October 18, 2017 § 13 Comments
The best moment of the 2017 South Bay Cycling Awards never happened. Greg Seyranian, winner(?) of the un-coveted Wanker of the Year award, prepared a lengthy acceptance speech prior to the ceremony in the event he won.
This alone qualified him for the honor.
But the speech was never given. He emailed me a copy and so I give it to you now. I hope he’s not too pissed.
Per your request. Speech A. I was prepared to deliver it, but when I got to the Wankys I realized the audience only had a 10-15 second attention span, so I decided to go with an impromptu short and spicy version.
THE KING’S SPEECH
So when I was nominated for this award I went to Seth and I said, “Wow, I’m so honored to be nominated for this! King of Wankers! I’m not sure I’m worthy of the title.”
And Seth looked at me sideways and he said, “No, dude, this is supposed to be an insult more or less. Probably more.”
And I said, “Well how could that be? Aren’t we are all wankers?”
And he said, “Yes, but look around you. Some people out there still don’t think they’re wankers.”
“Come on!” I said. “Really? How could that be? Who out there prancing around in their clown suit underpants thinks they’re not a wanker?”
“Well, take a look at most of those Cat 3s and Cat 4s and masters profamateurs, not to mention the guys and gals who drink more coffee than race their bikes.”
“Well shit, shouldn’t we tell them?” I asked.
“No, no, most of them have pretty fragile egos that would crumble like a house of cards, it’d just be cruel. Let them have this award instead. Dog knows they’ll never win anything else.”
And I saw the wisdom and the humanity of this, so I agreed. But I was left to ponder what then did the award really mean? And I wondered whether or not I should be insulted.
I had a pretty good guess, since Seth was involved. It must mean that, as Wanker of the Year, you’re not as cool as the rest of us, which was a relief, because I already knew that. Because I’m a super dork. If there’s one thing I’m not, it’s cool. I mean, you can’t get a Ph.D. in the sciences without drinking heavily from the fountain of nerd. So it made sense, me being nominated for Wanker of Year, because I’m a nerd surrounded by a bunch of jocks. I must stick out like a sore thumb!
But then I thought, “Wait a minute, I was introduced to cycling by my fellow grad school nerds. And aren’t half the South Bay cyclists socially-challenged engineers and scientists employed by the AeroSpace Corporation or the DoD? These guys are ALL a bunch of nerds playing jock! So what’s up with a bunch of fellow nerds calling out another nerd?”
So I thought back to the previous winners: Brad House. Denis Faye. Seth Davidson.
And it dawned on me. All these guys are *loud mouthed* nerds! Aha! You see, being a loudmouthed nerd is a major violation of the agreement nerds strike when they participate in sport: thou shalt not call attention to thine nerdom, and therein lies the wankdom, because there’s nothing a nerd hates more than experiencing a modicum of coolness only have some idiot ruin it and drag them by the hair, kicking and screaming, back to nerd-town.
What’s more, all those guys I just mentioned aren’t simply loud, they are men of action. They are nerds who place themselves front and center. They are guys who stick their necks out to get things done. Guys who walk the walk when it comes to helping keep the sport of cycling alive, not through glorious podium shots sprinkled throughout Facebook and Instagram, but by risking shame and scrutiny in the menial task of promoting and supporting and fighting for cycling.
Look at Brad House. Twenty-five years of service to cyclists in the South Bay, host of dozens and dozens of racing events, and rabid advocate of cyclists’ rights, especially when you don’t want him to be. A guy who, despite his frayed shorts, open nut-sack air braking technique, and 2nd Amendment fanaticism, nevertheless races his bike week after week. And he’s a member of Big Orange.
Or Denis Faye, another Big Orange member. The man who launched the heart-wrenching, sentimental, and simultaneously idiotic Burrito Challenge to honor the memory of a dear, departed friend. The man who secured Big O’s largest cash sponsor. The man who formed the Big Orange Dirt Squad, which has brought nothing but fame, glory, and honor to Big Orange. Denis is the first guy to get in your face when he senses injustice, who won’t leave it alone until the wrong is righted. And he’s a guy who races his bike all year long, on the road, in the dirt, and through the beer-goggled haze of the cross course. He will probably be shouting and jumping onto the stage uninvited during this ceremony to make some sort of point or other.
Finally, there’s Seth Davidson, the Mack Daddy of Wankers and perhaps the loudest mouth concerning all things cycling in the South Bay. The guy who refuses to kowtow to the status quo. The guy least afraid to speak his mind, especially in the service of justice and safety for his fellow cyclists. And Seth is the first guy to put his money where his mouth is in the service of this great sport. Yet he is the guy who has literally defined cycling wankerdom by being a giant, in your face, loud-mouthed nerd who constantly kills the cool buzz. But he is nevertheless the champion of all things cycling and racing, and he goes out and races his bike week after week, despite breaking his nutsack every off-season and diametrically reconfiguring his training and racing philosophy every other year. Finally, like Brad and Denis, he’s a proud member of Big Orange Cycling and was one of its founding members back in 2009.
So the question is: am I a loudmouthed, nerdy, man of action, still willing to race his bike, who supports the sport of cycling and is a member of Big Orange? You’re damned right I am!
So I’m honored to receive this award on behalf of all my fellow friends who wanted this award secretly but didn’t get it, on behalf of Big Orange Cycling, clearly the king when it comes to wankers, and on behalf of all you poor souls out there who still don’t understand that you too are nothing but wankers. One day you shall know the truth and it shall set you free, but not today. Thank you!
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September 27, 2013 § 65 Comments
There is a Strava segment outside my apartment. I made it. Until a few days ago, only three people had ever ridden it, and two of those rides were before it became a segment.
Let’s get this straight. There is no reason for anyone to ride up the street, Ravenspur. It parallels Hawthorne and doesn’t go anywhere except to my apartment. It is steep as snot, but there are fifty dozen better climbs within a half-mile that can logically be incorporated into your ride. Among its other drawbacks, once you reach the end you have to make a left onto crazy-busy Hawthorne across four lanes of speeding traffic.
Why segmentize it? Because I don’t ride with a Garmin and I wanted to know how fast I could go up it. Oh, and to also sneak myself a little KOM-action, because I hardly have any left. “What the heck,” I thought. “No one ever rides up this street. It’ll be a nice little vanity-KOM that I can take out, polish, and caress for a few months, maybe longer.”
Uh-oh, looks like YOU SUCK!
So you can imagine my chagrin when, four days ago, I got the dreaded message. “Uh-oh! Your KOM was recently devoured whole by Spencer! Enjoy the rest of the day, gnawing on your own liver!”
If it had been anyone else I would have felt sad, despondent, and very blue. This is because I’ve never retaken a lost KOM. But to have it taken away by Spencer, a dude with eight entire pages of KOM’s, was infinitely worse. Why? Because one of the best Strava riders in our neighborhood had targeted me and my piddly KOM. It was important enough for him to track my activities, drill down to my rides, and wrench the precious little KOM from my soft, chubby hands.
I’m sure the moment he took it, the elaborately programmed disco ball in his living room went off, the stereo began playing “We are the Champions” by Queen, and he threw on his ermine robes and tinsel crown as he paraded naked in front of the mirror.
My sad face transformed into one of violent rage, and I set out to reclaim what was rightfully mine.
The devil is in the details
One of the things that was going to make my retake so hard was the very nature of the street. Coming home from work I’m headed uphill, and have to turn left across two lanes of fast, oncoming traffic in order to begin the short but steep climb. This means that when I set the KOM, I did it from an extremely slow starting speed. Spencer’s time was twenty-two seconds, one second faster than mine, and I knew that in order to claw back two seconds over a .1-mile segment it would take everything I had.
As I approached the left hand turn I slowed, hoping for a break in traffic so that I wouldn’t have to unclip before hitting Ravenspur. Sure enough, the timing was good and I slid through. The bump is quite steep, so I had it in my 39 x 25 and instantly ramped it up to max rpm. By the time I hit the finish, I could barely see. I got off my bike and, unable to stand, had to lean on the top tube to keep from falling down.
But I smiled. “Take that, Spencer.”
Imagine my shock when I uploaded my iPhone data and saw that not only was Spencer still the owner of my own little personal front-door segment, but my hardest effort ever was a full second slower than my earlier best time of 23 seconds. Now the devastation was complete, and a part of me died that day. I wiped away the tears and ambled to the dinner table while my family consoled me.
“It’s okay, you don’t suck at everything!” said Mrs. Wankmeister.
“I’m proud of you, Dad, because you’re helping me learn through failure,” said my supportive 15-year-old.
The spirit of a warrior
The next day I woke grim and determined. The day flew by, and I hastened it by leaving the office an hour early. My legs felt light, strong, powerful, rested. I warmed up on the ride home, doing quick bursts on Anza and two steady efforts on Via Valmonte and Silver Spur.
When I moved into the left-hand turn lane, I was going a solid ten miles per hour. Magically, a breach appeared in the oncoming traffic. Perfectly geared in my 53 x 21, I launched up Ravenspur. This time there was no question. I raced to the top, collapsing as I had the day before, but secure in the knowledge that I’d reclaimed my KOM.
As I whipped out my iPhone I crowed to Mrs. Wankmeister. “Finally put ol’ Snotnose back where he belongs!” She had no idea what I was talking about, but nodded and smiled.
What happened next was too terrible for words, and I collapsed in a heap, sobbing. My “record time” was a full second slower than the day before, which was already a second slower than my all-time best. The better I rode, the slower I went. A couple of hours later, after I’d stopped crying, I called Derek the Destroyer. Through chokes and half-sobs I explained my problem.
“Dude,” he said. “You’re never gonna get that KOM back.”
“These Strava geeks grab the segments strategically.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“The two biggest factors are temperature and wind. Go back and look at the time of day he took it. It was in the morning, when it’s cooler. You’re always going up that thing at the end of the day, when it’s hot. What were you wearing today?”
“I had on my long-sleeve winter jersey from my morning commute into work. I was sweating like crazy.”
“Your body won’t produce the same wattage when it’s 80 degrees as it will when it’s 70, or 60, or 50.”
“No, I’m not. That’s why you never see any of the Strava geeks take the hard climbs during a group ride. Do you actually know this guy?”
“I’ve never seen him, in fact.”
“It’s not that they’re stronger riders, it’s that they’re better Strava riders. Also, go back and look at your segment. Is there only one approach?”
“What do you mean?”
“You’re coming at it uphill, right?”
“Yeah. It’s a ball-breaker.”
“Is it possible to hit it by coming down Hawthorne and turning right? You’d have a huge head of steam there, wouldn’t you?”
“Oh, come on. There’s no way Spencer would do that. It’s a completely different attempt, doing a standing start up a 13 percent grade versus hitting the climb after a 25 mph sweeping turn. Nobody’s a big enough wanker to coordinate temperature, wind, and a downhill just to rob me of my one silly KOM.”
Derek laughed. “If you say so.”
The terrible team of titans
I opened up Strava, unwilling to believe what I’d just heard, and there it was. Spencer had hit the Lungpopper segment on the Hawthorne downhill, after dropping off Highridge. A more evil, sneaky, dastardly, unsportsmanlike thing I couldn’t imagine.
This morning after the NPR I was rolling around the Hill with Manslaughter, the Destroyer, Jake, and Whatshisname. They were very curious about the segment. As we discussed the awfulness of the whole thing, a gleam appeared in Manslaughter’s eye. “Whattaya say we go and ‘pay Spencer a visit’?”
Soon enough we were charging up Via del Monte. When we turned left on Hawthorne and hit the downhill the speed ratcheted up. I signaled the turn and one by one we swooped through it, then jumped as hard as we could, scattered across the road.
When Spencer checks his email later today, he’s gonna have to go looking for six spare seconds, because that’s how many he now needs to climb back atop the leaderboard. The Destroyer, Jake, and Manslaughter are ahead of him, too. And my front-door segment KOM? It’s back where it belongs. And just in case you’re thinking about coming out and taking it away, I’ll tell you right now: I have a car, and I’m not afraid to use it.
November 15, 2012 § 36 Comments
I don’t believe in heroes. I don’t believe in gods. I don’t believe in heavens or hells. I don’t believe in things that transcend nature. I don’t believe in miracles. I don’t believe in anything that can’t pass the Missouri motto simply because I live in a continual show-me state.
These are just a few of the casualties of the hard boiled atheism, devout skepticism, and jaundiced slant of my world view. It’s a view that is basted with cynicism, flavored with sarcasm, and lightly sauteed with reflexive disbelief. If I don’t think you’re lying, I can’t possibly believe anything you say.
The unbearable heaviness of miracles and the heroes who work them
Heroes are so unremarkable, precisely because they’re so heroic. What else can Superman do, but save the bus from plunging into the turbid waters below? As my favorite blog and Facebook troll, Mr. Troll.I.Am Stone would say, “Yawn.”
For me, the levers that work my mind into a bleeding froth are the ordinary people with whom I daily or casually connect through cycling. Guys like Keith Dodson who, in case you couldn’t guess, is a wanker. I know he’s special to his family. His mother likely thought he was extra special, perhaps the specialest little boy ever born.
To the rest of us, though, he’s just another Long Beach freddie, a planet who revolves around the sun that is Martin Howard, a flailer who pounds the pedals ’til he blows, then laughs at the ridiculous fun of it all, then washes the whole thing down with pizza and beer.
If you can’t enjoy a few pedal strokes and a few laughs with Keith, there is something profoundly fucked up with your wiring. He’s as regular as they come, exceptional in his regularity.
How ordinary? He jogs, for Dog’s sake
Yesterday, as Keith jogged down the jogging path for joggers on the San Gabriel River jogging path, right there in the heavy element broth before the toxic river meets the poisoned waters of the Port of Long Beach, he heard a loud noise and watched in disbelief as a pickup burst through a chain link fence and slid off into the river.
The driver began trying frantically to escape through the rear sliding glass window, but his shoulders were too wide. The power windows had shorted, and he was trapped inside.
Keith then disproved the theory of evolution and laid waste to the notion that only the smart ones survive. He grabbed a big rock, sprunted fifty yards to the sinking truck, and did the unthinkable without thinking, ran the wrong way down the one-way street of survival of the fittest: He dove in.
The driver tried to kick out the window, but couldn’t. Keith tried to bust the window, now underwater, but couldn’t. After two more futile attempts, he finally smashed through the window…with his fist.
Where heroes fear to tread
However ordinary and plain and pedestrian and flailing Keith may be as a Long Beach freddie, he’s an exceptional man in the real world. He’s profoundly loved and depended upon by his family. He’s respected by his peers. He’s a giant among men in the non-lycra world of family, work, and friends, which is to say the only world that matters.
This was a problem, because the water was about to claim him, and he was getting ready to die, and that was going to be a loss for the people who loved him, who depended on him, who respected him, and who rode with him. He was getting ready to die because he had succeeded too well. The window had smashed open, and the inrushing water had sucked him partially into the cab.
“This is it,” he thought. “I’m getting ready to drown in some dude’s underwater pickup truck.”
With a strength that Hercules would have easily mustered, but an ordinary wanker wouldn’t even know where to start looking for, Keith thrust himself against the onrushing water and patiently waited for three or four seconds while the water pressure equalized. You know, those quick three or four seconds underwater when you’re drowning and a drowning man is clutching you in a death grip and the truck you’re tangled up with is dragging you to the riverbed and out to sea. Those three or four seconds. The ones that prove relativity with more power and eloquence than any Einsteinian formula ever will. The ones that last about ten billion years each.
Impossibly for a mortal, Keith then wrestled the other drowning man out of the cab, and as lifeguards will tell you, this is where the amateur rescuer always becomes the second drowning victim of the day.
But not today.
Breaching the surface, a second ordinary, suit-clad office worker who had watched the whole thing on his first day at work in the Wells-Fargo bank building came plunging into the water, slacks and dress shirt and shiny banker’s shoes and all.
He and Keith got the driver out alive. Then they got themselves out alive. And after the cops and ambulances and news media came and did their thing, they went back to work.
They went back to work like the ordinary, pedestrian, unexceptional men they never were, and immediately became again.
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!
July 22, 2012 § 6 Comments
All year I’ve been hearing about Jules. It usually goes like this.
Wanker: Some little kid showed up on the Donut and kicked everyone’s ass.
Wanker: Yeah. Little 12 or 13 year-old kid. Rode everyone off his wheel.
WM: Yeah, right.
Wanker: I’m serious.
WM: Twelve years old? No way.
Wanker: That’s what we thought. No way a little kid would have the lungs for that kind of sustained effort.
WM: Not possible.
Wanker: Why don’t you come out and see for yourself?
WM: I’m busy that week.
I rolled out this morning flanked by Charon Smith and Tony Sells. The sunny weather and beautiful skies meant a huge turnout for the world famous South Bay Donut Ride, although some of the key assassins such as Miles Jr. and Tink were cavorting up the slopes of the Santa Monica mountains with Jeff Konsmo and his merry band of pain merchants. Dan Cobley, John Hall, Paul Che, Derek Brauch, and a couple of other hard hitters were there, though, so it was going to be hard.
“Hey Charon, see that kid?”
Jules is so short that he was almost invisible off on the edge of the peloton. “That one up there with the national champion shorts.”
“Yeah. What about him? What’s he doing here?”
“He’s going to ride away from everyone in this hundred-man group on the Switchbacks with the exception of about seven dudes. Everyone else will be put to the sword. You, Tony, me; we’re all going to go home today and say ‘I got my ass handed to me by a 13 year-old.'”
Charon gave me that look as if to say, “You ain’t fooling me with your foolishness.”
“I know it sounds crazy, Charon. Just watch. He’s gonna run a hot poker up the middle of every tender, middle-aged ego out here. You’ll see.”
Up, down, and around the bend
I watched Jules for a couple of minutes, marveling. He navigated the pack with ease and skill. Giant men on giant bikes bounded by him, around him, and in front of him with all the kookish, wankerish bike moves that infest the Donut at every turn of the pedal once you get more than about ten wheels back. Jules expertly avoided the freds and then hit the edge of the road, rocketing up into a solid position as we climbed out of Malaga Cove.
I wondered why no one was talking to him. Here’s a kid with the confidence, skills, and proven ability to go out on a big boy’s ride and smash people’s heads in. This isn’t just precocious, it’s pre-precocious. Maybe you wankers should talk to him and get to know him now, before he starts peering out at you from magazine covers.
“Hey, man, what’s your name?” I asked.
“Jules,” he said. Totally cool. Totally grown up.
“I’m Seth. Nice to meet you.”
Brief smile. “Yeah.”
He told me about his recent trip to Trexlertown, where he scored some impressive results on the track. That explained his great bike handling. A bit of later research showed that Jules is an omnivorous cyclist: he races track, crits, road, time trials, and ‘cross…and is good in every single discipline. His long string of firsts and seconds from 2011 have been depressed as he’s moved up into the next age bracket, but his winning trajectory being what it is, that should take care of itself in the next year or two
Calm before the storm
No one wanted a hard run-up to the Switchbacks this morning, so it was one big, lummoxing group as we rolled up Lunada Bay and on to Portuguese Bend. At the beach club, where the pace is often single file, the ride continued its leisurely pace. I heard chatting behind me, a giveaway for the difficulty of the ride.
Of course, an easy run-up to the Switchbacks just means that the actual climb will be exponentially faster, as people will have fresh legs when the climb starts. A couple of attacks went just past the beach club, but it wasn’t until Paul Che opened up the throttle that the ride began in earnest.
Paul dragged a small contingent of seven riders all the way to the base of the climb, then swung over. The pack was a tiny speck. Just before cresting the first level spot, shortly after beginning the climb, I blew. The six riders in the break rolled off. As I dropped back into a rhythm, I heard the sound of an approaching bike.
It was Jules.
Do you have an ego? Are you a grown man? Do you consider yourself fit? Have you ever thought that “but for” you’d have been a pro? Is your weekly slugfest a validation of your ability and strength? If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, then the realization that you’re hanging for dear life onto the wheel of a barely-turned-thirteen-year-old child will devastate you.
Though he provided precious little draft, it was enough to latch on, and this kid proceeded to take out his bullwhip, inspect the tip to make sure the knot was properly tied, and beat the shit out of me with it. He had his eyes glued on the break, and would periodically get out of the saddle to jam it even harder. I know that my exhalations, both the sound waves and the bursts of air, were pushing him on somewhat. So, as Knoll would say, “There’s that.”
We overtook a dude from Big Orange, who jumped on my wheel. I blew after the first hairpin as Jules got out the saddle again and just lit it up. The other grown man and experienced racer hunkered down and let Jules pull him for quite a way until he could recover, then he attacked the kid and dropped him. Nice.
I kept Jules in sight until the final turn, and then he was just flat out gone. By the time I rounded it, he had already reached the top of the hill and I never saw him again. Of course the short tow I’d gotten from this dynamo had put me so far ahead of the chasing peloton that I’d overhauled my bottom bracket by the time the next shattered group rolled up.
So if, a few years from now, you hear the name “Jules,” and it’s spoken with a trembling voice, in fear and awe, don’t say you weren’t warned.
And for those of you who think I’m blowing smoke, here’s the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quvjpPVv1zY
July 10, 2012 § 18 Comments
It’s hard to come back from a pleasant vacation in Palm Springs after enjoying the 116-degree daytime temperatures only to find that I’ve been out-vulgared, and by a tweezly Brit bicycle rider, at that. As a kindergartner at Galveston’s Booker T. Washington Elementary School (since razed), I learned early the proper pronunciation and application of profanity. If you could have seen how proud I was when I finally mastered the high-speed phrase “cocksuckinmotherfuckinblueballedbitch,” you would have thought I was the cutest little six year-old you’d ever seen.
Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t rested on my laurels. I’ve worked hard and diligently these past decades to never slack off on nastyisms, crudification, and profanizing in every possible way. Need someone to say something foul and detestable in the presence of ladies? I’m your guy! Looking for an uncouth spewer of obscenity in a formal setting? Call me! Casting about for a dude who can overtrash the gutteriest filthmouth? That’s me. It’s always been me.
Until I happened to go off to Palm Springs for a vacation I didn’t even need only to find that the leader of the Turdy had given an interview laced with uglyisms and profanity of the worst sort.
The word “wanker”? I thought I fucking OWNED it.
The whole idea behind Brad Wiggins in this year’s Turdy France was that he would re-establish order in the peloton and earn back the loyal flock that had wandered a bit since Drugstrong’s heyday. He’d do drugs, but not enough to detect. He’d beat the snot out of everyone, but wouldn’t Simeoni-ize them. He’d get a stacked train of doped up stars to control the peloton, but wouldn’t let the 300-lb. sprunter dude win an Alpine stage.
We’d ignore that he’d never, ever shown himself to be a Turdy contender. We’d ignore that he trained in secret, in a place where the testers couldn’t arrive unannounced. We’d ignore that he was chalking it all up to hard work (“I’m on my bike. What are YOU on?”, etc.) Most of all, we’d let the bigtime fanboys like Bill Strickland, Joe Lindsey, and the other pitchers of softpoop get their pabulum machines cranked up so the “industry” could get back to what it does best: selling shit to fat people that they’ll mostly never use.
The whole idea, however, was NOT that Wiggo, or Wig Out, or Earwig, or Wiggster, would appropriate MY favorite pejorative and then make it even more awesome.
In case you hadn’t noticed, the word “wanker” was mine. It wasn’t yours. It wasn’t hers. It wasn’t theirs. And it sure as hell wasn’t Bradley Wiggins’s. Do a Google search for “wankmeister” and your hard drive will go limp with hits, so to speak.
Doesn’t matter now, though. No matter how hard I blog, and tweet, and holler in the future, Wiggy will forever own “fucking wanker” because he paired it with “cunt.” Put ’em together and you get “fucking wanker cunt,” which is just about the most awesome vulgarism ever, bigger than spermface, even, or clithead. It’s that big.
Going big, then going home
The power in a true obscenity is only released when it boggles the mind. As a child, I still remember the first time I heard “cocksuckingmotherfuckingblueballedbitch.” I was six. It was my first day in kindergarten at Booker T. Some kids were talking trash. My brain ground to a halt. “Cocksucking,” I thought. “Is that what I think it is?” Then I listened in amazement as they repeated it. “Motherfucking? Is that what it sounds like?”
A stunning concatenation of images that weren’t even images filled my head as everything went blank. Then, dimly, “Blueballed” rambled in through the haze. “Blue balls? What are those? Mine are white.” I realized that it might mean someone had whacked you so hard in the nuts that they turned blue, like getting a charley-horse. “Wow, that’s gotta hurt.” And then, finally, like a gentle ending at the coda of a great violin concerto, “bitch.” Such an ordinary word…except that everyone knows bitches are girls, and girls don’t have balls, so this is a bitch with blue balls!
That moment when your mind smashes against a powerful obscenity, something truly fitted to make your brain twist and writhe and grapple, that’s the moment you know you’ve hit pay dirt, and that’s what happened the second Wiggsy unleashed “fucking wanker cunt.”
Imagine! “Wanker,” an ordinary enough piece of slang that makes you think of some chubby dude with a hairy navel locking himself into a public restroom stall, combined with “cunt,” a somewhat rough word that, however, can be made slightly less so by adding a “-y” on the end, as in, “Can I have a scoop of chocolate, a scoop of cunty, and some sprinkles mixed in?” tied together with the ordinary enough “fucking” so that it all seems to hang together until…wait!!! Wanker is a man! Cunt is a woman! A woman wanking! A man cunting! Tied together with fucking!
“BRAIN LOSING POWER! GIVE ME MORE POWER MR. SCOTT!”
“I CAN’T CAP’N, SHE’S GIVING ALL SHE’S GOT, IF I ASK FOR MORE SHE’LL BLOW!”
“MORE POWER, MR. SCOTT! THAT’S AN ORDER!”
“SHE CAN’T TAKE ANY MORE, CAP’N! SHE CAN’T!”
And there I’d still be, stalled in permanent brainlock with Mr. Sulu, Lieutenant Uhura, Mr. Spock, and Captain Kirk on the profanity bridge, if my phone hadn’t rung and knocked me out of the infinite obscenity loop.
What this means for the Tour
In addition to p*wning the snot out of Cuddle Evans in the time trail, Wiggsy took the time to explain that he “can’t be doing with” us fucking wanker cunts because it “justifies their own bone idleness.” Now hold on just one danged minute! Did he really say that he can’t “do” us fucking wanker cunts because of our bone idleness?
If I thought Wiggly taking ownership of “fucking wanker cunt” was astounding, the minute he accused us Twitterers of bone idleness, well, that just ended the discussion. Me? Having an idle bone? If he’d send me his mobile number I’d show him “idle.” Idle like a warren of rabbits, pal.
This dude just went from bottom of the poopstack to the top of the heap in my book. He wants to be big dog of nasty language? Take it away, Bradley. This is a chapter in Turdy France history that you will truly get to write on your own. The rest of us will be trailing, helplessly but awed, in your wake. The Tour de Curse is yours by a mile.
And it couldn’t happen to a bigger wanker.
June 28, 2012 § 19 Comments
Everybody’s so pissed off at the dude whose old lady is suing Strava. “Frivolous lawsuit!” they holler.
“Bullshit fucking plaintiff’s lawyer!” they scream.
“End of democracy and the free world!” they yowl.
Well look here, pussies, that’s not a frivolous lawsuit. In my world, that’s an awesome lawsuit of the most meritorious sort. You want frivolous? Come to me. I once sued a murder victim for littering a park with his blood. I sued the City of Torrance for failing to prevent drunk drivers from hurting themselves when they crashed into pedestrians. I sued a blind little old lady with Alzheimer’s for trespass when she tripped on a hose and fell onto a supermarket driveway.
You fucking want frivolous? What about the time I sued the federal government for making its forms too hard to understand? Or the time I sued all the teachers’ unions for failing to reduce the incidence of work-related blowjobs? I even sued RuggedMAXXX2 for compensation after all my jeans burst at the seams.
Yeah, baby. You fucking want some more of that frivolous shit? Come to poppa. I ain’t never met a douchebaggy, shitfucky, spitsticky, snotgnarly plaintiff with a trumped up claim who I couldn’t massage into a full blown, 15-inch, blue-veiner federal case. So don’t come crying to me about frivolous.
One, two, flush
Now then. Although I’m known far and wide for suing anything and anybody who hasn’t already been tossed into a wood chipper, there’s one tiny little thing you need to understand: all my frivolous cases lose. Yep, that’s right. The time I sued Big Honkers Gentleman’s Club for causing excessive sexual tension? Case got tossed on demurrer, and the defendants sued me for malicious prosecution and intentional stupidity. They won on all counts.
The time I sued Redondo, Hermosa, and Manhattan beaches for maintaining overly hot sand and scorching my soles? Laughed out of court and slapped with double secret probation along with multiple fines, sanctions, costs, attorney fees, and having my name written all over the bathroom walls at Stanley Mosk Courthouse. Go check ’em out. They all say, “Wankmeister = WANKER!”
Funny how the knife only has one cutting edge
On the other hand, I’m racking my brain trying to recall the last time I saw an outraged article about some douchebag insurance company that rejected a valid claim by some poor cyclist bastard who’s now a quad due to the poor judgment of some drunk driver. Or the angry posts on cycling forums about the thousands of people who get life-altering injuries, yet walk away with nothing because the wrongdoer was uninsured, or under-insured, or a deadbeat fuckwad, or represented by an all-powerful insurance company who put the blocks to the crippled, maimed, or permanently disabled victim.
Fuck all those people. They’re just cyclists. What we’re really pissed off about is the occasional douchebag lawyer who files a shitty case and gets thrown out of court on his dingdong.
Please, therefore, make a mental note: Life isn’t fair. So you better be ready to fight hard.
What’s up with this Strava bullshit
I used to do Strava, just like I used to do meth, crack, and bike porn. But I quit. Why? Because it’s STUPID. I post my best time on Ol’ Wrinklesack climb, and then some wanker on a moped, or some wanker who can actually ride, or some chick who’s totally badass, whales the shit out of my time. So then I go back and whale on her time. Then she on mine.
At some point somebody ought to be asking, “Why don’t we just meet up halfway between our apartments, take off all our clothes, and fuck each other until we’re too tired to stand?” [Note to the curious: in my case, that’s at least twelve full minutes, counting foreplay and post-play discussion/analysis/video review.] Wouldn’t that be pretty much the same thing, only more fun? And think of all the clothes we wouldn’t have to wash!
I didn’t just quit Strava because of the misplaced sexual tension. I quit it because after a few months it confirmed what I already knew: I suck, and there are a zillion people who are faster than I am. Well, fuck all of you. I’m still taller than you, and look better than you in a tailored Italian suit. Once I can afford a tailored Italian suit you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Why the Strava lawsuit sucks
It doesn’t. I hope they get sued all the way to Ghana and back. I hate them because they send me nasty little goading messages saying, “Droopy Festersore just took your KOM! You gonna let that happen? Get out there and take it back!”
My first response is, “Fuck you, you spammer motherfucker, for cluttering up my fucking inbox.”
Then, after I cool down, I think, “Fuck you, you spammer motherfucker, for making me feel like a piece of shit just as I was about to really enjoy my day evicting some poor old blind lady out onto the streets.”
Next, I get on Strava, look up the douchebag who bested my time by some ungodly interval, and find out that it’s a fucking avatar. “Piddly Bojangles” is the Strava pen name for some asshole who you’ve never seen on a ride, never raced against, and never heard of. But he just urinated in your Strava coffee and made you glower and snap at your nice secretary before she even got her bra completely unhitched.
The lawsuit is also awesome because, unbeknownst to you, Strava has an indemnification clause that you automatically agree to when you become a user. What’s that, you say? You can’t spell “indemnification”? You think it’s a kind of adult diaper?
No, my friend, Strava has a sweet deal where, when they get sued, they can then turn around and collect the money from you…plus attorney fees! Sweet! That dry scraping sound that’s accompanied by sharp, blinding pain? It’s your asshole, and Strava’s probing it with a rusty legal pipe.
The nasty facts of life
If you do something that affects a lot of people, you’re eventually going to get sued. Hire people and give them jobs? They’re going to sue you. Invite people to join your group ride? They’re going to sue you. Create a foreclosure meltdown that destroys the world’s largest economy and sends the planet into a 5-year financial tailspin? You’re getting a raise. But that’s a different story.
Cycling is cool and fucked up because people get together to do it and have accidents. The getting together part is cool. The accidenting part isn’t. As long as we demand the right to be compensated when other people hurt us, there will always people people who stretch the limits of who-caused-what-to-whom. The flip side is that you could live in a country like Germany or Japan, whose civil law systems provide modest compensation for victims and bulletproof protection for corporations.
You want a few frivolous douchebags to skate through the cracks so that truly meritorious cases have a chance? Our system’s pretty fucking good. You want a steel-reinforced-concrete bomb blast barrier around corporations so they can fuck you at will? There are lots of foreign countries like that. Texas comes to mind…
Instead of pillorying the lawyer filing the frivolous lawsuit, why not take a deep breath and have a little bit of faith in the system? If it’s frivolous, it’s headed for the door.
Trust me. I know.