Today is Tuesday, the first Tuesday after the time change.
I did my first Telo in 2007, which makes this my 14th season. I’m not the oldest guy out there. I think that distinction goes to Ramon Reynaga. Nor am I the person who goes back farthest in Telo annals and still rides it.
Jason Morin was doing it back in the 90s and he was racing it as recently as two years ago, and Marc Spivey showed up for a couple of Telos year before last. Marc, I believe, did Telo in the early 80s. Still, I’ve done Telo enough to know the rules. Not everyone does. Here they are.
- Telo begins the first Tuesday after the time change. If it’s raining, you get wet. If you don’t go, you miss the first Telo of the year.
- The first lap is non-neutral “neutral.” Most people prefer to take the first lap as slow as they can to delay the inevitable, and it’s common for the group to assent to whomever leads with a slow start. But Telo has no neutral laps.
- Telo lasts 50 minutes plus five laps. It’s not 45 minutes plus five laps, or 48, or even 51. It’s 50 minutes plus five laps. Why? Because it takes about two minutes per lap, and 50+10=60, which is a nice round number.
- Telo has no owner, only, as Bob Frank said, “caretakers.” Who come and go.
- Unlike the beginning of the series, Telo ends when people stop showing up. For many years that was after the time change in fall. Recently it has been the end of August.
That’s all there is to it. Telo has survived near-annihilation and it has survived burgeoning popularity, when you could always count on 40 riders or more to start every race. As long as riders in the South Bay want to test themselves against other actual humans in the flesh, Telo will be there waiting for you. With jaws open wide.
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