Icarus, Wankarus

August 22, 2017 § 20 Comments

By now everyone has seen “Icarus,” even people like me who have never been to a Netflix theater. So I broke down and walked over to the PV Mall to watch it but when I got there the lady at the movie theater said they weren’t a Netflix theater.

“Do I have to go to Crossroads at Crenshaw?” I asked.

“You can go wherever you want,” she said, crossly. “Next in line, please.”

So I went to Crossroads where it was a different movie theater and they were about as rude. Finally a guy told me that Netflix wasn’t a movie theater, rather, it was an app for your phone.

“I don’t want a new phone,” I told him. “I just want to watch ‘Icarus.’ It’s a new movie only showing at the Netflix theater.”

“There ain’t no Netflix theater, man. It’s on your phone. It’s an app. Like YouTube. You ain’t never gone to no damn YouTube theater have you, man?”

“No.”

“Well shit, that’s ’cause there ain’t any. Same with Netflix.”

He explained it and then we downloaded the Netflix theater on my phone and I watched the video movie documentary. Everyone had told me that I had to watch it because it revealed global corruption reaching to the highest levels of government in order to dope the Olympics.

I don’t know about any of that stuff, but here is the story:

  1. Wanker does a grand fondue. Gets ass kicked.
  2. Wanker gets pissed at the dopers.
  3. Wanker decides “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”
  4. Wanker does worse on drugs than he did racing clean.
  5. Wanker stumbles onto Russian doping program that led to the invasion of Crimea and Ukraine.

I can’t really comment on #5, but I can totally comment on numbers 1-4. First, the wanker Bryan Fogel, who is also the film maker, is completely delusional. Which makes him awesome.

He dresses up in off-the-rack Assos clothing, buys an expensive bike, and assumes full Superbikeman Wanker powers, i.e., gets a coach and flies around the world trying to win various grand fondues. So far, pretty normal for a delusional idiot. But his descriptions of the fondues and his competition are truly insightful as to the depths of his illness: “They could be pros!” he says, describing a gaggle of goofballs who look about as pro as the 3rd string baby seals on the NPR.

“It’s as hard as the Tour!” he exclaims as he labors slowly up a climb day after day, alone, unaware that when you are alone on a climb in the Tour for very long you quickly become what is known as “missed the time cut.” Also, they don’t let you in the Tour when your riding style approximates a pig romancing a football.

Most amazing is Bryan’s coaching. One shot shows him hooked up to a breathing tube and nailed to an ergometer while his coach says just the right combination of phrases to humiliate him while simultaneously making him hope there might be improvement, i.e. keep him writing those monthly checks.

The whole crockumentary was pretty sad, for me. I mean here was perhaps the world’s finest baby seal, with a freshly glistening coat no less, and he’d never made it to the NPR, or Flog, or Donut, or Nichols. What’s worse, the guy lives in L.A., on the west side, so the whole time he was drowning in visions of sugarplums he was just a few pedal strokes away from a weekly beating that would have saved him all that airfare. He wouldn’t have had to go to France to get clubbed; we’d gladly have done it here in his own back yard, bought him coffee, made him wear a Team Lizard Collectors kit, and taught him how to go to the front.

And of course it was sad to think that he had fallen into the bubbling vat of profama-soup and didn’t even know that you can’t really do the delusion thing right without a fake team kit and tramp-stamp butt sponsors. Off the rack Assos? Sigh. Sigh. Sigh.

But anyway, on to the real moral of the story, which is NOT that doping is bad. At least that’s not what I got out of it, even though in the film one guy was murdered, another given a new identity and spirited off to Utah or Manitoba, and a small country was invaded all in the name of better Olympiads through state-sponsored drugs.

No, for me the motto was that doping is horrible, awful, unmentionable in the extreme because unless you actually have talent and a team and bike racing skills and know how to train, doping will make you worse. It’s not the old saw of “You can’t make a donkey into a racehorse,” no, it’s more terrible: Unless done right it will make a donkey into a newt.

Which is what Brian became, at least in the world of profamateur grand fondue doping, a newt. A glistening, small, crawling, mostly brainless salamander in the subfamily Pleurodelinae. A fate worse than Kayle’s … by far. Sad.

END

———————–

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Icarus, Wankarus

August 22, 2017 § 20 Comments

By now everyone has seen “Icarus,” even people like me who have never been to a Netflix theater. So I broke down and walked over to the PV Mall to watch it but when I got there the lady at the movie theater said they weren’t a Netflix theater.

“Do I have to go to Crossroads at Crenshaw?” I asked.

“You can go wherever you want,” she said, crossly. “Next in line, please.”

So I went to Crossroads where it was a different movie theater and they were about as rude. Finally a guy told me that Netflix wasn’t a movie theater, rather, it was an app for your phone.

“I don’t want a new phone,” I told him. “I just want to watch ‘Icarus.’ It’s a new movie only showing at the Netflix theater.”

“There ain’t no Netflix theater, man. It’s on your phone. It’s an app. Like YouTube. You ain’t never gone to no damn YouTube theater have you, man?”

“No.”

“Well shit, that’s ’cause there ain’t any. Same with Netflix.”

He explained it and then we downloaded the Netflix theater on my phone and I watched the video movie documentary. Everyone had told me that I had to watch it because it revealed global corruption reaching to the highest levels of government in order to dope the Olympics.

I don’t know about any of that stuff, but here is the story:

  1. Wanker does a grand fondue. Gets ass kicked.
  2. Wanker gets pissed at the dopers.
  3. Wanker decides “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”
  4. Wanker does worse on drugs than he did racing clean.
  5. Wanker stumbles onto Russian doping program that led to the invasion of Crimea and Ukraine.

I can’t really comment on #5, but I can totally comment on numbers 1-4. First, the wanker Bryan Fogel, who is also the film maker, is completely delusional. Which makes him awesome.

He dresses up in off-the-rack Assos clothing, buys an expensive bike, and assumes full Superbikeman Wanker powers, i.e., gets a coach and flies around the world trying to win various grand fondues. So far, pretty normal for a delusional idiot. But his descriptions of the fondues and his competition are truly insightful as to the depths of his illness: “They could be pros!” he says, describing a gaggle of goofballs who look about as pro as the 3rd string baby seals on the NPR.

“It’s as hard as the Tour!” he exclaims as he labors slowly up a climb day after day, alone, unaware that when you are alone on a climb in the Tour for very long you quickly become what is known as “missed the time cut.” Also, they don’t let you in the Tour when your riding style approximates a pig romancing a football.

Most amazing is Bryan’s coaching. One shot shows him hooked up to a breathing tube and nailed to an ergometer while his coach says just the right combination of phrases to humiliate him while simultaneously making him hope there might be improvement, i.e. keep him writing those monthly checks.

The whole crockumentary was pretty sad, for me. I mean here was perhaps the world’s finest baby seal, with a freshly glistening coat no less, and he’d never made it to the NPR, or Flog, or Donut, or Nichols. What’s worse, the guy lives in L.A., on the west side, so the whole time he was drowning in visions of sugarplums he was just a few pedal strokes away from a weekly beating that would have saved him all that airfare. He wouldn’t have had to go to France to get clubbed; we’d gladly have done it here in his own back yard, bought him coffee, made him wear a Team Lizard Collectors kit, and taught him how to go to the front.

And of course it was sad to think that he had fallen into the bubbling vat of profama-soup and didn’t even know that you can’t really do the delusion thing right without a fake team kit and tramp-stamp butt sponsors. Off the rack Assos? Sigh. Sigh. Sigh.

But anyway, on to the real moral of the story, which is NOT that doping is bad. At least that’s not what I got out of it, even though in the film one guy was murdered, another given a new identity and spirited off to Utah or Manitoba, and a small country was invaded all in the name of better Olympiads through state-sponsored drugs.

No, for me the motto was that doping is horrible, awful, unmentionable in the extreme because unless you actually have talent and a team and bike racing skills and know how to train, doping will make you worse. It’s not the old saw of “You can’t make a donkey into a racehorse,” no, it’s more terrible: Unless done right it will make a donkey into a newt.

Which is what Brian became, at least in the world of profamateur grand fondue doping, a newt. A glistening, small, crawling, mostly brainless salamander in the subfamily Pleurodelinae. A fate worse than Kayle’s … by far. Sad.

END

———————–

The uselessness of data

February 20, 2017 § 14 Comments

You own a Fitbit, admit it. And after the first month, the only thing it measures is the fitness of the socks in the bottom of the drawer, where it permanently lives now. Right?

But wait. Fitbit and other fitness trackers, also known as sock drawer weights, are supposed to provide “real-time feedback that may be particularly useful to enhance lifestyle changes that promote weight loss in sedentary overweight or obese adults.” In other words … data!

Unfortunately, after billions were spent on the false promise of changing the way America eats through Apple Watches, Fitbits and etcetera, some skeptic, probably related to Billy Stone, decided to do an actual study using science and numbers and shit to see if the sock drawer weights actually work.

One such study started off by “recruiting 197 sedentary overweight or obese adults from the greater Columbia, South Carolina area.” I bet that was pretty easy to do. What would have been a challenge is “recruiting four non-obese adults from the American South.” But I progress.

So they took these poor folks, literally, and put them into four groups.

  1. Standard Care Group. Participants received a self-directed weight loss manual based on two evidence-based programs, Active Living Every Day and Healthy Eating Every Day. The manual’s focus was to help individuals adopt a healthful eating pattern and increase their physical activity levels through the use of cognitive and behavioral strategies consistent with the Transtheoretical Model and Social Cognitive Theory. Now I don’t know what that manual or model or theory are, but they sound a lot like Coach Castoria’s 7th Grade gym class at Jane Long Junior High back in August of 1979, where a rabid and sadistic football coach would spread a class of weaklings out on a 110-degree asphalt slab and scream at us to do leg lifts until we puked, which was about twice.
  2. Intervention Group: Same manual as above, along with a diary for participants to record daily meal and lifestyle activity, emotion, or mood. The mood section was pre-filled in with “hungry and pissed off about it.”
  3. Peer Weight Loss Group: 14 sessions with a facilitator using the manuals, with a weekly weigh-in and greater emphasis on weight loss than in the original programs. One-on-one telephone counseling sessions to provide continued support and enhance weight loss maintenance.
  4. Fitness Tracker Wearers: You know who you are.
  5. Peer Weight Loss Group + Fitness Tracker: Lecturing/scolding along with a fitness tracker.

Now before we get to the results and how it affects your cycling pro masters career, a couple of key facts. First, a bunch of people quit, which tells you all you need to know about fitness and weight loss. To recap: PEOPLE MOSTLY QUIT. Get it? No matter what you buy or how many power meters you own or how studiously you learn the CdA, most people quit.

THIS PROBABLY MEANS YOU. So, save your money and go buy some socks or some super stylish underwear. I recommend products by Stance:

m201c17oce_mul

Moving on, what the study found is that when you do a study there are a lot of numbers. And making sense of those numbers isn’t possible because the only number that matters was previously discussed and indicates that you are going to give up, which your sock drawer weight proves you already have. More importantly, the study found — and this is truly amazing — that doing something is better than doing nothing.

And unhappily for the Fitbitters out there, it didn’t matter whether you read a manual, got counseled, or did both in tandem. As compared to doing nothing, doing something was better.

I know, I know, let’s call up the Nobel Prize committee now. However, there were a few sad qualifiers that seemed to throw the entire study into doubt, raising the awful specter that doing nothing may be just as good as doing something.

To wit: The study noted that if your participants are university students, they are pretty much worthless at doing anything: “Students were the most unreliable group in this study, and their adherence was especially poor for homework assignments and other assignments.” Parents, time to start asking for some tuition refunds from those deadbeat kids! Also, we learned that since so many people quit, weight loss is hard.

Finally, we learned that the study was conducted by one “Dr. Blair,” who receives book royalties from Human Kinetics and honoraria for service on the Scientific/Medical Advisory Boards for Alere, Technogym, Santech, and Jenny Craig. In other words, this study, which so conclusively shows that your sock drawer weight is no better than Coach Castoria, also conclusively shows that even that flimsy conclusion is dubious at best. Because, industry bias and university students.

But back to your data driven cycling career. Tell me again how all those numbers are going to make you faster? Because first we’ll need to get together a control group, and I’m not planning on going to Columbia any time soon.

END

———————–

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Dirty drawers

August 8, 2016 § 6 Comments

In the world of Profamateur™ cycling, nothing marks you as a B-lister like having one bike.

I have one bike.

And of course if you want to play the Profamateur™ game, or even sit at the table, you need a garage to put your bikes in.

I don’t have a garage.

Finally, in addition to your Profamateur™ bike quiver and Profamateur™ mancave, you gotta, absolutely gotta, have massive amounts of unused ProfamaStuff™.

ProfamaStuff™ means lots of wheels, lots of parts, lots of tools, lots of tires, lots of tubes, lots of indoor trainers, a Zwift™ training system, lots of car racks, lots of wall racks, a potion cabinet for Profamateur™ supplements and doping products, pulley wheels, derailleurs, bike stands, truing stands, hand stands, chains, a lube cabinet, Cintas weekly cleaning rag home delivery service, free hubs and clusters for every contingency (including that 12-17 Regina from 1979), and a curled-at-the-edges Photosport poster of the Badger duking it out on L’Alpe with Greg LeMond.

I have a bike stuff drawer, singular. In my bedroom. Beneath the drawer that holds my four t-shirts. And it looks like this.

drawer

Every couple of years or so I open up that drawer and get overwhelmed by how much bike stuff I’ve accumulated since 1982, and I clean the darned thing out. You’d be amazed at how much stuff fits into that drawer. Nonetheless I make the full-day commitment, usually when they’re running MBGP or Dana Point or some other crashfest I’m afraid to race, and get rid of all the junk.

It can fill up 3/4 of a plastic Von’s shopping bag, that’s how bad it gets, and yesterday was no exception. I excavated several receipts, some old camera mounts, seven empty SPY sunglasses bags, four half-eaten BonkBreakers, a flat tube, two tube extenders, a Band-Aid, a baggie of safety pins, some empty CO2 canisters, and a sock.

Then at the bottom there was an envelope with my name on it. “Seth,” written in graceful, ladylike script. “Hmmm,” I thought. “Must be a secret love letter I was hiding from Ms. WM and didn’t want her to find. She’d never think to look in one of my drawers.” As I fished it out and turned it over for clues I saw a brown coffee stain on one corner.

Then I opened it up and found money in it. Now, if it had contained $20 I would have pretty much considered myself the luckiest man on earth. Who finds $20, aside from that dude who found my Jackson when I was going into Pedro seven years ago to get coffee with Caron and Chief and that bill slipped out of my jersey and I spent two hours combing the roadside and never found it.

But as I fished into this envelope, imagine my astonishment when instead of a couple of fives and some crinkled ones, there was a fresh, uncrinkled $50 bill.

My heart stopped. None of the liquor stores I’d recently robbed had anything like that. $50 whole U.S. dollars? From where? With my name on the envelope in a pretty girlish hand? That I’d forgotten about? “Seth forgot money” is rarer than a graviton in the Large Hadron Collider. And that Mrs. WM hadn’t sniffed it out and taxed it at the legal rate of a 100% levy on all found funds lacking a specified origin?

I carefully put the envelope back where I found it and buried it under my passport, some helmet pads, a couple of empty baggies, and an old pair of underwear for good measure. She’ll never find out about it now.

END

————————

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Dirty drawers

August 8, 2016 § 6 Comments

In the world of Profamateur™ cycling, nothing marks you as a B-lister like having one bike.

I have one bike.

And of course if you want to play the Profamateur™ game, or even sit at the table, you need a garage to put your bikes in.

I don’t have a garage.

Finally, in addition to your Profamateur™ bike quiver and Profamateur™ mancave, you gotta, absolutely gotta, have massive amounts of unused ProfamaStuff™.

ProfamaStuff™ means lots of wheels, lots of parts, lots of tools, lots of tires, lots of tubes, lots of indoor trainers, a Zwift™ training system, lots of car racks, lots of wall racks, a potion cabinet for Profamateur™ supplements and doping products, pulley wheels, derailleurs, bike stands, truing stands, hand stands, chains, a lube cabinet, Cintas weekly cleaning rag home delivery service, free hubs and clusters for every contingency (including that 12-17 Regina from 1979), and a curled-at-the-edges Photosport poster of the Badger duking it out on L’Alpe with Greg LeMond.

I have a bike stuff drawer, singular. In my bedroom. Beneath the drawer that holds my four t-shirts. And it looks like this.

drawer

Every couple of years or so I open up that drawer and get overwhelmed by how much bike stuff I’ve accumulated since 1982, and I clean the darned thing out. You’d be amazed at how much stuff fits into that drawer. Nonetheless I make the full-day commitment, usually when they’re running MBGP or Dana Point or some other crashfest I’m afraid to race, and get rid of all the junk.

It can fill up 3/4 of a plastic Von’s shopping bag, that’s how bad it gets, and yesterday was no exception. I excavated several receipts, some old camera mounts, seven empty SPY sunglasses bags, four half-eaten BonkBreakers, a flat tube, two tube extenders, a Band-Aid, a baggie of safety pins, some empty CO2 canisters, and a sock.

Then at the bottom there was an envelope with my name on it. “Seth,” written in graceful, ladylike script. “Hmmm,” I thought. “Must be a secret love letter I was hiding from Ms. WM and didn’t want her to find. She’d never think to look in one of my drawers.” As I fished it out and turned it over for clues I saw a brown coffee stain on one corner.

Then I opened it up and found money in it. Now, if it had contained $20 I would have pretty much considered myself the luckiest man on earth. Who finds $20, aside from that dude who found my Jackson when I was going into Pedro seven years ago to get coffee with Caron and Chief and that bill slipped out of my jersey and I spent two hours combing the roadside and never found it.

But as I fished into this envelope, imagine my astonishment when instead of a couple of fives and some crinkled ones, there was a fresh, uncrinkled $50 bill.

My heart stopped. None of the liquor stores I’d recently robbed had anything like that. $50 whole U.S. dollars? From where? With my name on the envelope in a pretty girlish hand? That I’d forgotten about? “Seth forgot money” is rarer than a graviton in the Large Hadron Collider. And that Mrs. WM hadn’t sniffed it out and taxed it at the legal rate of a 100% levy on all found funds lacking a specified origin?

I carefully put the envelope back where I found it and buried it under my passport, some helmet pads, a couple of empty baggies, and an old pair of underwear for good measure. She’ll never find out about it now.

END

————————

Subscribe to this blog now! Special offer ends never! For $2.99 per month you can get great tips about how to stash money and forget about it. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

The guns of August, the pea-shooters of September

September 1, 2015 § 16 Comments

CBR-6

Photo Credit: Danny Munson, copyright 2015.

Although I generally despise the “off season” let me say that I’m really looking forward to tomorrow, which is the first day of September, which in turn marks the first day of my off season.

I need a break. For the first time in more than 30 years I didn’t flame out in early April, to which I can only credit having finally learned that you can’t keep training hard once race season starts, and to this little pearl of wisdom: The older you get, the less you recover.

It was an exciting year of racing even though I only fell off my bicycle once, at the BWR going around a turn with my head down into a cactus. A smattering of top-ten placings hint at even more mediocrity to come, which is encouraging. Best of all, I have no idea how many miles I rode this year, but it was at least 500, maybe even more.

In addition to the euphoria of not having to lace up my cycling jockstrap for a while, there was the sad news about my sobriety. “What sad news?” you ask. “The sobriety,” I answer. “That’s the sad news.”

But every sad occurrence is balanced by something not totally awful, and in this case for the first time in four years I won’t be entering September with the awful, heavy, painful dread of cyclocross hanging around my balls. I sold my ‘cross bike and won’t be buying it back. Thank you Major Bob for cutting the seat post so low that I couldn’t ride it even if I wanted to.

Will I miss not racing for a few months? Probably. What joy compares with having “Payday” Johnny Walsh, alleged teammate, chase me down in a breakaway with two laps to go so that he can score a $20 prime? Johnny, next time just come up to me after the race. I will give you the twenty dollars and a spare inner tube.

What thrill compares with bridging to the monsters of the crit peloton, Pat Bos, Derek Brauch, and Thurlow Rogers, with two laps to go in the 40+ race, only to get mown down and discarded by the hungry peloton and finishing so far back that they didn’t even put me on the results sheet?

What joy compares with getting dropped at Boulevard, dropped at Punchbowl, dropped at Lake Castaic, and dropped at Bakersfield? I know! It’s the joy of having my saddle fall off with one lap to go at the Poor College Kids RR and the super, super, super joy of having pro photographers like Danny Munson and Phil Beckman take exciting photos of me whizzing around a corner looking fast when actually I’m in 78th place with one lap to go.

And of course 2015 is ending with a sort of sputter, as all years in profamateur cycling end. The great SPY-Giant-RIDE p/b GQ6 team is merging with Monster Media to form … what? SPY Monster? Media SPY? Team Blurge? And then the best of all reasons to take a break in September is so that I can properly evaluate the high dollar offers pouring in from masters teams around the state who want my services. Perhaps I’ll hire an agent.

END

————————

For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog and learn savvy negotiating tactics for getting onto the best profamateur team out there. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

The guns of August, the pea-shooters of September

September 1, 2015 § 16 Comments

CBR-6

Photo Credit: Danny Munson, copyright 2015.

Although I generally despise the “off season” let me say that I’m really looking forward to tomorrow, which is the first day of September, which in turn marks the first day of my off season.

I need a break. For the first time in more than 30 years I didn’t flame out in early April, to which I can only credit having finally learned that you can’t keep training hard once race season starts, and to this little pearl of wisdom: The older you get, the less you recover.

It was an exciting year of racing even though I only fell off my bicycle once, at the BWR going around a turn with my head down into a cactus. A smattering of top-ten placings hint at even more mediocrity to come, which is encouraging. Best of all, I have no idea how many miles I rode this year, but it was at least 500, maybe even more.

In addition to the euphoria of not having to lace up my cycling jockstrap for a while, there was the sad news about my sobriety. “What sad news?” you ask. “The sobriety,” I answer. “That’s the sad news.”

But every sad occurrence is balanced by something not totally awful, and in this case for the first time in four years I won’t be entering September with the awful, heavy, painful dread of cyclocross hanging around my balls. I sold my ‘cross bike and won’t be buying it back. Thank you Major Bob for cutting the seat post so low that I couldn’t ride it even if I wanted to.

Will I miss not racing for a few months? Probably. What joy compares with having “Payday” Johnny Walsh, alleged teammate, chase me down in a breakaway with two laps to go so that he can score a $20 prime? Johnny, next time just come up to me after the race. I will give you the twenty dollars and a spare inner tube.

What thrill compares with bridging to the monsters of the crit peloton, Pat Bos, Derek Brauch, and Thurlow Rogers, with two laps to go in the 40+ race, only to get mown down and discarded by the hungry peloton and finishing so far back that they didn’t even put me on the results sheet?

What joy compares with getting dropped at Boulevard, dropped at Punchbowl, dropped at Lake Castaic, and dropped at Bakersfield? I know! It’s the joy of having my saddle fall off with one lap to go at the Poor College Kids RR and the super, super, super joy of having pro photographers like Danny Munson and Phil Beckman take exciting photos of me whizzing around a corner looking fast when actually I’m in 78th place with one lap to go.

And of course 2015 is ending with a sort of sputter, as all years in profamateur cycling end. The great SPY-Giant-RIDE p/b GQ6 team is merging with Monster Media to form … what? SPY Monster? Media SPY? Team Blurge? And then the best of all reasons to take a break in September is so that I can properly evaluate the high dollar offers pouring in from masters teams around the state who want my services. Perhaps I’ll hire an agent.

END

————————

For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog and learn savvy negotiating tactics for getting onto the best profamateur team out there. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

Belgian Waffle Ride 2015 — DO NOT REGISTER!!!!!

February 6, 2015 § 25 Comments

The 2015 edition of the galactically famous Belgian Waffle Ride opened yesterday, filling 528 of the available 700 slots in less than thirty-six hours. Although the ride always fills up long before the event, this year the registrations have been off the charts. Maybe it’s because of all the media. Maybe it’s because of this killer video. Or maybe it’s just because you’re still trembling after watching Jen strut around in her panties, and the thought that she’s going to be at the BWR has caused the servers over at BikeReg.com to break. The remaining 172 slots will be gone in the coming days, but that’s no reason for you to register. In fact, you shouldn’t. Don’t even think about it.

Why?

Because based on the last three years I’ve compiled an awesome set of emails and/or Facebag messages you can send to the staff at SPY Optic after the deadline passes. The ideal timing is late at night one or two days before the event, long after the event has closed and everyone is in overdrive putting the last touches on the course, the venue, and the countywide infrastructure that something like this requires.

So DO NOT REGISTER NOW. Wait and send one (or all) of these messages instead. You’ll be in like Flynn, and you can tell ’em that Wanky sent ya.

  1. The Ol’ Buddy Ol’ Pal Grovel: Yo, MMX, what up? Dooshy McGillicuddy here — we rode together on the Swami’s Ride two years ago, it was in August. You probably don’t remember me but I said hi just before you guys hit the jets at PCH and Encinitas Blvd. Ennyhoo … been planning on the BWR all year, did some BIG MILEZ over the winter (check my Strava, I friended you and kudos on ripping that dirt section last week, BADASS) but dude I completely forgot to register. Can you help a buddy out? Gonna be bummed here in PARADISE if I don’t get to ride, bro. Also, can you comp my entry?
  2. The Beggar Blogger: Hi, Michael and team. Really looking forward to covering the BWR this year on my blog, Shitheads in the South Bay and my sister publication, Red Kite Bore. We’re hitting some pretty good numbers — site stats are up to 15 views and 3 unique readers per week. Our event coverage is saturation bombing, and I’m glad to do it because I love what you do and want to help grow the sport. By the way, I somehow missed the registration. Did you forget to notify me? Stuff slips through the cracks, and I’m sure you have a lot on your plate. If you could squeeze me in I’d be deeply appreciative, and trust me, you’ll get a big media bump when I turn on the spigot. Also, can you comp my entry and a BWR kit?
  3. The Cat 2 UCI Pro Proposal: Hey, MMX! Good racing against the SPY guys last weekend. You guys have come a long way, props. I had Anderson and Alverson in the box on that last turn, but decided to sit up after I hit the cones and went off-course and I let them take the one-two. I’ve been on the podium enough this year and don’t mind spreading the glory around, plus it helps your brand. Hey, I was meaning to register for the BWR this year. I have done a ton of miles (no dirt but that’s NBD) and am expecting my Cat 1 upgrade and then the call-up to the pros later this year. Might be nice to have me rocking the SPY shades over in Europe (for a fee! Just kidding!). Anyway, shoot me the pro entry promo code when you get a chance. Also, can you comp my entry and a BWR kit and give me a couple of extra beer tickets?
  4. The Aged Profamateur Living in a Car: Pretty disappointing to have missed the registration for this ride. Thought you might help. Lots of my life given to the sport. Taught you a few things if I remember correctly. Glad for your success. Doubtless room for one more bike. Out of cat food so need comped entry. Also need comped BWR kit and couple cases of beer, and tell Ames to let me have trash bags with half-eaten waffles and melted ice cream. Calories are calories.
  5. Greedy Team Leech: Hi, MMX! Sucky McSuckwater here! Team camp was awesome; love the new kits and shades (shoot me a couple of extra skinsuits and maybe another Daft when you get a sec, need it by next Tuesday). I’ve got big racing plans this year after taking a sabbatical in 2012, 2013, and 2014. Can you believe I waited til the last minute to register and now it’s fuggin’ full? The bikereg site is a pain. Maybe use someone else next year for online signups? Be sure to register me. Team guys ride free I’m assuming. I know there are four waves this year, so put me in the first wave. Shirley, Trebon, Prenzlow, and Tinstman are gonna feel my burn this year. Also, aren’t the fees kind of high? I’m not really down with that, for other people, I mean.

END

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Down on the Boulevard (they take it hard) They look at life (with such disregard)

January 30, 2015 § 43 Comments

This is the toughest weekend of the year. All winter SoCal profamateur masters racers have trained like Olympians so that they can be fit and fast enough to completely crush the season on Facebook. Ever since September, legs have gotten leaner, veins poppier, guts have retracted, and WKO+ TSS scores have gone through the roof.

KOM’s on Strava have fallen like dominoes and sure enough, by the first week of January the top teams were going at it mano-a-mano, sparing no effort in the battle to see who had the coolest profamateur lycra underwear outfit. Wheelsets were bought, the mandatory full carbon quiver of wheels for TT’s, climbing, crits, and for sticking on the roof rack and cruising slowly through Manhattan Beach.

But none of the bulk protein drink purchases, 5-year gym memberships, incredible Instagrams of endless stair workouts, or gaudy finery of cross-posted Garmin files even begins to compare with the hardest, nastiest, toughest, gnarliest task that is staring us in the face a mere 24 hours hence: Of course I’m referring to the effort that’s going to be expended in coming up with excuses for not doing the Boulevard Road Race.

In the last few days I’ve heard everything from the imaginative to the awful. Here’s a sampling:

  1. I have a dinner date that night. (So reschedule.)
  2. My in-laws are going to be in town. (Drown them.)
  3. I’ve decided to focus on my work because that’s what pays the bills. (You are unemployed, remember?)
  4. The drive is too far. (Your team has a custom wrapped van, masseuse, and lounge chairs with your fuggin’ name embroidered on the back.)
  5. I heard it might rain. (Pack a raincoat and a clean diaper.)

Basically, an entire winter’s worth of training has dissolved into a lukewarm puddle of pee at the mere mention of “Boulevard.” You can’t talk to a crit racer for more than twelve seconds lately without hearing the phrase “I’m a crit racer.”

And that’s without you even mentioning the dreaded word.

There’s good reason to be afraid of Boulevard. It’s not the hardest road race of the year, so you can’t claim that it’s a climber’s race. The climbs are hard, but they don’t have the steepness or the viciousness of Punchbowl that allow you to get shelled on the first lap and then shrug, point at your beer gut and say, “This ain’t no race for Clydesdales.” [Note: Quit calling yourself a Clydesdale unless you’re strong enough to haul a 2,000-lb. dray of coal through the Ardennes.]

Nope, Boulevard is the bane of the profamateur masters class because it’s not so hard to be the exclusive domain of the twig-men, but it’s gnarly enough to strip bare your pretensions and leave you, beaten and crushed, three miles from the Mexican border where vultures and coyotes are waiting to gnaw off your quivering face after first picking the clumps of Clif Bar from the gaps in your teeth and shitting down your throat.

Boulevard has all of the terrible things you’d expect from a bad bike race — broke down trailer homes at the start-finish, toilets infested with vermin, and worst of all a very long drive during which you contemplate, mile after mile, all of the horrific things that are going to happen.

Will you careen off the road at 50 like Tree did that year, and wind up wrapped in a tight bundle of rusty barbed wire? Will you flip onto your head on the downhill, tear an artery, and come within seconds of bleeding out but for the dumb luck of an emergency room MD stopping to save your life like that year Mr. Chevy almost met his maker?

Or will something infinitely worse happen, like training crazily all winter only to be puked out the back on the first acceleration of the first climb, and left to stumble the remaining 40 miles alone, cold, wet, miserable, shivering?

The horror of Boulevard is that you have so much time to contemplate these and a thousand other miseries all the way there, and what’s worse, to contemplate them again all the way back: the missed winning break; the mechanical at just the wrong moment; the tactical superiority of another team; or, most likely, the galling truth that after all’s said and done, you simply suck.

What a bitter tonic, to parade around in front of your wife with shaved legs, to prance before the coffee shop windows in your tight little underwear outfit, to model your pretty bike to all the admirers only to have the whole charade popped quicker than a cherry at a frat party!

This is Boulevard, the Cinderella Ball where the dancers are tatted-up killers, where the belle of the ball is 6.0 watts/kg, and where the coach that brings you home won’t turn into a pumpkin, but rather a hearse.

Ready…set…excuses!

END

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SoCal Profamateur Rules

December 21, 2014 § 16 Comments

If you want to be a profamateur in SoCal you had better follow these rules.

  1. A week has two days: off days (1) and ride days (6).
  2. Buy full-carbon wheels for the annual fun ride.
  3. Never test, try out, or adjust trick equipment until five minutes before the race begins on race day.
  4. Always wear skinsuit, teardrop, and shoe covers on the coffee ride.
  5. Call the plumbing shop, ambulance chaser, and web designer on your jersey “my sponsors.”
  6. 5-10 minutes after getting shelled and falling into a grupetto, talk about who you think is doping.
  7. Whenever anyone suggests anything (movie, anniversary dinner, child’s talent show, free vacation to Monaco) ask yourself, “How will this affect my training plan?”
  8. Have at least one coach to analyze, critique, and fine tune the training plan of your other coach.
  9. The off season is when you train at race speeds and intensity.
  10. The race season is when you recover for the off season.
  11. Don’t ever acknowledge on or off the bike anyone you’ve ever beaten in a race.
  12. Hire a dietician.
  13. Often say, “They can test me anytime, anywhere.”
  14. Always color-coordinate.
  15. Wrap your car, or better yet, your Mercedes Sprinter van.
  16. Anything done by Prez or Charon.
  17. [Add your SoCal profamateur rule here.]END

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