May 27, 2017 § 17 Comments
Okay, here are the numbers from my 2-person state team time trail today:
Distance: 22.4 mi
Speed: 23.29 mph
Place: 6th out of six teams.
Overall: 4th slowest out of all races in all categories, including dead people.
As I begin the process of preparing for 2018, it is important to remember a couple of things, or one thing, actually, and it’s this: There’s hardly anywhere to go but up. Mathematically, there are a couple of issues, such as, in order to turn the fastest time of the day I’ll need to increase my average speed by 5 mph, which is kind of like saying I need to shave another fifteen seconds off my 100m time to beat Usain Bolt.
Of course the road to improvement is littered with defeat, but more importantly, with a ton of excuses, or a detailed Future Assistive Investigative List, as I like to call it.
FAIL Item No. 1. My partner sucked. She prevented me from achieving the true athletic potential of which I was truly capable. Lab testing, Strava, and extensive wind tunnel measurements proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was capable of averaging 23.30 mph over that course if I had been riding with anyone else named Merckx, Manzella, Rominger, Bos, Anquetil, etc.
FAIL Item No. 2. No tent. Unlike a lot of people who passed us so quickly that we couldn’t even tell what color their outfit was, we didn’t have a cool team tent. That cost us many podium spots.
FAIL Item No. 3. No shoe covers. That cost me a lot of time when Terry Steeves came ripping by at 40, even though he started twelve minutes back.
FAIL Item No. 4. Not enough preparation. I had only prepared for this event since January, missing out on the key lactate resistance threshold supercharging period of late December. My coach says that if you miss this vital period it is hard to recover for later no matter how much you train.
FAIL Item No. 5. Terrible Internet coach. My coach, Herr Doktor Professor William Stone, Ph.D., M.D., M.B.A., Diplomate in Cat Veterinary Science, kept telling me to eat only raw calf liver and Kibbles in the weeks leading up to the race. That cost me minutes. (But it saved a lot on the doping expenses.)
FAIL Item No. 6. Horrible crowd support. It is a fact that I race best when tens of thousands, preferably millions of people line the course screaming my name, holding up posters of me wearing a halo and a pope suit, and chalk the street with “Wanky Rules!”, “You’re the Best!”, “Get ’em, Tiger!”, “Nice Underwear!”, etc. Embarrassingly, my only fan was Rich Manzella, who advised me as I pedaled by that “You don’t totally suck, dude!”
FAIL Item No. 7. Inadequate warm-up. Unfortunately, I scrupulously followed the Team SKY warm-up protocol, detailed here. Looking at the chart’s 7th warm-up interval, which calls for 2 minutes at a 90 rpm cadence, I mistakenly did the entire 120 seconds at a cadence of 89 rpm, which ruined the entire race for me. Details matter, folks.
FAIL Item No. 8. Tires and tire pressure. My tires were either too wide or too narrow, and I’m certain they had either too much air or too little, all of which cost me many, many podium spots.
FAIL Item No. 9. Off-topic Facebook postings. The night before, instead of posting about my bikram yoga cool-downs and saddle positioning, I posted about my grandson. This resulted in minimal likes and smiley faces, which again cost me many, many podium spots. Many people say that.
Fail Item No. 10. Casey Maguire. This guy ruined it for me, saying crap like, “Have a good race,” “Good job,” etc. Got into my head and made it impossible for me to focus my normal killer instincts on the job at hand.
Anyway, watch out for 2018. I’ll be upgrading to the fastest pair of shoe covers made.
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September 20, 2012 § 26 Comments
There’s been a lot of fuss about criticizing religions lately, so I thought I’d offer up mine. Go ahead and laugh or call it stupid or whatever. It won’t bother me at all.
1: In the beginning Dog created the bike and the road.
2: And the road was without stoplights, and traffic; and darkness was upon the faces of the murderous drivers on their way to church. And the Spirit of Dog moved upon the pedals.
3: And Dog said, Let there be lycra: and there was lycra.
4: And Dog saw the lycra, that it was good and tight: and Dog divided the lycra from the darkness.
5: And Dog called the lycra Kit, and the baggy pants he called Fred. And the jogging shorts and the saggy athletic socks were the first object of his derision.
6: And Dog said, Let there be thighs in the midst of the lycra, and let them divide the wankers from the peloton.
7: And Dog made the peloton, and divided the wankers which were hanging on for dear life from the peloton: and it was called Off the Back.
8: And Dog called off the back Purgatory. And the group ride was on the second day.
9: And Dog said, Let the cyclists be gathered together unto one place of abundant coffee and jelly donuts, and let hammers appear: and it was so.
10: And Dog called the hammers Leaders of the Pack; and the gathering together of the wankers called he Category 5: and Dog saw that it was good as long as they didn’t go too far forward and gap everyone out.
11: And Dog said, Let the group ride bring forth pain, the pain yielding misery, and the misery yielding defeat, whose seed is pain itself, so that it may beginneth all over again: and it was so.
12: And the group ride brought forth pain, and pain yielding misery, and the misery yielding defeat especially when the road tilteth up, whose seed was in itself pain, after his kind: and Dog foresaw a vast market for nutritional supplements.
13: And the USCF races were the third day.
14: And Dog said, Let there be wankers in the peloton so deluded as to think they have a chance of victory, and let them and their entry fees be for the beer money and rent of Charon and Meeker and Rudy:
15: And let them be purchasers of aero wheelsets and bladed spokes and other overpriced gewgaws: and it was so.
16: And Dog made two great tours ; the greater tour to rule the French, and the lesser tour to rule the Italians: he made Flanders also, that even the slow-witted Belgians would also have a field of battle upon which they might win.
17: And Dog set in the roadways of Flanders and Northern France great cobbles, to give misery and suffering untold upon the pedalers,
18: And to rule over the cobbles and the French and the Italians, and to divide the bull from the shit, Dog created Merckx: and Dog saw that it was good.
19: And the circular road made of wooden planking were the fourth day.
20: And Dog said, Let the circular planking bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life but no brain other than to ride in circles, and fly around the planking like a complete imbecile, and they shall be called Trackies.
21: And the rock and tree studded mountain were the fifth day. And Dog created insane creatures minute of brain, who hurled splattingly into the trees and rocks without thought down the great mountains, which the mountains brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fool after his kind: and Dog saw that it was good.
22: And Dog blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and multiply over and over, and over and over, as ye Bikers of the Mountain will for the most part have thy brains dashed against the stones and require much and frequent replacement, and he made them the most fecund of all.
23: And the pit of mud and barriers of wood and rope were the fifth day.
24: And Dog said, Let these living creature be the dumbest of all, and the creepingest of all things, and beasts of the earth who shall half-run, half-cycle in a stupor of pain: and it was so.
25: And Dog made the ‘cross racer after his kind, smallest brained of all his creatures: and God saw that while it was good, it wasn’t as good as the others, but it was already Friday and he was getting tired.
26: And Dog said, Let us make cyclists in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the roads, and over the angry motorists en route to church, and over the drunken truckers, and over all the traffic police, and over every stop sign and traffic control signal upon the earth.
27: So Dog created cyclists in his own image, in the image of Dog created he them; male and female he created alike except that the female was much cuter to observe from the rear.
28: And Dog blessed them, and Dog said unto them, Wear helmets, and lights at night, and replenish the energy drink when it runneth low in the bottle, and subdue the wankers who are overconfident: and have dominion over the race officials who judge but dare not race themselves, and over Officer Knox, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth but most especially thy non-cycling spouse who would withhold precious gold for purchase of badly needed powermeters and such.
29: And Dog said, Behold, I have given you every bicycle, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every wheelset and electronic shifter, in the which is the path of least rolling resistance; to you it shall be to pedal.
30: And to every chubby motorist who commuteth in a rage, and to every traffic jam, and to every thing that creepeth slowly upon the 405, wherein there is only a semblance of life, I have given every cyclist superiority over thee: and it was so.
31: And Dog saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good, especially when washed down with a craft beer brewed in small batches. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day, and Dog created the hangover.
32: Thus the bikes and the roads and the mountains and the tracks and the mud pits were finished, and all the host of cyclists too lazy to work but full of energy to ride, of them.
33: And on the seventh day Dog ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
34: And Dog blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work and recovered from his hangover of the fifth day and was now ready for the group ride.
July 2, 2012 § 9 Comments
Stage Three of the 2012 Turdy France is shaping up to be the most interesting one since Stage Two, which was stupid and boring beyond belief unless you enjoy watching colorwheel puree roll in a big sausage clump until the last ten minutes, when it strings out into a line of testosterone and EPO and the lazyfucks who’ve done nothing for twelve hours dash to the line, cop a pose, and pretend that their win is somehow similar to anything ever done by Merckx or Gimondi or Coppi or Anquetil or Hinault or Lemond.
About the stage
The race begins in Orchies, a French city better known for its two cobbled roads that are used in Paris-Roubaix, the “Path of Prayers” and the “Slaughterhouse Road.” Orchies comes from the Latin word for “testicle,” as the rough roads, paved with giant cobbled flagstones from the days of the Roman Empire, would result in a punishing beating to every man’s testicles who crossed these roads in a wooden cart.
With the advent of Paris-Roubaix, early participants suffered severe testicular torsion from the battering atop the cobbles, and it was not uncommon for physicians traveling with the race to perform lateral “orchiectomies” in the field, often without anesthetic, before putting the hardmen back on their bikes to continue on to Roubaix. Thus the town of Orchies has contributed much to medical terminology and to the lore of the sport.
The stage finishes in Boulogne-sur-Mer (“Baloney on Toast” in English), where the riders will face a series of tough finishing climbs designed to weed out Horseface and Humpty Ugly, while still giving a chance to gritty workmen like Fabs and Jensy.
Note to douchebag wheelsucker Sagan: Don’t even fucking think about it.
The Badger’s picks and pans
This stage won’t win the Tour for anyone, but it will be the death knell for several, as the time gaps at the end will show who’s on form and riding smart and who’s a pudgy wanker now paying for all those donuts. This page of the official Tour site has an excellent analysis by Bernard Hinault. My translation is below:
Riders nowadays are pussies. This stage will strip away the pretensions of the manorexic little body-waxers and beat them into submission. Look for Monsieur Mullet to do something stupid here and miss the break or crash out. The narrow roads and succession of hard climbs at the end while much of the wankoton is still fresh will test not only his ability to follow complex drugs protocol, but his ability to maneuver in tight places. I fully expect him to deflate or miss the key move. If I were still racing, this is the stage where I would attack, take the jersey, and then beat up a few socialist women protesting for equal pay.
Wankmeister calls ’em
Horseface will cling tough like a dingleberry, but ultimately be wiped off when the toughest climbs stare him in the face. Humpty Ugly? Hopeless.
Darkhorse whose day has arrived: Few people other than his mother and aunt Sophie know the name of Jean-Christophe Peraud, the routinier from Ag2R La Mondiale, and indeed, we have to go back to 2010 for his best result, a case of septicemia that developed after a crash. Tomorrow Peraud will inflame the peloton like his very own bacterial blood infection and lay waste to the weak and the infirm. Watch for a solo glory finish. And yes, I guarantee it.
Odds on fave you all wish would win: Fabs has everything in place to win this sage. He has the fitness. The experience. The cute mangled English tweets on Twitter that keep @mmmmaiko all hot, bothered, and sleepless in Seattle. But you know what? He’s gonna lose. Peraud will follow Fabs after he accelerates away from the field. They will trade pulls to the end, when Peraud drops him with 3k to go. Now shut the fuck up. It’s gonna happen, I’m telling you.
Best of the rest: Sagan, followed by Yauheni Hutarovich of FJD-Big Mat. Why Hutarovich? Because of how much fun it’s gonna be watching Phil Liggett try to pronounce his name.
June 2, 2012 § 5 Comments
Yes, that’s really the name of a book. It was ranked #50 by Cycle Sport magazine in a listing of the greatest cycling books of all time.
I don’t know about you, but “great” is a pretty big word. The most interesting cycling books of all time? Okay. The 50 cycling books I’ve been given for Christmas/birthday because no one knew what else to get me? That’s fine. The best cycling books of all time? Uh, okay, maybe. But “great”? Great cycling books? Is there even one? Has there ever been a page, or a paragraph, or a sentence that was ever written about cycling that qualifies as “great”?
Great is a heavy word when attached to “book.” I’m thinking Joyce. Dickens. The complete words of Shakespeare. Idyssey. Oliad. The Socratic dialogues. Goodnight Moon. You know, the shit that’s going to still be read long after Romney gets elected and we all have to wear magic Mormon underpants.
So, I can save you some effort, some heavy lifting, and some spare change.
“Sex, Lies, and Handlebar Tape” by Paul Howard is not a great book. It’s not even a good book. If the standard is “great,” we’d have to dig down pretty deep into the “crappy shit thrown together by a fanboy posing as a writer” pile in order to properly peg this one. Still, if you happen to be a jocksniffer or a fanboy posing as a writer, this book is worth a read. Which is another way of saying I, who am both, enjoyed it.
The perhaps next to greatest cyclist of all time
The greatest is Merckx, followed by Fausto Coppi and/or Jacques Anquetil. This book is about Anquetil.
Jacques Anquetil was French. I told George Pomel that I was reading about Anquetil and he immediately corrected my pronunciation. It’s not “an” like in “flan,” but rather “an” as in “angioplasty.” So, as Knoll would say, there’s that.
Anquetil was from Normandy, where, we learn at the end of the book, it was pretty common for fathers to fuck their stepchildren and raise the child/grandchild as their legitimate offspring. Who knew? I thought we invaded the goddamned place to lock up all the Camembert cheese and kick out the fucking Nazis, but apparently it was also to preserve the rights of the father, kind of like in Tennessee, where “My pa’s my grandpa.”
Anquetil was a lusty old dude. He fornicated a lot before settling down to the quiet life of a child rapist. He fornicated with a married gal named Jeanine who already had two kids. She divorced her husband, married Pere Jacques, and took her two kids to live with him. Their names are Alain and Annie. Time comes and goes and Annie starts looking kind of pert to goaty ol’ Jacques. So, with Jeanine’s agreement, he starts fucking little Annie. She’s eighteen, and he’s raised her from childhood. They have a kid.
After twelve years, Annie decides that having ol’ Turdy France come wallop her in the bed before going into the next room to sleep the rest of the night with her mom isn’t working out for her. So she splits. Pere Jacques gets pissed. In order to make her come back and start fucking him again, he starts fucking the wife of Annie’s brother, Alain. Alain’s not cool with that, so he splits. Amazingly, Anquetil’s tactic of fucking the runaway bride’s sister in-law doesn’t coerce Annie to come back. Women.
Pere Jacques humps Dominique for a while then croaks. It’s not often that someone will fuck off and die quite so literally. But he did.
Happily, Anquetil’s sordid bedroom arrangements and child raping are left til the end of the story, and make up only a small part of the book. Unhappily, the title promises “Sex, Lies” first, and “Handlebar Tape” last, so we think we’re getting, like, two-thirds 50 Shades of Grey fuckpiece and one-third boring cycling shit, but wind up instead with three-fourths dreary recounting of Anquetil’s cycling career and one-fourth of his lurid evilty.
Like every champion before pro cyclists became coddled pussies, Anquetil’s story is interchangeable. He was born a peasant. He got a bike. He ripped everyone’s fucking legs off. He took more drugs than a Palmdale tweaker. He whupped ass in a bunch of famous races. He time trialed off the charts. He suffered like a dog. He raced in freezing rain. He had horrific crashes. He raced in blinding heat. He climbed. He sprinted. He was a weird dude.
Things that made him different
Fanboys and jocksniffers love to make their boy out to be different, point to his early upbringing, or his huge VO2 max, or some anomalous characteristic or physical quality that made him the champ. Fact is, they’re all freak motherfuckers who can keep suffering after everyone else quits. Pretty simple.
The real distinctions have squat to do with athleticism, and Anquetil was no different. He ate freaky shit during, before, and after races. He drank beer during races. He was a complete alcoholic. He partied like a madman until the wee hours, and still would get up and kick the snot out of Poulidor. He liked farming and animal husbandry and fucking his children and their spouses.
Great cycling book? Nope. Quick read about one twisted bastard? Yep.
Enjoy. Or not. By Paul Howard, available on Amazon as a Kindle download.
November 15, 2011 § 17 Comments
We’ve all been there. We buy some tall, white socks because they look so sporty and clean, and because they match any cycling outfit, even those glow-in-a-black-hole yellow shoes that Perez was wearing on Sunday. If your legs are long and bony, tall white socks close some of the gap between sock cuff and the leg of the shorts, helping you look less like an Oxfam model and more like a normal person. If your legs are chunky and short, tall white socks give the lower part of your leg that muscled, powerful accent that looks so cool when you’re standing in your underwear bent over in a cycling pose with your ass to the mirror as you try to look over your shoulder to see how you look to other people and are of course suitably mortified by what you see.
The biggest benefit to crisp, clean, tall white socks, however, is that if you always wear them, people think you’ve got a zillion pairs because everyone knows that tall white socks quickly get too nasty to wear after one or two outings. If you have a zillion pairs, it implies that you’re fabulously wealthy, or that you’re sponsored, or that your wife doesn’t have to work outside the home, or that you can afford full-time domestic help. It shows that YOU don’t have to slave away, bent double over a bleach bottle trying to scrub out the grease and grime from yesterday’s slugfest in the mud.
If you insist on wearing tall white socks even in the nastiest weather, it reinforces all of the above. ‘Wow! Muffy has so many socks (and at $16.95 that adds up quick!) that she can just wear ’em and toss ’em.” That’s instant respect, especially if you’re wearing premium brands like Assos (means “asshole” in Swiss-Italian), or Rapha (means “uncertain sexual orientation”) in Rafanese.
What worked for the pros can work for you
Tall white socks are also proven to improve cycling performance. If you’re an adherent of the training methodologies espoused by Chris Carmichael, Andy Coggan, Michele Ferrari, or Voluptua the Tantric Sex Coach, you already understand what it takes to squeeze the most out of your body, so to speak. But the extra “winning” ingredient is always activated by tall white socks. Experts don’t know exactly why the tall white sock improves cycling performance, and posers like you and me frankly don’t care.
Don’t believe it? Eddy Merckx set his hour record wearing tall white socks, although admittedly they sagged a bit as elastic hadn’t been invented yet. In addition to huge quantities of EPO, corticosteroids, and blood doping, Lance Armstrong’s winning edge came from…you guessed it. Tall white socks. Alberto’s rapid rise from a low-level drug addict who bought blood doping products under his dog’s name from Eufemiano Fuentes to a world class doper and Tour winner who bought his doping products from Basque cattlemen was due to…tall white socks.
In our own little corner of the cycling world, Los Angeles County has a number of proud exponents of the tall white sock, none more widely known and admired than Knoll. Although rarely seen on rides longer than 45 yards, and although he has a permanent designated spot at the Peet’s in Santa Monica, the simple act of pulling on a pair of tall white socks turns him into a terrible terror of monstrous mountaineering. The photo at the left shows him battering his mates into submission even though this is his first ride since ’02, and immediately prior to jumping on his bike he had three bacon cheeseburgers and a plate of bleu cheese.
The dirty little secret
The reason so many cyclists begin with tall white socks but give up on them before realizing their full benefits has to do with filth. The socks get dirty rather quickly. Stuffed inside a nasty, moldy, stinky cycling shoe, or stretched up over a calf that’s been slathered in brownish/reddish embrocation, drizzled with sweat, and sprayed with an admixture of sand and sludge from the bike path will quickly scuzz out your socks. Just having to touch the nasty things after a ride is enough to make you want to throw them away. It’s like having a strip of toilet paper permanently attached to the heel of your shoe. A real buzzkill.
Tired after the Donut and desperate to eat enough food to counteract the health and weight-loss benefits of the ride, you toss the crud-covered socks into the hamper and viciously attack the peanut butter with a large wooden spoon. You leave the mouldering socks there until the next day, or perhaps the next week, giving the gunk on the socks time to fester and procreate in the steamy, fetid pile of damp undies, smelly t-shirts, yucked out yoga pants, and snot-encrusted cycling gloves. The sock scum multiplies, seeps into the merino/cotton/lycra fibers, and permanently stains the formerly proud, crisp, tall white sock.
When it’s time for laundry you toss them into the wash with a squirt of OxiClean, a dash of industrial strength detergent, a dab of Go-Jo, maybe a capful of turpentine, and a prayer. What comes out is a slightly off-color pair of socks that are no longer crisp and pretty and calling out to you, “Hey, stretch me over your well-turned ankles and supple calves,” but rather are whispering, “If you pedal quickly enough maybe no one will notice we’re not crisply white anymore.”
You wear them a few more times, including a morning or two when it’s wet or damp outside, and pretty soon they’ve turned a pale shade of gray. Before you realize it you’ve tossed them, or are using them to wipe your chain, and have replaced them with something black or navy that doesn’t show the filth. And guess what? You’ve achieved none of the fitness or envy benefits of your purchase.
As you sock, so shall you ride
After decades of having his wife scrub his tall white socks by hand, Wankmeister was recently handed a stack of papers by a process server titled, “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.” Under Attachment A, which listed the causes for the petition, Wankmeister noted the following:
1. Respondent pees on the toilet rim and never wipes it off.
2. Respondent makes yogurt and fruit for dessert but never throws away the banana peel, and instead dumps it into the disposal, which clogs, and causes the apartment maintenance man to charge us $75 dollars per visit.
3. Respondent farts all the time.
4. Respondent sleeps through date night movies.
5. Respondent always forgets our anniversary, but invariably remembers his own birthday with an expensive cycling-related purchase.
6. Respondent is tired all the time, except when it’s time to cycle, talk about cycling, blog about cycling, read cycling magazines, or check out Fuckdude’s latest video post on the “Tug-Toner.” Which was disgusting, by the way.
7. Respondent’s income is a joke.
8. Respondent’s bike cost more than the resale value of both our cars.
9. Respondent always falls asleep early, if you know what I mean.
10. Respondent makes me scrub his nasty fucking tall white cycling socks.
When Wankmeister got this shocking paperwork, he realized that his marriage of 24 years was on the brink, and only by making drastic and permanent changes to every aspect of his relationship would it survive. So Wanky took the high road, bit the bullet, and rolled out Wankmeister 2.0. That’s right. He told her she no longer had to wash the socks. Sometimes you have to give in to make your marriage work. And Wanky was willing to do that.
The 12-Step Method of Tall Sock Whitification
So here are Wankmeister’s Secrets for Tall Sock Whitification. With a little study you too can wear crisp, tall white socks no matter how nasty the weather. Your packmates will envy your sock-horn of plenty and invite you to all the coolest parties and apres-Pier Ride coffee klatches.
1. Don’t ever toss the socks in the hamper after a ride. Instead, rinse them in hot tap water.
2. Take out your special Japanese Magic Green Soap Bar of Death (not sold in stores).
3. Rub the affected areas with the Soap Bar of Death. The Soap Bar of Death is gentle enough to use without a welding mask. However, welding gloves are advised.
4. Squirt copious amounts of OxiClean on the affected areas.
5. Gently pour small amounts of bleach directly onto the stains, which have now been assaulted by successive layers of hot water, Green Soap Bar of Death, and OxiClean.
6. Take a shower.
7. Check FB and hits on your blog, if you have one.
8. Go back to the sink and scrub your socks by hand until the stains are gone.
9. Rinse in hot water.
10. Scrub some more.
11. Rinse out the sink so that there are no grease stains or chunks of dissolved flesh from the bleach and Soap Bar of Death to infuriate your wife.
12. Toss the socks in the laundry hamper, preferably wrapped in aluminum foil so they don’t dissolve the other fabrics they might come into contact with.
Well, there you have it. See you and your whitey, tighty, crispy, tall white socks out on the road!