September 14, 2012 § 37 Comments
It finally happened. A frightened and outraged participant called out the New Pier Ride for its reckless, dangerous, traffic-law-violating, scofflaw ways. It appears that as the pack was flying down the hill on Vista del Mar to the light at Grand, “1/3 of the pack” rolled through the red light.
Wankomodo, in the back 2/3, the light stone red, and motorists with the right of the way staring at a green light as a mob of bikers roared by, called out “slowing” with twelvedy-nine speeding riders behind him. Then, to avoid getting rear-ended, he pulled a right to “wait out the light.”
Wankomodo duly noted that he “has seen some sketchy and dangerous behavior by NPR riders,” but proudly said that he “tries his best not to be one of them.” In addition to “pissing off motorists,” this dangerous behavior “makes cyclists look bad.”
Some of the folks behind this sudden stop-and-swerve maneuver voiced their displeasure with verbiage familiar to flailing wankers everywhere after a bonehead move: “You fucking asshole! What the fuck are you doing?” and similar sentiments were duly expressed. Wankomodo was offended, and let everyone know that if he was going to get “bitched at for riding safe and obeying the law on the NPR” then “the NPR is not for me.”
After this manifesto, Wankomodo then went on to question himself. “Was I wrong to call out ‘slowing’ and stop at the traffic signal?” More importantly, he begged for confirmation that this type of behavior was not “condoned” on Big Orange team rides. After all, Wakomodo reminded us, he has a family that relies on him and he didn’t need to take any more risks with motorists than he already does.
A heartfelt thanks to Wankomodo
See, there I was wondering all day what I was gonna blog about, and bing, Wankomodo delivered this gem, pre-cut and polished and already set in the 14-karat band. It’s folks like him that make writing easy and fun!
So, let’s get down to business.
First: Were you wrong to slam on your brakes, screech “Slowing!” as you slam a hard right turn at the light, and scare the bejesus out of fifty other idiots just because you had a chickenshit brainfart?
Answer: No. Given the fact that you were in the back 2/3 of the wankoton, what you did was perfectly acceptable. That’s what the back 2/3 is for, so idiots like you can ‘tard out and kill other numbskulls who couldn’t handle a bike safely even if it was bolted to the floor.
However, if you’d pulled that shit in the front 1/3, we would have jerked you off your fucking bike and drop-kicked your sorry ass into the urine and poop processing pools along Vista del Mar, because that’s the kind of shit that gets people killed. Don’t ever slam on your fucking brakes in the middle of a fast moving pack, doorknob.
Second: Does Big Orange condone this kind of behavior?
Answer: Who gives a rat’s ass what Big Orange condones? They’re not the ride police. They’re a local group of wankers just like the rest of us, and if you’d pulled that bullshit in front of the Big O dudes and chicks I know they would have given you a what-for. The NPR is a big old group ride, which is longhand for “clusterfuck,” where the goofballs hang on at the back for dear life and those who want to live another day strive might and main to be near the front or, Dog forbid, on it.
Third: It’s daaaaaaaangerous on these big group rides, isn’t it?
Answer: Yeah, fuddlefuck, it is. Group rides like this are a great way to get seriously injured or killed. If you’re not taken out by some moron slamming on his brakes in the middle of an intersection, chances are you’ll be smushed by a big yellow maintenance truck on the Parkway.
Group rides are really fucking dangerous because they incorporate idiots like you with UCI pros with flub-happy in-line skaters with bone idling wankers on training wheels. Throw into the mix ten score of pissed off morning commuters, sun in your eyes, wet roads, oncoming traffic, badly timed lights, weaving in and out of traffic, cutting off oncoming trucks at the turnarounds, rocks, glass, debris, flats, overlapped wheels, equipment failure, panic attacks, cracks in the road, howling wind, and lummoxes going 35 mph with their heads staring straight down and you’ve got a recipe for serious injury.
The Pier Ride has been around for over 30 years, and people have gotten every sort of awful injury as a result. Just this year one guy broke his hip, a chick hit the curb with her head, Bumpngrind fell down in a turn, and there have been about twelve gazillion near-sprunt deaths.
Get it? These things are stupid and deadly and make no sense at all, like cycling itself. That’s why we do them.
Fourth: Should we be concerned about pissing off motorists?
Answer: Yes, just like we should be concerned about world peace, the third round of Quantitative Easing, and whether the left hand really does feel like a different person.
But you know what? When you have a zillion idiots barreling through a light, and all the traffic is stopped letting us go through, there’s a certain number of motorists who are just going to be pissed and hate our guts and have to go to their shitty jobs and complain about it while we get to spend our morning riding our bikes. Life sucks to be them.
Plus, what the fuck are you, Ambassador at Large for the Cycling Public? Cyclists, like motorists, are 9 parts idiot to 1 part skilled. Why are you so fucking concerned about pissing off motorists, who already hate you anyway? Why not be concerned about them pissing us off?
Fifth: Is the NPR just a bunch of scofflaw traffic-law violators?
Answer: Since you admit to running stop signs and lights “when no one’s around,” as if that makes it legal, I guess you sort of answered your own question. If you want to play Polly Patrolman or Harry Hall Monitor, it’s going to take a lot of time and effort. Why not spend it “Just Saying No” to the third helping of sugar donuts, and get strong enough so that you can stay up front and let the rearguard fend for itself? We’re all adults out here, even Prez, and no one gets up at 5:00 AM to be nagged at by some wankhappy newbie who belatedly realized that the pavement is hard and that oncoming traffic weighs slightly more than a carbon bike and lycra bodysuit.
Sixth: Should you be taking these risks since your family relies on you?
Answer: It’s refreshing to hear that of the 150+ people who regularly do the NPR, we finally have one whose family depends on him. The rest of us have families, but they don’t give a rat’s ass if we live or die, or what happens to us. That’s why we bike all the time.
The answer, of course, is “No.” You shouldn’t be taking these risks. In fact, you shouldn’t be taking any at all, you big pussy. Starting tomorrow, when the alarm goes off, stay in bed. Your risks will plummet dramatically.
If you do have to get out of bed (avoid the dangerous shower!), please don’t ride your bike. LA County roads are the site of numerous deaths and countless bike-car accidents every year. Cycling is dangerous. Cycling on roads is dangerous. Cycling with other idiots is dangerous. Cycling with cars is super duper dangerous. Cycling down dirt trails is dangerous (trees hurt!). Cycling without brakes or gears is dangerous. And most of all, being an idiot who slams on his brakes in the middle of a fast moving pack on a downhill is dangerous beyond any fucking description.
Which leads to the final question…
Seventh: Although you’ve been cycling for 25 years, since you’re new to the “fast group ride thing,” is this the norm for all group rides?
Answer: Dude, saying you’ve been riding for 25 years but have never done fast group rides is like saying you’ve been jacking off for 25 years but haven’t ever used your penis. Fast group rides all have several common elements. I’ve listed them below for easy reference.
- They are flat fucking crazy scary deadly and dangerous.
- Wankers like you are the prime reason they’re so dangerous.
- If you want to ride with other idiots, you have to chance death and mayhem. The legal term in California is ASSUMPTION OF THE RISK. Memorize it.
- Group rides won’t make you faster or fitter.
- Group rides will teach you survival skills.
- Group rides will help you make friends even if you’re a total kook, although it will take longer.
- Group rides have the best offering of post-ride lies and “Didja see me?” tall tales.
- Group rides have the hottest chicks with the cutest butts.
- Group rides are where you can have some chick like Suze crack your nuts in half and remind you how much you suck.
- Group rides are terrifying beyond belief.
- Group rides are where you bond with other living, breathing, mostly human beings. They’re the opposite of solo ego-fapping Strava jagoffs.
- Group rides are where, if you stick it out and pay attention and follow the right wheels, you may actually, one day, learn how to ride your fucking bike.
Hope this helps!
May 31, 2012 § 29 Comments
The state road race championship is on Sunday, so now’s the time to begin properly building your foundation for excuses as to why you got dropped and quit. Don’t wait ’til race day to trot out your lame reason for imploding before the race got hard. Begin today with a series of well-placed and well-timed comments to let everyone know that except for * and *, or * and *, you would be standing on the top step.
1. Illness. “I’ve had something in my chest the last couple of weeks that I can’t shake. Gonna give it my best shot, but my power’s down 30-40w. That’s the margin of victory.”
2. Weather. “Fuckin’ Bakersfield. It’s too hot there to race. We prepare the whole year in reasonable temperatures, and then they do the biggest race of the year in a fuckin’ sauna. That’s bullshit. I’m just not good in the heat.” [Be ready to steer quickly away from questions about why you didn’t do the states race in NorCal.]
3. Gear. “I’m just not adapted to this new Specialized Wankster. The seat tube angle is a little off, fucks up my body geometry when I climb.” [Don’t mention that you still have your old frame which was such a “perfect” fit that you got dropped on lap one of Punchbowl, etc.]
4. Nutrition. “I ran out of the Uber-Goo Triple Espresso with Spirochetes. They’re on back order. There’s no way I can do well in a hot race without that stuff. The spirochetes are the bomb.”
5. Hydration. “I can’t get anyone to give me hand-ups. The deck’s stacked against you in that race without hand-ups.”
6. Low quality help. “I’ve got someone for hand-ups, but he/she sucks at it. If I miss my hand-up I’m done.”
7. Training cycles. “Fuck! I peaked last Thursday! 450w FTP! Now I can barely get out of fuckin’ bed.”
8. Team tactics: “It’s going to be total bullshit. Big Orange has thirty guys entered. It will just be negative racing.”
9. Individual tactics: “My whole team worked against me, gave it away to the opportunists who didn’t even have any teammates in the race.”
10. Time. “Ah, fuck, there was no way I could log the training miles for that race. I’ve got a real job and a family, dude.”
11. Doping. “Those other 87 dudes in the 55+? ‘Course they beat me. They all dope.”
12. Misjudgment. “I was so on form, best of my life. Then like an idiot I went out and hammered on the Pier Ride. Totally blew my form.”
13. Kids. “Hey, I spent last week helping Billy on his algebra. Priorities.”
14. Wife. “Cowbella won’t let me train. Total bullshit. If I could just bump it up from 350 to 450 a week I’d have won in a solo breakaway.”
15. Priorities. “It’s a stupid fucking bike race, okay? Who gives a shit?”
February 29, 2012 § 10 Comments
Yah, the New Pier Ride is a huge improvement. Instead of being a demented free-for-all nutfuck crazyass fredfest mass sprint of death filled with homicidal drivers and chugholes and steel plates of quadriplegia, there are no longer any chugholes or steel plates.
So, yesterday…Hair wins the sprint. I think. I was four time zones back. But here’s what really matters: Hair was constantly either on the attack, chasing breaks, or drilling on the front to keep the pace high. THEN he took the sprint. MD, absentee from doing any work whatsoever, muscled out a strong 2nd. G$, who finished with 400 attacks, got third. Vapor, who burned through twelve tanks of rocket fuel, finished up there somewhere after towing the entire peloton repeatedly and burning enough matches in his repeated attacks to light a bonfire.
Douggie and Suze briefly escaped on the third lap after making the turn. It was lovely to see such good friends working in harmony on the bike. Canyon Bob took one long pull on the finish of the second lap then sat in until the very end, when he dragged the entire pack up to the lone flailing breakaway on the hill on the last lap so that it could end in a sprint, Bob’s forte. How’d that work out for you, buddy?
Here’s what else matters: on the New Pier Ride, as in life, there is a group of the usual suspects who work, attack, chase, recover, and attack again, again, and again. I’m talking about Vapor. G$. Hair. Wehrlissimo. Fireman. Tree. G3. Davy Dawg. Beef Freeman.
And now, some commentary: What’s with the other 79 sausage strokers who show up on this stupid training ride and take somewhere between 0 and 1 pulls? Like, are you in contention for the sprint? And it’s the first time you’ve seen the front? On the fucking Pier Ride? Are you kidding me? I don’t care if you’re a girl, or a boy, or somewhere in between, take a fucking pull, and then, when you’re gassed, recover and take another. Repeat until you barf up your entrails.
The worst that can happen is you will get shelled, but that’s the beauty of the new route. Just stuff your parts back in your pants, take a few deep breaths, and hop back on when the group comes by on the other side. You may not get any stronger or better looking, but at least you won’t be considered a contemptible piece of shit by the people who are out there animating the ride.
New Pier Ride wrap-up from last Thursday: After an endless series of leg-breaking, spirit sapping, trauma inducing attacks and counterattacks, Fireman, G3, and I escaped on the rise to the overpass after the turn beginning the fourth lap. G3 was killing it, and us, and had been riding like a madman. Fireman beat me for the vee by the the width of a tire + 400 or so meters. Afterwards everyone complained about “cheating,” “running the last red light,” and similar sore loser remarks, to which I replied, “Cheaters sometimes win, whiners never do.”
February 22, 2012 § Leave a comment
Douggie sent out the Word via FB: new Pier Ride route. We’d be axing the Marina death race through the stop lights, the crazy acceleration along Admiralty from a standing start to Mach 12 in four seconds weaving through the honeycomb of massive cracks in the bad pavement as we spilled into the neighboring lane, chock-full of angry commuters, the short but too-long-but-pointless-non-sprint sprint along Via Marina where the first person to throw up his hands gets the V, the massive chughole on Pacific that took down VV and left her with enough road rash to bump the stock price for Tegaderm by 15%, the stealth bike killers lurking behind each of the stop signs on Pacific en route back to Washington, the semi-pothole right there at the turn back onto Via Marina where, if you’re not careful, you’ll smack the shit out of it and torch a rim, then back onto Admiralty for the true crazy-ass fuckfest of gnarly steel plates and their upjutting lips of carnage, the giant ripped up shards of broken pavement, stripped down dirt studded with gravel big enough to chew up a brand new Gatorskin, furious traffic, more stoplights, and the final insane dash back down Fiji Way where it might be Big Steve, or Davy Dawg, or Tree, or Eric, or Hair, or for sure Rahsaan or Danny Heeley or some pro who dropped into LA for the weekend, ramping it up to 40 mph or maybe 45 depending on how big a sucker you look like when the story’s being retold at the coffee shop, to the big-ass finale finish that, again, no one quite knows where it is, but is definitely there, somewhere, decided again by the first pair if hands to lift off the bars, and back onto the bike path where you dodge the UCLA crew knuckleheads blocking the path with giant sculls, furry-legged Bike Path Racers putting the wood to Greg and Marco and Bernard and Eddy and Lance IN THEIR FUCKING DREAMS and almost colliding with us in the process and of course the high point of all high points, Asshole Number One locking arms with Asshole Number Two as they stick their pedestrian elbows out into our faces as we pass, then over the steel plate on the bridge where Perez likes to slip, fall, and crack his forehead every now and again, and picking razor sharp shells out of your tires that the gulls have dropped onto the path in winter, through the narrow rebar poles, either one of which if you hit will kill you, back onto Pacific, maybe past the multicolored fatboy Mapei team all the way to the triangle, then left…..
All that shit gone with one simple message on FB. Dog bless you, Douggie, and we knew it was real when Rahsaan posted the magic words: “Sounds good to me.” Because you know, if it sounds good to Vapor, it’s fuckin-A good enough for me, and you, and you, and you, and you. And you. Not to mention you, Taylor Swift, you fucking hillbilly, and I don’t care what anyone says it DID look like a fucking KKK rally at the Grammy’s, or at least the lead-up to one.
Preparation is key
I timed my departure perfectly. Alarm at 5:30. Slam the coffee. Slam the raisin bran. Dash to the toilet to drop my morning steamy Santorum, along with a couple of smaller Gingriches. Lube the legs. Pull on the kit. Dance around for a few minutes as the embro puts the fire on my balls. Ratchet down the Specialized S-Works Pro Road Shoe which, for $360.00, still doesn’t fit right or stay ratcheted down. Hop on bike. Notice rear tire is flat. Say, “Motherfucking goddammit shitfuck to hell!” Throw down bike. Wake up Mrs. Wankmeister. Timidly say, “Sorry, sweetie! Nothing! Everything’s fine, snookums!” Whisper under breath, “Goddammit motherfucking shitfuck pissit crapwad to hell!” Yank off rear wheel. Yank out tube. Check clock. If not out door in five minutes, no way I’ll make the ride. Only have one spare tube. Take it out. Partially inflate. Throw on floor. Run into kitchen. Run back. Notice tubes are tangled. Can’t remember which one is new, which one flat. Both have a little air. Whisper some more “shitfucks” under my breath. Take a gamble and pick the one on top. Stuff it onto rim. Pop on tire. Grab floor pump. Floor pump tips over, smacks the Scratch, makes hellacious racket. Sweetly say, “Sorry honey sweetums!!” Whisper a dozen more motherfuck goddamn shittohellandbacksonsofbitches. Pump up tire. Tire deflates. Rip out tube. Rip off another string of oaths. Is “dicksnot” a real cuss word? Is now. Put in other tube. Pinch shit out of finger. Stab palm with plastic tire iron. Run out of cuss words. Embro, coffee, and panic have lathered me into a steaming sweaty foamy froth. Get tire changed. Air ‘er up. Dash out the door. Get down to parking garage. Forgot garage door opener buzzer. More gods get damned, mothers fornicated with. Go back upstairs. Go back downstairs. Hop on bike. Freezing morning air ices everything inside jersey and shorts. Cuss some some. Check Garmin clock. Ride leaves at 6:40 sharp. Thirty minute ride from the apartment to there. It’s now 6:30. Probably not gonna make it without a time machine. Hammer all the way to Westchester.
The goose is loose
As I’m trolling up the parkway, off in the distance I see the mass of riders approach. I do a u-turn just as the point comes rolling through, with the Goose Man on the point, all Rapha-ed out in black and nasty pink, to hell with tearing out a page from the Perez fashion manual, he’s taken the whole damned book.
They let me squeeze in just as Wehrlissimo rolls by, there’s Davy Dawg, there’s Big Steve, there’s Tree, there’s G$, there’s Vapor, there’s the Fireman, there’s Southbay Eric, there’s Tink, there’s Surfer Dan, there’s Hair, there’s Suze, there’s Methuselah Tim, there’s Douggie, and then in a long ragged line there’s every wannabe, couldabeen, gonnado, and oughttatry in the South Bay. Instead of the Old Pier Ride, where we just do one loop, the New Pier Ride features three nasty laps around the parkway, and I’ve intercepted them at the end of the first lap.
We do the first turn, Vapor turns up the heat and the popcorn starts popping as the wankers, tankers, whackers, and hackers fry off the back. We crest the rise up to the overpass and a yellow city truck comes blowing by at fifty, and with the entire left lane to himself decides to get closer and grazes the charging peloton, missing me by inches. G$ uncorks an acceleration so hot that the blue stripes on his knee-high SPY hosiery turn green, Wehrlissimo chases and melts, and we make the second turn. I charge off past the light with Flapper Brad and a fellow IF wanker. The group blasts by, with Goose Man leading the flail.
Vapor takes over at turn 3 and it’s another long line of hurt, misery, despair, desperation, self-loathing, and clawing to stay onto the wheel in front of you. The pack has dwindled considerably, with many of the hackers deciding that they’d be more productive at work or on a gurney than out flailing in the middle of this beatdown, and we hit turn four. Last time up the hill there’s a small break, I’m stuck with the flailers and the harder I pedal the slower I go. The break explodes, everyone sits up, and the flailers reattach.
The final push for the sprint comes, and unlike the Old Pier Ride, where the sprinters are fresh and rosy-cheeked and flexing and ready to wreak havoc, they are for the most part so fucked over, tired, and roasted from the three laps of death that they can only watch as Vapor, who could win every one of these wankfests at will but instead prefers to lead out the children to give them a workout, turns on the jets and with Hair tucked on his wheel and Davy Dawg tucked on his wheel blows out a contrail of pain and misery and speed so fierce that the only one who can come around is Hair, who switches to glide and pulls away with the victory, the money, the fame, and the glory of being the first ever winner of the New Pier Ride being his and his alone.
Meanwhile, back at the flat
On the last lap I’d hit a rock full force and been forced to do the entire thing, I found out later, on a slowly deflating rear tire. Surfer Dan, G$, and Tink stopped, Dan gave me a tube and assisted with the change. I explained that but for the flat I would have probably ridden 25 mph faster than everyone else. They all nodded and rolled their eyes.
On the way back we discussed the New Pier Ride. Better? Yes. Safer? By far. Roastier? No comparison. Plan on going back to the Old Pier Ride once they finish their strip mining project/core to the center of the earth experiment on Admiralty? Noooooo way. The Pier Ride is dead. Long live the Pier Ride.
November 18, 2011 § 3 Comments
New Girl rolls up beside me on the Wheatgrass Ride. “Can I ask you something?” She’s fallen headfirst into the Kool-Aid vat lately, and when she’s not racking up new QOM’s on Strava she’s hanging at all the apres-ride coffee klatsches.
“So I’ve got a wheel on the Parkway, and it’s leading up to the sprint, and some guy grabs my arm and pushes me off the wheel. What am I supposed to do? I almost crashed. It really scared me.”
“Well, New Girl, that’s a very good question. Since you’re new to the group and people aren’t so familiar with you yet, you need to approach this kind of thing delicately. With a lot of diplomacy and humility. Who was it?”
“I’m not sure. Some guy I’ve never seen before. I was trying to stay upright.”
“Well, the next time it happens, make a note of who it was, and then ride up to him after the sprint and introduce yourself. Meekness is key. ‘I’m New Girl, and I’m new at riding, and this group ride is new for me, and I kind of want to apologize for bothering you…’ That kind of thing.”
She listened intently, but plainly didn’t like all the subservience. “Then, when you’ve got his attention, you want to politely–and I can’t stress how important this is–point out that he bumped you hard while you were on a wheel and that it frightened you, and was perhaps a bit unsafe.”
“Yeah. Then say to him in your sweetest voice, ‘Listen, you cocksucker, if you ever fucking touch me again I’m going to rip your tiny little balls off by the roots and stuff them down your fucking throat.’ Then elbow him in the ribs, or head-butt him, or chop the shit out of his wheel to show him you mean business. If he crashes out and splits his skull on the pavement, spit into the bleeding cranium for emphasis.”
New Girl’s eyes got kind of wide, because she saw I meant it. “I can’t do any of that stuff.”
“Fine. Come tell me, or Iron Mike, or Davy Dawg, or Fireman, or Junkyard, or any of your buddies. We’ll not only tell the jackanape, we’ll bust his fucking chops.”
No one cares about your minuscule muscle
Women who ride in the pack, especially on the Donut or Pier Ride, have it doubly tough. First they have to do the actual ride. On fast days, it can be a challenge just to hang on no matter who you are, let alone stay among the first five or ten wheels where it’s safest. Even slow days have several “points of interest” where there’s an attack, or a sprint, or an extended hard surge.
And let’s not bullshit each other. It’s physically hard to compete with the fastest people on these rides.
Nor should we bullshit ourselves about something else: the women who show up and hang are a thousand times tougher than 99% of the guys. The women who are in the mix at the end are tougher than all the guys combined. Moreover, many of the South Bay local biker chicks are marathoners, ex-pros, full time professional trainers, former Olympians, and general badass athletes who are already better than a huge chunk of the guys.
In addition to competing with the men, though, the women who do the group rides in the South Bay have to contend with something much harder than the physical demands of the ride, which are strenuous enough. They have to contend with the dreaded T.P.S., otherwise known in the medical literature as Tiny Pecker Syndrome.
I can lose to anyone except a woman
Every woman has experienced it. She’s pounding along, minding her own business, moving up in the pack or passing people on the climb, when she moves ahead of Lucious Lardbottom, he of the exquisitely tiny pecker complex. He’s flailing, he’s at the end of his rope, and in his case the fat lady not only sang but has gone home and taken a leisurely hot bath. He’s flat fucking done.
But lo! The minute that fit biker chick comes cruising by, he gets a new lease on life, inspired as if by God himself. Why? BECAUSE NO CHICK IS GONNA PASS HIM ON HIS BIKE!!!
He jerks up on the pedals, swerves dangerously, and mashes down with a ferocity that surprises the chick, who was minding her own business and just riding her stupid bike. Lardbottom glares, he pants, he lunges, he beats his meaty ass up and down on the saddle as if engaged in a new yoga butt-tenderizing posture. Spittle comes out in a thick spray, and his breathing evokes the death shudder of a beached ocean mammal. The chick is taken aback, but keeps coming, and he becomes a hazard to himself, to her, and to everyone else on the road. The future of the universe depends on not getting passed by the chick, and he’ll do anything to prevent the inevitable.
He’ll bump her. He’ll swerve across her wheel. He’ll reach out and push her off the wheel if she’s lining up for the sprint. And he’ll do this and a thousand other chickenshit maneuvers when, if the passer was a man, he would simply continue his implosion and nod as he mutely acknowledged the superiority of the other guy.
Eventually, though, Lardbottom blows again and fades away. If it’s this pronounced on the training rides, the women who race with the men at Eldo or in the CBR crits have it even worse. The many men afflicted with TPS are galled that a woman would dare show up and try to beat them on race day, despite the fact that they do exactly that.
Try to show a little respect
Women who do the group rides don’t deserve to be cut any slack, or to be given a helping hand, or to be coddled like lumps of sugar when the hammer comes down. That’s not what they’re in it for. But they do deserve the same respect and fair treatment accorded to the guy whose jock you’re so desperately trying to sniff. If you find yourself locked in mortal combat trying to beat one of the women on the ride, kudos to them for stretching your neck, and props to you if you’re riding safe and fair.
A couple of months ago I had my ass handed to me on a plate by a well known ex-pro on the Pier Ride. She had my wheel and I tried to ride her off it, not because she’s a woman, but because I was intent on winning the sprint against all comers, her included. Her bike handling skills are about a thousand times better than mine, she’s ten times tougher and a whole lot savvier. When I blew, she sailed by as if I were standing still. It never would have occurred to me to change my line, or bump her as she passed, or do anything other than recognize that I’d been whipped by my betters.
And while I don’t like getting the snot beaten out of me, I’d never think about begrudging the person who did it fair and square through superior riding, whether a guy or a chick or a 15 year-old kid, which is a good thing because I’ve been stomped by them all.
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!
October 25, 2011 § 3 Comments
Feeling that way. Mantourists throughout the South Bay dropped off their bikes at the IF WHQ on Sunday and Monday, and picked up their incredibly awesome MT4 t-shirts, designed by StageOne and made by ActiveT. The logo is designed to represent a stiff man part, accompanied on either side by a pair of other man parts. I hope you don’t think I’m joking, because I’m not. It was an awesome sight to see all the MT4 bikes lined up at the WHQ, each one nattily attired with its own nickname sticker. There were only a couple of misspelled names, 42 names printed for 43 riders and 50 shirts for all 40 who ordered. Mantourists don’t do math or speling.
Record on the Rollers. Douggie’s record of 9:57 on the Rollers, per Strava, still stands despite my repeated attempts to break it. He set the record on the Donut Ride, Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011 and despite the best efforts of Roadchamp, Bull, Howard Hughes of the South Bay, Rodley, and me this past Saturday, the record is intact. We never even got within striking distance. This is the stretch that goes from the bottom of the Switchbacks to the church just before Hawthorne. Think it’s easy? Have a go! Not that this is keeping me up at night. Of course not. In fact, it hardly bothers me at all. Why, I could care less about breaking that fucking record. Strava is stupid, anyway.
Fool me twice. Day 1 of MT4 goes from San Jose to Santa Cruz. I emailed Dr. Jekyll, asking for a link to the exact route. He told me that the climb, Moody Road and Page Mill Road to Skyline, was only a couple km long. Remembering that he’s the one that took us on the 9,000 feet of death in that same vicinity last year, I checked on Strava. Here’s the dope, dopes: 8.4 miles, almost 2,000 feet, average gradient 4.8%. The record is 37 minutes by some 40-lb. mountain goat named Daniel Green who owns most of the harshest climbs in the area. It may not be as completely awful as 2010, but it looks pretty bad.
Marckxed man. I went by Brad House’s cyclocross race on Sunday at Lunada Bay to watch grown men play in the dirt and pay homage to MMX. Brad is to be commended for the efforts he puts into promoting these races. The work laying out the course looked harder than cleaning the Augean Stables with a toothbrush. The actual racing looked so hard, nasty, treacherous, and pain-laden that it made me glad I only have one bike. MMX won his category–kudos–and it appeared that most of the field and the spectators were sporting SPY. This last part is really important, because it shows that more and more people are willing to say “Hey, Oakley is made by the same people who make sissy Prada handbags and Chanel perfume, but SPY is designed in SoCal by SoCalians. Very cool.”
Angel in a centerfold. Those of you who are used to gagging on his rear wheel or suffering the ignominy of having him beat the crap out of you in the IF club time trial can relax for a minute as the Spivinator shows a different side: local camera ace. After getting thrown from his horse and dragged through the mud at the San Diego ‘cross races, he’s taken some time off ‘cross to re-grow his skin and focus his prodigious creative energies behind the camera lens. If you’re lucky to be his FB friend, you’ll enjoy his series from this weekend’s races. He’ll also be heading up to San Jose on Wednesday with the IF Blue Train to participate in the Occupy PCH! Movement, where dedicated 1-percenters fill up the entirety of America’s most famous road with their bicycle unprotest. Kudos!
Alberto’s worst nightmare. This Romanian CPA showed up at the Center of the Known Universe on Thursday after the world-famous Pier Ride, asked everyone how much their bikes cost, bragged about his $300 shit-spattered bicycle, hit on all the chicks, made us hold his smelly canvas jacket for him, then dumped it unceremoniously on our legs, snatched my iPhone and took a photo of everyone, modeled his lobster-man cycling jersey and matching gut, gave us his email, showed us his iPhone, explained to me that my name means “seven” in French (it doesn’t), then kicked back with a cigarette and blew smoke in our faces even after being told to leave. Some people are in control of any situation. This dude is in control of the universe.
It’s lost $73.45 in value thanks to that asshole. En route to the IF WHQ on Sunday, I stopped at Cheapo-tle for a grease ‘n chicken gutbomb. While in the lot, some asshole nailed my cherry ’02 Camry and totally thrashed its bleeding-edge rad trick rear end. The caddywhompus bumper now ruins the coolness aspect of America’s stylingest pimpmobile. I wish I had a nickel for every time I’ve cruised PCH in this chick magnet just to have some smokin’ hot broad pull up alongside and say, “I love navy blue and velour seats in a mid-sized economy sedan that gets 28 city/36 highway, cowboy!!” Plus, this baby only has 189,000 miles, three matching plastic wheelcovers, 20 or thirty rusty “style” spots on the hood, a gash in the left door (looks like you’ve BEEN there, you know), and some other character aspects. My buddy Stern-O once told me that if I was going to take a trick cherry like that out on the road, I was crazy. Looks like he was right. Again.