Ex-NFL doping public masturbator to challenge Froome, Contador

March 24, 2015 § 35 Comments

The cycling world collectively shook in fear when retired NFL tight end Kellen Winslow, Jr., 32, announced that he was going to begin competing as a professional cyclist. Cycling in the South Bay met up with Winslow after his Tuesday meeting at Mast-Anon.

CitSB: So how’s your training going? I understand that you’re up to a whole 50-60 miles per day?

KWJ: Whatever it takes. 50, 60, even 70 miles at a pop, don’t mean nothin’ to me.

CitSB: And it sounds like you’re already seeing some good results?

KWJ: Good results? I’m killin’ this shit. A first and two seconds in my first three Cat 5 races, and a sixth in my first Cat 4.

CitSB: That’s impressive.

KWJ: Damn straight.

CitSB: How long are you giving yourself to go from Cat 4 to the pro ranks?

KWJ: I plan on doing it real methodical-like, I ain’t in no hurry. You gotta take time to make time. So I’m giving it six months to make sure my body fully adapts.

CitSB: What kind of adaptations are required to go from being a 10-year NFL veteran to a pro bike racer?

KWJ: The biggest thing is changing your body. My playing weight in the NFL was 245, that’s big for a pro cyclist. So I’ve had to lean up, drop a lot of upper body weight. I’m down to 215, which is really small, you know? Once I get down to 200, 205, I will sign up for the Tour de France.

CitSB: Sign up?

KWJ: Yeah. That’s how I entered all my races so far, with the online sign up thing. Pre-registration saves you, like ten bucks. Why I’m gonna give ten bucks to the promoter? This is all part of being a professional in any sport, planning ahead. You plan the work and you work the plan.

CitSB: So you have a bit of a history with doping bans and the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs. Do you think that will be a problem for you in cycling?

KWJ: Me? Naw. That was a set-up. I don’t know anything about that. It could have been anything, something spiked in my food or something. I use a lot of supplements to get fast, everyone does. And sometimes the manufacturer puts things in your supplement and you test positive, see? And if that happens to me racing bikes, well, it’s not the end of the world. What’s four races?

CitSB: Sorry?

KWJ: Yeah, what’s four races, especially since they have several races in a week, or some races you can like do two races in one day.

CitSB: I don’t follow you.

KWJ: Dude, I got some bogus positive test in the NFL and they suspended me for four games. That’s a big deal in the NFL when you’re getting paid $50k per game. So I get some bogus positive test racing my bike and get suspended for four races, that’s not the end of the world, like I said.

CitSB: Gotcha. The old “four race suspension.” Now what about this public masturbation thing?

KWJ: Aw, man, that is old stuff. Why are you bringing that shit up?

CitSB: Well, according to the police report …

KWJ: Fuck the police report. What do you think I am, a pervert?

CitSB: It said you were whacking off in a Target parking lot with two open containers of Vaseline on the console.

KWJ: That’s just bull. I’m a K-Y man, anyhow.

CitSB: Okay, well, is there anything else you’d like to add?

KWJ: Yeah. How do you fill up these backpack water jugs in the Tour de France?

CitSB: Your team director will probably handle that for you.

KWJ: Okay, cool.

END

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Sandbag while you can

March 23, 2015 § 28 Comments

Before the race I saw Dave happily siting on his top tube.

“You racing with us?” I asked.

“No,” he said firmly and happily. “Masters 35+ 4/5.” Dave had won the Masters 35+ 4/5 sandbagger race the week before in Merced and was licking his chops, noting that none of his competition came anywhere close to his 400 weekly training miles.

“When are you going to upgrade? You’re a beast.”

He looked at me very seriously. “Oh, no I’m not. I’m still learning so much about racing. And the 40+ group is way too fast.”

“Let me know when you’ve learned everything you need to know about racing,” I said.

Our race was going to be whatever is worse than terrible. You would think that a bicycle race where you had to be at least fifty years old to enter wouldn’t be that hard, but you would be wrong. On the start line were Thurlow a/k/a The Hand of God a/k/a THOG, Konsmo, the Parksie Twins, G$, Mark Noble, DQ Louie, Jaeger, Pomeranz, and a whole host of other guys I’d never beaten, and wasn’t going to beat today.

The course was a 27-mile out-and-back. We were supposed to it twice. The total elevation was about 5,500 feet. Going out, the course had a series of punchy rollers that led to the bottom of a 1-mile climb. After a 2-mile descent, the road continually ascends through a valley with a half-dozen short climbs and a few false flats until you reach the turnaround at the 13 Mile point.

Then the road descends into a headwind all the way to the base of the 2-mile climb, which pitches up, flattens briefly about 2/3 of the way up, then crests and drops you back to the base of the rollers. The race finishes on a 1-km climb with a moderately steep final 200 meter “sprint.”

Less than a mile into the race I was fully occupied with Mr. Crash Magnet. He’s the guy I get behind in every race and every race has one. Crash Magnet was so scared that his arms were shaking and his entire bike was wobbling. The smart thing in these cases is to get away from Crash Magnet ASAP, but he’s called “magnet” for a reason.

In the Wrinkly Prostate Division, although most of the riders aren’t good at holding their water, decades of racing have made them masters at avoiding crash magnets. So there is a race-within-a-race: Get away from the magnet. And since I’m the worst bike handler after whomever the crash magnet happens to be, everyone slides and jostles and positions so that I’m the one stuck on Crash Magnet’s wheel.

I dashed off to the left and got ahead of him, but to no avail. The deck reshuffled and there he was again. After the fourth reshuffle I resigned myself to the terrible accident in store if he hung around much longer. This is one of the great freeing experiences of bike racing. You are in destiny’s maw.

Robb came up next to me after we’d crossed the first four rollers. The bottom of the big climb lay ahead. “This is gonna hurt,” he said.

“Why,” I asked “are you using the future tense?”

About that time I edged around Crash Magnet just as he made a beeline for the shoulder, hit a rock, shimmied his handlebars, and launched himself headlong into a soft bed of cactus and ocotillo. As I sprinted away, wondering how badly he was hurt, I noted that THOG & The Co. from Hell had moved to the front. I slotted in behind him.

Now here is something that everyone who’s been dropped on a hard climb in a hard race surrounded by much better riders can relate to, but ordinary intelligent people who play golf and happily drink beer from the back of a golf cart cannot, and I call it the lighting of the fuse. It happens in stages.

  1. Terrible feeling of awful dread as you anticipate at the bottom of the climb.
  2. First acceleration at the bottom where you think, “I can do this.”
  3. Second acceleration shortly after the first where you think, “This is going to be hard.”
  4. Grit teeth as the pace settles in.
  5. Feeling begins somewhere in your calves, the feeling of give-up-and-quit.
  6. “I’m not quitting” + excessive teeth gritting. Brief look around to see that the group has halved.
  7. Third acceleration midway up the climb where you think, “Fuck you cocksuckers to hell.”
  8. Fuse burns up into lower quads. Pain however is no longer localized to legs and has spread to eyeballs.
  9. Fourth acceleration where the group halves again. Konsmo, who is leading the charge, is on the tops and doesn’t appear to be breathing. “Fuck you, Konsmo, if we ever stop I will kill you,” you think, or something like that.
  10. Almost at the top the fuse reaches the bomb and you explode. Body shudders, head droops, prostate deflates.
  11. “Quit gapping me out motherfucker!” is roared from behind.
  12. Race effectively ends.

When we reached Stage 11, I leaped onto the last rider’s wheel and latched on as we made it over the top. There was hardly anyone left. The pain immediately receded and all of my attention focused on why I’d chosen to try and ride with the leaders instead of doing the logical thing, which would have been following Crash Magnet face-first into the cactus bush.

At the bottom of the valley G$ took over. The pain returned and riders continued to pop off. At the base of each mini-peak G$ would punch it hard, but by now the people who had made it this far weren’t going to be dropped so easily. I looked up and saw the lights of the motorcycle that was following the 40+ field containing Mike Easter, Derek Brauch, Matt Carinio, Tony Manzella, Jon Flagg, and Chris DiMarchi. They had left five minutes earlier but the vicious climbing speed of Konsmo and G$ had devoured the time gap.

They were neutralized and we roared by, which led me to wonder this: Could someone please explain the biology behind how a group of riders, some of whom were in their mid-50’s, were riding faster than a group of men some of whom were fifteen years younger? Or maybe it was just mirrors and we had lighter wheels. But then I remembered that weight doesn’t really matter.

Whatever it was, we sped by with our teeth plastered to the stem as the 40+ pre-geezers stared over, insulted and slack-jawed. Shortly past the turnaround the butthurt 40+ field took matters into their own hands and came flying by us, proving the superiority of youth and better medical care. We never saw them again.

Before long our greatly reduced herd hit the base of the big climb. The fuse was re-lit, and burned all the way until shortly before the short flat. I was sitting on Mark Noble’s wheel making that last-gasp cry that lobsters make when you throw them into the boiling water, when I exploded for good. Race over.

With Chris Hahn, Scott McAfee, and Bald Tim on my wheel, we chased madly through the rollers, eventually picking up DQ Louie, who had inexplicably been shelled. After a few more miles of unutterable misery that left Scott and Bald Tim adrift, I dragged Chris and Louie back to the leaders. Of course we reattached at the bottom of the big climb, the fuse was lit, and it mercifully skipped Stages 2-11, going from Stage 1 to Stage 12 in about fifteen seconds. Louie and Chris happily pedaled away, the sorry bastards.

Left to wallow in my own misery, I slogged up the hill, was caught and dropped by teammate Andy Schmidt who had been stoned and chased out of the 40+ community, and was then overtaken by a mongrel group of 40+ and 50+ shellees including teammate John Hatchitt, and assassin/arch enemies Pomeranz and McAfee. I slunk to the back and struggled along to the turnaround, back down the valley, and to the bottom of the big climb.

This time I did something different, though. I put it into the small chain ring. Realizing that I’d been doing the massive climbs in my 53, it occurred to me that perhaps it would be easier if I used a smaller gear. Wow! Who knew???? Climbing is easier in a 39×28 instead of a 53×21. Gawrsh!

McAfee attacked and one by one our group reduced in size until there were only six of us. Hatchitt attacked, caught and dropped McAfee. Then after the false flat Pomeranz attacked, leaving me with a couple of 40+ racers who had no interest in or need to chase down guys who weren’t in their race.

With 1k to go I hunted down Hatchitt and McAfee. Hatchitt went early and blew. McAfee went a bit later, but I was able to sit on his wheel until the very end and throw myself across the line, beating out a couple of 40+ wankers and looking less like Mark Cavendish winning MSR and more like a fish whose bleeding mouth had been ripped from a hook and thrown mercilessly onto the rocks to flip, flop, gasp, and die.

After the race I saw Dave, who had sandbagged his way to another awesome win. “Good job,” I said, filled with bitterness and envy as I contemplated getting my downgrade for 2016.

Wankamodo snapped this immortal shot of my last-gasp lunge for a top-40 placing in our 40-man field.

Going 100%, pointlessly, against guys I'm not even racing against.

Going 100%, pointlessly, against guys I’m not even racing against.

50+ Leaky Prostate Category Race Notes:

Mark Noble played a smart waiting game, stayed out of the win, and smashed the four-man leading of group for the win, edging out Bennie Parks, Thurlow Rogers, and Jeff Konsmo. Race activator and head-banger Greg Leibert finished sixth behind Todd Parks, with SPY-Giant-RIDE p/b GQ6 teammate and 2014 winner David Jaeger coming in 8th.

My ride chauffeur, Derek Brauch, got second in the 40+ race behind winner Mike Easter. SPY-Giant-RIDE teammate Jon Flagg put on a display of incredible strength by bridging to the leaders and finishing fourth.

Emily Georgeson got a bronze medal in the women’s state championship road race, confirming again that this is her breakout season.

Other people in other races finished, or didn’t, with some going faster and others going slower.

END

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Thomas Dekker hangs up cleats, enjoys new-found independence

March 21, 2015 § 13 Comments

Thomas Dekker retired from the pro peloton yesterday, bringing to a close one of the most illustrious potential careers in professional cycling. Cycling in the South Bay sat down with him on the park bench next to the one he normally sleeps on to talk about what’s next.

CitSB: So you’ve decided to retire?

TD: Yes. It was a really hard decision and I agonized over it for a long time. It was so tough to make up my mind but eventually I knew it was the right thing. Sometimes when you’re turning something over in your mind for a long time, seems like there’s no good answer, then bang–the answer presents itself.

CitSB: Couldn’t find a team, huh?

TD: Oh yes, that was huge. You can’t imagine how tough it is to ride as a professional today without a team.

CitSB: Pretty expensive?

TD: Super expensive. Then there’s the whole thing about getting your own bottles, driving your own car as the DS, giving yourself massages, and of course being your own domestique and lead-out train. It’s very hard to do.

CitSB: You’re still not that old compared to, you know, real bike racers like Jens Voigt. Why do you think your career ended so soon?

TD: I’m older than Andy, remember. He quit at age 29.

CitSB: True, but he has a bike shop he’s going to open. So that was probably extra motivation for a former Tour de France champion to go ahead and retire. You’re not opening a bike shop, are you?

TD: No, but I think the main difference is that guys like Andy and I were from a different generation.

CitSB: How so?

TD: We grew up using massive amounts of drugs from an early age. Devoid of natural talent, work ethic, or drive, we were picked early by our federations’ sports-industrial complex and earmarked for success. Sheltered, pampered, overpaid, and feted, we grew up thinking that bike racing meant cranking out good numbers in a lab and winter training meant withdrawing oxygenated blood in December for later use in July.

CitSB: And you mean that there was more to bike racing than that?

TD: Not initially. Come on, we crushed it before they started cracking down on Lance.

CitSB: What was that thing with the hour record?

TD: I was hoping that someone would see how fast I was and offer me a contract. Simple. Kind of like Horner signing on with that junior high development squad and only doing the local CBR crits. I like that guerilla marketing stuff. “Grand Tour champion sprints for water bottle prime.” Freaking cool. Some big team is gonna snap that guy up soon.

CitSB: Surely some teams showed interest?

TD: Nope.

CitSB: What do you chalk that up to?

TD: As Jonathan Vaughters said a couple of years ago, I’m sort of an immature asshole.

CitSB: I think his words were “arrogant prick” and “hugely insecure guy.”

TD: I think that’s pretty close to “immature asshole.”

CitSB: Fair enough.

TD: So yes, that probably had something to do with me not getting another ride.

CitSB: What are your plans for the future?

TD: (Waves hands at park bench) This is the future, mate.

CitSB: Wow. These steel armrests must be pretty uncomfortable to rest your head on at night.

TD: Yes, but you know what? My whole life up to now was dominated by cycling, but I do not want to depend on my form, my equipment, my team, anyone or anything any longer. My cycling career was beautiful, ugly, intense, and edifying. I’m ready for a new step. Without my bike.

CitSB: That’s pretty noble, but as my dad used to say, how are you gonna eat?

TD: Could you lend me five bucks?

CitSB: Sure.

TD: Thanks.

END

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Pull the dicks out of your ear

March 20, 2015 § 42 Comments

No one ever asks me to review their cycling-related product or service. Perhaps it’s because of my disclaimer, which essentially guarantees that I will not say anything good, and that you’ll have to pay me for the bad review to boot. Or perhaps it’s because prior to requesting a review, the requester, who’s looking for a little “free publicity” clicks on my blog’s Bullshit Products link and comes up with a review like this, and concludes that his advertising dollar will more effectively be spent somewhere else.

Recently, however, a guy named Divad Zerep (not his real name) posted a link to one of his company’s products on my Facegag feed without bothering to sign up for the $2.99 monthly subscription and libel avoidance policy. He was touting the Samsung Gear Circle, which sounds like one of those mysterious bike parts that fits between the rear dropout, the pulley-wheel, and the turkey bushing.

However, it’s not an add-in to your electronic drive train. The Samsung Gear Circle is a plastic loop that fits around your neck so that you can listen to music when you jog, ride your bike, or have sex. True cyclists will not be interested in two out of those three applications.

The cool promo video shows cyclists listening to music as they sprint around the Carson velodrome, do bike tricks on the Golden Gate bridge, and look hot in their Lululemon stretch pants. Then, just before they get hit by a truck, they drop the volume with Samsung’s patented Sticky Finger Swipe Technology, so they can quickly hear the sound of onrushing tires and scoot out of the way.

After that, it’s more “all tunes, all the time.”

Once the promo video finishes, it segues into a 22-minute product analysis by a guy with tattooed fingers who dissects every aspect of the Gear Circle, with the possible exception of the jerk. He starts with the box and helpfully reads the label on the package because he knows that his target market cannot.

The last time anyone read anything to me it was because I was two years old, so I declined to waste any more time listening to a stranger review a product that I would never use, and more importantly, that my three regular readers would never use because they are a retired plumber in Texas who is still riding a steel bike that he bought in 1972, an ex-pro who makes wine and rides the same steel bike he raced on in Belgium in the 80’s, and an Englishman who lives the British motto of “God, Queen, Country, and Horribly Frugal.”

For years I have wondered about people who listen to music while riding their bicycles. Have they not noticed that they share the road with things called “cars” and often with things called “trucks”? Have they not noticed that these things are large, fast, and deadly? Have they not noticed that often the only clue as to the proximity of cars and trucks is something called “sound,” and that the sound of the oncoming truck cannot be heard when you have the equivalent of twelve screaming dicks stuck in your ear?

I’ve wondered other things about idiots who listen to music while they ride. For example, haven’t they noticed that when other people pass them, or they pass other people, they can’t hear anything? And that when someone says “Hello” and you don’t respond because you have twelve screaming dicks in your ear, they think you’re a Delta Bravo?

Nope, people who listen to music using the Samsung Circle Jerk and similar devices don’t ever consider these things. They just turn it up and keep on pedaling.

Now I know what you’re thinking. “Hey, Wanky, that’s unfair. I listen to music to relax on along rides.” Or, “Hey, Wanky, I listen to music to get me in the mood for my killer workout.” Or, “Hey, Wanky, the next time I see you I’m going to pound your face into raspberry pancake batter.”

Music may help your workout, but if you need twelve screaming dicks to eke out those last five watts, and those five watts are going to make the difference in The Most Important Masters Bike Race Ever, then you’ve got a big problem because on race day your training crutch won’t be allowed.

What’s weirder is the people who have to listen to music when they simply ride. This is weird and sad because they obviously don’t find enough in the act of riding the bike to occupy their brains. In other words, riding is boring. Can you imagine any fate worse than spending $10k on a bike and twelve matching sets of slick stretch underwear to do something that’s so boring the only way you can endure it is with twelve screaming dicks?

Worse, it’s evidence that the main therapeutic effect of cycling, which is to let your mind freely associate and drift away from the quotidien, doesn’t work for cycling music listeners. In other words, the unassisted noise in their head is so awful that the only way they can deal with it is by drowning it out with twelve screaming dicks stuffed into their ears.

This is the saddest thought of all, because the bicycle is the ultimate psychotherapist if you let it do its job. Screaming dicks not required.

END

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Wafer up

March 19, 2015 § 29 Comments

You may think that the full-length Belgian Waffle Ride is the only game in town on April 26, 2015. That’s what I thought, even though I noticed at the bottom of the sign-up form that there was an option for something called the Belgian Wafer Ride.

“Wafer Ride? Really? What kind of namby-pamby bullshit is that? I’d be embarrassed to even admit I’d read about it.” So I went ahead and did what REAL HARDMEN and REAL HARDWOMEN do; I signed up for the full BWR, the breakfast equivalent of a Denny’s Grand Slam plus China King’s $5.00 all-you-can-eat buffet topped off with two entrees at the Heart Attack Grill.

And I felt like a real tough guy. Something about tapping those computer keys, clicking that mouse, running that credit card, and pushing back from the desk with a smug smile made me feel like Eddy+Roger+Tom+Fabian all rolled into one. Take that, wankers!

This, however, was back in February, and a few days ago the smugness wore off as I realized that all my mouse pointing and keyboard tapping had not been accompanied by training or long riding or even practicing on dirty roads. And I started thinking about what the last three years have irrefutably proven: I’m not tough enough for the BWR.

My three finishes were as follows:

2012: So devastated that I abandoned my three years of sobriety and plunged into the abyss of a 3-year drinking binge.

2013: So devastated that I missed the following week of work.

2014: So devastated that I sold my bike.

That’s when I started thinking a bit harder about the Wafer Ride. Sure, its name insinuates that you’re too weak, too lazy, too slow, too soft, and too un-Belgian to do the actual 140-mile BWR beatdown. But you know what? It’s true! And in addition to the truth setting you free, the Wafer Ride caters to all my physical and character failings, and is actually a much better fit for your training schedule if you’re a road racer who doesn’t normally target MSR, Ghent-Wevelgem, Tour of Flanders, and Paris-Roubaix as the high points of your spring season.

If you happen to be an average masters schmo or schmo-ess, a 76-mile ride with 7,000 feet of climbing, 20 miles of dirt roads, and the undulating terrain of North County San Diego is beatdown enough for a day, and you really don’t have to train extra to do it or even survive it. Adding to the beauty of the Wafer Ride, it doesn’t interfere with your racing program, you can keep taking the same doses of test and EPO, it won’t ruin you for the following month, and best of all you’ll be back at the bunkhouse slamming Lost Abbey beer and Sam Ames’s famous post-ride sausages long before the real hard people (i.e. the idiots) have even thought about dismounting for the day.

Oh–and you’ll start at a humane hour, you’ll finish before sundown, get home at a reasonable hour, be able to sit at your desk on Monday without drooling blood, and will still have logged your toughest, most grueling 76 miles of the year. The sharpening effect of the Wafer Ride will translate into race fitness rather than leaving you a mass of broken ego and ground up flesh.

Best of all? There are plenty of spots left. Register here. I know which version I’m doing in 2016.

END

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Fake crying

March 18, 2015 § 24 Comments

The decay and impending collapse of civilization can be verified at the local coffee shop after I finish my bike ride. Yesterday evening I was sitting there, minding everyone else’s business, when two guys sat down next to me and started talking about work.

But first, some background. You see, I stopped crying after Fourth Grade because in Texas there wasn’t any benefit to it. When someone hauled off and socked you in the face you could either sock them back, fall in a heap and wrap your arms around your head to protect your skull from the sharp-toed boot kicks, or run like hell. Whatever you did, you didn’t cry.

Even if they held you down and punched you and spit on you and rubbed dirt in your mouth, you didn’t cry. Not because you didn’t want to cry, but because the minute you started crying, the beating would only intensify and would be infinitely aggravated by being called a crybaby.

Your tormentors loved it when you cried because it reinvigorated their tired arms and got their spit flowing again. Conversely, your teachers hated it. Crying meant a) there was a problem and b) you weren’t taking care of it and c) they were going to have to interrupt whatever they were doing and take care of the crybaby. Plus, before they would do anything they’d say, “Stop crying, I can’t understand anything you’re saying.” So after going to all that trouble to cry and getting doubly abused for it, you had to quit crying anyway.

Parents hated it worst of all. “My kid got beat up and cried” was worse, infinitely worse, than “My kid has been sentenced to hang by the neck until dead.” So you just didn’t cry, and dog knows that there were entire school years when you wanted to do nothing but cry every single day.

Holding back the tears made you tough, until, by the time you were fourteen or fifteen the only people you ever saw crying were babies or girls or people at funerals. I know that from the day I started Jane Long Junior High in 1976 until the day I graduated from Bellaire High School in 1982 I never saw another boy cry.

So when the one guy asked the other guy at the coffee shop, “How’d your shift go?” The two were apparently tutors at one of the cram schools located in the mall. I was wholly unprepared for the answer.

“It was okay,” he said, “except for this one kid who I called out for his fake crying.”

“His what?” he said.

“His crying. His fake crying.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Remember that kid I was telling you about whose parents get mad at him for not doing his homework, then apologize for getting mad at him?”

There was so much much about this snippet that was wrong. “Yeah,” the other guy said.

“It’s him. He was complaining about how mean I was and so he started crying and stomped off to the water fountain.”

“How old is the little fucker?”

“He’s not so little. And he’s fourteen.”

“And he did what?” The guy was amazed, and my poor brain was spinning as I listened. A 14-year-old? Really?

“He said I was being mean so he stomped off to the water fountain, crying.”

I interpolated the horrific beating and lifelong ostracism that would have resulted from the public display of tears by a mostly grown teenager when I was growing up.

“Could the other kids see him?”

“Sure they could.”

“And he didn’t care?”

“Hell, no.”

“What were you doing that was so mean?”

“I was making him do the homework that I’d told him to do the day before and he hadn’t done it so he’d flunked the quiz and the teacher had assigned it to him again.”

“But why would he be angry about having to do his homework? I thought his parents were sending him there precisely so somebody would make him do his homework.”

“They are. But he claimed that technically it wasn’t homework, it was an old assignment that he’d not done and had been reassigned as punishment, so he claimed he didn’t really have to do it and I couldn’t make him, and since I told him to STFU and do the assignment he burst out into tears and ran off.”

“Then what?”

“He came back and asked if I was going to apologize for making him cry.”

“And he’s fourteen, right?”

“Right. And I told him hell no I wasn’t and he could cry all night long for all I cared as long as he did the stupid assignment. Then he said I was a real jerk for not caring that I’d made him cry.”

“He said all that?”

“No, I’m summarizing. He said a lot more.”

“Then what?”

“Then I told him I especially didn’t care because he wasn’t even crying. He was fake crying, and when I said that all the color ran out of his face and he said, ‘How did you know that?’ and I said, ‘Because I have a little brother and I used to beat the crap out of him and he fake cried all the time and what’s more he was a hell of a lot better fake crier than you.'”

“And?”

“And he said, ‘Really?’ and admitted that he fake cried all the time at home to make his parents feel bad and he was really surprised that it didn’t make me feel bad and that I’d figured out he was faking because his parents still hadn’t figured it out, so I told him they doubtless had figured it out and were probably in therapy trying to figure out how they’d raised such a whiny little wuss.”

“Did he start crying again?”

“Nope. He asked me what was so good about my brother’s fake crying, so I told him how my little brother was such a pro he could cry fake tears, and he didn’t believe me. ‘No way! No way you can fake cry so that you can actually make tears come out! No way!’ He was incredulous and envious.”

“I take it while all this was happening he wasn’t doing his assignment?”

“Wrong. I was riding herd on him so bad he wouldn’t have worked harder if I’d been holding a bullwhip.”

“Then what?”

“He didn’t fake cry again for the rest of the night. And he finished his assignment. What do you think about that?”

“I think that’s fucked up,” the other guy said.

I got up and looked at the two guys. “I think,” I said very slowly, “that the world is a very different place now.”

END

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Adam, meet Laura

March 17, 2015 § 45 Comments

On July 18, 2014, reserve police officer Laura Weintraub made a “funny” video in which she mocked cyclists and encouraged running them down.

Last week, Adam Parks of Victorian Farmstead, a luxury meat purveyor in Sonoma County, published a “funny” rant on his company’s web site that advocated running over cyclists. The blog post has been deleted, but I’ve reproduced it at the bottom of this post.

Adam and Laura, nascent humorists, got a “funny” lesson of their own: The Internet works.

As amazingly stupid as it was for a cop to advocate killing cyclists, it was almost as crazy for Meathead to attack the very people who buy his product. A wag out there in Internetville succinctly described Meathead’s self-made marketing headache thus:

meathead_graphic

The angry cyclist community responded by loading up Adam’s Facebag and Yelp pages with, shall we say, unflattering reviews. And Adam took Laura’s path of contrition, only quicker and more forcefully. He apologized, made the rounds of local bike shops with dick in hand, offered to talk over coffee with anyone, any time, and then rubbed his nose in his own poop and swatted his own ass in a newspaper interview with the Press-Democrat.

Naturally, this wasn’t enough for some people, nor will it ever be. If you have ever been hit by a car, threatened by a cager, or know someone killed by a driver, Meathead’s apology may ring hollow. But there’s a deeper problem than his rant or the fateful lighting that has been loosed from the Internet’s swift sword, and it lies in what seems to be Parks’s real objection to cyclists.

We are in the way.

It’s hard to believe that Meathead or Laura really intended to kill cyclists, and their contrition indicates that even if they did, they certainly don’t want to now. What is even harder to believe is that the roads are filled with motorists actively looking for opportunities to maim and kill. After all, when you kill someone and scratch your car, your insurance rates go up.

Nope, the problem is rooted in the deep human psyche of hating that which is “in the way.” Cyclists on the bike path can be just as bad as cagers. I’ve ridden numerous times with groups, and have seen countless individuals, who would rather swerve, shriek “On your left!” and miss the lady and her baby stroller by inches than grab the brake and pass slowly.

This is the key problem with advocating bike lanes and additional “infrastructure” as a solution to the inherent conflict between cars and bikes. As long as bikes are “supposed” to be in the bike lane, and as long as cagers see a perfectly good path running next to the road, they will be outraged when slower and smaller vehicles are “in their way.”

That wouldn’t be a problem, perhaps, if we could create a completely parallel bicycle roadway system, where every single car travel path had a parallel protected bicycle path. But even the craziest bike infrastructure advocates don’t suggest that such a system is possible. So what we’re left with is a patchwork — bike lanes in congested cities, nothing outside of town or off the major thoroughfares or in the neighborhoods — that reinforces the cagers’ mistaken belief that when we’re in the road we’re in the way, and that the best way to deal with an obstacle is to smash it or run it off the road.

Cager rage is often so intense that it even takes me by surprise. A couple of days ago I had a guy lean out the window and curse me, and he was headed in the opposite direction. I clearly wasn’t holding him up, he was just venting his rage at my audacity, and perhaps vocalizing what those going my direction felt but were too afraid to say.

Satisfying as it is when Meathead’s Yelp review page overfloweth with outrage, it’s much less satisfying when you know that the vast majority of the posters will never lift a finger to actually change motorists’ approach by riding in the lane. We’ve seen over our one-year-plus experiment on PCH here in Los Angeles that repeated, continual use of the travel lane reduces motorist hostility to bikes because they have begun to see us as rightful users of the roadway to be steered around, not as obstacles that don’t belong.

And no matter how many cups of coffee Meathead buys, and no matter how sincerely he regrets shooting his business in the foot, as long as bikes stay huddled on the fog line, timorously trying to stay “out of the way,” the Lauras and the Adams will continue to see us as obstacles that, unfortunately for us, need to be cleared — preferably with the bumper of a 2,000-lb. hurtling chunk of steel.

The best revenge you can get isn’t by tapping on your keyboard. It’s by taking your place in the lane, where you belong.

Here’s Meathead’s piece in all its unvarnished glory. Read it and groan.

As a rule, I don’t like cyclists. There… I said it. Big, sweeping generalization that probably throws some good, law-abiding people under the proverbial bus. Nonetheless, I really hate cyclists. Now, if a bike is your preferred or only method of transportation and you follow some basic rules, I’m not talking about you. If you like to cruise your Beach Cruiser on the bike path or pedal your Schwinn to work using the proper lane and hand signals, more power to you. You ride a bike. I’m talking about a completely different animal.

I’m talking about cyclists. You know the ones I mean. They are usually astride a $10,000 graphite-framed bike that is lighter than a can of beer. Their $500 spandex onesie has more advertisements than a NASCAR driver. How do you know if someone is a cyclist??? Don’t worry… they’ll tell you.

It’s probably more noticeable out here in Small Town USA. In the big city, transportation moves so slow that bicycles make sense. What doesn’t make sense is these entitled fools mucking up a perfectly fine drive on a narrow, two lane back road in the country. While it is a beautiful place to drive, and we are blessed to have our “office” out in the fresh air and sunshine, when we country folk are driving these roads it is generally for work-related purposes. We are trying to get someone or something from point A to point B. Get out of the way!

The rare single cyclist is bad enough. This is usually the newbie that decides he’s going to try out his new steed in “the middle of nowhere so I won’t bother my fellow cyclists”. Usually stopped (as there is nowhere to pull over) going uphill on a blind curve, you can actually feel this one questioning his life’s choices as you lay on the horn to move him into to the ditch and out of the way.

The real menace is the Peloton (hey, you thought I don’t do research???). These are the groups of cyclists that seem to be a combination of a mosh pit and a book club on wheels. Often in matching onesies, they are the most obnoxious and entitled group short of the Kardashians. They feel free to take up the whole lane and have no regard for anything or anyone around them. They take it as a personal affront to their space if they have to move over as they are pedaling fast enough to go 30 MPH on flat ground but are actually losing ground to the hill. And chit chatting like the cast of The View to boot!

So, as usual, I have some suggestions for these Tour de Speedbump contestants. First, anyone not in single file and/or on the right side of the solid white line is fair game. And, on that note, all of them should be required to have license plates and carry insurance (that’s Laura’s demand). That way I would be more apt to call Jonny Law and report them rather than resorting my only other option- running them off the road.

Also, let’s get some kickstands on these expensive scooters. Sure, it will double the weight and cost them precious seconds on their time trial runs. But, at least the rest of us won’t have to trip over them as we walk past the local, hipster juice bar where they are usually splayed like corpses on the sidewalk. I asked a cyclist once why they laid the bike on the ground instead of propped against the wall. The answer was simple… she knew it was going to fall so it was better to lay it on the ground gently so the paint wouldn’t get scratched. I really couldn’t make that up.

There was actually one time when I was driving a truck and 5th-wheel RV, got myself into a spot where I should not have been, and was surrounded by cyclists. I was taking the family to Santa Cruz for a little vacation. I had borrowed the RV, so I was a little nervous as it had been a while since I had towed anything that heavy. Anywhooo, I packed everyone up, punched the address for the KOA we were setting up at in the GPS and headed south on 101.

As we got into San Rafael, the GPS Lady suggested I take the Richmond Bridge. Now, I may not know exactly where to go once I got into Santa Cruz, but I know I’m going through San Francisco and south on 280. Everyone knows that. Here is where I made my first mistake. Rather than just let GPS Lady re-route me, I switched from fastest route to most direct. And across the Golden Gate we went.

As we cruised down 280, GPS Lady woke up and told me to take Sand Hill Rd. Now, here is how technology makes us really stupid sometimes. Like anyone who has been around NorCal for a while (in my case 40+ years) I know that to get to Santa Cruz you take 280 to 17 and go over the hill. Pretty hard to screw that up, right? However, GPS Lady said to take Sand Hill Road. Hey, maybe she knows a short cut! Right turn, Clyde…

It wasn’t until we were firmly on our way up a ONE lane road (path???) that I knew I was really and truly screwed. There was no backing up, as the “road” had tighter turns than a prima ballerina. Going forward was the only option, and it was clearly fraught with peril. Never mind having to stop on the blind corner of a 40% grade to check and see if the truck AND borrowed RV were going to make it between the sheer up cliff on the right and the tree that somehow was growing out of the sheer down cliff on the left. What really told me I was in trouble was the cyclists.

Whether it was the highly tuned athletes flying downhill at us like the last few lines of Space Invaders, or the ones who were passing us going UPHILL, I knew that- in this case- I was the one out of place. You know, as a dad, it’s usually when you are at your most frustrated that your kids won’t stop bickering or your wife wants to discuss feelings. This situation was so tense that the cab of the truck was silent. I’m talking about you coulda heard a mouse peeing on a cotton ball quiet. Everyone was pretty clear that this was not your run of the mill pickle dad had gotten us into.

It took us an hour and fifteen minutes to go about 3 miles. The same guy passed us, and was passed by us, four different times. His language and gestures got more colorful with each passing. Normally, I would have returned fire, but in this case it seemed wiser to just offer an apologetic nod and wave. When we finally reached the summit, and yes summit is the correct word, we made a left on the aptly named “Skyline Boulevard” and got into the left lane of a beautiful, four lane highway. At 35 miles an hour it felt like the Autobahn.

A few lessons can be taken from all of this. Know where you are. I was where I wasn’t supposed to be on that bike path. If you are a cyclist out for a tour of the country, be respectful of those who are trying to get from point A to point B. And technology is only as smart as the guy pushing the buttons. Common sense, or the lack of it, will still generally determine how your day turns out. Women have been after men to ask for directions since the invention of the wheel. Now, thanks to GPS, we don’t have to ask. GPS Lady tells where to go. And just like everything else in life, the women are usually right…

END

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