March 12, 2002
Mice, Men and Muttonheads: We’ve already introduced the lovable 12k Dreamer, a ubiquitous figure in the bike world. Now it’s time to talk about a character that is neither lovable nor amusing: the $12 Hack-Ass, a sinister blend of dimwitted jack-ass and depraved blood-spilling unsedated sicko. The $12 Hack-Ass has few identifying features, other than a flat head, grubby fingers, bad teeth and a soft belly. No, he’s barely distinguishable from any other nimrod in the biking subculture. But you know him by what he does or doesn’t do. He’s the reprobate who’s mother never left him alone with sharp objects, small children or female farm animals. He’s the sociopath behind the wheel of an SUV tailgating you at 75 mph, shaving pedestrians, rutting lawns and shooting the eyes out of milk cows.
It’s not that he’s evil. He’s simply indifferent, in a reckless sort of way. In the pack, he moves from left to right without thought of the carnage he leaves in his wake. If he sees a chance to squeeze in between two other riders, he takes it, even though it’s only the first lap, and presumably his victims really don’t want to be banged this stupidly, this early. He’s the cad who without warning turns his head and snorts a cloud of toxic mist from his nasal chamber that winds up invading your own nose and mouth. He’s the malodorous malcontent who happily smears the toilet seat, or splatters same without wiping, or simply urinates on the toilet paper.
Sometimes after sending several innocents to the ER on backboards he will boast about what a tough guy he is, what a great bike handler he is, but more often he quietly slithers back into the crowd, impervious to guilt or shame. Oh, sure, he’s passionate about his craft, and that’s the trouble. So tiny are his balls that he thinks nothing of hacking another rider so that he can move from 12th to 10th, the sport be damned. You know him -- he’s a scumbag.
MKA unfortunately met this swine-loving, turd-eating kind last week at Ontario Speedwagon. But the masked marauder has not stepped forward to claim his trophy. Be warned. He is at large. This is my story.
30 + Masters Open Crit, 4 corners, .6 miles, flat, 114 riders, 38 minutes (shortened from 45 mins; mental note: with a field this size promoters should at least run the race as advertised, and in future why not extend the time for this category to at least one hour?).
Labor’s feeling good -- euphoric even. Earlier, in the 45+, Labor took 1-2 with the Lugnuts-Butch combo. In the 40+, Labor exemplified the kind of teamwork for which we are infamous. Stanky Mike broke out for three laps solo, caught on the bell lap at which time Hoodee Hovercraft took the point with MKA locked on. Jay Wackoff (who’s carries the Labor recessive gene for too long, too early) bolted to the front and escalated the speed through turn 3, Hover takes over through the final turn, and MKA launches the final sprint. About 50 meters from the landline MKA’s arch nemesis Evander Large Bullz pulls ahead (“oh no, not again”) when suddenly a large underdog like figure whiffs by with arms raised at the line -- Super Butch doing the labor ahh yeahh! So going into the 30 plus crit, needless to say, Labor was as giddy as a teenage virgin in the backroom with the fall down drunk school slut. All systems go, everybody scores, maximum penetration, chests out, break out the brooms and the crying towels, let’s finish what we started. As it turns out, Labor was flying too close to the sun. Looking back, MKA should’ve never allowed himself to be swept up in the euphoria, as this is generally the prelude to disaster.
Here’s what happened. With three laps to go, on the backstretch, a few boneheads in the back collide creating a lovely pile up of bleeding bodies, twisted metal and demonic spirits. As the pack swings by Ralph’s Carnie Barker BigTop instead of 2 to go we see 1 lap to go. At that point we are curb to curb and you just know it’s going to get ugly. On the backstretch Hover and Hoosier Daddy scramble to the front but it’s a moving cluster. MKA is about eight nims back as we come out of turn no. 3. The point of the spear flattens and dissipates. Now what? Who’s on point? Nobody.
So MKA sees an invisible line to the final turn and lunges for it. As MKA approaches the high curb at the apex, he is confident that he has left no gap betwixt himself and the curb for a normal human. The suddenly, swiftly -- even deftly -- MKA feels the gentle gossamer brush of an angel shooting by laser-like on his left. What the----? I left no room. No human could have negotiated that breach. There is only one creature with the instincts and experience to chop that slice, everyone’s favorite guttersnipe -- Mister McFive Dollars (upgraded due to inflation and general dominance of the market to McFiddy, for reasons explained below).
Holy Canker Sore! McFiddy blew by me so fast I didnt have time to even freak. And it was clean. Which deserves a digression. Some of our readers have asked why we call McMahon “McFive Dollars.” Well, six years ago, at a Tuesday night race, I’m sprinting for a prime when this sawed off troll comes shooting across my bow so harem scarem that his rear wheel rubs my front wheel and I’m seeing my life flash for my eyes. We were sprinting for 5 dollars and even boiled down to scrap minerals my life was worth more than that. Hence, the nickie.
That was six years ago. In the interim, MKA has never had any unkind altercation with McFiddy, nor to my knowledge has any other rider. He’s a banger, but he’s safe about it, on account he’s paid his dues, won zillions of field sprints and would like to extend his hegemony into the future. As my luck would have it, behind the both of us was a protégé to the McFive Dollars of old, lurking, ready to shatter bones for the single figure pay out.
As the sprint commences, I’ve got Woodchuck glued and ready to pop. With about 100 meters to the line, McFiddy looks like he’s got it but the ball of fury behind him is building. MKA feels an avalanche of nimnidiots rushing towards his backside. Woodchuck makes his move around to my left. With 25 meters to the finish line, MKA is in full acid oxygen debt but has enough momentum to wobble in for a top 4 finish. Suddenly the $12 Hack-Ass slams into Woody, who is suddenly falling wild-eyed directly in front of me. No time to brake or negotiate and no ability to bunny hop, MKA slams into Woody’s fallen rig and launches, landing like a land dart. No asphalt surfing, no Hawaii 5-O, just your basic anvil nose coning from on high.
MKA hears the snap and dreams of better days, but first must dodge the mob of mack trucks hurtling towards him like rush hour on the I-5. Next thing I know Butch scrapes me off the pavement and is rushing through the jungle while fast shooters nape the treeline just as a sniper tags Butch in the buttocks. Butch pours me out next to a mangrove swamp and all MKA can ask, in best impersonation of Bubba, is: “Why is this happening to me?” And all Butch can do, in his best imitation of Forest Gump, is respond: “You got hacked.”
Next thing MKA knows is he’s down at the Sawbones body shop some guy in a white coat comes over, thumps my collarbone, I scream, and he affirms “yes, it’s broke, we’ll need to take a look inside, gird it all up with bone grafts and metal plates, couple screws, maybe some baling wire if it all goes to hell.” My only concern was the metal. Like any neurotic master, I wanted something light, conceding that it’s aero design wasn’t real important. “What kind of metal you got, Doc?” “Well, we got some chromium-nickel composite from a yard over in Narco, something over here that glows from Chernobyl and something new called titanium.” “What? No carbon fiber?” MKA’s climbing days are over.
And what about this bone graft nonsense? Turns out Sawbones wants to spackle my girders together with a putty comes out of the cold, lifeless bones of human cadavers. Says it’s like Sea Monkeys -- you know, the diatamaceous earth that comes alive, just add water. Sounds very creepy. How do I know these bones don’t come off the back of a truck of a ghoulish capitalist runs a crematory down in Skull Swamp, Georgia? Run a search on Medline that night and discover an article recently published in Spine that the demineralized bone matrix material in question was injected into eight rats and all eight died two weeks later of renal failure. Rats? I got relatives who are closer genetically to rats than homo saps so I figure this is too close to home and persuade the cutter in the a.m. to feed his bone meal to his cats, but feel free to squirt a little fast-tac in there if it looks all loose and crunchy.
Now MKA’s got a titanium plate on his collarbone plus seven screws. Screwed 7 times. For what? Yes, some may argue that the public has been served now that MKA is out action (“...he’s such a whiner ... he breeds contempt ... he’s killing the sport... his emails are so hurtful...oh, it was the mean brother who stacked? Good...). But play devil’s advocate over here. The unnamed $12 Hack-Ass jackhammers Woody who dominoes into me, we both end up with broken bones, all so the skillet-headed menace with the Cat III papers can move from 5th to 4th? That’s a monetary difference of yes, you got it, $12! Again, my life has been valued as roughly comparable to three Big Mac Double Cheeses. Does this not bother anyone besides me? I mean, can we at least Supersize that order, with the Biggy Fries, ferchrist?
Look, whether you give a spit about MKA is not the point. I’m talking about the sport here. We got up and coming nimnidiots who don’t belong in an elevator let alone a field sprint. Yet they think they are all powerful, invincible, god-like. This is hubris of the worse kind. Where’s the respect? MKA can smack-talk with the worst of them, but MKA elevates the integrity and wonder of the sport over any personal desire to visit harm on his many detractors, all of whom I can now safely say want to kill me. There are no zebras out there. We sign away our rights when we race. Either we live by a code, and play fiercely but with honor, or the sport degenerates into a gory spectacle, like Nascar, or the Running of the Bulls at Pampalona.
Yes, MKA talks about slaying the monsters on the battlefield -- but that was metaphorical. MKA understands you live by the sword, you die by the sword (or by the bullets some punk with an Uzi). You don’t have to love your competitor, but the whole competition suffers when rogue sabatouers who don’t belong or don’t have proper respect for the dangers inherent in the sport are allowed to assault and batter without fear of reprisal. The eager novice can be forgiven if he at least acknowledges his indiscretion. His arrogance will be his undoing, for the Asphalt Gods do not thirst for the blood of the innocent.
But somewhere, $12 Hack-Ass who put MKA in a hospital, where they by gawd poked me with needles (and MKA hates needles, especially when they miss the vein the first time, which they always do, on account by the time MKA sees the needle he’s already fainted and the veins have gone underground), is still out there, lurking, or perhaps even filling out his entry fee for the next bike race who’s homestretch he can twist into another killing field.
All better now...
PS: Labor Fresh Meat Ricky Silly McGill also stacked, breaking ribs, cracking collarbone and bumping head. Labor realizes how difficult it must be for outsiders to express sympathy for our fallen comrades. More than any other team, Labor acknowledges that this sport seems to attract ne'er-do-wells, posers, misfits and miscreants. To wit: the banner on our butt: "stoopidsport.nim". We thought this would work like garlic to fend off the vampires. Instead, it's been a bulls-eye for $12 Hack Asses.