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.
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November 24, 2011 § 12 Comments
It was Thanksgiving on the Holiday Ride, all right–or, as Jack from Illinois (not his real name) says, “Wanksgiving on the Holidork Ride.” Us turkeys had our insides ripped out and then got a few pounds of pain stuffing shoved up the place where the insides came out. Ouch.
My strategy was a bit refined from the night before–sit on Roadchamp’s wheel and pray for a miracle. The first part worked out okay, but since he was on or near the point for the first half of the climb up the canyon, when the fast and furious launches came from UCI Pros #1 and #2, followed by the utterly predictable attack of G$, the “pray for a miracle” part only resulted in prayer…no miracle.
My giblets and gravy, smeared all over the roadside, put me about fifteenth at the top of Mandeville. Looking at all the wasted, grimacing, dealing-with-the-reality-of-failure wankers who were leaning on their bikes trying to catch their breath while simultaneously trying to position themselves close enough to G$ so that new arrivals might think they summitted with him, it occurred to me to wonder “Why did I do this?”
No obvious answer presented itself, other than “you’re a fucking idiot,” so I decided to ask others why they chose the Holiday Ride in lieu of a more traditional Thanksgiving morning. I learned a lot.
Enormous gentleman with no obvious bike handling skills on a $10,000 dollar rig: “Weight loss.”
Shakes the Clown: “What’s the Holiday Ride?”
G$: “It’s a cool ride where you get to see your friends, catch up with folks you haven’t maybe seen in a while, check out your friend’s new rides, and crush them.”
UCI Pro #1: “Public’s gotta see their idols every now and again.”
UCI Pro #2: “It’s an easy warm up.”
Critchamp: “See this new bike and the cool paint job and the aero way it looks from the front and side? You’re not going to be seeing anything but the rear wheel come March.”
Roadchamp: “I love the smell of burning egos in the morning. Huh? Did you say something to me?”
King Harold: “Pain is my strength battering your body.”
Jaegermeister: “You can suffer now or you can suffer on FTR. Or, in your case, Wanky, you can suffer on both.”
New Girl: “Even though it’s Thanksgiving and I’m with my family in Tahoe, I’m hiding in the closet reading VeloNews and Wankmeister’s blog.”
Woman in a sexy body sock: “Get away from me.”
Maui Bride: “Because after we’re done, and after I’ve dropped all the other chicks even though I don’t ride anymore, I’ll get to have an extra Shakeology.”
Douggie: “Just don’t let Rodley beat me up Mandy.”
Rodley: “Just don’t let Douggie beat me up Mandy.”
Frankendave: “Hey youse guys! Let’s see how close we can get to that cop’s bumper!!”
Italian Stallion: “Chicks dig me.”
Jack from Illinois (not his real name): “No white shorts. Work together. Your group rides are lame beyond belief.”
StageOne: “See these 200 kits? I designed all of them. Except the ugly ones. They were designed by someone else.”
Blondie: “It’s not for the good looking guys, that’s for sure.”
Fuckdude: “It’s part of my 2012 program, digested from 2,587 hours in cycling coach chat forums, four terabytes of power analysis data, and this cool fucking book I’m reading about Dave Scott and Mark Allen back in the day. It’s fucking rad, dude. Wanna borrow it after I’m done?”
Davy Dawg: “I just like to see skinny people cry when I kick watts in their face.”
Fireman: “Fucking it’s so I can identify the Ironfly traitors wearing their non-Ironfly kits in public and put them on the hit list. Where’s your fucking Ironfly kit, dude?”
Tandork: “It’s a blast riding a tandem in the middle of 200 hundred people and weaving from side to side and hearing their death shrieks and the scream of screeching brakes.”
Dying man in the ditch who came off after King Harold’s pull: “Please, please call 911! And be sure to tell them I’m a donor.”
Gooseman: “See this Rapha jersey? It cost almost as much as Stern-o’s.”
New triathlete, before we hit Mandeville: “This ride is really easy.”
New triathlete, quite a long time later, at the top of Mandeville: “Where is everybody?”
Pied Piper after running red light in Marina del Rey: “Yes, sir, officer. No, sir, officer. Yes, sir, officer. Yes, sir.”
Blabbe: “Because I enjoy having you ride up to me every ride and ask me my name, you conceited prick.”
Ourrecord: “You chop me again and I’ll kill you.”
Knoll: “You’ll notice I didn’t do it this time. And there’s a reason for that.”
November 23, 2011 § 4 Comments
Tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. sharp the Holiday Ride ride rolls out from the Center of the Known Universe. The weather forecast: perfect, so expect 150-200 knuckleheads all stuck together like a big ball of wax by the time the ride hits San Vicente. In order to ensure the perfect ride, I’ve compiled a list of strategies that should help you rise to the very top of the septic tank.
1. Be ready to roll out at 7:57. Even though the ride leaves exactly at 8:00, that’s only for G$, DJ, King Harold, and a couple of others who always get there late and have to chase like crazy the entire ten miles to Santa Monica. Everyone else gets anxious and leaves early, ignoring Roadchamp who’s always screaming at the top of his lungs, “It’s not eight yet! It’s not eight yet!”
2. That guy wearing the jersey-skirt with the four cases of donuts plastered to his stomach, neck, back, and hips? Don’t glue yourself onto his wheel and then complain when he slams on the brakes and sends you off into the bushes.
3. Choose your plan early, i.e. cower, dodge, pray, and wait (“codpaw”) or drill on the front (“drotfro”).
4. If you’re going to codpaw, prepare to be scared shitless from the moment you start turning the pedals. You’ll be penned in on all sides by people who are at every stage of learning how to instantly and without warning knock down other people. You’ll be able to let your mind run wild with all the possibilities of chain collisions from so many overlapped wheels, swerving bikes, and happily yakking yahoos who’re paying no attention at all to the road or the idiot in front of them.
5. If you’re going drotfro, prepare to be completely wrecked by the time you reach San Vicente, not least because you’ll have wanted to make G$, DJ, and King Harold suffer like dogs for the entirety of their chase.
6. Once you hit San Vicente, find a wheel toward the front and prepare to vomit as Bahati gradually brings the pace from 17mph up to 42mph over a span of about ten seconds. Uphill. If you opt for codpaw and the relative shelter of the clump at the back, you’ll need windshield wipers to clear off the snot, sludge, and barf bits from everyone who’s now wishing they’d done a different ride.
7. Pace yourself at the bottom of Mandeville. You do this by riding like a fucking maniac to get as far forward as possible, resulting in total exhaustion when you nudge in about tenth wheel. If you’re not already cracked, you’ll soon shatter because at tenth wheel it will be in a single line, in the gutter, and there will be nowhere to hide, except at the back. When you gap out and get screamed at by fifty other idiots who are also on the rivet, you’ll drift back to the back and find that there is no “back,” only onesie-twosie clumps of similarly blown wankers.
8. Whatever you do, don’t get on King Harold’s wheel theorizing that he’ll pull til he blows and then you’ll be able to launch with the remainder of the leaders as everyone else will have been put to the sword. The problems with this theory are manifold. First, you’ll be one of the very first turkeys who gets carved up when he begins flatbacking. Second, even if you did survive until his 3-mile effort ends, you’d be lucky if you still had the energy to find a ditch, lie down in it, and summon the strength to suck your thumb. Third, the pain you’ll experience will give you lifelong nightmares.
9. Don’t implement the “Follow G$ Strategy.” This misbegotten plan ferments when you’re lying in bed the night before, fantasizing about sending Stern-O an email detailing your exploits on Mandeville, and it occurs to you that all you’ll have to do is follow G$’s wheel and come around him at the end. As with the King Harold strategy, this one seems stupidly simple, when in fact it is, if possible, even dumber. First, G$ never gets more than about three wheels back, and sitting on his wheel provides the draft of a large paperclip. This means you’ll essentially be on the point, which equals early shatterage, followed by massive blowage, crackage, and terminal wankage. Second, about halfway up, sometimes earlier, G$ launches the first of a dozen of what in the cycling world is called an “attack.” You know those pet chimpanzees that like to tear off their owners’ faces and throw their bodies out the window? That’s kind of what it will feel like if you really follow through on this whackananny plan, only it will hurt lots worse and the grimaces from the pain will make your face look even uglier than the chimp owners’. Third, even if you make it with him up to the final wall (say, for example, he’s only riding with a rear wheel), he’ll still have plenty of kick left to kick your ass.
10. Whatever you do, don’t take a pull. At dinner, when you’re bragging to the old lady about how you’re going to throw down with the big boys, somewhere between the fourth beer and the bottom of the tequila bottle it may occur to you that, since you’re going to get shelled, you might as well drill it at the bottom of Mandy and make the heroes earn their pay. First, remember that your “pull,” even in the best of scenarios, is kind of like a 2 year-old towing his little red wagon. Second, remember that even though the heroes will be at a disadvantage, as they’ll be out of breath from laughing at your piddly display of impotence, they will also be drafting. Drafting = resting. Resting = incalculable pain when they finally launch.
11. Avoid the temptation to ride up to Bahati, Rudy, or any of the other pros and say, “Hey, man, how’s it going?” like they’re your friend. They’re not. They don’t even know you, although they may remember your bright yellow, two-sizes-too-small outfit and the enormous swatches of belly and butt that it doesn’t quite cover. Instead, quietly ride up behind them and tuck a $20 bill in their pocket. They’ll never know it was from you, but you can tell your friends that you paid some of the local pros to ride for you in a big SoCal almost-race.
12. After you’ve been completely wrecked on the climb, throttle it back to 4 or 5 mph and wait for the first couple of guys from the lead group to appear as they descend Mandeville. Quickly whip your bike around and follow them. You’ll reach the bottom more or less at the same time, and way before the other wankers who foolishly labored all the way to the top. They’ll have been too gassed on the climb to realize you were miles behind them, ergo “bragging rights.”
13. When you get home, post the following to Strava: “Fucking Garmin (or iPhone Strava app) quit working at the bottom of Mandy. Fucking had a course record today. Fuck.” Throw in a few extra “fucks” as needed.
Enjoy the ride!