“How was the ride today, Dad?” my youngest asked when I wheeled in the bike after 95+ miles up the coast, up Latigo, down Kanan Dume, down the coast, and back home up VdM.
“It was fine,” I said. Then I collapsed on the bed.
Mrs. WM hurried in. “Are you okay?” She was worried.
“Urgle,” I answered.
So many things happened on this glorious, sunny, 80-degree day in Southern California that I can’t begin to put them into a coherent whole, which makes sense given the fact that I was incoherent for so much of the ride. What I can tell you, though, is this: there’s something wrong with men who go in for bondage and whips and chains. The idea that some broad is going to put on a weird costume, tie you to a chair, and beat the shit out of your nether regions with a whip until you moan in pain, sob in agony, beg for mercy, and finally collapse in a wet puddle of self-loathing, blood, urine, and sweat, and that you’re going to pay her for it…that’s sick.
It’s sick because you see, if you’d just shown up on the Saturday ride this morning you could have gotten all that and more for free.
Dame Vicious von Flogg: We began a torrid pace at the bottom of Latigo. Spider accelerated up the first little climb, I hopped on his wheel and was quickly shed. Checkerbutt and Fireman followed Spider and got dropped, leaving me flailing off the back where I was quickly overhauled by Dame Vicious von Flogg.
Dame Vicious weighs about 40 pounds, and she cheerily hopped out of the saddle as she passed, tossing her rear wheel into my front fork. She’s got a bit of learning to do, but that’s the peril of being a wheelsucker–you’re at the mercy of the wheel you’re sucking. The pain was almost unendurable as she gradually reeled in Fireman, who’d been canned by Checkerbutt. “Yo, Fireman,” I said. “You’re getting caught and dropped by a chick!”
He fought viciously to get on my wheel, then took a hero’s pull in the universal manspeak of “I ain’t gettin’ dropped by no chick.” After that effort fizzled, Dame Vicious came back to the fore and laid down a relentless tattoo of kicks, punches, and blows to the groin. Before long Fireman began the Dangle of Death, opening gaps and then fighting to get back on. I was glued to Dame’s wheel, eking out every tiny bit of draft from her tiny frame.
Dame Vicious then cheerily looked back. “Goody news!!”
“Urg?” I asked.
“Yep! Daddy says I don’t have to get a job next year and can spend another year getting in shape to ride my bike!”
“That fucking sucks,” I moaned, just as Fireman hung his head, rolled his bloodshot eyes, and lolled his tongue in the Death Rattle of Drop.
Soon the road turned into only a mild incline, and Dame Vicious did the only sensible thing: pulled out her crop, shifted into the big ring, and began to whale me about the head and shoulders, all the while chattily wondering what the best way was to learn not to throw her wheel back into my spokes as she threw her wheel back into my spokes. Every few minutes she’d pause the beating to let the accumulated blood drain from my eyes, then resume it.
We passed people like we were on a motorcycle. I greeted each one the same way: “You just got dropped by a chick.”
Finally, one of the droppees said, “I am a chick!”
“That’s even worse, then,” I panted as Dame Vicious exchanged the whip for a chain studded with small sharpened spikes.
Soon we had Checkerbutt in our sights. Dame Vicious rode him down like a terrier overpowering a three-legged rat, and as we passed him I said, “You just got hunted down and dropped by a chick.”
“Well you’ve been sucking wheel the whole damned way, you wanker,” he retorted. Then he added, in the universal manspeak of wounded ego, “I was just taking it easy because I didn’t want to be alone.”
Then he attacked us. I fought on, and Dame Vicious countered, gapping Checkerbutt, who recovered and attacked again. By the fourth exchange I came unhitched, kind of like when a camper comes undone midway up Loveland Pass. They exchanged blows all the way to the top, with Checkerbutt finally putting a three-second gap on…a chick…after a 40-mintue climb.
Fireman caught me and flogged me and dropped me just before the summit. Spider was at the top enjoying his new sub-40 minute conquest of Latigo. The rest of the wankers trickled in, each showcasing various stages of defeat, despair, and hopelessness.
Checkerbutt: Came up from the City of Cadmium and Mercury Poisoning to represent the Long Beach Freddies in a throwdown with the Second Tier (some would say third) of the South Bay. With the exception of the chick who rode him down and made him sing for his supper, and the caning he got from Spider on Latigo, he whipped the snot out of everyone else, ticking off a 2nd Place on Strava for the Kanan descent and giving me the leadout of all leadouts into Will Rogers. I didn’t have the heart to come around his sorry checkered ass, so I gave him a push as his innards began spilling out from his ears.
Tubetop: Sidekick to Checkerbutt, he rode the way we’re more accustomed to seeing the Long Beach Freddies ride–weakly. This was his payback for the funny email he sent after Solvang. The last I heard from him was a distress phone call from Peet’s in Santa Monica, asking Checkerbutt how to get back to the car in Manhattan Beach.
T. Rex: Blew the pack apart heading out on PCH, shredded everyone in the sprint to Cross Creek, finished the sprint on Kanan Dume at 55 mph…plus.
Cheetah: We were pleased and honored to have been joined by one of the greatest U.S. cyclists of all time, Nelson Vails. Nelson accompanied us most of the way out PCH. Talk about riding with royalty. I reminded him of the only time I’d ever met him. It was at Camp Mabry during the Tour of Texas. I rode up to him and said something and he turned around, smiled, put his hand to his mouth like he was talking into a CB, and said, “10-4 good buddy.” I was amazed he didn’t remember this incredibly precious 2-second interlude we’d shared back in 1984.
Walshie: Kept the gas on along PCH, then dropped off to ride with his friend of so many years, Nelson.
DJ: Avoided the humiliation of having Dame Vicious von Flogg grind him under her jackboot by motoring on to Camarillo and opting out of the Latigo dominatrix chair.
Sparkles: Kept the wheels turning in yet another awesome chick display of strength and fitness.
Douggie: Coming back on PCH he unleashed the crusher attack of death on the short wall just before Latigo, decimating the already toasted group. Then he dropped himself, leaving me and Fireman to flog for a while until he and Checkerbutt caught back on. Despising the safety of Malibu Colony we opted for Pepperdine Hill. Fireman crunched it and Douggie followed through with the pull of black death, Checkerbutt gasping and me doing whatever happens when you breathe more deeply than a gasp. From that point on Douggie hammered like a madman. As we climbed up onto Vista del Mar we got passed by this insane dude with one red pannier, a steel frame, and a fixie, and he went by like we were standing still. Unfortunately, that’s when Douggie could actually smell the coffee at CotKU, and he ran down Mr. Fixie, who jumped in with me and Checkerbutt only to find that 29 mph on a fixie means your fucking legs come detached from your hips. I’ve never seen anyone sustain 350 rpm for a kilometer, but when his sacrum came tearing out his ass it was all she wrote.
Knoll: Had the misfortune to popularize the ride as “mellow,” when in fact it wound up being Sledgehammer of the Broken Sacrum. Knoll utilized every trick in the book, but came up a few chapters short, at least by his usual standards, i.e. pummeling the shit out of me on long climbs.
Hockeystick: Took one brief pull on PCH, failing to alert the peloton to parked cars, overtaken Team in Training-ers, crevasses in the road, etc. However, eyeing BWR next weekend, he opted for an even longer route with more climbing after Latigo.
Major Bob: Hammer. Climb. Hammer. Seek out new climbs. Hammer.
Trixie: Rolled like a champ out on PCH, then clawed her way up Latigo with a very respectable ride, leaving certain veterans to be named later choking on her fumes. Plus, she was extra cute in her blue kit.
Betsy: Rolled with us to Latigo, then did her own ride continuing on PCH. Another hot chick biker who looks good in blue.
Jens: The man who least deserves his nickname lived up yet again to his reputation as Go to the Front Antimatter, a unique force in the cosmos that is diametrically opposed to ever taking a pull. However, he momentarily overcame this powerful negative attraction to sharing the work when he was observed engaging in a micropull on PCH for .000093 seconds, measuring a power output of 12 watts. Progress!
Arkansas Traveler: With the absence of Pinched Nerve Patrick, AT took up his rightful place at the back of the peloton ascending Latigo and successfully maintained PP +1. When I descended to see if he’d been killed and eaten by a mountain lion, I found him doing with Junkyard what he’d done the week before with me–enjoying the ride. What’s with that guy? Or should I say, “Respect.”
Junkyard: It was a painful day of death and dismemberment for our valiant hero, who, after putting his head under a concrete block and having the block broken by a Korean taekwondo blackbelt wielding a large hammer, dragged himself back to the StageOne World Headquarters to begin preparations for the Perry-Roobay celebrations scheduled tomorrow for 6:00 AM plus Zeke farts.
Big Bowles: Another masterful day of shirking by the master of shirk.
Toronto: No matter how many megadeals he crafts during the week, nothing, and I mean nothing, can ever stop Toronto from joining the mob and taking his beating like a man. Always in line to take his pull, always ready to crack and flail when the riding crop of unmercy falls about his tender parts, Toronto got his revenge on Dame Vicious von Flogg atop Latigo by unzipping his jersey and grabbing hold of his massive paunch to explain the source of his climbing unprowess. This led to a paunch-off, where each of the weak, flaccid, elderly, and thoroughly beaten old men took turns comparing the amount of flab they could grip in one fist. Dame Vicious staggered over to the side of the road and vomited, and justice was done!
Skinbag: On the way back, Skinbag advised me that although Dame Vicious had dropped every single man except for Checkerbutt and Spider, he’d put the wood to her on the Kanan descent. I corrected his deluded version of events. “Dude, she waited for half an hour at the top of Latigo for your sorry ass. If it’d been a race she’d have gotten to the bottom of Kanan with enough time for a pedicure before you showed up.” “Well, she’s riding illegally.” “Illegally?” “Yes. Those aren’t junior gears.” “Dude, she’s fucking twenty-two.” Silence…
Godfather: Met up with us in Redondo, enjoyed seeing you, buddy!
Florida Dan: Present, but ultimately unaccounted for.
Cedric le Belge: Present, filled with flail.
Pilot: Rolled out with us…went on to Trancas??
VV: Took the sane route and rode with us to PCH, then went out to Trancas.
Big O Sean: Nice riding with you, dude.
G$: Spied on the way back through Hermosa. Hi, Money!
Mighty Mouse: Spied on the way back through Hermosa. Hi, Mighty!
Suze: Spied on Vista del Mar. Hi, Suze!
G3: No-show because he couldn’t get out of bed in time for the ride. Tsk, tsk.
*Post-ride checklist for sausages with mortally wounded egos (select all that apply):
1. Dame Vicious dropped me because I wasn’t really trying.
2. Dame Vicious dropped me because I rode really hard this week and was tired.
3. Dame Vicious dropped me because she’s so light.
4. Dame Vicious didn’t drop me, I decided to let her go. [Recommended selection]
5. Dame Vicious is 30 years younger than I am.
6. Dame Vicious isn’t a very good bike handler so I let her go because I didn’t want her to crash me out.
7. Dame Vicious just doesn’t have a good enough draft. [Not recommended, as it points out the fact that you couldn’t hold her wheel.]
8. I rode the Donut and got my ass handed to me by Rudy and G$, which is acceptable because they’re two of the best MALE riders in California, whereas if I’d gone on your ride and gotten shellacked by some kid chick who’s only been cycling for a few weeks I’d have to sell my bike and become a blogger.