Labor Rallies for Repeat at Redlands, Earth Allowed to Keep Spinning
April 7, 2003
Redlands, CA. Labor Base Camp, in aftermath of 40 + criterium. MKA self-administering electric shocks to scrotum for flailing pathetically in the 40 plus click-bang. Labor brethren dutifully working my backside with cat-of-nine tails. With each lashing, feeling begins to return, and slowly MKA returns from the stone cold abyss of nothingness to his old bitter self. His first order of business is of course to ridicule anyone who dares to dream too low.
The future of Life on Earth is riding on the 30 plus criterium. Labor needs a victory like the desert needs the Sun. So it was with great consternation that we dejectedly watched Labor’s top sprinters, Psycho Wiko and G-spot, circle about in the pro 1-2 moist dream race. Not that we figured Wiko and G-spot as putzes. To the contrary, on the theory that adrenaline is the juice that nourishes the dream, but adrenaline comes in short supply, and needs to be husbanded prudently, we just didn’t want our closers to blow their sack before the apocalyptic 30 plus showdown. I’m sure Saddam’s doomed soccer players begged for their lives before their execution. Labor loses two in one day we don’t need bullets from a firing squad, shame will do the job.
Thankfully, Gspot pulled out after snatching two primes. He knows where his bread’s buttered. Meanwhile, Wiko and Lron are still out there, hobnobbing with the nimbobs. The Labor camp goes quiet as the Dream race reaches it’s climax. The orcs from Pig Iron, bruisers like Evander Testicles and Farmer Tillman, start scrapping in earnest with the ogres from Monex, and every corner becomes a potential Gettysburg. MKA has to look away, fearing the worst, the screech of pulverizing metal, rubber and flesh imminent.
And then the announcer shouts, “The winner, from Labor Power, John Wike!!” Huh? Psycho Wiko, with the puff-daddy double chin, the krispy-kreme eating grin and the narwhal white skin? Beating up on the lean, mean, cocoa-butter loving 12k dreamers? Yes! Soft? Wike’s about as soft as an icepick. This hombre’s so tough he can bring a maple bar to a knife fight and still cut your gizzards out (but he wouldn’t eat ‘em, not with that scrumptuous deep fried sugar snack in his hand).
The Labor camp jerks itself out of the doldrums. Where there is action, there is hope. Labor revitalizes. We can prevail. The long, brooding faces vanish, replaced by the steely-eyed squint and set jawbones of blood-starved warriors willing to give up a Gu for god, glory and labor.
30 Plus Crit. As per, Labor sends KB Bausch out for early recon, a sacrafice he was all too willing to make, as he had spent the last three weeks hooked up to a Hansen’s ginko-ginseng-caffeine I.V. and looked forward to bringing his heart rate down to a manageable 199 bpm. L.Ron and Stanky kept feeding the speed, the plan being to pinch off Genghis, Hover and Gspot with about 30 minutes to chowtime.
MKA is hovering about, pondering the lure of redemption. In the 40 plus crit, despite the skilled teamwork of elite scutmen Hawk and Stanky, who safely delivered MKA to the final straight with 1.2 laps (remember that number) to go, MKA got swallowed by the pod of bull elephants and was rendered nugatory like seagull scat. Couldnt even lead out Butch, who wound up 5th, behind Squeaker, Bunghole, Otero and, dare I admit, Horseteef, who looked nothing short of genius not only spoiling all Labor breakaways but then b-slapping us in the Triple Tetosterone field sprint.
The memory of the hesitation on which MKA’s self-image as an erstwhile closer was dashed lingered in my mind’s eye like a puke stain that won’t clean. MKA’s got to do something, make a difference. The torment lightened only by the sight of brother Butch clowning the pel with his patented go and blow routine, forcing a chuckle. For Butch, every action and inaction is calculated. He will wind up it great guns into a turn only to flutter out of it like a drunk sailor, with the hind end wobbling, forcing the come-uppers to wonder, is he out of control? If I try to squeeze past in the gutter, will I spend then next 6 months pulling creosote stained slivers from my face? Then it occurs to me: on Labor, every body has a part to play in this comedy. And my role is to roll, off the front, for the sheer pleasure of pounding the peckerheaded pretenders, like I was taught, by the master, Der Hipptler himself, who was forced to sit this one out back at home curled up in the fetal on the couch with pulmonary embolism so painful the only narcotic which seemed to make life bearable at all was the assuring voice of our friends at Fox News with more happy news from the Front.
I got to get out of here. About that time Tito Fuentes from Sierra Brewski blasts off with another cheetah and MKA is off to the races. The three man break is churning, burning, romping an stomping and frankly it felt good to be an animal again. We’re out there for a spell going so hard I can’t even look back when I get that funny feeling an amputee gets about his phantom appendage. I look back and good gosh almighty its Genghis Hahn bridging across (thanks to a mighty heave from Butch). Yes! He latches and I felt like an anemic with two quarts of fresh blood. A few seconds later the usual nimbys also get on -- Evander, McFiddy, God’s Gift, Smokin’ Joe Otero, Krochran -- plus a little labor sweetner goes by the handle,”G- Spot,” rhymes with Crotch Rocket.
The break has grown like cancer and is in need of some chemo or everything goes to hell. Genghis continues to throttle until we burn off the parasites and we’re down to a manageable crew of 10, including three Labors and two Velociraptors, minus the Little Debbie-loving McFiddy. Then something sickening happens. Genghis crosses his front wheel over onto God’s Gift’s rear and suddenly he’s sliding across the blacktop clutching his right collarbone as if to instinctively put it back together in case it snapped again. Never too soon to start the healing, we like to say down at the Labor Rehab Unit. The good news is Genghis didn’t rebreak his collarbone (...”two breaks, me breaking my collarbone, and my wife breaking my neck for coming home mangled again...”) but the “bad” news was it was up to MKA to slave like a dog to keep the break alive and catapult Gspot to the line.
The next 25 minutes were a blur. MKA turned off the ego and the brain and morphed into a beast of burden. Gspot knew to sit back, but he was joined by Sterr-Crazy. Otero also taking week but strategic pulls. Scott Crock feigning hip dysplasia. Gods Gift showing reverence for the hunt an refuses to take refuge in wimpy mantra “Sprinters don’t work” by taking solid turns in the rotation. MKA, Fuentes and combat veteran Wayne Stetina pulling double time on the point of convoy.
With 1.2 laps to go, at about the same spot MKA went from front runner to busted tail gunner in the 40 plus, Crockran attacks and gets about 50 meters and nobody is chasing. MKA’s on rear, a smoldering bullet-riddled hulk, secreting all sorts of green gasses. Through my cracked windshield I saw Gspot calling in the MKA airstrike. Redemption time. “It’s what you do right now that makes the difference.” MKA targeted his quarry like a brainless smart bomb, blasted up the homestretch, sliced through the dinner bell, one to go, rounded the hairpin turn, rammed into Crockran and exploded on impact. But Labor’s like the marines - minor setbacks like self-immolation won’t deter a Laborite with the enemy’s palace gates in sight. We don’t quit until the enemy’s heart is beating in the palm of our hands. For Labor, there’s only two ways home: total victory, or a body bag.
Look, MKA and G-Spot are not here, in this break, with this comfortable gap, by accident. Labor’s got good men back in the field slogging and bogging. For what? So we can place? No. Sure, they’d love to be up here on the point, but they also love slacking and cracking with the chuckleheads knowing that all Laborites will rejoice as one in victory. It’s called esprit de corps, and without it we’re but an angry mob of grabby Gordon Geckos shouting “greed is good.”
MKA dug a little deeper, found a stray drop of juice, tapped it, lowered the head, and rolled the big gear until the wheels came clean off. G-spot attacked with two turns and there, at the finish line, against the snow fencing, were our Labor brothers, rejoicing. Hoo-Ahh!
1. G-Spot, aka Mark Scott, Labor Power (found out he wears booties at races to hold defective shoe straps tight; make note to Labor CFO)
2. Mike Sterr-Crazy, Felicity Not
3. Gods Gift, aka Scotty Raymond, 24 hour Flab
4. Scott Crock, Trek
5. Joe Giant Otero, Rancid Tailwind
6. Tito Fuentes, Sierra Beer (stout, frothy, bitter)
7. DeMarchi, Not Happy
8. Wayne Stetina, Postal (respect for living legends bars infantile ridicule)
9. MKA, Labor Power, Very Happy (but it was really hard...)
Thanks to the City of Redlands, the volunteers, the promoters, even the blue coats, for another great race.