The game plan was 100+ miles out to The Rock at Point Mugu. MT4 miles. Steady out, steady back. No attacks, no single-file death drills, no sign sprints. Just try to average 19mph and be home before noon, with a pee stop, a fuel stop, and time budgeted for the inevitable couple of flats. Everyone welcome, including our local bike chicks.
Of course, as soon as that message went out, a single complaint came in.
“The chicks are coming? Aw, man, we’ll be waiting all day for ’em. It’s too rolling on PCH for the chicks to keep up. They’ll fade off the back and we’ll do in seven hours what we can do in five. Hope you know what you’re doing. Chicks on the ride means sloooooow.”
I considered these various objections and dealt with them as politely and diplomatically as I knew how: “Have you ever thought about going and fucking yourself and the bike you rode in on? Chicks are welcome. Chicks are just as tough as any of us, and most of them are tougher because they have to put up with small-peckered athletic men who can’t stand to admit that women are their equals, causing the insecure guys to make the extra effort to push the pace to shell the chicks.
“This is a steady pace ride. Our women can hang and they’ll benefit from the miles and steady pace just as much as we will. Money in the bank for those of us doing MT4, money in the bank for the women doing the MS 150. It will be hard for everyone, and if they get into trouble on the rollers they’ll have to pace themselves back up to the group. No hand holding and no baby coddling, but no deliberate ass-kicking accelerations, either. Anyone who doesn’t like it can ride the fuck with someone else’s group.”
MT4 Celebrity Checklist
The 6:00 a.m. meet-up at MBSB featured a singular assortment of the very best that Ironfly has to offer, true heroes of the South Bay: the Chief, sitting primed on the stoop, Paul D., Doug P. Dave A., Neumann, Big Mike, Marc, and Yuletide. Other celebrity guns included Haaron W., Chris J., Jim M., Jens, Robert M., SB Wheelmen Tom, Taylor and Renee, Vicki V., Jonesey, King Harold, and Occidental Dan. At the Ocean Park toilets Matt J. and Santa Monica’s most renowned County of Mayo Irishman/Ukrainian Jewish therapist joined the ride as well.
A couple of riders were chagrined to learn that a 6:00 a.m. departure means, oddly enough, that the ride departs at 6:00 a.m. This entailed a bit of chasing until they overhauled us at the toilets. Elderly prostates were relieved at Ocean Park, and Jens took the opportunity to flat. This brought into play Rule #2: Make sure you’re not joining the group ride on a pair of paper-thin, worn-to-the-thread tires, and the Good Tire Rule’s corollary–don’t bring the deep dish Swagmaster two-spoke wheels with the high tech CO2 gun if you don’t know how to remove the tire or use the gun. I learned this the hard way back in 2009, when I switched from tubulars to a pair of Zipp clinchers and flatted going up Seven Minute Climb with Joe Y. and Rudy. They watched in amusement as I tried to put the tube atop the tire…Joe reminds me of it at suitable intervals.
We had all expected German precision and a quick tire change, but Jens ended up admitting to Big Mike that he had no idea how to use the CO2 gun, and moreover he had brought a tube with 48mm stem for his deep dish Swagmasters. This left a tiny little penis tip of a protrusion around which he fumbled the cartridge, prematurely releasing most of the gas. We all hoped that his tire change methodology wasn’t a metaphor for his sex life. Big Mike introduced him to the intricacies of the valve extender and we were on our way.
Manly Men and Their Many Manly Meanderings
When we hit PCH at Will Rogers State Beach, the wind was blowing straight into our faces. By the time we hit Trancas, it was clear that the “chicks” were going to hang, and hang tough. Dave, Jonesey, and Noel took long turns on the front, and the final five-mile slog to the rock saw Doug hunker down on the point and motor into the teeth of a sapping and relentless headwind. We stopped briefly at The Rock, had a candy bar, and turned around.
Noel came to the front and battered on the point all the way back to Santa Monica. “I like to be where the pain is,” he said as he ramped it up to 27 and held it for most of the return from Cross Creek. It was only my repeated whimpering that caused him to back it off in the last few miles to Temescal. The women displayed impressive grittiness as we tackled each successively steep roller, ascending the sharp walls out of Ventura County Line, Trancas, and the roller before Latigo. When we hit the bike path at Temescal and ratcheted back the pace, we all looked at each other and realized that the exhaustion and fatigue wasn’t a gender thing…it was a bike thing, and the bike thing is an equal opportunity ass-kicker.