I got up Thursday morning at 3:47, which was thirteen minutes earlier than I usually get up, so I went back to bed and slept in until the alarm. I had already put out everything I needed to make the pancakes and coffee, so at 4:00, pointy-sharp, I dully stumbled into the kitchen and brewed the black magic and fried up the cakes in the skillet.
I checked the temperature which was 47 degrees, knocked off ten for the wind chill, and figured it would be a cold and pitch-dark and painful Hello, Kitty welcome to the first flogging of 2019. Although it’s officially numbered as Flog #72, that’s pretty a much a #fakenumber, as the ride began in October of 2015. Rather than go back and try to figure it out, I made up a number at the beginning of last year and have continued counting from there.
Everyone gets anxious for the first flogging, kind of like they get anxious for the second, third, and etcetera, because it is a drop ride. I never get anxious. I know that droppage is all that exists in my immediate future. And past.
Team Origin had been training hard in the off-season for this in-season training ride, which itself is a training ride for the California road racing season which no longer exists, at least if by “road racing season” you mean a season that has road races.
Anyway, Team Origin put its best feet forward except for their dear leader’s, who had also trained extra hard for the training ride but decided at the last minute to experience the training race intervals from beneath the comfort of his eiderdown blankie. One member of Team Origin’s recruits, the formerly famous Wily Greek, had difficulties with his timepiece and arrived late, however, hitters “Didja Get My Note” Fernandez and Baby Seal were primed and ready to go.
Training hard to be ready for the training ride
The first Flog lap of 2019 was won handily by Didja Get My Note, and second place was nearly sewn up by Baby Seal until he tried to shift from his small ring onto his big ring, or from his big ring onto his small ring, or, what ultimately happened, from some ring onto his bottom bracket, which resulted in immediate loss of momentum and caused his bike to decelerate into my front wheel, nearly precipitating a bicycle falling off incident.
I considered stopping to help (joke) before sprunting by. In the parking lot we all stood around and watched Oscar get off his bike, stagger over to the curb and gloriously vomit. The initial discharge appeared to contain bacon and eggs, but the later stages of expelled matter were pure liquid, and spattered his shoes like any great work of modern art.
Any training ride that begins with a hot bucketful of puke is a good ‘un.
Didja Get My Note then took the next three laps until Surfer, all cutely bundled up in girl’s tights, a scarf, and a wool beanie, began reinforcing the message that Pornstache had delivered at last week’s Donut Ride: Team Origin may have scooped up a bunch of Team Lizard Collector riders, but it scooped up ALL THE WRONG ONES.
Surfer easily took Lap 5, which saw Didja Get My Note pedaling at 5mph in a side-to-side motion that looked like a rudderless ship in gale. The queen lap, La Cuesta, was also taken handily by Surfer,which is different from taking a handy by Surfer. Given that Team Origin, after an entire off-season of training for the training ride, had already cratered by Lap 5, and that Surfer, who hadn’t ridden since July, had gotten in his base miles for the year in the first four laps and was now ready to crush, we could all safely agree that Surfer was well on his way to defending his 2018 Flog title.
Everyone went home frozen and dejected, except for Oscar, who had achieved every cyclist’s dream of losing five pounds on a 90-minute ride. Baby Seal shook his head. “You’re never ready for the Flog,” he said. “Ever.”
I gently stroked his head and told him it would be all right. “Next week you’ll be lots fitter.”
“I know,” he said. “And so will everyone else. So the hierarchy will be the same.”
He had a point. It was looking like a lonnng time until August.