Les Miserables

One of the great things about age is the calm and maturity that comes with it, which is why it seemed strange that I would be screaming with more froth than a juice machine at some innocent airline employee just because they had threatened to have me shot and then arrested.

It seemed like my 400-lb. box and iron skillet collection was not going to make the flight to Disneybicycleland, which meant that it was time for Plan C, since Plan B, an identical twin of Plan A, was being sucked out by the septic tank truck and taken off for recycling as drinking water in Pomona.

Yet as I pondered Plan C, which bore an uncanny resemblance to Plans A and B, I couldn’t help going over the start list for the Tour of DisneybicycleLand, wondering how I would conquer this list of athletic champions without my carbon weaponry at my disposal? How?

Well, by plotting it out carefully, identifying the strengths of my opponents (none), and capitalizing on their weaknesses (need a terabyte of memory here). As I waited for the TSA to find a set of handcuffs small enough I carefully memorized the secret list that had been emailed over by Cookie, detailing the Norwayland roster:

Rainman: Former professional Norlandian rider who lived briefly in Texas where he turned profamateur and cashed in 5,000 cents (US) in prize money. Always one to watch on the climbs as he knows exactly when to call for for a pee-break when the real men begin to ride him off their wheel. (Note: Still trying to identify any of the aforementioned real men.)

Full Trond: Can filibuster regardless of topic. Equally at ease discussing the price of oil, as he is discussing how much it costs to buy and sell oil, not to mention a great variety of conversational skills when it comes to exchanging petroleum at market prices. A Cadillac draft, his fierce competitive drive and love of Trump is suppressed only when overtaken by a) a woman, b) a man, c) a stationary object. Evening recollections of the ride in the mirror may be more absurd than they appear.

Sverre: A once great champion, a hero, a descending machine, an expert shopper, a plunderer of victuals and drainer of goblets, the noble Sverre was called away on business at the last minute. Various inquiries were made to the Norweglandian unemployment office to confirm this highly dubious claim of “business.”

Øyster: Another once great champion, he strengthens the Norsedom contingent of ex-somethings, making a re-appearance after having prioritized a new family establishment. Now that the triplets are self-sufficient after his 18 months of sacrifice, he has been able to put in more training than ever before. Questions remain regarding whether donuts = training, but time will tell.

Mini Munch: Rainman the Younger makes his first appearance in the Tour of Disneybicycleland, brought in to dwarf Trojan and rejuvenate the, saggy, droopy, prostate-challenged Norswedian contingent. What Mini Munch lacks in speed, ability, talent, determination, training, discipline, intellect, agility, good looks, bike handling skills, climbing, descending, time trailing, sprunting, and pacelining, he is rumored to make up for a thousand fold behind the wheel of a dinner table.

Surle:  Iffy due to failure to train and fears of being dropped by his younger brother Full Trond, anxiety may  prevent this excellent gourmande from toeing the line.

Oatmeal: Outcast drinker of soggy oats, grumpy, fierce, angry, ill-tempered, mean, cruel, unforgiving, grudge-holding, intemperate, ill-mannered, tight-fisted, treacherous, and willing to stoop to anything, Oatmeal a/k/a The Stiginator a/k/a Dropped By Wanky On The Big Climb Last Year, Oatmeal will be back with both water bottles filled to the brim with gruel, planning to destroy all with superior cunning, strength, preparation, discipline, firepower, wattage, and intimate knowledge of the local roads. [Kind of glad I won’t have a bike this time.]

Quarter Trond: Several sizes smaller than the Full Trond and also known as Twigmeal, QT lacks the cruelty and vindictive strength of his mentor Oatmeal, but climbs like a goat and despite his smiles and youthful good nature has all of the qualities necessary to decimate the Texamerican contingent.


In between explanations to TSA officials how the clerk had completely misunderstood me and that nothing I had said constituted a felony, I contemplated the Texas roster that would be lining up against the feared Nordanian table breakers. Fortunately, Ol’ Grizzles had sent me a cheat sheet. The report was dire, and I quote:

Here’s a dose of reality, Seth. It’s you and me against all these motherfuckers. At least the Norwegians have the decency to tell you they hate your stinking guts. It’s the lousy, back stabbing Americans you can’t trust. With the exception of you and me, they are all completely worthless wankers and if it weren’t for the traditionally miserable sloth and ill preparation of the Norwegians we’d be more doomed than the first Higgins Boat at Omaha Beach. And, without trying to sound judgmental, quite frankly I’m a bit concerned about your fitness, especially mentally. The physical aspect was always hopeless.

You haven’t met Kight Runner, Keister, or Escargot, but even with my denials and attempts to make you sound halfway okay they already hate your fucking guts. Regardless where they finish on the climbs you’d better break out the blog praise or they will garrote you in your sleep. Trust me on this.
Texas roster:

Ol’ Grizzles: The toughest cupcake in history. Old and ancient, Treebeard-ish, no one is crankier, more cunning, or quicker to seize on and exploit a weakness than Ol’ Grizzles. A fifth-generation rock farmer from Houston, entire generations of failed cyclists have grown up under his tutelage, which mostly consists of shouting “Pull harder you fucking wanker!” from fifth wheel. Ol’ Grizzles, despite his age, can be expected to intimidate, lie, cheat, and loosen your bolts late at night in order to snatch victory from the jaws of the rest stop.

Pup: With three whole years of riding under his belt, Pup has had his development badly stunted by emulating the bad practices and constant drug violations of Ol’ Grizzles. Formerly a 6’0″, 195-lb. healthy male, Pup is now 5’7″, weighs 140 lbs., and delights in miserably hard rotations. Travels with a massive torque wrench.

Keister: Intel withheld, but former participation in earlier Tours of Disneybicycleland indicate possibly professional-level abilities to eat and drink.

The Bank: Independently wealthy, The Bank is one of the richest men to ever race a bike, i.e. he once earned more than $35,000 after taxes. Comfortably retired to a snow farm in Colorado, The Bank spends his time reading multi-volume novels by Wish They Were Great Norwanish Novelists. Make that “all his time.” “The Struggle” is real.

Trojan: Never missed a trip to Spain and one of the originals, he was named after the great Trojan hero Hector who was slain by Achilles and dragged around dead by the heels, which is fitting given the way he rides nowadays. This once-great champion on the bike has transferred his riding prowess to the dinner table and the jug. The caloric battles between him, Full Trond, and Mini Munch will be epic.

J-Lo: Showed up in 2016 with 37.2 training miles and still rode stronger than most of the Northwaylanders. Has put in an additional 54.98 miles for 2017 and can be expected not to bonk again after the first hour.

Kight Runner: Unknown but highly suspect.

Escargot: Unknown but even more highly suspect than Kight Runner.




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7 thoughts on “Les Miserables”

  1. And you needed full carbon with carbonized carbon for this, are you that far into your dotage?

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