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.
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.
How do I sprint?
June 13, 2018 § 9 Comments
At the world famous Telo training race every Tuesday night, there is huge variety with the same outcome. The variety lies in the the various breakaways that get established, the antics of the riders careening through the turns as they avoid steel plates, loose gravel, orange warning cones, oncoming traffic, and the wobbly person ahead of them, all things that seem like they might lead to a different outcome but almost never do.
The outcome is like this: Frexit, EA Sports, Inc., or Hair win the sprint.
Every blue moon or so it turns out otherwise, like last week when Medium Banana ganged up with Team Lizard Collectors and stuck it to The Man, but the exception proves the rule: You can’t sprint, you ain’t hardly ever gonna win.
That’s what happened this week, too. EA Sports, Inc. banged open the door about three or four laps in, waltzed away with Medium Banana, was joined by Surfer and Ivan the Terrible, put 40 seconds on the field, cat-and-moused towards the end, then led it out and won by a gazillion bike lengths.
Meanwhile back at the ranch, Hair, who was still recovering from bubonic plague, kicked it hard from the front out of the last turn and booted Sockman out the back with the ease of a FedEx dude dumping a clunky box off at the curb. He finished so far ahead he looked like Secretariat at the Belmont Stakes.
After the race one of guys who got pureed asked Hair, who should know, “How do you sprint?”
Hair shrugged. “It’s pretty simple,” he said. “Pick good parents.”
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June 5, 2018 § 7 Comments
It is very hard to beat EA Sports, Inc. in a bicycle race. There are a lot of reasons for this, but here are the main ones:
- Ninja pack awareness and handling.
- Knows how to hurt.
- 1500 watts on the flop.
At today’s Telo #fakerace, we had about twenty-five members of Team Lizard Collectors and a smattering of other riders. As we did the first courtesy lap I advised my fellow collectors that “We need to attack early and often, and sit the fuck up if EA Sports, Inc. is with you, or bridges, because we couldn’t generate 1500 sprint watts if we pooled the output of our five fastest lizards.”
The attacks came early and often, and at ten minutes in I shouted at Pornstache to “Hit it!”
He didn’t really know what I meant, or he didn’t think I was talking to him, or he thought it was another diabolical Wanky trick to get him to expend a bunch of energy to my sole benefit, but after the fourth yell, he stood up and went.
Pornstache has the acceleration of a fully loaded bus going up a steep grade, but once he hits a certain speed he launches like an exploding zit, and it happened into the headwind. Everyone was winded from the wind except for Medium Banana, who hopped on.
The Hun was dawdling at the front; he’s one of the strongest lizard collectors we have. “Go, Hun!” I shouted, and while everyone gasped, the Hun jumped, caught on and pedaled away.
EA Sports, Inc. saw the gap, and saw it grow. Magically, all 300 lizard collectors sat up. No one chased. Were we witnessing the mythical #fakerace unicorn … of … team tactics?
The handful of nonaligned riders, including Greensox, tried to make common cause, but Team Lizard Collectors marked every move, chased every attack, and interfered with every organized chase. I felt kind of bad, riding like a complete wanking clogstacle until I reflected that I am in fact just that, and even more importantly, Team Lizard Collectors was finally going to pull off the unbelievable: A #fakerace win through teamwork, wits, and the Jack from Illinois (not his real name) technique of “work together.”
Despite a dozen or so 1,000-watt efforts, EA Sports, Inc., finally resigned himself to the field sprint. I had my post-race apology well burnished by the time the race ended and the three-man break finished with a solid 20-second gap on the field: “Hey, buddy, sorry to ride like a worthless wheelsucking POS clogstacle, but it’s about time that Team Lizard Collectors won a Telo #fakerace. We need this for our team.”
I figured he’d say something like, “Whatever, dude,” but instead what he said was “Uh, I don’t think so.”
“You don’t think what?” I said, having delivered my speech perfectly.
“I don’t think you guys won.”
“No, man, Medium Banana dusted your two guys in the sprint like a housewife working a rugbeater.”
I looked over at Medium Banana, who had the look on his face of, what’s that called? A winner.
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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!
April 5, 2018 § 4 Comments
On Tuesday there was big Telo wind and a pretty good Telo turnout, with the most important factors being Frexit and Brexit, sworn cross-Channel enemies who would battle each other to the death.
The group stayed together for a while despite a series of attacks and breaks and accelerations. Baby Seal hit the gas a couple of times, NEVER SKIPPING PULLS, and Team Lizard Collector stalwarts such as Raul, Tom the Kid, Heavy D., Sulk, Dowdy, Son of Max, Ivan the Terrible, Foxy, Racooney, Sanch, and Patrick kept things lively. Dino rider Toronto had come out of the museum with the intention of riding himself into fitness, and where better to do that than Telo, where gale-force wind, face-flattening speed, mommy-and-kiddy gym traffic, and a healthy dose of shoutypantsing by other riders would stiffen the spine of anyone? Original Marco was there too, as was Honda Brandon, with Boozy P. and Mrs. WM shooting photos in the turns, a true All-Star Telo if there ever was one.
Eventually Frexit split the group and with me glued to his wheel and Hair glued to mine, he reeled in the small group off the front that included Brexit, and finally the outlier, Alx Bns. Alx was coming off a superb showing at the Donut Pissing Contest and, having urinated much longer and thicker streams than anyone else, was ready to make common cause with his British compatriot Brexit in order to stifle the dreams of the Gallic nation as embodied by Frexit.
With five riders in the break, one of whom were determined to do as little work as possible, I felt pretty sure that it was only a matter of time before Frexit, Brexit, and Alx would punch me out the back to the retirement home of the chase group. As the shoutypantsing began I marshaled a whole host of reasons why I should be allowed to SKIP PULLS, SIT IN, AND PRAY TO DOG.
- I was 12 years older than Brexit, 14 years older than Hair, 20 years older than Frexit, and 24 years older than Alx. Plus, it was Be Kind to Old Folks Week.
- I was no threat to anyone, except perhaps from passing out.
- They should take pity on me and be kind to an ol’ buddy, ol’ pal.
- I have a blog.
A truce was declared in which they would take turns attacking me, until finally Frexit rode off and won. Brexit, in solidarity with striking French railway workers, quit in disgust. Alx attacked me and Hair and pedaled off to a glorious second place.
Hair, who had ridden twice in the last month, dragged me around for five laps. As I got ready to dust him in the sprunt and claw my way onto the podium, the chasers hunted us down in the final turn and Dowdy, Ivan the Terrible, and a couple of others lunged for Hair’s wheel. Hair, exhausted, cramping, and tired from pulling for five laps, easily won the field sprunt, booting me off the podium and onto a disgraceful fourth place #fakefinish at the #fakerace.
There is always next week … I hope.
Training crits are hard, heroic, and great preparation for not racing on Sunday. Please consider subscribing … Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!