Wheels Come Off at Ontario Speedwagon
MKA on the right moving up on the sprint. Winner Fastino Riveron tucked between two semis, eventually busted out for the Vee. Perturbo sticking to Agro's right wing.
February 25, 2003
Ontario, Fontucky. Taking no chances with the Terror Alert really, really high, MKA duct taped the window sills and air vents in his Labor Rod, packed up the kids and headed for Ontuckio, Cycling Capitol of World. Despite the precautions, on arrival, both kids passed out as soon as we opened the car doors, hit with an invisible gust of nose-blistering, brain-slacking, throat-choking, eye-scratching cow piss-n-patty stench. Torn between saving the life of my children and getting a place in what looked like a really long line at the registration table, MKA had to think fast. I forced a couple of peppermint tic-tacs in my kids' throats to neutralize the poison gas, tossed them in the trunk, poked a few holes with an ice pick MKA always carries for roadside emergencies, and bolted for the sign up table. Living the life. Steadfast committment to normalcy. Another blow to terrorism everywhere.
There are two lines at the registeation table, one for "race day" and the other for "pre-registration." MKA eagerly jumps into the pre-registration line, pleased that he took the time to send in his fee to avoid the humiliation of having to stand in line looking stupid chirping nervously with nimrods. MKA is focused from the moment he gets behind the wheel and will not suffer fools gladly. But the lines are equally long and slow, which gives MKA plenty of time to calculate the numbers. Race day suckers get taxed with a $6 surcharge. I clocked the time it took for the pre-reg and race day clerks to process the documents. The pre-reg actually took longer because inevitably the latter's pre-reg check was short a dollar, the name got misspelled, the numbers got screwed up or the blood type didnt match.
And who decided $6 was the appropriate penalty? A few years ago it was $5. That's a 16% hike, way above the inflation/cost of living index. Look, MKA doesn't begrudge an entrepeneur who provides a valuable service from making a tidy profit, but flipside of risk is reward. In Socal, with the sunny skies and thousands of $12k dreamers moving in daily, the risk of a no-show is about as likely as the smack addicts boycotting the free methadone clinic down on Hollywood boulevard. Plus they get needles and condoms, but we do we get? The flyers impose a "field limit" of 100, but of course the promoters under the watchful eye of the Blue Coats disregard this like speed limits on the I-5.
In the last few races, in the masters races, the fields have grown as large as 145, exceeding the ceiling by nearly 50%. Does the promoter plow some of that surplus gold back into the pot? No. So what do we get -- more risk, more pile-ups, shortened race times, and a prize list that hasn't changed since the days of toes clips and wool jersies. When racers cross a centerline in the middle of a desert hasnt seen a motorcar in decades the blue coats think nothing of deeking with impunity. But when a greasy-fingered promoter gouges a racer with late fees like a tow truck yard shaking down a poor schmuck with "storage fees", or when he refuses to equitably reward larger fields with larger prize lists (or at least with a prize list that matches inflation), the USCF turns a blind eye.
Instead they turn on the likes of a Horseteef, aka John Wordin, whose guilty of what? Promoting the sport by bringing in fresh corporate money? Monex announces it's going to work with Horseteef on building a division III team and within seconds the Chief Scold at the USCF vows to hunt Horseteef down like a dog and destroy anything with his fingerpints on it because ... what? Horseteef failed to pay riders a few years ago when Viatel went tits up in Chapter 11? I've got about 100 asbestos cancer widows owed millions from corporations who fled to the bankruptcy courts. The widows can't hold the debtor's factory superintendant personally liable. I'm sure Horseteef didn't personally guarantee the salaries. And since when did the USCF actually give a crap about the common bike racer? Mendacity.
But Labor digresses. Back to the action.
40 Plus Hackfest, 120 Scrum-Dums, 6 turns, Gas Masks Optional. Early on Hovercraft, MKA, Horseteef (in plain wrap), Johnny Wackoff and Perturbo in a 7 nim break that sticks like water on a teflon duck. Nobody getting away. MKA goes out on a limb and predicts field sprint. Visions of much antler-entangling among bullmeese like John Walsh-out (with the Jack Palance cross-eyed grin that says I like biting the heads off of small animals) and Fambily Mann (with the puffy, aw shucks demeanor that belies a taste for the sweet lean meat of skinny-legged roadies). Calculates lifespan as equivalent to that of pop-eyed grunt on the Western Front storming across No Man's Land into the hail of bullets.
With about two to go a Jax sherpa slips up the road and the point balls up. Horseteef queries Labor: Where's your train? About that time Hoodee Hovercraft attacks up the gutter full metal laser lock on the Jack-A "Right there" quips MKA, fiddling with his ear like he was carrying hi-tech hardware. The pack awakes from its slumber and gives chase. Hover attaches to the Turbo-pup, who's flyer is sort of a sacrafice to Perturbo, who's back there with the foot on the clutch. Turbo-Pup starts sputtering until the props lock and he's looking for a soft spot to land while Hover's whiting out and tonguing his suicide pill as his tormentors rise up like a dark tidal wave.
We crash down on the Hover like a building falling on a styrofoam cup near the final turn. MKA loses his position behind the always brave, cheerful and revent Perturbo, Horseteef, Walsh-out and a phalanx of Yellow custard Flailer Mades, including Bad Jones and Fambily. MKA has fallen back into the deadzone, but sees an opening on the inside corner, launches, looks for a wheel, finds none so is forced to strap himself onto the rocket sled, winds up to about 600 mph in less than six seconds, risking retinal hemorrhage and a snapped pencil neck. But it was not enough. It never is. Fastino, who races on a junky old rig I wouldnt be caught dead training on, blasted by with Perturbo in pursuit.
Whenever a non-winner says he's happy somebody else won, don't believe him, it's a charade. But Labor is not displeased to be bested by Fastino, if only because it confirms the 200 megaton power of bitterness. After Hoffy, Fambily, Virus and others quit Soylent Green, leaving Fastino to do it alone, it must have felt good to spank the $1.2k infected defectors.
1. Fastino Riveron, Soylent Green Bitter Bugger
2. Perturbo Rogers, Jax, Inc. Worlds Largest Bike Retailer next to Walmart and Furrball's Bikes R Laguna
3. Max Kash Dashed Agro, Labor Power piddledinks, Ferchrist I Need Leads dont come out of a phonebook
4. Fambily Mann, Flailer Made Frozen Custard
5. Walsh-Out, Sugarplums (later invoked the "its only February" excuse like we've been snowed under)
6. Hoverhawk, Labor (F it I'm giving it to him on account I got not time to check the sheets, I got no support and my general manager's playing golf and what do I care I'm getting out soon's my contract's up I swear to you...)
Next up, the 30 plus. Huge Field as per with many of the genius $12k dreamers finally learning that the fans all vacate before the 12k dream race and besides it never gets a call up on Truesport.com from legendary scribe, the right reverent Billy Stone Crab. As a matter of foreshadowing, a few hours later it turns out the nimnidiot Herbiewitz who failed to crack the 30 plus top ten goes on in the pro-dream race to beat another master Evander Testicles, whose devotion to The Life is so deep he started celebrating a few meters before the line and got his wank spanked. But we'll leave that epic tale for Atlantic Monthly or The New Yorker.
Bottom line is Labor needs a V like a sailor needs a taste on shore leave. Pscyho Wike has been chosen by the Labor Council to steal the glory from fellow red-headed highlander McFiddy, whose become something of a crit-cult hero like those banjo players in Deliverance. But at the half way mark it looks like McFiddy's holding all the cards when he lines up about 5 Velocity drones dressed in Orange Marmelaid for the world-is-watching 3 point series bonus sprint and just puts on a clinic. Going into the final turn I'm thinking wouldnt it be someting if Agro could actually snip McFiddy for the diddy but about then the caboose on the orange train unlatches, a gap opens, McFiddy walks away unbothered and it was a thing of beauty. Labor could learn a few things is what I'm saying.
Fast forward through the nonsense to the final few laps. With two to go Hover is on the point marking his territory but it's sort of a delicate proposition because in fact it's early and what Labor really needs is a runner who don't mind dying. MKA is hovering about the Hover, checking his side mirrors and barking out the cooridinates of all bogies. Basically I'm three back and got cromagnon bratwurst eater Arm N Hammer on my bumper and a swarm of idiots in tow. With one to go Hover's on the point keeping it real. Hover takes us through three or four turns, all quiet on the Front, with a McFiddy Orange-Aid next in line. Agro's hoping against hopes a few lambs will offer themselves up for slaughter so I dont have to burn out before the dam breaks but life is unfair and duty calls so I pull through on the point with a kilo to go telling myself "lead by example" followed by "that c-sucker Psycho Wiko better close...."
Agro dumps out on the final turn all spent and smoky and the herd thunders by. I thought I saw L. Ron in the thick of it with Wike on his wheel but chucked that hallucination as L. Ron don't bang unless she's drunk or passed out. A mass moves to the line and I can't make out squat until right about where Ralph Elliot likes to blast "Sympathy for the Devil" I see arms raised in a vee, Orange jersey, so it's got to be McFiddy.
1. McFiddy, Velocity (medical note: he gets viral on regular intervals so Labor's waiting to pounce first sign of infection)
2. Fambily Mann.
4. Psycho Wiko, Labor Power (he did give a nice speech I hear on the warm down, which is worth something)
6. Chris Hippster, Labor, ferchist I dont know, nobody tells me anything, what I got to look, take notes, interview, I dont get paid for this puff and nonsense.
Final Snit: Labor did pluck some fresh fruit in the 45 plus thanks to Dale Lugnuts who rumbled with former hulks like Holy Kal to take the Vee in a field of 90 which has got to be some kind of record. I think he won a box of jello. And down in Yuma, Arizona Butch and Great Scott both won their critz so MKA's not reaching for the razor blades yet but I am going to recklessly and knowingly endanger my family by tossing the duct tape and 3 day supply of frozen mochas.