April 19, 2012 § 5 Comments
It’s rare that anyone reads this blog, filled as it is with much sound and fury, signifying nothing. It’s rarer still that someone takes the time to dress Wankmeister down for his blustering, mouthy satires that amuse no one but himself, and sometimes don’t even do that.
The recent publication of Tuesday’s New Pier Ride recap was met with scorn and derision by one of the mightiest people in the peloton, and someone whose delusions of cycling greatness occasionally get tangled up with, and therefore become hard to untangle from, reality. Wankmeister can relate!!!
Below, reprinted sort of with permission but actually probably not, is “The True Unvarnished Unadulterated Unexpurgated Pure Tale of What Really Happened on the Tuesday NPR and Why Wankmeister is a Poser Douchebag but I Love Him Anyway and Can I Have a New Nickname Please” by Aaron “Hair” W.
So I show up at Telo today and someone says to me, “So Perez beat you in the Pier Ride this morning?”. To which I respond, “Hell no! No one was even in the same zip code!”. To which they reply, “That’s what it said in Seth’s blog”. My response, “what the fuck is Seth’s blog!?”. So I read it for the first time tonight …dude, you are one bad ass writer! But your killing me with the whole, “Me have big swinging dick, me take so many pulls”. It’s redundant, and people are just gonna tell you to stop whining. So let me help ya out with the taking a pull thing …if your taking that many pulls, your not pulling hard enough. When I take a pull, it’s to break mother fuckers off. It ain’t to keep the pack speed at some certain average speed. People don’t respond well to hard accelerations …and that’s what I like to give them. And if it don’t break shit up, well, it took all the pop out of their legs for the finish. So change the mantra …fuck pulling, attack bitches! Attack over and over and over until we break the bitch in two!
Now let me give you the final finish, since it seems you were unable to pull through that section ; ) At the turn around by Sepulveda, 5 Big Orange guys got off the front, and Leibert sat in front of Derek, Mark-Paul (our other teammate), and myself to block. This part is comical …even with Leibert soft pedaling, these guys were not pulling away. So I said to Leibert, “Tell them you can’t go any slower!” …I could see Leibert was disappointed.
Anyhow, Derek, MP, and myself took over at the top of bridge before Loyola and were on the front all the way to the finish. And when the sprint happen, I can assure you Perez was nowhere near me (or in front of me for that matter). So reprint that shit bitch! ; ) And tell these weak dick mother fuckers to start attacking more! When the group slows up, it’s cause their hurt’n …so fuck’n hit ’em again!
Now don’t get all teary eyed, and take any of this shit personal …cause you big dick swings too low for that.
And for Christ Fucking Sake, come up with a better fucking name than “Hair” …maybe something like,
“Giant Swinging Dick” or “Totem Poll Dick!
…you’re one of my favorite dudes, seriously.
and thanks for all the other compliments in some of your post.
Now I know what you’re all thinking. “Does he have any idea how hard people are going to laugh when this goes up on the Internet?” and “Does he even know what the Internet is?” And I can answer that for you: “No, and no but he soon will.”
However, it has now become necessary for Wankmeister to defend his honor, and since he has none to defend, he will go try and borrow someone else’s at least for a few minutes. So listen up, Hair.
You’ve broken a bunch of rules with this noxious missive, which is awesome. You are fast and smart and tough and you train hard and you win races (I’m making that last part up). But there are some rules that even you can’t get away with breaking. Here they are:
- Don’t ever ask for a nickname. Nothing good will come of it. Ever. Just ask the dude who wanted to be called “Cheap Trick” and is now known as “Nancy.”
- Don’t ever ask for a “better” nickname if one has already been bestowed. It’s like being a crippled dude with syphilis and telling people not to call you “Gimpy.” The only possible replacement is going to be worse, unless you’ve always fancied being called “Skankdick.”
- No matter what, don’t ever, ever, ever, ever, ever (and you can toss in a couple more “evers” just for emphasis) tell anyone what you really want to be called. Especially me. It will make the consequences of #1 and #2 above look positively benign.
So, you’ve fucked up, and now you’re going to be punished. Henceforth you shall only be known as Super Heroic Radically Impressive Manly Penis Yeoman Doing Incredibly Crazy Kermesses. But since that’s a mouthful (so to speak) and takes too long to type, we’re just going to call you by the acronym. Or, we could go back to using “Hair.” Your call, buddy.
PS: After you get through strumming that totem pole…go the front, you sandbagging wanker.
April 18, 2012 § 14 Comments
When our small pack of starving, drought-ravaged, beatdown wankers hit the second rest stop at mile 65.4, it was pandemonium. Fistwads of BonkBreakers, heads doused in cold Coke, unpeeled bananas devoured whole, and all the while smokin’ hot SPY babes making hashmark soup of our numbers to ensure we were credited for reaching the checkpoint, and me boring straight for the water, refilling my bottle, and jumping back aboard while most of the others were still gobbling PowerBars, sticking a finger down their shorts to see how egregiously their stinky diapers needed changing, or just rolling in the dirt and softly moaning.
A hundred yards past the transfusion station it hit me: whenever your ride involves a half-naked woman in her 80’s wielding a broom and threatening to kill you with it, you’ve just crossed the threshold from epic and wandered over into the batshit crazy realm of the surreal.
In fact, my last encounter with a crazy octogenarian woman during a bike ride didn’t involve one who was half-naked or carrying a broom, it involved one who was completely naked and barefoot, and ten miles from the nearest farmhouse.
Spit and Spanky Muffins
Spit&spankymuffins, or Clanghorn Leghorn as he was also known, had been whooping it up on the side with this little package from Granger, the only town in Texas that still had a Czech newspaper, and as far as I know, the only one that ever did, or for that matter, wanted to have one.
I don’t remember her name because I always just called her Czechmate, and that particular morning in July of 1984 as I rolled up the frontage road along I-35 to pick Clanghorn up at his house for a ride, I could tell from a distance something was amiss. For one, in front of his little white rental shack there was a silver Z-car, and the only person I knew who drove a silver Z-car was his fiancee, the little ballerina, who I always called “Bally.”
For another, from the distance and angle I could see a maroon Ford pickup parked out on the back lot, obscured by the mesquite and the brokedown storage shed. Clanghorn didn’t own a car, and the only person I knew with a maroon pickup was Czechmate.
For a third, I could see the side window that abutted Spit&spankymuffins’s bedroom, and it looked like a head was sticking out, a head with long brown hair, which was odd because Clanghorn always had a crew cut. For a fourth, even from that distance I could hear the godawful pounding on his screen door and see a highly agitated Bally making more racket than a 92-lb. ballerina ought to be able to make.
The only thing that meant we weren’t going to need a homicide detective was that Bally had approached from the north and thus couldn’t see the truck out behind the house, and that Bally didn’t carry a handgun. Most days.
By the time I got up to the fence Spit&spankymuffins was slowly opening the screen door, in tandem with Czechmate falling clumsily out of the window in her panties and hopping like a crazy woman through the goatheads and fire ant mounds to the safety of the thorny mesquite and her pickup, where she carried a handgun every single day of the year.
Bally jumped inside the house and was yelling so loud that she never heard Czechmate drive away. I played dumb and added a little more to the distraction while Clanghorn did a disappearing act with Czechmate’s clothes that would have made Houdini blush.
No country for old women
Clanghorn finally convinced Bally that nothing was amiss, and she was never the wiser until the big shindig the night before their wedding, when I raised my glass and made a toast that more or less wandered off onto the topic of Czechmate and how glad I had been that Bally had left her .45 at home that morning. That, along with their subsequent divorce after the world’s shortest marriage, is another story.
THIS story is about how Spit&spankymuffins and I decided that Bally was going to be laying in wait for most of the day, so the only way to throw her off the scent was to go do a nice long 120-miler, the only problem being that it was now 8:00 AM and the temperature was already 104, and if we waited much longer it was going to get hot.
Clanghorn thought he knew a couple of routes that would at least take us near a convenience store where we could get water, so off we went. By mile 90 we were both delirious. The temperature was well over 110, and the ambient air temperature four or five feet off the asphalt was easily 130. Clanghorn got turned around and we missed the convenience store, so we now had to either get something to drink or die.
By some miracle we hit a low water crossing that was mostly filled with nasty green stuff from a dairy farm upstream, but we were pretty sure we didn’t have to worry about brain damage, as no one would notice, and so we filled our bellies and bottles on that nasty green sludge, which, if I say so myself, was the sweetest and best tasting water I’ve ever had in my life, notwithstanding the cramps that night followed by the vomiting and diarrhea that ensued for the next three weeks.
As we rode out of the shade from the water crossing, ten miles from the nearest farmhouse, we saw a figure approaching us in the distance. As we got closer, we saw it was a woman. A very, very old woman. Naked. Barefoot. Walking on that frying pan asphalt looking as starry-eyed batshit crazy as we felt.
At first neither of us could believe it. “You see that?” I asked Spanky.
We pedaled slowly by. “Hi, ma’am,” I said.
She never looked to the right or the left, and I couldn’t help noticing that her body was perfectly brown all over, with nary a tan line anywhere. “Hey, Wankmeister,” Clanghorn said after we passed.
“Why don’t we just pretend that never happened?”
No country for lycra-clad whackjobs on the BWR
While I’d been downing plasma and EPO tabs at the transfusion station, a group of about twenty riders had taken the hard right turn down the dirt road that led to the quagmire of mud and water and slop and hell known by the bitterly ironic name of Country Club Road. As I made the right turn in their wake, I was surprised to see them all coming back again, pedaling pell-mell and screaming at the top of their lungs: “Turn back! There’s a crazy lady with no teeth and a broom barring the way!”
Well, all the motivation I needed to go full steam ahead was the chance encounter with a crazy toothless broom Hilda. Within seconds the SPY broom wagon came up, shouting the same thing. On I went until there in the distance I could see her, hopping up and down in a blue fury, one-piece burlap sack jostling about her skinny frame, three-foot breasts slinging thisaway and that like two bad dancers, one of whom wants to tango and the other of whom wants to do crossword puzzles.
“No blog,” I thought as I got closer, “will ever top this.” Then, as I saw her making some pretty fair batting cage slices with the broom, cuts that, if they connected, would at least be good for a ground rule double, it hit me: Crazy half-naked lady with three-foot breasts doing major league swings with a broom can only mean that her son, who is probably also her husband and the father of her grandchildren, has finally pulled on his burlap bag, loaded the guns, and drained the rest of the turpentine bottle prior to going out on the porch to see which raccoon or possum or skunk or crow or lizard or trespasser he’s going to have to shoot the legs off of.
“Fuck blogalistic integrity,” I thought. “I’m outta here.”
The surrealistic hell of the North County
After a mad dash I connected with the pack that had flown from broom Hilda, a completely different amalgamation of wankers than the dead and dying who I’d left at the doping station. The inaugural Belgian Waffle Ride was already an unmitigated nightmare of British proportions. The last thing I could clearly remember was the sight of MMX churning away at the front on Green Canyon Road, with zombie The Bone battering away, and freakish K. Strychnine grinding up each roller with the nasty efficiency of an industrial food processor.
As I struggled at the back, bladder almost bursting, I could only think enviously about the pee stop at mile 20, when MMX had urinated while riding his bike, splashing a fine, 12-foot film of hot piss along the public bike path and most of his hand. “Why can’t I do that?” I wondered. Several miles later, when I watched him absentmindedly wipe his nose and mouth, I wasn’t quite as envious.
By mile 39 the lead group had less than fifty riders, many of whom were already gassed from the 100mph run-up to the first sprint followed by the inhuman attack up the mile-long gravel road that looked like it had been paved with artillery shells.
The schmoes who had showed up uninvited to bandit the ride had long ago been crushed and shat out the back, and those who had shown up with minimal preparation were already well into the most miserable day of their lives, including the first time they ever rode an aluminum road bike.
During the neutral portion I had found myself next to a giant dude in a purple jersey. “Name’s Fred,” he said, with a perfectly straight face. “I’m a track racer from back in the day. Mounting my comeback.”
I looked at him to see if this was part of an elaborate joke. It was and it wasn’t. “I don’t think there’s a velodrome on the route today,” I offered.
“Yeah,” he muttered. I never saw him again.
The crazies come out when it’s muddy
My next companion was the guy who would have won the psychedelic batshit jersey if one had been on offer. In preparation for the 124-mile deathfest and its 9,400 feet of climbing, he had shown up with his hairiest legs and his best single-speed bicycle. “I’m a ‘cross dude, dude,” he said.
“Really?” I thought. “I mistook you for a retard.” He turned out to be very much the badass.
But the most amazing person of all was the rider from Los Angeles who had shown up to bandit the ride and shamelessly help himself to all the goodies. He too was quickly shed.
Legs burning as I hung on the back, I realized that I could either force myself to hang for another fifteen or twenty miles and then be completely wrecked, or I could drop off the back and pee so that my bladder didn’t rupture. It’s amazing how easy a hard ride becomes when you get off your bike.
After remounting, I settled into my own pace, and the remnant grupettos from the wanker rear guard began to pass me, first in ones and twos, and then in small groups. Like the old sailor in the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, I tried to warn them of what awaited.
“Yo, Swami’s dork! Have you done this course before?”
“Because you’re going too hard. You will implode at mile 80, or before, and have to cheat to finish. Ease up now, while you’re still behind.”
They nodded and zoomed off. I saw them all again, of course, many miles later, in varying states of collapse and disarray.
The end of reality bleeds over into the impossible and false
Keeping my own steady pace I hit the bottom of Couser Canyon, and three quarters of the way up the climb realized my bottles were empty. With less than a quarter mile to go to the top, I spied a blue support pickup parked on the side of the road. “Got any water?” I called out.
I hesitated because I was carrying my rad CalBikeLaw.com bottles. I didn’t want to give them up, but I didn’t want to carry them empty, and I didn’t want to collapse from heat prostration. As I slowly rolled by I reluctantly handed the guy my bottle. He thrust the replacement in my hand. It was icy cold. I glanced at the logo. It said CalBikeLaw.com.
Before I could fling the bottle away like some talisman from the Twilight Zone, the two dudes were giving me a mighty push to restart me on the climb. The water was life giving. The bottle was brand fucking new. I never saw them again. I recounted the story to Junkyard, who smiled, rolled his eyes, and made the loopy finger motion around his ear.
Fast forwarding to the post-broom Hilda faux turn, the grupetto turned left onto DIRT ROAD at mile 66.98. With the exception of the lead group and a few other individuals, most of the BWR victims missed this turn. They were easy to spot because their bikes, legs, and shoes were devoid of thickly caked mud and slime at ride’s end, and because the first words out of their mouths on completion wasn’t “Oh my fucking Dog, that dirt road with the 18% sandy wall and the narrow, deep river crossing with a rock ledge drop off and trench mud embankment on the other side followed by 1.5 miles of the nastiest, bitterest, slidingest, badassedest unpaved mud pit known to man was AWESOME!!!”
Instead, they would say in a very purple jersey sort of way, “Oh, yeah…I, uh, did that. It was the wide water thingy, huh?” or “I dunno I just followed everyone else.”
I just followed everyone else
Problem is, my everyone made the turn. We launched down the mud to the rock ledge and mayhem ensued. People slid to a halt, fell off their bikes, toppled over, yelled, cursed, and rode exactly like you’d expect roadies to behave when greeted by wet mud.
Except for Singlespeed Nutter and Purple Jersey Andy. These two dirt dogs flung themselves into the water, hammered up the other side, and quickly gapped everyone else by a hundred yards. As I hurtled down the embankment, unable to see the water, I only thought one thing, back from the day that Filds tried make me a ‘crosser going around the golf course, and me trembling every pedalstroke of the way: “Just go fast!!!”
So, fast I went. So fast, in fact, that the only thing I heard when I launched into the river was “Holy fuck!” from some wanker who was lying in the mud and whose head I almost took off with my rear wheel. I landed full force on my front wheel in the water, and to my shock the bike of its own accord rocketed up the other side. I pedaled. The bike went faster.
There aren’t many times in your life when everything around you stops except you. It happened that day. The wankers up ahead just froze. I picked their perfect line and as my bike jumped and jolted up behind them I muttered, “Coming through!”
Purple Jersey Andy looked back in terror. “Holy shit!” he yelled “That’s his breathing!”
The noise coming from my lungs was so deep, so racking, so nasty, so fraught with spit and snot and spray and flecks of flesh that I fully expected to have to get off and poke my lungs back down my throat. But I didn’t. Wankers 1 and 2 vanished. I hit the wall and just went harder. Before I could even vomit it was over, and the crippled, broken remnants that were still wiping the mud off their asses might as well have been in Waco.
It’s the only badass thing I have ever done on a bike. It’s certainly the only badass thing I did on the BWR, because the rest of it was a nasty slog to the finish, overtaking one shattered rider after another until I hooked up with Mad Stan and Daffy Dave from the Wolfpack. They worked me over for miles, their shiny bikes proof that they’d avoided the muddy test of mettle, and despite shellacking them on Questhaven, they rode me down after Double Peak and we finished with A Day in the Life of Ivan Stefanovich, the long-haired Swami’s dude who had knocked over twelve bikes and three helpers at the last feed station as he fought off the LA Bandit Cheapass Fuckstick for the last swig of Coke and the last fistful of pretzels. He had passed me on Double Peak like a man on a mission.
Only the strong survived
The BWR got its inspiration from Dave Jaeger and his annual French Toast Ride, a 118-mile death march held every January before Boulevard RR. No one in the SoCal peloton exemplifies the qualities of toughness, fairness, good humor, and great perspective as well as Dave. So it’s fitting that when The Bone, Lars Boom, and Shirley Temple crushed everyone into fine bits of powder and then, like Cat 5’s getting lost on a square office park crit, wandered off course and failed to complete the entire route, it left Jaeger et al. to claim the winner’s jersey.
Nonetheless, the way The Bone, Lars, and Shirley dispatched everyone else who even pretended to contend, and the fact that their deviation was completely unintentional, earned them all the coveted King of the Waffle jersey and matching SPY waffle shades.
Rules still being rules, this meant that the next group of three finishers were the actual wieners of the event. That Dave was able to pull on StageOne’s incredibly beautiful yellow jersey, a jersey nicer than anything you’ve ever seen at the TdF, was proof that there’s a force for transcendental fairness and goodness in the universe. Nice guys sometimes rip your nuts off by the roots, stuff them down your throat, and, yes win.
Steve Klasna and Brent Prezlow joined with yellow jersey wiener honors, Phil Tintsman took the points jersey, and the hardman jersey was shared by MMX, Tintsman, and Zinc Oxide.
The color purple
The Belgian Waffle Ride started with a basic tenet: There will be winners, losers, finishers, and non-finishers, and they will be determined by relying on each rider’s honesty, sportsmanship, and personal integrity. After the laughter subsided at the ridiculous notion that a bunch of scuzzball cyclists would do anything other than lie, cheat, and steal when swag was at stake, it was emphasized that the concept of “It’s okay if it’s MY dog” doesn’t apply. Follow this link for the instructional video. This was of course ignored.
The Belgian Waffle Ride was also unique because on the one hand it was billed as a true hardman event, but on the other it counted Stern-O as a participant. Those who have ridden with this softman of cycling know that despite having been banished from California and sent to live with the horse people of Santa Fe, a city whose cycling community has in turn banished him and forced him to ride in the desolate wasteland of Albuquerque, no cycling event exists at which Stern-O cannot garner the lion’s share of the attention. Worse, his time spent trawling the tumbleweeds, saguaro, and meth shacks between Lower New Mexico and the cultural epiphany that is Tucson mean that when he shows up he’s in particularly fine form.
Whether by chasing down beginning cyclists and berating them for their choice of bicycle/color of jersey/pretensions to athleticism, by instigating a confrontation with a violent motorist and then leaving the mayhem for others to deal with, or by simply whining about his back surgery/broken teeth/brain replacement therapy/AARP membership status as the reason he flailed and got dropped, when Stern-O rides, people take notice.
The BWR was no different. In an event designed to rely on the integrity of the participants, the Man in Purple floated to the top like the very biggest and smelliest chunk, while the participants could only stare in shock like a hapless economy class passenger stuck next to the toilet door on a 13-hour flight. Some observers noted that Stern-O had been strangely absent along the muddy road of death. Others remarked that although he rode manfully through the water after the third water crossing, he fell into the mud after crossing it in the manner of a complete dirt noob, resulting in a boo-boo to his knee. Stern-O’s reported comment? “That ought to get me the hardman jersey!” Still others noted the fact that he actually rode up on G$’s wheel later in the ride was proof positive that he’d shorn at least a hundred and twenty-four miles off the125-mile route, as the day that Stern-O chases down the Gazelle of SoCal is the day that a one-legged sloth outruns a Secret Service agent to a Colombian whorehouse.
While wildly claiming to have completed the course ahead of his betters as he swooped in to snare his finisher’s tee-shirt, his finisher’s bottle of commemorative ale, and his finisher’s BWR jersey, Stern-O failed to produce his number with the proper hash marks, and, what was worse, claimed to have assaulted Double Peak when he was seen sneaking past the turnoff to this bitterest of climbs while glued to the wheel of…oh shame!…a triathlete. In a later document entitled, “Affidavit and Declaration under Penalty of Perjury Regarding the Performance of Stern-O on the Belgian Waffle Ride,” he was even audacious enough to claim that after slinking away from the finish area before being awarded the ignominious purple jersey in absentia, he went off in search of Double Peak in order to find it and climb it.
Unfortunately, he was unable to locate this mysterious hidden landmark, as it’s only the highest point in San Diego County and looms 1,666 feet over the city of Carlsbad like a single rotten tooth jutting out from the sunken gum off an ogre. Plus, he had to hurry back to New Mexico in order to spend time with his family.
As a result, Stern-O received the dreaded purple jersey, an item of clothing reserved for the lamest rider of the entire BWR. On the plus side, it comes with a matching pair of purple sunglasses. If you ever want to see the whole ensemble in action, though, you’ll have to head out to the byways of America’s desert meth labs, as rumor has it that Purple Freddy Gregg will not be invited back.
So how hard was it, really?
Compared to the recon ride, which was shorter, which I failed to complete, and which had no unpaved roads, the BWR was oddly enough a piece of cake. Had I just failed to adequately nourish that fateful day back in March? Had my legs been unprepared for the rigors of the course that fateful day? Had it been a terrible mistake to match efforts with the likes of MMX, Victor, and Purple Parks? Yes, yes, and yes.
The real secret to finishing this grueling course turned out to be simple: Eat lots of cheeseburgers and fries the day before, and realize that I was a wanker amongst men with no hope of following the leaders, and ride accordingly by never going into the red. Towards the end, after the last heart and lung transplant station, I fell in with a guy named Scott who, with the exception of the purple-clad Wawansea wankers, had the ugliest jersey in the peloton. We stayed together through Bandy Canyon, the place of my earlier undoing, and Via Rancho, the place of my spiritual death, and through most of Elfin Canyon, where the battering of the Wolfpack duo finally kicked him out the back. I would have felt a shred of sympathy had he not drilled nails into my head the last forty yards up Bandy.
More than the difficulty, this ride was memorable for its striking natural beauty, for its snow-encrusted mountain peaks, for its leafy green Spring foliage, for its streams, its chiseled rock faces, its piercing blue sky, and most of all for the mob at the last aid station that frantically fought for food as their last ebb of strength and morale failed them before the longest, hardest, most brutal and unforgiving part of the ride was to pitilessly crush them into broken and whimpering fools.
To SPY and the people who made this great event happen, including the wearers of the yellow, green, blue, polkawaffle, and hideous purple jerseys, I’d say thank you. Once the tubes have been removed and I’m well enough to get out of bed.
For further reference:
Complete results (I’m #131 and not at all bitter about all the cheaters who cut the course and finished ahead of me).
Official recap by MMX (prepare to be scolded by Dad, who is disappointed that you cut the course, took the swag you weren’t entitled to, and in general proved yourself to be a lying, cheating, thieving little turd).
April 17, 2012 § 6 Comments
Prez wins by a country mile. Takes one hard pull on the first lap. Sits in the rest of the ride. Pfffffft. Still, you can’t deny the boy is fast, because he smacked the shit out of all the other wheelsuckers, too. Go to the front, Prez!
Motorhead attacks, pulls, lives at the front, and still gets top four in the sprunt. Of the top five, only he took more than one pull. And he took a fricking bunch of them. Props, dude, especially after the beatdown you administered on the Donut. Now ditch the black and white kit and join up with SPY or Ironfly or Big Orange.
Fireman launches an attack on the last lap midway up the climb to the bridge in a hopeless bid for glory. Reels in the two Big O dudes hoping he’ll have some help only to find they’ve flamed out, dropped their booster rockets and are plummeting back to earth. Fireman discovered repeatedly at the front, battering like a madman.
Tree, perhaps still suffering from PTSD as a result of his collision with the vegetation at Boulevard, fails to take a single pull despite constantly posting Strava records demonstrating his awesomeness. Go to the front, Tree. Stay there until you puke.
G$ attacks, pulls, brings the pain bucket and dumps it all over everyone’s head. Coming off the World overpass he pulls so hard that the vomit string goes back forty riders. 300 people queue up on his wheel expecting that he’ll led them to glory in the sprunt, only to be disappointed! G$ ain’t your bitch, bitches!
Mighty Mouse goes to the front over and over, hammers as wussy-like dudes with no shred of self-respect hang onto her wheel and let her carry the water, chop the wood, and bury the axe in their feeble, cowardly heads. Good job, MM. Now go back to the front!
Tink goes to the front. Good job. Now go back. To the front.
New Girl gets blown out the back, hops back on, overcomes Wheelsuckophobia and does some excellent maneuvering towards the front for a couple of laps. Wankers, are you taking notes? Chick was closer to the point than most of you have ever been. NG, now that you’re a master of pack riding…go to the front!
Gooseman returns to NPR with crushed elbow, dented skull, and electric green bike that is uglier than an assboil after BWR. His first move? Goes to the fucking front. Pulls til he blows, swings over and finishes the ride. What’s with all you SBW wankers? The dude was in intensive care for, like, six months, had a brain transplant and a full skeletal replacement. No one gives a shit if you crack and blow. Go to the front like Gooseman, wankers!
Douggie sucks wheel the entire ride, then informs all on the bricks that it was faster than last time by 1 mph. What’s up with that, Douggie? Go to the front!
Davy Dawg mashes and bashes, takes one nasty troll up the hill on the way out that hooked all kinds of junk fish, beer cans, spare tires, and a brokedown outboard motor. Gets bollixed in the sprunt when he picks G$ for the shake & bake and winds up with nothing but the shake. Good job! Now go to the front!
Junkyard says he felt good after BWR and that he had no problem sitting in on NPR. Sitting in??? Go to the front!
Brazilian Wax makes his presence known in the last 400m. We don’t care if tree look taller when bush is trimmed. Go to the front!
Big Dude in Bahati Kit chills and soft pedals the whole frickin way. What’s up with that? Your kit says “Bahati,” dude! Bahati don’t sit in! Go to the front and hammer til you crack and flail and collapse and drool all over yourself with snot, spit, and a bloody stool!!
Really Big Dude fights me like a pit viper for Davy Dawg’s wheel on one of the ascents to the bridge, but wanks and tanks when it comes his turn to hit the wind. What are you afraid of? Dying? Die, you sorry fucker! But before you do that, go to the front!
Hair takes one or two hard pulls, disappointing since he should have taken fifty. Go to the front, Hair!
Derek the Destroyer sits in the whole time like he was racing for money or saving his legs for Telo or filming the fifteenth installment of a business park crit featuring all the usual suspects with his GoPro, which we’re told he sleeps with. Enough with the videography, you hammer! Go to the front! And given your ability and speed, stay there!
Somo and Big O Wankers at the turnaround on Lap 2 ignore the giant car traveling 100mph in its own lane, zip in front of it, almost get t-boned, then do the u-ey ignoring the storm of oncoming traffic. Irony: they were going to the front. Nonirony: they were only at the front because the rest of the pack had slowed to 3mph to let the car go by. Reality: as soon as the pack caught them, they slunk back into the safety of the rolling cocoon. Go the front, wankers…but safely!
Rodley drills it on the way out to the World Parkway overpass, takes a nasty pull up the hill on the return section of Lap 1. Good job, Rodley! Now go back to the front!
Gangstachick shows up late, joins the ride, participates fully in post-ride coffee smacktalk at CotKU. Next time, get here on time, and go to the front!
MORAL FOR TODAY’S NPR, AND FOR ALL FUTURE NPR’S…GO TO THE FRONT!
March 28, 2012 § 1 Comment
I rarely read VeloNews online because it is such a worthless piece of shit. Plus, they fired the only people who know how to write. Plus plus, they put little bios after each writer saying things like “Andrew Hood cut his journalistic teeth on…” Cut his journalistic teeth? What, is he a tiger cub?
And then they get these li’l wet behind the ears pups like Nick Legan who, we learn, “jumped into wrenching straight from college” after studying French and journalism at the University of Indiana. They make it sound like he joined the Marines instead of being hunched over some greasy bike stand for minimum wage listening to a rich douchebag customer with a $12,000 bike drone on about alloy spoke nipples.
Why can’t they just say, “Facing unemployment, huge student loans, and no demand for French speakers in Indiana, he took whatever job he could get”?
Occasionally, though, someone posts a link to a VN story and I read it, always expecting the worst, and never being disappointed. Until today. VN has come up with a checklist for how to be a responsible road cyclist. It is flat fucking awesome. I’m reprinting it here in its entirety, with a few little additions of my own to grout in the cracks.
1. Be courteous and share the road. Being courteous gains respect and helps make the roads safer for all cyclists.
–Wankmeister adds: Be sure to smile and wave at the crazed asshole/texting bimbo/roadraged teen stoner as they smear you all over the pavement. Respect! It has to be earned!
2. The law allows you to ride two abreast, but it may not be the courteous or safe option. If you hear a vehicle approaching from behind, ride single file. Don’t ride three abreast.
–Wankmeister adds: Courtesy is key! Safety is sexy! You never get a second chance to make a first quadriplegic.
3. If you’re blocking a whole line of cars and there’s a place to safely pull off be courteous and stop.
–Wankmeister adds: Again, courtesy is key! Cars are often in a hurry and can be frustrated by little fleshy organisms on plastic bikes that make them late for their mid-morning adulterous tryst. After pulling over, wave at each motorist and bow your head slightly in a downward direction so they know you didn’t mean to hold them up. [Note: don’t “pull off” where people can see you as this is a misdemeanor in most jurisdictions.]
4. Don’t wander all over the road. Try to ride predictably and as far right as safely as you can. This does not mean to ride in an area that is littered with road debris or places you at risk.
–Wankmeister adds: However, if you do have to ride over rocks, glass, gravel, barbed wire, fence posts, car axles, sheared off rubber strips from 18-wheelers, land mines, or broken penises, do so with a smile and a wave. Also, “road wandering” refers to people who do ginormous figure “8’s” in the middle of PCH during rush hour. This is bad and discourteous. Unsafe is unsexy.
5. Do take the lane if it safe to do so if there is a blind corner, high-risk junction or narrowing of the road.
–Wankmeister adds: When “taking the lane” do so with a smile and a courteous wave to the livid motorists you’re now blocking. They will calm down shortly after impact.
6. Use common sense — don’t pee in people’s yards or hang out across the entire road if you’re waiting for a regroup.
–Wankmeister adds: Peeing in yards is a no-no, however, No. 2 is occasionally unavoidable if you had the Arby’s Double Cheese Beef Bomb with Onions and Chili Sauce the night before. Reminds me of the time that Hector G., a buddy from Texas, was forced to answer his gastrointestinal distress in a farmer’s dirt driveway. There he was, crumping a hairy beet, when ol’ Farmer Bill came around the bend. Things got ugly. And stinky. But that’s a different story.
7. Stop at stop signs and signals. By law, cyclists must obey all traffic control devices.
–Wankmeister adds: Har! Good one!
8. Signal your intentions if you can safely do so. If you are turning, point in the direction you plan on going. If you are slowing, put your hand out behind you.
–Wankmeister adds: The proper hand signal when communicating with a motorist is always a raised middle finger.
9. If you wave a car around you, don’t get impatient. Remember that it is their decision to make as to whether it is safe to pass.
–Wankmeister adds: Also, remember that they can kill or maim you easily with little or no harm to them or their vehicle. And don’t think that just because you’re with Stern-O you’re off the hook. As soon as some big goon jumps out with a tire iron, Stern-O will already be on his third latte at the coffee shop.
10. If you’re in a group, take leadership, set a good example and do your best to make everyone ride courteously.
–Wankmeister adds: Groups are sheep-like and must be driven with a whip of oaths. “Pull through, you sorry fuck!” and “Hold your line you fucking idiot!” will establish your position as the chief douchebag and make everyone live in terror of being called out. Be sure to smile when cursing.
11. Pay attention! While it is the responsibility of drivers to avoid hitting you, ride defensively to minimize risk!
–Wankmeister adds: Adding exclamation marks to little lists like this is an excellent way to make you remember them and understand how important they are!!!
12. Remember the 5% rule. 5% of drivers are jerks. Don’t let that 5% get to you. Take a deep breath and move on.
–Wankmeister adds: Remember the 95% Corollary to the 5% Rule…95% of all cyclists are complete morons, so if we could somehow get the 5% jerks to run over all the 95% morons, and then have the police incarcerate the 5% jerks for manslaughter, it would be paradise.
13. Be friendly. If someone is courteous to you and does the right thing, wave and smile. Everyone likes to be acknowledged for doing the right thing.
–Wankmeister adds: Hugs are even better. When someone fails to act like a complete numbskull, give them a little hug. People also like a little peck on the cheek, especially women, and especially accompanied with a friendly tap on the fanny. But you know what people really like? Full-on, leatherclad, bullwhip-toting biker sex with chains and a hammer. The next time someone does the right thing on the bike, acknowledge their behavior with a tie-down and an ol’ fashioned humping. But only between consenting adults.
March 27, 2012 § 12 Comments
On this morning’s New Pier Ride I slid to the back on the third lap around the Parkway and was, again, amazed. So many bicyclists on $10,000 rigs wearing hundreds of dollars of the latest clothing doing nothing but soft pedaling. No hard breathing. Tons of shelter in amongst the bodies. No ambition, desire, or motivation to move even so much as a bike length towards the front.
“What a bunch of wankers,” I thought. “Why don’t they go to the front? There’s no workout back here. What’s the point of all that carbon, of getting up at dark-thirty, of smearing your balls mistakenly with fiery ointment, of all those shaving cuts around the groin just to cozily coddle yourself in a big lumpish peloton?”
Then it hit me. They didn’t know they weren’t at the front. They would finish the ride, deem it a good workout, and get on with their day. Most would think they’d been on the front at some point in the ride. They’d be…satisfied.
So I’ve come up with a little primer to help you get “at the front” and to become a better cyclist.
1. What is “the front”?
This is conceptually difficult for most NPR riders to grasp, but here are some key pointers that will unequivocally tell you whether you’re “at the front.”
–There is no one in front of you.
–Everyone is behind you.
–It is very windy.
–The big fat walrus dude with the backpack is nowhere to be seen.
–Your eyes are watering.
–Your legs are screaming.
–You want to vomit.
–There isn’t enough air in your lungs.
–Your heart feels like it’s going to lunge from your chest.
–Your HRM has gone from a series of quick beeps to a sustained alarm.
–Sheets of drool and snot cover your lips, chin, and cheeks.
–You don’t think you can withstand the pain for even another second.
–No one is screaming at you to “pull through.”
–When you finish your turn “at the front” the next person in line says “good job” or is blown off his bike by the headwind.
2. Do I belong “at the front”?
After firmly grasping #1 above, it occurs to 98% of the NPR participants to ask whether or not “the front” is a place where they indeed have any business being. Unfortunately, they mostly seem to conclude that “at the front” is a place where other people belong in order to keep the speed high while they, the “not-at-the-fronters,” can chattily spin at the back. If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions, you unequivocally belong “at the front.”
–You have said, in the last ten years, that you “race bikes,” “want to race bikes,” “used to race bikes,” “train with a state champion,” or that “Paris-Roubaix is such a hard race.”
–You have spent, in the last fiscal year, more than $200 on any cycling item advertised as “carbon,” “aero,” “performance,” “bladed,” “lightweight,” “tested in a wind tunnel,” or “as used by xxx,” where “xxx” is someone who gets paid to race his/her bicycle.
–You belong to a cycling club, any of whose members call themselves “bike racers.”
–You have ever held a USA Cycling racing license.
–There is any point during the NPR when you do not feel like puking.
–You have two legs, both of which are long enough to reach the pedals.
–You have a penis.
–You have a vagina.
–You have a penis that used to be a vagina, or a vagina that used to be a penis.
–You have ever contested a sprint on the NPR, where “contested” means “finished within 1,000 yards of the fastest rider.”
–You have ever owned, thought about owning, or are planning to someday own a power meter.
–You have ever met professionally with Ron Peterson.
3. How long should you be at this alien place called “the front”?
Now that it’s become obvious where the front is and that, in fact, you belong there, there’s a third issue: Since only bad things seem to happen to those who dwell there for long, and since you are a firm adherent of the pleasure principle, it is important to know how long you’re expected to spend time “at the front.” Answer these handy-dandy questions for a rough guideline.
–Can you talk? Go to the front.
–Can you breathe? Go to the front.
–Are your legs still attached to your hips? Go to the front.
–Is the walrus dude with the backpack within 200 yards of you? Go to the front.
–Are you holding on for dear life? Go to the front.
–Are you at least 30% over your functional threshold? Go to the front.
–Are you about to cry? Go to the front.
–Is this the most horrific pain you’ve ever experienced outside of childbirth? Go to the front.
–Have you just been shelled? Do a u-turn and wait until the pack overtakes you. Then go back to the front.
–Is your cheek mashed against your stem? Go to the front.
–Has G$, Hair, Canyon Bob, Tree, Prez, Davy Dawg, G3, or Vapor just finished a pull so nasty and fraught with pain that you’ve shit all over yourself? Go to the front.
–Has the ride just started up Pershing and your legs are stiff as boards? Go to the front.
–Is Tinkerbell shredding you like cheese through a grater? Go to the front.
–Are you waiting for the sprint? Go to the front.
–Are you not at the front? Go to the front.
4. Okay, I’m “at the front.” Now what?
After you’ve mastered #1-3, you’ll need some instruction as to how you should behave now that you’re at this new, alien place called “the front.” Follow these steps and all will be well.
–Hammer. This is done by pressing down on the pedals with maximal force until you can no longer press down on them any more.
–Really hammer. This is done after you’ve passed the point where you think you can still stay upright on your bike.
–Hammer your fucking nuts off. This is where you no longer care about anything. Everything is numb except for the pain, which is unendurable.
Well, I hope this helps. See you on Thursday.
March 12, 2012 § 8 Comments
Wankmeister got a text message from New Girl, who had just checked in with Fussy, Blondie, Pilot, Canyon Bob, and Junkyard at Fess Parker’s Doubletree Resort in Santa Barbara. “We’re so excited about the Solvang Century tomorrow!” she texted. “Where are you staying?”
“Fess Parker’s was booked by the time I called,” Wanky replied. “That’s the place named after the movie star who played Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone, right?”
“It’s, like, swankville, right?”
“Well , the only place I could get was at Fess Haggen’s.”
“Fess Haggen’s? Never heard of it.”
“It’s a smallish place named after Festus Haggen, the illiterate, dirty, alcoholic deadbeat who played Matt Dillon’s deputy in Gunsmoke. They offered me their last room, out behind the dumpsters. I had to pass. So I’m flying in tomorrow with Wehrlissimo & Co.”
“The same guys you did Palm Springs with?”
“Same bunch of wankers.”
Culture and fitness, all rolled into one
Solvang, CA is the picturesque Danish town made famous by Lance Armtwister and the US Pestal Team when they won twelve consecutive Tours without ever doping. Remember when 190-lb. “Twiggy” Hincappy beat 115-lb. “Tubs” Pereiro on the 15th stage of the Tour in 2005, climbing 35,000 vertical miles over two hundred major Alpine passes? That was thanks to the hard efforts the team spent in their Solvang winter training camp, and neither he nor Armtwister ever tested positive, despite being the most-tested athletes in the history of athletedom.
Like any other ethnic “town” (think “Chinatown” in San Francisco, or “Little Tokyo” in LA, or New York’s “Little Italy,” or Houston’s “Cheap Hookers and Meth Village”) Solvang introduces people to Danish culture without the inconvenience and expense of having to actually learn Danish and go to the Faroe Islands to watch a baby dolphin slaughter.
“What’s this?!?” you say. “Danish people don’t slaughter baby dolphins! That’s Canadians. And they only slaughter baby seals. Danish people bake yummy butter cookies and have that precious statue of the Little Mermaid!”
Solvang does in fact promote the enticing aspects of Danish cuisine, and numerous places in town exist where you can enjoy a yummy frokost of pickled herring, smoked eel, fried onions, smoked herring with raw egg yolk and saltmeat. For middag you can look forward to more salted fish, boiled potatoes, cabbage, rødgrød, and an appetizer of hot porridge.
Yet, despite the great food, the high point of the town’s celebration of Danish culture remains the annual baby dolphin hunt, carried out in the guise of a century ride.
The baby dolphin round-up
As with the Faroese dolphin hunt, Solvang first attracts the baby dolphins with offers of great weather, beautiful scenery, a memorial patch, and lots of overpriced $5 beer with outrageously overpriced $20 barbecue in the sunshine. When the leathery whalers stepped off Wehrlissimo’s turboprop, “The Dolphin Slaughter Express,” and pedaled into Solvang from the Santa Ynez airpark, it was evident that the round-up had been a huge success.
Thousands of baby dolphins milled around the sign-in area, greedily looking through their goodie bags, happily taping their numbers to their handlebars, and proudly admiring the new “Solvang 2012” patch that they would never arrive home with to sew onto their jerseys. Some happily munched on the free nutty Clif bar that only cost $65, while others adjusted their tummies to rest comfortably on their top tubes. None was aware of the predators in their midst or the mayhem that would shortly ensue.
As the cold-eyed hunters from the South Bay hungrily gazed out at the roiling ocean of clueless cetaceans, some took the opportunity to sharpen their sóknaronguls, checking to make sure that the steel point of the gaff would sink quickly through the blubbery skin and into the brain of the prey. Given that their brains were tiny indeed, the hunters’ aim would have to be true. DJ, the Chief Hunter & Drunk, looked grimly at what would soon be a mass of lifeless corpses.
King Harald Bluetooth, slightly more humane, had opted to bring his blásturongul instead, preferring the blunt-edged gaff as an easier way to hook the unsuspecting baby dolphins by their blowholes, drag them to shore, beach them, cut their dorsal fins, and slice their spinal cords with an heirloom grindaknívur, handed down from father to son to bond the generations with the joyous, bloody murder of squeaking baby dolphins.
As the harpooners donned their own baby dolphin ID numbers, the better to blend with their victims, they noticed out in the parking lot a particularly plump batch of chubby little dolphin children. Clad in Long Beach Botulism Taco outfits, they huddled together, comparing swag sack goodies and admiring each others’ night-before boastful emails.
“Heh, heh,” squeaked one baby dolphin. “I told the South Bay fakers about my one-hour massage and carbo loading! Katy bar the door!”
“Ho, ho,” squeaked another, who had called in from Long Beach on his iPhone because he was too weak to make the swim. “I’ll post a funny blog afterwards when someone tells me about the ride I was too weak and craven to join!”
“Har, har,” squeaked the last, “they’re about to find out how the Long Beach baby dolphins ROLL!”
How the Long Beach baby dolphins roll
Under the guidance of their Chief Hunter & Drunk the whalers left the safety of Solvang Bay and headed out to open sea with the group of tubby Long Beach dolphins in tow. The hunters of steely mien included Wehrlissimo “Gorm the Old,” Major Bob “Sweyn Forkbeard,” King Harald Bluetooth, Li’l Douggie “Sigrid the Haughty,” Triple “Olaf Hunger,” Polly “Cnut the Great,” ProBoy Alex “Sigrid the Dainty,” and Cap’n Levi, “He Who None Shall Fuck With Ever.”
By mile four the rotating paceline of South Bay whalers had already hooked, beached, and severed the spinal cords of several thousand baby dolphins, most of whom were wobbling along in ill-defined schools led by someone wearing a jersey that said, “Winner–California Triple Crown of Cycling
By mile five the Long Beach cetaceans had already begun to swim in a panic mode, with Dr. Dave wildly squeaking out “Flat! Wheel! Mechanical!” The largest of the blubbery mammals, a juvenile female pilot whale named Martijn the Feeble, called the school to a halt while everyone gathered around the quivering Dr. Dave. No one was able to find a flat or any problem whatsoever, but he insisted. “The wheel was wobbling! I swear!”
Harald Bluetooth looked scornfully and said, “The wheel’s wobbling because your arms were shaking, dude. Okay let’s go. Just don’t get behind this baby dolphin on the downhill.”
The cold bite of the lance
At mile 37, one of the fattest baby dolphins, after taking numerous pulls, swung over to the side, his flippers quaking from the effort. “Thar she blows!” roared Gorm the Old as he took out his long harpoon and sent the steely blade of death piercing directly to the heart of the blubbery mammal. Gore coursed from his mouth, then from his eyes and nose as the helpless creature rolled over, white belly to the sun, jaws agape in the final shudder of death. No more to enjoy the depths of the ocean blue! No more to swim among the chubby schools of baby dolphins, spouting boastful emails! No more to carbo load the night before being driven onto the beach to be pitilessly slain by the tip of the harpooner’s lance!
By mile 40 practically the entire pod of Long Beach baby dolphins had had the sharp end of the gaff driven through their blowholes, with the exception of Martijn the Feeble, Ross the Tenacious, and Craig the Dubious, the latter two of whom were more swimming reptiles than fish. The entirety of the South Bay whaling contingent remained, save Cap’n Levi, who had stayed back to gut and strip the flesh from the fallen prey. At one point in the hunt King Harald Bluetooth dropped back to assist Gorm the Old, whose boat sprang a leak and needed a tow back up to the main fleet. Tube Top, one of the smaller hermaphroditic baby dolphins whose penis was not large or well formed enough to differentiate his genitalia from that of the females, made the fatal mistake of holding onto King Harald’s tow line even after Sigrid the Haughty had driven the tip of the harpoon deep into Tube Top’s innards, penetrating his uterus and coming out through his left flipper. As he sank beneath the foamy brine he was heard to cry, “Why am I so weak?”
Parasites of the deep
Though the Long Beach dolphins had for the most part been easily dispatched owing to the high concentrations of cadmium and mercury in their livers, a vile and thoroughly inedible group of Simple Green invertebrate suckerfish, along with a trio of Canyon Verde gasbag puffer minnows had latched onto the fast-traveling whaling vessel.
Although Martijn the Feeble tried to dislodge them with shouts of “Pull through, you pussies!” it became clear that you cannot appeal to the pride of parasitic life forms who have none. At this very moment a stiff sea breeze sprung up in the form of a howling crosswind, driving the frenzied fish into the troughs of the waves where they could easily be isolated and where the bloody point of death could easily be driven through their miniature brains. They were not seen again.
The hunters stopped at the halfway mark in Santa Maria to re-sharpen the gaffs, and a small contingent of mortally wounded baby LB’ers floundered in, trailing blood and entrails. They would expire shortly after the hunting resumed.
As the sailors left the harbor, it became apparent that many of the sturdy South Bay harpooners, tired after such a bloody and successful harvest, were less than eager to begin rowing again in earnest. Worse, the skulking and resilient female pilot whale, despite her sagging tummy and poorly attached feminine hygiene pads, was proving difficult to kill.
Wankmeister saw an opportunity, and easily rowed away, confident that Martijn the Feeble would never close the gap, especially since the remaining heroes were almost exclusively from the South Bay. For thirty miles he toiled, now alone, now rowing with other castaways, now joining a soon-to-be-wrecked armada.
Unfortunately, the unthinkable had occurred. The Chief Hunter & Drunk had made a pact with the devil and he, the Feeble one of the Sagging Paunch, Ross the Reptile, and the remaining whalers now joined forces to row down their valiant and heroic companion. As with most perfidious plans, this one caused terrible destruction within the South Bay contingent, as the catch came just before the Straits of Foxen.
Calamity in the deep
Although the baby dolphins had long ago been harpooned, skinned, doused with spit and piss, and consigned to ignominy, catastrophe now overtook the hunters, as one by one they dashed in their hulls and floundered in the pounding surf. Wankmeister rowed valiantly but to no avail as the Paunchy One, the Chief Drunk & Traitor, and ProBoy Backstabber made their escape.
Once through the straits, however, and despite the fatigue of his godlike 30-mile escape, WM overtook ProBoy and, rejoined by Harald Bluetooth, began a furious chase. But who of this world can run down the Chief Hunter & Drunk when he rows in anger knowing that beer is near at hand, even when he is dragging the useless and snot-encrusted baggage of the Feeble One?
Just as Wankmeister contemplated the futility of the chase, they hit the Foxen Shoals, a devastatingly rocky passage just beyond the straits. ProBoy leaped ahead followed by Harald, as WM was humiliatingly passed by a chubby husband and wife who had set out the night before and were wearing matching Google outfits.
Stung by the triple mortification of losing to the Feeble One, being dropped by ProBoy, and facing death at the hands of two baby Googlefish, WM nutted up, rejoined Bluetooth, then caught and shelled ProBoy, who now as punishment has to go race the Tour of India and the Criterium Nationale de Burundi.
King Harald Bluetooth, Wankmeister, and an Orange Zebra from San Clemente poured on the coal, coming to within 150 yards of the Chief Traitor and the She-whale, who were easily tracked by the trail of snot that the She-whale had left upon the billows. The chasers’ efforts came to naught. Once through the last reef, the Chief Traitor opened up a gap so huge and in the middle of such a vicious crosswind that the chasers simply gave up, beaten in spirit, exhausted of body, and wholly incapable of reeling in the dastardly duo.
Coming in some two minutes adrift with broken oars and tattered sails, the Traitor and the She-whale laughed in contempt. “You,” crowed the whale, “are WEAK!”
Truer words, on this day at least, were never spoken…at least by her.
**An alternative version of this epic slaughter of the weak, sick, and infirm, conjured up by a non-participating delusional Long Beach WNP (Wanker Nonpareil) is also available here. I deny everything.
February 12, 2012 § 4 Comments
“I’ve got a spare seat on my plane if you’d like to join me for the Tour de Palm Springs Century this weekend,” read Wehrlissimo’s email.
“Fuckin’-A!” I replied, still not sure, even after all these years, what the difference was between, say, a fuckin-A and a fuckin-B, or a fuckin-C for that matter. The chance to do a century ride after my recent beatdowns at Boulevard and Red Trolley would be a significant ego-building opportunity, where I could whizz by lumbering freddies and feel fast, superior, and successful. No matter that “I won the century ride” has all the street cred of “I got laid last night…by my wife.”
The last time I had flown a private plane was when I did the hop from Geraldton, in West Australia, over to the Abrolhos Islands to see a colony of Brown Noddies and to get a picture of a nesting Red-tailed Tropicbird.
It was a red two-seater crop duster with pontoons. The pilot was 80 years old and coughed the entire way like he was going to die as he smoked no-filters and spit bloody phlegm out the window. The noise had been deafening, and the water landing horrible beyond belief.
I, Triple, Polly, FTR DS, and Wehrlissimo stood on the tarmac in the dark as Levi loaded our bikes into the King Air Turboprop radmoplane. This was traveling in style. Rather than driving across the desert for two hours and then fighting four hours back through LA traffic we’d be landing in Palm Springs in thirty minutes and home by three in the afternoon.
I tried to remind myself of all these advantages as Levi turned back to us and said, “We’re going to have dip down pretty aggressively once we cross the mountains in order to hit the landing strip, as it’s just on the other side. There might be some turbulence.”
A few moments later the airplane was pointed straight down. We could see the quickly approaching ground through the windshield, and the only thing to make the picture perfect would have been a couple of gunsights through which we could have strafed the airport or the ten zillion wind turbines that littered the valley. “Just like a roller coaster,” I thought. “With no rails.”
I glanced over at Triple. His thighs were held tightly together, as if he were trying to keep something from sneaking out. At that moment we hit “some turbulence.” The entire aircraft shuddered as if it had been hit with a giant club and we plunged, hit another pocket, shuddered again, and a warning light went off with a shrill beep.
I looked at Polly, whose teeth were clenched, not even pretending to be cool. FTR DS had been okay until his engineer’s hearing had picked up the sound of the warning beep. Now he looked scared, too. I took a final glance at Triple, and could only think, “I’m glad I’m not the chamois in his shorts.”
Welcome to Hell
The game plan had been to hook up with UbeRfRed and his Long Beach Freddies, administer a thorough Southbay SPY Blue beatdown to the denizens of Cadmium City, USA, grab lunch, and jet back home. UbeRfRed had other plans.
The moment our group of twenty-six hit the edge of town it became clear why the city of Palm Springs was developed as one of the first wind farms in California: Wind turbines require winds of up to 35 miles per hour in order to achieve the optimum efficiency and profitability. As the route along North Indian Canyon Rd. left the city and exposed us to the full crosswind that was powering the wind farm, mayhem ensued.
We’d started about 7:30, and the road was clotted with thousands and thousands of freddies. So far, no problem. The 30 mph crosswind, however, was literally blowing people off the road. Every couple of hundred yards there would be bicycles lying in a huge tangle, with hapless freddies pulling and pushing and tugging and lugging on their $5,000 bikes that were now part of a giant parts bazaar.
UbeRfRed gassed it, and we clawed onto his wheel as we zoomed by the endless line of flailing freddies. Since the crosswind was so strong we had to echelon across the entire road. This meant that with each clump of freddies that we overook, UbeRfRed would roar, “Riders!”, but the freddies wouldn’t hear until we were right on their asses. Many of them, cleverly riding deep dish wheels, would jerk to the right, the wind would catch their wheels, and they’d go sailing off the road.
By mile three there were long lines of riders who’d simply given up, turned around, and headed back to Palm Springs. For us, there would be no quitting, as the Long Beach Freddies’ favorite epithet is to shout “You’re weak!” whenever someone quits, gets dropped, gets passed, turns around, swings off the front, takes a drink, stops to pee, or sucks his thumb, or cries for his mommy.
A confederacy of dunces
The whole idea of having 12,000 idiots on bicycles in a venue that it designated as “ideal for a wind farm” could not have happened by coincidence. Rather, it took the conspiracy of core stakeholders to come up with something this awful.
President of the local hospital: “Let’s do something that will fill the beds! February’s a slow month; we won’t really be rocking until Coachella in April.”
Coalition of local bike shops: “Let’s do something that will require 5,000 people to have to completely replace their bikes.”
President of the Chamber of Commerce: “We can showcase the beauty of the desert by routing the ride through all 427 stoplights and through each of the 19 bedroom communities.”
Bill Snooker, Owner, Bill & Snooker Used Auto Emporiums: “Make sure the route takes ’em by my fourteen lots. Never know when some idiot’ll throw in the towel and want to drive home.”
Crazy Sam Throckmorton, Desert Survival Adventures, Inc.: “Put 12,000 city slickers on bikes on pothole-filled, thorn-littered, gravel-strewn desert roadways a thousand miles from nowhere, watch ’em flat and wander off into the scrub and ocotillo looking for water, then do emergency rescues and charge $859 a head. Works ever’ time!”
Freddy Freeloader, 2012 president-elect, Palm Springs Friendly Riders’ Club: “It’ll be just like Solvang!”
It really isn’t anything at all like Solvang
After five miles of battering along in a full echelon as the howling crosswind sprayed sand and grit into our eyes and noses and teeth, with freddies flying off the road and smashing into each other, and with UbeRfRed and FTR DS drilling the pace the whole way, we turned left directly into the wind. Never in my life have I been so happy to have a headwind. For one, it meant no more leaning at a 30-degree angle to keep from being blown over. For another, it meant true shelter, not the misery of a partial draft echelon.
This respite only lasted a couple of miles before we turned right again and back into the crosswind. UbeRfRed now really hit the gas, exploding the remnants of his flailing Long Beach soulmates. I hadn’t bothered to look at the course map and had no idea how long the hell was going to last. For all I knew, it would be fifty miles out into this sandstorm and fifty miles back. My resolve began to fade and defeatism set in as the line of quitters and the clumps of the crashed flashed by.
After a mere 1.5 more miles of crosswind hell, the road turned right into a tailwind. I couldn’t believe it. UbeRfRed, after flagellating us mercilessly for the first twelve miles, held up his hand. “Let’s regroup!” he said.
I looked at FTR DS. He looked at me. We both thought the same thing: “He’s weak.”
I love you, that’s why I hate you
The next sixty miles went by quickly, a combination of straight tailwind and tail-crosswind. UbeRfRed would hammer until he’d dropped all of his best friends, and then make us stop so that they could all catch up and he could catch his breath. Repeat. By mile seventy we were well into the bowels of the poorly marked, suburban, stoplight-filled portion of the course.
At the final rest stop one of the Long Beach Freddies regaled me with the heart attack he’d had while cycling a few months back. “Yeah, I was with the guys and just keeled over.”
“What happened?” I asked.
“Heart attack. Piece of plaque came off an arterial wall and chugged into the heart. Everybody has plaque on their arteries. Mine just lodged in a bad place.”
“Yeah…right,” I said, eyeing his beer belly. “Is that what the doctor said?”
“Yeah. Said everybody has it.”
“Did he graduate from a medical school in the Caribbean by any chance? Last name Sojka?”
Freddie looked at me funny. “No. But the good thing about it was, the guys were there for me.”
“Hell yeah. They waited until I’d stabilized in the ICU before they all came in and told me I was weak.”
“Well, at least you’re back on the bike,” I said, trying to make a positive out of a quadruple negative.
“Yep. I took a long time off the bike to recover, it being a heart attack and me almost dying and everything.”
“That’s good. How long were you off?”
Realizing that I was dealing with a true madman, I got back on the bike and continued pedaling.
Anybody can pedal a bike 70 miles…
“But can they drill it for the last thirty?” That was FTR DS’s question, and UbeRfRed answered it with a simple question phrased as a whimper.
“Hey guys,” he said. “Let’s just ride two by two for the rest of the way. Okay? Okay?”
FTR DS smiled a nasty smile, then went to the front and set an, um, steady pace. Alex the Poseur sidled up alongside him to match the pull, but after a couple of minutes went rocketing off to the side in the rickety wobble of someone who is blown and not coming back.
I came to the fore and was joined by Long Beach Freddy Rick. He had done the entire ride in booties, a skinsuit and full TT rig, which included Speed Racer-style bottle ejectors that caused his $40 insulated water bottles to fly out of the saddle-mounted holders and into the spokes of whomever was on his wheel. Showing the most grit of all the LBF’s with the exception of Heart Attack, who we fully expected to die at any moment, Rick matched the pace for a solid five miles.
Ultimately his head drooped, his fanny pooped, and he did the wobble-and-fade back to the ignominy of the rear wheelsuck with UbeRfRed and the Cadmium Crew. With eighteen miles to go, FTR DS came up and joined me. It was as nasty and unpleasant a finish as I can recall, with countless stoplights, and so many wrong turns that we were eventually stuck on the truck-car-senile-retiree highway to hell that is the 111.
So long, it’s been good to know ya
Wehrlissimo had reserved a spot for us at PS Wine, and we rolled up to sandwiches, water, chips, and lots of wine. As each group of finishers passed us by, from their perch on the sidewalk the LBF’s shouted “You’re weak!” to the broken, salt-encrusted, beaten down tourists.
Suddenly one of the LBF’s commanded, “Everyone! Stick your finger in your left ear!” Too drunk, frightened, tired, or confused to object, we all did as we were told. “Remove fingers!” We did. “Inspect fingers!” We looked at our fingertips, which were coated with a 1/8 inch layer of sand and grit stuck together with earwax. This, then, was our souvenir from Palm Springs, finer than any blue and yellow jersey designed by a middle schooler who “wanted to be an artist.”
We said our goodbyes, and Levi the Pilot proved again that he was the real man among men. He’d not only flown the plane and ridden a hundred hard miles, but he’d abstained from so much as a sip of alcohol and looked like he’d hardly exerted himself.
Back on the tarmac in LA, we deplaned and said our goodbyes. I thanked Wehrlissimo for his incredible generosity, and offered him $15 to help pay for gas. “Thanks,” he said, refusing my generous offer.
“So how much does a tank of airplane fuel cost for one of these, anyway?” I asked.
The other guys thanked him, too. He laughed. “All this stuff,” he said, waving at the airplane and hangar, “isn’t really worth anything if you can’t share it with your friends.”