February 16, 2002
Day before Valentine's Massacre Crit. MKA preparing backyard for Bucky's 6th birthday party while latter budding Tony Hawkster demands I watch him work the nollie lipslide on the porch steps. Phone rings.
Caller: Labor Sucks.
MKA: Speak please, I'm very busy.
Caller: Labor Sucks.
MKA: Yes, Evander, I know you're on fire. Del Fuego, even. You told Furrball and Furrball told me. Talk to me, pronto.
ET: I'm on fire.
MKA: Yes, that's what I said. What else please? Buck Bear situations unfolding . [Max insisting I rush down to skateboard shop to buy new pair of Osiris shoes, plus helmet stickers, now].
ET: I'm really on fire.
MKA: (pause) And?
ET: I'm feeling very good. Too good, too early. But anything's possible.
MKA: So you're saying you're unbeatable but Labor might have a chance?
ET: [Sounds of small dog yapping, then loud slap!, then high-pitched "yipe! yipe!", then silence]. What?
MKA: You're calling me, at my home, during fambily hours, to tell me you're on fire, that it's almost scary how gawd awful fit you are, and Labor has no chance. What else? Real reason for calling please.
ET: Mercury wants me to buy my own shorts and jersey (sigh). Turbo called me twice.
MKA: I see. Much ballyhooed 12k Dream Team won't spring for swag. Big race tomorrow. You don't even know what colors you'll be wearing. Horseteef should be begging you. Instead, he's got his cleaner, Turbo, with the silvers, leaving messages on your recorder maybe he might have shorts, couple of jersies, for cost. You're asking: should I hold out for free Mercury swag or do I take the bootie with the "check's in the mail" fib, win a few races hoping they'll forgive the debt? And then what? Is the illusion of racing for a big time former tour contender team, got more lawsuits pending than Mike Tyson, Milosovec and Firestone combined, worth the out-of-pockets? Look at the sheets. You bring wins to the table, plus the dog, and the remote control Humvee. What's Horseteef offering? Dibs on his sofa? Pair of used Spinergys from when times were good? A collapsible campfire chair with the built in cup holder you can sit on next to Turbo talk about how he lapped the field twice while you blocked?
ET: Bottles. He also said something about free water bottles.
MKA: He said they were "free"? He actually used that word-"free"? With the Viatel logo? From last year? See? He's trying to unload inventory. Stuff is worthless. Dreck. Toe clips. Used bar tape. You're ET-you've never paid for anything, on account sponsors are lucky to have you. And now suddenly you're going to pay for the privilege of getting hectored by Horseteef for refusing to remain neutralized while Turbo's up the road dragging around shell-shocked sychophants? Is this how you see yourself-a stooge, a mark, a shill, a parasite, a good egg, a strap on? Does ET sprint for the win or settle for winning the field sprint, long after the glory has faded? Teammates? ET doesn't need no stinkin' teammates. Like Rudy said, ET's "a one man wrecking crew." Got to tell you: questions are being asked, down in Laguna, at the Barn, about the size and content of a certain individual's testicles, used to go by "BRBs", back when he raced for Labor, when there was no question.
ET: I just want to race my bike. And have fun. And hang out. Pop wheelies. Blow shit up.
MKA: No. I mean-wait a minute. Yes, you just want to race your bike-as long as it's given to you. It's like working behind an ice cream counter, day after day, dishing it out, sampling a taste for yourself here and there, and then one day they ask you to pay for your bennie. It's not right. It's not customary, for you, in your situation. You want a bike, because you've always had a bike. It's all about the bike. And trinkets. And that's fine. You deserve that much-all those greedy sponsors getting fat off your toils, all those do-nothing so-called teammates riding around heads stuck up their-with their hands out for a split of your winnings, which you won, by yourself, no thanks to anyone. You deserve what you earn, plus the vig-they should never ask for a cut off the top, they got to at least deduct your entry fee, which is your investment, plus the late fee, not even counting the gas, the Hot-to-Go or the Danish. And you have earned, going back to your BMX days. But things are not people. You don't want people, and you don't need them. People have names, you have to remember them, talk to them, remember to say nice things to them, and you haven't got the time, or the gab, I mean gift. All you need is a field of dreamers to beat, on a free bike, by yourself, wearing a free jersey, on a team of drones who understand that they are not necessary, and who absolutely will not assert any rights to a share of your two-figured loot. I am not passing judgment here. This is who you are, and this is how you work, within the context of this material world, plus the spiritual.
ET: I really don't blow stuff up. I like it quiet. Comes from working on dozers, loaders and dumpers all day. I got a bunch of ear plugs, get 'em free at work. Put a pair in a few minutes ago. What did you say?
Valentine's Massacre, Masters 40 +, 103 relics, minus Labor ring dingers HippStar (Tx) and Rev. Billy (Hooterville), both barred at the gate on account between them they traveled 3000 miles without pre-registering; West Texas DustBowl conditions, air thick with smoke, grit, and dried pit bull poop, plus rotting woolly mammoth emissions from upwind La Brea Tar Pits.
With $25 on the line to the winner, plus White Lightening chain grease and two (2) used AAA Duracells, Labor flew in ace sprinter Der Hiptler and chief propagandist and expert excuser, Rev. Billy Stone. However, neither pre-registered. After waiting 20 minutes, when they got to the table, the dithering duo was denied a spot on the bus, as the advertised field limit of 100 had been met. You'd think between a bottom feeding personal injury lawyer and a silicon valley rainmaker their combined brainpower would simply overwhelm the volunteer and she would make an exception, bend the rules a little, in the interest of justice, maybe even pay them to enter. But no. Labor respects authority. Labor don't squabble with pen pushers spanning time. Labor simply walked away. Seconds later ET and two other chirpy ding-a-lings sauntered up and entered without a hitch. Goes to show: naked obedience is a self-punishing dereliction. Also: you've got to fight for your right to party.
No matter, Labor's got Stanky Mike to pull the garbage sled. There is "pretty," and there is "stanky." If "pretty" is to sit, pose and strategically suck, Stanky is to attack, eject snot webs and attack again. With about 15 minutes to go Stanky has pinched off with a Mercury annonymo, and they stretch the gap to about 10 seconds. Cap'm Kruegger and Ricky Squeaker, back in the pel after a yearlong tour of every blue hair salon on West Coast hawking Lady Di SweetZee (it's an herbal tab guaranteed to make semen taste sweet), offer perfunctory pursuits. Soylent Green's Chicken Fried Ross also gives lip service to the chase, valiantly taking the point as if to prove a point: "Hey, I may be just an old fryer, but my head's not coming off without a fight." Alas, his co-chickens are roosting on the back, sucking eggs, and ignore their leader's wing flaps to pull through.
The teams can't do it, or won't do it. Which leaves only one man strong and bitter enough to bring the break back. One man with two very large bullz. One man on last year's bike wearing last years swag. ET has not sold out. ET has not compromised. He has not had to pretend to have teammates. He sees an opportunity to destroy not one but two take-over artists, two monopolists-Mercury and Labor-each of whom had made offers, but each of which had not been sweet enough. ET ignites the building ball of methane and blasts off. One lap later, the break is caught.
Stanky's goose has been caught, but not cooked. He attacks again. Stanky understands his mission: thou shall not finish with body parts in tact, thou shall blow with less than one lap remaining at or near the first aid station where life saving CPR can be administered. This is called sacrifice. MKA admits to fuzziness on the concept, never having made one personally.
With less than three to go, Stanky is again on the front, MKA securely Labor locked. As we approach 1.25 to go, Hoverhawk swoops down the inside, setting up the flyer. Squeeker, no spring chicken, sees the plan unfolding and throttles down. MKA slips in behind, quietly, but without grease, as the dinner bell rings. We've got a gap. MKA shouts to Hover to keep the dream alive as we approach the half way mark. It's quiet, but MKA knows that the switch has been thrown and in a few seconds the vaccuum will be filled with a frenzy of pounding, heaving, cranking, boxing idiots, including a labor-thirsty, trinket-deprived, barrel-chested, bare knuckled brute goes by the name of "Evander Testicalia."
Grunts and gasps emanate from the wounded Hover. MKA has shown patience, but time is short, the urethra is narrowed and the bladder is bloated. We dive into turn No. 3 and like a chippendale tease Squeeky's still got his pecker in his spandos. MKA can wait no longer, unzips and lets her fly. As MKA rounds the final turn, I hear the fingernails scraping, scratching and clawing. A grappling hook sinks into my hamhocks. Christ! Huns storming the castle walls! Premature Attackulation? Treading water in shark infested waters? Waiting for the final chomp? MKA drowns all voices and buries all fears as the light explodes, edges fade and the acid inundates. It's MKA, the line, and the pack of man eaters.
Later, ET could be found on the grass resting quietly, like a fat lion lounging on the Serengetti, as he swallowed the last morsel from Labor's bones, his thoughts drifting towards his next meal.
1. Evander Testicles, aka BRBs, Solo Ops/Dare
2. Max Kash Agro, Labor Poodles (vowing to rise again from the pile of cat scat)
3. Ricky Squeeker, Postal Pritty (welcome back to the freak show)
4. He Who Cannot Be Named
5. Bad Jones, Flailer Made (silence can be deadly)
6. David Moose in the Caboose Prechtel, RadNads (finds a way)
*The large field and fast action prompted one astute observer to note:
"Wow! 40 plus racing is just like 30 plus racing ten years ago!" Note: $15 cash for second! Plus bar tape! and box of Jujubees!
Masters 35 + Crit, 100 plus riders, including appropriately humbled and contrite Laborites, Der Hiptler and Rev. Billy, who vowed he would take revenge by attacking from 98th to 92nd position by whatever means necessary! Gale force winds reversed/amplified in rhythm with Rev. Billy's inhale/exhale cycle.
Labor's got a full house. Genghis down from Santa B, bleary eyed, but giddy at prospect of much needed peace and quiet inside the belly of the growling pelaton, a welcome escape from the hell of changing diapers and mopping up spew. Gameplan simple: bust out from the gates hell-bent-for-leather and wait for PerTurbo to pinch off the front with Genghis and Hovercraft in tow.
As per, within 15 minutes Perturbo launches, dragging Squeaker and Hovercraft like empty beer cans behind a "Just Porked" Ford Pinto. In a matter of nanoseconds both Genghis and Mc5 Dollars belly up to the bar and commence to sucking the sweet nectar that flows off of Perturbo's bitterness converters like manna from heaven. Woodchuck, Hiptler, Hoosier D and Stanky move to the point to clog and bog, while Rev. Billy moves to the tail to lend a hand in case the all star break should lap us. Furthermore, Rev. Billy knows that the hinder end is where the action is, especially on a windy day. With each circuit the pelaton stirs up the fluttering leaves, wood pulp and exfoliating blacktop, all of which aerosolized debris tends to drift towards the back, where it sticks to Billy's steaming chubby mug, making him at the end of the day almost look like a war torn and battle weary Sargeant Bruce Willis in "We Were Soldiers." As per.
The Flower Maidens have missed the break and flail about with neither purpose nor conviction. Soylent Green's Chicken Fried again tries to rally the troops, but his robust example fails to awake the sleeping hen house. The pack has accepted its fate-there are legends up the road, uncatchable, and the prize list does pay out $12 for sixth place, so why not ball up for the crash-bang sprint? The excuses fill the air like a rotten egg fart. It's too early to go too hard... We rode from San Francisco in one day... And my personal favorite: I'm not working if Labor doesn't work. Again, the blame falls on Labor for employing team tactics that simply are not fair.
Meanwhile, Rev. Billy has decided to click into his big chain ring and mount an epic surge from the pel's ahole to the blow hole. He makes it as far as the prostate before getting chopped into a corner by a chick with attitude, goes by the name of Laura Labor. "I was feeling good, ready to help, when a giant squid jumped me from behind and sprayed this sticky ink goo all over me, which blinded me and I hit the curb, bumping my head. See my flesh wounds? And the dirty oil lining the perimeter of my pie hole? I know I look like a whale, but whales don't even prey on octopus, so I think she over reacted. Doesnt matter, I'm going back to Hooterville, where the ladies work behind burger counters and don't just assume I want congealed cheese with my fries."
Up the road Hover and Genghis are trying to figure out how to flush Mc5, who apparently grew a lung in the off season and didn't shirk his pulling chores too overtly. On the final lap Hover tried to get away with all the success of a muskrat escaping a herd of bobcats. A tired muskrat on his second race, I must add. Anyway, McFive sprints Genghis and this time takes him cleanly (see Oct. 2001 cover of RN).
1. Mc5 Dollars, Velocity ("I don't win this race I don't eat")
2. Genghis Hahn, Labor (need to shorten races, 45 minutes too long to go without feeding)
3. Perturbo Rogers, Toxic Liquid Metal (one whinny out of you and the team's eating horsemeat tonite)
4. Whoodee Hoverhawk, Labor (baked salmon and spinach salads only, no scones)
5. Ricky Squeeker, Postal Pritties ("Guess I'll start training now...")
6. God's Gift, Flailer Maidens (black tape over "excel.com" costing company millions)
7. Wood Chuck, Labor (spin class poster poser can go bang-bang)
8. Der Hipp Starr, Labor (happy to be back after year off hobnobbing with jet set workaholic pencil necked ginks liked to brag about time plane wouldnt take off because refused to power off laptop).
9. Post Toastie, Flailers (nobody from Labor allowed to talk to G.Gift without his agent)
Final note: Labor went on to dominate the 100 plus Pro 1-2 field, right up until the sprint. Hiptler mustered a respectable 12th place. Cleveland seen limping in behind Hovercraft (3rd race of day), H.Diddy (2nd race), Genghis (2nd), Woodchuck (2nd race) and Furrball (1st race), a result which he attributed to post time trial fatigue. The madness must go on.