Yesterday’s NPR started out very hard by which I mean cold. 48 degrees in SoCal is no laughing matter, so out came the fur-lined mittens and insulated panties for those hardy enough to brave the elements. Only Fearless Fred M. dared show up gloveless or, as he put it, “I realized two minutes in that I’d forgotten my gloves, but I was already late so I just went with it.”
The pillow babies were nowhere to be seen on this cold morning, but there were hop-in-wankers aplenty once we got to the Parkway. The new 5-lap configuration has made NPR faster because about half the peloton jumps in somewhere on Laps 2 or 3, fresh as a daisy and ready to pummel those who’ve dutifully rolled out from the Center of the Known Universe at 6:40 AM, pointy-sharp.
My two readers of this blog will readily acknowledge I’m just not that smart, as this week I went out hot, got caught, and then wound up on the wheel of Dante Y., the NPR’s most infamous hop-in-wanker. I don’t know if he just has trouble getting out of bed, if his watch doesn’t work, or if he does a real ride after NPR, or if he just don’t GAF, but he always hops in late, fresh as a daisy, and mauls everyone else to death in the sprint.
Some riders whine about it, but I think it’s great. This is a training ride and you should feel fortunate that there are riders there who will split you in half and not even send you a bill.
Yesterday Dante didn’t wait until the finish. At the start of Lap 3 he caught up to me and I grabbed his wheel, which was a mistake because he went so hard I thought I was going to have a medical event. He flicked me through, I didn’t come around, and he smashed me with another beastly effort before swinging over. I wobbled for a few seconds on the front before the peloton caught us. On the back side of Lap 3 another HIW revved it up again and I got dropped.
However, the small size of the group meant that even the HIW’s eventually wound up in difficulty, as all of them got dropped, and the riders who were fit and/or who had husbanded their resources properly came to the fore. Fearless Fred attacked with half a lap to go and left the field in tatters. Riders were strung out for almost half a mile behind him.
Then Elijah and Rebekah bridged up to Fearless, and Elijah, who as usual hadn’t done any work since the last pull he took on his baby bottle in 1986, leaped around Fred and Rebekah for the #fakevee. Kudos. That was a hard and gnarly ride.
From which we have several takeaways:
- If you are old and brokedick don’t squander a single pedal stroke on the new-new-pier-ride because the HIW’s are so fresh and lethal that they will turn you into creamed soup.
- Follow Elijah’s wheel if you want to save watts. He makes Vince DiMeglio look like a workhorse.
- Rebekah P. is en route to a straight-out NPR win.
- The new NPR is a lot harder if you do the whole thing.
- Avoid the front at all costs.
- When you get shelled, blame it on [your favorite excuse here].
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