who doesn’t have issues? My old lady has ’em. I have ’em. Our pug has ’em which is why he pees on the couch when he gets excited. But ain’t nobody got a randomly exploding wheel, especially nobody who likes to ride fast on a bicycle. So my two cents is that they got some exploding wheels and that ain’t any good and if I was you I’d ditch my exploding Shimano wheels and get me a pair of FastForward full carbon race wheels, which is made of 100% carbon, purely.”

When asked to pinpoint what might have caused the wheels to randomly explode, both McOlskool and McSlammstem agreed that “Them fuggin’ wheels obviously wasn’t 100% carbon.”

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A close shave

March 10, 2017 § 20 Comments

About six months ago I joined Dollar Shave Club. This is an online business where you pay extra money for cheap razors that come with a newsletter filled with fart and manscaping jokes. So, totally worth it.

The idea behind Dollar Shave Club is to convert the average guy into a way-above average guy when it comes to caring about minor appearance areas on your body like, you know, your face. They even did a study that examined men’s attitudes towards shaving. Here are the results:

  1. 98% of men hate to shave.
  2. 98% of men who shave are cheap.
  3. 98% of men who are cheap use a disposable razor an average of six months before replacing it with something sharper, like an old tire or a stick.
  4. 98% of all men ever born think special products for your face are “for sissies.”
  5. 98% of all men would rather scratch their nuts when they itch than get a clean shave (assuming they had to choose, which, thankfully, they do not).

The whole idea behind Dollar Shave Club, which costs a lot more than a dollar, sells a lot of stuff that isn’t for shaving, and isn’t a club, is that once a man actually gets a good, cheap shave, he will change his way of living and eventually buy a more expensive razor, falsely reasoning that if you can get a great shave for a dollar, you can get an even better one for four, much as profamateur masters racers think that if you can go fast with carbon wheels, you can go even faster with carbon everything (that’s actually true).

Anyway, next thing you know you buy more expensive shaving cream, then purchase for the first time ever something called “beard softener,” and then, in an act that will pretty much leave your wife speechless, apply something called “after shave facial cream” which leaves your skin all smooth and smoothy. In short, you’re now a sissy.

You’re hooked on all the implements and then the Ten Dollar Shave Club becomes the Fifty Dollar Shave Club and before you know it you’re trimming your toenails and combing the knots out of your back hair once a month whether you need to or not. This was all happening to me in real time and it made me reflect on what a positive development it is.

You see, from the time I was eighteen until about four years ago I did in fact shave and scrupulously so, but the thing I shaved was my legs. And leg shaving was either something you did carefully, spending an hour in the shower, or you did it quickly, leaving cutter tattoos up and down those tendon thingies on the back of your knee, on your kneecap, and on your Achilles.

With all that time spent hacking up my legs, who had time for face shaving?

Then a few years ago Surfer Dan quit shaving and grew the most thick, luxuriant carpet of golden fur up and down his mighty legs, and guess what? He still rode everyone off his wheel, which meant that the single fake justification for leg shaving was disproven, i.e. shaving doesn’t make you faster. Pretty soon other people were throwing in the razor towel and we started seeing lots of fake racers with hairy legs mixing in with the shaved fake racers.

It was finally cool to be unshorn.

The other good thing about pedaling around with dual shag carpets hanging off his calves was that Surfer offended so many “purists,” especially Velominati wankers who were galled first at getting dropped, galled second at getting dropped by a surfer, and galled third at getting dropped by ol’ gorilla legs.

Anyway, the point is that after all those years of leg shaving I had a lot of pent up hair removal tendencies, and Ten Dollar Shave Club came along at exactly the right time. So now instead of having people look at me funny and ask “How come you shave your legs, old fellow?” and me having to say “Uh bike racer, uh aero, uh facilitates massage, uh prevents infection from road rash, uh uh uh,” they say “Oh my, what smooth skin you have, sailor.”

I like that a lot better. Try it. Maybe you will, too.

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Airport laps

March 9, 2017 § 12 Comments

The only thing more Far Side and Escher and Don Martin than sitting in an airport is walking in one, and by walking I mean any ambulation not purposed to get you to a gate, down a ramp, to a potty, to a gewgaw store, or to a sugar-caffeine-beer-grease dispensary.

I got to the airport with hours to spare because it is only by arriving anywhere absurdly early that you can truly risk being late. This principle applies most often to biking, where you get up an hour early to eat and be there in time but end up checking emails and Facebag and tear out of the house ten minutes late and miss the ride unlike EA Sports, Inc. who gets up five minutes before leaving and always makes it if only just barely and even though you have to average 32 to get there.

If being in an airport is Dali and Finnegan’s Wake, then walking around the airport in order to exercise is Dune after the sand worm has swallowed you. One full William P. Hobby lap through all three wings takes about 22 minutes and 14.567 seconds, approximately.

Certain sections are more challenging than others. The toughest section is passing the police outpost. The police outpost is hard scoot by to because you already look terroristic, walking aimlessly without a soy latte, and they keep a bicycle in front of the cop station to entrap bicycle terrorists. They know that as you’re wandering around you won’t be able to resist stopping and examining the police bike’s components and especially the tread wear and condition of the chain because it is sparkly clean (no mud puddles or road grime in the airport) and really, do the tires even wear at all when rolling on carpet and glassy tile?

Oh, and is it tubeless? And what make is the helmet dangling from the bars?

Once you stop to check out the bicycle your subversive credentials are proven beyond doubt, and they look at you funny and ask what you’re doing even though all you really want to know is: IS THERE A KOM FOR INSIDE THE AIRPORT?

They take notes and ask to see your ID and boarding pass again.

The first airport laps are toughest because every few yards there is a restaurant baiting you with all of the cuisine America has to offer, Tex-Mex, BBQ, Chinese food a/k/a fried chicken lumps in orange sugar sauce, burgers, Chick-Fil-A homophobic fried chicken, and coffee. You have to grit your teeth and focus on not stopping, especially since once you cross the Texas border the giant Trumpian wall prevents any barbecue from escaping, especially to California.

After you’ve plugged your ears, Ulysses-like, the pizza and burger sirens can no longer be heard and you can focus on other things, like finding new and circuitous routes through the chairs, or memorizing which gates have phone charging banks, or noting the people who seem mostly to die in the next 72 hours due to triple-wide obesity, or, after two hours of walking, finally breaking down in front of Peet’s and ordering a coffee, gruel, some warmed up oxygen and a side of toasted water.

Because it’s never too soon to get back to profamateur race weight. SoCal, here I come.

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Goode ol’ time in Texas

March 8, 2017 § 16 Comments

You can take the boy out of the country but you can’t take the barbecue out of the boy. Science has proven that Texas children possess a barbecue gene which instills in them a deep craving for brisket, jalapeno sausage, and pecan pie.

I have occasionally tried to satisfy the barbecue gene in SoCal but that is like trying to satisfy the sushi gene in Nebraska. SoCal barbecue is basically boiled meat with ketchup.

Yum.

As part of my new Masters Profamateur Training Program I now get a lot of rest, and what better place to rest from cycling than Houston, where they actually pay a bounty for cyclist pelts. In Houston you can also rest from your strict profamateur diet of gruel, warm oxygen, and toasted water by visiting Goode Company BBQ.

Goode Company, also known as “heaven” or “paradise” is the perfect place to refill your arteries with crudescence of plaque and other “deep vein” fuel sources that will act as energy reserves later in the racing season and during angioplasty and stents.

My recommendations for training foods when you’re back in Texas:

  1. Brisket
  2. Jalapeno sausage
  3. Pinto beans
  4. Tater salad
  5. Jalapeno bread
  6. Big ol’ slab of pecan pie

Be sure to keep a bed and soft pillow nearby, as 10 minutes after eating, all the blood in your body will sprint to your gut causing you to fall over and snore loudly.

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Pass the cream, please

March 7, 2017 § 28 Comments

One of the best ways to make sure you get plenty of rest after a weekend of hard profamateuring is to take a trip. We decided to go visit family in Houston, about as exotic a place as you can go if you live in Los Angeles.

We sat around at the gate in LAX and appreciated the different culture, as most of the passengers appeared to be Texan. Whereas people from LA wear clothes that are about 25 years too young for them, people from Texas are easily identified by their college branding.

We happened to be lounging next to a fellow who had a deep affinity for Texas A&M. He was in his forties, rounder than tall, and had on an Aggie gimme cap. Below the cap he wore a maroon button down short sleeve shirt that said “Aggies.”

Below that was a pair of starched, high-waisted Wranglers, held in place with a big leather belt that tself was fastened with a giant A&M buckle. In his hip pocket was a maroon leather wallet. I am pretty sure I know what was embossed on it.

We squeeezed onto the Southwest cattle car and since we were C-26 the plane was pretty full. When I put my small backpack in the bin I accidentally hit a guy in the head with it. “I’m so sorry,” I said.

“No problem,” he cheerfully asnwered. He was an older fellow and very nice so I was even sorrier, but in my sorrowfulnesss I mistakenly stepped on his foot.

“Oh!” I said. “I’m so sorry!”

“No problem,” he said, still smiling, which made me feel worse still.

The plane got aloft and the lady next to me asked me if I had been saved. “For what?” I asked.

“Has your soul been saved?” she clarified.

“How would I know?”

“Have you accepted Jesus as your personal savior?” she pressed.

This felt like karma for hitting the nice man in the head and stepping on his foot. I looked at my watch and figured it would kill some time and maybe count for penance. “Could you explain?”

“Jesus died for our sins. All of us. Imagine being in the desert and you’re dying of thirst, that’s what it’s like living without Jesus. You are thirsting for him with body and soul, crying out for Jesus and when you let him in it’s like water to a man dying of thirst. You have to let him in to satisfy your thirst.”

This went on for a long time and the more she talked about thirsting and needing and letting him in and giving yourself to him and the ecstasy of submitting to his love I couldn’t help but wonder if she was secretly telling me the plot for her new adult video.

Eventually the flight attendant came by with coffee and gave me some with two creamer packs. If you are an airplane coffee drinker you know that nothing is deadlier than a creamer pack because they are sealed and when the plane goes up they become pressurized and if you’re not careful they will jet-spray you with cream when you pull the tab.

The first one was okay but the second creamer had the tell-tale puffy top which meant it was going to spray like Old Faithful. Pointing it away from me I peeled back the tab and out came a white geyser that went clear across the aisle and splattered against the back of the leg of the nice old gentleman.

Jesus Jane saw it and began laughing, and the Aggie, who saw it too, almost choked on his fifteenth package of honey-roasted sugar-coated peanuts. Sheepishly I tapped the old fellow on the shoulder. “Excuse me, sir,” I said.

He turned around and saw it was me, and smiled so kindly. “Yes?”

“I’m so sorry but I just sprayed cream all over the back of your pants leg.”

Since this is an unusual greeting, he checked his leg, and sure enough it was spattered with cream. He took his napkin and wiped it off, smiling. “No worries,” he said. “No worries at all.”

Jesus Jane got back to reciting her adult video script, I sank into the chair while the Aggie chewed peanuts, loudly, and we eventually touched down, but not before dropping into severe wind and rain that tossed the giant plane about like a rag doll. At some point Jesus Jane had turned green and was moaning, “Save me, Jesus,” beause it was the roughest landing I’d ever been through.

The nice old man was fine, of course. “Have a great day!” he said to me as I deplaned.

END

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