Call of the wild

May 23, 2020 § 3 Comments

One thing I like about Chaucer is that I’ll be reading along, minding my own business, and something will leap out and grab me by the mind, fierce fingers with long jagged nails digging deeply in, and say “WtF iS tHAt?

For example the line, “Selde is the Friday al the wowke alyk,” also known as “Seldom is Friday like other days in the week.”

I mean, why Friday? I swear, that one has bothered me for a long time now. Why Friday?

I’ll be in my monthly shower and bam. “Why Friday?”

I’ll be eating some diet cornbread made with bacon, butter, and eggs, and bam. “Why Friday?”

I’ll be cleaning my chain and bam. “Why Friday?”

Each time I wonder “Why Friday?” it sets off a chain reaction. What was it people used to do on Friday? What about Tuesday? Tuesday’s pretty damned special. I once knew a lady whose kid was named Tuesday. But I never knew any kid named Friday. Monday is the name of an awesome song, so awesome they repeated it twice in the title.

All that wondering stopped this morning as I lay on floor, eyes gazing at the asbestos stucco on the ceiling when I realized that Friday was unlike any other day of the week because it ushered in Saturday. Friday was the day of excitement, of anticipation, or as my East Texas lawyer buddy used to say, “It ain’t the flop on the bed, it’s the walk up the stairs.” [*Note: An East Texas girlfriend, upon hearing this aphorism, said “Sounds like that boy needs to get him some new flop.”]

Saturday, the day of the Donut, the day you open your eyes and the gore rolls through your veins like a thousand railroad trains, the day of battle, the day of grown men prancing around in form-fitting garish underwear, the day that friendship dies and is replaced by spitting, traitorous alliances of grim necessity, Saturday, the day whose unfolding will stay with you all the rest of the wowke, the day of the wild, the day that calls you.

For a couple months now the covids have put a full stop to the real Donut. Don’t get me wrong, a certain concatenation of creatures has continued to do their own Saturday “Donut” ride, thumbing their nose at the potential infliction of needless suffering and covid death, so strong is the call of Saturday.

But for me the call has ebbed with each wowke. Every Saturday it calls me, but it calls me less. Now that we’re on the edge of being permitted to go about the business of spreading covids in earnest, “reopening” as it’s euphemistically called, the call has become roar.

It’s tried to, anyway.

This morning I lay there and listened as hard as I could. There was a faint murmuring off in the distance, the clink of chains, the buzz of e-derailleurs, the wheeen of brakes on carbon wheels, the desperate pant of the drop.

I listened as hard as I could but all I heard was the call of the tame.

END


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Donut report 2/29/20

February 29, 2020 § 5 Comments

This was a Leap Year Donut. Even though it only comes around every four years, it comes around every week.

This edition featured a “race” Donut instead of a “ride” Donut. Usually the ride starts very fast and stays fast until the Switchbacks. Then it goes faster and a small group rides away.

Having completed the first and likely the only hilly road race of the season, race-fit riders decided to ride cautiously; most of them, anyway. It wasn’t until after Terranea that Wes Morgan, Greg Leibert, Jon Petrucci, and Hector Morales attacked and rode away.

When we reached the Switchbacks, Alex Barnes rode hard to pull back Jon and Greg, but the easy pace out meant that the chase group had sixteen riders in it. Once on the climb no one attacked, but the pace stayed fast. I got dropped early, and rode the rest of the way with Fred Mackey and Alex. Fred has been riding a lot and is going strong. It was also good to see Troy Emanuelson, slimmed down and riding well.

Greg, Jon, and Zach Labry had joined Chris Tregillis on the Switchbacks. Zach pulled into the headwind to Turn 1, after which Greg accelerated to Turn 2. Out of Turn 3, Jon attacked, dropped Zach, and gapped out Greg. Approaching Turn 4, Chris closed the the gap to John. Leo Bugtai bridged on Crest with Kyle Jax, who was finishing a scorching Homes/Domes as part of the ROD ride. On Crest, Kyle came roaring through and stayed with Jon to the top, just ahead of Chris.

Leo scored the first Donut point of the day. He has been logging a lot of miles and it shows. There were two Vancouver riders from “Ful Gas” and they rode well. Sam Wise of La Grange also rode hard and fast the entire day, but I didn’t get his name because he was either too far ahead or I was too out of breath on his wheel. Chris Tregillis and Greg Leibert came in after Leo/Jon, making an excellent showing for the Very Old Bicycle Rider crowd.

The second time up, things broke apart on Via Colinita. Many of the riders who had played cat-and-mouse during the first climb were suddenly doing a “rest day,” and a smaller group was now setting the pace. When we got back to PVDN it was Chris, Jon, the Vancouver guys and Sam, Stathis Sakellariadis, Rebekah Potter, Ivan Fernandez, and one or two others. Chris continued to push, and barked at me for shirking. Sorry but, well, not really …

Things fell apart quickly on Crest. Jon attacked again and got the second point of the day.

For the Hawthorne sprint, Jon attacked early with someone else. There was a big tailwind on the Glass Church rollers and the La Grange rider split the group and strung out the remainder. I tasted the bitter oily burn of breakfast bacon as it jumped up from my stomach into my throat trying to hold his wheel. We caught the red light at Terranea but I doubt we would have caught Jon as he had a good gap and got the third point of the day.

The pace was slow to Via Zumaya, and then Stathis attacked. Only a few riders could follow; I wasn’t one of them. Leo and Jon fought it out for the point and I think Leo got it although if he didn’t I’m sure someone will tell me.

In another four years or seven days it will all mostly happen again.

POINTS TOTAL

Stathis Sakellariadis 6
Leo Bugtai 4
Jon Petrucci 3
Seth Davidson 3
Aaron Wirthwein 3
Cole Lewis 2
Andy Engel 2
Arturo Anaya 2
Julien Bourdevaire 1
Rich Mull 1
Nigel DeSota   1
Charon Smith  1
Kevin Phillips   1
Matt Brown 1

END


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Donut report 2/15/20

February 15, 2020 § 6 Comments

First, a correction from last week. Cole Lewis of the USC cycling team took the first ascent to the Domes.

Second, honorable mentions for this week’s Donut:

  1. Alex Barnes. Despite having logged 32 miles for all of 2020, Alex hit out on the Switchbacks and broke the field. I had the misfortune of being on his wheel for a while until I wasn’t. Then Alex dropped himself out of the lead group, overhauled me as I limped along, and dragged me all the way to the top. Not bad for 32 miles …
  2. Chris Tregillis. At the bottom of Western I said, “We can go now,” and Chris went. Many in a greatly reduced field made it even more greatly reduced as he motored all the way to Weymouth, caught his breath at the red light, and charged off again with Tom Duong in tow. Tom got punched out the back at Via Colinita and Chris stayed away all the way to the base of Crest. Not bad for a very vintage piece of meat who is only now “getting into shape.”
  3. Rebekah Potter. Lit it up coming out of Malaga Cove and it took a full-gas effort by Scott Fleming to haul her back. She then crushed it the second time up to the Domes, when only a handful of the fastest riders were able to get there ahead of her. She towed me the whole way up Crest, dropped me at the end, caught her breath and then contested the Hawthorne sprunt.
  4. Robert Efthimos. This dude always gives it 100%, is always smiling even when you know he wants to puke, and is a positive addition to any beatdown. The last time he visited the South Bay was to sharpen his TT form on the Flog, at which time he racked up four lap wins without breaking a sweat.
  5. Greg Leibert. Still the strongest and most consistent aged fellow anywhere. Shows up on the Donut once a year and when he shows, you knows. Ouch.
  6. Scott Fleming. Older than dirt, this Colorado import mashed and smashed from start to finish.
  7. Coffee kids. Daniel Oh and Jerone (?) of some coffee shop bike club beat the snot out of everyone all day long, then had the nerve to say they “really liked” the Donut Ride.
  8. Dishonorable Mention to Jonathan Paris for showing up to the Donut Ride without a helmet. Wow! What a terrible example to the children. And what an awful potential expense to Michael Barraclough’s tax burden should irresponsible JP get a head injury and wind up on Medi-Cal for the rest of his life. People who ride the Donut without helmets should be banned. Sirrously.

Okay, the nuts and bolts: As mentioned, Rebekah began the prayer services out of Malaga with an offering to Satan in the form of the charred bones of those left behind. THE Dan Cobley helped chase her down, which sucks because it’s Dan’s third bike ride in a row and if he has a fourth, then a fifth, he will again be one of the mightiest wheels in the South Bay, if not the universe.

Evens Stievenart countered when Rebekah was caught, and he, Jon Petrucci, and Scott powered away; they were nabbed on Paseo Del Mar thanks to relentless chasing by Fred Mackey, who rode like a house afire. In Lunada Bay Evens punched it again and took some company with him. We got no rest at Hawthorne because the light was unfortunately green, but more hard, single-file chasing was the only thing that brought Evens back.

The pace was stiff through Portuguese Bend, and at the bump before the PB Beach Club Evens struck out again and stayed on the gas all the way to the bottom of the Switchbacks. The field was smeared out behind him like melted butter in a red-hot skillet.

I slipped in between traffic, which then halted to let the other riders through, and that’s when Alex raced by, all 32 miles of him. “This better get me a blog mention,” he snapped, smoke issuing from his orifices.

The coffee kids, Chris, and Aaron Wirthwein made the final selection, and Aaron, of USC cycling, impaled everyone on his very sharp sword for the first point of the day. It wouldn’t be his last.

Rather than lollygagging back to PVDN, Fred grilled and drilled from the college to the start of the reservoir descent, shelling people right, left, and center on the false flat between Miraleste and the drop-off. From cliff’s edge Jonathan took the reins and single-filed it, tire edges smoking in the hairpins until Cobley blitzed by to finish off the downhill death job.

One thing about the Donut this year is that normally “neutral” sections have been neutered, and now it’s basically a matter of, “Can you pedal? Then pedal harder.” It has raised the quality of the ride exponentially.

The second time up the Domes, Greg Leibert led the chase all the way from the bottom of Better Homes to the base of Crest, with everyone hanging on for dear life. We made the right-hander and Aaron took off like he’d been in bed and someone had yelled “Pancakes are ready!” and only Daniel Oh could follow. I’d been sucking gas at the back with Stathis Sakellariadis, and punched it just in time to make it up to the leaders. Everyone else died.

Then I realized why following the leaders, especially when they are named “Twenty Something” is always a bad idea: in seconds I cracked and was passed by Old Money Leibert, and then Stathis, who awoke and sprinted up to the break.

I flailed by myself until Rebekah came along and thrashed me all the way to the top. Again, it was Aaron who bested all comers.

For the Hawthorne sprunt people were pooked. I hit out about three-quarters of the way up the Glass Church, and after the group caught me, Kevin Phillips countered and would have stayed away were he not caught by the light at Terranea. It greened, I pedaled, and there was a tiny selection left consisting of Scott, Emily Georgeson, Rebekah, Aaron, Jerone, and Old Money Leibert. Aaron made it look easier than shooting turkeys in the supermarket, slingshotting off my wheel after Emily scorched it leading up the final rise before the sign.

On the run-in to Zumaya no one wanted to pull through, so I sat and blowtorched through my two remaining matches. We hit the bottom of Zumaya and everything in both legs seized as the fragments of the day all passed me by. Honors went to Canadian Matt Brown, a visitor wearing a jersey saying “Provincial Champion.” I didn’t know if that meant he was a fan of Madame Bovary or what, but turns out he can go very fast when he so decides.

Thus endeth the report of our day of the Donut, February 15, 2020.

POINTS TOTAL

Stathis Sakellariadis 6
Seth Davidson 3
Aaron Wirthwein 3
Cole Lewis 2
Andy Engel 2
Leo Bugtai 2
Arturo Anaya 2
Julien Bourdevaire 1
Rich Mull 1
Nigel DeSota   1
Jon Petrucci    1
Charon Smith  1
Kevin Phillips   1
Matt Brown 1

END


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Donut report: 2/8/20

February 8, 2020 Comments Off on Donut report: 2/8/20

I missed the start this morning due to an emergency room detour, but rode the course in reverse and met up at the college. It looked like a smaller group than normal. Many were doing the Rock Cobber in Bakersfield, and others were “saving” their legs for the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre tomorrow.

According to wire reports, Cole Lewis made mincemeat of all comers on the first climb to the Domes.

I hopped in with Stathis and Fred Mackey on Western. It wasn’t really a fair fight since the group behind stopped at all the lights. Fred and Stathis were on the gas, with Fred hauling us in his dazzling Origin Seizure Suit all the way to 9th Street, after which Stathis took off.

I sat on his wheel all the way to the top of the Domes, where he collected a point.

Then on to the Glass Church, where a small group of Ivan Fernandez, Cole Lewis, Nigel DeSota, Julien, and Wes Morgan pinched off from the group in Portuguese Bend and hung out the “We Are Gone” sign.

Over the final bump in PB, Fred grilled and drilled all the way to the church, where the escapees had a big gap. I got across, catching just as they crested the final bump. There was a mad dash for the #fakesprunt, with Nigel leading everyone out and Cole getting the #fakewin and the #realsocks, as today’s point winners each got a lovely pair of South Bay Cycling socks.

Fred and Leo Bugtai raced all the way to Via Zumaya; I took a couple of weak pulls but after being off my bike for 11 days and stuffing my guts with Turkish delicacies, all I can say is, “That’s poor preparation for the Donut and thank Dog I had the brains to bail on the Rock Cobbler.”

Julien crushed everyone on the climb, but Stathis, Cole, Rich Mull, and Rodrigo (?) made a go of it to no avail. It was good to see Colin the Canadian getting back into form after a lot of hamstring/leg issues. I went home and had a real, old-fashioned Donut coma.

DONUT STANDINGS

Stathis Sakellariadis 6
Seth Davidson 3
Cole Lewis 2
Andy Engel 2
Leo Bugtai 2
Arturo Anaya 2
Julien Bourdevaire 1
Rich Mull 1
Nigel DeSota   1
Jon Petrucci    1
Charon Smith  1
Kevin Phillips   1

END


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Donut report 1/18/20

January 20, 2020 § 1 Comment

Back by unpopular demand …

This Donut didn’t get decorated with the #fakefisticuffs and #shoutypantsing of last week, but it was plenty exciting for all that. The ride rolled out with 40+ cyclists.

The pace out of Malaga wasn’t torrid, thanks to the absence of Jon Petrucci and thanks to Rebekah Potter not drilling and grilling from the gun. Giovanni DiOrio hit it with three other riders and they opened up a gap that held until Lunada Bay. The pace was hard enough to drop several riders, and when Evens Stievenart hit the gas coming out of Lunada Bay it was every rider for herself. Trinkets got harvested, which tells you something, as this course has been ridden more than once or twice …

We rode single file until the light, which thankfully was red. Greg Seyranian took a long pull up Terranea, and I mostly huddled at the back, where the field was greatly reduced.

Coming into Portuguese Bend, Attila Fruttus and I bumped handlebars for no apparent reason; I apologized and all was good. Out of Portuguese Bend things started to get a little bunchy until Attila launched just before Trump. That’s when Jon Davy rolled to the front and set the watt meter at “HARD” and steadily reeled him back, just in time for the bottom of the Switchbacks.

I jumped and a lead group formed. Several flurries later I was alone with Matt Noble of Methods to Winning, the team’s lone mountain biker, and man, can that guy hammer. He pounded me off his wheel and I sat up, eventually getting swept up by the chase group that included Kevin Phillips, Stathis Sakellariadis, and Evens Stievenart.

There was more attacking on Crest and I made a bid after the flat spot but got handily caught past the final turn by Kevin and Matt, who sprinted each other for the $15 Hi-Fi Espresso gift card, with Kevin taking the point.

There was confusion on the regroup, as Stathis rolled away by himself, later followed by a smaller group of four or five riders, and then the main group much later. I sat on Evens’s wheel until Via Colinita and then rode the rest of the way to the Domes, but Stathis had been there for a long time. Seems like the fireworks should wait at least until the bottom of Western, and other riders have a chance to regroup … no point was awarded by the commissaires for Domes #2.

For the Glass Church-Hawthorne sprint, Charon Smith led out his teammate Arturo after Davy made a huge effort to get them to the line; Arturo got the point and the coffee card.

Even though I’d gone early and been caught, I jumped as soon as the light at Hawthorne turned green; Charon and I motored for a while, then at Zumaya, Stathis caught on. He sat, attacked on the second wall, then dropped me past Fernandez; everyone else trickled in, in ones and twos.

Donut standings:

Stathis Sakellariadis    3
Leo Bugtai       2
Nigel DeSota   1
Jon Petrucci    1
Seth Davidson 1
Charon Smith  1
Kevin Phillips   1
Arturo Anaya 1

END


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Donut report 1/4/20

January 4, 2020 § 3 Comments

First Donut of the year? Total fuggin’ beatdown. Huge group of fifty knuckleheads. The festivities started off at Hi-Fi Espresso in the Redondo Riviera, where we had some excellent coffee and pre-ride b.s. chatter. Hopefully this will become the new launching pad for the Donut Ride; it’s way better than the Sckubrats down the street.

Point leaders:

Wily Greek: 2 points, Domes #1 and Zumaya Crown

Leo Bugtai: 1 point, Domes #2

Nigel DeSota: 1 point, Hawthorne Sprunt

Many of the South Bay’s softest pillow babies have been catching up on their beauty sleep and staying safely tucked into their beds at o’dark-thirty, with the skies sprinkling cats and dogs at least three times in December and temperatures dipping into the high 40s: certified leg-warmer temperatures. But some hardpeople know that both of the Southern California road races are fast approaching—Santa Barbara on January 25 and UCLA on February 22.

So while some are trying to figure out how to get rid of their extra egg nog, others are sharpening their table saws for the scarce chance to race up a hill for more than one minute. In the South Bay that means January Donuts have a few extra SHUs on the Scoville scale of spiciness. Today was no exception.

The cannonade started right out of Malaga Cove, with Nigel DeSota, fresh off having signed his first pro contract with Team Novo Nordisk, and Wes Morgan pairing up to drill it at 500 watts of welcome. Gio and a handful of wishful thinkers held onto wheels, with Strava Junior slowly pulling the ebullient bastards back with a Zone 4.628 lactic acid party in tow. By the top, the picturesque PV Cove view was the last thing on anyone’s mind, with the group of fifty blown apart only seven minutes after rolling out from Riviera Village.

There was minimal regrouping as Jon “Six” Petrucci closed the gap, seeming to enjoy his shiny new fitness along with Leo Bugtai. Davy Dawg, Ivan the Terrible, and the EA Sports, Inc. latched on and pulled through to keep the pace hot down Paseo Del Mar and out of Lunada Bay. Strava Junior and Six pressed to get away up the Pacheco Bump and along the PV West rollers to Hawthorne, with Leo, Wes, and Nigel keeping the pace vicious.

A healthy red light at Hawthorne allowed the twenty-five survivors a regroup. Sure enough, once the light turned green, Fred “Seizure Suit” Mackey teamed up with Strava Junior to remind everyone what it means to be part of the Fight Club at the front, with Mackey driving the duo to put a healthy gap into the group around Point Vicente, towards Terranea. 

But Six hasn’t been training for nothing, and he flexed and showed what he’s built over the past year under the tutelage of the Wily Greek: explosive attacking power with the aerobic fitness to sustain it. He bridged with Ivan, Gio, and Pornstache glued to his wheel. But the dwindling group of chasers had no intention of allowing much leash. The run-up to the Switchbacks featured a huge effort by EA Sports, Inc., who splintered the field from Trump to the base of the climb. The elastic seemed to snap on the pre-climb rise at Trump, with Strava Junior spring-boarding Six and Pornstache, to a 16-second gap to start the climb.   

As the group turned left onto the Switchbacks, numerous parachutes were pulled and the group took a breather through Turn 1, with everyone licking wounds, while Six and Pornstache held their gap. Leo lit the dynamite up the Switchbacks through the first two turns.I was second wheel, bad-bad-bad, and drifted to the back of a group featuring the now-dwindled group of Ivan, Nigel, Leo, Wanky, Fukdude, Wily Greek, and Hector, and we brought it all back together at Turn 4. Six and Wily held a small gap as the leaders approached the college, making the turn onto Crest to start the final assault to the Domes.

On Crest things got ugly, with Wily bridging to and shedding Six as I hauled the tattered remnants up around the bend to the flat spot. Six caught his breath, countered, and bridged to Wily, leaving the rest of us #sadface. On the flat spot Leo dashed away with Fukdude as I became a smear in the road. Pornstache overhauled me before the final turn. There was someone else up ahead but I’ve forgotten who. Bottom line? Wily drew first flood in the Donut leg of the Unified Title 2020, riding away with a $15 coffee card from Hi-Fi Espresso.

In San Pedro what had started ugly got a lot uglier. Andy Angle, who had been victimized by his pillow and missed the start, joined the group. It’s always bad news when he shows up, and today was no exception.

We got to 9th Street and Davy Dawg twisted the pedals all the way to Via Colinita so hard that there were only a few shards of melted flesh and bone remaining when the road got steeper. There was a big rush and the survivors battled up Via Colinita with EA Sports, Inc. harpooning the wannabes on the first part of the climb before detonating. (Note to People Who Want to Get Fit by Fucking Off: EA Sports, Inc., did an hour of motor pacing yesterday.)

Leo, I, Andy, Guido, and Wily were all that remained back on PVDE. Andy shelled everyone on Crest easily, and Chef Gio, who had somehow wound up in front of us, provided a huge pull for much of the climb. At the end, Leo and Wily duked it out for the Hi-Fie coffee card, even though Andy outdistanced all. Andy suffered the ignominy of a PBD (pillow baby disqualification), as he’d missed the first climb and was therefore out of contention for the remaining points, thank dog.

The Hawthorne Sprunt was complicated by a bitter headwind that left a relatively large group to contest for the non-existent top step of the non-existent podium. I struck out early at the Glass Church but did nothing aside from drag a bunch of very fast people over the bump. Nigel DeSota left everyone in the shade to claim his coffee card, but not before a select group of dreamers including Dawg, EA Sports, Inc., Ivan, Guido, Anthony Freeman, Wes Morgan, and Pornstache ratcheted it up to light speed for the finish.

Rather than sit up and preen after Hawthorne, the gauntlet was again thrown down and the sprinters kept it full throttle all the way to Zumaya. Everyone who’d not been around to contest the sprunt was distanced and forced to chase hard, many to no avail. I was easily caught on Zumaya by Andy, then dropped by Wily, then dropped by the Hun, then dropped by Ivan, until I settled in with Casey at the Bat and Bearded Dude.

I tried to come by Casey but he wouldn’t have it and was content to set tempo, chasing Ivan to no avail, before riding me off his wheel. Andy claimed the win but again, PBD, and Wily claimed the Hi-Fi Espresso coffee card.

Crazy good riding by Turbo Tom Duong, who stayed with the front group on every key section of the ride. Fukker better not start beating me. Cameo appearance by Grams Tregillis, who hit out early on the Donut and didn’t get caught until Trump. When Chris is back on form, folks, look out. Also, Hun Watch 2020: Attila actually got faster as the ride progressed, which is a big bummer. One more Donut and he’ll be eating raw skulls. Ditto for Pornstache, who has gone on a sex diet in order to improve his riding. Seems to be working.

Denis “The Wanker” Faye closed a huge gap after Trump, bridging to EA Sports, Inc., and allowing a large portion of the group to reach the bottom of the climb together. Christian Quant showed up with a mega-beard; hopefully his legs will soon follow. Big thanks to Baby Seal, who in addition to turning in an impressive non-ride, did yeoman service delivering badly needed tubes and CO2 not.

Great news for people who want to fuck off, ride easy, pose, and post up on Facegag and the Gram–there are a lot of rides in the South Bay where you can do all that #fakery and more, but apparently in 2020 the Donut isn’t one of them.

END


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Young gun, old rusty knife.

Donut report 12/28/19

December 28, 2019 Comments Off on Donut report 12/28/19

This was a cold, crusty donut. I had on my full wool gloves, Ugg socks, wool cap, tights, wool jersey, and jacket.

There were a surprising number of people despite the cold start; I’d guess it was in the low 40’s, but it was sunny and that always brings people out. We merged with the Origin club riders who now roll out from Hi-Fi Espresso in Redondo Beach. It’s a new coffee shop, and although I haven’t been there yet, it has to be a welcome alternative to the nearby Starbucks, especially since they are sponsoring the Origin bicycle club.

The uphill exit out of Malaga Cove was uneventful until we crested the hill, and where things are usually easy Jon Petrucci ramped it up and shed all but three riders. It was harder hanging onto his wheel on the gentle downhill and tiny bump than it had been going up the long grade.

The peloton got back together past Pregnant Point, but lots had to chase back on and were, shall we say, winded. As usual, the PVE cops weren’t there as they have mostly quit and there is no one left to harass, intimidate, ticket, and generally fuck with all the scofflaw bikers.

Petrucci attacked again out of Lunada Bay and I made the mistake of trying to follow. He dropped me easily and I never saw him again.

Out of Lunada Bay, “Coat of Arms” Fred Mackey smashed it all the way to Hawthorne; after that there was a hard surge by Davy Dawg and followed by an even harder surge by EA Sports, Inc. Lots of people had gotten dropped by that point and the group probably had 30 riders or less.

Queuing up for the Switchbacks I watched the Wily Greek roll towards the front, followed by club mate Ram-Ram, with Coat of Arms again pulling the train. There were a lot of explosions at Trump golf course and when we hit the Switchbacks, Attila the Hun launched and was gone. He isn’t very fit right now, but even when he is on the low side of the power curve he is strong AF. I know he’s not very fit because when he climbs I can still see him, far, far ahead.

Wily attacked, I followed but weaseled and wouldn’t pull through, so Wily sat up and we came back. Scott Fleming took the reins and drilled it to the first turn, where I jumped and rode by myself for a ways until the first chase caught up. That’s when Wily countered and I grabbed on. He went crazy hard and dropped me, then caught up to Attila who had somehow hooked up with a guy from NorCal, Jay Evans, who was visiting for the holiday. He was visiting with his meat cleaver.

Jay was strong AF and with those three up the road I was in no-man’s-land, with Ivan Fernandez not far behind. I got to the left-hander at Crest and kept going pretty well but wasn’t catching anyone. Petrucci was nowhere in sight; I figured he was so far ahead he’d won the #fakeclimb and was celebrating with some well-earned celery.

I watched Wily dust off Attila, then dust off Jay, but at the top there was no Petrucci. Turns out he’d had to go home early for his son’s birthday. He’s a young guy but he will learn that you never sacrifice family obligations for a Donut. Birthdays come and go, but Donut glory does not.

Coming up 9th Street in San Pedro, Dawg dropped everyone but Attila and me, and Attila took over onVia Colinita. It was all I could do to hang on. Back on PVDE I pulled to the bottom of Crest; Wily, Dear Leader, and Jay had bridged.

The Hun attacked hard but we stayed together until well after the first big curve. Dear Leader attacked but it went nowhere, then Wily countered even harder, and Dear Leader sat the wheel. I kept going, got a gap, and then Wily dumped Dear Leader and bridged.

Wily took over and dragged me all the way up to Shirtless Keith, who was happily pedaling in the freezing weather, with no shirt, of fucking course. When he saw us on his wheel he went beastly hard, which gave me just enough momentum to skirt past Wily and get my first Domes #fakewin in a couple of years. Dear Leader was breathing down our necks; he was going good even though he’d skipped the first climb up to Domes, or because of it.

In the run-up to the Glass Church, Ponderous Dee throttled it so hard that a bunch of people were never able to reattach. At the launching pad I kicked it and didn’t get caught until the first bump after Terranea, where Wes Morgan hunted me down. I countered but Dear Leader and Dawg had come across, and they both booted me to the side like the carcass I was. Dawg for the #fakespruntvee.

We hit the light green at Hawthorne and I stayed on the gas all the way to Zumaya. We passed a trio of Big O riders, including Kevin Sock, who was riding with his big brother from Davis. Big Bro hopped in with us and I kept the pace going up Zumaya. Big Bro took a hard pull and dropped everyone, but I hung on, barely.

On Via Coronel, Wily and Dear Leader had come across and attacked. As soon as Big Bro introduced himself as Kevin’s sibling, Dear Leader jumped and I grabbed his wheel. He hammered from Via Fernandez all the way to the top, catching Wily, sprinting around him, and riding me off his wheel. It was a fancy piece of bicycling.

I don’t know how many people were behind us. I turned right and went home.

END


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