No Sergio. No Rahsaan. No G$. No Fukdude. No Jdawg. No Brauch. No DJ. No King Harold. No Charon. No Brian-guy-from-Helen’s who beat Talking Legs for second on Thanksgiving. No Talking Legs. MMX made an appearance, but it was with a fractured vertebrae, so he was only good for about half the climb.
Instead, today’s Holiday Ride was populated by the B team: G3, Corncob, Stormin Norman, and JB, as well as Wankmeister, who got a temporary promotion from the B-minus team, or maybe from the C+ team.
For everyone used to the 28mph death roll up San Vicente that happens every time Rahsaan or Sergio shows up, it was a pleasant, chatty cakewalk. Left at the light, down the hill, right turn, and stop at the Mandeville light. Tandem Brad scoots through the yellow and takes off hell for leather. Everyone else patiently waits.
The light turns green, but no massive surge of Freds to the fore, ginning out top speed for a quarter-mile until they blow. Just a moderate pace for the first short bit, almost conversational. G3 takes a hard pull. Boeinboing takes a somewhat hard pull. Wankmeister refuses to pull. Corncob flips the “on” switch and turns on the power drill.
Wanky keeps the pressure on, then falls back a few wheels just in time to hear a shouting match between Saturn and Divepro about which one gets to sit on his wheel. Before they come to blows Wanky hits the gas, and there’s Saturn’s ponytail, tucked into the slipstream. Divepro is apparently diving down, or back, quickly.
JB throws down and after a few minutes it’s just five: Corncob, G3, Stormin Norman, JB, and Wankmeister. Looks like another win for Big Orange, as all but Ironfly Wanky ride for B.O., and a couple of them ride with B.O.
Fully expecting them to take turns attacking, Wankmeister waits for the inevitable beatdown. JB, however, begins laboring like a beached whale as the sound of a collapsed lung and fluid dripping from his ears signal a core meltdown. Not a good sign for an impending attack by JB. G3 spins through, barely, but can’t accelerate. Corncob gets dropped on one of Wanky’s milquetoast accelerations, but grinds back on. Only Stormin Norman seems to be biding his time.
On his fifth attack Wankmeister gets pulled back, although “attack” is probably not the best word to describe a slow, panting, heaving, mild increase in speed of less than .5mph. Perhaps they were “detacks,” or “nontacks,” or “flogtacks.”
As Wanky slides over to the gutter, Stormin Norman launches what would properly be called an attack. It was 5 mph faster than the current speed of the group. It came out on the far left as Wankmeister was decelerating on the far right. It began three wheels back. It created a small sonic boom. Yep, that was an attack.
Happily, the vacuum created by the sudden jump sucked Wanky into it, kind of like a deep ocean waterspout, and when Wankster finally looked up it was Just the Two of Us (we can make it if we try) Just the Two of Us (you and I).
“Yo, Stormalong,” Wank wheezed. “That gap is bigger than Dallas. You’ve been dicking off the whole climb, I’m gassed like a gasbag, pretty please let me just sit on your nice, cozy wheel and it’s all yours, buddy.”
He nodded and churned.
However, unbeknownst to him, his team leader, G3, was implementing Big Orange Team Tactic No. 348.9(b)ii. This is a standard part of their manual, and it goes like this: when you have a teammate up the road with someone from another team, and your teammate is stronger, faster, better, handsomer, quicker, jumpyer, sprintyer, climbyer, and younger by 10 years than the elderly, beaten down, achey, dispirited, grindalong, limpalong, wheezealong, C+ upgraded wanker with whom he’s away, you should chase down your teammate, drop him on the wall at the end of the climb, and make sure that the win goes to the teammate who got shelled a few miles back.
This teaches several key racing principles. One, you learn that your teammates will shaft you when you’re most vulnerable. Two, you’ll learn that even when you’re in a breakaway with a proven loser like Wanky, you still can’t be trusted to pull out the win. Three, you’ll learn that life’s a bitch. Especially that life’s a bitch.
As the final pitch came into view, G3, having successfully chased down his teammate, latched onto Wanky’s wheel. Wankmeister spun furiously until the final kick for no good reason, as he should have sat up and grabbed a wheel to recover, however, it’s common knowledge that he’s an idiot and will churn along pointlessly until he gets bitchslapped by everyone, including the 13 year-old on her fourth bike ride ever, when at that moment Corncob left everyone in his wake, followed by G3, Stormin, and JB.
I suppose you can bitch and moan as much as you want, but when Big O makes it first place, second place, third place, and fourth place…they’re doing something right.