Guts, Butts, and Uncoagulated Glory: Oh My! MKA Pops a Red Eye In Ojai!
Also: King Karl Savages the Whippets

April 6, 2006

[Doctor's consultation notes.]
45 Year old cyclist presents with road rash suffered Sunday in Ojai, Calif. Multiple abrasions prominent lower left butt cheek and left shin. Generally pinkish with scattered foci of blood bubbles and impaled beer pull tabs. Patient objects to term "road rash," calls it cruel euphemism, which prevents him from garnering sympathy commensurate with pain and suffering. Overall demeanor: twitchy, verbose, wiggish and bug-eyed, as befits the fashionable prototype.

History: Patient describes in florid detail traumatic crash involving self, carbon fiber rim and off camber 90 degree left turn. With escalating tonal passion, patient lays largely irrelevant foundation about the importance of the race (delusional), the size of the field (exaggerated), the quality of the competition (overstated), his resume (fabricated and boring) and his personal training schedule, diet, vitamin uptake, immune status, and tire pressure (inflated self-importance).

Patient describes "moment of truth" midway through fast-action 35 plus criterium when Labor "ring dinger" Steve Larsen ramped up a climb followed obediently by the "playas," Ricky Squeeker and G-Spot. Patient "drilled" it to latch on to fledgling separation, leaned bike low into hard left turn. Midway through turn, patient describes troubling sensation of rear carbon fiber Zipp 303 grinding against asphalt at 30 mph. Patient describes sliding on left buttocks as if on silly slide, left fingers still gripped to handlebars, while gradually performing 360 rotation, as the fresh gloves, arm-warmers, jersey and shorts disintegrated. Describes lying on back, seeing sunlight streaking through green leaf-laiden branches of large shade tree, eclipsed by abnormally large acorns, prompting patient to speculate that the species was not Oak, but perhaps avocado. Patient pondered taste-off between avocado vs. acorn hummus on pita bread.

Labor Rages Against the Dimming of the Light!
MKA hangs it all out there. Sympathy for the Devil? Fork off...

Patient returns from reverie with wake up blast of cortisol that alerts same to extricate self from path of oncoming chariots. Fortunately, there is sufficient gap to allow patient to scoot to curb, just as razor sharp, spinning, shiny chain ring whizzes by, inches from his carotids. Patient springs up, surveys the damage, locates a large gash through the shorts over left buttocks, reminiscent of "bomb blast in the USS Cole." Rear tire ripped from carbon fiber rim (tedious ramble on art of gluing tubulars; vows to "never delegate" task to "professionals.") Bike otherwise operational.

Animation of patient's narrative peaking. Describes spectator offering to lend a rear wheel. Quotes spectator: "This is how we do it in Cyclocross. We get up. We keep going, by hook or by crook." Patient describes guilt feelings over wanting to retire, but succumbs to pressure from rogue, gap-toothed, bearded spectator. Patient's decision to re-enter the fray cemented when endorphin spike begins to drop, replaced by surfeit of needle sharp prostaglandins stabbing entire left flank.

Patient in excruciatingly vainglorious detail describes the "rush" of returning to the pack with a renewed sense of abandon. Likens self to lone survivor of a plane crash. Patient invokes litany of hackneyed sports clichés. He reports "tossing caution to the wind." He "primes his beta endorphin pump" by "pounding the peckerheads." He doesn't "overcome adversity," he wallows in it, goes down deep in it, sucking it for all its worth. He "valiantly attacks for the good" of his team. He waxes cornball. He "is beyond Self. " He has become a gory, mortally wounded axe- swinging Visigoth hell bent to take as many combatants down with him. Or, if the glory of a proper berserker burial is out of reach, then at least he can enjoy the satisfaction of exposing his bloody buttcheek to the adoring public.

Current Symptoms: Patient presents with a stiff-legged, broom handle-up-the-butt gait, typical of post-road rash skin tightening. Complains of moderate pain, except when sitting down, which he describes luridly as "sitting on punji sticks after having skin removed with dull potato peeler and seasoned with salt." Rambles on about paying penance to the "Ass-Fault Gods."

Wound continues to secrete yellowish-red exudates. Presents with crude hodge-podge of bandages, tape, pads, gauze, tegaderm and "pounding idiots" decals. Unwilling to take pain killers, quoting Sargeant Barnes in Platoon, who apparently chided a wounded grunt who "didn't have his shit wired tight" to quit being a pussy and "take the pain." Complains about not being able to grind with "hell bent for leather" spouse on Tuesday night "date night" (lamenting new Crystal Method CD "will just have to wait"). Also laments getting weaker, stove up in his bed, while Charley squats, in the bush, getting stronger, with the rat meat and rice bowl.

Diagnosis: This jerk's insane. Overtly deranged, all caps. He deposited a huge chunk of buttcheek on the blacktop in Ojai in a self-inflicted high speed crash that could have crushed his pelvis and snapped his collarbone. Yet his complaints stem from mental woes.

MKA Should Have Been a Pair of Ragged Claws.
Larsen and Love Wife pretend to care, as the flesh sizzles

First, he suffers remorse from not being able to convert the adrenalin/endorphin cocktail into a bottle of champagne he hypothetically could have sprayed on all of his opponents from atop the podium, had his team done something.

MKA said Ouch! as he landed on the Psychiatric Couch. Dr. says I had a bad dream. But I wouldn't worry about it none, them dream's is only in your head
Second, despite advancing age, weakening bones, non-delegable professional and family responsibilities, and absolutely zero tangible upside, he remains obsessed with getting back on the bike, like one of those gung ho, no guts no glory jarheads who gets both legs blown off but begs to return to combat. What a dope.

In sum, this 45 year old patient suffers from acute "stoopid cult sport" syndrome. He knows full well the sport is stupid, yet he consciously and fanatically accepts its foreseeable unmitigated misery, deprivations, deceits, and decrepitudes. He has become an over-stimulated, abnormally excitable Pointer Sister Poster Boy: he has lost control and thinks he likes it. Patient's slavish and self destructive devotion to cycling has deteriorated his self-esteem, critical thinking and left butt cheek.

Plus his fingers are chronically coated with oily gunk, raising the risk of benzene-related leukemia. Finally, patient tends to talk about himself incessantly, not once asking me how I stay so fit (note: I entered a public race once; won a saddle bag; huge field, epic, all the studs, attacked, got caught, went again, ran out of water, head winds, nobody would work with me, and so on).

Treatment: Immediate psychological counseling and confiscation of all bikes and bike accessories, oils, gunks, goos and all the defective or obsolete crap he hoards in his garage on the laughable pretext that one day he may want to patch all of those used-only-once punctured tire tubes and reuse those 5 pound Time pedals. Consider lobotomy or at least a scrobotomy.

* * * 
Funny, yes-yes, and yet it hurts. Wahh!

King Karl Krushes the 12k Dreamers

Beyond the butt shearing, Labor did enter a few races up in Thousand Oaks and Ojai. We managed to finish most of them. A few we won. Here are some highlights. This may bore you.

King Karl, aka " the Viking," won the Amgen Pro 1-2 circuit race. The race featured a bunch of pro dreamers who were in town for the NRC race the next day in Ojai. It was pretty cool to watch. JB and Labor's ring-dinger, preternaturally thin, mercenary Steve Larsinator helped launch Karl into a 5 man break. The pelaton yo-yo'd for several laps, closing the gap to spitting distance, and then letting it run deep into the concrete jungle, outa sight.

On the final lap, the pack got up on his haunches and was about to come down like an angry grizz in the final 500 meters but King Karl squirted away at about 89 mph, MKA kids you not. He beat a bunch of superstuds and all of us little people for a brief moment felt both vindicated and empowered. The guy with a Hollywood slick name - Alejandro Acton - got second. [Remember that name.] Labor beat a bunch of hallowed-cheeked exotic cycle-freaks with important names like Cruz, Pipp, Ramsey, Schmatz, Dominques, Sacco, Vanzetti and Cleveland.

Karl Von Labor
Smites the Widgets on or about the Head, Snout and/or Tail.

Earlier that day, Labor brought it's A Team to the 35 plus race, which wasn't easy, considering the surf was up and JB hadn't yet found his groove. Larsen and erstwhile bike racer JB pinched off early with half the field. MKA, Wike and Vampire sat around waiting for the race to mercifully come to an end when we stumbled upon the ragged end of the shattered break on the last lap. Fortunately, JB had attacked a few laps before with our rubber-legged hero Ricky Sqweeker. JB broke out the hammer and thongs and made Sqweeker say uncle, which wasn't too hard to do on account, per Sqweeky, he had been up all night doing the humpty-hump and frankly he too wanted to get it over with so he could return to the carnal comforts awaiting him down in Tuna Canyon.

In the 45 plus showdown, Labor got crushed and MKA doesn't want to talk about it. Turbo attacked almost literally from the gun and soloed. Labor didn't feel like chasing, so we decided his move was impossible. He proved us wrong, plus his lynch mob got the added pleasure of picking us off one by one. It was a big ugly mess and I don't know what was more epic : Turbo's 50 minute solo victory, or Labor's "all for none and none for all" "strategic" blunder. KK supped on the labor carcass for 2nd, Vampire limped in for 3rd, and the scrofulous Hipp Star "floored it" to beat Tricky Stricky to round out the top 5.

Amgen 35+ Happy Wappy Luv Fest!
Left to Right: Vog-Dog, J "Got His Groove Back" Baush, Ricky Ball-Banger Meeker.
EPO for all my friends! Tasty Waves, Tacos and tailwinds!

After the race, in the parking lot, Labor turned to more weighty matters: namely, whether in cycling there is any correlation between performance and the gap, or lack thereof, between one's jersey sleeve and his muscle bulk.. Our test subjects included famed sprinter, Evander Testicles, aka, BRBs, (see Figure 1) and infamous blood sucker, the Vampire, aka, MoonWalker (see Figure 2).

Evander's guns were so humongous he had to cut the sleeves of his jersey to accommodate the bad boys. On the other hand, we were unable to find any empirical evidence of any biceps on the Vampire. We assume he was blessed at birth with same, but years of neglect, constant road training, and near starvation, had atrophied those pups to the point that his sleeve ends actually flap in the wind, like a wind sock.

Figure 1. BRB's Bicep: Big, brawny, burly. Brain: smart enough to have avoided paying for tire tubes, bike frames, wheels, bars, shoes or swag, ever. Never met a mirror he didn't try to seduce. Downside: Belly proportionate.   Figure 2. Vampire's Bicep: Theoretical. Brain: smart enough to avoid needing persons, places or things other than Labor Power Inc. stipend, daily roundtripper from Goleta to Pismo Beach, and bag of rice. Downside: still needs to work ½ day on Mon.

We analyzed the data in the lab and reached the following conclusion: There is a direct correlation between performance and non-conforming swag. Sprinters need to exude a sense of savagery and unruliness. Thus, there is a tactical value in shredding one's perfectly fine clothing, as it sends a message to the pel that "I have no allegiance to decorum, form or hierarchy. I care not a whiff for sponsors, team or hoopla. If I can nonchalantly cut, tear, or rip my precious swag, imagine what I can do to your face at 40 mph in chaos of a cluster fudge."

Note also the benefits to the ego. Whether the burly sprinter actually needs to cut the sleeves to accommodate the biceps is immaterial. It's more important that the message of hugeness be sent, and that the subject believe that his arms are unnaturally large. [We call this SuperKal Syndrome: the tendency to see oneself not as one is, but as one would be, hypothetically, if pumped up on steroids during a raucous, glistening, throbbing Mr. Universe pose-down.]

A skinny roady, on the other hand, has no interest in peak power, thrust or top-end. Waifish, emaciated roadies are only interested in restricting calories, denying sex, avoiding people, and transforming self into a featherlight perpetual pedaling machine. The more sleeve flap, the louder the message to hangers-on that aerodynamics and prittiness mean little to a freakish creature who just likes to go hard all the time no matter what, heh heh. Heh. Parenthetically, the excess fabric also serves an important post race hygienic function, as the Vampire cannot ride his bike without generating long ropes of nasal pearl jam which resemble a snot bewiskered fu manchu.

Figure 1. The Big Muscle/Some Brain vs. NoMuscle/Some Brain Pose-Off.
Who wins? You decide. Note: BRBs got bored and withdrew from both races. Vampy got bored and thought seriously about chasing down JB and Larsen.

King Karl: My Kingdom for a Water Bottle! Ojai, Pro 1, NRC. 

Back to the live action. This was going to be tough. 55 laps on a 1.1 mile loop, with a tough climb. A perfect course for skinny stage racers. So it came as no surprise that Der Hiptler, who had not trained all week, blew off the masters 35 race, which Labor lost badly, in favor of the Dream Race. To his credit, Hiptler lasted almost an hour, before the iron fist of age, flab, pain and common sense smacked him hard in the head.

Meanwhile, Karl was drilling it as per. He launched a break with 4 whippets and bang! they were off to the races. A chase group of 4 eventually merged with the 5 man break. All the big teams were represented: Health Net, Jelly, Toyota Pro, Sierra Nevada, and new comers Target Training.

Karly Korn
In search of his comfort zone, while the whippets wake up from their hibernation

The crowd buzzed with excitement over the prospect of "local amateur" King Karl delivering another cruel blow to the 12k dreamers. Karl looked good, towering over the whippets, who from my perspective looked fairly fungible. The consensus was that Karl's stock was flying since he had ample amounts of time trial power and an uncompromising sprint. The break stayed away for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Towards the end, after the gap hovered around 2 seconds seemingly forever, the field threw in the towel and the lead stretched to over 1 minute. Karl looked fresh, and had zero obligation to pull. The crowd sensed a coup d'etat, and the kids gathered around the finish line to pick up stray dreamer body parts.


The Viking retreats to the stern, throat parched, surrounded by water but dying as thirst, as the inexperienced Labor management forgets to staff the feed zone.   Action Acton! Inspired by Labor, Alejandro goes Agro on the final lap and b-slaps the yap-yaps. Karl rolls in without complaint, despite being hung out to dry by sado-hedonistic Labor Propaganda Ministry.

With a few laps to go, the attacks came often and viciously. Friedich and Tim Johnson blew off the back. The break split up, and Karl, much to our collective surprise and sympathy, was clutching to hang on. The desperation sort of reminded me of Frank Sinatra in Von Ryan's Express, when he sprinted for the caboose of that train headed to Switzerland and was just about to make contact when he took a Nazi slug in the back.

Karl was able to scratch and claw his way onto the tail of the 7 man break on the bell lap. But you could see that the damage had been done. Acton attacked early and soloed in impressively, as Karl limped in for 7th.

MKA asked Labor's Giant Killer what he would have done differently, if anything. His succinct reply: "A bottle of water." Turns out the power, the passion, the heart, lungs and liver were all there. Our Boy just got dehydrated and cramped with two to go. I guess I was supposed to feel guilty, having skirted implied obligations to man the feed zone, but I continue to believe to this day that my best and highest use was preserving this historic drama on camera. Besides which, first comes feed zone pampering and the next thing you know Karl will want gas money, radios, massages, and mentholatum-soaked cotton balls he can shove up his nose like all the pros do before time trials. Before you can say "breach of implied promise," he'll be retaining counsel to demand a seat on Labor Power Inc's corporate jet.

In the end, Karl seemed content. A mini-fan club of sweet little girls asked Karl for his autograph. He obliged with aplomb, like this happens all the time. They didn't ask MKA for his J.H.Cock, even though I offered to buy them ice cream and show them the most overexposed buttcheek in Ojai.

Pounded Idiot

*good pictures by MKA.
Crappy pictures by Der Hiptler

** "Ass Fault Gods" nomenclature courtesy of H. Diddy



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