May 6, 2016 § 15 Comments
There is no question a man will ever have to answer in life more significant than “Bring my own bike or rent?”
For me it was simple. Traveling with a bike is like carrying smallpox with you on a vacation. Far better to overpay for a filthy, maladjusted creaker with a nut-punishing seat and enough grease on the chain to open a burrito stand than to put hell in a case and drag it through airports filled with hurried, harried, angry people whose only goal in life is to prevent you from reaching your destination at the highest possible price.
We got to Palma and the weather, which had forecast rain, was raining. I say “we” but that didn’t include Ol’ Grizzles’s bike and gear, which American Airlines had decided would be put to better use in Boston. “No problem,” said the agent, “we can have it delivered to your hotel on Thursday.”
Now that the bicycle trip he had been planning for six months except for the how-to-travel-with-the-bike part was effectively ruined, we went to OK Car Rental, a licensed criminal organization whose business model is to double the guaranteed rare, force-place wildly expensive insurance, charge you a $40 handling fee for filling the tank, and watch you flip out. “You can walk or take bicycle if you don’t like,” is their sales-clincher.
We piloted to the grocery store in Inca in a hailstorm, our single goal being to buy provisions and get to the villa before the others so we could snag the plum beds and Shit in the Lane would get the couch or baby crib again. The first day’s grocery bill was $700.
“Holy shit,” I said as we checked out our five carts.
“Yeah,” said O.G. “Better put it on your card.”
We headed over to the villa, our turdbox from OK Rental groaning under the groceries. We’d been awake for 28 hours and hadn’t eaten anything except a half-dozen in-flight meals and we were now wrestling with the fact that our villa had no address and our contact, Rafael, wasn’t awake yet at noon.
Fortunately it all worked out but not before three pounds of butter melted in the back seat. No matter. We beat the Norwegians and SITL and scored the lovers-cabana-for-two next to the pool. The villa was over 300 years old (“Older than your Constitution!” remarked Munch cheerfully) and furnished with all the comforts you would expect from the Spanish Inquisition including jagged stone floors that tore away unsuspecting toenails.
The crew assembled, minus J-Lo, who hadn’t checked his expired passport until the night before, and Stig, who had arrived a week earlier, was staying elsewhere, and in any event was still riding as he’d only put in 1,000k in five days. “New to cycling,” we all shrugged. “He’ll get over it.”
A mad flurry of bike assembly ensued for those who had shipped bikes except for O.G., who had a mad flurry of a phone conversation with American Airlines as he got them to pay for a bike rental, new kit and helmet, and floor pump. Three of the guys had Ritchie Breakapart frames, a collapsible contraption that is heavy, slow, and ugly, but like children it’s yours.
Brian amazed everyone with a massive, three-foot torque wrench. “What the fuck is that for?” We howled in derision.
“Sets my pedal torque.” More howls. “I got these Garmin power pedals …” More howls. “And the torque has to be right …” More howls. “Or they don’t work properly.”
“Dude!” said SITL. “That wrench weighs more than your fucking bike and I’m gonna drop your ass no matter what pedals you use.” He emphasized the point by emptying his gin and tonic and his wine glass and vodka.
Before long we had tired of making fun of each other and demanded dinner. Leiv the Salted Fish Eater, who was also our cook, brought out an amazing platter of liver-colored, shimmering red meat soaked in blood. “He bring it with him from Norway,” Sverre whispered.
“What the fuck is it?” Dan said. “His neighbor?”
We all took turns guessing. “Reindeer?”
“Anus of bear?”
“I will tell you after you try it,” Leiv said. We each fearfully took a sliver of the barely cooked, quivering meat, like when someone sticks his finger under your nose and says, “Smell this!”
It was tasty. “Gimme some more!” said Shit in the Lane. “What is it?”
“Sperm whale,” said Leiv proudly. “Who would like seconds?”
May 5, 2016 § 13 Comments
A couple of days before my big trip to Spain where I will contest the 2016 Tour de Prostate I got to wondering about the details. So I called up Ol’ Grizzles who was more than happy to take the 76th call of the day from anxious participants wondering about which gears, which tires, and which syringes to bring.
“Hey, man,” I said. “I been wondering.”
“Yeah?” he said.
“Yeah. What about food?”
“What about it?”
“Like, what’s the eating situation? Should I be bringing BonkBreaker bars and BeachBody elixir [*note pro placement of club sponsors smack in the beginning of the post, where exposure will be maximum, before readers close the window when they see their name isn’t mentioned]?”
“Dude,” he said, “there are a lot of things to worry about, for example Stig the freak who has been in Mallorca for the last week and already logged a thousand kilometers.”
“So he’ll be worn out by the time we get there.”
“Or you could worry about your candy California ass and how the Ted Cruz Contingent is gonna tear your legs off.”
“As long as you Cruz Campaigners agree to carry any and all of your non-viable attacks to term, that’s fine. How’s his campaign doing, by the way?”
“Or you could worry about the fact that we’ll do more hard riding in the first two days than you’ve done all year.”
“Hmmm,” I said.
“But the one thing you don’t need to worry about is food. We’ll be eating like kings.”
“Dude. We get up, hop on our bikes ride for a couple of hours, grab a huge lunch, ride a couple more hours, get back to the villa, and eat a huge dinner. There’s food everywhere, all the time.”
“Cool,” I said, and hung up.
This morning you can imagine my surprise when I got the following email from Leiv, the Director of Hospitality. Here is his missive:
Wanky and Grizzles,
Since you are arriving first, you will be required to visit these premises for acquiring the below list of essentials as stipulated by me.
Hiper Centro, Inca
Avinguda General Luque
Inca, Illes Balears, España
These items required for your purchase are not voluntary but are stipulated as required purchases to ensure that governing dietary needs are met durational for our enjoyable together time and nutrition proper for exercise and recovery.
- Beer, regular Pilsner type, 300 bottles, 330ml
- Beer, dark type and Weisbier, 100 bottles each and however way
- Cava, 36 bottles, based on their selection but preference is from these two producers which are not voluntary but stipulated by mutual order and consent: Millésime 2011 or Gran Reserva Brut or Reserva de la Familia or Gran Reserva Brut Nature 2010 by Juvé y Camps, Cava, España
- Heretats, 12 bottles, Gran Reserva 2009 or MIM Brut Reserva 2010 or Pinot Brut Reserva Rosé 2011 by Vins el Cep, Cava, España
- Rose wine, 10-15 bottles, free selection with stipulation of no American vinegar tasting
- White wine, 10-15 bottles, free selection with stipulation of no American vinegar tasting
- Red wine, 10-15 bottles, free selection with stipulation of young wine, Tempranillo grape, Spanish only
- Bottled water, 1-3 bottles for Seth, stipulation for purchase in litres, a measurement unknown to provincials and Americans
- Coke/Soda, 1-3 bottles for Seth or other babies
- Milk, 0% fat, 50 litres for morning recovery and general healthfulness
- Juice, selection 40-50 litres, with stipulation of nothing from concentrate due to unhealthfulness
- Tonic water, 14 litres for healthy mixture with stipulated hard alcohol
- Limes, 80, for healthy mixture with stipulated hard alcohol
- Lemons, 45, for healthy mixture with stipulated hard alcohol
- Red chili peppers, 25-30, for healthy mixture of cooking and proper bowel
- Spring onions, 10-15 singles, for more proper bowel and health
- Red onions, 10-15, very good for extra proper bowel
- Yellow onions, 2-3, moderate bowel yet stipulated flavoring
- Bell peppers, 13, dinner garnishing and healthy vegetable
- One lettuce, healthy bowel roughage
- One cucumber
- One honey melon
- One cantaloupe melon
- Charentis / Gaia / Ogen melon, 2 each for bowel roughage
- Ripe!!! Mango, 4, stipulated vitamin for replenishment of bodily fluids
- Avocado, 10 ripe for chili mixture
- Cillantro, a good heap for green chlorophyll benefits
- Basil, a good pot or heap for concentrated chlorophyll benefits
- Mint, a good pot or heap for freshy breath
- Garlic, net of 10 for fart reduction
- Olive oil, virgin 15 litres for various stipulated cooking and healthy fart reduction
- Corn oil, 1 litre, less healthy but cheap and healthy for stipulated budget
- Balsamic vinegar, 1 litre, extremely bowel health
- Sweet soy sauce (black stuff, small bottle ok)
- Regular soy sauce, salty type, 1 litre
- Rice wine vinegar (with the sushi stuff and Asian people area of the stipulated market), 1 litre
- Mustard, Dijon type for various health application
- Sesame seeds for bowel roughage
- Wheat flour, 15 kg for regular morning baking
- Maldon salt (pack) for flavoring
- Pepper (ground, one glass + one mill glass)
- Sugar 25 kg, for all applications and cooking meals to assignment as stipulated and manufacture of home made energy bar for cycling
- Breakfast oats, 20 kg, for daily logging of morning cooking and lunchtime meals
- Butter 5 kg, for all cooking procedures as stipulated and bowels
- Eggs, breakfast mainly, 13 dozen, but application as needed throughout day and as hunger dictates late-night omelette production
- Cheese, a selection yet refraining from heavily stinking goat type
- Pata negra ham (several different please), 12 kg for much protein throughout all times
- Boiled ham, 2 kg, for chewing
- Jam, one or two glass for application with bread to be baked each morning fresh as each stipulated member takes turns on morning baking crew
- Bacon, 10 kg, for frying and healthy aroma to be assembled by morning baking crew on rotations
- Yoghurt, 12 litres for hangover absorbtion and bowel
- Nuts, selection of hazel, almonds, walnuts for dessert and hangover rapid absorption
- Snack chips, beer nuts, etc. for frequent ingestion and hangover delay
- Toilet paper
- Cling foil
- Aluminum foil
- Toilet paper written twice because forgetfulness of this stipulation would result problematic in catastrophe
- Kitchen paper
- Trash bags
- Extra ration beer and wine for emergency
- Low grade tequila for stipulation of necessity
- Medium grade whiskey for washing down parts of beer and wine
- Flavored liqueur
- Vodka, varying prices but all cheap, please
The individual cooking crews will by stipulation be on assignment and in shifts with new members beginning cook shift at 5:00 AM or early as by stipulation of senior members’ dietary stipulation and awakening schedule. Cooking crew rotational shift designation will be throughout each day with new members carrying proportionally heavy stipulation preparation and cooking and shopping load until Year 2 when seniority accrues by stipulation.
So now at least one thing is clear. We’ll be eating like kings, all right, but in order to do it we’ll be needing a few slaves.
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April 29, 2016 § 28 Comments
I was standing in the bar, downing my third craft water and feeling my prostate start to bulge. BD was downing something with a bit more horsepower, and he was not happy.
“Fuggin’ wanker brake-checked me! Tried to take me out.”
“Bummer, dude,” I said.
“Bummer? Eff that! That guy’s a fuggin’ head case! He brake-checked me and tried to take me out! Why didn’t you do anything?”
“I didn’t see it. And I’m not your mother.”
“Eff that! It’s your ride, dude. You’re the enforcer. That was bullshit!”
“It’s not my ride, I’m not the enforcer, and every pelodrama has at least two versions, if not a dozen. Plus, you’ve been doing this long enough to know The Rule.”
“The only person responsible for what happens to your front wheel is you.”
He thought about it and drank some more Thought Stimulator. “What’s your next race?”
“I don’t know. Barry Wolfe?”
“Ugh. Crits. So no Dana Point?”
“No. I’m off the bike for the next few days.”
“I just did three back-to-back days of 5-hour rides and I need to rest.”
“What are you training for?”
“I’m taking a trip next week.”
“Mallorca for ten days.”
BD stared, then had some more Thought Stimulator. “Dude! You’re going to Mallorca? To ride?”
“Yes. And yes.”
“Oh my fuggin’ dog! That’s bike porn! You’re going to be buried in bike porn for ten fuggin’ days!”
“Dude! It’s the best riding on earth! It’s Disneycycleland times a billion! Who are you going with?”
“A group of crazy people, unfortunately.”
“Taking the family, eh?”
“No, they’re staying home. I’m meeting up with Ol’ Grizzles from Texas and his band of Ted Cruz Moral Majority crazies, and then we’re going to be joined by Ole Oleson and his band of Merrily Grim Norwegian Salted Fish Eaters.”
“What the fuck are you talking about?”
“Ol’ Grizzles is a riding buddy from Texas. We became immediate and lifelong friends when I showed up on a ride on my steel Eddy, no helmet, and wool jersey, and beat the snot out of the local West Houston posers. He and some of his gun nut abortion-haters go to Mallorca every year and do a week or so of super hard riding, which basically means one day of going full gas and seven days of recovery beer and feasting on smoked hog testicles.”
“What’s the Norwegian reference?”
“So Ol’ Grizzles and his buddy Shit in the Lane had another friend, Ole Oleson from Norway, who was stationed in Houston as part of his company’s plea-deal to avoid prison. He could have gone to jail or to Houston, so he picked what he thought was the lesser of two evils and found out he was wrong. Anyway, Ole rides like a maniac for the three weeks every year that Norway isn’t covered in snow and ice and mud and vodka, and he brings some of his buddies to meet up with the Texas crazies, and it’s kind of a Man Tour on testosterone supplements. They’ve badgered me the last couple of years to join them as they need riding lessons, but all of my kindergarten-bike classes are too advanced for them so I’ve always declined.”
BD heard about half of what I said, maybe. “Dude!” he urgled. “Bike porn!”
“Yeah,” I said. “Bike porn. Whatever that is.”
“So what’s the plan? What rides are you doing?”
I took out my phone and showed him the latest missive from our Directeur de Démembrement:
Dear Weak-legged Ones,
Le Tour de Mallorca 2016 is coming up fast, much faster even than your carefully planned training schedule, which you meticulously plotted out last August yet doubtlessly put off until the week before departure. That is okay. You are likely well prepared for eight days of hard, mountainous riding with those two extra-long rides to and from the liquor store. Mallorca is mostly easy riding and will accommodate your efforts much as your manufacturing sector has accommodated the “inferior” competition from China.
In short, do not worry.
As Directeur de Démembrement I have promised to come up with an assortment of rides. This seemed daunting at first since, given your riding profiles the only “assortment” that would fit involved flat rides to the liquor store, as mentioned above. However, there should be something for everyone, from large sections of flats where Shit in the Lane will hammer for a mile or two until he has to dig deeply into his Suitcase of Excuses (which will be well-filled prior to departure), and climbs where our Norwegian contingent has finished translating a few chapters of Egyptian hieroglyphics before the Ted Cruz Contingent catches up. We even have rides where Ol’ Grizzles will be able to tag along, at least until the right turn out of the driveway. Maybe. The distances vary from 65-ish to 100-miles with a possibility to cut some of them short, and a guarantee to cut all of them short for Grizzles and SITL. Note that I use miles because the complexity of the metric system is too confusing for a group of Texans who are still trying to decide whether a birther Nazi or an Islamic State Christian are the better standard bearers for America’s highest office.
We are a rather large group, although we will become much smaller as the days pass and the rides tend to select towards fitness, preparation, ability, and mental fortitude, meaning that we will more and more tend to be exclusively Norwegian. My hope is that early on, if the Cruz Contingent can avoid complete drunkenness on Night One, we can manage some discipline and should be able to cover some ground. However, knowing some of you guys and my experience with you on the West Oaks rides I know that things will most likely fall apart. My scheduled plans for the rides are just that; plans. To borrow one and the only intelligible quote from Mike Tyson: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”
Just a suggestion, but bring face masks.
Enclosed are both the GPX and KML coordinates for the rides. I doubt that anyone with an American high school or college degree can read them, however, the files can be uploaded to Google Earth or other applications such as AskYourChild.com. Mapmyride is free and takes only a couple of minutes to register, although its terrible interface and complexities (you will need to have your child help you with the instructions to “log in” and “register”) will deter most of you. Your 5-year-old, however, will be good to go and will see the routes with distances, feet of climbing, and other cold, hard facts that no amount of bragging to your wife will now allay. SITL and others should be wearing diapers when they see the daily routes for the first time.
Should you have a GPS device please upload the rides. It won’t help you go faster, and it will certainly subject you to merciless shame should you have the bad judgment to upload your ride times to Strava, but it will help when you get utterly, completely, and thoroughly lost, which will happen each time the road tilts up, the speed picks up, or we pass a bar. You do not want me at the front all the time shouting directions, as when excited I revert to my native Norwegian, and for safety reasons we certainly do do not want any of you up there.
After speaking with our Officier d’Hébergement I trust that he is in control of the accommodations. The left pig sty is for SITL, and Ol’ Grizzles has first dibs on the horse barn. I know you will all enjoy the new culinary experience of Mallorca. Make sure to bring your favorite bowel irrigation device.
Please make sure that you all include cycling shoes, a bib short, and jersey in your carry-on, though for most of you a pair of gym shorts and flip-flops would more than suffice given the length of time you will survive the actual rides. The Specialized “bicycles” that our US friends will be shipping over may be impounded by Spanish authorities as imitation bikes; don’t say we didn’t warn you in advance to rent rather than travel with 400-lbs. of poorly made American-branded junk.
Please let me know how the GPX/KML files work out and if there are any issues uploading them that your children can’t immediately resolve.
Directeur de Démembrement
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September 13, 2014 § 2 Comments
I want to kill myself. After getting moved in I rode down to Bunny’s Liquor Store near my place to get some silver bullets. There were seven or eight guys standing outside and they also had lost their belts. So I said to them hey could you watch my bike for a minute because this bike is worth about $5k and one of the guys said sure, man.
So I went inside and got three 24’er cases of silver bullets and when I came outside my bike was gone. Hey, where’s my bike I asked them and they said I don’t know I didn’t see anything. You’re kidding me I said you were here the whole time and that bike is my livelihood. They were like hey man we didn’t see nothing and mom I almost started to cry. They were like why are you so upset and I said I’m a pro bike racer and that’s my team bike. I’m gonna lose my job now.
They were like oh man that sucks. I said didn’t you see anybody but they were like, nope. I don’t usually cuss mom but I said f*** and s*** and god**** it to h***. There goes my whole life and they were like oh, man that really sucks and hey is that Coors Light?
So I was like, hell yeah, silver bullets baby so we went around to the dumpster behind Bunny’s and started cracking them open. They are a pretty good bunch of guys and they said they would keep an eye out for my bike and if they saw the person who stole it they would take it back and give it to me. Pretty soon a bunch of other guys showed up and we emptied the third case so I went back and got three more. None of the dudes in my neighborhood have belts like I said before there is a HUGE belt shortage here in LA.
Then they were like hey, do any brothers race bicycles and I was like no, I only have a sister and she works with Pap on the hog farm. They were laughing hard at that, go figure.
I don’t know what I’m gonna do now, mom. After we killed that last case of silver bullets I got three more but now I’m completely broke. Anyway the guys in my neighborhood and I are good friends now, they invited me to play hoops with them tomorrow and told me to bring some more silver bullets. I have no idea what hoops are but if it’s a sport I will have to open the can on these guys even though they’re my friends. I may be short but I don’t lose to anyone.
PS: Can you put another $150 in my account? I thought I had some extra money but it looks like I spent it all at Bunny’s.
PPS: Love you MOM!!!
PPPS: Don’t tell Pap I got my bike stolen.
Your son “Blitz”