The Racing Chronicles
Cereal Land or Racing In the Age of the Whirling Machine, or “Where’s My JuiceBox"
A bike race is a bad time
What starts out as a mass movement
ends up as a racket, a cult or a corporation.
(As a prize to semiotics this perfectly sensible quote has been recast as “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business and eventually degenerates into a racket.” After all it simply will not do to have prohibitionist fabulists considered degenerates; or gasp, to dare elevate a racket over a corporation. Why, it would as to claim that finishing a bike race is the same as winning, just different-as in vomiting is the same as eating, just different, sort of.)
Losing is Winning But Better
It was almost just as so:
EveryFan: So where are the Chronicles? Where are the wit, charm, exuberant derogations and pithy pontifications. You are a much- missed almoner.
Self: You cannot spoof a caricature.
Self: Cycling is not racing. It is now Sigma Six cuddling using machinery. It is cross fit without the rings. It is a bunch of folks congratulating each other for not winning.
EF: But participating with friends is winning by any fair standard of measurement.
Self: Yes, just as finishing last is really an exercise in the seven steps of giving.
EF: Exactly. Finishing DFL is the real win because it is as giving a cold man a new coat without taking a charitable deduction. Giving up first place is to win by not winning. It is the sacrifice of saving another from the ignominy of humiliation. It is just as Dylan sang: The winner now will later be last. Except being last is really being first.
Self: So, how did your race end up?
EF: I was first.
Self: You won!
EF: Everyone there was a winner except perhaps the guy who fell down when he crashed into me while I was riding no hands in order to eat and drink going into the third turn. I mean a racer has to pay attention and turning with no hands is hardly a big thing. I suggested to him that he needed to do cyclo-cross to hone his handling skills. You cannot snatch a dollar and a beer without using two hands.
Self: You are perhaps confusing a bike race with your night at the Red Garter Lounge and Tension Relief Station.
EF: But back to my point. Why no Chronicles?
Self: Because I do not cross fit, bad shoulders.
EF: But we need you on that bog in the mud and cold. Go with it Self. You will be transformed into a winner. Do not be last. Be the last winner.
Self: Okay, so what is your subject of choice for a Chronicle?
EF: You know how dope ruined your cycling life.
Self: Okay. I have long wanted to tell that story.
Killer of Dreams
It is the Pro Cat I II Crit in Danville, Illinois. I already log a very respectable some place just in or out of the money in the Master Forty. I am two days of refraining from pizza and thus at the peak of my career. I no longer feel I am as Sam Stone: “(****) alone, climbing walls while sitting in a chair.” No, I can “see clearly, all obstacles in my way.” There are no tenebrous barriers lurking. Then, just a New York minute hour it is all taken away. The music is ‘back to black’ as the drugs take another victim.
There is an early break. However, I am staying calm in the bunch, figuring if my mentor Grant is in this group, it is all golden. There are consumable primes in the offing, and glory. Then an unknown rider comes through and is quickly gone again in a puff, as I am later to observe accomplished by Keyser Soze. Then what seems as a lap later, he is here again-and then goes away. The music station in my head tunes to all bass, off beat, like Ornette Coleman’s Free Jazz. Only later I learn the noise is coming from Grant’s headphones, but this is another story, long ago told.
There it was. I could never hope to be in same slice of the alternative string that Kirk O’Bee occupied. Many men were shattered that day, careers surrendered, all those hours of toil for nothing, those skin suit diets a waste of time. The entire racing years just a Hunter Thompson “lame F*&K around” that ended not even half way to Barstow.
Then a short decade or so later, when there was no time to repair the tear in the brane rendered by this O’Bee of dope. It is not for me that I remorse. No, I long realized I was not even a busted guitar string or for that matter, tennis gut.
It is the younger men, and women, for whom I mourn. I was merely deprived of a sports drink prime-whatever the latest magic potion of mass produced food type substance on offer. Others, had to give up the real prize, left adrift without having ever been left of the decimal point on the 12K Dream Scale. For them it was an endless underwear dream where dopers are in Castelli and they in frayed Old Navy.
No, Lance causes me no harm, he but an apparition. O’Bee is real. He is far more to be spurned; only fitting that he is busted by his lady- love scorned. And there is the symmetry; stupidity my name is Kirk.
And A New Season Begins
So, after a winter of messages, posts, advertisements and personal endorsements exclaiming the amazing transformations occurring daily at the various Whirling Machine Emporiums of Indianapolis, the start of the race season is to put at the front those with a here to for none existent acquaintance with prize money. For pocket change of twenty to forty dollars a session former flailers undertake body changes that put the mock to transgender surgeries. A former back marker is to be at the front after putting in the commitment of time-and money-to attend a power booster class at Marion Cycling University such what wattage is up a whole lot. Getting up for five-thirty group wind trainer friendly competitions brings the great fun of looking at the armpits of other Low T sufferers. And of course there is the coach with the megaphone encouraging just a little more effort as the progenitor necessary to bring on a peaceful presence, Yoga Spin.
Surely these new training techniques and the accretion of marginal gains from eating the best ever fake food and the addition of post Whirling Machine chanting practice will bring new names to the top of the points charts-formerly results. But, before this could happen the Chronicles were advised that old scoring systems were so pre millennial.
The estimable Mike Hewitt, President of the ephemeral IN/KY Cycling Association, writes of a scoring debacle at a Frost Bike Cereal Land freeze up race held sometime in the winter. A few days after the event, and thus just outside the flexible USAC Rule about protesting, a rider noted in a most kindly fashion that his scoring was inaccurate what that he had finished somewhere or other but not correctly. Now, pointing out the applicable rule rather than ending the matter brings, as expected, a social dystopia of response, because season at stake. A sample of the perfervid revanschism when effort was all and winning but an illusion of victory:
“Good race promoters endeavor to get the results correct no matter how long it takes after the race.”
“This guy works hard for his placing and he should have it. He sprints hard for that twenty-eight place. He is my friend and I know he takes not the chance of banging bars if he is not expecting to get a fair shake in placing”
“Racing is about doing your personal best and getting a fair placing is the apotheosis of the truth that is competition.”
“Why do you only score the dopers? We who finish are just as important.”
Now, the Self is hardly much for nostalgia, what it being much as memory buffed clean of all reality; but really, is it that long ago when it only matters if you score in the money. Self is in a sugar coma when cycling becomes golf and it is no longer important what you score but how you playe: “if I had not hit in the water on six holes I would have scored par…. And I was just trying out the new driver so… “ What with Whirling Machines, and meditation as mind body binding, the Self is even more confused that when trying to determine why anyone would confess when a lie would suffice much better. And so it is that Self rode the twenty miles east from Chronicle Hooterville Headquarters to Cereal Land Park with a fission that racing has put to lie Runyon’s Rule: The race not always goes to the biggest and fastest, but it is the way to bet.
First up is the finish to the Master race. Up to the finish and the surprise winner is Chris Kroll. All winter this pretender posts no Garmin results, writes nothing of Fellowship Whirling, or a special diet-not even Core comments. He is just the fastest and, of course-in this new age of racing-but a mere loser, or even the worst type of loser, viz., a winner who is fast. Really anyone wins if fast is important.
But, then is this old men who need walkers race really a fair test of the victory through marginal gain approach? The post race comments give pause.
Suitcase: “Why did you cut me off, I am your teammate.”
Freddy: “I was too busy laughing at Suitcase”.
Al: “I am just using racing to get in shape for racing because racing is really just training for racing.“
Thus, the Self is anxious to see the finish of the Baby Master’s race. The Rodents are present, as are the Zippos, not those old WWII Zippos, but the blast furnace butane Zippos, some Upland Mediocre Beer, a few Heroes, and various other silly uniforms. There is a break and then a sprint among the breakers and in an astonishing upset Curtis wins.
Oh, and in another rip in the fabric of the cosmos, an unknown singer from Chattanoga named Bri wins the women’s fandango.
There were some other racers but did not hang around because, but it is almost certain that someone very slow wins them all because fast is just last- because winning is really losing being what when one person wins not everyone wins and well, cycling is about winning regardless of placing.
And oh yeah, before leaving everyone who participated was given a Juice Box because, competition is just a box of sweet squeezed grapes, or something.
My head hurts and I am going to go guzzle 10W Forty.
Ride Fast and WHIRL AWAY.