Bikerbert race report: Burlingame crit, Time to Pay the Piper

Another bikerbert race report, in which the life of a little girl is spared and bikerbert learns that the bodies of other riders are cushions


The morning started out great. Had the car packed last night, woke up a in a great mood, and had a boat load more energy than I did yesterday morning upon opening the baby hazels. I had some pretty tasty steel cut oatmeal with brown sugar/real maple syrup (YUM!!), PB&J toasties and lots of water. Washed it all down with some Sport Legs and Endurolytes, and I was ready to go. I threw in a glass of Hammer Heed for good measure because my legs protested on lap 4 of 5 at the CCCX race I did yesterday.

I had to pull out with some cramping. I figured with Burlingame this morning, it was probably the best thing to do. The only decent part was Phyllis Ollrich saying hi as she passed me when I was pulling off the course. I like Phyllis, she's silly. Side note on Phyllis, the first time I met her, I kid you not, she says to me "I may be old, but I'll kick your butt." I instantly thought "this is my kind of people!" Loves the Phyllis.

Anyway, time for more about me. I got to Burlingame in plenty of time to warm up, register and get ready to race. Before we left this morning, Jill (she plays the role of "Wife" in today's production) asked me if I had everything before we left, I told "yeah I've got everything, what am I, some kind of knucklehead?"

I've got four simple words for all hubbies out there: 1) LISTEN, 2) TO, 3) THE, 4) WOMAN. If you've seen "White Men Can't Jump," you know this phrase. Great movie actually, the "Yo mama is so....." scene in the beginning of the movie is cinematic magic. I'll give you a snippet: "Yo mama's so fat, (do to proper folks reading these posts, we'll use gal) gal fell down, broke her leg, and gravy came out." Great fun. Siskell and Ebert actually gave it two thumbs up, seriously. One of those guys died right? I never know if it was the fat one or the little guy who looked like he needed more fiber in his diet.


Meanwhile back at the ranch, apparently I was the knucklehead I was accused of being, and it was an accurate assessment of my mental capacities because I forgot my jersey. OOOOOOOOOOO I HATE IT WHEN SHE'S RIGHT. I aksed Jill if she'd go back to Mtn View to get it, and she looked at me with an expression that really can't be described. It was a combination of:

  1. God you're stupid
  3. Mtn View, now? Really? Oh, you're serious? HAHA silly boy...
  4. There is no way in H-E-Double Hockey Sticks I'm going to get it. Go scrounge rat boy, and get a another one.

Since there wasn't a "Door #2," this is the option I pursued. I tracked down Lauren Hecht AV newbie (6th place BTW in the Women's 4 race) to see if her jersey would fit me. I thought I'd be in luck because it was a men's M. Well, I tried it on, and I may as well have been the Hulk shopping at Baby Gap. If I wore it, I would have had to suck in my gut the entire race while holding my breath. We're talking laying down on the bed to put on the "used to fit me in high school" jeans type of thing. Seeing that most crits are at threshold hell, and breathing is key, this was quickly ruled out as a viable option.

I then asked Alan Brum if he had an extra one, and he said if Laura's didn't fit he thought he did. So here I am scouring downtown Burlingame for a L men's AV jersey. I thought about hiding in the bushes, and jumping out at someone who looked like they were the same size to roll them and take their jersey Rambo style. But being that I'm only 5'8" and don't have any green baret commando skills, well.....

I did get a long sleeve wind jacket from Paul, our designated team leader for the day, but it was going to be a little too toasty. Neil Harrington saved my bacon. Hold on a sec, what exactly does that mean? I don't really eat that much bacon, or pork for that matter. So why do I need someone to save something I don't really eat or come into contact with all that often? Anyway, he came through with a jersey and I was off to the car and the wife that had forsaken me. I needed her to pin my numeric corsage on the newly aquired blouse so I could start the race. At this point, there was only time for a few sprints, then off to the start line.

I thought after cramping out of the MTB race the day before, my legs would be garbage, but they felt alright. The first few laps were a little rough, but I gradually loosened up and began to feel good. I almost killed Alan in turn one coming in too tight, and drifting wide (this weighed on my conscience heavily because Alan's a nice guy. I would have felt like gargabe if I had caused him to crash), and apparently I almost sent another guy to the showers early too. In my defense some guy cut me off. So the business end of a bad bike handling review the alleged victim gave me was unwarranted. Maybe I should have had one of those "How's my Riding? Call 800-Shut-Up if you'd like to report errant riding" stickers on my back.


My new life as a Cat 4 was shaping up to be an interesting ride. The pace I could hang with, but turning in a group that big in a space that small was completely freak'n nerve racking. It seemed like each time I would try to move up, the hole would close. And if I did actually attempt to move up, I would have taken out half the peloton. From what my sources tell me, that would be bad. Very, very bad. You'd need a lot of M&M's to make friends if you did that kind of bad.

I felt kind of claustrophobic, not I can't be in an elevator with other people kind of tension, but close. While we're on the topic of elevators, WHY DO PEOPLE INSIST ON PUSHING THEIR FLOOR NUMBERS REPEATEDLY AT WARP FACTOR EIGHT??? There's no need to cause smoke to come out of the button, and cause it to glow red. Am I the only one who is mentally massacred by this? Probably, prAHHHH-BUUUB-LEE....

I have also not done a race on the road this season with a sketchier group of bike handlers. Meth heads riding jackhammers are more controlled than some of the people I rode with today. I couldn't believe it, I thought I left that behind with the upgrade. No disrespect to the AV 5's I raced with, you are stand up guys who can definitely "handle your machines." It was the other rummies we raced with of which I speak. Get this, people thought a zig zag pattern was the best way to move around a 80+ rider field. Morons.

We were riding for Paul (guy with the Cervelo) today, and had he been in the mid to back half of the pack, I would have been a great domestique. It took about half of the race to figure out the turns, the rythm and pretty much what the hell was going on. Dorothy was definitely not in Kansas anymore. With three laps to go the light bulb stopped flickering and finally stayed on, so I tried to move up on each straight away, and began to make some head way. Until the beginning of the last lap.

ACT II SCENE 1 (cue imposing horror movie music)

On the last lap, my legs felt great, and I was ready to drill it. But, from what I heard, a preschool sized spectator had other designs on how my morning should go. Apparently Cindy Who decided to wander onto the course by the finishing straight right in front of the two guys who were riding in front of me. Before I go on, if this is in fact what happened, PARENTS DO YOUR JOB FOR GOD'S SAKE. Kids, yes, get them out of the house. But DO NOT put them in a position to cause harm to other people. Kids have a rough time with impulse control, I know this first hand because my wife says I do too, so why anyone would put a child in a position to be a child is beyond me. Kids just do things sometimes. Rent Dennis Leary's "No Cure for Cancer" stand up movie, and you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.

Honestly, bicycles going really really fast in tight groups require certain, we'll call them allowances, to maneuver safely. When obstacles are suddenly presented in front of said tight groups at high speeds, sometimes very bad things happen. REALLY BAD THINGS. I'm talking people in neck braces being taken off on a stretcher because they had their mental marbles scrambled enough to not know where they were kind of bad things. We need tougher leash laws.

About five minutes before this happened, I was thinking to myself (like there is someone else I could think to. I have my thoughts every day, they aren't what I'd call "suitable for all viewers." So it is probably much better the masses don't know what goes on inside my head.) "wow, no one's crashed yet. Crap." DON'T EVER DO THIS. Lady luck will hock a Buick sized loogy in your face, punch you below the belt and take your milk money. She may even take your red ball then kick your puppy. You guys get where this is headed.

This was my 11th road race this season, and I had yet to pay the piper with a crash. The clock was ticking, and the bell finally tolled for thee today. I knew it was coming, and for some reason, I knew it would be today. Jill told me she felt the same disturbance in the force that I did, but she didn't want to say anything. It was sort of like Michael Mirers from the "Halloween" movies. Well the first one, the rest of them were trash. The evil is out there, and I can't get away. Like it was only a matter of time until I played the part of the teenage boy who gets whacked when the power goes out because his girlfriend asks him to go down into the basement to go see what happened, armed only with a bed sheet and his glasses.


So here's how thing played out:

  1. One guy darts to his left to avoid something (I'm guessing the little girl if my sources are correct)
  2. Rider one takes out rider two on his left, they make nice with the tarmac.
  3. I try to go left with no luck, try to go right still no luck, and I think "well, just bunny hop, it is only an ankle, you can clear it hot shot MTB boy." Well at this point the ankle I was going to attempt to hop flopped up in the air, and ruined my plan. I learned shortly thereafter I was screwed and I was going to crash. All of this was processed in about a 1/2 second.

As I was accepting my fate on the way down, everything seemed to slow down, very weird. Not Sister Margaret Rose whacking me in the calf with a ruler in first grade "life flashing before my eyes" kind of thing, but close. She would have made a great hit woman. About 5'1" and a fury and rage that could have made Attila the Hun cry to his mommy. In know this first hand because her and I were kind of tight in the ways of perochial corporal punishment.

I had thoughts of "wow, this is really going to suck, I would really prefer not to play this game" to "I wonder if I left the iron plugged in" all in the blink of an eye. I went down, and I think I fell on top of one of the guys on the ground because my knees, elbows and hands don't have a mark on them. Although I don't think I'll be throwing my splitter any time soon, the right pinky is a hurt'n.

I looked back up the course and saw there were still riders coming up, and all I could think was I was going to have someone's cassette tattoo'd on my forehead. Some how Sue Storm from the Fantastic Four showed up and put a force field around me because no one touched me from behind. Now that I think of it, maybe it was Sister Maggie intervening to score a little purgatory penance. Whatever it was, life immediately improved exponentially after that.

I took a quick inventory of the ship, everything was in working order, scooped up the bike, and was off to finish the last lap. I asked a guy if he wanted to work together through the lap, but he seemed to want to lament on what just happened. Me, being a glass half full kind of guy, I was ready to move on with life and make some some lemonaid out the lemons fate handed me. At the same time, another guy who had also worked through what happened went flying by so I jumped on his wheel until the last turn.

Then it was out of the saddle in the biggest gear I could muster sprinting my tookus off from the last turn through the finish line, amazing what a little adrenaline will do for you. The crash timing couldn't have been worse because I was moving up through the pack to try and help Paul somehow for the last lap of the race. But NOOOOOOOOOOO, Little Cindy Who had to chase that STUPID SHINY OBJECT in the road.


Well, all in all, it was a good race. I learned a lot that will help the next time I find myself in the O-Crit Coral. My legs behaved the entire time, and I had a surprising amount of pop. The day in the saddle did end on a good note because Fat Richie (this is a great monicker because his name is actually Nick), the best man at my wedding, was here from Chico. So Jill (remember, she plays the role of "Wife"), Fat Richie and I went on a mountain bike ride and had a blast. He then bought us a pie at Spot Pizza afterward. I give it 2-2 1/2 stars out of five, max, and that is being generous. Apparently the place has won awards for their pizza, go figure.

The teenage drones working the register also need more Red Bull in their diets because they looked as if we walked in at 4:59pm to order "one of each, twice" on the menu and they closed at 5:00pm. I would pass on this place, and go to Applewood if you ever get a hunkering for pizza in Los Altos. Skips serves up a decent pie too.

So after a definite day of ups and downs, literally, this will pretty much some up how I feel right now at the end of the 24th day of June, MVII, A.D.:

Making your way in the world today
Takes everything you've got;
Taking a break from all your worries
Sure would help a lot.
Wouldn't you like to get away?

All those nights when you've got no lights,
The check is in the mail;
And your little angel
Hung the cat up by it's tail;
And your third fiance didn't show;

Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name,
And they're always glad you came;
You want to be where you can see,
Our troubles are all the same;
You want to be where everybody knows your name.

Roll out of bed, Mr. Coffee's dead;
The morning's looking bright;
And your shrink ran off to Europe,
And didn't even write;
And your husband wants to be a girl;

Be glad there's one place in the world
Where everybody knows your name,
And they're always glad you came;
You want to go where people know,
People are all the same;
You want to go where everybody knows your name.

Where everybody knows your name,
And they're always glad you came;
Where everybody knows your name,
And they're always glad you came.............

"Burlingame Crit Race Report: Time to Pay the Piper"

Produced and Directed by: Al Crash Stunt Coordinator: Al
Key Grip: Al
Best Boy: Al
Lighting: Al
Writer: Al
Special Effects: Al
Wardrobe: Neil Harrington
Medical Team: Jill Painter
Spectators: People in the crowd

Special thanks to:

My Wife and Nurse, Jill
The city of Burlingame, California
Alto Velo
Giant Bicycles
Mavic Wheels
The amount of inane nonsense and incoherence that permeates my brain on a regular basis

"Where Everybody Knows Your Name" written by Judy Hart Angelo and Gary Portnoy, performed by Gary Portnoy

Fade to black........


related articles: NCNCA
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