I did it my way

My way just happened to be wrong.

From the moment that Junkyard announced the creation of the Flog Ride, everything was messed up. First of all there was the name he’d given it, “Love and Thursday.” Then there was the length, only four laps. Worse, the first lap was neutral. To cap off the mess, we were supposed to descend with care, especially around the two hairpins.

With a little bit of effort, though, we got all of that fixed. We changed the name to the Flog Ride. We lengthened it to five, then six laps. We reduced the neutral section to the first 25 feet, and we descended the hairpins at the razor edge of physics where speed, friction, and tire pressure all come together in a terrifying blur of clenched sphincters.

It was glorious. We’d do the 25-foot warm-up and then hit PV Drive North full gas. The uninitiated were typically shelled in the first 500 yards. Those who managed to hang on for the first lap, survive the kamikaze downhill sweepers, avoid the peacocks wandering in the road, and keep from slamming into the side of fast moving traffic when we right-hooked back onto PV Drive North were reduced to puddles on Lap 2.

By Lap 4 there were never more than five riders in the lead, and everyone else was busted out the back and struggling around the golf course alone, in the dark, angry, hurt, broken, and wondering why they’d gotten up at 5:30 AM for a 6:35 group ride that had lasted thirty seconds.

Each time up the 7-minute climb was a terrible infusion of pain, and hardly anyone ever came back to do the ride more than twice. The Flog Ride was the sadistic bully at the end of the block whose house you’d go three miles out of your way not to have to walk by. It was the barometer for how badly you sucked, how low your pain threshold was, and how poorly your self-image comported with reality.

On the plus side, the graduates of the Flog Class of 2014-2015 racked up wins at Boulevard and numerous other races. The fitness that came from doing six eyeball-extracting intervals was superlative; if you could do all six laps with the lead group and finish on the 20% grade up La Cuesta, you were race ready.

The fact that hardly anyone ever showed up was no problem. All it took was two other idiots bent on mayhem to get the training effect we sought.

The fact that dozens of eager riders showed up, got instantly shelled, and never came back was no problem. Welcome to life, suckers!

But despite the ride’s near perfection in every way, it did have one minor complication: In a few short months three riders went down in the hairpins, and thanks only to dumb luck, when they slid out across the yellow line there was no oncoming traffic. Had there been, people would have died or been catastrophically injured.

After the third bicycle falling off incident, we decided that no ride was worth this kind of risk, even though such a decision clearly called our insanity into question. The options were to cancel the ride or to modify it so that it comported with the wise architecture sketched out by Junkyard in the first place. So instead of racing up the hill and then racing back down, we raced up the hill and coasted down, taking the hairpins at slow, fully controlled velocity.

Not only were shelled riders able to regroup without racing down the descent, but slow coasting on the downhill meant that the uphill intervals were even harder, if such a thing is possible. There’s no way to make a bicycle ride safe, but sometimes you really can take out the sharpest fangs without killing the fun. Just don’t call it Love and Thursday.



For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog and finally get up your courage to do the Flog Ride. You’ll love it, perhaps. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

20 thoughts on “I did it my way”

  1. Michelle Landes

    I’ve been doing this ride all along😊still kicks my butt, hardest and most rewarding ! Flog Ride is a love hate , but coffee at Bux Golden Cove makes it all worth it !!

  2. You could reverse the perverse an call it the Golf ride and reverse the direction and end up going UP the switchbacks. Then the suicide stretch would be the PVN grade and playing chicken with the cagers coming ’round the corner at the bottom on 2 wheels with the stopsign in their favor.

  3. So you’ve transformed a ~55min ride at theshold-ish pace into six ~6min hard VO2 type efforts. For most, the 36 min at VO2 is gonna be a LOT harder than then 55 min at threshold. Our Thursday Amalfi Ride is three ~6min efforts, and few have complained that it’s not hard enough. The new Flog Ride sounds downright painful. I like it.

    1. The 55 minutes at threshold didn’t seem particularly popular, so something more unendurably awful should be even more, uh, loved.

    2. Michael Smith

      Vo2. Now your speaking my language! I need to find a way to make it to PV for this again.

  4. I was thinking the same thing as Sausage. It sound like it somehow got harder and therefore better training. 🙂

    But I’m confused what the loops are. I guess I always assumed you did something like: Malaga Cove, around the back of the golf course, east on PV North and back behind the golf course. I wasn’t sure about the part, but I thought it was something like that. It sounds like I was totally off. I think racing up Silver Spur would be AWESOME! haha

    1. Everyone is really in favor of hard training rides. They are popular and beloved! That’s why we have never had more than about ten people show up–they love it too much.

  5. If I didn’t do this, I’d worry that you’d think I I wasn’t getting my subscription’s money’s worth.

    >> After the third accident…

    1. Open your spell checker
    2. Add an auto-correct for the word “accident.”
    3. In the replacement field, type “there is always a more accurate and descriptive word than this useless euphemism for any unplanned incident that happens on the road.”
    4. Send Darell a thank-you note for consistently caring.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: