Fuckdude: Spiritual leader of cycling in the South Bay. Strengths: Climbing, time trails, sprinting, herding cats, babysitting, total mastery of the word “fuck” in all its forms and declensions. One national championship in 2011 and multiple state titles. Weaknesses: Less than 150 road miles leading up to MT4. Prediction: May spend part of Day 4 in the paddywagon.
Fireman: Mops up the end of the peloton, changes flats, hands out spare diapers, tells the crybabies to “Man up, you pussy.” Strengths: Sprinting, wheelsucking, utter and total fearlessness. The only MT4 participant who has an actual man’s job and doesn’t earn his living tapping out crap on a computer. Weaknesses: Beer. Prediction: Will likely take the win at the county line and at the bar.
Davy Dawg: Breaks wind at the front for hours at a time. Not that kind! Strong as an ox, friendly, patient, handsome, best tattoo, never whimpers. Strengths: Sprinting, time trailing, climbing. Weaknesses: Too nice to his enemies. Prediction: He’s bailing after Day 4 due to his alleged job, so will be expected to rain down punishment, especially on Days 2, 3, and 4. Battle to the death with Fireman for the Big Sur sprint.
Gonzo: Renders medicinal care to those in need of herbal remedies. Earned his star in the MT Hall of Shame when his chain exploded on the first climb of the first day on MT3. Strengths: Climbing, steady and strong in a paceline. Weaknesses: Chains. Prediction: He’ll check that fucking chain so many times on Tuesday you’ll think he’s practicing to become a metallurgist.
Woodenhead: Marches to the beat of a different drummer, and her name is Mrs. Woodenhead. Earned his star in the Hall by sprinting up and over Topanga on Day 5, jettisoning the IF WHQ celebrations and victory parade in order to change poopy diapers. Strengths: Anything involving lots of gravity. Weaknesses: White shorts, hills. Prediction: His cell phone will “break” on the afternoon of Day 1.
Bluebeard: Earned the fury of the Fireman on MT2 by dyeing his beard orange. Earned the fear of the LA-San Jose Southwest flight crew and everyone else on MT3 by dyeing his beard and hair blue. “Had to match my kit,” he said. Strengths: Beer cubed. Weaknesses: Cold, rain, mud, training, anything before 9:00 a.m. Prediction: He’ll enjoy every second off the bike.
Randommeur: Annually voted “Most Likely to Die in a Fiery Crash” by those who ride near him, Randommeur is famed for the random unpredictability of his bike handling. Friendly, tough, and recovering from a busted hip (lost focus for a second, whoops). Earned his star in the Hall by bringing his wife on MT2. Shamefulness heightened when she rode better than most of the alleged men. Strengths: Endurance. Weaknesses: Straight lines. Prediction: He will take the lid off at least one can of whupass. Whether he can get it out of the can without crashing remains to be seen.
StageOne: If Fuckdude is the spiritual leader of South Bay cycling, StageOne is its insignia. StageOne, also occasionally called “Junkyard” due to the numerous metal parts in his skeleton from previous crashes, is beloved by all. Strengths: Grit, good humor, toughness, Apple products. Weaknesses: Poor eyesight, recovering from a full elbow rebuild. Prediction: A prescription set of cycling glasses would be nice.
Hockeystick: Happiest guy in the history of cycling, ever. Has “happy” moments where he fiddles with his buddies’ brakes before a gruesome descent and similar brainfarts. Would ride his bike to the ends of the earth if you gave him an unlimited beer gift card, a cell phone, and King Harold to change his flats. Strengths: Real estate. Weaknesses: Leaps before he looks. Prediction: Will be just as happy on Day 5 as he was on Day 1.
Pratfall: Loves to ride his bike, but usually opts for work instead. Responsible, successful, tall, handsome, and the kind of stand-up guy any woman would love to have. Unfortunately, we’re not women and his dedication to work means that by the middle of Day 2 he will be one hurting puppy. Strengths: Mortgages, tuition. Weaknesses: Well, yes. Prediction: Last to a fight, first to a feast.
Peachfuzz: On MT3, when he was 15, Peachfuzz finished Day 1 one by collapsing on the hotel room floor, curling into a fetal ball, and sleeping for 12 hours straight in his sodden, salty, smelly bike suit. One year later he’s kicking ass on all comers up the Switchbacks, winning races in Belgium, and using MT4 as a leg stretcher prior to the national team training camp in San Diego. Strengths: Youth. Weaknesses: None. Prediction: Everyone else will be racing for second.
Hairball: Father of Peachfuzz. Quiet, solid, steady, last year he was a chaperone, this year he’ll be holding on for dear life when Peachfuzz hits the climbs. Strengths: He can slow down Peachfuzz by threatening to withhold his allowance or making him do his math homework. Weaknesses: Peachfuzz can beat him up and take the money anyway. Prediction: We’ll hear a lot of “That’s my boy!” for five days.
Breathanarian: 17 year-old junior racer on his first Man Tour. Breathanarianism is a subset of veganism. Its adherents only eat food products made from air. He weighs twelve pounds and is 5’11”. Strengths: Climbs rather quickly. Weaknesses: Bogs down in LA, where there hasn’t been any air for the last few decades. Prediction: Overwhelming hunger and survival instinct will have him gnawing raw bacon by the end of Day 3.
Iron Mike: As he’s the only adult on MT4, he’s been assigned to look after Breathanarian. Iron Mike limits his consumption to food items that never had a face, and has the rather unusual trait of always doing what he says he’s going to do. Strengths: Endurance. Weaknesses: Kindness and basic human decency. Prediction: Thorough preparation with several 118-mile rides under his belt, he’ll be as strong on Day 4 as on Day 1. Remember last year? I do…
M8: The only MT4 participant with a personal assistant, M8 got in all his MT4 training miles during MT3. He was spotted once this year on the Pier Ride, albeit briefly. M8 still holds the record for the worst hungover, least fit mantourist who still got up and rode the next day. Strengths: None observed, ever. Weaknesses: Too many to list. Prediction: M8 will still be the most popular guy on the ride, and after a few Advil and a hearty barf or three, he’ll be good as new.
Dr. Jekyll: Part of the IF Norcal contingent, by day Dr. Jekyll invents new drugs for a major pharmaceutical firm. By day off, however, he’s Mr. Hyde of the hills. Skinny, fit, and a lover of punishment, Mr. Hyde is the bastard who came up with the route for Day 1 of MT3 which saw a selection of mantourists bundled into the paddywagon in order to get over the second big climb. Strengths: Uphills. Weaknesses: Got to be careful here, he’s my roomie this year. Prediction: He’ll be battling out the 2nd place KOM with Pretty Boy (1st already reserved for Peachfuzz).
Canyon Bob: The nicest guy there is. Simply that. Oh, and he’s been doing all the Saturday rides, so he’s got the legs to rip yours off. Strengths: Funny jokes as you’re buried in the red, effectively popping you off the back; climbing; time trailing; pacelines; CPR; helping you change your flat as the group rides off in the distance. Weaknesses: Canyons. Prediction: Canyon Bob and Iron Mike will duke it out for honors as to who changes more flats for lazy cheapasses who showed up with threadbare tires.
Pilot: If there’s one guy you want at the helm when you’re plunging off a cliff, it’s the Pilot. He’s so good that he could literally steer your sorry ass back up onto the lip of the cliff, get you out of the gravel and back onto the road. Wicked sense of humor matched by a nasty, brutal, punishing, ugly, vengeful pair of legs. Strengths: Life vests, seat belts, oxygen masks. Weaknesses: First 30 miles of Day 3, MT3. Prediction: He will be rolling like a fast fucking freight train.
Chief: The Internet doesn’t have enough space to list the accomplishments of the Chief, formerly master of all he surveyed. Each year Chief obtains the maximum score on the inverse proportional scale of training to enjoyment. Prepares for MT exclusively with excessive libations of firewater, Chief has never met a hill he couldn’t say something nasty about. Strengths: Hard liquor, client development on coffee/PCH rides in the middle of the workday, delegation. Weaknesses: CMC’s, paperwork, hills, anything over 15 mph. Prediction: Chief will form a rearguard contingent with M8, Sta-Puft, Woodenhead, Bluebeard, and one or two others ensuring that no one gets left behind.
Pretty Boy: Dresses only in Rapha, with lots of white. Changes kits twice daily so the icky sweat doesn’t build up on his Rapha undershirts. Pretty Boy is a radiologist, so when anyone needs to have their MRI or x-ray film read on the tour, he’s always available. If you’re bleeding or hurt, though, tough shit. Pretty Boy trained for 6 weeks prior to the tour in Austria, where he reports that “the default gradient seems to be 18%.” Strengths: Climbs like a beast; KOM’d MT3 to my eternal chagrin. Weaknesses: The front of the peloton, icky dirt, non-premium cycling kits, poorly manicured toes and feet. Prediction: He’s the only one who will give Peachfuzz a true run for his money.
Silenttreatment: We rode together for five days last year, and have ridden together a couple of hundred miles in 2011. I still can’t tell you the first thing about him. Dude is quiet, which is obviously his strategy to avoid having anything posted about him on the world-famous PV Cycling blog. Strengths: Keeping his mouth shut. Weaknesses: Voicing his opinion. Prediction: Lots of 1 and 2-day pauses between sentences.
Methuselah: Living proof that despite what’s written in the Bible, the earth is more than 4,500 years old. Methuselah was raised in impoverished South Africa, where the only way a man could make his way in the world was through hard work, dedication, clever business skills, hustle, and the forced labor of 25 million humans deprived of basic human rights. Methuselah trains 600 miles per week. On MT3 he took inordinate pleasure in watching his 40 y/o son slink into the paddywagon while he sturdily pounded through every stinking mile. Strengths: Perseverance in the face of adversity. Weaknesses: Perseverance in the face of common sense. Prediction: He will persevere.
Illtrainlater: Happy-go-somewhat-lucky son of Methuselah, he has carried on the family tradition of thriftiness, hard work, dedication, and self-sacrifice except on days of the week that end in “day.” He was a no-show on MT2, but trained hard for MT3 by showing up with a case of bronchitis. Illtrainlater recovered and on Day 5 shattered the group with a 37-mph tow into the headwind, leaving dear old dad choking on the fumes. Strengths: Tomorrow. Weaknesses: Today. Prediction: He’ll show up ready to drill it on the flats.
Bigbowls: Never stops for anyone, never waits, and always gets a head start by sneaking off ahead of schedule. Famed for tackling the hardest rides around: the Death Ride, Son of Death, Mt. Everest Challenge, Breathless Agony, Gonad Pulp-Crusher, Smashed Liver of Misery, etc. Great sense of humor, never whines or complains, and is of the “Happy to be on My Bicycle” tribe. Seen all over the South Bay at all times of the year, and will show up for the tour in fighting trim. Strengths: Tough as hell, endurance, labor disputes. Weaknesses: Leaving on time. Prediction: He’ll sneak off early out of Big Sur, but we’ll catch him anyway.
Timidator: Younger than Methuselah, but still older than dirt. Timidator is famed for putting his head down and gutting it out. He’s the quintessential guy without a quitting gene, gotta bury him to beat him. Quiet and thoughtful, I’ve talked with him before about the tattoo on his leg. It’s a moving and powerful story, and shows the depth of his love as a father. Do yourself a favor and ask him about it sometime. Strengths: Tough but gentle. Weaknesses: He’s hanging out with us. Prediction: He’ll finish up this man tour just like he’s finished the others, and we’ll enjoy every minute of it we spend with him.
Twigman: Often puts family, job, and financial independence ahead of cycling, unpaid bills, fucking off, and swilling beer with Fireman, M8, Fuckdude, and Gonzo. Twigman would roar up the climbs if he rode more than twice before Man Tour, but as they say, if grandma had balls she’d be grandpa. Strengths: Suffering, hanging out. Weaknesses: Day 3 onward. Prediction: He’ll suffer like a dog, and love every minute of it.
Rocky: First-timer on Man Tour, Rocky hails from Colorado and is coming down to the flatlands to show us how real men ride bikes. Since none of the Man Tour vets are real men, no one really wants to know. No intel on Rocky, unfortunately. Is he wide of girth? Twiggy of leg? Saggy of gut? Iron of will? Strengths: Better be hills or he’ll get a star in the Hall. Weaknesses: Unknown. Prediction: He’s our wildcard.
Triple: Bad news for Triple haters out there…he ripped my fucking legs off on Sunday going up the Reservoir to the Domes. He’s lean, mean, and has obviously had the sex spigot turned off for a while. Either that or he’s wearing a testosterone patch the size of a blanket. Strengths: Uphill, endurance. Weaknesses: Wine. That last time at King Harold’s they had to pour him into the car. Prediction: Those who’ve been slacking off on the hills will be put to the sword.
Coupe DeVille: A former marathoner and Man Tour veteran, Coupe DeVille is tough, fit, fast, and has been logging his MT4 miles religiously. In the Pilot/Canyon Bob category of “great guy to ride with,” he never fades and never whines. Strengths: Long efforts, pacelines. Weaknesses: Wine. Prediction: Get him and Triple a box of Napa’s finest and they’ll be no trouble at all.
Douggie: Made the fatal mistake of asking not be nicknamed “Douggie.” Otherwise, overall he’s one of the fittest and best-prepared Man Tourists of 2011. He logs the miles, does speed work, gets in the climbing, and frankly could have done MT4 in August with no problems at all. Strengths: Climbing, pacelines. Weaknesses: Doesn’t like to sleep on the rollaway cot in Big Sur. Prediction: His train will run on time.
Coolhand: Never flustered, even when he’s flatted and is twenty minutes off the back with me on Day 4 before we hit the 101. Takes a back seat to no one in the beer department, never complains, just puts his head down and takes his beating like a man. If he’s there at the sprint finish, he’ll pop you. Strengths: Sprinting, chugging. Weaknesses: Pasta. Prediction: Fast finish in Big Sur.
Fishnchips: Originally from Wales, which is a small town in England filled with stupid people, Fishnchips spent his first years in America unlearning Welsh and learning how to speak proper Americlish. He can now be understood by most adults before his second beer. When he’s not learning to talk English goodly, he’s pounding on the bike. Strengths: Language. Weaknesses: Near-sighted senior citizen motorists. Prediction: He will spend much of the time wondering if the tradeoff of good year-round weather in California for intelligent company in the UK was really worth it.
Gritty: By day a boring accountant, and by night an even more boring accountant. Ugliest pedal stroke known to man. However, he backs up the ugly stroke with some killer speed and unbeatable toughness. Loves nasty riding conditions. He’s pegged a silver in the national men’s elite crit champs before, and knows how to ride a bike. Came within a tire of taking the LA County Line on MT3, and is as cagey as he is tough. Strengths: Last-second kicks, caginess. Weaknesses: Beauty. Prediction: He’s ALWAYS in shape.
Stay-Puft: Used to ride outdoors, but nowadays he trains religiously indoors. Unfortunately, his religious discipline is a tad spotty, so in the last six months he’s only logged half an hour or so of prayer time. Strengths: XXL. Weaknesses: Uphills, fast speeds, pacelines, endurance, sprinting, time trailing, etc. Prediction: MT4 will be a living hell.
Toronto: Deprogrammed triathlete, Toronto is fit year-round, even the winter he spent in Canada when he wore out the local gym’s spin machines. Never out of shape, always competitive, Toronto spanked me badly at last year’s club time trial. I’ve gotten over it, but not really. Cheerful, has a thing about pain. Likes it when it hurts. Strengths: Time trailing, endurance, pacelines. Weaknesses: Butter, lard.
Bigsurf: Biker, big wave rider, multi-sport athlete, and MT4 official photographer, Bigsurf drives one of the paddywagons and helps the mantourists change flats, air up tires, get a snack when they tummies hungwy, and makes sure the rolling entourage works flawlessly. There would be no Man Tour without him and Anchor. Well, actually, there might be, but it would be an unmitigated disaster.
Anchor: Twigman’s dad, Anchor, like Bigsurf, holds the whole thing together. He drives the other paddywagon and provides Kleenex, Band-Aids for booboos, and sanitary napkins for the mantourists who are habbing a bewy hawd day. Anchor is there for you, whether you’re rolling like a stud or, like Major Bob, smashing into someone else at 35mph.
Artiste: Famed for his artistic creations, Artiste sees everything slightly differently. Nonetheless, he’s always a blast to pedal with, and is one of the many South Bay cyclists who also have surfer cred. He’s generally known for not doing wild-ass crazy shit on the bike, and doing his turn when it’s time. Strengths: Dark blues, pack-dwelling. Weaknesses: Pitchers that still have anything left in them. Prediction: He’s known for getting in his MT miles, so it should be a relatively painless slog. Relatively.
Postal: I’ve not ridden with him much, so am going to have just make this up. He’s um, well, uh, known for, ah, his overwhelming, uh, and his impressive, er, things that he’s done while cycling in the, um, places he’s been known to ride, and is often considered to be, well, one of the people who, uh, everyone thinks is the best, um, one who does the things he’s good at. Strengths: Ah, climbing, and, um, sprinting. Weaknesses: Er, time trailing. Prediction: He’ll, um, sort of, well, you know.
Cadillac Draft: Cadillac is much beloved on group rides of every kind due to his large presence and ability to create the Rolls-Royce, or rather the Cadillac of all drafts. Once you tuck in behind him, your wattage will drop to zero. He’s tall, he’s wide, he’s happy, and as Bob Seeger once sang, provides “shelter against the wind.” Strengths: Pushing away massive amounts of bothersome air. Weaknesses: Tends to tire out sooner rather than later. Prediction: Fistfights will be breaking out from Day 3 onward to see who gets his wheel.
Wankmeister: Adherent to the “Three Ups” training method of Build Up, Blow Up, and Give Up. Currently in build phase. Blow phase typically happens middle of Day 1. Give phase runs from November-September, with a brief training valley reserved for Jaeger’s FTR in January and a thorough drubbing at Boulevard and Punchbowl. Strengths: Typing, Facebook, procrastinating. Weaknesses: Success. Prediction: Will annoy the shit out of everyone and come up short. Again.