March 12, 2020 § 10 Comments
The first Telo of the year went off without a hitch on Tuesday. There were seven riders; Raul Vasquez-Diaz, Kristie Fox, Marco Cubillos, Jon Petrucci, Ivan Fernandez, Chad Lucius, and I. Joe Cooney had shown up to take photos, which was really nice of him.
Many riders stayed away because of the rain. Cyclists don’t like to ride in rain as a rule, and they really don’t like to race in the rain. In lots of place, there’s not much choice, but in SoCal if it is rainy you can wait a couple of days and it will be sunny. There is little motivation to race in the rain, especially when it is a #fakerace anyway.
Of course the weather forecast here is rarely correct, and people know that. They can also look out the window and see whether or not it’s raining. On Tuesday afternoon the skies were sunny and clear, and when Telo began the streets were bone dry, but still …
Jon started with a brisk tempo that rode everyone off his wheel except me and Ivan, so it was going to be a three-man rotation for 50 minutes until they began attacking me for the win. It didn’t turn out that way. After about ten minutes, Ivan attacked. He and Jon are teammates and my presence was unwelcome.
I chased and Jon countered. I chased and Ivan countered. I chased and Jon countered. Our three-man rotation had become a series of sprints, with me sitting Jon’s wheel and responding. The net effect was that they both got really tired. Finally Jon turned to me. “This is a weird dynamic,” he said.
I wasn’t sure if he meant that it was weird for two guys in their 20s to be mauling a 56-y-o grandpa, or if he meant that it was weird that they couldn’t drop me. Or both.
“I’m not pulling as long as you guys keep attacking me.” Sometimes I have to state the obvious, especially with younger riders.
“Let’s just ride a rotation and race it out at the end,” Jon said, which meant “We’ll tag team you again when you’re a bit more winded.”
“Okay,” I said. In a 2-on-1 scenario on a flat course with two fast riders, both of whom can sprint plenty fast, my options were none and none.
With one lap to go Jon attacked and rode away. Ivan outsprinted me at the end, but I was still pleased. There are not a whole lot of races left in my life where I’ll be riding in a break for 50 minutes with a couple of fast guys under the age of 30 who are trying might and main to get rid of me.
In many ways it was my favorite kind of Telo, long and grueling, tiny group, windy, nowhere to hide, and bitter fireworks followed by a truce followed by a hard rotation concluding with a fight to the death. I think the riders who stayed home because they didn’t want to get wet in the sunshine made a mistake, and it’s similar to the way people have reacted to the coronavirus.
I am not sure if I’ve had it, but when I got back from Turkey I was sick for two weeks. I rarely get sick and when I do, hardly anyone hears about it because I recover quickly. Not with this. I had all of the symptoms, especially the cough. Whatever I had was virulent and not taking “no” for an answer.
As bad as it was, it went away, and I can see how that if you are elderly AND weak, it could kill you, the same way that many types of illnesses can exploit existing problems to create a death cascade from something that a healthier person would shrug off. On the other hand, mass hysteria doesn’t seem to be the right answer, either, kind of like the nearly uniform reaction to the possibility of rain at Telo.
Racing in the rain isn’t for everyone, but everyone who does it gets better. Lower your tire pressure, go a little slower, take the turns less aggressively, give yourself a little more exit room, and things are going to turn out fine. Probably. If not, at least you’re going to slide rather than skid on dry asphalt.
The other great thing about racing in the #fakerain is that the group is small, which is safer, especially when it’s going fast.
Glad I went. Getting third out of three finishers is still a podium.
March 10, 2020 § 2 Comments
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.
So, um, what’s your plan?
June 5, 2019 Comments Off on So, um, what’s your plan?
That’s what I was thinking forty minutes into Telo. There were four other riders in the break: Julien Bourdevaire, who had sat on the front for 30 minutes and ridden most of the field out of the race. Peter the Hungry, who was either sitting in for dear life or planning a vicious attack. Chatty Cathy, whose game plan is always Hammer and See What Sticks, and Aaron.
That name kept bouncing around in my head, because with him in the split, there was no method to me winning. He was gonna win.
The small fry had already tossed themselves into the wood chipper, most notably Ivan the Terrible, reduced for the day to Ivan the Droppable. He’d correctly id’d Julien as the wheel to sit, and at the 30-minute mark when Julien drifted to the back had rolled up beside me and nudged me off of Jules’s wheel in the first turn.
“You should have just asked,” I thought, but no worries. I’m not committed enough to fight for a wheel, and it gives 20-something beginners a sense of satisfaction to push the old and infirm out of the way. I’m a giver.
Plus, I was laughing to myself. “Let’s see how well you like Jules’s wheel in about two minutes.” Because after decimating the field, Julien was taking a breather before doing what I predicted was going to be something really painful.
It had been an eventful Telo so far. About fifteen minutes into the race, the chain whip in the middle of the turn that we kept running over finally flipped up and into Emmy’s front wheel, exploding it with a massive bang. It’s easy to blame motorists for throwing trash onto the street, but it was hard to come up with an explanation of how a motorist in an office park would have dropped a chain whip.
Couldn’t have been a cyclist.
Two riders had gone up the road, and when we hit the tailwind, sure enough, Julien launched. Ivan the Droppable, who was perfectly positioned to follow the perfectly telegraphed move, opened up a huge gap as Jules sprinted away. I was on Ivan’s wheel, laughing as he desperately tried to close the widening gap. When he blew, I came around, then hit my own mini-wall.
Aaron came around me, bridged to Julien, and they were poised to join Peter the Hungry and Chatty Cathy. I grunted, put in an ugly effort, and latched on. Ivan was back in Gardena somewhere.
Our five-man group rotated easily away from the shards and pieces of the chasers, but still I kept thinking … “Aaron.”
Because as things stood, I was going to get fifth, and since I was showcasing my new Bahati kit, that wasn’t going to be enough. As is always the case at Telo, if Aaron is with the leaders at the finish, he’s going to win. Coming around him is about as success-proof a plan as coming around Charon Smith.
So I attacked with seven laps to go.
Unfortunately, several lapped riders fell in with the chasers, who also slowed, allowing Ivan & Co. to claw back on. This gave me a bit more distance, but it also meant that it was a matter of time before they started chasing in earnest, and nine riders against one old, slow, fading grandpa was a foreordained outcome.
Still, with five to go I had a gap. With four to go, a gap. With three, with two, and finally with one to go, I had a gap. The impossible looked like it was going to happen, except that each time I glanced back I could see Ivan, Wes, Brandon, and Chatty Cathy throwing everything they had into the chase.
Did they not understand that they were with Aaron? What did they think was going to happen in the sprint if they reeled me back? Why, instead of trying to bridge, were the motorheads working together to catch me in order to set up Aaron for the win?
All of these questions were duly explained afterwards by Baby Seal. Caught and shelled with half a lap to go, I was despondent. “Look, Wanky, there are three types of riders in the chase. The first are the ones who are just happy to be there. They may be lapped, or they may have lucked into it, but they don’t care about anything other than being where they are. The happyheads are irrelevant and ignored.
“The second ones are the swivelheads. They simply hammer and follow every move, without thinking about why, about the composition of the group, or about the finish. They are the ones that Aaron is playing like a banjo, using them up as they pointlessly squander their watts in the waning moments of the symphony. They include ‘teammates’ who chase, lapped riders who rested for ten minutes and now have a few more efforts to throw down, as well as arch-enemies whose idea of a win is seeing you lose. Bottom line, they are Aaron’s bitches, they just don’t know it, and probably never will.
“The third ones are the winners. Julien is back there laughing. He likes you and isn’t going to chase. But Aaron? He’s there to win. And he did.”
“What about me? Which type am I?”
“You,” he said, “are the hopeless flailer who sets everything up for Aaron. Either you stay in the break and help power him to the finish, or you launch, inducing your ‘teammates’ and the other swivelheads to chase you down, thereby giving Aaron a bunch of corpses to gently step over in the last 400 yards.”
“But why don’t the other riders calculate that as long as Aaron is there, they lose? Why don’t they attack him until one of them gets away?”
Baby Seal shrugged. “Calculate? It’s Telo.”
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Good legs, bad legs
May 29, 2019 § 5 Comments
It is pretty well known that racing on slightly tired legs is a sign of fitness. I’m not sure about that, but what I know is that racing on slightly tired legs makes me conservative. Sit in as much as possible, focus on positioning, and wait for someone else to make the decisive move … then follow if you can.
The only times that racing turns out well for me is when I race cautiously, and I’m only cautious when I’m tired, because getting dropped sucks.
The only race I do anymore is our Telo #fake #trainingrace because it is hard and uncategorized. You’re racing against young strong people as well as gimpy geezers, not simply doing a trinket dance apportioned among other 55-59 y/o leaky prostates where evbo gets a ribbon.
My legs felt great so I went out hard for the first half hour. Peter the Hungarian jumped in several laps after the race had begun, and threw in attack after attack. Wes, who has graduated from shellee to hammer, chased, attacked, and animated. It was funny to watch him take a monster pull, flick his elbow, and then get mad when no one pulled through.
Welcome to the front, Wes! It’s lonely up there!
The man to mark was Chatty Cathy, and sure enough, with about 20 minutes left he followed another attack by Peter, accompanied by Wes and Ivan the Terrible. Ivan got the win, with Peter, Wes, and Chatty Cathy filling up the invisible podium. Everyone hesitated at the decisive moment except me, because it’s not hesitating when you are too shot to follow. The break rolled.
A lap later the Left Behinds realized that they’d been left behind, and Hair kicked it hard and took a couple of riders with him, including Ram-Ram, who’d won the #fakerace NPR that morning and was in the lead for the Telo Shoe Giveaway powered by Bike Palace. That left the dregs chasing the chasers: Heavy D., Smasher, Boozy P., Lapped Dude, Brandon, Turbo Tom, and I.
When you’re more than a minute down and have no hope, there are two options: Parade & preen, or rotate your guts out.
I cast a vote for parade & preen, but was overridden by the others. Smasher and Heavy D. pounded, along with Brandon, who took one pull so hard into the headwind that he pulled himself right off the back. Lapped Dude sat in and enjoyed the scenery, such as it was.
The last fifteen minutes were pretty miserable, proving that you can still have a great time on the bike even when you are completely rancid pack meat. In the sprunt for eleventy-ninth place, Smasher yanked a pedal as he came around me, causing his foot to kick the chain off and then, as his other foot unclipped, causing his left heel to kick open the rear quick release. I tensed as I heard the horrible sounds off to my right and waited for the inevitable smash and skid of breaking carbon and thudding body parts, but in an act of magical bike handling, he stayed upright as I was soundly beaten by Lapped Dude.
I’d go so far as to say it was the most satisfying of my many, many eleventy-tenth finishes. All of which have happened with … good legs.
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Lifetime achievement and garage sale
June 21, 2018 § 24 Comments
Anyway, FOR SALE: Less than one year old Fuji SL1 frame with e-Tap and new FFWD F3 all carbon clinchers, mostly new Conti 25 mm front/rear with tubes, along with 12 size S jerseys, most of the jerseys are the last two years of Team Lizard Collectors, great condition, a couple of La Grange jerseys, 12 size M bibs (TLC/La Grange/plain black), 3 TLC skinsuits, 3 Wend Wax combo short/bib one-piece size M, 2 long-sleeve TLC jackets, 3 Pearl Izumi tights one of which is old and ratty, 1 pair Giro Empire road lace-ups (white), 1 pair Giro Empire (cross), 1 spare set of new Shimano cleats, 32 pairs of CitSB socks, 1 Giant TCX 2017 (size L) with FFWD disc wheels, SRAM Force,, 4 pairs long-fingered Giro gloves, assorted bike tools (lightly used, you can bet), assorted arm and leg warmers, 3 pairs of shoe covers, 2 rain jackets, one Stage 1 and one Specialized, two vests (one Rapha, size S, one TLC size M), full light set including Diablo 1300-lumen headlights x 2, ApaceVision rear lights x 2, Cygolite 150 rear x 1, 2 wheel bags, 6 tubes, 6 tires (25 mm, Conti and Vredestein), 3 Wend Wax sets with wax and cleaner, Cask Proton helmet size M, G3 tripod bike stand, 1 gallon of Simple Green, 3 rolls of shop towels, 25 shop rags, 1 Lezyne steel floor pump, assorted water bottles, 5 CO2 cartridges.
Yours for one dollar.
The changing complexion of a bad rash
April 25, 2018 Comments Off on The changing complexion of a bad rash
Another Telo went off last night. There is something weird in the air or maybe in our water bottles, because tonight’s Telo was the biggest I can remember in ten years. What a few years ago was tagged, put in the cooler, and later autopsied (the heart and lungs donated to those needing a transplant, the rest of the body donated to science, and the brain thrown away due to its small size and surfeit of abnormalities), has come back like one of the Undead.
- Racing ain’t dead.
- If you take pictures of it and post them on the Internet, they will come.
The last three weeks have seen successive growth in racer turnout. There were forty racers all in all, including at least four women. The big pack has transformed Telo from a training crit into a bike race. Unlike the typical Telo edition, where Evens Stievenart rides everyone off his wheel, or whittles down the field into a tiny break and crushes his breakmates in the sprunt, today and last week there was actual racing involved with lots of racing stragety.
Although the 39 members of Team Lizard Collectors were unable to deny victory to arch-rival Methods to Whining, TLC mounted a number of valiant efforts which, at one point, forced MTW ninja-of-the-peloton Destroyer to single-handedly pull back a lethal TLC combo of David Ellis, Greg Seyranian, and David Wells. TLC refused to chase its own teammates (whaaaaat???), and worker-bee Knuckles happily rode up to the front and blocked.
It was a beautiful thing to see a break with no MTW riders in it, and even more beautiful to see MTW chase hard, although in the end MTW rider Aaron Wimberly incinerated the field with a fierce sprint, finishing so far ahead it was like swatting a fly with a flamethrower.
One of the things contributing to the difficulty of Telo is the prevalence of Hop-in-Wankers, riders who get lapped, hop back into the peloton refreshed, and then lend a hand with occasional chases, not to mention acting as clogstacles on the last lap as they sprunt for 15th among the non-lapped riders. Some people don’t like the H.I.W.’s but I do: It’s a frigging training race and people get stronger when they get shredded, jump in, and then put down another series of hard efforts.
Avoiding clogstacles on the bell lap, and moving up through a field of gassed riders is also much easier than doing the real thing on race day, so it’s great practice.
Kudos to all who came out and raced, and kudos to Tom Duong and Yasuko Davidson, who spent the entire hour cataloging this nonsense. Most of all, kudos to Joe Yule, the guy who brought Telo back to life–all hail the mighty Junkyard!
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What’s all the fuss?
April 18, 2018 § 2 Comments
After having my timbers shivered on Sunday at the Belgian Waffle Ride, I decided to take the week off. More accurately, my legs decided for me.
It was angsty when 5:00 Tuesday rolled around. That’s when you pull on the clown suit and pedal down to Telo, where hell awaits. I got twitchy and it felt weird, compulsively feeling like I should be airing up tires or eating a handful of almonds.
Instead I went down to the race course, kind of like I do in the beer aisle now, wandering lustfully in front of the multi-colored cans and bottles that spell my doom. The race started and you know what? It looked so easy.
After a few laps people were obviously in trouble but it looked so easy. We stacked up in the corner to take photos with our phones and people buzzed through in full lean. But anyway, it looked so easy. You could feel the incredible howling headwind in the backstretch, but of course, it looked soooo easy.
Then we went over to the start/finish and the long tailwind section, where Evens Stievenart and Eric Anderson punished the peloton with a nasty two-man breakaway that stuck to the end. The field had a lot of horsepower but not enough to bring them back.
Why didn’t they JUST PEDAL HARDER? It looked so easy.
I got home and scrolled through the pictures taken by Yasuko. Then I zoomed up on the faces, mouths gaping like trophy bass. It didn’t look easy any more.
There’s a lesson here, about the difference between watching and doing.
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Clash of the moderately-sized titans
April 11, 2018 § 6 Comments
The history of Telo is a bit foggy, or rather windy. It has been going on for over thirty years. Fifteen years ago it sported huge turnouts of 50-60 racers every week, sometimes more. With the downward spiral of road racing, Telo completely died about four years ago, and so dead was it that I actually listed it as “R.I.P.” on my South Bay Rides page.
Then Grandpa Joe, Junkyard, the resident creative genius of the South Bay stepped in. With a little cajoling and a few exquisitely tailored, beautifully designed winner jerseys, he brought Telo back to life. There are few things as important to the development of grass roots racing as having a regular weekly training crit. Training crits give people a place to race during the week, give new riders a chance to learn under less pressurized circumstances, and impart a vibe of competition that is part of, not apart from, camaraderie on the bike.
This past week Grandpa Joe’s heart, after close to six decades of hard work, decided to take a few beats’ vacation, and next thing we all knew our spiritual leader was being whisked off to a hospital to have his ticker frozen, the jumper cables attached, and to hopefully have his battery restarted. Dire prognostications were made about the Man of Junk, the Big Banana, and we all began writing obituaries that began with “That tough bastard …” or “That sonofabitch …” or “Who’s gonna design my kits NOW?”
Fortunately, they got the right ends of the cables hooked up to the right battery terminals, and after scraping off a whole bunch of battery acid and a few false starts, Junkyard’s battery was completely recharged. There was concern about lasting damage to the fermented brain lodged in Junkyard’s sweat-lodge of a cranium, but his first words were “I’m selling all my bike shit and spending the rest of my life wandering through museums!”
Relief was all we could feel hearing these oft-repeated words, uttered every time he regained consciousness in a hospital, because it meant for sure that he was not more than a month out from doing NPR, and two, perhaps three from suiting up at Telo.
Last night we had a massive turnout in his honor. The field was littered with hitters, and it took about forty riders to keep Evens in check. At the end, Methods to Winning demonstrated a method to winning, i.e. start your leadout with Destroyer, then follow it with Hair, then with Youngdude, then Rahsaan, and then put E.A. Sports, Inc., in the closer slot. Of course, even though it wasn’t the third quarter, he closed. Or rather, slammed the fuggin’ door shut.
I staggered home to lick my wounds. Another windy beating. Another vicious mauling. Another day of infamy metamorphosed into an evening of despair.
Another Telo. Thanks, Junkyard.
Pro photog photos courtesy of Yasuko. Video stills by Joey Cooney. Please consider subscribing … Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!
Telo fun and stragety
March 28, 2018 § 2 Comments
Great night of racing at the Telo training crit last night, filled with action and #faketactics. Smasher smashed away from the field about halfway through and was never caught despite the disorganized and haphazard efforts of the chasers, who included Heavy D., Tony Wang, Shiftless, Dr. Whaaaat?, Hair, and me.
Cameo appearances by Prez, Wily Greek, and Junkyard enhanced their own personal fun of getting kicked out the back and fighting the 20 mph headwind alone for an hour.
Team Lizard Collectors used its four riders in the chase to perfectly set up Hair, who rides for Methods to Winning, for the field sprunt, which he easily nailed as the Lizards shouted at each other, watched Heavy D. ride randomly, and vigorously chased down each other’s attacks.
It never occurred to the Lizards to take turns attacking Hair, who happily sat in while watching his chances go from one-in-six to 100%. Smasher was awarded a coveted loaf of bread for his efforts. Hair, who got second, got nothing, and I, who got third, got the best prize of all: A ride home.
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Davy sprunt good
February 1, 2018 § 3 Comments
Another Sunday Telo World Championships took place, and although I was unable to attend, CitSB’s trusty field reporter, Corporal Fox, took on the massive job of recording comprehensive race notes and, most importantly, stocking the tent with hot pizza and cold beer. Jason Morin of Shift Mobile manned the pits to help racers who needed a last-minute tune-up, derailleur adjustment, chain lube, or fresh leg shave up in that crease where you can’t get it yourself without turning half-backwards and usually slipping in the shower and slamming your head on the tile.
Here’s how it went down:
Lap 1: Neutral. There is nothing neutral in any bike race, ever. Significant preen attacks, flex jumps, and strut pacelines occur.
Lap 2: Ivan Fernandez attacks and is off the front by four seconds, following the maxim that if you are going to immolate yourself, start early and use a big torch. Kevin Nix and Lane Reid hammer to close the gap, nearly shelling Brent Davis, who, if he ignites and melts, will gap out the rest of the peloton. The fuse however sputters and Brent lives to get dropped another day. Lap. Jon Davy and Greg Leibert swap recipes or phone numbers in the back. Stathis Sakellariadis and Abraham Mohammed are already spit out, enjoying the Telo delicacy of 58 finely seasoned minutes alone in an awful wind.
Lap 3: Junior rider Alex Mainvielle leads the group, flunking the first lesson of successful bike racing, which is “Cower & Hide,” but completely acing the Wanky Rule, the one and only Wanky Rule of “Go to the front!” Alex brings back Ivan, who still is dangling a few feet off the front. This lap appeared to be fast without the aid of a timer or an atomic clock because the group was strung out in a single line, with many people teetering, tottering, asking themselves weighty existentialist questions, and otherwise manufacturing superb reasons to gap themselves out. One Orange is dropped, after having been nicely peeled.
Lap 4: There is a major change-up as Geoff Loui smashes to the front, head down and in the drops, with Ivan right behind him. Jose is dropped like that guy in 2001 A Space Odyssey when he got kicked out of the airlock by Hal and spiraled off into space forever.
Lap 6: As they come around the west corner, Jon Davy, who either attacked into the wind or who frightened everyone by flexing a bicep, is 10 seconds off the front, with Geoff Loui chasing hard behind. This move causes Greg Leibert to start moving up. Savvy cyclists know that when Greg a/k/a G$ begins to move up, it is a good time to stand down and submit your application to dentistry school. Danelle decides that it’s time to recalibrate, and she recalibrates off the back.
Lap 7: Kevin Nix, Greg Leibert, and Ivan Fernandez catch Jon and establish a breakaway, opening a 6-second gap on the field. Brandon Sanchez leads the chase at a hammering pace that has the field wondering if there is a new solitaire app for their phone, the riders strung out and immobilized like dead coyote skins nailed to an outhouse door. At the back, Kevin Salk, Joey Cooney, and Nick Fruth observe a precarious gap begin to yawn and gape in front of them. Although some racing experts believe that races are won from behind, that falsism is not bearing itself out today. Reece Sylvester releases his grappling hooks and falls off the rampart onto the windy plain below, where he is trampled to death by sharks and giant squid and dragons.
Lap 8: Meanwhile, back at the raunch, or back at the back, or back at the waaaaay back, Stathis and Danelle join up for a steady TT around the course, each lap even less fun than the already miserable one before.
Lap 9: This is prime lap number 1 and it is scooped up by Ivan Fernandez, with Greg Leibert right behind him. “Right behind” a prime winner = “You lost, dude.” Ivan’s attack for the water bottle, or rather the bottle of water (Hint! Water) leaves the group in whatever is rattier and more tore up than tatters. Some would call it a peloton but they would be lying. At this point it is just riders sharing the same road. However, this allows Kevin Salk and Nick Fruth to make up some ground and stay in a little longer before their untimely fate is also decided by the neutral laws of physics.
Lap 10: Something happens, perhaps.
Lap 11: Ivan regains his breath, and the 4-man breakaway regains its 8-second gap. Peyton Cooke, legendary legend who seems to last longer and longer each week as he beers his way back into fitness, decides to beer his way backwards and gets punched out the back like a fresh pop-tob tab flicked by a thirsty lumberjack.
Lap 12: This is prime lap number 2, and Ivan Fernandez wins with another monster sprint as Brandon Sanchez continues to batter away on the front, perhaps counting his matches but if so in dire need of remedial arithmetic. Kevin Salk and Nick Fruth decide that sometimes it’s better to put your head down, suck it up, and get ready for MONEY TIME, but not today which is IDGAF TIME. They are dropped. Meanwhile, in the first or second fragment, Joey Cooney joins the Stathis/Danelle duo, and Stathis finds his legs stapled to a tree, then drops Danelle and rides away with Joey. Any sign of Stathis gaining fitness depresses everyone for miles around.
Lap 13: The efforts from the two prime laps prove too much for Ivan, who zips up his suitcase of courage and decides to check it and send it overland by camel, and he parachutes out of the breakaway and is now with the ragamuffin group. The breakaway has increased their lead to 15 seconds, and is doing a rotating pace line with no apparent attacks.
Lap 14: Someone does something, for sure.
Lap 15: The dwindling group of fragmentarians loses two more, Nick Fruth and Geoff Loui, as each rider decides that the better part of wisdom is to never ever racing your fuggin’ bike again. Only 10 fragmentarians remain, in addition to the breakaway.
Lap 16: This is prime lap number 3, and G$ wins it for the A group, devastating his breakmates with his tremendous power, but the prime doesn’t seem to be a priority for Nix or Davy, who are focused on achieving the incredible success and acclaim that will come from winning this most important race of their cumulative careers. Alex Mainvielle wins for the B group, with a huge gap between himself and the rider behind him, as the prime effort causes the group to accordion (out of tune and played by a drunken street vendor with a dead monkey on his shoulder) while riders sway and struggle to stay in like drunks tottering on a broken barstool placed in a minefield.
Lap 17: More very important things happen somewhere, but not here.
Lap 18: The A group looks strong, still rotating steadily, replete with heroes whose names will ever bedeck the golden halls of time, giants among men whose exploits will earn them everlasting rest in the Elyisan Fields and if not that maybe another bottle of Hint Water. The last prime effort has taken the fragmentarians in the B group and turned them into molecularians as they are about to be lapped. Robert Cisneros takes the last thrust of the harpoon into his mighty side, rolls over in the water, shoots up a spout of gore, and, dropped, sinks beneath the waves, all the way down to the pizza and beer underneath the Telo tent, where he is covered with a hot layer of pizza cheese and cooled with bubbly beer.
Bell Lap: At one lap to go, the break begins trying to figure out how to beat Davy. Nix hands G$ a set of brass knuckles and G$ shares a brace of pistols with Nix. Despite repeated blows to the spine and close-range gunshots to the head, Davy’s most important organs remain unscathed as, rounding the final corner, Nix discovers that the grenade he’s been chewing lost its pin and G$ discovers what the stars ordained many millennia ago: Davy Sprunt Good.
And of course Danelle for the women’s trophy!
Heroes who showed up and raced their fuggin’ bikes:
Andy Rodriguez, David Shaw, Connie Perez, Jose Godinez, Peyton Cooke, Stathis Sakellariadis, Carlos Ristorcelli, Brent Davis, Jason Mark, Gregory Cooke, Reese Sylvester, Courey Burkhardt, Steve Thorpe, Jon Davy, Ivan Fernandez, Brandon Sanchez, Danelle Doernbrack, Abraham Mohammed, Joey Cooney, Kevin Nix, Robert Cisneros, Greg Leibert, Jason Morin, Nick Fruth, Geoff Loui, Kevin Salk, Ken Vinson, Alex Mainvielle, Stacy Gremminger, Someone from Ironfly, Long haired guy in pictures, Eric Arentsen, Guy in tye dye kit, Lane Reid, David wells on his motorcycle who could have easily won but didn’t.
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About Cycling in the South Bay: This the all-things-cycling blog about cycling in the South Bay and cycling in Los Angeles, maintained and authored by me, Seth Davidson, Torrance-based bicycle lawyer, bike racer, and personal injury attorney.