Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Paskenta Beeyotch!

And the Blue caboose is rollin!! El Ocho and Blanco Suave are already geeking over making the big trip come Stuporbowl Sunday and laying the wood the the fragmented back of the packers. For those not in the know, the Paskenta Century (hereby to be referred to as the Placenta) starts and finishes in Chico every year on above said date. It essentially travels North and West to the itty bitty hamlet of Paskenta. Where is Paskenta you ask? Just about as far away from Chico as you can get without climbing over anything of significance. No fees, no sag, no worries.

Last year there must have been UCI points awarded or some shit, 'cause every football hatin' fast greyhound from sunny CA. was out to establish the pissin' order. The first few miles were in town and homies were gassin' it like Oscar Friere racing Tom Boonen. I'm talking about curb hopping, elbow banging, gutter flicking, the works. Luckily, it settled down with a "friendly" 25 mph peleton into a 30mph headwind going up HWY 99. By Blanco Suave math, that means I must have been 55mph or something.

El Ocho and the Suave know that coming up is the turnoff that can take the Placenta from an even hundy to about 108, if so desired. We decide discretion is the better part of valor and will opt for the straight shot up 99 to the real turn off. Besides, it's freakin' February. Only the true hammerheads will choose the longer route, leaving us with a large main group to safely nestle into for the next 6 miles of truly nasty headwind. Well, nobody ever said El Ocho and Blanco Suave were soothsayers. One, that's right, one other knucklehead decided not to take the detour. Oh well, Ocho and Suave got enough bulk to take turns in the wind and drag this coot along too. With any luck we'll beat the group to the turn off and join up with the second or third group through. Sure enough, we manage to make the turn ahead of the peleton.

So were rolling along all nice and El Ocho looks back and sees something ominous in the old rear view. It's the fragmented peleton, strung out in echelons all over the road behind us in groups of 8-10, and the last two or three guys in the line are dragging in the gutter. Ocho quips, "I think if we work together, we can hold them off." and the dork who has ridden the girthy coattails of the Blue Caboose until this point takes himself and El Ocho seriously and replies, "Sorry guys, but I can't work with you. I've got teammates back there." Jackass.

Long story only slightly less long. Those first few echelons stream past us like the Bullet train in France. The first one goes past so fast that if it weren't for El Ocho and Blanco Suave's heft and cunning, we would have been blown into the ditch like when a semi passes too close. We basically spent the rest of the damn Placenta by our own selves after about 25 miles. No big whoop. We had lots of time to look at cows and crazy Jesus signs way up in trees. One was so high(the sign, not the cows) up in a tree, it must have been meant for reading after some biblical flood that was nigh, or some shit like that.

Anyhoo, getting back to making the story shorter, (or at least finished) the whole payoff for the trip is the four miles of gravel out in the middle of nowhere and about as far away from a bike shop as you can get. If you are lucky, it's dry and fast, like all the "dusty" years at Roubaix. Less luck means wet and muddy. A cross bike would be a worthy idea. If you have no luck at all, such as El Ocho has had in the past, it is shitty and rainy and muddy, only until you have a couple of flats in the gravel, and then after you've straggled back to the pavement, the sun comes out and dries all the mud to your bike like cement and sucks all the lube off your chain in about three pedal strokes.

Last year was nice and sunny, and except for the wind, was great. I've decided this next year, for El Ocho and Blanco Suave to ride better in the Placenta, a few things need to happen. First, we need to hornswaggle the Shipper Bunny into riding it. Nothing passes the time faster than listening to the Shipper Bunny heckle a few roadie dorks and waiting for him to start drafting butterflies. Second, it needs to rain. Us Oreegawn boys need a little Belgium in our spring riding or we don't know what to do. And last, we need to train. But hey, two out of three aren't bad.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

What the Hell is Blanco Suave?

It's not what but who. Blanco Suave does not trifle with the ways of mere mortals and underlings who do not fear and worship at the great alter of the Suave. With his trusty sidekick, El Ocho, Blanco Suave crushes all comers who dare challenge their middle of the pack supremacy.

Actually Blanco Suave is a totally cheesy, self given nickname that I thought of after my friend, Scott came up with the brilliant idea of referring to himself in the third person as "El Ocho". It's become such a running joke that everyone at the cross races now refers to him as "El Ocho". Never mind that we all know that it literally translates as "The Eight". It sounds kind of like a cross between a name of a Mexican wrestler ala' Jack Black in "Nacho Libere" and the idiocy of giving yourself a nickname that your not quite certain what it means like Will Ferrell did in "Ricky Bobby". Well I gots to get me some of that action. I mean, Scott and I travel to races and ride together and it was starting to sound like I was becoming a sidekick. He tried to help out by coming up with the clever pun on my name, "The Thomohawk". He even would shout out last lap, "time to unleash the fury of the Thomohawk!" It was to no avail. So I did what any cyclocrossing fan of the Aquabats would do. I gave myself a better nickname. How is it better you ask? Well for one, it sounds all smooth, like Rico Suave, the jackass from the eighties. Plus, it's longer and has more syllables than El Ocho. That's always better. Also, there was divine inspiration when the name was thought of. It came to me as I was changing a light bulb. It jumped out at me right off of the packaging. The fact that it translates to "soft white" is just a sign from God!