South Bay weekend roll call

September 17, 2012 § 6 Comments

Let’s start with the big stuff…

Mighty Mouse: Brought her NPR-honed dick stomping skills to the Nautica Malibu Tri and left a trail of shattered members all up and down PCH. CalTrans garbage truck overheated and broke down on Zuma Hill due to overloading with broken dicks. Wore her Big O tee on the podium’s second step.

Wankomodo: Got a public tongue lashing, laughed it off in the spirit it was intended, gave thanks for his new nickname, and refused to take the Wankmeister seriously. You are now officially part of the gang!

Italian Stallion: Came out for the Donut, rode off into the sunset in a marvelous pink outfit after telling G3 to shut-the-fuck-up about the crazy old lady trying to kill us in Portuguese Bend. Tony almost fell off his bike laughing, just as some wanker touched a wheel and flopped down in the middle of the road. Italian Stallion gives us a great write-up of his national championship road race here.

Crown Jules: Stomped everyone except Stathis the Wily Greek and the Italian Stallion on the Switchbacks, outsprinted John “Dillinger” Hall, who kicked me out the back like a pro roadie’s under-the-armpit snotblow.

Rico Suave: Got badly shredded on the Switchbacks, roared back on Wheatgrass to smash everyone up to the Domes, busted up the field on the Glass Church, towed WM to the line, beat him with a bike throw. I hope Rico never discovers drugs.

Erik the Red: Dropped all but a handful on Better Homes, took the sprunt at Hawthorne by a country mile after bridging with JLR. Formally announced his engagement to SPY Elite Team for 2013…yee-haw!

Tink: Returned to the mix, but was under coach’s orders not to engage in any nonsense for a couple more weeks. The sun shone in happiness at her return!

New Girl: Ignored flu symptoms, West Nile virus, superbug, and early onset pneumonia to lace up and ride to the Rock and then Wheatgrass before coming undone at the seams. Dr. Wanky has ordered bed rest until further notice.

Crit Champ: Showed up on the Donut after bringing home a silver medal from nationals, attacked the field on Paseo del Mar, followed all the moves until gravity took over. Also, wrote a fantastic piece about his season vs. the national championships. Read it here.

Surfer Dan: Displayed fine form that comes with his recent 899-mile weeks in preparation for the Everest Challenge, where he and a few other hardy souls will climb the highest mountains in California on a dog sled. Did three repeats up Crenshaw prior to showing up on Wheatgrass and smacking the snot out of us.

Ms. Abs: Was spied sunning herself on the strand in RB this morning, so we got to chat about life and Pen CX; she also updated me on Steve B.’s 198-mile, 11k of climbing ride that he did immediately prior to the Life Flight and coma resuscitation team.

Suze: Pushed several struggling wankers up through Portuguese Bend, and got a nice push on the tush by the Italian Stallion just past Terranea. Like the eye of Mordor, Wankmeister sees it all!

G3: Out for an easy noodle ride, set the fifth best overall time on the short Donut Loop. Ouch. Glad he wasn’t riding in earnest. Toured with WM along the Esplanade on his boss cruiser, with world’s cutest Ava in tow. When you see a kid that cute riding with G3, it makes you sure of this much: She takes after her mother.

Pilot: Noticed my general bonkishness and loaded me up with a full tankard of iced coffee atop the Hill. I owe you one; actually, I owe you several.

Lake(r): New inter-galactic rep for Lake Cycling showed up to taste the Donut despite being HQ’d in San Diego. Give him a welcome the next time he comes around. If there is a next time, as he sat with Wankmeister out at CotKU and learned that the South Bay is essentially an insane asylum without proper walls.

Iron Mike: Treated another passel of ingrates to $400 worth of nasty, foul-smelling, barely potable wheat grass, which made my front two teeth fall out and turned the others deep green. So at least they all match.

Junkyard: Spent Saturday in the 200-degree heat climbing Latigo, Piuma, Crownview, Anchovy, Deer Creek, Decker, and Questhaven, then couldn’t figure out why his legs were flat on the Wheatgrass Ride. I promised to draw him a diagram to explain it, as he’s a visual person.

Sparkles and VV: Rode the Wheatgrass in halter tops due to predictions of high heat, causing several neck strains in the field and aggressive fighting in the wankoton to ride next to them.

Casey Stengel: While he was noodling up to the Domes and I was chasing Rico Suave with all my might, he hopped out of the saddle and gave me a massive tow to within spitting distance of my quarry. The spit didn’t carry, though, and I never closed the gap.

Dude in Antique Sidis: I don’t know if you remember the Sidi Revolution, the first cycling shoe to use velcro, but Dude was wearing a pair and it looked like he hadn’t taken them off since 1986, including his hike across the Himalayas and the year he spent marching across a field of cow manure. We made him sit downwind at the Jamba Juice, where he killed a small flock of starlings with the smell.

When the cuties are in your corner

July 16, 2012 § 8 Comments

I got up from my desk on Friday and tottered. My assistant gave me a funny look. I walked as quickly as possible to the restroom without running or trying to look panicked, calmly pushed open the door, noted with thanks to Dog that the only stall was open, all the while whipping off my belt, undoing my necktie, dropping my glasses on the washbasin, and getting the last button on my collar undone just in time to release everything in my stomach straight into the toilet bowl.

You know how just before you puke, your mouth starts to drizzle spit like a rabid dog and you get that nasty feeling of “Shit I don’t want this to come up but it feels even worse staying down,” and then nature takes over and it’s a kind of relief and release at the same time, with the acid from your stomach shooting up into your nose and burning like a match…you know that feeling?

I tried to mop up the mess with the handful of paper towels I’d grabbed as I waltzed in, then washed my face in the sink, went back to my desk, finished up with the discovery I was working on, and called it a day at 2:30 PM. By 3:15 I was in bed, feverish, vomiting, swilling lemonade and counting the minutes until Mrs. WM had finished brewing up a pot of chicken soup.

My Japanese Awesome Princess

My J-A-P makes the most awesome chicken soup, and it did its magic so that by Saturday morning I was able to have a light breakfast coffee, bagels with cream cheese and lox and onions and capers, and a bowl of yogurt with fruit, and some more chicken soup with noodles, and a bacon sandwich with some ice cream on the side.

The Donut Ride was off the calendar, so I puttered around on the Internets and flossed the puke out from my back molars, and finally by 5:00 PM was able to go to the store and buy some pistachios and make a run by the bike shop to get some new tires. Two of my best friends were coming by for dinner at 7:00, but I got a text from Ms. Awesomeness that said, “We’re running late; Mr. Awesome is coiffing his nether ‘do.”

I didn’t know what to say, so I texted back “Okay!” and about 7:30 they arrived. We immediately launched into a giant back of chips and homemade salsa and guac and a bag of pistachios and before long they and Mrs. WM were good and drunk. Dinner commenced and before long things gravitated to that natural topic of dinnertime conversation, circumcision.

Mrs. WM raised her eyebrow. “Whatta you mean circum decision?”

Ms. Awesome. “No, not circum decision. Circumcision.”

“Ooooh! Like-a they do on a Jewish boy?” Mrs. WM glanced over at her son, who was staring hard at his plate.

“Yes, that’s it,” said Mr. Awesome.

“Nah, we din’t do no circum decision on our boys, that’s a trimming on the tree but not gonna grow a longer branch. Good gardener don’t trim no tree top unless it’s a gonna sprout new shoots.”

No one really knew what to say, least of all Mrs. WM’s eldest son, who everyone was now staring at his plate and not saying anything. Leaping into the awkward breach, Mr. Awesome came to the rescue. “You know, I’ll never forget the time this lady and her husband came over to our house and she said, ‘Bill has the worst anus itch!'”

The forks all clattered and WM Jr. breathed a sigh of relief. “Now I’m telling you, if your husband has anus itch, that’s just not something to go and tell the neighbors over dinner. I’ll never forget that.”

With thoughts of anus itch and circum decision in our heads, we finished dinner, and topped it off with coffee and ice cream and fruit. By 11:00 I was ready for bed, as I had racing to do on Sunday, and my preparation was complete.

Spin out the legs before the race

I got up at 5:45 and met Jack from Illinois (not his real name) down at the Malaga Cove Fountains. We did a little 25-miler around the Hill, rode up to the Domes, and then I prepped with a pre-race chocolate croissant and double latte. We climbed back up to the top of the Hill, said our good-byes, and I returned home. It was 9:15, so I took the next step in my time-proven race prep: a 2-hour nap.

Mrs. WM rousted me with strong coffee and more bagels, before sending me off to the races with a peck on the cheek. “Why you wanna waste money at a stupid bike race? Last time even Harry helpin you, you got a didn’t never finish, so this time don’t get no didn’t never finish, okay?”

I promised I wouldn’t get another didn’t never finish and drove down to the Dominguez Hills course. First race was the 45+ Richard Meeker Victory Parade. This is a pretty basic offering for all local SoCal races; it’s an event where 75-100 riders donate $35 to Rich so that he can practice his crit skills…not that he really needs the practice.

With a howling headwind on the back side of the course, several doomed breakaways were brought back by the bitter wall of wind. It became clear that in order to become the next 45+ State Criterium Champ, I would need a plan. So I made a couple of charts in my head that looked like this:

Way to Beat Rich Meeker #1
Sit in and Wait ’til the Sprint
Pros Cons
Don’t have to work Have never beaten Rich in a sprint
Surprise Have never beaten anyone in a sprint
Exciting to watch Have never been near a sprint
Can hang out at the back Don’t know how to sprint
Can chit-chat with friends Afraid of crashing
Doesn’t matter what happens in the race Don’t like to bump other riders
Poor cornering skills
Unsure of wind direction
Poor at judging distance to line
Terrible in-pack maneuvering skills
Unclear how to move up in last few
laps
Easily frightened by loud yelling
Tend to brake in all the turns
Often grind a pedal in the turns
Jump to soon
Jump too late
Don’t usually have a jump after
30 min.
Haven’t developed victory pose
yet
Way to Beat Rich Meeker #2
Breakaway victory
Pros Cons
Looks cool Have never won out of a breakaway
Can appreciate each yelling fan Have never been in a breakaway
Plays to my “diesel” style Unsure of what breakaways look like
Doesn’t require a field sprint Unsure of how they form
Unsure how you get into them
(invitation?)
They look very tiring
They look very hard
Rich is a great breakaway rider
Rich can easily bridge to any dangerous
break
Rich can easily outsprint anyone in the
break
Give up easily
Don’t like prolonged pain or discomfort
This is almost as absurd as trying to
win in a sprint

Conclusion: I should not be in this race

After reviewing my table of pros and cons, it became apparent that there was no path to victory. My chance of winning was zero. So the next obvious step was to quit. Two laps had already gone by, and I was the last rider out of about a hundred. As I whizzed through Turn One, planning my graceful exit at the upcoming driveway, I heard an unmistakeable scream: “Wanky! Go to the front!”

Now I don’t know if you’ve ever had a cheering section in a bike race, but when you hear your name called out, it gives you wings. The next time ’round I peered up, and there they were were, New Girl, Sparkles, Miz Prez, and Mighty Mouse all planted in the shade at the outside of the turn, screaming in unison, “Wanky! Go to the front!”

Well, there was no quitting now. I had the cuties on my side! And since I was the very last rider in the bunch, all the other spectators could see me perfectly. Forget having to pick some doofus wearing a gray outfit out of the middle of a pack of a hundred people wearing gray. Plus, my little camera was hooked onto the front of my bars.

Now that they were cheering me each lap and telling me to go to the front, there was no way I was going to the front. Each time around I got happier and happier, and this was abetted by the fact that when you are lounging at the back of a 45+ elderly prostate crit, it’s not exactly taxing. I got caught up with KK about his recent hour record. I fiddled with my camera. I sat up and stretched. Way in front people appeared to be working, but what concern was that of mine? All I had to do was smile and wave to the cuties once a lap.

Soon enough, though, it was five to go, and “Go to the front!” became a moral imperative. I charged halfway up the pack. With four to go I advanced some more. With three to go I was in the top fifteen. My cuties were screaming madly, but I had my hands full with the idiots who were bumping my bars, crowding me in the turns, and trying to kill me.

With two to go I was in the top ten, and out of Turn 3 I blasted to the front. A small gap opened on the field (later reports had it at between sixteen and four inches), but terror had been struck into the heart of Rich Meeker, who tried to hide his fear by chuckling. The giant of the peloton was glued to my wheel as we flew through Turn 4, with the mighty Wankmeister drilling out a brutal tattoo past the finish line and straight into the screams and cries of his cuties, all bunched up in Turn 1 and certain that today was his day.

Shortly past the turn a committee of acids, mainly of the lactate party, held a caucus and chose a new candidate for the remainder of the lap. That candidate was called Mr. Anaerobic Respiration, and he was a much slower and more reluctant candidate than the earlier nominee who had so enthusiastically endorsed the Wankmeister for Champion platform, Mr. Aerobic Respiration. The lactic acid committee delivered their new candidate to each and every one of my muscles, including my brain, with a freshly painted sign painted in sharp spikes of pain that said, “Quit Pedaling Now You Asshole Before You Die!”

With the last cheers of the cuties ringing in my ears, I slipped off the front, then back to the first 20, then the first 40, then the first 50, and finally to the tail end of the bunch. There was a sprunt, far, far away. As I straggled across the line in 87th place, the announcer said, “Rich Meeker! State champion again!”

But all I could wonder was this: is the podium’s top step as wonderful as hearing your name called out each lap by adoring cuties? I suspect I’ll never find out.

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