This was a cold, crusty donut. I had on my full wool gloves, Ugg socks, wool cap, tights, wool jersey, and jacket.
There were a surprising number of people despite the cold start; I’d guess it was in the low 40’s, but it was sunny and that always brings people out. We merged with the Origin club riders who now roll out from Hi-Fi Espresso in Redondo Beach. It’s a new coffee shop, and although I haven’t been there yet, it has to be a welcome alternative to the nearby Starbucks, especially since they are sponsoring the Origin bicycle club.
The uphill exit out of Malaga Cove was uneventful until we crested the hill, and where things are usually easy Jon Petrucci ramped it up and shed all but three riders. It was harder hanging onto his wheel on the gentle downhill and tiny bump than it had been going up the long grade.
The peloton got back together past Pregnant Point, but lots had to chase back on and were, shall we say, winded. As usual, the PVE cops weren’t there as they have mostly quit and there is no one left to harass, intimidate, ticket, and generally fuck with all the scofflaw bikers.
Petrucci attacked again out of Lunada Bay and I made the mistake of trying to follow. He dropped me easily and I never saw him again.
Out of Lunada Bay, “Coat of Arms” Fred Mackey smashed it all the way to Hawthorne; after that there was a hard surge by Davy Dawg and followed by an even harder surge by EA Sports, Inc. Lots of people had gotten dropped by that point and the group probably had 30 riders or less.
Queuing up for the Switchbacks I watched the Wily Greek roll towards the front, followed by club mate Ram-Ram, with Coat of Arms again pulling the train. There were a lot of explosions at Trump golf course and when we hit the Switchbacks, Attila the Hun launched and was gone. He isn’t very fit right now, but even when he is on the low side of the power curve he is strong AF. I know he’s not very fit because when he climbs I can still see him, far, far ahead.
Wily attacked, I followed but weaseled and wouldn’t pull through, so Wily sat up and we came back. Scott Fleming took the reins and drilled it to the first turn, where I jumped and rode by myself for a ways until the first chase caught up. That’s when Wily countered and I grabbed on. He went crazy hard and dropped me, then caught up to Attila who had somehow hooked up with a guy from NorCal, Jay Evans, who was visiting for the holiday. He was visiting with his meat cleaver.
Jay was strong AF and with those three up the road I was in no-man’s-land, with Ivan Fernandez not far behind. I got to the left-hander at Crest and kept going pretty well but wasn’t catching anyone. Petrucci was nowhere in sight; I figured he was so far ahead he’d won the #fakeclimb and was celebrating with some well-earned celery.
I watched Wily dust off Attila, then dust off Jay, but at the top there was no Petrucci. Turns out he’d had to go home early for his son’s birthday. He’s a young guy but he will learn that you never sacrifice family obligations for a Donut. Birthdays come and go, but Donut glory does not.
Coming up 9th Street in San Pedro, Dawg dropped everyone but Attila and me, and Attila took over onVia Colinita. It was all I could do to hang on. Back on PVDE I pulled to the bottom of Crest; Wily, Dear Leader, and Jay had bridged.
The Hun attacked hard but we stayed together until well after the first big curve. Dear Leader attacked but it went nowhere, then Wily countered even harder, and Dear Leader sat the wheel. I kept going, got a gap, and then Wily dumped Dear Leader and bridged.
Wily took over and dragged me all the way up to Shirtless Keith, who was happily pedaling in the freezing weather, with no shirt, of fucking course. When he saw us on his wheel he went beastly hard, which gave me just enough momentum to skirt past Wily and get my first Domes #fakewin in a couple of years. Dear Leader was breathing down our necks; he was going good even though he’d skipped the first climb up to Domes, or because of it.
In the run-up to the Glass Church, Ponderous Dee throttled it so hard that a bunch of people were never able to reattach. At the launching pad I kicked it and didn’t get caught until the first bump after Terranea, where Wes Morgan hunted me down. I countered but Dear Leader and Dawg had come across, and they both booted me to the side like the carcass I was. Dawg for the #fakespruntvee.
We hit the light green at Hawthorne and I stayed on the gas all the way to Zumaya. We passed a trio of Big O riders, including Kevin Sock, who was riding with his big brother from Davis. Big Bro hopped in with us and I kept the pace going up Zumaya. Big Bro took a hard pull and dropped everyone, but I hung on, barely.
On Via Coronel, Wily and Dear Leader had come across and attacked. As soon as Big Bro introduced himself as Kevin’s sibling, Dear Leader jumped and I grabbed his wheel. He hammered from Via Fernandez all the way to the top, catching Wily, sprinting around him, and riding me off his wheel. It was a fancy piece of bicycling.
I don’t know how many people were behind us. I turned right and went home.
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