Friday, March 6, 2009

The Easy Button

Enjoy the ride, this one in from one Mr. Jurist, it's pure humor.

Some observations on Callville and a race report:

In response to Mr. Benko’s assertion that I can cast an “evil” spell: Evil spelled backwards is “live” and as Mr. Lance Armstrong has encouraged all of us, “live strong.” My interpretation is “make mine a double.”

If you have only ridden your TT bike three times around Goleta, don’t use it for an uphill time trial at your first stage race, no matter what some bike genius says.

Houseboat toilets need descriptive lines printed in the bowl to achieve proper water volume levels for the projected fill rate. From bottom to top: “just passin’ through,” “midday snack” and at the top perhaps “3 plates of pasta at the free spaghetti dinner.” (We did not have venison on our boat or perhaps a fourth line would be necessary.)
People who race bicycles are always cold when not on their bikes. Again, this could be solved with “make mine a double.”
So now that I have almost as many road events under my belt as the number of wheel sets shoved into Dan Rudd’s and Blinger’s car for the race (oh wait, I’ve only done 4 races), it would be fitting that I preface any bad race results with excuses. Sooooo, Tuesday prior to the Callville Classic, I chaperoned a bus load of kids to the Long Beach Aquarium and scored a classic case of elementary school dysentery. Wednesday was sleepless and Thursday was only slightly better. It was obvious that my expectations for the weekend would need to go from yellow jersey to perhaps a single five minutes of glory within a race. I was thinking maybe a prime in the Sunday crit, but unlike the adult races, THERE ARE NO PRIMES for Cat 5 (never mind that I got yanked before the race finished.) So I had to leave with only the Thurston Howell III award for dedication to cocktail hour (a Gilligan’s Island reference for those under 35) and my bike pump tucked between my legs with the only solid thing my body produced for the weekend being a personal worst in the time trial.

Fast forward to the departure of myself and “nameless” (sometimes known for his bladderific spontaneity) from Callville on Sunday. Of course, we missed the little cut off for the 15, and stayed on the 215, passing dangerously close to the south end of the strip (talk about casting an evil spell) before steeling ourselves and heading onto the 15 southbound. Nameless and I started talking about what a shame it would be to have driven within a mile of the magic and not have been able to breathe in just a quick bit of the rancid smoke filled air, stale alcohol charm and slot machine chiming of the sanctuary of sin. We decided to feed our jones and stomach’s at Whiskey Pete’s at the state line.

I’ve been to Vegas a time or two and I can tell you now, Whiskey Pete’s is no Vegas. It is to the Bellagio what influenza is to the Bubonic Plague. No matter, if you close your eyes it’s all the same. And in this case, tightly shut.

When we walked in, I felt changed. The disappointments of the weekend started to fade and I could almost feel my appetite returning. There would be one last chance for redemption! Our plan for the fourth and final stage of Callville was a big sizzling platter of beef to celebrate nameless’ top 11 finish in the un-incentivized Cat. 5 melees. Drat, strike one, the Silver Spur Steakhouse course had been closed down, probably by SPCS (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Steak). We sought out the race director who pointed his soda gun at the new venue, The Trail’s End Coffee Shop. A long line of racers was already staging behind the stanchions and we jockeyed for good position in front of two female racers who looked bleary and hung over (for the life of me I couldn’t remember them from our houseboat). We chatted a bit with the two ladies who revealed they had come to town from Bakersfield supporting Big Head Todd and the Monsters for an event at the House of Blues.

They were sending racers off in groups from the front when all of a sudden we were chosen out of the middle of the pack. The official looked at our group, “We’ve got a spot for four near the front…” The Bakersfield team eyed us and asked if we were up to the challenge. Little did she know that I still had my smelly kit on under my clothes and was ready for anything they could throw down!

We were shown “race bibles” for the stage and there were some tense moments of strategizing before each racer showed their cards. Shelly, who was in desperate need of a cigarette, went with milk, orange juice and after being denied oatmeal, went all in with scrambled eggs. Looked like a lightweight climbing strategy to me. Diane showed she was in it for the field sprint, steak and eggs with coffee. I was dying to sneak a peak at her power meter to see what she had in the tank. Nameless, who had faced the brunt of a full crit went mega calorie with the “steak” dinner. Knowing that my heart rate had exceeded maximum for all three events previously, I went full deep-fried to slow it and make sure I stayed under max, so nameless and I could make a move if it presented itself.

I should mention that our opponents had chosen their positions in the four top formation before we could get a wheel in. They were aligned opposite each other, which forced us to do the same. I believe this is the same start position that Matteus Chickarino and his wingerman, Cragio Zipperholder, found themselves in at the start of the Tour de les Cafes in the air raid shortened 1943 race in Nice, France. Of course, they had chocolates and nylons in their back pockets and soloed to, um, victory. Phil Liggett could confirm.

Our task would be much tougher as we felt like we were on their turf with no pre-ride. There was some early consternation with nameless’ order that caused a restart, but after being quickly handled by the neutral feed we were ready for battle. And off we went. Nameless and I paced ourselves with the group, but because of the positioning at the four top we were limited to eye rolls and spoon Morse code to signal strategy. Shelly and Diane went chatty after the first few kilometers and we stayed right on their wheels with Chicken Ranch lore. The group settled into a rhythm for the next twenty. I sensed trouble when we reached the climb leading to the finish. With only small portions left, nameless was trying to list country bands he liked and I could hear the lead in his voice. Desperate, I shoved the last fried bits in my mouth and felt my heart rate slow to defibrillator levels. Cresting the final climb (the first time during the weekend I managed to stay with the lead group) I jumped in with a blizzard of fluff. I smelled bad decaf coffee and knew that nameless had managed to get on my wheel. Bam, the finish check hit the racecourse and nameless and I dived into our pockets. Diane graciously picked up the check despite our objections, she and Shelly thanking us for the company. Bingo, I mean Keno, I mean Blackjack….. a prime in Cat 5.

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