Saturday, July 6, 2019

El Conchristador and Leonardo Masterbeef III take to the Once Open Highway for some doomed racing action at Madeira

Frantic Race Report

From the desks of Leonardo Masterbeef III and El Conchristador.

Part 1:

Setting: Interstate highway 74 somewhere between Indianapolis and Cincinnati, our destination for yesterday’s activities.  I warn you right now that this next paragraph was written in a fit of High Rage so please do excuse the profanity...  

 How do you overturn a fucking truck on I74?  The line of traffic was just so damned long and I had to pee so badly and Leo was absolutely no help at all because all he had to do was sit there in his air-conditioned passenger seat and look at stuff on his greasy phone.  Meanwhile I am about to have a bladder rupture and my teeth are almost ground down to dust.  74 is normally a nice, little pleasant drive with an almost downhill feel to it, complete with lovely trees and farm fields and plenty of hills as you get toward Cinci.  But not on this day, no sir, no fekkin way in hell with that idiot who, apparently, for no particular reason, decided to stray Right just that 1% too much and (in my imagination) probably started the terminal fishtail thing-half on / half off the shoulder with all the loose gravel and debris and tall grass and then, POOF, he rolled that sucker right the fuck over next to a wire fence and some trees and a bored bovine who continued to chew cud but was most likely udderly (get it?) disgusted in his or her own way.  And I was too.  In my own way, which was to loudly curse at the dolt when we finally, after an hour of brake-check slow-driving, wound up next to the bugger as the traffic line finally got its act together and found rhythm and I stuck TWO middle fingers as high as I could at him across Leo’s lap and through the passenger window.  Fucking wankmeister…

Anyway, we high-tailed it, inasmuch as my RAM has a tail, to Madeira with about 13 minutes to spare before the start of our masters race.  Leo leaped out of the truck, Dukes of Hazard-style and into his kit in about four minutes.  I had to fast-pedal down the sidewalk and over to the parking lot and register right-quick before my boiling rage exploded my heart and caused a huge, gross scene in the middle of this festive event.  

But I do love the Madeira crit.  It is probably my favorite overall crit course of all time.  It has all of the elements of a Conchristador day of pedaling fun.  Eight turns if you count the chicane as a turn (and I just decided to count it as a turn), a section of shitty pavement, off-camber high-speed 90s, a gorgeous hairpin turn, and one section where you actually need to veer into a parking lot and just barely avoid an 8-inch concrete curb on blacktop (which is NOT asphalt).  Anyway I love super technical courses with loads of turns and crap for pavement because it eliminates about 75% of the competition because they do not know how to expertly maneuver their bikes through garbage like that.  But Madeira is not garbage.  Most of the roads are actually very nice and the course is set up very well.  I love anything with a chicane.  And I especially love a hairpin turn at the end of a nice little false-flat riser where you can pass the entire field, if you want, because they all play follow-the-leader on the right and really all you need to do is blast up the left side and then brake-pedal that 180 on the inside line and then just drive hard for about five seconds and you are golden.  Easy.  I love this course.  After the 180, you sprint down the other side of the false-flat and into a very fast 90 degree right hander and smack into a little kicker-hill that you could almost coast up if you were going fast enough but what you REALLY need to do is sprint the fuck out of that corner as hard as you can (if it’s the last lap and there is a field sprint) because the first person out of that corner generally leads through the next two corners because the straight sections are only about 50 meters long.  And the last corner (corner 8) is the one who can cause you to die if you are not strong with the lean angle and stuff.  It is an acute angle, about 80 degrees or so, and you are coming off a downhill at high speed and probably cross-eyed from the exertion and the fact that it is almost always 95 degrees with high humidity at Madeira for some reason.  I used the word “who” back there because this course has personality.  Anyway, if you make it around corner 8 you have maybe 40 meters to sprint.  Wait…back to what I said about turn 6…that is the one where you will win or lose this thing.  Rail that bitch and go as hard as you can up that little kicker and just make it around 7 and that’s basically it.  If your tires are in decent shape and you dial the crazy back to about 9.5, you can juuuuuuuuuust about scrape around 8 and then about ten pedal strokes later, you will win.  At least that’s how I did it a few years ago.  But not last night…..  Last night sucked. 

LMB3 stayed in and tail-gunned his way around most of the night and rolled in about as casually as Sinatra at the Tropicana.  I basically did not see him the rest of the evening as I had decided to do the P/1/2 race because of my ignominious DNF in the masters race due to heat exhaustion due to absolutely no warmup and speedy initial five laps due to Matt Bole and TRH and company.  WHEW what a mess that race was.  I was very much dizzy because my heart rate was somewhere around twenty bpm above what I thought was my max but my legs were fine.  So I kept going and going and then my eyesight failed somewhere around lap 4.5 and I could no longer discern friend from foe and LMB3 was tailgunning and it was so fucking hot.  So I pulled out due to concern for the safety of my peers and I hope they all appreciated my gesture because if I had stayed in there and recovered……well…my legs were fine.  

But I sensed that I would not recover.  In fact, it took about thirty minutes for me to actually get out of that goddam black vortex. So I just sat on the side of the road and chatted with Rice Man about the art of race craft and moving out of the 5s and 4s and into the vertigo/popcorn machine which is the Cat 3 field of US crit racing.  

Big rest and ride around the block a few times and then back to the truck for some food and water and squirt out a few drops of very dark yellowish pee (and as I did, KP comes by and says “strong stream, man.”) and then on to Starbucks for an espresso and some AC and I run into Josh Richards who was just sitting there looking Dazed and Confused so I sat down at the little picnic table and we chatted for a while about who knows what.  But I was grateful for the AC and some low-key conversation.  

Part 2:

Big boy race.  Very fast from the gun with the likes of Travieso and Hogan and Drew Dillman and KP and it was just really fucking fast.  I felt much better in this race and rode just fine for about half the race but I was just too damned hot and had shit position from the start so I tail-gunned most of the way until I just really did not want to sprint out of corners any more so I admit it….I simply pulled the plug again and let them all go and rode around solo for a few more laps until the Official took pity on me and pulled me out.  I rode over to the fence and released about three quarts of sweat all over the pavement and just sort of panted and scanned the area around me while generally looking like an old jackass masters guy who had no business trying to ride around with Thoroughbreds and whatnot. 
Why had I done this to myself?  I was so dehydrated I couldn’t even move my tongue properly to speak and I think I mumbled some idiotic gibberish about my desperate need for water and the lack of shade to Jeff Beaumont, who was holding my phone.  I grabbed the thing and jammed it into my soaking-wet jersey pocket, said Thanks, and hobbled off toward my truck and LMB3, who was manning the Base.  I quickly surmised that he had been imbibing because he was over by the WRP Mobile Party Unit being silly and overly chatty with Chris Carr and his squadron of very fast women.  I collapsed on the ground, said some probably unintelligible words of congratulations to the gals, and just sat there, motionless, for the next ten minutes until my very happy companion decided it was time for us to leave.  And then we left.  And then the singing began…

YAAAAYAAAAAYAAAAYAYAAYYAAYAAYYYY!!!!!!  ….That is the best I can figure out how to spell the shit that was coming out of Leo’s mouth vis-a-vis Prince and Darling Nikki.  And if you know the song about which I write, you will know the sort of depraved individual that my driving companion actually was.  LMB3 wore his customary 2-day old, 5 o’clock shadow beard and bronze-colored, Frogskin-style sunglasses with acid-red lenses.  A hastily-thrown on, grey, threadbare t-shirt that he’d purchased at some bike race in the 80s and a way-too-loose fitting pair of red gym shorts.  A true first-class passenger if I’ve ever seen one.  And a darling conversationalist as well.  If you do not already know this man, I shall advise you as such:  Should you wish to ascertain a definitive answer about any sort of interrogatory you may have posed to Mr. Beef, be prepared to wade through no less than a minimum of three to four vague and perhaps even completely unrelated answers before you even begin to approach something in the neighborhood of a certainty.  To even attempt a serious conversation with this madman is sheer folly.  He is strictly off-limits for rookies. 
And with that last statement, and owing to the fact that LMB3 and I were truly exhausted after this doomed journey, I shall conclude this thing.  
So, Top o’ the Mornin’ to ye’ and please, someone, bring me some coffee.


Oh and one more very important thing I would like to mention:

Many of you may know Mike Langan, aka Big Leg Mike, from back in the day.  He is my friend.  He and I raced together in the early 2000s for Heroes and he needs some help right now.  His daughter is facing a battle with cancer and the prognosis is not that great.  Mikey has not been involved much lately with the Indy cycling community, due to the circumstances in which he currently finds himself, so many of you may not know him or know much about him, but I can assure you that he has given a great deal of his time and money to our community over the years, mostly in a very quiet and unobtrusive way.  I would just ask that if you have the time and inclination, that you might say a prayer for him and his daughter, Presley, and maybe even take some time to just be quietly grateful for our sport and all of the opportunities that cycling gives us. 

Okay I am really done now.  Be cool, now…

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Halloween essay just freewriting.

103118 Halloween

El Conchristador walks alone in the forest.  Moss is everywhere.  It covers the rocks and the tree trunks and it is very wet, dripping sometimes when it condenses just enough to gain some heft.  It hangs loosely from the saturated bark that is peeling off of the redwood tree just in front of this mess of a man who just wants to quiet the awful noise in his head; which is why he came to this part of the woods just east of the city of Seattle.  
I’ve never had much of an appetite for this world…let me clarify.  This world which we created.  Which humans created, after we gained enough cranial capacity to house an enormous enough bundle of nerves to process the calculations we needed to do in order to build the things we built.  Which is to say, civilization.  It had to happen.  Brains got bigger and we became more aware of ourselves and our needs and we needed to get organized so that we could provide for those needs.  Small groups bundled together and interacted, sometimes nicely, and sometimes not so nicely.  But they touched each other and there was a transfer of energy and information and cooperation began to happen.  
We built things out of sticks and mud at first…probably.  Then rocks and stone and later on steel and concrete.  Small things like houses and little storage places for food and animals.  Inside the little groups of people the energy transfer became stronger and more pronounced and information storage became a problem because at first we did not write; and so we took that first step toward our eventuality by simply looking at what was happening around us and making a picture of it…probably with a stick in the mud.  
And that was the turning point…BOOM…inspiration.  How does it happen?  Why does it happen?  Something inspired that person to pick up a stick and draw in the mud a picture of what he or she was seeing just then.  Maybe a tree or a horse or one of those fantastic sunsets we get here in Indiana when it is Fall and a cold front just rushed through and scooped up a bunch of thunderstorms that had been hammering us for days and days.  Those are the best sunsets.  When the air has just been very warm and humid and suddenly that cold front just magically vacuums it all up and bowls it south toward the lower coast of Georgia.  What you are left with is just indescribably beautiful.  The air is so clear, and you had just been outside in that overwhelming succulence of a heat wave; but suddenly you stand up and look westward and see that gorgeous amber and violet sun.  It just hovers there, all huge and powerful and just radiating light and heat and energy and JOY.  And is that what sparks inspiration?  
I think that is a possibility.  I am having great difficulty reconciling what goes on in our world with what I think should be going on in this world.  Yes I know that is a very self-centered thing to say but I am myself and you are yourself and we are ourselves and we all have a sort of personal paradigm for how we think this world should operate.  We all are born with certain notions.  Natural notions.  We are naturally cooperative things.  We could not have made it this far otherwise.  We all are born with certain talents and abilities and none of us has exactly the same mixture.  Which is why we cooperate.  The tall man picks apples while the short man picks blueberries.  That way we can all fit together like a jigsaw puzzle and form a coherent picture.  It’s a valid analogy, I think.  When we are sad, a person who is happy transfers some of that happiness to us via a card or a hug or simply a genuine conversation.  
We all seek equilibrium, naturally.  We are born that way.  We want to be with one another and cooperate.  That is what I meant when I wrote “should be going on in this world.  But what we are actually doing, as a whole, is heading toward entropy.  And that is a very, Very disconcerting concept.  

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Important News Regarding Your Local Bike Shop!!! (Also some snarky prose)


Listen up folks, for I have astounding news to share with you and you will not want to miss this one!!  ……First of all, a question:  Have you seen those little snippet videos, around a minute and a half in length, of those little baby goats just jumping around their pens, or around a back yard, or even a chicken coop?  You know, the ones where the little buggers just wiggle and shake around on their tiny little struts like they just ate a bag of Mexican jumping beans and downed three shots of Strictly Forbidden and decided to try and broad jump over a bowl of alligators?  Welp…that’s just about how I feel right now because I have some really interesting news to share with y’all.  

I know that most of the people who read the pages that fly out of my head are probably cyclists, or, at the very least, in and around the cycling community at large, and I know that most of them know about the closing of Nebo Ridge Bicycles in Carmel/Zionsville.  We’ve all been in there from time to time for one thing or another…yes, even me, the guy who owned that other store in that other city over by Deer Creek Music Center.  I had a great relationship with the owner of Nebo Ridge, Tim Casady, and we often traded product with one another, when in need, in a sort of friendly little fraternity of just the sort of people we are…bike industry people.  

A bike industry person is a member of a peculiar species.  He or she is, shall we say, outside of the bell curve on most valid and reliable measures of psychological steadiness.  The evidence, you ask?  Well, let’s look at what we really do at a bike shop, as an owner, or even a person with a, say, interest in the business:  We generate this idea in our heads that we can open a business that sells the very objects of our most childhood-dream, adolescent-daredevil, hero-worshiping desire and we think we can turn a decent profit doing it!  It seems simple in the beginning.  You lease or buy a chunk of commercial real estate and deck it out with a shit ton of industry-supplied fixtures, thick, durable paint, and gleaming, polished concrete floors.  You sniff around town until you can find some reasonably-priced counters and computers and tools and an air compressor and you just start building bikes and, well, People Will Come, won’t they?  …..well, sure they will.  And they do.  And they did, in my case as well as Tim’s.  

And there you have it, in a nutshell.  There is, of course, a lot more to it, but that is all that is really required to get started.  That and a bunch of money to pay for all that stuff that you just used to make your store so purty, and that you otherwise wouldn’t mind if it suddenly all started rocketing off into the heavens and exploding into fiery smitherines.  Because that’s what you absolutely have to be prepared to do to make it in this business.  You have to be prepared to lose it all.  You have to go for broke and not look back.  You have to do your best to carry the best, most current, most inclusive, and most relevant product you can at all times, no matter your business or personal financial situation…and you have to have that product in stock in all sizes, RIGHT NOW.  And that’s not to mention the service side of the business, which we all desperately hope will be our “profit center” where we make all the "big bucks".  If you liken a bike shop to a human body, the service department is the spine and brain…the central nervous system, if you will.  It is absolutely critical to have a capable and timely service department.  Even if that service department is just one person.  Those shiny 10K dream machines are what brings ‘em in the front door, but that greasy guy in the back who sometimes throws very heavy steel tools into the walls while shouting gibberish at the new Grom, but who also bleeds your hydro disc brakes at 9PM on a Friday night because you have a race the next day and you slammed into a stump two hours ago...that guy?  He's the one who keeps ‘em coming back.  

I got off on a tangent there…as I often do.  But I felt like I had to describe a little of what it is like to own or work in a bike shop.  It is tough.  It is a very tough business.  The margins are very tight these days on those beautiful carbon works of art you see hanging all over our well-trodden concrete floors.  You have to have a lot of heart to make it in this business.  You absolutely have to care a shitload about your customers and your community.  You must always allow the Cub Scouts in and show them how to signal in traffic and teach them about lights and helmets and noisemakers and GET THEM THEIR WEBELOS BADGE!!!  Volunteer for every bike rodeo you can within a five mile radius and sit out in the rain at a Fall Festival providing free service just because you care about making sure some kids’ bikes are safe.  Sponsor a local club and volunteer your floor space for them all to come in and sweat all over everything and elevate the humidity to dangerous levels because they are raising tons of money to fund a cancer research program.  Organize the largest, regularly-scheduled enthusiast group ride in the city and shout directions and announcements out of a bullhorn because all the best cyclists in the city NEED YOU TO DO IT.  Do all of this stuff because you love doing it and it makes your heart full.  

I know what the primary goal of any business should be.  It should be to maximize profits.  I did my best when I had my store and I know Tim did his best at Nebo Ridge and I know, very personally, what Tim did for the cycling community in Indianapolis and the maximization of profits had very little to do with those things.  He is a good man and he ran a great business and many people are sad to see him call it quits.  For my part, I know that I have many more friends now than I did before I started doing the Nebo group rides on Tuesday nights.  I have met so many people on that ride and cultivated so many great relationships because of it that it astonishes me.  And it also made me a much stronger bike racer!  If you ride the A group at the Nebo Tuesday night ride, you are strong.  So keep coming……. ;)

And now it’s time for the news I promised six paragraphs ago…Gray Goat Bicycle Company will be taking over the space formerly occupied by Nebo Ridge Bicycles and I will be the general manager there.  We will be the northern outreach of the Gray Goat organization and we will strive to do our best to serve the already well-obliged cycling community in and around Carmel, Zionsville, and Westfield, Indiana.  I expect that we will have a well-trained and ready and willing staff to help out in any way we can.  Exciting times, buddy-roo!  Stay tuned and keep your tires pumped up because I will be waiting at the back door at six o’clock next Tuesday….

-El Conchristador

Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Mid-July Thing—Railroad Tracks of Doom—Roglich is in this group—and a Beatdown of Days of Thunder….


The Mid-July Thing—Railroad Tracks of Doom—Roglich is in this group—and a Beatdown of Days of Thunder….


It is indeed mid-July and I am in that state again wherein my legs are either awesomely filled with power or completely made of dead, soft wood.  That’s what she said.  But seriously I get bewildered this time of year in regards to training because most of the base I built up in the winter and spring is withering away and all I do is hard group rides during the week for training coupled with a few of my own secret recipe vo2 intervals and sprints and that is a good way to get very fast while paradoxically losing most of your fitness.  It’s true.  Go read any number of REAL scholarly journal articles on the subject of periodization and you will soon arrive at the same dead-end road that I am on and we will meet and have a beer and talk about it.  

It is difficult to actually do real training in the middle of summer.  (by the way, I just used TWO spaces at the end of that last sentence, right up ——here^ because that is the way you should write)  During my typical week, I race on Saturday and Sunday (hopefully)—then do either a recovery ride on Monday or, if my legs are good, a very hard ride.  Tuesday is a hard group ride, usually Nebo, Wednesday could be either good or bad, depending on whether or not I remembered to pay the wizard over on that bridge at Little Eagle Creek and 146th.  Thursday and Friday I just try and eat as many M&Ms as possible while I am at work and ride usually an hour and a half each day in order to get as much recovery as possible before the weekend.  I have forsaken openers for the time being.  They are too difficult and I cannot and will not be bothered by them.  Walking around trying to find registration will serve as my openers this time of year.  Josh, Brooke, Jeff, Dave, Dom…do as I SAY and not as I DO…or, in this case, do as I write in Training Peaks and not as I write in this essay.  I am a lost soul on the road to burnout and the jimmy-legs and you should NOT attempt to do what I do this time of year.  It is a cruel and desperate time and it is about to hit its peak.  And when it does that I usually start………………………………………………………………………………running.

Now that we have that out of the way (the Mid-July Thing), we can get down to business.  First order of the night is the sad little band of misfits that gathered together to do the Village of West Clay ride, or as it is more commonly known, the Zipp Ride.  I have been doing this ride more often this year when I am not racing or working and I kind of like it.  The Zipp Ride, the VWC Ride, the Long Loop, whatever you want to call it…it is a good ride.  A ride for people who really like long stretches of very painful and sometimes worrisome pedaling.  This is not crit training.  It is straight up, just ride and rotate and go as hard as you can and make the paceline go as fast as possible up this road which is colloquially known as the Road to Hell until you get to Lebanon.  It is usually very windy and the group normally contains many strong-like-bull riders who are all too happy to drop your miserable ass and leave you in the gutter on their way up to Hell/Lebanon.  The roads are long and straight and made of chip-seal and in the spring and fall when the corn is down it is a very miserable place to ride…period.  But not today.

Today was terrific and wondrous and interesting and I liked it.  Bri met me at my house and we rode over to VWC thinking the normal group would be there and we would do the normal ride.  Justin had also committed.  I was looking forward to pedaling quickly with the Zippies and Neal and the Ortho Indy guys as per usual but that was not to happen today, no sir…not today.  Today, with the threat of potential gentle rain showers, only four brave souls came out to play.  Bri, Justin, Kyle Perry, and myself.  What were we to do?  Well, we just went and had ourselves a nice little adventure out in the wide open world where anything is possible and freedom reigns and people piss outside and the railroad crossings are evil bastards.  
We decided just to sort of cruise over to the general area of the Road to Hell and make our own route.  It was fun.  Yes, it rained on us a little bit but it wasn’t cold and the drops were more misty-like and it was actually sort of pleasant.  We just rode low tempo pace in a more or less southwesterly direction until we hit Brownsburg and then we turned north and started our way up to Lebanon/Hell.  Then I think Zeus was up in his cloud city playing with our little bike-rider statues like he did in the first Clash of the Titans movie where he could make things happen on earth just by moving pieces around on his giant magic globe thingy.  I loved that movie.  Perseus and his little gold stop-motion owl.  Speaking of Perseus, that rat bastard still owes me a lot of rent money and his goddam shield is still in the basement.  If he doesn’t pay me pretty soon I am going to sell that thing to a pawn shop.  I assume it is made of real gold as he is Zeus’ favorite.  Anyway, I have to assume that Zeus jerked the railroad tracks up just as we were crossing them because my rear wheel bounced about a foot up in the air and a foot sideways and Bri crashed.  I turned around and she was on the ground with a bloody elbow and a wonky rear brake.  No real damage or carnage so that was good but what shit luck (or was it? ;)  So we fixed up Bri and her bike and were about to start riding again and then I flatted!  I assume it was the bounce over the tracks that caused it…Kyle found a little piece of road grit in my tire.  Changed the tube and wiped all the grease off my hands with some Indiana roadside fescue and on we rode.  And then???  Kyle’s crank disintegrates while he is pedaling and he is left with two crank arms stuck to two pedals stuck to two shoes stuck to two feet…but none of them connected in the middle.  Just an empty bottom bracket shell and some dude coasting down the Road to Hell FULL SPREAD EAGLE with his thousand-dollar power cranks dangling from his feet like two little impotent clock-chimes.  It was maybe the funniest thing I have ever seen on a ride.  We all scrambled to get our phones out to film this circus act but he coasted to a stop too fast.  We snapped a few good pics though and much laughter was enjoyed by all.  Bri had an 8mm hex so Kyle put his suspect crank back together and……..on we rode.   

The rest of the ride was great.  Nothing noteworthy, just a nice, pleasant pace and no rain and we got to enjoy a decent little tailwind on the way back from Sheridan.  So… there you have it.  The Railroad Tracks of Doom tried to do us in but we persevered and turned lemons into martinis (with a twist of course) and had a genuinely fun and interesting ride which was not too difficult but long enough to call it training.  

Now on to Roglich.  All I have to say is that the group containing Roglich is bridging up to the group containing Roglich and Roglich is in that group.  This is a dangerous group; Roglich is in there.  Chris Froome better keep an eye on that group containing Roglich.  This group has twelve seconds on the group containing Primoz Roglich.  It looks like Roglich might be in this group!  Roglich.  Roglich. 

Primoz Roglich.  ‘nuff said.

I was going to do a savage beatdown of Days of Thunder, which I have been playing on repeat at the store for the last week, but I have run out of time.  Suffice to say that this movie is so damned bad that it is great.  I mean that in the likeness of such wondrous films as Roadhouse, Rocky 4, and Point Break.  All three of which are guilty pleasures of ALL OF YOU and two of which contain the late, great Swayze and his flowing, golden locks of pure ecstasy.  

I’m off now.  Hitting the hay.  Eyes getting heavy.  I bet we wouldn’t have had such bad luck today if Roglich were in our group…

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

National Terrify Animals Day


Welp, the fireworks are about to start and my dogs are about to enter the loony zone and I don’t have time for this right now.  It is Wednesday and Independence Day all in one and that means that most of us have to go to work tomorrow.  I cannot sleep when goddamn rockets are thumping all night and the neighbors are having a patio party with screaming children and some kind of bird.  They have a Myna bird or a Macaw or something.  The thing screeches all day because they leave it outside all the time in its cage covered with a blanket or table cloth.  I imagine that must be a great life.  I’d be swearing like George Carlin if I was that bird.  

Anyway it’s noisy as hell outside and I just don’t like fireworks.  Never have.  Ohhh well maybe when I was a teenager and I was setting shit on fire all the time and blowing up mailboxes with Worx bombs and generally doing hooligan stuff with gunpowder and potato guns and ether and, yes, fireworks.  But that was a long time ago and I am clearly a different person now, the evidence being that I have a wife and she has stayed with me for seven years so far.  So I must have went Crazy Ivan somewhere back there in the 2000s and cleaned my act up.  And I am so sorry that I have run off topic as usual.  I hate fireworks now.  I don’t shoot them off anymore and I don’t like listening to them.  I don’t mind seeing them…but I cannot find it in me to appreciate the loud banging.  I get it…bombs bursting in air and mortars sending shells over those ancient walls standing heavy with hope so long ago but the problem is that my dogs think it is the apocalypse.  So they get to shivering and quivering and smashing themselves as close to Beth and I as possible and if we get up to pee or get something to eat they walk in between our legs as we walk along.  Anyway it’s not fair to them because dogs are people too and Walter even talks…in his own strange maowaowow way.  

All I ask is that you simply stop shooting off fireworks and go inside and read a nice book in a quiet room and if you need to see fire, just light some scented candles.  Cool?  Great…..

Now that that’s settled we can get down to brass tacks:  What is the best way to cook a Myna bird?  I heard somewhere that they can sense predators and have as a defense mechanism the ability to sing Kid Rock songs until said predator runs away in agony or at least extreme annoyance.  We have coyotes around here and I think I heard that bird doing Only God Knows Why the other day and I found a dead coyote on 141st Street when I started my ride.  It had blood streaming from its ears and nose and it had obviously shit itself due to the fact that Kid Rock is capable of reproducing the Brown Note.  And all that nonsense doesn’t even matter but it is true and I thought it worthy of a mention.  So I think I’ll cook the bird in a cast iron skillet with brown butter and some peppers, carmelized onions, leeks, and dress the thing with a bed of risotto.  

On to bikes… I did the annual Parade Ride today with Bri and Company.  This ride leaves the Smokey Row school on 136th Street and travels north to Sheridan, at which time we join the Sheridan parade route and toss candy to all the kiddos lining the streets of the downtown area.  The ride is pretty chill and tons of people show up.  Bri is the queen of the ride and Harry is her begrudging servant.  The story is that they were on a ride about five years ago and just happened to be riding through Sheridan when they stumbled into the parade going through the main drag down town.  Apparently the town folk really liked the group of patriotic cyclists and thusly the group agreed to make the happy event an annual tradition.  And so it goes and so it went today and the group has swelled to around 100 people give or take 30 or 40…I am bad at estimation.  Anyway it is truly a fun, leisurely, social ride and I enjoy doing it.  Plus I got in 65 miles in Zone 2 which is just what I need right now because I am tired from standing all day at the shop and racing crits on the weekends.  

Beth and I spent the rest of the day doing Our Thing, which is going to Cafe Patachou, Lowes to look at paint colors because we are painting the inside of the house soon, and preparing to drug our dogs in advance of the coming armageddon.  Racing is going well…Justin and I got decent results at Madeira last weekend and twisted ourselves inside out trying to create breakaways at Hyde Park but no one was having any of it and we were chased down every time until eventually two other guys took advantage of the shells of ourselves we had become and got away for the win.  Felipe won the field sprint for second in the 40+.  Brooke won the women’s 3/4 and then went on to help Bri get onto the podium in the women’s Pro 1/2/3 race.  Jake Richards rode well in the men’s 4/5 race and I expect big things from him in the coming months and years.  His brother Josh is nearly mended from the broken scaphoid bone in his hand and will be strong later in the year.  So Zone-6 Endurance is coming along nicely and I am very satisfied with this team and their attitude and work ethic.  We have whittled it down quite a lot, as I expected, but there are two hungry beasts about to be unleashed on the INKY region and they are called Dave Holtkamp and Dom Fiore.  I coach them both and all I can say is that when I think about them, I hear Blackened by Metallica playing very loudly in my head.  And sometimes Seek and Destroy.  

The goddamn fireworks are at full throttle right now and Walter is running up and down the stairs and down the hall and looking through all the windows and pacing and whining and I’m about to start my ritual of walking around barefoot to the homes that are shooting mortars and telling them that I have a newborn that is frightened and crying.  It has worked in the past.  I am a very convincing fabricator…a skill I honed long ago creating marvelous stories to tell my parents about where I had been when really I had been blowing things up with fireworks and homemade explosives.  And ohhhh hey ho weren’t those the days?  …I mean, nights.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Weldin's Racin' and a few thoughts on Wankers who shoot fireworks at 1 AM


So it’s the time of year when I start to break down, mentally and physically, due to the demands of working and the wild world of bike racing.  Yesterday I raced at Madeira and today I raced at Hyde Park.  Last year I won at Lawrenceburg on the same weekend and got second at Hyde.  This year the results were not so good.  Justin Wonder Boy and I tried to make our little two person team do the work of a five person team, knowing that we had to contend with the Texas Roadhouse Cowboys, led by the recently crowned masters nation champion Marco Aledia.  

So Madeira started hot and fast, as expected, and by the time we hit the first turn we were doing 30.  Marco led the first lap to show off the jersey and we all sort of just fell into line…I guess we all just felt like letting him have a glory lap or something…which was warranted, for sure.  Then the attacks started.  I was sorta hoping that the Riverpoint guys would be very active in this race, and they were, to an extent.  We’ve raced them many times now and I know they are a good team with some fast and fit riders.  I mean, hell, they have Jon Card, OB Forbes, Jason Karew, etc… so they should be attacking and trying to get away…and if they did, one of us would join them and be happy to work and I am sure that a Roadhouse would do the same.  Buuutt, nnoooooOOOOOOOoooooo………  This was going to be one of those races where one person attacks, gets a gap, is joined by one or two others, and then is chased down almost immediately by Riverpoint or one of the smaller teams or privateers that always show up ready to race, but not quite ready to work hard in a break.  And thusly it has been in the masters for the past few years.  Very negative racing.  Very boring.  Guys just wanting to sit in and sprint…strong enough to weld the field back to the break but not strong enough to actually engage in a break and work.  It’s been very frustrating lately.  I realize that not everyone has time to train enough to be fit enough to be a player but shit, man…if you would just take your turn at the front and roll through you might surprise yourself with…..what?  A breakaway that actually sticks because it has a good percentage of the teams represented and everyone is willing to at least roll through, even if they don’t put too much effort into their pull.  And by “you”, I mean every single masters racer who pulls that negative shit (described above) and then gets his wish and sprints it out for 13th place or something and THEN goes to the beer garden to get drunk and watch the P,1,2 race later in the day.  Well maybe not all of them go and get drunk but it’s hard not to at Hyde Park what with all that party atmosphere and the beer stands and the Bon Jovi cover band (or whatever that was…it was so fekkin loud I nearly put in earplugs).  Wait…was it Whitesnake?  White Lion?  Great White?  Betty White?  I’m sure it had the word “white” in it. 

Anyway Justin actually got in a break that stuck and so all I had to do was sit and wait for the field sprint.  Justin rode well, as he always does, with Ben Weaver, Bo Sherman, and a few other guys evidently rotating pretty well.  Marco, Matt Bole, Kroll, and I tried bridging across many times but the field kept welding it back together due to their congenital need to not be picked last on the kickball team.  We rode pretty hard and it was super hot and humid and my ice sock melted in three seconds and shame on me for not being rich enough to buy one of those pro cooling vests to wear during my warmup.  The middle part of the race was, like I said, attack after attack until we realized that nothing was going to stick and we were not going to bridge to that break.  And I definitely did not want to pull the entire field up because I had Justin up there and he can lay down a pretty solid sprint.  So after we realized it was NOT coming back, Roadhouse started sending Bole off the front solo to bridge.  I could not go with him because if I did, the field would chase us down.  But if he went solo, the field would let him go…for reasons that I do not fully understand (reminder: find out why some people find joy in racing for fourth place).  So I stayed back with the group and watched placidly as Matt rolled off uncontested to claim the last place on the podium.  I did get to edge Marco in the field sprint and that is sort of cool I guess…sniff…  but really not because it was for fourth and fourth place in a bike race is kind of like eating egg whites.  Not very fekkin satisfying.

All good though, got in some very hard efforts all weekend and I should be coming full force heading into Indy Crit and then Intelligentsia.  And Please don’t forget about the Heroes Crit and Fit on July 28.  It’s in Pendleton this year and should be a very well organized and top notch event with a sweet course on mostly newly paved roads.  So watch out for me in the corners because I will not slow down for you.  You will need to pedal hard to catch back on.  I mean it.  

— El Conchristador

PS — I just realized that this was sort of a rant.  It was mostly all true stuff though and I just felt like writing it.  But I’m actually in a pretty good mood lately despite the fact that I need to catch up on about a zillion hours of sleep.  

PPS — Hyde Park was even hotter and we rode around and tried many many times to create a move but see above for description of the Welding Wankers and their marvelous tactics.  

PPPs — Gray Goat - Bullseye is still kicking ass and taking names and so is Zone-6 Endurance.  I’m proud of the teams and look forward to their continued development.  Shout out to Brooke Hannon who needs to have weights and shackles added to her bike and ankles to make it fair in her races.  Congrats on the success and welcome to GGB!

Oh one more thing:  to anyone shooting fireworks off long after the designated times set out by the city of Carmel, I will find you and take away your lighters and matches and cigarettes and cigars and whatever else you use to scare the piss out of my pups and annoy the hell out of me and break them loudly in front of you.  

That is all