Four points

I went out for a quick spin two days ago that turned into something a bit longer. Cruising down PV Drive North at noon on a Monday when you should be in the office feels just like playing hooky from school.

Tink was going by in the opposite direction so I did a u-turn, hooked up with her, and got an amazing blow-by-blow about the brutal Nature Valley Grand Prix stage race that she’d just finished on Sunday. Arriving back in LA at 1:00 AM she was, of course, already back on her bike. Tink’s team, Tibco, won the overall, the QOM, and 125 points for Tink’s backflip twisting plancha that she did off the start platform in the time trial.

It was her first launch from a little covered house, and she went out in style. A light rain had made the platform slick, and she’d been advised to start in a bigger gear, so when they let her go and she mashed on the pedals it tore her back wheel loose, which then twisted her bars, which then pointed her straight at the edge of the platform instead of the ramp, which then propelled her straight off the side. Like I said, 125 points.

All funning aside, Kristabel turned in an amazing performance despite going down in the 93-mile road race, and despite being tasked in the 83-mile road race with “drilling it on the rollers” for the first 30 miles of the race, effectively leaving her completely gassed with 53 hard miles left to ride. Her efforts played a role in Tibco’s overall victory and validated their confidence in bringing her onto the squad as a neo-pro midway through the season. Before long she will be one of the best women racers in the nation.

Back seat driver

On the way back home I stopped at the Center of the Known Universe. It was a sunny Monday afternoon, so the work week hadn’t properly started, and over the course of the next few minutes in dropped New Girl, Gussy and his daughter Lucy, Trey, some moto pro former winner of the Daytona 200, Jens, and a buddy from my youngest son’s Little League days.

“What are you doing here in the middle of a Monday afternoon?” he demanded.

“What are YOU doing here in the middle of a Monday afternoon?” I shot back.

Gussy had just finished a tandem ride with his daughter, who had just graduated from middle school. Seemed like a bit of punishment, but she appeared not to mind. I got to chat with her for a while, and can say that she was one of the most poised, intelligent, and charming people I’ve met … maybe ever.

I’d always believed that the proof of the parent was in the child, and this sealed it.

Still going strong

On the way home up Via del Monte a biker pulled out from a side street ahead of me, so I chased him down. He wasn’t going very fast, and the closer I got I could see he was riding a very old bike with downtube shifters. I caught up to him and we started chatting. His name was Vince and he’s 78 years old.

He started cycling when he was 50. “I’m too old and slow to race around the Hill anymore with you fast guys,” he said. “But I still get out every day and climb up to the top.”

“Wow,” I said, because the top is 1,200 feet in elevation gain and has some sections that are really quite steep.

“Most of my buddies have given up. All of them, in fact. I’ll sometimes call them up and try to get ’em out on the bike, and they promise to one day, but they never do. It’s just me any more.”

“It’s hard to keep going,” I sympathized.

“Maybe,” he agreed. “But it doesn’t get any easier by quitting.”

We parted at Hawthorne and GVA. He’d shared some wisdom, hadn’t he?

Rider down

This morning I learned that Jackie Price Dunn died today after crashing at the Tuesday Night Races held at the San Diego Velodrome. Coming hard on the heels of the deaths of Steve Bowen, Eric Ringdahl, and Chris Cono, I’m horrified, but also numb. My heart goes out to her family and friends.

18 thoughts on “Four points”

  1. We just had another 35 year old cyclist killed on a training ride out to Jean, NV this morning when he was hit by a dump truck. The comments from the Neandrathals came fast and furious on the news web page: “That what bicyclists get for riding on our roads.” “Keep bikes off the roads. Roads are for cars”.

    I’ve effectively quit competitive riding and now stick to hiking. I had my moment almost 2 years ago in Vegas, with a black Chrysler 300M ran a red light at 50mph, struck me and never even showed a brake light. Luckily, I bounced off the car and later the pavement, ending up in the emergency room, but I was back on my bike 4 days later. It’s not what happened to me, but what continually happens to friends and associates that has steered me in a different direction.

  2. Yeah…that was a pretty nice chatty little post until the cyclist down part at the end. I don’t know. That shit rapes my brain. Gotta do it, though, don’t we? I mean report the down stuff. Today I was busting a smart-ass irresponsible move in traffic, I knew what I was doing and had a full 360 view and total control and everything, but the cage-bound were uncertain and freaked and trying to be nice and hesitating when all they had to do was keep going or even try to run me down, I had it all worked out. But a minute later the Voice was saying “this is how you’ll die” and what the hell? This is something I want to hear on my way to get beer?

    I don’t know. The Voice didn’t say when but 78 years old sounds about right. With any luck, I’ll be faster and even more irresponsible by then.

    It gives me something to shoot for, anyway. On another note, what kind of name is Jens? Sounds made up. You can do better.


    1. I didn’t give him the nicky. It’s ironic anyway, as he’s German and a true softman.

    1. Oh…there’s reasons, Dan lad, there’s reasons. I suspect you know that, and have yer own.

      Looks like I’m in hijack mode. Sorry.

  3. A poetic word is worth a 1,000 pictures. Damn fine read before lights out. Thank you, my friend.

  4. Brilliant as always

    Our Irish national champion now rides for Tibco – Mel Spath – although she’s home defending her title this week. Say Hi if you see her around over there!

  5. Wanky, if you didn’t know Jackie, she was a badass…full of life and childlike wonder at how it all happened, and joy to just line up and give it a try.

    Mixing it up with the boys to get an extra race, or the P/1/2 Women, or…or whattaya got?

    Missed deeply…

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