Alex Barnes and teammate Ryan Ung of Santa Monica Subaru came out yesterday to say “hello” on the Donut Ride, and they said it in a very mean, spiteful, nasty way.
The pre-ride timber check had all the markings of a ghastly ride, as it included Mark Tripp, Mathieu Brousseau, and some dude on a fugly green Specialized along with Attila the Hun, JP Jones, JP Baby Seal, Kevin Phillips, G3, David Steinhafel, Ramon Ramos, and Chris Tregillis, who missed the start and had to chase one of the fastest Donuts in memory … and he caught on!
There was a slew of teammates from Team Lizard Collectors and various other species of animal, all vying for the impossible honor of getting to the radar domes first. Josh Dorfman, Josh Alverson, and Lauren Mulwitz lined up along with Super Old Guy and Asskicker Rich Mull, but no Derek Brauch. Many riders were finishing the San Dimas stage race from last weekend and either had a score to settle or wanted to confirm their awesomeness in the race that truly matters, i.e. the group ride wankfest.
It was the middle of race season, real and artificial testosterone levels were high, the Ronde was on Sunday, and it was going to be hideous.
Coming out of Malaga Cove I glanced at the traffic control speed warning sign, which said “28,” a speed that was clearly false because Mathieu came around me about 3 mph faster. The great thing about not riding with a power meter, speedometer, or Strava is I can make everything up. “It was so fucking hard” sounds a heck of a lot better than “175 watts.”
In a flash, Mathieu and I were dropped by Alx Bns and Ram-Ram Ramon. The field caught us although we didn’t catch Alx-Ram-Ram; it had been single from the bottom of the Malaga Cove climb and would stay that way to the bottom of the Switchbacks, about 40 minutes later. That’s unusual on the Donut, where there’s almost always a fat phalanx at the back affording shelter.
Mathieu finally caught Alex and Ramon, and kept drilling it all the way through Lunada Bay and then to Golden Cove. People were hanging on like charted pieces of meat about to drop off the spit and into the flame; none dared come around, while several realized it was time for their morning coffee break and went elsewhere.
Mathieu single-filed some more until Alex and Ryan took over, along with a couple of huge efforts by JP Baby Seal that shelled even more riders and eventually shelled Baby Seal as well. I have never seen it single file from the very beginning all the way to the bottom of the Switchbacks. People were coming unhitched right, left, and center. At the bottom of the climb I was fourth wheel, behind Alx, Ryan, and Ugly Bike Dude whose name is Steve and whose former full-time occupation was “bike racer.”
I dropped back to seek more shelter as we climbed only to find that there was no more “back.” Mark Tripp was the last guy in our little community until Ryan took one last monster pull then swung over for Alx to attack. Only Steve could follow; I’m not sure he ever broke a sweat. Attila and Kyle Jackson came up, and then we formed the first chase group with Ryan, Kyle, Mark, and Attila. It was Sad Face Day for me as I took stock and realized I’d never beaten any of these guys on a climb. Oh, well.
On the worst part of the Switchbacks, Yasuko was hunkered down on the side of the road shooting pictures. Check out the faces! The most embarrassing one is where I’m hanging on for dear life and Ryan’s MOUTH ISN’T EVEN OPEN. You suck, dude.
Ryan, who had been hammering since Trump, finally swung over, which sucked because his pace was somewhat endurable; I was okay hanging onto the back. Then Kyle took over, giving Ryan a rest, and I was suddenly not okay. Somehow I hung on; Ryan then jumped, I went with him, and we shelled the other three. I hung on until just before Crest, when Ryan dumped me like a load of rotten potatoes.
Attila caught me about a third of the way up Crest and towed me to the top, where he sprinted for a glorious fourth place.
After that, everyone wanted an easy spin up Western so JP Jones and I laid into it, squeaking through an extremely ripe orange light and then going full blast. JP melted on Better Homes, then caught me again on Crest. We traded pulls until Alex and Steve caught us; I jumped on and survived until just before the end of the flat spot on Crest, when Steve pulled so hard that all I could do was drift off the back as my heart spiked along with my eyes, kidneys, and liver. So, third …
Heading off to the Hawthorne Sprunt, Mathieu, smarting, had attacked early with Heavy D., JP Seal, and Steinhafel. They opened a big gap thanks to Heavy D.’s superior gravitational skills and vicious smashing. Alx chased all the way to the bottom of the
Glass Church. I attacked and neglected to check who was on my wheel because I never check who’s on my wheel because IDGAF. This time it mattered. I caught the break and gapped the leaders but was then countered by Steve and Ryan and couldn’t get on, same as you can’t “get on” when you’re passed by a jet taking off the deck of an aircraft carrier. They rode away. I was alone over the second bump, then put my head down and pedaled hard but without hope.
That’s when Daniel Park, Heavy D., Steinhafel, and Alex caught me. The other chasers were back in Riverside County. After the light at Terranea we had about 200m between us and Ryan/Steve and they were hauling. As we started up the last roller before the sprunt, I told Daniel Park, the 17-year-old kid who sprints like a runaway train, “Go now!” and he launched the attack from hell. I barely latched on, he caught and dropped Ryan and Steve, then drove it to the sprint which I thought he might get until Heavy D. and Alex chased us down and passed us.
Alx finished so far ahead it was silly.
On Zumaya I was last. However, I was first to the fridge here at home, which is way more important than being first anywhere else, ever. The ride was an order of magnitude faster today than last week, which sounds so much more awesome than having actual data like speed, time, you know, facts. What can’t be quantified, though, was the fun. It was crazy fun, to be this old and creaky and still loving riding my bike this much.
Hope you had a great ride yesterday, too!
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