Looks like we made it

May 6, 2016 § 10 Comments

Fortunately I am a very experienced international traveler who well understands the importance of properly scheduling connecting flights. You must always have at least two hours when making an international connection because something always goes wrong. In my case, things started going wrong two days before the trip when Mrs. WM asked how come I wasn’t packing.

“I got two days. I’ll pack tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow you’re onna flyin’.”

“No,” I huffed. “My flight’s Friday.”

“That ain’t onna your flyin’ email schedule you sent.”

“Honey, would you lay off? I know my flight schedule, for dog’s sake.” She shrugged. That night before I went to bed I checked my flight schedule. “Holy shit,” I yelled. “I depart tomorrow at 6:00 AM!”

She ignored me as I tore up the apartment packing my mini-bag. I got up at four, exhausted, and she drove me to LAX. It was a packed flight to Boston and the plane was late but thanks to my clever scheduling I still had an hour and a half.

There was an endless line at Starbucks but I had time to kill. The departure board showed my flight was on time but no gate had been assigned. “That’s weird,” I thought as I slowly sipped my coffee, charged my phone, and watched the ground crew pump up the plane’s tires and oil its chain in the midst of a freezing rain. Flakes of snow drizzled down. “No wonder the East Coast is angry,” I concluded. “It’s still winter in fucking May.”

After a while I checked the board again but still no gate assignment and it was less than an hour to departure and the lobby was about as lively as a small town viewing at the funeral parlor after all the marshmallow casserole was gone. I wandered over to Team Surly at the American counter where three agents were ignoring me quite professionally. Just as I was about to set myself on fire to get their attention they deigned to ask if I needed anything.

I refrained from the obvious, i.e. a club with which I could bludgeon them to death. “Which gate is the Madrid flight leaving from?”

They laughed in revenge at my living in sunny California while they were still wearing wool underwear in May. “That’s Terminal E,” said the agent lady with the winter beard.

I didn’t have to ask where Terminal E was because their gleeful smiles told me it was at least a pair of back-to-back 4-minute miles away. Off I ran but not before checking my phone to see that Ol’ Grizzles had landed and was in the same predicament as he’d gone with the $15 cheaper flight that only gave him twenty minutes to make his connection. “Will you wait for me at the shuttle bus?” he texted.

“No,” I texted back. “Every man for himself, like that time you and Munch and SITL abandoned me on the side of I-10, thirty miles from home with no water in 100-degree heat.”

I made it to the security screening but the plane was leaving in fifteen minutes and they were paging “Passenger Davidson” and the line was slower than a Starbucks with two customers and four baristas.

At that moment Ol’ Grizzles loped up waving his homemade plastic security clearance badge. They were paging him too, but he has an Italian surname with the vowels in all the wrong places so it sounded like they were calling for “Passenger Degeneratis.”

“Sir!” Ol’ Grizzles shouted to the TSA man with the tooth. “We’re going to miss our flight. Please let us go to the front of the line. We’re professional bike racers on our way to the Tour de France.”

The TSA gentleman licked his tooth and stared at our tummies and rather mature appearance. Then he looked at the boarding passes. “This don’t say nuttin’ about France.”

“We have to pick up the team car in Madrid.”

The gentleman shrugged. “If these folks don’t mind you cuttin’ it’s okay with me.” The line was long and people were frantically undressing for the x-ray scanner. Wool underwear was everywhere.

Ol’ Grizzles made a brief speech beginning with his great-grandfather’s trip through Ellis Island and threw himself upon the mercy of the liberal Massachusetts court but only after swearing he hated Ted Cruz and supported gun control. They applauded and put dollar bills in his thong and we were whisked through and made our flight.

Which is when the trouble began.

We flopped into our seats and began catching up on old times, lying about our fitness, and discussing which of the Norwegians would first succumb to acute alcohol poisoning. After three hours or so of hilarity, crudity, and fiddling with the video on the seatback in front of us, the irate occupant of the seat turned around.
“Would you PLEASE pipe down? SOME of us are trying to SLEEP!”

Now in addition to being cantankerous, ornery, ill-tempered, and out of sorts, Ol’ Grizzles is pretty much always spoiling for a fight. “Shove a sock in it, you floppy-peckered douchebag,” he said. “Or I’ll put you to sleep permanently.” I elbowed Ol’ Grizzles who gave the seatback a stiff punch for emphasis.

We touched down in Madrid and immediately ran into Sherri from Dallas who was also en route to Mallorca to enjoy cycling, Spanish culture and profound inebriation, which she had begun six mini-bottles earlier on the flight to Madrid. “Fuck I’m ready for this vacation,” she said.

“Oh?” I asked.

“Yeah. My mom had clots in her femoral arteries last night and my good friend Susie got diagnosed with colorectal cancer and checked herself into a Motel 6 and took fifty Ambien but she lived and one of my neighbors blew a hole in his chest with a shotgun so it’s been a rough week.”

“You must be from Texas,” I said.

“How’d you guess?”

“Just a hunch.”

As luck would have it, the three of us were on the same row on the flight to Palma so we told her how we had met on Grindr. Ol’ Grizzles pulled the squashed salami and cheese sandwich out of his pocket that was left over from the snack cart and began eating it. Sherri and I eyed it hungrily but Ol’ Grizzles refused to take the hint. The rain was pouring on the tarmac, reminiscent of Boston without the sleet. We glumly contemplated nine days of cold riding.

“Didn’t you say the weather here was always gorgeous this time of year?”

“Yeah,” he said as we flew up into the deluge. “But I guess I lied.”

END

Eating like kings

May 5, 2016 § 13 Comments

A couple of days before my big trip to Spain where I will contest the 2016 Tour de Prostate I got to wondering about the details. So I called up Ol’ Grizzles who was more than happy to take the 76th call of the day from anxious participants wondering about which gears, which tires, and which syringes to bring.

bag

One bag, 10 days. Thanks, Larry & Fukdude!

trip_checklist

All you need for 10 days, including what’s on your back.

“Hey, man,” I said. “I been wondering.”

“Yeah?” he said.

“Yeah. What about food?”

“What about it?”

“Like, what’s the eating situation? Should I be bringing BonkBreaker bars and BeachBody elixir [*note pro placement of club sponsors smack in the beginning of the post, where exposure will be maximum, before  readers close the window when they see their name isn’t mentioned]?”

“Dude,” he said, “there are a lot of things to worry about, for example Stig the freak who has been in Mallorca for the last week and already logged a thousand kilometers.”

“So he’ll be worn out by the time we get there.”

“Or you could worry about your candy California ass and how the Ted Cruz Contingent is gonna tear your legs off.”

“As long as you Cruz Campaigners agree to carry any and all of your non-viable attacks to term, that’s fine. How’s his campaign doing, by the way?”

“Or you could worry about the fact that we’ll do more hard riding in the first two days than you’ve done all year.”

“Hmmm,” I said.

“But the one thing you don’t need to worry about is food. We’ll be eating like kings.”

“Really?”

“Dude. We get up, hop on our bikes ride for a couple of hours, grab a huge lunch, ride a couple more hours, get back to the villa, and eat a huge dinner. There’s food everywhere, all the time.”

“Cool,” I said, and hung up.

This morning you can imagine my surprise when I got the following email from Leiv, the Director of Hospitality. Here is his missive:

Wanky and Grizzles,

Since you are arriving first, you will be required to visit these premises for acquiring the below list of essentials as stipulated by me.

Hiper Centro, Inca
Avinguda General Luque
Inca, Illes Balears, España

These items required for your purchase are not voluntary but are stipulated as required purchases to ensure that governing dietary needs are met durational for our enjoyable together time and nutrition proper for exercise and recovery.

  1. Beer, regular Pilsner type, 300 bottles, 330ml
  2. Beer, dark type and Weisbier, 100 bottles each and however way
  3. Cava, 36 bottles, based on their selection but preference is from these two producers which are not voluntary but stipulated by mutual order and consent: Millésime 2011 or Gran Reserva Brut or Reserva de la Familia or Gran Reserva Brut Nature 2010  by  Juvé y Camps, Cava, España
  4. Heretats, 12 bottles, Gran Reserva  2009 or MIM Brut Reserva  2010 or Pinot Brut Reserva Rosé  2011 by  Vins el Cep, Cava, España
  5. Rose wine, 10-15 bottles, free selection with stipulation of no American vinegar tasting
  6. White wine, 10-15 bottles, free selection with stipulation of no American vinegar tasting
  7. Red wine, 10-15 bottles, free selection with stipulation of young wine, Tempranillo grape, Spanish only
  8. Bottled water, 1-3 bottles for Seth, stipulation for purchase in litres, a measurement unknown to provincials and Americans
  9. Coke/Soda, 1-3 bottles for Seth or other babies
  10. Milk, 0% fat, 50 litres for morning recovery and general healthfulness
  11. Juice, selection 40-50 litres, with stipulation of nothing from concentrate due to unhealthfulness
  12. Tonic water, 14 litres for healthy mixture with stipulated hard alcohol
  13. Limes, 80, for healthy mixture with stipulated hard alcohol
  14. Lemons, 45, for healthy mixture with stipulated hard alcohol
  15. Red chili peppers, 25-30, for healthy mixture of cooking and proper bowel
  16. Spring onions, 10-15 singles, for more proper bowel and health
  17. Red onions, 10-15, very good for extra proper bowel
  18. Yellow onions, 2-3, moderate bowel yet stipulated flavoring
  19. Bell peppers, 13, dinner garnishing and healthy vegetable
  20. One lettuce, healthy bowel roughage
  21. One cucumber
  22. One honey melon
  23. One cantaloupe melon
  24. Charentis / Gaia / Ogen melon, 2 each for bowel roughage
  25. Ripe!!! Mango, 4, stipulated vitamin for replenishment of bodily fluids
  26. Avocado, 10 ripe for chili mixture
  27. Cillantro, a good heap for green chlorophyll benefits
  28. Basil, a good pot or heap for concentrated chlorophyll benefits
  29. Mint, a good pot or heap for freshy breath
  30. Garlic, net of 10 for fart reduction
  31. Olive oil, virgin 15 litres for various stipulated cooking and healthy fart reduction
  32. Corn oil, 1 litre, less healthy but cheap and healthy for stipulated budget
  33. Balsamic vinegar, 1 litre, extremely bowel health
  34. Sweet soy sauce (black stuff, small bottle ok)
  35. Regular soy sauce, salty type, 1 litre
  36. Rice wine vinegar (with the sushi stuff and Asian people area of the stipulated market), 1 litre
  37. Mustard, Dijon type for various health application
  38. Sesame seeds for bowel roughage
  39. Wheat flour, 15 kg for regular morning baking
  40. Maldon salt (pack) for flavoring
  41. Pepper (ground, one glass + one mill glass)
  42. Sugar 25 kg, for all applications and cooking meals to assignment as stipulated and manufacture of home made energy bar for cycling
  43.  Breakfast oats, 20 kg, for daily logging of morning cooking and lunchtime meals
  44. Butter 5 kg, for all cooking procedures as stipulated and bowels
  45. Eggs, breakfast mainly, 13 dozen, but application as needed throughout day and as hunger dictates late-night omelette production
  46. Cheese, a selection yet refraining from heavily stinking goat type
  47. Pata negra ham (several different please), 12 kg for much protein throughout all times
  48. Boiled ham, 2 kg, for chewing
  49. Jam, one or two glass for application with bread to be baked each morning fresh as each stipulated member takes turns on morning baking crew
  50. Bacon, 10 kg, for frying and healthy aroma to be assembled by morning baking crew on rotations
  51. Yoghurt, 12 litres for hangover absorbtion and bowel
  52. Nuts, selection of hazel, almonds, walnuts for dessert and hangover rapid absorption
  53. Snack chips, beer nuts, etc. for frequent ingestion and hangover delay
  54. Shampoo
  55. Soap
  56. Toilet paper
  57. Cling foil
  58. Aluminum foil
  59. Toilet paper written twice because forgetfulness of this stipulation would result problematic in catastrophe
  60. Kitchen paper
  61. Trash bags
  62. Extra ration beer and wine for emergency
  63. Low grade tequila for stipulation of necessity
  64. Medium grade whiskey for washing down parts of beer and wine
  65. Flavored liqueur
  66. Vodka, varying prices but all cheap, please

The individual cooking crews will by stipulation be on assignment and in shifts with new members beginning cook shift at 5:00 AM or early as by stipulation of senior members’ dietary stipulation and awakening schedule. Cooking crew rotational shift designation will be throughout each day with new members carrying proportionally heavy stipulation preparation and cooking and shopping load until Year 2 when seniority accrues by stipulation.

Thank you.

So now at least one thing is clear. We’ll be eating like kings, all right, but in order to do it we’ll be needing a few slaves.

END

————————

For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog and share my shock at the notion of a morning cooking crew. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

Stolen glory

May 4, 2016 § 25 Comments

 

What I want you to know is that yesterday, which was NPR Tuesday, I launched a glorious attack in the neutral zone along Vista del Mar as soon as we turned out of the alley. I’ve done this a zillion times before and it never works because I’m too slow and everyone else is too fast.

In order for any NPR break to stick a number of miracles have to happen, all simultaneously. First, Evens Stievenart has to flat. Second, you have to sneak away fast enough and early enough that you can scoot down the hill and get mixed in with traffic so the wankoton can’t really see you, like a thief in the night rummaging through *someone’s* panty drawer.

Finally, you have to *catch* all the lights on green or *catch* them on yellow or *catch* them on dead red a-la Stathis or Cowan and pray you don’t get crushed by a truck.

And then finally finally you have to latch onto a locomotive who is a) strong enough to stay away for four laps + Vista del Mar but b) not so strong that he drops you and c) is a complete idiot when it comes to bike racing and d) who can’t sprunt, i.e. Smasher has to be on the ride.

Finally finally finally, Venus needs to be retrograde in Cassiopeia and I’ll see your five and raise you ten. Then and only then do you have a chance.

Of course today was my day, because no sooner had I sprung clear from the snoozers than I saw Smasher up ahead. Smasher never met a hopeless breakaway he didn’t like. He looked back, saw the gap, and started smashing. “We got this,” he said. “Piece of cake.” Only one Vista del Mar sneak attack breakaway has ever stuck in the storied history of the NPR. That kind of once-in-a-lifetime cake.

Smasher smashed for a long way, I took a bitsy pull, and he smashed some more. Smashed up Pershing. Smashed up World Way ramp. Smashed onto the Parkway. I stuck my nose out in the wind for a few seconds for another bitsy pull. Then Smasher smashed some more.

When we made the u-turn it took so long to see the wankoton that I thought perhaps they’d made a wrong turn. Sausage was in no-wank-land attempting a hopeless bridge, and my teammates were chasing hard and then, all golden, we saw Evens S. flatted on the side of the road.

I sighed happily as I puked up bits of oatmeal, glued as I was to the mighty glutes of Smasher Who Smashed. At the final turnaround we were so far ahead that we lazily pedaled to the finish, where Cowan was standing with a camera because he’d crashed out for the tenth time this year and was having his bike glued back together. He was pissed. “You’re chatting!” he said. “What kind of finish is that?”

“We just owned your teammates, bitch,” I said. He reluctantly snapped a video of the laziest NPR victory pose ever and awaited the bunch finish for third, which had the hoped-for result: His teammate Todd Toofs beat everyone else. Grateful for scraps, Cowan posted the third-place video and titled it “Teammate wins NPR,” one of the few instances where history was written by the loser.

I tacked on a few extra hours, pedaling up Mandeville after almost getting doored by a car parked in front of Santa Monica Peet’s and driven by a guy who looked suspiciously like Ynot Alleznam, stopped at Phil’s and observed a homeless dude dance a jig in a Batman suit, then watched a crazy lady on the way home come shrieking up the bike lane in her Yaris beside a tour bus only to find when she popped out that there was a cop in the other lane who pulled her over and wrote her a ticket and then saw some buddies splayed on the pavement in Marina after they’d been run over by another crazy lady, this one on a bicycle going the wrong way in the bike lane and they’d had to chase her down and wrestle her off her bike and call the cops while the one dude nursed what looked like a fractured wrist, then I had a Tink sighting on the bridge, ran into Major Bob, Frenchie, and ML in PV but couldn’t stop to talk because I was bonking and then I got home, scarfed leftover tomato soup, leftover fried rice, an apple, a banana, half a box of chocolates and a quart of milk, and did my best imitation of “Crampie Grampie” where you hop around on one foot howling until the other leg cramps and then you roll in a ball and moan and everyone looks away embarrassed.

Mallorca, here I come.

END

————————

For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog and we can attack early and often and hopelessly, mostly. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

 

Day moves

May 3, 2016 § 26 Comments

Sometimes you see things that you don’t think you saw until somebody comes up to you afterwards and says, “Did you see that?”

This happened on the Donut Ride a couple of weeks ago. We had come out of Lunada Bay pretty hard and it was strung out in a line, with clumps of wankage already getting pinched off and flushed out of the bump past the elementary school. I was gritting my teeth and sitting about sixth wheel up against the right-hand curb.

I heard the whoosh-whoosh of full carbon that I’m pretty sure was 100% carbon and it was whooshing good except it was whooshing on the wrong side, my right, where there wasn’t but a handlebar-width between me and the curb. I moved over a fraction and sure enough, through came a pair of handlebars as smooth as a Brazilian wax job and the dude’s body language was “There’s plenty of room, plenty of room” which there was but only in retrospect and only because he had skilZ with a capital “Suicide.”

He passed me easy as butter and then moved over to the left and I opened up some space for him to slot in but the guy in front of him had started drifting back and the guy on his left, whose rear wheel he was now overlapping, hadn’t budged so that his front wheel was boxed in on either side.

Dude could have pedaled less hard and drifted back so that his wheel was clear but there was a super narrow gap he’d wedged into already and he decided that where he wanted to be was more ahead rather than more behind so he reached out to the guy on his left and gave him a pretty violent hip-shove in the universal bikespeak of “Move the fuck over now.”

Problems with this move:

  1. I was behind him starting to dribble poop because when this went south I was going to go south along with it.
  2. He was pushing on the wrong hip.

Wrong Hip happened to be Frenchy the Axe, an MTB phenom who absolutely shreds on the climbs. Wrong Hip, who would be my second oldest kid age-wise, has always been nice to me and let me sit on his wheel when he’s blowing people’s knees out on the Donut Ride. He sets it at tempo and you’re going along encouraging yourself, “I can DO it, I can DO it, I can DO it,” and then suddenly it’s, “No, fuck this I’m done,” and then you’re spiraling backwards hoping your eyes will come into focus before you veer into oncoming traffic.

The whole thing unfolded in an amazing dance of daring. Wrong Hip felt the hard push but he didn’t do what I would have done, which is roll over like a servile cur and give up the space. Nah, this was the world famous Donut Ride where every foot is fought for like it was real estate between enemy trenches at Verdun. You want to be where I am? Then you better not push and you better not shove.

Wrong Hip never glanced back. Ever so casually he reached back and grabbed Pushy McPusher’s left brake hood with his fist. Now, when the dude in front of you has his fingers wrapped around your hood, you are officially fucked. It’s like having your nuts in a pair of eunuch pincers and a 300-lb. bruiser getting ready to stand on the handles.

There was a massive clenching of sphincters because everyone saw the move and what had led up to it and now the only question was how many dozen people were going to chew a few plugs of asphalt tabacco. Then the magic unfolded. Wrong Hip slung the brake hood backwards, but Pushy didn’t do what everyone else would have done, which is a sideways flip-launch.

Instead, anticipating the push, he leaned slightly left so that his entire bike slid back about two feet, clearing the two overlapped wheels. We adjusted as he moved back.

Wrong Hip never even bothered to see who the poor slob was that he’d just owned in fee simple. And as awesome as the hood-check was, Pushy’s cool acceptance of the rear-shove and his casual readjustment was (maybe) even more amazing. Unfortunately, the testosterone was about to spill over and I saw Pushy get out of the saddle as he prepared to have words with Wrong Hip, words, I was pretty sure, that would be hard to take back.

I grabbed his jersey. He jerked his head around. “Easy, pal,” I said, “it’s only the Donut Ride.”

He looked at me for a second before deciding not to punch me out. “Yeah,” he said. “Right.”

END

————————

For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog and better yet come pedal with us. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

Mallorca 2016 Tour de Prostate

May 1, 2016 § 20 Comments

Now that the final start list for the Mallorca 2016 Depends Challenge a/k/a Tour de Prostate has been released, I’ve begun training in earnest in order to show my main sponsor, Metamusil, that I’m not just another dirtbag roadie who takes all the swag and shits. Er, splits.

None of the Norwegians have nicknames because when your parents named you “Munch” or “Stig” there is not a lot of room for humorous improvement.

The Texas Cruz Crazies are led by one of the fiercest, canniest, toughest, most experienced elderly fellows in the assisted care facility, Ol’ Grizzles a/k/a Skinless Boneless a/k/a What’s Your Name Again, Sonny? Next comes a man known only by the initials SITL, the meaning of which will never be revealed (unless you happened to have read Friday’s blog).

After that the Texas Cruz Crazies are:
Steve B.
Daniel P.
Bruce M.
Brian S.
… and J-Lo.

The Norwegian Salted Fish Eaters are:
Sverre
Øystein
Munch
Leiv
Trond da Furst
Trond da Sekund
… and Stig.

Since none of the Texans can read, it made sense for the Norwegian contingent to plot out our ride routes. Even though Norway is essentially Germany for Dumb People, they have been the designated choice for detailed planning ever since the Texans were put in charge of building a bonfire that one year.

In order to view the routes you’ll need access to MapMyRide.com, the cycling equivalent of MySpace. You’ll have to join MapMySpace and friend me and promise not to be one of those stalker weirdos. Here are the stages:

Stage One: San Salvador and Puig de Randa. We start out guns blazing because everyone knows that in our aged and weakened condition we’ll only become feebler and unable to ride as the days pass, especially on Day 2. This 85-mile loop will separate the men (none) from the old men (almost everyone else) from the wheelchair-bound (Ol’ Grizzles). MapMyRide link here.

Stage Two: Cap Formentor. For the one or two riders still alive after Stage One, this little jaunt, also known as Cap Tormentor, takes us out onto a promontory and 8,000 feet of climbing that is often swept with howling gales and, if you leave past 9:00 AM, is littered with giant tour buses.”Cap Formentor” is Catalan for “You should have driven.” Although marketed by the sneaky Norwegians as a recovery day, Cap Formentor promises nothing but hell, awfulness, and one more excellent reason to fall off the wagon. MapMySpace link here.

Stage Three: The Gristmill. After two days of vicious riding, the Norwegians have inserted a truly despicable day, the 103-mile rolling ingrown toenail known as The Gristmill for the tiny, fine granules into which riders are ground. With only 5,700 feet of climbing it will feel like 57,000, especially for the Cruzin’ Crazies whose idea of a hill repeat is the 12-foot climb coming into Fulshear. Several of the Norwegians can be expected to DNS if the ride starts before noon, as they’ll still emptying the dregs from last night’s bender. MapMySpace link here.

Stage Four: I’m Mainly a Birdwatcher. By now the 2016 Tour de Broken Man Parts will be over for all but a few who are properly dosed and under a medically supervised training plan. At 72 miles and two minor climbs, today is the first true recovery day, and we can expect to see enthusiastic competitors take out hiking boots, binoculars, and Spanish phrasebooks as they insist they really only came to Mallorca “for the hiking” or “for the excellent birding at Albufera Marsh” or “in order to practice my Spanish and learn about the culture.” MapMySpace link here.

Stage Five: Sackwhacker. This is the queen stage of the Tour, so called because of the toll that this day will take on your manhood. Ascending 7,400 feet in 64 miles, the Cruzies will all be chanting anti-abortion songs and voting for secession from the comfort of the villa while the ill-tempered Norwegians drink salt-fish gels as they pound their way to the top of Puig Major, the biggest climb on the island. No one will dare post his time to Strava. The Texans will prove they climbed it with Photoshop. MapMySpace link here.

Stage Six: The End of Life as We Know It. This day’s ride is simply a sick joke; 103 miles and 13,000 feet of climbing through the hilliest portion of the island. No one will start. No one will finish. Everyone will brag about it back home, claiming you can’t see their time because their battery died or that the Spanish GPS stuff doesn’t work on their English Strava/Garmin etc. Whoever hasn’t booked an early flight home by now or checked into the ICU will have sold the bike and headed over to the mainland for something easier, like bare-handed bullfighting. MapMySpace link here.

Stage Seven: Bitch Pudding. 50 miles and 3,200 feet. Who cares? MapMySpace link here.

Stage Eight: It’s All Downhill Not. By now everyone hates everyone else, the nationality jokes have turned to nasty glares, the Norwegians mutter angrily in Norwegian and the Cruzy Crazies whisper among themselves in Pig Latin. The Not Smart Enough to be Germans have one last knife up their sleeve, though, and it’s the 67-mile, 10k-feet Sa Calobra, truly saving the worst for last. No one shakes hands as each rider gathers his filthy belongings and glowers, each harboring dreams of revenge and planning for the other’s destruction … next year. MapMySpace link here.

END

————————

For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog and get the lowdown on cool places I’ve not actually been to but have cleverly written about as if I had. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

 

But what about me?

April 30, 2016 § 33 Comments

There was much joy and happypantsing when laist.com reported that Douchey McDouchebag a/k/a Dennis Reed finally got his comeuppance for trying to kill a pair of cyclists, then compounded murderous intent with suicidal stupidity by dancing a jig of “They punched my car first!” in front of the TV cameras and following it up with a fresh sprig of perjury by filing a false complaint with the police.

Douchey’s fancy driving video and his performance on the small screen earned him a walk down the perp carpet and a “Misdy Award” in the form of an arraignment set for May 11. The charges? Misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon and filing a false report. Whether anything will come of it remains to be seen. My advice to Douchey is that he mortgage his apartment, return his keys to the Audi leasing office, and lawyer fucking up.

But what about you? What about me?

We get buzzed all the time. Mostly people are trying to kill us through benign neglect. They have pressing updates to like on Facegag, or they’re responding to a crucial text message about how Pooky told Dipsy that Donkey wasn’t going to be the third starting pitcher in next Saturday’s Little League game, and bam! They *accidentally* whack us and it’s an *accident* and we’re *accidentally* on life support for a year or five. Oh, well.

Other times, though, there is evil, bad, life-taking intent. You know the drivers. They target you. And they either miss, or they pull out at the last minute, or you pull off the escape of your life, or you get flat fucking lucky, and after the exchange of a few middle fingers everyone goes on with his life until the next time, when someone doesn’t. And the someone who doesn’t is always the cyclist, never the cager.

For most riders, there is a fairly good roadmap for what to do when you get hit, and by now we all know that it’s usually a very good idea to call a lawyer. Me, for example.

But what about when you don’t get hit? What about those times when the driver tries to hit you but fails? Is there anything you can do about it?

The short answer is “yes,” but it’s not easy. Sometimes you’re really angry and then the anger recedes and you feel lucky to have survived. But other times the anger doesn’t go away, or you’re reminded of the rider who took the time to file a complaint against the infamous Dr. Thompson. Dr. Thompson intentionally hit Ron Peterson while descending Mandeville, and the doc got jail time because of the prior report.

In other words, when the violation is egregious enough, it really does make sense – sometimes – to not simply roll over and get on with your life because the person who tried to kill you may well kill or injure someone else.

What follows is a rough re-wording of a very excellent email I received from a cop who’s been in law enforcement for over twenty years, and it’s well worth filing this away if you ever find yourself the victim of some jerk who thinks that your life is as disposable as a candy wrapper. As a lifelong adherent of plagiarism and stealing the good work of others, I’ve taken his email and changed it enough to avoid a cease-and-desist letter but not enough to take away from his excellent work.

“If it’s so excellent,” he even asked me, “why the hell’d you rewrite it?”

“Sorry, dude,” I told him. “If Homer sent me his final draft of the Iliad and the Odyssey, I’d rewrite that, too.”

So the first question you have to ask yourself regarding any buzzing incident is this: Was the act of “buzzing” intentional? This is key because with few exceptions only intentional acts are crimes.

If you have video or solid witness testimony that shows the driver really did intend to buzz you, then that constitutes assault with a deadly weapon, and it’s a violation of California Penal Code Section 245(a)(1). In your case, the deadly weapon is the car.

Based on many descriptions of such events, not to mention my own close shaves with cager crazies, it is often clear that the answer is “yes, the action was intentional.”  But you have to be sure of that on your own, and it’s extremely beneficial to have witnesses or video. Once you’ve concluded that the driver intentionally tried to hit you, go to the police station whose jurisdiction includes the location of the incident and file a report.

  1. Do not call.
  2. Go there in person.
  3. Be prepared to wait.
  4. Be prepared for them to do everything in their power NOT to file a report.

If you’re at the station, you have decided that you want to involve the police. It’s not easy and it’s a hassle; despite constantly telling people to contact the police, few do. But ask yourself this: How are you going to feel if you read an article a week from now that a cyclist was mowed down by the same driver who buzzed you? If you believe that society is only safe when we look out for each other, then you have a duty to do this.

Once you have decided to do this, don’t waver. Do, however, be nice.  And most of all don’t try to cut any slack for this unknown driver who almost killed you. Stop feeling like a bad person because you are calling out someone else’s conduct, and don’t feel bad about the negative consequences that will occur to the driver of the car. The driver was a big enough boy or girl to try and kill you, now he or she will be big enough to deal with the fallout.

If you begin to waver, the police will immediately detect this and do everything they can to avoid taking a police report. Face them firmly, politely, and with the same calm resolution that you’d defend your spouse or child. If you have to, hum a few lines to yourself of “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty.

So now you’re in the station and you have to demand a report. Not ask for one. Not suggest they write one. Not beg for one. You have to demand it. And you have to demand it politely and without hesitation. Do not leave the station without what is called a DR number for the report. Statements by the police such as, “We will keep an eye out for the guy,” or “I will give you an incident number” are unacceptable. You’ve gone to this much trouble to get a DR number and you owe it to yourself and everyone else not to leave without one.

*Important note: The term “DR number” is a term specific to the Los Angeles Police Department. The LA Sheriff’s Department calls the same number a “URN number.” Other police agencies call them varying things. What you need to do is get assurance that the officer handling your complaint is going to provide you with a police report and you should probably get the name of a detective or detective supervisor who is going to follow up on the police report.

When you demand the DR number, it’s practically guaranteed that you will be told one of several things, all well-practiced moves by the police to send you home and keep them from having to do their job.

#1.  “Why didn’t you report the crime at the time it occurred?” Your answer should immediately be, “Can I speak to your watch commander? I won’t allow you to blame me, the victim of a crime, for my conduct, when it is clear that a crime occurred.” Do not engage any further with a police officer who asks you questions like this. It is inappropriate. When you do speak with the watch commander, make sure you tell the boss about the conduct. And remember, you’re in a police station. Any escalation of tone or hint of violence or threats on your part will wreck your endeavor.

#2.  “This is not an assault with a deadly weapon, you need to report this to the Traffic Division as it is a traffic matter.” Your answer should immediately be, “Can I speak to your watch commander? You are incorrect, but I do not want to argue with you about the law.” Do not engage any further with a police officer that asks you questions like this. It is inappropriate. It is also abundantly clear that he does not know the law. When you do speak with the watch commander, make sure you tell him about the conduct. Direct the watch commander to the following case: People v. Wright, 100 Cal.App.4th 703. If the watch commander doesn’t understand what that is, you are going to have to insist on talking with his boss.

If all of that fails and you’re here in LA, call me. I’ll go with you to the station and we can jointly explain the basics of PC245(a)(1) as interpreted by People v. Wright, 100 Cal.App.4th 703. We’ll get the DR number and we’ll get the wheels of justice turning.

END

————————

For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog and learn that there are a lot of good people out there in law enforcement, and some of them ride bikes, and some of those ones will ride you off their fuggin’ wheel. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

What are you training for?

April 29, 2016 § 28 Comments

I was standing in the bar, downing my third craft water and feeling my prostate start to bulge. BD was downing something with a bit more horsepower, and he was not happy.

“Fuggin’ wanker brake-checked me! Tried to take me out.”

“Bummer, dude,” I said.

“Bummer? Eff that! That guy’s a fuggin’ head case! He brake-checked me and tried to take me out! Why didn’t you do anything?”

“I didn’t see it. And I’m not your mother.”

“Eff that! It’s your ride, dude. You’re the enforcer. That was bullshit!”

“It’s not my ride, I’m not the enforcer, and every pelodrama has at least two versions, if not a dozen. Plus, you’ve been doing this long enough to know The Rule.”

“The Rule?”

“The only person responsible for what happens to your front wheel is you.”

He thought about it and drank some more Thought Stimulator. “What’s your next race?”

“I don’t know. Barry Wolfe?”

“Ugh. Crits. So no Dana Point?”

“No. I’m off the bike for the next few days.”

“How come?”

“I just did three back-to-back days of 5-hour rides and I need to rest.”

“What are you training for?”

“I’m taking a trip next week.”

“Really? Where?”

“Mallorca for ten days.”

BD stared, then had some more Thought Stimulator. “Dude! You’re going to Mallorca? To ride?”

“Yes. And yes.”

“Oh my fuggin’ dog! That’s bike porn! You’re going to be buried in bike porn for ten fuggin’ days!”

“Bike porn?”

“Dude! It’s the best riding on earth! It’s Disneycycleland times a billion! Who are you going with?”

“A group of crazy people, unfortunately.”

“Taking the family, eh?”

“No, they’re staying home. I’m meeting up with Ol’ Grizzles from Texas and his band of Ted Cruz Moral Majority crazies, and then we’re going to be joined by Ole Oleson and his band of Merrily Grim Norwegian Salted Fish Eaters.”

“What the fuck are you talking about?”

“Ol’ Grizzles is a riding buddy from Texas. We became immediate and lifelong friends when I showed up on a ride on my steel Eddy, no helmet, and wool jersey, and beat the snot out of the local West Houston posers. He and some of his gun nut abortion-haters go to Mallorca every year and do a week or so of super hard riding, which basically means one day of going full gas and seven days of recovery beer and feasting on smoked hog testicles.”

“What’s the Norwegian reference?”

“So Ol’ Grizzles and his buddy Shit in the Lane had another friend, Ole Oleson from Norway, who was stationed in Houston as part of his company’s plea-deal to avoid prison. He could have gone to jail or to Houston, so he picked what he thought was the lesser of two evils and found out he was wrong. Anyway, Ole rides like a maniac for the three weeks every year that Norway isn’t covered in snow and ice and mud and vodka, and he brings some of his buddies to meet up with the Texas crazies, and it’s kind of a Man Tour on testosterone supplements. They’ve badgered me the last couple of years to join them as they need riding lessons, but all of my kindergarten-bike classes are too advanced for them so I’ve always declined.”

BD heard about half of what I said, maybe. “Dude!” he urgled. “Bike porn!”

“Yeah,” I said. “Bike porn. Whatever that is.”

“So what’s the plan? What rides are you doing?”

I took out my phone and showed him the latest missive from our Directeur de Démembrement:

Dear Weak-legged Ones,

Le Tour de Mallorca 2016 is coming up fast, much faster even than your carefully planned training schedule, which you meticulously plotted out last August yet doubtlessly put off until the week before departure. That is okay. You are likely well prepared for eight days of hard, mountainous riding with those two extra-long rides to and from the liquor store. Mallorca is mostly easy riding and will accommodate your efforts much as your manufacturing sector has accommodated the “inferior” competition from China.

In short, do not worry.

As Directeur de Démembrement I have promised to come up with an assortment of rides. This seemed daunting at first since, given your riding profiles the only “assortment” that would fit involved flat rides to the liquor store, as mentioned above. However, there should be something for everyone, from large sections of flats where Shit in the Lane will hammer for a mile or two until he has to dig deeply into his Suitcase of Excuses (which will be well-filled prior to departure), and climbs where our Norwegian contingent has finished translating a few chapters of Egyptian hieroglyphics before the Ted Cruz Contingent catches up. We even have rides where Ol’ Grizzles will be able to tag along, at least until the right turn out of the driveway. Maybe. The distances vary from 65-ish to 100-miles with a possibility to cut some of them short, and a guarantee to cut all of them short for Grizzles and SITL. Note that I use miles because the complexity of the metric system is too confusing for a group of Texans who are still trying to decide whether a birther Nazi or an Islamic State Christian are the better standard bearers for America’s highest office.

We are a rather large group, although we will become much smaller as the days pass and the rides tend to select towards fitness, preparation, ability, and mental fortitude, meaning that we will more and more tend to be exclusively Norwegian. My hope is that early on, if the Cruz Contingent can avoid complete drunkenness on Night One, we can manage some discipline and should be able to cover some ground. However, knowing some of you guys and my experience with you on the West Oaks rides I know that things will most likely fall apart. My scheduled plans for the rides are just that; plans. To borrow one and the only intelligible quote from Mike Tyson: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”

Just a suggestion, but bring face masks.

Enclosed are both the GPX and KML coordinates for the rides. I doubt that anyone with an American high school or college degree can read them, however, the files can be uploaded to Google Earth or other applications such as AskYourChild.com. Mapmyride is free and takes only a couple of minutes to register, although its terrible interface and complexities (you will need to have your child help you with the instructions to “log in” and “register”) will deter most of you. Your 5-year-old, however, will be good to go and will see the routes with distances, feet of climbing, and other cold, hard facts that no amount of bragging to your wife will now allay. SITL and others should be wearing diapers when they see the daily routes for the first time.

Should you have a GPS device please upload the rides. It won’t help you go faster, and it will certainly subject you to merciless shame should you have the bad judgment to upload your ride times to Strava, but it will help when you get utterly, completely, and thoroughly lost, which will happen each time the road tilts up, the speed picks up, or we pass a bar. You do not want me at the front all the time shouting directions, as when excited I revert to my native Norwegian, and for safety reasons we certainly do do not want any of you up there.

After speaking with our Officier  d’Hébergement I trust that he is in control of the accommodations. The left pig sty is for SITL, and Ol’ Grizzles has first dibs on the horse barn. I know you will all enjoy the new culinary experience of Mallorca. Make sure to bring your favorite bowel irrigation device.

Please make sure that you all include cycling shoes, a bib short, and jersey in your carry-on, though for most of you a pair of gym shorts and flip-flops would more than suffice given the length of time you will survive the actual rides. The Specialized  “bicycles” that our US friends will be shipping over may be impounded by Spanish authorities as imitation bikes; don’t say we didn’t warn you in advance to rent rather than travel with 400-lbs. of poorly made American-branded junk.

Please let me know how the GPX/KML files work out and if there are any issues uploading them that your children can’t immediately resolve.

Regards,
Munch
Directeur de Démembrement

END

————————

For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog and learn all about Mallorca, a small island in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Sumatra. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 890 other followers