Monday, April 18, 2011

Putting The 'Looza' In Single Speed-A-Palooza 2011

When people say they have not been riding their bikes, they are generally full of shit, like Mark "The Shark" McCormack. Back when he was our Shimano rep at IBC, he would come in at some point in the early spring and go on about how he'd only been riding a half hour a day on the trainer and that he was totally out of shape. Then he'd go out that weekend and win Charge Pond or be ripping legs off at Marblehead. He was executing a calculated misinformation campaign in order to catch his rivals off guard. The Shark is a smart man and an immensely successful bicycle racer; I am a stupid man who has stumbled into a good result here and there along the way. I don't have the capacity to pull off calculated misinformation campaigns.The night before Single Speed-A-Palooza, I was telling my drinking mates (Kerry Combs, Matt Myette, Ronnie Steers, and Matt Aumiller) at Irish Eyes that I really hadn't been riding and how I've basically devolved into some kind of
mutant that is entirely incompatible with a bicycle. They laughed and dismissed my claims of devolution into mutanthood, but, about ten seconds into the race on Sunday, Matt Myette became a believer. He expressed his shock and awe at my incredible slowness as he passed me while we were all rolling along on a flat section of pavement. Matt, it was not an act. No Ali rope-a-dope then go for the knock out during the Rumble in The Jungle tactics going on here.

Ah yes, the Irish Eyes. We were five skinny bike racers looking for IPAs in a place where one might get called a faggot for ordering a Smithwick's, sitting with our backs to a bunch of pissed drunk, gigantic firemen telling tales of being dragged out of barroom brawls by the police. 

Hey, say what you will about the clientele and the beer selection at Irish Eyes, the food at this place is really...

fucking horrible. 

When I took a bite of this sandwich it bit me back. Now I need a tetanus shot. Huh, never noticed until this moment that you can't spell "tetanus" without "anus." 

Oh, and remember not to confuse tetanus the medical condition with the extremely offensive French insult "tĂȘte anus," which translates literally to "asshole head." 

I feel like we've all learned something here today. 

Given the potentially ugly scene at Irish Eyes, George W. Bike 29 and Dough had no trouble convincing us to go over and party at the Comfort Inn. On any other night, that might have seemed insane. 

And apropos of seemingly insane things...

I never did get a chance to follow through on my threat of only shaving the area between my shorts and my huge-freakin' Swiftwick Endless Bike socks. The Sharpie-drawn cut lines are still there, it will be done. 

My training for SSAP was solid — I spent two days moving bikes around for Roll It Forward. Friday we received 50 brand new boxed bikes from Giant Bicycles. They were kids bikes too. 

We work in a building where use of the two freight elevators is already a contentious issue, and it happened that on the day these bikes arrived one of the elevators was down. When the guys on the upper floors call the elevator and it doesn't come, on a day when both lifts are working, they wait patiently...while leaning on the buzzer. The truck driver took fifteen minutes moving the bikes to the lift with his hydraulic dolly. That only got them on there, I still had to get them off the lift in the basement. It would take me half an hour...with the buzzer going the whole time. 

 All I had to move the bikes from the lift to our work space with was a rickety dolly. It's an awkward little thing to move around, but my dormant skateboarding skills came in handy, making the return to trip to the lift go a lot faster.

 After my own, personal strong man competition for total weaklings I was feeling good — like I'd spent two days wrestling 'roided out orangutans. The fact that it was pissing rain all night before Single Speed-A-Palloza had me feeling...not good. I'm not a bike racer right now, I'm barely a bike rider. The prospect of getting up to ride in the 50° rain was about as appealing as sitting on a hornets' nest while watching a Rachel Ray marathon. 

Dejay Birtch rolled into town from Tucson just for SSAP. That's how good it is. 

But it cleared up by morning, the only reminder of the previous evening's deluge were the huge puddles of standing water and the lava-flow-like mud slides coming down a few of the hills. There was some discussion of peeing in your/my pants during races at the Comfort Inn on Saturday night. With the amount of mud getting thrown around at this race, one could have shit his pants and no one would have noticed (until you got close enough to smell him and then you would have been like "Oh dude! You shit your pants, that is fucked up!").

 Mike Montalbano won SSAP for the third time, and he doesn't even ride a single speed anymore. But Stewart Forest is his playground and if there's a fight in his playground, he is gonna win it. Look at his face, the dude is mean... he took me out with a straight right seconds after I took this photo.

I rode Shredward Van Halen, George's Niner Jet 9 single speed. George is probably three or four inches taller than I am, but somehow his bikes fit me better than my own. Maybe I'm much taller than I think I am; my wife does tell me I have body image issues. Shreddie was dope! I couldn't pedal to save my life but I "shredwarded" the downhills, jibbing and bonking my way around the course. I spent a good amount of time riding with women's winner Rebecca Tomaszewski. She had enough stokedness to go around for everybody‚ she was hooting and hollering her way around the course, cheering everybody on. I think I'm a positive person on the race course, but she made me look like a total dick. 

The Yess tensioner worked wicked good, no problems there. I guess fixing a flat is a pain in the tet-anus, but luckily I didn't have to deal with that. Keeping the tires at George "The Manimal" Wissel pressure didn't hurt. 

In my frazzled state after the race...the hardest 25 miles I have ever ridden, I was not prepared to be confronted with confusing signs in Dunkin Donuts bathrooms. Wash your hands "after using the restroom" AND "after touching body parts." Because the latter wasn't covered under the heading of the former. This implies that Dunkin Donuts employees are prone to sticking their hands in their pits or scratching their nuts or other forms of genitalia while in places other than the restroom. It was too much for me to take. 

Alright, that's more than it for today...take us out Shreddie:


Rigidnsingle said...

Thom, It was great to see you again. Glad you could make it.

You are right, I have a nimby complex....It's a good thing....Usually...

Markie Mark said...

Looked like Myette was looking to put the sexy moves on a sleeping Aumiller

mike d said...

glad you could make it!!
always a pleasure!!

see you at the 40?

matt said...

I was struck more by the gearing on that bike than anything, though it did look like lots of cushy fun.

The first half of the sandwich wasn't any better than the one bite you took. I fear stomach cancer may be my ultimate fate.

matt said...

It was the gearing on that bike that caused me to guffaw... .more so that than your position in the field, lack of fitness, or the complete dominance of your kit.

The first half of that sandwich was no better than the one bite you took. I'm going to speak to my PCP about screening for a variety of gastro-intestinal cancers in the wake of that meal.

Colleen said...

I'll bet I could fit on a kids' bike. But there wouldn't be any kind of advantage, since it would probably still be half my weight.