Wankmeister cycling clinic #8: Last minute BWR questions

April 13, 2012 § 16 Comments

Dear Wankmeister:

I’ve gotten one of the coveted BWR invites. Can my gal tag along?

Joindat Thehip

Dear Joindat:

Marital and other successful relationships follow this simple rule: don’t ever get too far apart, but don’t ever get too close, either. In other words, it’s okay to share beds and exchange bodily fluids, but it’s not okay to stand at the bathroom mirror flossing your teeth while your partner’s crumping a hairy beet.

As to the Belgian Waffle Ride, I’m unsure what you mean by “tag along.” Spend the night before the ride with you in the hotel? Sure. Remain on standby in Carlsbad so she can come scrape you out of the mud pit on Country Club Rd. after you’ve sunken up to your neck and thrown in the towel? Of course. Sign for the cadaver? Not a problem. Anything beyond that, though, the answer is probably “No.”


Dear Wankmeister:

I didn’t get one of the coveted invites, but I read about the ride on a bike forum. Is the invite thing just a clever marketing ploy to boost attendance? Is there a problem if I just show up and do the ride? How you gonna stop me?

Tubby Talksalot

Dear Tubby:

Don’t feel bad about not getting an invitation. Neither did about six billion other people, including President Obama, all of the Nobel Prizewinners from last year, and Tom Boonen. You’re in top tier company, and can now tell your forum friends, “Me and Tommeke ain’t doing that ride.” The reason for the invitations is simple: BWR has limited quantities of food, drink, sag support, and security staff with batons and riot shotguns. They’d love to make the ride available to bike forum hackers like you…but not really.

By the way, when you hear about a wedding or other social event that requires an invitation, do you normally chalk it up to a “clever marketing ploy” or do you assume that the holders of the event actually knew who they wanted to attend? (Hint: the way you answer this question will determine whether you stay home, or show up and get politely but firmly turned away with cudgels, curses, tasers, and rubber bullets.)

Socially graceful,

Dear Wankmeister:

I just scored a set of carbon tubular Zipp 808’s with bladed neutronium oxide spokes and deuterium nipples on eBay for $3,000. I raced on them in Ontario and they are the bomb as far as crit wheels go. Wanna know how fast these wheels are? I almost took Charon in the sprint. Another 500 or 600 meters and I woulda had ‘im. Whaddaya think for BWR? Go or no go?

Zippy Didoodah

Dear Zippy:

Let me put it this way, if I may. The Belgian Waffle Ride will not reward “trick,” or “aero,” or “high performance” items, including you. It will, however, reward “durable,” “battle-tested,” “relatively heavy,” and “built like a brick shithouse.” That which is capable of surviving long-term abuse and a merciless, inhuman beating will do well. I’m not talking about your bike.


Dear Wankmeister:

First: I had an invite but have decided not to go on the BWR. The Mulholland Challenge is that weekend plus I have church on Sunday plus my daughter Pixie has an important cheer practice plus my wife and I usually do a Saturday night date night plus I have a pretty tough work week on Monday and would probably be a bit tired after BWR. Second: Can I sell my invitation?

Smith Adams

Dear Smith:

First, you are to be commended for recognizing the impossibility of you actually completing BWR, and rather than just failing to show up, which would be rude, taking the time to create a mosaiced, finely-textured and detailed tapestry of shitbag excuses why you can’t attend. I know you already feel better, as the crushing pressure of fear, terror, inadequacy, delusion, confusion, and raw, paralyzing self-doubt have now been lifted in one quick string of plausible but completely untrue pretexts for not attending.

Second, no.


Dear Wankmeister:

This is kind of a double question thingy. Is BWR a good way for me to lose weight? Then, is it okay to load up on Girl Scout cookies for my pre-ride nutrition? These are related.

Jenny Craig

Dear Jenny:

BWR is a very good way for you to lose weight. You will not weigh nearly as much once your legs have fallen off somewhere after Bandy Canyon but before Questhaven.

As for the Girl Scout cookies, and I hate to sound rude or intrusive here, but are you a communist lesbian? An Indiana lawmaker recently discovered the Internet, and after expending himself on the search results from “humongous dude does chicken,” wandered over to the Google search aisle for Girl Scouts.

Here’s what fearless Rep. Morris learned: “The Girl Scouts of the United States of America and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts have entered into a close strategic affiliation with Planned Parenthood, which is trying to sexualize young girls through the Girl Scouts. Even worse, only three of the 50 role models promoted by the Girl Scouts have even a briefly-mentioned religious background. All the rest are feminists, lesbians, or Communists,” he wrote.

Morris noted that the “radically pro-abortion” Michelle Obama is honorary president of Girl Scouts of America, which “should give each of us reason to pause before our individual or collective endorsement of the organization.” After learning all this, Morris pulled his two daughters out of the Girl Scouts and instead put them in American Heritage Girls Little Flowers, a parent-run group for recovering Girl Scouts.

So basically, if you’re a radical pro-abortion atheist communist lesbian first lady girl sexualizer, yeah, load up on the cookies.


Dear Wankmeister:

I saw the FOX news story saying Ryan Trebon will be at BWR. Who is that wanker? He looks too big to be any good.

Frieda Flintstone

Dear Frieda:

Ryan Trebon is a newly minted cyclocross racer who, after three years of hard training, has graduated from public racing to the Cat 5’s. He’s coming on BWR to learn some tips and tricks from folks like you, so go easy on him, especially the sandy, muddy, rocky, and gravelly parts. He’s hoping that if he finishes before sundown someone will take him under their wing and show him how to mountain bike, too.


Dear Wankmeister:

This ride looks way to hard. Where can I buy a winner’s jersey? Also, I like the KOW jersey. I want one of those, too.

Sammy Sniffles

Dear Sammy:

The great thing about cycling is that in order to look like your favorite pro racer all you have to do is click-and-pay. This is because the UCI’s cornerstone principle is that professionals must use bicycles and equipment available to the general public. This everyman, communal nature of the sport is what separates cycling from F-1 racing, NASCAR, or wars in Asia: it’s just out of the average Joe’s means to purchase the latest Formula race car or an A-10 with uranium-enriched bullets such as currently employed as badass motherfucking terrorist destroying, American hero ass-saving angels of destruction in the netherworld of a fucking wasteland that is Afghanistan.

Even though your rides inevitably end with a shellacking, a beating, and a humiliating dustoff before the hard part ever happens, nothing can take away the pride and satisfaction of pulling on a brand new version of Team Tommeke and pedaling out the door on the same bike that won Roubaix.

In the same vein, the BWR winner’s jersey and KOW (King of the Waffle) jersey are for sale, available to any couch potato schmo, not simply the crushing superhuman who surmounts the mud, the gravel, the dirt, the climbs, the rollers, the wind, the rain, the sprints, the attacks, and the slow death by attrition. To order, please send a cashier’s check for $983.25 per jersey to: Wankmeister Productions, POB 1, Guernsey Isles, UX-20189.

Dear Wankmeister:

While perusing the parcours, I noticed that the portion on Country Club Road looks yucky and gooey. Will there be a skinny on that giant mud puddle or are you expected to trudge through, which would get my pretty little shoes tres soaked? Or, can I bring along Davy Dawg to lay in it so we can ride over him? He’s such a team player!

Goody Twoshoes

Dear Goody:

The problem with bringing Davy Dawg is that although he weighs 300 lbs. and is twelve feet wide, he is all muscle. As you may recall from freshman physics, muscle, unlike lard, sinks. So even if you brought Davy Dawg and laid him down in the mud, he’d go right to the bottom of the quicksand hole and you’d still get your shoes all icky. If you are still determined not to get your shoes muddy, I would recommend you do the ride with galoshes. Most of the other riders will have them, along with bright yellow rain slickers.


Dear Wankmeister:

I received one of the coveted invites, however, I’m a very giving kind of dude, so I was wondering how much in the way of feminine anti-chafing products I should I bring to hand out to friends?

Veggie Sill

Dear Veggie:

It’s odd that you expect this gathering of hardened competitors will require feminine anti-chafing products. Perhaps you should be more concerned about the tender state of your undersized manparts? I have it on good authority that some of the participating biker chicks will be showing up prepared to stomp dick, kick scrote, and inflict all manner of rude and unladylike physical insults to the majority of the sausages on the ride. But I could be wrong, even though Wankmeister IS NEVER WRONG.

Unfailingly correct,

A very serious post

March 13, 2012 § 5 Comments

By now you’ve committed to the Belgian Waffle Ride. There’s still time to turn back, but not really, because you’ve gravely overestimated your fitness and ability to suffer, and no number of sanctimonious, finger-pointing blog posts will ever penetrate the concrete cast of fantasy surrounding your cycling psyche. The other reason it’s too late is because, even though you know deep down that this will end badly, you’ve told too many people about having earned one of the coveted Hardman invites, and rather than swallow your pride now you’ve elected to have it violently shoved down your throat later.

Several people, a handful, actually, have kept up with the emails and blog posts and concluded that despite having been honored with an invitation, this simply isn’t the ride for them. They aren’t tough enough. They’re the ones who, after being invited to the king’s ball, realize they own no tuxedo and have never eaten with a salad fork, so instead of showing up in jeans and flipflops with a big wooden spoon, they’ve politely declined. They are to be respected, for they, above all others, know and respect the truth.

Hell of the North...County.

Everyone else will be a finisher or a quitter.

Out of the estimated 150 riders who will toe the line, most will sit precariously on the border between quitter and finisher. Some few are certain finishers. The rest? Touch-and-goers. What follows is for the touch-and-goers; those who have a chance of finishing but will need every bit of luck, strategy, common sense, multiple diaper changes and divine intervention to do so. DJ, I’m talking to you.

Unlike other hard rides, wanking at the back will not get you to the finish. Not only will freddy freeloading earn you the opprobrium of a purple card, but after a while there will be no more back at which to wank. No one will tow you. You’ll either be doing your share in a beaten down grupetto or you’ll be on your own.

Here are some basic rules you should memorize and follow if you’re a potential quitter. I know I am.

This is all that matters. Finishing with honor.

Rules of Survivorship

1. Let the fast people go the moment the hammer drops. Shortly after the neutral zone there will be a massive acceleration, followed by a sprint, followed by a bone jarring, gut-wrenching climb over gravel and dirt. Now is your time to say “good-bye” to these folks. Many of these idiots you will see later, babbling incoherently as they sit on the roadside, sopped in their own sweat, urine, and bloody stool as they mumble pre-recorded phrases like “HTFU” and “Shut up, legs.” Your goal is to finish and to do so without poopy drawers. That will be glory aplenty for this day, or for any day.

2. Play to your weaknesses. If you’re better on the uphills, go easy on the climbs, because the course has mile after mile of rolling terrain. If you’re better on the rollers, don’t make huge efforts there, because the course has over 9,000 feet of climbing, much of it on dirt.

3. Don’t put more than 90 psi in your tires. Steep unpaved climbs and long roads in soft dirt will fuck you up if your tires are too hard. You’ll roll just fine on the asphalt at 90 psi, and still get enough traction in the soft stuff so that you can power through without dismounting. If you are seen pushing your bike, or clumsily tipping over in the sand, you will be the subject of heckling, catcalls, and embarrassing YouTube video posts.

Corollary to #3: Run new tires. This is not the day to try and get an extra 122 miles out of those fucked over, worn out, multi-booted, threadbare pieces of shit that you got third-hand from Adrian. Slap on a pair of heavy duty training tires, use cloth Velox liner, and ride them several times to make sure everything’s copacetic.

4. Start eating on Thursday. The ride is too grueling to be completed with a big dinner the night before, waffles for breakfast the morning of the ride, and a pocketful of candy bars. Eat and eat big. Doesn’t matter what.

You'd rather see all manner of stars than even the slightest flash of purple.

5. Do not sit in. If you don’t know what this means, you’re good to go. If you do, pull through when it’s your turn. And it’s always your turn.

6. Don’t take hero pulls. Not even one. If you simply rotate through for eight hours you will still be absolutely crisped. If your M.O. is “macho,” now’s the day to learn moderation. Your finisher’s jersey depends on it.

7. Eat and drink throughout the ride. Ingest food every hour. Drink liberally.

8. Prepare for the 90-mile collapse. At the 90-mile mark there is a nasty, steep little wall called Bandy Canyon. It’s the gateway to the true toughness, technical difficulty, and ball-breaking ascents of the BWR. Continually ask yourself as you try to pace your efforts, “How am I going to feel when all hell breaks loose at 90 miles?” Unless the answer is, “Like Superman,” ease off. Then ease off some more, as there are vicious climbs again at miles 100, 107, 109, and 112.

This is not for you. Or for me. But that's okay.

9. Don’t dream of glory. Dream of honor. The big prizes are for someone else. The coveted King of the Waffle jersey? You don’t have a prayer. Hardman? You’re the jellied donut, he’s the marble slab. Sprint champion? Green has never been your color. All you want is to acquit yourself with honor, which is to say you rode every inch of the ride and you DID YOUR SHARE. That is everything. That is all.

10. Remember that cycling is all about degradation and defeat. When Magic Johnson said, “The goal is winning, of course you want to have fun but we compete to win,” he wasn’t talking about you. He was talking about champions. Ring-wearers. Bearers of the rainbow stripes. Those with the indomitable will to conquer and hoist themselves atop the bloody mound of the vanquished and the dead. You are not Magic Johnson. You couldn’t even carry his peewee jockstrap from elementary school. At best, you’re a marginally successful masters wanker who wins the occasional race against old people. At worst, you can’t even do that. Knowing this, you will be better prepared for the bottomless chasm of hellish agony into which you are about to plunge.

11. Review the ride map over and over. When you’re done, review it again. Imagine it’s the detailed product description for the newest Zipp rim on CompetitiveCyclist.com, or some other cycling blathersite on which you gladly waste hours of your time. Know the course intimately. If you’re unsure, reach out to other victims for information. If you don’t know any of the other riders, give up now.

Even if you secretly love purple, you don't want this jersey.

**Pre-ride checklist

1. Life insurance premiums current?

2. Next-of-kin information left at the ride sign-in?

3. Significant other knows where you want the organizers to ship the corpse?

4. In the unlikely event you finish, have you reserved two weeks’ worth of sick days beginning March 26?

5. Cab money? There are no cabs, but you may be able to pay for a hitchhike.

6. Recited your prayers?

7. Kissed ass goodbye?

You’re ready to ride!

***Pre-ride course notes

  • As of last week, additional challenging sections have been added with steep, shorty, punchy walls and rapid descents.
  • Some of these new sections include dirt and gravel, with a particularly nasty section after the Couser Canyon climb.
  • After this series of morale crushers, where some will fall off their bikes or grind to a halt as they flailingly try to navigate the uneven surface, there is a new, long component of dirt roads.
  • One of the new unpaved sections has a “special surprise.” Remember when you were a kid and you loved surprises? Well, you’re not a kid anymore.
  • One of the unpaved sections goes for a while, hits a kicker toward the end that will cause many to flail on and dismount or tip over.

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