Real Race among Real Men for Real Cash or, A Day without Blue Coats is like a Day without Crabs

March 17, 2003

Race day can be oppressive. There's so many ways to land in jail, or worse. Forgot to bring your license? Sorry, rules are rules, we don't accept drivers licenses and I don't care that you are who you say you are. Your entry fee was a day late? Sorry, pay up, there's an ATM machine down the street. Your teammate crashed, was ambulated to the hospital unconscious and you want to know about insurance? He doesn't have any? Maybe your club can take up a collection. You won the race but don't have your number? Sorry, the protest period lapsed, we gave your $12 prize to the district rep, but you'll have to pay a $15 fine to get it back.

Now you would think that with MKA's elite legal training, he'd be ready for the pompous nabobs in their Blue Coats poised to deek, fine, dock or scold. But MKA must confess that few judges can turn his throat desert dry or his pits swamp wet like a Blue Coat. Not because they're sharp or even right. In fact, it's precisely their dull minded ineptitude and unblinking devotion to the black letter that makes them so intimidating. They can't be reasoned with. You can't appeal to their better judgment. If their sacred forms say you DNF'd a race, even though you did, and can prove it, you DNF'd. Reality resistance this tenacious transcends the absurd, and you might as well accept it, lest you share the same pitiful fate of Doc Daneeka, who as we know from Catch 22, lived out his life a virtual ghost vainly trying to prove he was alive when we all knew he was dead because the official military forms clearly stated in triplicate that Doc was on the plane that crashed into the mountain.

So a funny thing happened this weekend in Carson. After four inches of rain in one day, the sun broke out and all the shooters descended on the Dominguez Hills course for a day of hard core racing. MKA was not nervous. I didn't need to pull over every 15 minutes to take a leak. I didnt worry about whether I had my license, or even spare wheels. I didnt feel guilty about not pre-registering. I was going to a bike race promoted by real racers who were not waiting to convert every honest mistake into an opportunity to gouge, belittle or scold. Late to sign up? No bother, just sign your name, we''ll fill out the rest. Late fees? Nah, don't worry about it.

Racers under the iron grip of the USCF-stix are conditioned to expect that proverbial nabbing in the night, the perfunctory trial and a quick execution. We pay our fees and kid ourselves that we get something in return. The fees keep going up, the fields keep getting larger, and the prize lists keep getting smaller. When we screw up, they drop the MOAB on our heads. When they screw up, and we call them on it, they threaten to "notify Colorado Springs", tell us to "shut up" or "get out of my face." Or when we don't alert them on open and notorious blunders, they deek us for negligently failing to rectify their own negligence. The idea that the Blue Coats provide a service is laughable. A good day is when they simply eat their Blimpies and dont bother us. A bad day is when they feel like they got to do something so theyconcoct some rule to deprive a racer what is his. And slowly they turn a stoopid sport into something worse -- a farce run by clowns who haven't a clue about what nourishes an athlete.

That's why MKA endorses the California Bike Racing Association. Blood Clotts is providing a service. He put together the biggest cash prize list this year for masters races. The 30 plus and 40 plus categories raced for 60 minutes, not the usual 35 minutes whilst sharing the course with Cat IV wooden indians and musk oxen. After the races, when MKA had to leaveĀ 
immediately to meet the fambily down at the Long Beach aquarium, I didnt worry about protest periods. I didnt worry about handing my drivers license and number to a blood relative to secure the bounty. These are bike racers. They are honorable (in the same way thieves can be honorable). They will do the right thing. Sure enough, when Hovercraft collected the checks, they didn't require DNA samples. That's big, but this is revolutionary: they even offered to convert the checks into cash because like all bike racers they knew this was a team sport and understood the need for Labor to divide up the winnings. This is called service. Meanwhile, the USCF-stix, although on paper a non profit charged with promoting the sport, have sought to undermine the CBR, actions which in my view call into question both the USCF's adherence to its corporate charter and its compliance with the IRS rules governing 501(c)(3) non profit charities.

The season is young and holds out much promise for entertaining Blue Coat blunders. For now let's talk about racing.

40 Plus Crit, 60 minutes, $500 cash, split 5 ways, Free Coffee, 1 mile loop.

Vampire and Horseteef busted out early. Perturbo, aka Greystoker, waited in the weeds until the snake snapped and pinched off at teeth grinding speed but MKA was there to sniff and suckle. MKA knew he had a full contingent of Labor antagonists behind him, like Butch, Hover, Stanky and Stricky, snuffing out the life blood of any amped up chasers. MKA settles in to a comfort zone. With about ten minutes to go we see the tail on the possum and Perturbo motions Horseteef to throttle back, which was fine since MKA needed time to freshen up the soured legs. With 4 to go, Perturbo commences his solo attacks. MKA responds. Then a stoopid thing happens, Vampire counters with Horseteef in tow. This is stoopid because Vampire is reputed to be a friend of labor besides which why would he engage tactics that only bolster the legendary Greystoker, whose doesnt exactly need the help, except the psychiatric kind, I mean why else would a legend be dumbing down to pick on retarded children unless of course there's more glory in beating Labor than the starving $12k dreamers, which I suppose is a sign of respect for all that Labor has built.

Anyways, this attack and counter nonsense repeated itself until finally MKA realized it was more important to beat Horseteef and the Vampy for second. Not wanting to win solved a lot of conflicts and racing got fun again real quick. Part of getting wisdom is lowering your expectations so it dawned on me as I crossed the line for second that for many Americans just getting out of bed is sort of a victory and I felt darned good to have aimed a little higher than that. I turned around to see Labor fetch 5th, 6th, and 7th (Butch, Stricky and Dale) in the field sprint and thanked the gods privately for allowing stricky to finish a race without obliterating another designer skinsuit.

Unfortunately, 60 minutes later in the 30 plus cat3/4 race, the Gods rejected my gratitude. Stricky rounded the final turn in first and, in clear violation of the Labor Tactics Handbook, flopped earnestly but for no apparent team benefit. Again, he wouldve won. And again, Punch, Labor's patriarch, was the first to arrive on the scene, this time with a gentle reminder to our water ski star that blacktop is not nearly as forgiving as lake water and perhaps he ought to try another strategy.

30 Plus Crit, 100 Primates, Mostly ill mannered and short tempered. $500.

MKA will cut right to the chase. MKA had seen too much violence, too much pain, and simply wanted safe passage through the wasteland. Already feeling fragile, MKA's chances in a cluster fudge field sprint with the likes of Fambily Mann, Armand Hammer, Mike McFive dollars, Gods Gift, and their ilk were slightly worse than mousy little Stuart Little knocking a Sumo wrestler out of the ring. So when Labor brethren Psycho Wiko, KB and Hoverhawk started stringing out the field MKA saw his chance for escape, and survival.

Going back to what I said earlier, if you can liberate your mind from toxic stress, it's amazing how hard things get easier. MKA's goal was simply, keep attacking until eventually Psycho Wiko pinched off with the thorougbreds. My money was on Psycho on account he arrived at the race in a house coat and slippers after stumbling out of bed still drunk after an all night binge over at the Blarney Stone Pub in San Pedro. It's well known that whiskey and the Irish go together like stormy seas and drowned sailors so I figured he was more than just lucky to be alive he was down right unsinkable.

Long story short is we pinched off with my old buddies Perturbo and Vampy who both were possessed with a kind of zeal I found at once frightening and comforting. I mean, ferchrist, they're spinning out the big gear on the downhill and we've got a minute gap, take her easy, but at the same time thanks to their blistering speed I won't get ground up by the hungry scrum like barn owl scat, a pile of skin, bones, carbon and fur. Yes, despite the lame connotations, MKA was happy to be there. Meanwhile, Wiko is a serious man on a serious mission. With two to go on a prime lap Wiko digs deep like a potato farmer and snatches the golden orb but the wily one sees his chance to hack and attack. Not to be left in the kitchen peeling carrots Wiko takes off after Perturbo, latches on, and you might as well start serving the corned beef because Perturbo's cabbage is cooked and well I've just about used up all my St. Patty's day menu items.

Nobody got deeked. Everybody raced hard. The officials wore bike jersies. We were not afraid to call them jerk offs, nor did they feel the need to lord their authority. Several officials actually entered the field as combatants. Problems got solved. Racers got rewarded. Nobody got fined. Port o Pots well stocked with toilet paper. By Blue Coat standards, a bleeping disaster, what with all that untaxed cash beyond their greasy mits. But for bike racers, a slice of heaven.


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