The good times rolled

October 16, 2017 § 14 Comments

The 2017 South Bay Cycling Awards are in the books. The Academy voted on a slate of incredibly worthy nominees with the following results:

2017 Greatest Advocate, Lynn Ingram
2017 Best Bike Shop, ShiftMobile and Jason Morin
2017 Best Young Rider, Makayla MacPherson
2017 Best Old Rider, Keith Ketterer
2017 Most Improved, Thomas David Rennier
2017 Best Club, Velo Club LaGrange and Patrick Barrett
2017 Best Event, Belgian Waffle Ride and Michael Marckx
2017 Wanker of the Year, Greg Seyranian
2017 Belgian Award, Dan Cobley
2017 Group Ride Champion, Eric Anderson
2017 Best Sponsor, BonkBreaker and Greg Leibert
2017 Best Male Racer, Jay Williams
2017 Best Female Racer, Megan Jastrab
2017 GC Award, Rahsaan Bahati
2017 Greatest Recovery, Debra Banks
2017 Strava KOM, Meagan Jones
2017 Most Happy to Help Others, Pablo Maida
2017 Most Fun, Michelle Landes
2017 Best Spouse/SO, Sarah Butler
2017 Steve Tilford South Bay Rider of the Year, Charon Smith

This year’s award ceremony was dedicated to the life of Steve Tilford. Steve’s wife Trudi Rebsamen and her sister, Susan Ohlman, traveled from Chicago to attend the awards, along with a contingent of Midwestern friends of Steve. Steve was posthumously inducted into the South Bay Cycling Hall of Fame and Trudi was presented with the induction statuette, hand made and hand painted by an artist in England. It was an emotional evening for everyone who had known Steve, and his presence was strongly felt.

But the fact is that these were also the Wanky Awards, and like the event from 2015 when Steve attended and gave the keynote speech, it was a night of celebration mixed in with a healthy dose of silliness and a massive dose of good times. Those good times weren’t immediately apparent to Academy member Derek Brauch and his teammate John Abate, who found themselves feverishly assembling the famed Wanky backdrop with broken pieces of PVC piping, missing nuts/bolts, all with a few minutes to showtime. A quick trip to Lowe’s and some more feverish duct-tape engineering resulted in a shoddy backdrop perfectly appropriate for the proceedings that never collapsed on the stage or the crowd but at all times appeared as if it might.

Academy member Dan Martin pulled off another stunning year of twenty hand-made Wanky plaques, beautifully painted and mounted horseshoes to signify the incredible stroke of luck and confluence of astrological alignments that it takes to win an award. Winners fought like vicious dogs to keep people from pilfering their hard won trophies and swag bags, but it was only when Jon Paris slit the throat of the pinata baby seal, spilling out hundreds of dollars in swag from Performance Bicycles that things went berserk. No one died, thankfully.

The event continued with Rahsaan Bahati co-hosting the awards, and he actually carried the day with witty commentary and impeccable delivery. One of the most important things to deliver, of course, were words of thanks for the numerous people and organizations who prevented the award ceremony from being a complete failure. In no particular order:

  • Strand Brewing, via Joel Elliott and Rich Marcello, who made the best brewery in the South Bay our home for the third year in a row.
  • Yasuko Davidson, who baked the most prestigious awards of the entire night … the magical loaves of bread! Recipients James Cowan and Greg Leibert looked pretty stoked!
  • Patrick Barrett came to the awards with pounds and pounds of smoked brisket, making himself a true champion of the people.
  • Velo Club LaGrange donated $1,500.00 to defray expenses, and believe me, otherwise we would have been quite frayed.
  • Big Orange Cycling kicked in $1,000.00 to further defray the frayees, and it was awesome.
  • Long Beach Freddies gave $1,000.00 to this august event, meaning that with a bit of creative accounting and skulduggery and cooking-of-the-books, we would almost end up in the red, instead of being drowned in red ink.
  • South Bay Wheelmen gave $300.00 to buy flowers for the wives of the Academy members.
  • Pedal Industries, via Todd Brown, donated custom race-day bike gear bags to three lucky recipients. The bags were custom-designed with the Wanky logo for 2017.
  • Wend Wax, via Ryan Dahl, donated Wend chain wax kits to every recipient. It’s the best lube for your chain; I won’t use anything else.
  • Echelon Color, via Tony Manzella, donated the printing for our posters and for the memorial poster we presented to Trudi.
  • Metadzn, via Joe Yule, donated design services for our logo and for the poster design.
  • Law Office of Seth Davidson, via me, donated South Bay Cycling socks to every recipient, Steve Tilford memorial socks to every recipient, 20 signed copies of Phil Gaimon’s “Living the Cycling Dream,” and 12-oz. bags of Groundworks whole bean coffee to all winners.
  • JoJeBars, via John Abate, donated awesome energy bars–fresh baked, delicious, and healthy food to fuel your ride.
  • Methods II Winning, via Ken Vinson, donated killer pint glasses to every recipient.
  • Mammoth Gran Fondo, via Caroline Casey, donated another set of killer pint glasses to every recipient.
  • BeachBody Performance, via Denis Faye, donated recovery drink mix and energy drink mix to every recipient. Denis also showed off his French insults on stage, which were the best!
  • Origin Clothing, via Marco Cubillos, donated clothing to every recipient and also provide models Bailey and Flint to work the room and be generally awesome.
  • VeloFix, via Matt Brousseau, donated tire repair kits to all recipients.
  • Special shout-out to Hint Water via Kevin Salk, for providing several hundred bottles of  Hint Water which made a huge difference as the night wore on and thirsty cyclists began thinking about the next day’s ride and getting hydrated. Talk about saving the day!
  • Extra-special shout-out to Jami Brauch for getting customized swag-bag stamps with the Wanky logo and hand-stamping all of the bags for that extra custom look.

Of course a ridiculous event like this could never have happened without lots of people flailing around and making stuff up at the last minute. Again, in no particular order …

  • Chris Gregory, who’s been with us since the beginning and is the inventor of the world-famous hashtag, #ewaw, Everybody Wants a Wanky! Chris designed and made the necklaces for past winners, designed and sent out all of the finalist invitations, picked up all of the Charmin for butt-hurt runners-up, survived Costco to get water, and of course served as podium presenter for the fifth year in a row.
  • Sherri Foxworthy, who’s also been on the podium from Year One, providing guidance laced with a bit of profanity, and lots of laughs on the stage. “Batteries.”
  • Stephanie Lin, podium presenter who never misses a chance to dress up and make us all look better than we otherwise possibly could.
  • Kristie Fox, who for the third year has done the hard work of ordering and designing and getting the cake, the cupcakes, the coffee vendor, organizing all of the e-invitations, completing the database, moving huge amounts of junk from pillar to post, serving as shipping terminus for things as varied as lamps, socks, and drink mix, and then of course dancing until the very end.
  • Tara Unversagt, who managed all of the winner signatures on the poster and made sure that the right thing was in the right hands at just the right moment.
  • Delia Park, who managed sign-in and traffic flow.
  • Lynn Jaeger, who showed up as a guest but ended up getting conscripted to the sign-in table.
  • Marc Spivey, Academy member who lined out the sound system and the killer playlist.
  • Derek Brauch, Academy member who built the backdrop under great pressure.
  • Dan Martin, Academy member who made the world-class trophies.

Additional thanks to Bjorn Snider for the great write up! I’m sure I’ve left lots of people off who donated time and money to make this event happen, but hopefully you’ll remind me so I can add them in! Already planning for 2018!

Awesome thank you to Jay Yoshizumi for the fantastic photos below!

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Getting ready

October 11, 2017 § 18 Comments

In a few days we’re going to celebrate the 5th Annual South Bay Cycling Awards. This means many things to many people, but to me it only means one thing: Angst over tying my bow tie.

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Every year I get on YouBoob and watch the 3:42 video showing me how to tie my tie. First problem is that it’s all backwards. They need to stand with their backs to the camera so I can exactly copy them. Second problem is that I know the video by heart. It’s been viewed 4,260,062 times, and 4,260,061are by me. Third problem is that tying a proper bow tie is like truing a wheel. You get good at it by doing it a bunch, preferably on other people’s wheels, not yours. But I don’t know how to suggest that other people let me tie their bow ties; it’s almost like asking a dude if you could help him with his zipper.

Many unhelpful people are always ready to offer unhelpful suggestions, the first and most obvious one being “Why don’t you use a clip-on bow tie?” followed by “Why don’t you use a pre-tied bow tie?” followed by “Why don’t you wear a t-shirt?” followed by “You look like an idiot.”

The reason I don’t use a clip-on tie is because when I was a kid I always used clip-on ties. I had six of them and I wore them all the time. When I dressed up for cowboys and Indians I would always get my holster and my gun and my cowboy hat and my cowboy sneakers and my clip-on tie. In other words, I associate clip-on neckwear with childhood, which is why I stopped wearing clip-ons shortly after I turned forty.

The next most obvious move is to use a pre-tied bow tie. Do I really need to go there? Pre-tied ties are lame. They mean you are lazy and incompetent beyond all reason. If you are too lazy to learn to tie a bow tie, then why are you even wearing pants? Pre-tied bow ties also look horrible. They are tied perfectly and don’t match your slovenly approach to everything else, and everyone knows at a glance that you are too lazy and inept to tie your own tie. Why did you spend all that money on the green tux and the orange shirt and the purple cummerbund and the white braces just to garf it all up with a pre-tied bow tie? Please.

Also, pre-tied bow ties take away a lot of the formality of your special event, for example, your funeral. Special events are formal and therefore stressful. As they’re wheeling in the coffin you are likely to wonder “Is my formaldehyde okay?” or “Did they cover up the stab wounds on my face?” or “Gosh I hope they glued my eyes shut.” It’s that anxiety that forces you to take the time to tie your funeral bow tie right. Formal events are special in large part because they tell you know that if you screw up you’ll be embarrassed and feel bad and etc. So there you are getting all formally dressed up, carefully putting on your fancy clothes, and when the most stressful part comes you cave and stick on a fake bow tie. If you had prepared all year for your big bike race and gotten all nervous and then at the last minute rolled up with a secretly motorized bike, wouldn’t be anticlimactic? Oh. Never mind that example.

The next option is alt-Clothing, i.e. t-shirt and jeans. Well, you clearly don’t understand the Wanky Awards. It is a very prestigious and formal affair. From the very first iteration, when it was held in the luxury facilities of Naja’s dive bar (100 taps!), shoehorned between the pool table and the record machine, I insisted on wearing my tux and bow tie, not because any of the drunken slobs celebrating the inaugural Wankys would care, but because my vision was that eventually people would rise to the occasion and show respect for this august gathering by dressing appropriately.

So here we are in the fifth year, with a rented dance floor, a Brazilian DJ, free food and beer for the first 350 wankers and wankettes, held in a giant beer warehouse in which to swill tacos and munch IPAs. If you wouldn’t get all gussied up for that … what would you get gussied up for?

Now with regard to that “You look like an idiot” observation. Hmmm. Carry on.

END

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PS: Don’t forget the Wanky’s. As if you could. And I may have forgotten to mention that there is free food and beer for the first 350 guests, so get there early.

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The skinny

September 5, 2017 § 25 Comments

Back in April I was reading Steve Tilford’s blog and came across one of his musings on air conditioning/heating and whether or not it caused weight gain. He thought that being hot and sweating burned more calories than sitting under the AC.

It makes sense. So I thought about it as a general proposition. Maybe the solution to trying to stay warm when it’s cold out, or trying to stay cool when it’s hot out, starts with foregoing as much clothing as possible and letting your body do the regulating.

I chucked my hoodies and knit caps and started going around in a t-shirt full time. Of course in Southern California that’s no great feat, since the weather here is pretty much perfect year-round. But if it’s so perfect, why do so many people wear so much warm clothing in the winter? And why do they wilt any time it gets over 90 degrees?

The obvious answer is that no matter how balmy the weather, when you depend on clothing and climate control to make things perfect, anything less than perfect sends you scurrying for a jacket or howling for an air conditioner.

My experiment is about four months in, and I can assure you that it hasn’t caused any weight loss. But what I have noticed, especially during my recent jaunt to Las Vegas, is that my body quickly, almost instantaneously, adjusts to the ambient air temperature. I could go from the frigid casino to the outdoor inferno and acclimate right away. I could re-enter the air-conditioned environs and within a minute or two be sufficiently warm to not even think about putting on a jacket.

The only time during my three days in Vegas that I had to wear a dress shirt and sport coat, I was unbearably hot. I’m not claiming that I could easily walk around in the extreme Vegas heat, either. One day I spent about thirty minutes on the Strip mid-day, and I took a pounding. No natural acclimation in the world will accommodate 110 degrees.

But upon returning to the South Bay in the midst of a horrible heat wave that saw (gasp!) temperatures in the high 90’s, I had no problems at all. It was hot but far from unbearable, or even miserable.

We’ll see how this fares when we hit the frigid winter temps that will certainly dive down into the low 60’s or even high 50’s; brutal stuff. In any event, I’ll save on winter clothes.

END

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PS: Don’t forget the Wanky’s. As if you could.

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Just a fun ride

August 28, 2017 § 30 Comments

Have you ever wanted to do a gravel grinder? Have you ever wanted to know what one is? I did my first one on Saturday and it was different from what I expected. This ride was called the Chatsworth Chain Crusher and it was sponsored by Velofix, the mobile bicycle fixer-uppers. I should have known that anything with the word “crusher” in the title was going to be difficult, but it wasn’t difficult, it was brutal.

“How much dirt is there on this thing?” I asked before we started, sipping on a exceptional cup of covfefe brewed up by Matt Michaels of Gear Grinderz.

“About thirty percent,” said a fellow, thus teaching me a very important lesson about gravel grinders, which is that if you haven’t read, memorized, and Strava-checked the route you are going to be fucked, because when he said “thirty percent” he meant “eighty percent.”

“Everyone here looks pretty hard core for a fun ride,” I commented to another gentleman.

“Nah, it’s just a fun ride,” he said.

“Who is that fellow in the Giant kit riding the Giant bike who appears to be sponsored by Giant?”

“Him? That’s Ryan Steers.”

“The pro?”

“Yeah.”

“Ah, yes. Just a fun ride. Of course.”

The “just a fun ride” split up immediately as the just fun riders pedaled at a very just fun pace that smashed everyone into just fun pulverized bits. After some endless fun climbing we hit some nasty just fun dirt and then I was by myself because even though I am terrible in dirt I can go uphill pretty good and since it was just a fun ride why not murder myself?

On the descent all of the just fun riders I’d dropped came whipping by and I learned something else about off-road riding: Climbing has two parts, an uphill and a downhill, and unlike road riding, they are equally hard. It doesn’t matter how fast you go up if you are a granny with a hip replacement going down.

I rode along on some just fun single track for a long time, hoping that one day I would find the gravel grinder on wide fire roads that was just a fun ride, but instead all I found were technical, twisty, nasty roads whose every inch spelled potential calamity. After a while I encountered my friends Bjorn, Lauren, and Mathieu, who were walking. Bjorn’s right arm was hanging lifelessly at his side while Lauren and Mathieu pushed his bike. We were a thousand miles from anywhere.

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“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“I took a header and did something to my shoulder,” said Bjorn.

Another cyclist rode up. “Hey Seth, can you help me pop his arm back into the joint? I’ve seen people do it on TV.”

“Sure,” I said. “What could possibly go wrong? A couple of men pulling hard on a dislocated arm out in a dirt field. You know how to do this? You’ve seen it on TV, right?”

Bjorn shook his head. “I’ll wait for a doctor.”

Since he was in good hands I continued on. My rear disc brake was rubbing, which was annoying until I popped out of the endlessly fun dirt section to find a Velofix van waiting with food and a mechanic.

Jim popped my bike on the stand and fixed the brake while his wife Hilda proffered the world’s finest p.b. and banana sammich quarters, which I scarfed. I got back on my bike and got lost, returned to the van, but everyone had taken off. Jim pointed me onto the trail, which went up a midget Mt. Everest. I could see the riders far away clinging to its side in a cloud of dust like fleas on a white dog’s belly.

I rode just for fun until my guts spilled out my mouth, caught the other fun riders who were having so much fun they were pinned and gasping, passed them, got passed on the short downhill, then passed them all again, just for fun of course. After a long time I was having so much fun that there were only two riders still with me. They dropped me before the next-to-last sag stop. Then I had some more p.b. and rode on by myself, luckily missing the turn to the Millenium trail, which everyone said was the worst and hardest trail of the day.

I got lost some more and ended up doing an entire just fun section of dirt again before finally reaching the finish. I drank a lot of water and ate some delicious, fiery hot tacos that got my bowels quaking in a flash. As people arrived in bits and dribs and tatters and drabs, they all looked as horrible as I felt, but after a few minutes sipping fresh beer from the tap of Hand Brewed Beer, they started to come around.

Now that I’ve done a gravel grinder just for fun, below is a handy guide to this new and exciting type of fun bike ride.

Q: What is a gravel grinder?
A: It is endless pain smothered in dirt and perhaps blood.

Q: Do you need a special bike for a gravel grinder?
A: Yes. And a special brain (to disregard terror such as falling off cliff sides).

Q: When they say it is “just a fun ride” what does that mean?
A: It will be a just fun before the start and after the finish, but in between it will be a full-on race.

Q: I heard that gravel grinders are done on fire roads, which are unpaved, wide, not technical, and fun.
A: Yes, except the fire roads are disguised as single track that plunges down impossible lines with infinite chances to have a bicycle falling off incident.

Q: I heard that you don’t need a mountain bike or MTB skills to do a gravel grinder. Is this true?
A: No.

Q: The idea of a chill bike ride with coffee, sag, tacos, and beer sounds great. Isn’t that what gravel grinders are all about?
A: Yes. But in between the coffee and the beer is about five hours of hell.

Q: How does a gravel grinder compare to a ‘cross race?
A: Harder. Longer. More technical. Instead of crashing and limping 200 yards to your team tent you will crash and hike five miles cross country with a broken femur.

Q: Will gravel grinding help my bike handling skills?
A: Yes, if you ride in war zones.

Q: Would you ever do another one?
A. Never again until September.

END

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2017 South Bay Cycling Award finalists

August 24, 2017 § 6 Comments

Our four-person steering committee, shattered rudder and all, sat down with the cat yesterday to make the agonizing decisions about who would be a finalist for the galactically renowned 2017 South Bay Cycling Awards.

Some choices were simple. How could we not pick Kayle LeoDoyle for Wanker of the Year finalist? How could Debbie Hoang Efthimos not be in the mix for best spouse? My dog, what she has endured!

Other choices were fiendishly complex and resulted in yelling, shouting, cursing, insinuations about one’s parentage, and repeated trips into Hoofixr Man’s garage for two of the committee members to work out their differences over giant glasses of home-brewed beer. When we were unable to agree, which was pretty much all the time, we left it up to the cat, Anaximander.

Since cats don’t talk much, and certainly don’t do so on command, Anaximander would break the tie by purring. Long purr meant yes, short purr meant no. And so it went.

Here are the finalists, culled from a garbage heap of worthy nominees, names legendary in the niche within an invisible crevice inside the  microscopic crack of the non-sport of profamateur bicycle pretend racing. The criteria were of course rigorous. Unlike past years, not a single name was selected simply because all the other names sucked so badly. Okay, maybe one or two.

Each nominee was evaluated as follows:

  1. Suzy-Johnny come lately, or person who’s been around the block a few times?
  2. Past recipient of the same award? If so, your chance of getting it again is basically zero. Ish.
  3. Desperation. Was the nominee dying to get the award? Had the nominee politicked? Was the nominee the beneficiary of a 10-page, detailed nominee list submitted by a “friend” to “guide” the selection process?
  4. IDGAF factor. Does the nominee GAF? No award for you if you don’t show up, even though last year Elijah left early (no, we haven’t forgotten), and Joe Yule did too, with no excuse other than he “had somewhere else to go,” i.e. bed.
  5. Distance. Is the nominee coming into town from far away?
  6. Laughability. Will there be a good story to tell about the nominee? Or is the nominee a quiet, hard worker who blends into the background, never to be seen walking down the streets of Manhattan Beach late at night with a giant inflatable sex organ?
  7. Bro-ishness. Is the nominee part of the “in” crowd? Or does the nominee shun public association with such an obvious bunch of losers?
  8. Dues paying. Has the nominee slogged in the trenches for years, never to be recognized for her/his contributions, or is the nominee a glad-handing, publicity seeking wanker who has been twisting arms, bribing committee members, and hustling like a cheap whore on Christmas Eve?
  9. Disappointment factor. Would the nominee be emotionally crushed by being omitted? Or would the nominee be more crushed by being a finalist and not winning? No award ceremony is a success unless a majority of nominees feel like the whole thing was a cheap ripoff of a badly-done sham.
  10. Were we tired of arguing and ready to chuck the whole thing so we could go home and have dinner?

As you can see from the above, none of the above criteria was favorable or unfavorable. You could be a trench-laborer and ignored, or a trench-laborer and a finalist. You could be a contemptible showboater and not selected, or a contemptible showboater and a shoo-in. Although the criteria were very rigorous, they were randomly applied, especially as Hoofixr Man’s rye brew began to affect half of the committee and especially after Anaximander stopped purring and shifted into cat-flatulence mode.

Anyway, here’s the list. If you are on it, go ahead and celebrate or despair, as appropriate. If despite your legendary contributions you were mercilessly snubbed, remember that the race goes not to the swift or the wise, but to she who perseveres. Or as Charlie Brown would say, “Just wait ’til next year!”

2017 South Bay Cycling Award Finalists

Greatest Advocate: David Pulliam, Lynn Ingram, Peter Flax
Best Bike Shop: ShiftMobile, Bike Palace, Raleigh SaMo
Best Young Rider: Makayla MacPherson, Megan Jastrab, Bader Aqil
Best Old Rider: Jan Palchikoff, Michael Hines, Keith Ketterer
Most Improved: David Ellis, Thomas David Rennier, Elijah Shabazz
Best Club: Velo Club LaGrange, Big Orange Cycling, Bahati Foundation Cycling Club
Best Event: Belgian Waffle Ride, Telo, CBR Series
Wanker of the Year: Kayle LeoGrande, James Doyle, Greg Seyranian
Belgian Award: Evens Stievenart, James Cowan, Dan Cobley
Group Ride Champion: Josh Alverson, Eric Anderson, Jack Daugherty
Best Sponsor: RAAM/Joseph Duerr, BonkBreaker, Helen’s Cycles
Best Male Racer: Justin Williams, David Holland, Matt Wikstrom
Best Female Racer: Makayla MacPherson, Megan Jastrab, Coryn Rivera
GC Award: Dan Cobley, Greg Leibert, Rahsaan Bahati
Greatest Recovery: Debra Banks, John Walsh, John Abate
Strava KOM: Phil Gaimon, Fred Mackey, Meagan Jones
Most Happy to Help Others: Joann Zwagerman, Pablo Maida, Patrick Barrett
Most Fun: Michelle Landes, David Wells, Raja Black
Best Spouse/SO: Debbie Hoang Efthimos, Julie Black, Sarah Butler
Steve Tilford South Bay Rider of the Year: James Cowan, Charon Smith, Greg Leibert

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Racers, start your calendars!

August 4, 2017 § 10 Comments

A bad idea born of febrile minds, the annual South Bay Cycling Awards, a/k/a The Wankies, staggers along towards a milestone few thought possible and even fewer wanted: The Fifth Showing Up of the Emaciated, an award ceremony so fraught with ridiculousness, bad taste, and beer that it was refused a venue by 37 different proprietors.

Whether it was half-naked crossfit dancers, a terrible comedian, or simply too many people crammed into a stuffy bar next to a wharf, the Wankies set a mark every year for lowness and embarrassment. Who can ever forget the revelers who stumbled through the streets of Manhattan Beach in 2014 with an inflated six-foot penis?

In any event, the event is here again, and through bribery, cajoling, lies, and promises to help teach Joel how to change a flat, the South Bay Cycling Awards again holds its awesome ceremony at Strand Brewing in Torrance, thanks to the patience, forbearance, kindness, understanding, and slightly addled judgment of Rich Marcello and Joel Elliott.

This year the event is dedicated to Steve Tilford, who will also be posthumously inducted into the South Bay Cycling Hall of Fame. Food and drink will be served free of charge as long as supplies last. There’s no fee for admission, but when the venue fills up people will be turned away. Arrive past 5:00 PM at your peril. You can expect another amazing crop of jealous cyclists all vying for awards in the following useless and misbegotten categories:

Greatest Advocate
Best Bike Shop
Best Young Rider
Best Old Rider
Most Improved
Best Club
Best Event
Wanker of the Year
Belgian Award
Group Ride Champion
Best Sponsor
Best Male Racer
Best Female Racer
GC Award
Greatest Recovery
Strava KOM
Most Happy to Help others
Most Fun
Best Spouse/SO
Ian Davidson South Bay Rider of the Year

Unlike past years, when victims were forced to listen to me prattle non-stop for hours on end, this year I’ll be sharing announcing duties with Rahsaan Bahati, who promises to bring a (small) measure of class, professionalism, humor, and good taste to this otherwise profane event.

As in past years, sponsors will be given direct access to a market containing dozens of people who on a per capita basis spend up to $75 a year on bicycling related equipment, less when you include the haggling. Sponsors for 2017 include:

Velo Club LaGrange: Purveyors of fine bicycling.
South Bay Wheelmen: Purveyors of fine Manhattan Beach Grand Prixs
Meta Design Works: Purveyors of fine graphics
Performance Bicycle: Purveyors of fine parts.
JoJe Bars: Purveyors of fine bike food.
Echelon ColorEchelon Color: Making colors from light.
Wend Wax: Makes your nasty chain sparkly clean, butter smooth.
BonkBreaker: Purveyors of fine bike food who compete with other purveyors of fine bike food.
Base Cartel: Purveyors of socks and bike attire. Not tires.
BeachBody: Purveyors of amazing supplement stuff.
MTW: Purveyors of fitness, training, and Charon’s legs.
Little Giant: Purveyors of socks and bike attire who will make you look bikish.
FFWD: Purveyors of fine carbon wheels that are 100% carbon.
BWR: Purveyors of fine pain, aged in oaken barrels.

Here, then, are the details:

 

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Tilford Tuesday: Ten Commandments

May 16, 2017 § 12 Comments

Buried somewhere in Steve’s thousands of Internet pages of wisdom, I came across this gem. It’s a list of ten rules for bike racing. I call them the Ten Commandments.

What’s so amazing about these rules is that they completely sum up what you are supposed to do during a race. If you could master even half of them you’d never need a coach, a power meter, a heart rate monitor … nothing. And because they’re so succinct they’re easy to remember.

As I read through these rules I realized why I’m such a shitty bike racer. I don’t follow any of them. In fact, the more I thought about it, I pretty much am the Antichrist of bike racing. I break all the commandments every time I race. Wow. No wonder I suck.

So I decided to annotate the rules with examples from my racing past.

FIRST COMMANDMENT: Thou shalt never be in the front pulling for no reason.

This is my bete noir, the Pointless Pull. Go the front, hammer, feel like a champion, revel in the pain being inflicted, suddenly feel a wee tired, drift to the back, there goes the winning move never to be seen again.

SECOND COMMANDMENT: Thou shalt always know which direction that the wind is coming from.

Wind? What’s that? Derek the Destroyer flies big jets and used to surf a lot. He knows where the wind is before he even gets on his bike. My Cousin Vinnie wouldn’t know the wind if it had a business card–that’s how well he hides from it. But me? Unsure about where it’s blowing from or how to avoid it, and therefore always smack out in it.

THIRD COMMANDMENT: Thou shalt always know the course, at least in thy mind, before the start and picture where the strategic points, hills and wind direction will occur.

“Before the start” means “chat with others about the condition of the port-a-potties.” Then be astounded when the race starts on a 30% climb. Astounded, followed by dropped.

FOURTH COMMANDMENT: Thou shalt constantly ask thyself if thou art in the right position. If thou are not, thou shalt get there.

I have BPHR, Bad Positioning Homing Radar. Always stuck behind “that guy.” What am I saying? I am “that guy.”

FIFTH COMMANDMENT: Thou shalt know when to do a single pace line and when to ride double echelon.

Huh?

SIXTH COMMANDMENT: Thou shalt not be shouting at other riders telling them what to do. It just pisses them off and makes them want thee not to do well.

Okay, finally one that I often get right. Because it’s hard to shout and get dropped simultaneously.

SEVENTH COMMANDMENT: Thou shalt never look back for what’s going on behind thee. If thou really needest to know, thou shalt drift back through the field subtly.

A few weeks ago I went to the neck doctor. “Doc, I got a crick in my neck.” “You have Rider’s Crick,” he said. “What’s that?” I said. “It’s a joint problem caused by spending hours looking through your armpit backwards.”

EIGHTH COMMANDMENT: Thou shalt not try to show off in races. Races are judged by who crosses the line first.

All I can say about this is, wow. Talk about taking all the fun out of bike racing.

NINTH COMMANDMENT: Thou shalt observe and rate the guys thou art racing against. Watch how they pedal, climb, corner, etc.

This is easy to do but not so useful for me because almost every race starts with the realization that I’ve never beaten anyone to the left of me, never beaten anyone to the right of me, and never beaten anyone behind or in front of me. And the way they pedal is “faster.”

TENTH COMMANDMENT: Thou shalt know where the finish line is and where thou plannest to sprint from.

Sprint?

Anyway, these commandments are so good and succinct you could almost trim them down and paste them on your top tube. And since it’s January 1st somewhere, now is a great time to make a new year’s resolution.

Which I’m going to do now.

tips

END

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