La Vida Wanker

La Vida Wanker

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Tour of Elk Grove

Frequently, people ask me how my race went. It’s an innocuous enough of a question. There is no harm meant by it. On the contrary, it is generally said to begin a conversation or foster friendship.

And for most people, the question elicits a decent answer and leads to a familiar enough refrain:

“Hey Timmy Tuesday, how did your race go?”

“Oh, well things were going great until I choked on my gel, accidentally defecated myself, managed to roll m
y tubular and snap my seat off simultaneously—sending the seatpost into my posterior with the force of a thousand Leibos on a single scale and the carbon Zipp shards into my eye with a velocity equal to that of Lemond’s whining squared. Other than that though, things were rather cheery out there.”

“Well, there’s always tomorrow.”

“Yeah, I guess so. I mean, I’m blind, have a seatpost stuck up my ass and crashed at the biggest race of the year, but yeah, there is always tomorrow! Just look at GWB’s second term or
Speed Two: Cruise Control—a great four, debt free, peaceful years and a wonderful cinematic sequel. Who knows what tomorrow holds then, right?”

“Timmy Tuesday, it’s always a pleasure talking to you.”

In reality, Timmy Tuesday is too meek to regularly tell the unregulated truth. Instead, he says something like:

“Oh, things didn’t go great out there, but I did some work for my teammates and finished to the best of my abilities. And there is always tomorrow!”

Well, I’ll take a book out of Timmy Tuesday’s page. (Yes, you read that right.)

Here is what happened:

I don’t turn well. Sometimes it’s left turns and sometimes it’s right turns. Maybe I’m dyslexic. Maybe I’m just plain stupid. But at every race, I suck at either turning right or left—thankfully, never both.

(Another reason why I love track?)

Anyway, today I couldn’t properly execute a right turn—regardless of speed. Thankfully, the course had only a single right turn.

But I managed to open a huge gap into and out of that turn every lap. The gap necessitated a massive sprint from someone who had just sprinted out of a 180 degree turn and prides himself on never getting out of the seat.

Chapeau Scottie Too Hottie.

(BTW, how the hell did I of all people get that nickname. I pray for the definition of the word that it’s sarcastic or something.)

Beyond the right turning, I couldn’t shift well. Again, this is not an excuse or a mechanical failure but a reality. I have been dealing with this issue all year.

Likely, my inability to shift is directly related to either a) my weight or b) my right hand. Other lighter people ride my bike and it shifts fine. I shift my bike on the stand with my left hand and it shifts well. I get on my bike and try to shift with my right hand and...

Despite all the issues, the race started well enough. Then there was a crash after I was dropped in the right turn and chased back on. I was gapped and out of the race.

To earn a free lap, I rode an additional lap chasing and crashed into neutral support’s tent. Taking pity on me and realizing my inability to affect the outcome of the race, the officials granted me a free lap.

When the pack went past and I was thrown in, I couldn’t figure out how to clip in or shift. Granted, I’ve been racing for five years, but the basics are sometimes impossible to master.

(Ask Maddoff, even the financial wizard didn’t know he was mistakenly running a Ponzi scheme, the most basic of all fraudulent financial business. So yeah, even the pros screw up sometimes.)

Anyway, once I reintegrated with the pack, I actually managed to move up and felt great when Tom Petty (sorry, JoKO) rode my wheel up to the thick underbelly of the peleton. Naturally, I then drifted back.

Secure in my position at the rear of the pack, I noticed a gap beginning to open. Knowing that there was nobody behind me, I wait for the person behind me to close the gap. When I finally realize that nobody is not coming, I close it myself only to watch another gap open ahead of me.

This time, the riders behind me pull forward and we all catch back on. But I never fully latch unto the tail of the pack. Within several laps, I am shelled.

Such, my friends, is bike racing.

(See readers, I do love you all. I called you my friends!)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I'm Stranded and I'm Sorry

Lance may not regret his comeback 2.0 after PharmaShack won the prestigious team gc award, but Neville Chamberlain probably would like to forget “peace for our time,” the Trib likely wants to skip over “Dewey Defeats Truman,” and you probably regret missing the classes in which the latter two examples were taught.

Regardless of your cultural and historical illiteracy, regrets are a reality. (It’s always a good idea to belittle your audience. The only thing more pathetic than a blogger is his readers, duh!)

Thankfully, I have only three cycling related regrets:

1) That my diet always starts tomorrow rather than today
2) That I essentially raced TTs exclusively for the first years of my “career”
3) That I quit track racing after only two years

The first two regrets are fairly simple to understand. My diet staring tomorrow means I’m fat today. For some reason, I never start my diet today because that means I’ll be carb depleted for a race, training ride, nap or meal.

I guess I never considered the fact that I should have plenty of fat to burn before I die of starvation...

My TT regret isn’t really a regret, but they taught us to always put things in pairs of three. Haha, pairs of three.

So that leaves the track regret. Why would anyone miss track racing? How can going around in circles for brief two minute spurts be fun? What is so alluring about riding without brakes or shifting? Is it really that fun being an inch away from hipsterdom?

I really don’t know the answer to the above, but track racing is a blast. This Tuesday, I accompanied Kaleb and the IsCorp squad to the Bob Pfarr 150 lap classic in Kenosha.

This Bob guy was apparently a fast mofo. Anyway, there is now a race in his memory and Chad Hartley came out to win it. (Look, I made the newspaper—a medium utterly outdated and headed into irrelevance)

At first, I was fearful. The track is banked and I don’t like steep things—hills and learning curves and such.

But then I started to get a hang of things. While I weigh more than your average Pro Tour team bus + riders and gear, it seems to matter little on the track. Essentially, I pedal a bit and coast for a while. In other words, it obviates the need for a diet. (See pic for proof.)

Additionally, turning really isn’t that difficult like it is on my TT bike without basebars.

While there are these pesky lines you’re supposed to stay between, if you’re fat enough nobody really cares if you leave your lane—you’re too big to push out of the way and it’s like a fat man on an airplane; simply unfair to restrict him to a single seat.

(I mean, come on! it’s his right to have your eat (Oops, seat. Freudian slip) too. It’s not his fault he’s so fat.)

Anyway, I had a blast and Weisnenhoofen got third, which was sweeter than a Krsipy Kreme donut. (But less sweet than a Timmy Ho’s Maple Leaf, for those in the know like Leibo)

So to honor my love of the track, I’ll be racing most every upcoming Thursday and Tuesday. And NU will be putting on a track meet! (Stay tuned for details.)

In the meantime, head over to for some sweet tunes.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Aero or Die

Dating her is enthralling. One moment we’re on top of the world—secretly flying to exotic places and doing crazy things. The next moment she’s on top of me with a razor blade dancing at my throat.

In short, she’s the most beautiful and interesting thing I’ve ever mounted, but she’s also dying to kill me.

I guess one could say our relationship has issues.

But as is the case with most relationships, our issues are mutual. She hates me because she thinks I’m unfaithful, and her fears aren't ungrounded.

A trusty P3c she may be, but she’s going up against Shivs, Speed Concepts, and P4s.

So naturally I get excited at the races around all the new bikes. I cannot help but marvel at the all internal cable routing, integrated brakes and bars and waterbottles, and tap the nose-cones.

It’s not her fault; she’s as gorgeous as ever. It’s just that her younger competition has raised the stakes.

But she should know better than to think I've ever gone past looking or inquisitive and innocent touching.

She knows there is no bike quite like her. Yeah, the yougins may have integrated this and aerodynamic that, but they don’t have vintage Hooker SL brakes, Scott 100k TT bars, or user-calibrated SRMs.

They’re cheap plastic. She’s something more. I would never do anything to harm our relationship.

Which is why I really don’t understand her violence. When I’m racing at 30mph, I can hardly afford a seat that becomes detached from the rails. My idea of a fun time doesn't involve a seatpost jammed up the ass.

So it's time she and I get some help. I promise not to look elsewhere if she promises not to kill me. It's no solution, but it's a start.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Crash and Burn

Something rather white and sticky covers my sheets. It first oozes and then dries into a hard, crusty sap with a slight tackiness and odor. Every night, it magically appears, and every morning my sheets must be cleaned.

To make matters worse, it sticks to my body making me feel all scaly. There is no escaping the white sticky sap—no matter what I do.

To the uninformed, it may sound as if I’m attempting (poorly) to make some raunchy joke. And maybe I am, to
an extent.

But I’m actually talking about something far more disgusting and taboo than white sticky stuff. I’m talking about road rash.

Road rash—like the death tax for every uber wealthy family—is something all racers must endure, but that every racer wishes to avoid.

First off, it’s crazy painful. Imagine your skin suddenly became as inflexible as peanut brittle and that every time you moved the peanut brittle broke. And every broken piece of peanut brittle was food you were forbidden to eat that sent George Washington Carver rolling over in his grave. In essence, the pain can be immobilizing—mentally and physically.

Secondly, the bandages are crazy expensive and impossible to apply. No matter what you do, they end up fusing to your skin—leaving you forced to pull off gauze scabs until you faint.

Once you realize the expensive shit sucks, you end up attaching saran wrap to your arms with duct tape. Everything looks ok for a day, but then the wound fills with fluid, your arm become infected, gangrene spreads, and you die. (Spoken from experience.)

Honestly, there is no good way of dealing with road rash. Between the pain, cost, and white sticky residue, I just plain hate crashing.

But it might not have to be this way. Already, there is clothing sewn with Kevlar that can stop shrapnel and gunshots.

At Pro Wanker Industries, we reckon that if Kevlar can stop a bullet, it can handle some asphat. So I say it's about time we weave some damn Kevlar into our spandex shorts.

White stuff be damned. (And it's not like the Steinbrenner's estate is getting taxed.)

Monday, July 12, 2010

King Tut

With Lance crashing three times in a single TdF stage and Interpol hot on his case, it’s easy to get caught up in the negativity. Between the doping, cancelled races, folding teams, bickering riders, and charisma-less stars, the sport has certainly seen better days. The “Clinic” section of Forums may be thriving, but cycling isn’t—not when Riccardo Ricco is still winning stage races.

Add to
that my declining form and a crash rate that has smashed my Wankability Index to 56, and it’s easy to become disillusioned.

But then, cycling surprises. Like Lance in 1999, it comes smashing out of memory and into our hearts.

I may vomit when an unabashed doper receives a call-up at ToAD, but I also cannot help but thanking people like Chad Briggs and Gary Dahmer for their generous support.

As an Abitibi veteran, I’m used to sleeping in weird places with strange things. I’ve fallen off of desks and on to aero helmets, insisted on hugging handlebars to sleep, and have shared a bed with more than three people.

Naturally then, waking up on a race weekend to a breakfast of peach covered cinnamon french toast in bed was startling.

But the most startling part of the entire weekend was just how things came together. A great race promoter—Chad Briggs—made life easy for me and my cycling friends from Lindenwood.

First offering us his floor and then arranging accommodations at the Davie School Bed and Breakfast through Gary, he made sure we were more than well taken care of.

And then he found some of the coolest roads to race on in Illinois. Between sharp rollers, long climbs, smooth and safe descents, and winding roads, he put together one of the most enjoyable road racing courses I’ve ever ridden. In addition, he put on a painfully tough and technical TT and a genuine downtown crit.

Yes, the fields were small, the drive was long, and the payout was not SuperWeek sized. But in years to come, I hope to see more people make the drive. Between the great courses and dedication of the promoters and sponsors, the Great Egyptian will only grow and continue to impress.

I know I'll be back.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Secondhand Smoke Kills

Please note: The following may read as a man crush. And to a certain extent, it is. However, that should not detract from the content of the post—SpiderMonkey is a dangerous and fast man. Approach with extreme caution; he will ride your legs off.

A legend is coming to Ohio. And three days from now, they will know his name.

But for now, he spins his web discretely and anonymously—quietly borrowing a TT bike, choosing his wheels, and gluing his tires.

This week is just like any other. He does not bother with peaking or carb loading. For him, they are unncessary distractions, affectations at best. At dinner, he eats raw meat and uncooked roughage. The more blood, the better. For training, he races and then heads out for more riding—be it raining or not. Intervals are for the gentically handicapped, he says.

And right now, his competition knows nothing of him. They are sleeping or eating or riding. But whatever they are doing, they are alive and without the fear. They prepare for their race thinking victory is possible. They have hope

But not for long.

For this Friday, a legend is coming to Ohio. And three days from now, they will know his name—it will be adorning his borrowed TT bike.

He is the SpiderMonkey. And yes, he will rape and pillage your village without remorse.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Taste of Chicago

Note: The scene described in the first four paragraphs is not fiction. Additionally, the writer does not condone the throwing of D batteries through windshields, the use of bike bells on Bora shod Colnagos, or the presence of more than one powermeter per bike per unit of time.

The paceline runs smoothly. The eight riders trade pulls, accounting for the wind and undulating terrain. At the front, a rider uses his handlebar mounted bell to warn of an approaching pothole. At the rear, another rider checks his Powertap Cervo head-unit and Joule simultaneously—looking for a discrepancy, perhaps—and decides to increase his power output by a tenth of a watt in order to pull through optimally.

To his left, a PACT Team (Polish American Cycling Team Team [no, that’s not a typo]) rider checks his Zipps. His rear wheel appears to be rubbing. He, like most of the other riders, is running tubular race wheels on a training ride. In front of the PACT Team rider, an IsCorp Espoir stops pedaling. Determining that the creaking emanates from his split seat and not some other source, he continues pulling through.

As the ride slows to a double paceline, two riders discuss their thresholds. (FTP in Coggan terminology.) One has determined his to be 360 watts by doing a lone 30 second test.

"Instead of breaking a sweat and riding hard for an hour, I just did a 30 second sprint and then divided that number by .4 or something. It's science, man."

The other congratulates him on his brilliance and strength. But as the pace increases, they are—again—both dropped.

Such is the modern day Mafia Ride.

Many years ago, the Mafia Ride was the fastest, hardest and most legitimate North Shore group ride. Visiting pros, local strongmen, headstrong juniors, and mystery men would meet at the West Lake Forest train station and head north. The roughly 3hr ride had only two sprints, but they were fiercely contested and the pace was always held high.

In this nostalgic and somewhat facetious portrayal, riders were real men—they rode 32 spoke wheels, shunned heart rate monitors, threw D batteries rather than ringing bells at passing cars, and spoke about race wins and sensations, not thresholds.

To history’s student and antiquity’s survivor, the past may seem glorious and the present a hollow farce. And so it may be. But so long as you are willing to chuckle and nod disapprovingly, the present has something going for it— it's pretty damn Pro Wanker.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Le Tour de Dopage, a Preview

Note: This post is writ for your amusement. So any accusations of doping are simply 1) For you to laugh at 2) A matter of you misreading the text. I do not want to get blocked from Lance's Twitter feed. (Note to self: Do not piss Lance off.) So keep it classy and remember—Guilty until proven innocent is for Europe, not America.

The biggest pharmaceutical show on Earth is set to start tomorrow. And already, things are heating up. The Wall Street Journal—owned by Rupert Murdoch, who also owns SKY—has published an article rehashing Landis’ accusations that Lance doped en route to his Tour victories. Never one to be excluded from the finger pointing, Greg Lemond predicts on his Cyclingnews blog that Lance will either not start the Tour or will pull out before the race enters France.

In other news:

1) Greg Lemond is a fool. He is also the biggest whining wanker I’ve ever noticed. In a recent blog post, he writes that doping cleary began in 1991/1992 because people started beating him. Since nobody can beat Lemond, the competition must be doping. Solid logic, Lemond—it’s not like getting older ever slowed anyone down. I mean, look how much faster Lance is now since coming back from retirement.

2) Contador is terribly annoying. Bert, you’re probably a doper; you were implicated in Puerto. And you don't have to show us the Pistolero after every victory. We clearly already know you're a wanker. Moreover, I can’t wait until Cancellara and Lance rape your Spanish ass on the pave. Enjoy being able to control your bowel likely won’t last for long.

3) Evans, you’re as dumb as they come. Either start doping or get on a good team. It’s not that complicated, man.

4) Di Luca, I miss your doping ass. You had style and panache. Plus, unlike Floyd, you didn’t rat others out. You were a quality doper. I wish the rest of the peloton were like you.

5) Ullrich, come back. You were such a wanker—losing the Tour to eat more German red meat and drink more beer. We all miss you.

6) Robbie McEwen, it's been a good run, but it's time to retire already. Heck, you're about as old as Lance. Win a stage and call it wraps.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

New Flash: Cross...

The temperature hovers in the mid 70s, road nationals have just concluded, track nationals are soon to begin, and l’abitibi is on the horizon.

Summer is in full force.

Logically then, it’s time to start thinking about cross—cycling’s beloved bastard. Other than collegiate cycling, cross epitomizes the Pro Wanker attitude. People race their bikes hard. They crash. They laugh. They dress up. They have fun doing stupid things with friends and bikes and (chain) lube.

So for the 2010 season, Team Pro Wanker p/b Project 69 Racing is looking to take cross by storm with custom pink kits, Chicago Cross Cup sponsorship, wicked wankerfests and more. With Gaiety's (JT from xXX) cross guidance, there are no limits.

If you’re looking for a non-USA Cycling licensed team to race cross with, and if you have zero expectations regarding sponsorship or emotional support, you know who to contact.