In memoriam: Telo Training Crit

Born to Sam and Josephine Wannamaker sometime in the late 1980’s, and affectionately known as that “ass-pasting sorryfuk headwind beatdown in an office park,” Telo passed away peacefully on July 29, 2014 in Torrance, California at 6:00 PM when, for the first time in over 30 years, no one showed up.

Not even Brad “Elbows” House.

Telo was an incredible father to his several thousand lycra-clad children, all of whom showed up with dreams of victory and, for the most part, went home beaten and defeated. The unluckier ones went home with road rash and several thousand dollars worth of equipment damage.

Telo worked in the Tuesday Night Training Crit industry for over 30 years. He was truly a bike racer’s bike race, and left many an aspiring rider choking on his own puke, particularly after getting into an ill-advised break with Hair or Rudy. However, true to his training crit roots, Telo punished wheelsuckers just as much as those who braved the front. Every week for over thirty years countless wankers sat in the back “waiting for someone to bring back the break” only to find themselves part of a three-man flailaway, deserted by all and forced to quit early and take the shortcut home.

Telo’s greatest love was spending time with his family and friends, stomping on their genitals, and offering up a fun and rollicking 30-mph headwind on the backstretch. Telo loved nothing more than to watch a group of riders drill it on the tailwind, fantasizing that they were monsters, only to roll over and die when they hit the wall of wind half a lap later. Telo lived life to the fullest and he was always laughing and smiling at the misery of others.

Telo began to have health problems three years ago, when the already anemic South Bay racing community simply couldn’t “get it up” to go pound their brains out on Tuesday nights. Some pointed the finger at Telo’s nemesis known as NPR, a younger, more handsome and sexy group ride that took place on Tuesday mornings and seldom left any but the toughest with enough energy for Telo.

Still others claimed that Telo’s decline was the result of the Major Motion Tuesday Ride on the Parkway, which attracted bigger crowds, was slower, had lots of stop lights, and in which those who were shelled could sneak across the road and hop back in.

As Telo’s health declined, by 2014 the only people still showing up were Hair, Marco, Brad House, and one or two others. Telo leaves behind a void in our hearts that can never be filled, but he leaves us with his zest for life, spunky spirit and the ability to live life to the fullest.

Telo is survived by countless riders throughout California who left a little piece of their self-respect on Telo’s hallowed tarmac. A celebration of Telo’s life will be held wherever wankers are found and cold beer is served.

36 thoughts on “In memoriam: Telo Training Crit”

  1. Is it irony or fate, then, that some of the best beer in the world can be found on Telo St? I’ll ponder that over a White Sands DIPA.

    1. The weak character and pasta-like legs of the South Bay’s finest weren’t either.

  2. Telo suffered death by difficulty. It was always the hardest training race in the sobay. No other ride could boast 60 minutes of solid non stop beatdown, half of which was into a brutal headwind. No stop lights, no casual double paceline, no big pack of 50+ riders to hide behind. Just a full gas strung out line of gasping riders trying to hang on for 60 minutes. The competition of tues NPR, MM, and Eldo sealed Telos fate. Id love for it to come back as a thursday or friday ride. If only because a Strand beer would be waiting at the end.

    1. I think you got something there. Plus, Friday Night Strand/Telo would provide another excuse for me to be weak on the Donut Ride.

      1. The relentless, ugly, take-no-prisoners moonscape of Telo is dead. Enjoy your beer.

    2. Yes, Telo was a throwback to a different era and couldn’t survive the evolution of the bike rider from gritty toughass to namby-pamby, wheelsucking, 15k bike owner who files a police complaint and a lawsuit when he crashes.

    3. Eldo and Telo have peacefully lived together for years. I do think MM ride is better suited for the masses and was the true demise of Telo. I asked the Strand about a post-Telo beer room. They said they don’t encouraging drinking and riding. 🙁

      1. True eldo and telo have co existeted peacefully. But it wasnt untill this year that it became a points paying affair.

        1. There is also the Grand Park training crit. And the M500. And the fact that most racers would rather sit in a big pack and sprunt instead of battle a 25 mph headwind in a tiny group, getting chewed up and shelled like a bad pecan.

      2. I dont encourage drinking and riding either. We wouldnt think of such a thing.

  3. Freddy “Telo” Krugger…. I’ve seen this episode before. Fear not young wanna-be-wankers.

  4. I didn’t know Telo well. We were introduced by an old friend a couple of summers ago. I had heard of him, of course, and was more than a little intimidated by his reputation. Our encounters were few and all too brief for my liking; truth be told he made me cry at least once. Of course now that he is gone, I wish I had put just a little more in to our relationship. You don’t fully appreciate someone until they are gone.

  5. How do you know he died?!?! If it wasn’t seen, it didn’t happen! I say he lives on!!! Maybe with Elvis, but lives none the less. I was out of town for his last visit, but was there for his penultimate visit. I knew he was very, very sick when I finished 2nd (and yes, there were more there.) Of course, I’m out of town this week, so I can’t check up on him to see if you are speaking sooth. But I’ll be back next week to check. I pray you are mistaken!

    1. Reports of his untimely demise are unfortunately correct, and resuscitation, although able perhaps to revive a spark or two of life into the moribund corpse, is unlikely to result in a full scale revival.

  6. Seth ,remember all those beers we drank at Malibu Point and then you rode your bike home. I didn’t call the Police on you.

  7. That’s really tragic. This is one of the first places I learned what it was like to get lapped by Sean Watkins, Dave James, Phil Buhl, Johnny Von and Dotsie. Telo would host 30-50 riders on a Tuesday eve. On my first telo date, I was on the receiving end of a Stern scolding for not holding my line and riding like a Yahoo. (If you can believe that). I returned the very next week, making sure to finish in front of that guy that scolded me. Later, I became good friends with the guy that gave me my first Telo tongue lashing. Seasons later, it again became the ground for firsts. The first time I got in a break away. The first time I lapped a field. The first time I attacked a breakaway. My first Telo Tuesday BBQ. It’s too bad no one has the time or energy to meet the demands of Telo. It was a hard road.

    1. Because it was hard, the soft men and soft women of the South Bay have abandoned it. It died an ignoble death.

  8. I’d be interested to hear what you think about baby seals choosing not to get clubbed at Telo and choosing other rides.

    Separately, I always thought the Major Motion riders were headed to Telo. They just do stop-and-go laps around World Way West. They even park right around the corner.

    I guess the south bay/Westside will be making lots of baby seals for clubbing?

    1. Telo was simply too hard. The other rides available on Tuesday offer the chance to sit in and play bike racer, then sprunt at the end. Telo was such a miserable beatdown that you had to say ritual prayers before riding down there and getting slaughtered. I know I did.

      1. I agree. I got clubbed. Lots.

        I wonder if doing two 20-minute heats would be better for keeping the softies around.

        Once the strong riders were gone, it wasn’t very interesting.

  9. there will be a Celebration ride for Telo, Mar 10, 2015, 6pm, Torrance Crit course.

    Spring Begins anew.

    Southbayers and others know the value of this training race,even if you hang for 30 minutes, your Sunday crit results will benefit.

    NPR is early and cold. Travel to some LB or OC $ thing?

    cue the music:

  10. Shame. In my experience there was never or will never be a better venue to hone bike racing skills than Telo. Even after building up to eventually being able to hang in and participate for the duration, down to the last dozen or so, I would have serious nerves rolling around before the start because I knew I was about to suffer real bad.

    Fondest memory: strung out into the headwind in the final laps, guys up front spitting and clearing their nostrils with me about 10-12 back trying to convince myself that the spray whipping against my face was “just water”.

  11. We use to have team training on this course in the mid and late 80s Sunday mornings. I rode there from home to warm up it was 16 or so miles. I could barely go up the stairs at work the next day. I hurt like hell. It’s nice to know it’s still causing pain.

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