When Tumbleweed made his move, it was decisive. Doubling his speed to 8 mph he launched up the sidewalk. The rest of the beeroton watched in awe as he approached a driveway and three empty trash cans. Just when he least expected it, one of the trash cans leaped up and took out his front wheel, which sent Tumbleweed sprawling onto the lawn.
Fortunately, this occurred across the street from a large Mexican family that was celebrating Father’s Day with a giant barbecue. They hooted and hollered as Tumbleweed staggered to his feet. “Are you okay, man?” one of the partiers shouted.
“No!” we hollered back. “He’s drunk!”
More laughter ensued, Tumbleweed checked the scrape on his knee, and the beeroton charged on towards its fourth and final stop, despite obvious confusion about which side of the road to ride on and what, exactly, one was supposed to do on “red.”
We put the “beer” back in Father’s Day
Today was the long-awaited Father’s Day Tour de Stumbling Around Stage Race. We had begun with a prologue TT through the line at 5 Guys Burgers in Torrance. Although Hoof Fixerman garnered the time that stood the longest, Bahati started last and tore up the previous times as he raged through a double cheeseburger and garlic fries four minutes faster than anyone else. This looked like a formidable lead that would be hard to overcome.
After the prologue, we mounted our bikes and raced to the start of Stage One, a challenging 45-minute romp through the menu board of Strand Brewing Co. In addition to a twisting, narrow path through ales and porters, the chief difficulty of the day would involve surmounting the White Sands Double IPA concocted by brewmaster Joel Elliott. Boasting a 9.5% alcohol content, this would give the climbers a chance to take back some of the time they had lost to the cheeseburger sprinters.
Of course, getting to Strand proved a mission of its own. Canyon Bob was riding a rather antique-ish mountain bike that had no air in its rear tire. “Why should I put in a new tube?” he asked. “I won’t ride it again for another four years.”
Erik the Red showed off some impressive MTB skills by half-hopping a curb and ripping out a few spokes, then riding for a long stretch on his front wheel. He was voted “Most Likely to Die” by a wide margin.
The winner of the first stage appeared to be Manslaughter, who started off with a weaker ale but finished with the double IPA. Just as it looked like no one could match his final glass, Fireman showed up with two small children, drank two double IPA’s and drained several half-empty mugs lying on the bar.
In addition to taking the points competition and the win for the first stage, Fireman was also poised to win the “Father of the Year Award” for taking his small sobbing children with him on an all-day bicycle tour of the South Bay’s best breweries.
“To hell with breakfast in bed,” he said. “More like beer on a bike.”
Back on the chain gang
Stage Two would be even harder — a 5-mile slog to the start line at Monkish Brewing. Since everyone was on a clunker or a cruiser except Bahati, who was riding his 10 year-old daughter’s baby bike, what should normally have been a quick five-mile jaunt turned into a test of endurance.
Then, somewhere in Old Torrance, New Girl got her underwear caught in her bicycle chain, resulting in the day’s first mechanical. Fortunately, we had two mechanics with us, so they were able to get her underpants safely off.
The combination of beer and sun and pedaling began to take its toll, but soon we reached the start of Stage Two. Here we were met by Derek and Mrs. The Destroyer, Nick “I useta race” Pollack, Marc M., Jens the Teutonic Wanker, and the lovely Julie B. Jens was riding Julie’s daughter’s bike and they had started out from Venice, which meant he already had, like, 50 miles on a child’s bike.
The parcours was smoother than Strand, as Monkish features only Belgian-style beers and even goes so far as to have an “IPA” sign with a red slash through it just in case you’re inclined to order one anyway.
There was a crash in the early part of the stage as riders got their beer mugs tangled up, but no one was hurt and the drinking continued apace. Towards the end, the early beer sprint and cheeseburger efforts were taking their toll in the form of crossed eyes, slurred speech, and the inevitable casting away of inhibitions.
Frenchy, Leatherpants, and Sparkles surged to the front at the end of the stage, making short work of the Saison beers, but Bahati remained 30 seconds in the lead even though he had ditched the kiddie bike and was now driving behind the group to provide neutral beer support.
The distance to Smog City Brewery, the third stage in the tour, was only a couple of minutes. No one fell over, but no one rode in a straight line, either. Boozy and Emily appeared to get lost, but somehow caught back on. Once the third stage began, it was clear that some riders would pull away from the rest, as we were back in West Coast style IPA-land. Big beers, big mugs, and very few people able to stand.
This is when Elron and Kelly showed up, mistakenly thinking it was a beer Madison race and they would be able to tag-team. Few concrete memories remain after Smog City, but Fireman appeared to have easily pushed aside Manslaughter’s early challenge, and was now atop the standings. The final stage was at Absolution Brewing, which is located somewhere and serves something.
Next came a long blank space, and then a soft green lawn, and then me using Mrs. Hoof Fixerman’s toilet, and then an ambulance, and then someone saying something about “next of kin.” But I woke up and felt fine, fine being, of course, a relative term.
It seems that someone was crowned champion, and some other people were not, however, everyone got home, or at least close to it.
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