First, a correction from last week. Cole Lewis of the USC cycling team took the first ascent to the Domes.
Second, honorable mentions for this week’s Donut:
- Alex Barnes. Despite having logged 32 miles for all of 2020, Alex hit out on the Switchbacks and broke the field. I had the misfortune of being on his wheel for a while until I wasn’t. Then Alex dropped himself out of the lead group, overhauled me as I limped along, and dragged me all the way to the top. Not bad for 32 miles …
- Chris Tregillis. At the bottom of Western I said, “We can go now,” and Chris went. Many in a greatly reduced field made it even more greatly reduced as he motored all the way to Weymouth, caught his breath at the red light, and charged off again with Tom Duong in tow. Tom got punched out the back at Via Colinita and Chris stayed away all the way to the base of Crest. Not bad for a very vintage piece of meat who is only now “getting into shape.”
- Rebekah Potter. Lit it up coming out of Malaga Cove and it took a full-gas effort by Scott Fleming to haul her back. She then crushed it the second time up to the Domes, when only a handful of the fastest riders were able to get there ahead of her. She towed me the whole way up Crest, dropped me at the end, caught her breath and then contested the Hawthorne sprunt.
- Robert Efthimos. This dude always gives it 100%, is always smiling even when you know he wants to puke, and is a positive addition to any beatdown. The last time he visited the South Bay was to sharpen his TT form on the Flog, at which time he racked up four lap wins without breaking a sweat.
- Greg Leibert. Still the strongest and most consistent aged fellow anywhere. Shows up on the Donut once a year and when he shows, you knows. Ouch.
- Scott Fleming. Older than dirt, this Colorado import mashed and smashed from start to finish.
- Coffee kids. Daniel Oh and Jerone (?) of some coffee shop bike club beat the snot out of everyone all day long, then had the nerve to say they “really liked” the Donut Ride.
- Dishonorable Mention to Jonathan Paris for showing up to the Donut Ride without a helmet. Wow! What a terrible example to the children. And what an awful potential expense to Michael Barraclough’s tax burden should irresponsible JP get a head injury and wind up on Medi-Cal for the rest of his life. People who ride the Donut without helmets should be banned. Sirrously.
Okay, the nuts and bolts: As mentioned, Rebekah began the prayer services out of Malaga with an offering to Satan in the form of the charred bones of those left behind. THE Dan Cobley helped chase her down, which sucks because it’s Dan’s third bike ride in a row and if he has a fourth, then a fifth, he will again be one of the mightiest wheels in the South Bay, if not the universe.
Evens Stievenart countered when Rebekah was caught, and he, Jon Petrucci, and Scott powered away; they were nabbed on Paseo Del Mar thanks to relentless chasing by Fred Mackey, who rode like a house afire. In Lunada Bay Evens punched it again and took some company with him. We got no rest at Hawthorne because the light was unfortunately green, but more hard, single-file chasing was the only thing that brought Evens back.
The pace was stiff through Portuguese Bend, and at the bump before the PB Beach Club Evens struck out again and stayed on the gas all the way to the bottom of the Switchbacks. The field was smeared out behind him like melted butter in a red-hot skillet.
I slipped in between traffic, which then halted to let the other riders through, and that’s when Alex raced by, all 32 miles of him. “This better get me a blog mention,” he snapped, smoke issuing from his orifices.
The coffee kids, Chris, and Aaron Wirthwein made the final selection, and Aaron, of USC cycling, impaled everyone on his very sharp sword for the first point of the day. It wouldn’t be his last.
Rather than lollygagging back to PVDN, Fred grilled and drilled from the college to the start of the reservoir descent, shelling people right, left, and center on the false flat between Miraleste and the drop-off. From cliff’s edge Jonathan took the reins and single-filed it, tire edges smoking in the hairpins until Cobley blitzed by to finish off the downhill death job.
One thing about the Donut this year is that normally “neutral” sections have been neutered, and now it’s basically a matter of, “Can you pedal? Then pedal harder.” It has raised the quality of the ride exponentially.
The second time up the Domes, Greg Leibert led the chase all the way from the bottom of Better Homes to the base of Crest, with everyone hanging on for dear life. We made the right-hander and Aaron took off like he’d been in bed and someone had yelled “Pancakes are ready!” and only Daniel Oh could follow. I’d been sucking gas at the back with Stathis Sakellariadis, and punched it just in time to make it up to the leaders. Everyone else died.
Then I realized why following the leaders, especially when they are named “Twenty Something” is always a bad idea: in seconds I cracked and was passed by Old Money Leibert, and then Stathis, who awoke and sprinted up to the break.
I flailed by myself until Rebekah came along and thrashed me all the way to the top. Again, it was Aaron who bested all comers.
For the Hawthorne sprunt people were pooked. I hit out about three-quarters of the way up the Glass Church, and after the group caught me, Kevin Phillips countered and would have stayed away were he not caught by the light at Terranea. It greened, I pedaled, and there was a tiny selection left consisting of Scott, Emily Georgeson, Rebekah, Aaron, Jerone, and Old Money Leibert. Aaron made it look easier than shooting turkeys in the supermarket, slingshotting off my wheel after Emily scorched it leading up the final rise before the sign.
On the run-in to Zumaya no one wanted to pull through, so I sat and blowtorched through my two remaining matches. We hit the bottom of Zumaya and everything in both legs seized as the fragments of the day all passed me by. Honors went to Canadian Matt Brown, a visitor wearing a jersey saying “Provincial Champion.” I didn’t know if that meant he was a fan of Madame Bovary or what, but turns out he can go very fast when he so decides.
Thus endeth the report of our day of the Donut, February 15, 2020.
Stathis Sakellariadis 6
Seth Davidson 3
Aaron Wirthwein 3
Cole Lewis 2
Andy Engel 2
Leo Bugtai 2
Arturo Anaya 2
Julien Bourdevaire 1
Rich Mull 1
Nigel DeSota 1
Jon Petrucci 1
Charon Smith 1
Kevin Phillips 1
Matt Brown 1
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