May 8, 2012 § Leave a comment
I don’t know who coined the phrase, “Cheaters never win.” It was obviously someone who was never elected to office, never practiced law, never worked in banking, never submitted reimbursement requests to MediCare, never was married, or never won the TdF.
To make it strictly accurate, the phrase should be re-worked to say, “Cheaters didn’t win on the NPR today.”
We had a huge group at the Pier including the usual suspects: G$, Mighty Mouse, New Girl, Bull, Heeleys Dad & Jr., USC John, Fireman, Suze, Cary, Scott Apartmentsyndicate, Gooseman, Chris D., Kramer, Wolfeman, Lisa C., and guest appearances by Roadchamp, DJ, Damien “The Omen,” and on and on and on. And on.
Everyone began yelling “Bike path!!” on roll-out, so we stomped up the hill instead and took the Alleyway of Death just to be contrarian. The usual barely-caffeinated drivers backing out of their garages, runners stepping off curbs, huge potholes, and blind roadway entrances kept things lively until we hit Vista del Mar. As the nice 2×2 formation gradually ratcheted up the pace, G$ rolled to the fore and ordered that the pace be cut so that people could catch back on.
I hung my head, scolded, and retreated towards the back. It was a big-ass group.
It’s a new sport called Dodgecar
The mechanics of the NPR are kind of funny, because in addition to picking up people along Vista del Mar, once we bend right to go up Pershing there’s always a big group of 20-40 people camped out in the parking lot waiting for us to come by. They are stopped. In a parking lot. Unclipped. Around a blind corner. At the bottom of a hill.
We are single file. Coming down a long, fast grade. Through a green light. At about 30.
If we hit the red light, it gives the campers a chance to adjust their maxi-pads, apply the final coat of lip gloss, clip in, and then get started up the hill so that when our light turns green they can meld with the group. If we hit the green light, there is pandemonium worthy of a soccer match between pre-schoolers. Leaping on bikes, flailing cleats clicking into chains instead of pedals, curses, shouts, wobbly starts in the wrong gear, swerving bikes at 5 mph veering out of the parking lot into the middle of the 30 mph swarm…in short, it’s the kind of early morning clusterfuck that makes you glad you’re on your bike, and makes you determined to be the clusterfucker rather than the clusterfuckee.
This morning, having been relegated by G$, I nosed towards the fore as we approached the light. Red. Just before I touched the brakes…hallelujah!!…GREEN! I mashed it hard as a lumbering SUV in front of me turned on its right-hand blinker. So far so good, but there was nowhere for it to turn, except into the parking lot of campers, who were now wildly flailing to exit and hook onto the tail of the missile.
I easily cruised around the car, but it scrubbed off the 60 or so riders behind me except for Roadchamp and Bull.
Vapor, rolling out of the parking lot at a standstill, was none too pleased. “Hey, wankers! Be careful! And quit attacking while we’re stopped!”
Don’t piss off the dude who rides tempo at 32
By the time I got to the top of the small hill, I’d been joined by Roadchamp, Bull, Seanergy, and Suze. The Sho-Air dude from a couple of weeks ago was parked on the side of the road, glumly eyeing us as he changed a flat. We pounded on.
At the overpass, the pack was in another county. Roadchamp and Bull were taking gnarly pulls from hell. Seanergy was working. I was wondering how they had spotted my testicles lying in the road while we were going so fast, yet still managed to stop, pick them up, and them stuff them down my throat. Which made breathing hard.
When we hit the Parkway, Sho-Air Shawshank redeemed himself, and then some. He began pulling so hard that our tiny group could barely rotate around him, much less match his speed. Shawshank now had the bit between his teeth, and we had a breakaway. As with other completely futile fantasies grounded in an unfirm grasp of reality, we thought it might stick. No break has ever stuck from the beginning of the NPR.
Come on baby, light my fire
Meanwhile, back in the pack, Vapor was pissed. We’d blitzed him by surprise (though in my own very, very weak defense I always mash it up Pershing) and now we had a huge gap with some horsepower. Vapor began taking pulls that were so fast and sick that Fireman reported entire lungs being coughed up from those unlucky enough to be on his wheel. If you’ve ever done Tim Roach’s Hour of Power at the velodrome and had Vapor show up, you’ll know what this was like. The dude can go harder and faster and longer than anything without an internal combustion engine. And when he decides to pour on the coal, the combustion is what happens behind him.
Fortunately, our little cadre of cheaters was soon joined by other cheating wankers. Tree Perkins, who’d been out toodling around, hopped into our group and took a couple of pulls. Adam Tattooed Leg Dude got overhauled, hopped in, and helped out for a lap. Big fat Equipe wanker out for a Parkway pedal joined our team and almost sort of halfway kind of thought about maybe taking a pull before he quit.
And the entire way Roadchamp, Bull, Shawshank, and Seanergy were flogging the big meat harder than a teenage boy on his first visit to pornhub.com.
All good things must end. Bad things, too.
Just before the light at the beginning of the third lap, we all came together, ridden down by the efforts of Vapor and sub-efforts by some of his lieutenants, including G3, Austin Heeley, USC John, and G$. “Cheaters never win!” he yelled.
A spirited discussion between him and Roadchamp ensued. As the cheater-in-chief, I thought it best to keep rolling lest the donkey tail get pinned on me, where it mostly belonged. I glanced around and people looked destroyed. At that moment Mighty Mouse roared to the fore, and I could tell that she’d worn her very best dick-stomping boots to the party. Whatever sausages hadn’t been speared and roasted, she proceeded to stomp to a fare the well.
The end was predictable. I made one last flailaway attempt that never even gained separation. The group was shot to shit, and hardly anyone had any gas at all in the finale, except for Vapor and Motorhead. Motorhead took the sprint with what looked like a nice lead-out from Vapor. I was so far back that the only way I got the results was from smoke signals.
Moral #1: Don’t piss off Vapor with a sneaky, cheapass move and expect to stay away.
Moral #2: If you’re hoping we’ll start easy at the bottom of Pershing, you might be disappointed.
Moral #3: That taste of puke in your mouth at 7:30 AM? Well, it beats sitting in traffic.
May 2, 2012 § 8 Comments
My Tuesday morning FB page began with a trickle of “Oh, noes! It’s waining!” and crescendoed into a flood of “Sleepin’ in, hot coffee and cuddles with babes!” as one after another the soft men and women of the South Bay elected wussdom over pointless suffering and bronchitis.
The folks coming from the West Side, where it was dry, weren’t expecting the eventual wet roads and light drizzle, i.e. they were expecting the usual wheelsuck in an 80-man field where they could tweedle, twaddle, and watch others Go To The Front while they caught up on little league scores. Unhappily for them, the pack would be tiny and the roads therefore windy, because most of the South Bay contingent had opted for, in the words of Prez, “Hot white chocolate mocha with my sweetie and to celebrate the completion of our new kitchen.”
Can’t make that shit up.
So the Westsiders met up with a greatly diminished group, which meant a total field of no more than forty. In other words…nowhere to hide! No big, fat, soft, loving envelope of suckage. To make matters worse, we had a cameo appearance by none other than MMX, up from the wilds of San Diego with his North County dickstomping boots. To make matters worster, Backpack Eric a/k/a Motorhead also showed, fresh from a brace of Cat 3 wins at Sea Otter and Chuck Pontius.
Show me your dick. There. Now it’s broken.
MMX’s first order of business as we drilled it along Pershing was to go down the line and break a bunch of dicks. Then, Motorhead ran over what was left of the bleeding ballsacks, so that by the time we hit Westchester there were only six people left, including the day’s Purple Freddy Freeloader, a Sho-Air Wanker on a black Specialized Rouwank with an electric orange stripe.
I found my way to the front once or twice and stepped on the few dicks that were still squirming around on the shoulder after having been badly broken by MMX and Motorhead. Every time the wankers sat up to catch their breath (which had escaped long ago, barn door still wide open), MMX and Motorhead would string them out into a gnarly, nasty, filth-encrusted, single file line of snotty faces washed by rooster tails and spattered with broken dreams.
The freeloaders were learning that it’s a whole different deal without a big fat, cozy envelope to drag you along, and even harder when every few seconds or so someone’s breaking your dick again. By lap four people were gassed beyond repair, with endless, extra hard efforts having been taken by USC John, and a pair of hard pulls by Freeman. MMX and Motorhead lit it up on the final bump, and it was like that moment in the kitchen when the whole fucking pan of Jiffy Pop goes off at once, kernels flying and jumping and burning and charring to a fare thee well.
I’ve never seen so many mucosal faces at the end of a ride, as the survivors’ chins dripped sheets of snot mixed with bubbling spit and chunks of road tar. It was such a pretty, happy sight that MMX and I celebrated with a nice hot cup of coffee and oatmeal at CotKU back in Manhattan Beach, after scraping all the broken dicks off the bottom of our stomp boots.
Yellow jersey: Freeloader wanker Sho-Air dude, who never did shit the entire ride, tried to sneak away on the last climb to the bridge, got caught, refused to pull through in our three-man break, and sprunted for the vee. You’re half the age of the dudes you’re sprunting against. Have you no self-respect? Do you think no one notices? Racing is about winning. Training ride NPR bullshit is about doing your share, sharpening your game, and earning the respect of the people you ride with…then winning if you’ve still got the legs. If we wanted another wheelsuck to wait ’til the finish after doing nothing the entire ride, we’d have airlifted in Prez. You’re the winner, but you’re a wanker!
Hardman: Motorhead. His first pull off the overpass broke so many dicks that the dickwagon got overloaded and had to make a run to the dump, empty the bed, and come back for more. Motorhead delivered repeated dickbreaking smackdowns, and terminated with an honorable second place finish behind purple Sho-Air wanker. Motorhead is a joy to watch. Hits the front with Hair-like viciousness, holds it forever, makes every pull so nasty and unpleasant that you hate his fucking guts. His only plan on the NPR is to go so hard that he can’t go any harder, then recover and do it again or get dropped. He never gets dropped and he’s always got an ugly kick at the end. What’s so hard about this formula, wankers? Be like Motorhead. Go To The Front! [Note: USC John Tomlinson dished out mega dickstompings the entire ride, as per, then showed up at TELO and stomped the shit out of whatever dicks hadn’t shown up to be stomped for NPR. You got a hardman award coming your way, sonny.]
Purple Freddy Freeloader: Sho-Air dude. Does your team know that you do this shit? When Charon raced for Sho-Air, I never saw him pull any of that crap. In a race, it’s smart and savvy. On a training ride at the Parkway, it’s lame.
Alternate Purple Freddy Freeloader: Hairy-legged wanker in the powder-puff blue “Strachimachi Racing” jersey. What the fuck is a “Strachimachi”? A scented douche? Sat like a sinker on a trotline for four laps, then glued up to MMX, who was on Motorhead. Motorhead lines it out at 40 mph, MMX follows through with the dickstomp of death, and Strachiwhacky gaps out, his head drooping, his legs shuddering, his shoulders heaving, his dick breaking, and the engine mechanics throwing their entire toolbox in the dumpster as he swings over for me to close the gap. “That’s so lame, dude,” I say. “Hunh?” he answers. “I was making space for you to come by.” Nice. Making space for me to come by…and close the other space that you made.