Slaying Equahatltketly

Fresh off a strong night playing video-games and slaying zombies by the dozens, Jacob found himself standing in a cool valley outside San Marcos, ready to slay a hill climb TT by the…single. The locals called it ‘the man-maker’ the Spanish conquistadores called it ‘la Montana de piernas infuegas’ and according to native Indian legend, it was the resting-place of a god of cycling who drank lactic acid out of your thighs like milk from a coconut. According to Jacob however, it was ‘overrated’

Jacob went from the gun, then remembered it was a time trial, and went a bit harder. At the bottom though, he was caught by Taylor Phinney.

Jacob: Taylor? Long time no see, I like the track bike.
Taylor: Oh hey, Jacob, thanks.
Jacob: So what brings you here? I thought you did mostly track stuff.
Taylor: Yeah, I do. But since this is only 4 or 5 minutes long, it was right up my alley.
Jacob: Oh, that does make sense.
Taylor: Yeah, it-

At this point they both became blurs in the flat section to the finish.

Jacob: So as I was saying, what with the stock market the way it is, and the anticipated tightening of grip on our economy, I think that-

Then it ended. And they were capable of being caught in still motion again.

Jacob: That was it?
Taylor: Yep, I love short stuff like this. Want to cool down for the next two seconds together?
Jacob: Uh…

Taylor: Done, thanks. I’m headed back to Colorado if you want to come.
Jacob: I’ve got to do the Crit this afternoon.
Taylor: Oh, me too. We’d make it back in time.
Jacob: Uh…no thanks, I’m good.
Taylor: Later.

Bewildered by the hummingbird-like life of a trackstar, and sore from expostulating on the economy at 185 bpm, Jacob cooled down some more. He wound up finishing 12th out of 20 or so, which made him somewhat regret slowing down to chat with Taylor, but then again, what’s a conversation among friends compared to 40 seconds on a TT?

Paceline of the Damned

With another off-week from racing, Jacob had the opportunity to ride a local charity ride, and so he lined up for the Spokes and Spurs ride in the rugged terrain of Liberty Hill. At the starting line though, he was greeted by some old friends…

Jacob: Ricardo Ricco, Tricki Beltran, Leonardo Piepoli, Moises Duenas, Bernard Kohl and Schummie! What brings you all here?
Ricardo: We are serving our ban and cannot race, so we attend these rides and train together, biding our time for our triumphant return.
Bernard: Yes, it is only 16 months more.
Moises: Si, nuestra hora es proxima!

The ride began, and the old hands quickly formed into a paceline – a model of cold efficiency. Jacob tried to work with them but felt a distinct coldness upon nearing the paceline.

Jacob: Ricardo, what was that chill?
Ricardo: We are the Paceline of the Damned Jacob. You cannot work with us. We are doomed to ride charity rides for a 24-month period, we travel the country searching the charity rides that have the best included coupons to local bike stores, so that we might save ourselves money.
Jacob: Touching.

Tricki: That is not all though. We also feed off of the dying souls of expensive bikes and carbon wheels. Their pain nurtures us.
Jacob: Creepy.
Tricki: It is a sad life.

Jacob: Wait, Leonardo, bikes have souls?
Piepoli: Yes.
Jacob: Do I have a soul?
Piepoli: No.
Jacob: Does Lance?
Piepoli: Yes.
Jacob: Wait, then why?...

Moises: No hablo Ingles.
Jacob: No hablo espanol.
Moises: Perro, habli in espanol?
Jacob: Si, solo que se in espanol es como discribir que no hablo espanol.
Moises: Interesado.

Jacob: My favorite former Gerolsteiner riders, what's happening?
Kohl: We are not well Jacob. All we have known is gone. Imagine if they took school away from you.
Jacob: Goodness, I don’t know what I’d do. Probably get a crap job.
Schummie: Yes, I spend all my days with tourists and I’m dressed in Lederhosen. From the Malliot Jaune to this.
Jacob: I’ve gone through similar, but for different reasons.
Kohl: Wait, we’re done already?
Jacob: I think we accidentally did the 44 mile rather than the 63.
Schummie: Dunkompf!

After a rest stop at the bathroom, where Jacob instigated devastating attacks and managed to drop…nevermind. The ride resumed. They were going to go back to Jacobs’s house and relax and watch basketball, but they got turned around again, and went back to where things started, which is ultimately where they ended. And so the ride went full circle.


Death Rides a Horse

A Double Dose of Driveway!

Driveway 1:

It was a cold day. Jacob finished mid-pack.

Driveway 2:

It was more crowded than the previous week. Word had gotten out about Jacob having his first pack finish in a Driveway crit and many men lined up to keep that number at one. None would succeed. Special respect though was given to Jacob’s nemesis from a crit in a stadium a long time ago – Messala.

Jacob: Messala, we meet again.
Messala: I will avenge for my defeat in the Circus Maximus crit.
Jacob: You are a man with a long memory.
Messala: My memory is short, Jacob. My Vengeance Folder is long.
Jacob: Writing things down is good for memory…
Messala: Yes, yes I’ve found it to be so. I’ve taken to writing down my mom’s pasta recipes and it’s really served our family well.

Jacob: How nice, I wish I was ethnic.
Messala: Oh, it is, it is. The food’s good, I meet an Italian woman and we have an instant conversation. I meet a dumb Latin American woman and we have an instant conversation. We tan well, I can play Mario Bros better, I don’t have the mafia on my neck, the list just goes on an on…

And so their boring conversation went on and on, until the last lap, when Messala suddenly remembered that he was here for vengeance, and vengeance he would reap.

Messala: Oh yeah, I’m here for vengeance. To kill you. This is why I write things down. I will reap vengeance on you like I was reaping grapes for making wine.
Jacob: You don’t pick grapes?

Messala: Die Jacob!

At this point, Messala cut the reins on one of his horses and the horse careened into Jacob’s front wheel. Fortunately though, our intrepid hero had long ago made the upgrade to bladed spokes and the horse was confettied, splattering Jacob and all the riders around him in blood. Unfortunately though, having a horse shredded to death did slow down Jacob just enough so that he couldn’t beat Messala.

And so he finished 15th of 50 or so. Any way you look at it, Messala lost a horse, and Jacob showed off his awe-inspiring bike handling prowess.

Dead Weight

Without a proper race to attend, Jacob attended an improper race, the Austin TriCyclist ride. It was there he met with his old rival, Jan Ulrich.

Jacob: Hey, hey Jan, remember this??

Jan: Jacob, I have no time for your games.

After which Jan dropped Jacob. And his pull at the front also dropped himself. After this epic pull, he cycled home and grabbed his backpack and cycled north towards his second home.

Jacob: So this is what it would be like to ride while pregnant, with twins…

Thankful that he wasn’t a seahorse, yet secretly wondering what it’s like to have something growing in your belly, and then pondering what he could eat live that could give similar sensations, Jacob was mercifully caught up to by Jan Ullrich.

Jacob: Jan! My man! Welcome back.
Jan: Thanks, what’s with the backpack?
Jacob: I’m cycling back to my house for spring-break. This way I don’t have to get picked up. The self-sufficiency is empowering.
Jan: Yes. That must be heavy.

Jacob: Yes, pushing all this extra weight around isn’t a piece of cake.
Jan: Are you implying something?
Jacob: No, I’m just saying, it’s one tough cookie.
Jan: Jacob, please stop these jokes.
Jacob: Sorry Jan.
Jan: Thank you.
Jacob: Sorry with a cherry on top.

Jan: That’s it, I’m leaving.
Jacob: Well that’s just the icing on the cake…

After which Jan dropped Jacob. And so our young encumbered hero rode home alone, his muscles growing rapidly with having to push around the dead weight.


We Might As Well Attack

Knowing that yesterday, only circumstance prevented him from laying the hurt on everyone, as well as apparently getting a silly regulation, Jacob returned to the racing scene this Sunday morning to exact some vengeance. Having only the loyal Italian Jonathan Caputon by his side, Jacob was determined to at least make himself feel like puking, and maybe someone else would puke too.

MSU had used their allotted scholarship money in helping to get Johann Bruyneel his masters in International Business Administration, and he was now a fellow B race. The two exchanged some prerace pleasantries.

Johann: I can speak six languages you know.
Jacob: You might as well lose Johann.
Johann: You might as well stuff a Pearl Izumi attack sock in it Jacob, I will dismantle you by the time the day is done. In fact, I will ride the whole race with no hands on my handlebars, just to show you up.
Jacob: You might as well put your kit on Johann.

Resolved to make Johann pay for his insolence, Jacob went from the first corner, as the field was left in disarray after his stunning attack. They quickly composed themselves though, and caught him after half a lap. Returning to the pack, Johann gave Jacob a wry smile and an MSU rider went off the front, where he would stay. His attack had split the group, and though two MSU riders were off the back, they were gaining quickly.

Johann: Hahahaha, look at what we can do with all these people. One off the front, two in the chase, and two working their way back up. You have nothing left to do but attack!
Jacob: Looks like you and I were thinking the same thing!

And so he attacked. To no avail. Tired from this opening salvo, Jacob had his trusty Italian strongman Caputon take the front for a while, and he went back to receive further mocking by Johann.

Johann: You see Jacob, there is nothing that you can do. You attack our break and we just sit on your wheel! It’s all my plan, aren’t I brilliant!
Jacob: But are you as brilliant as you strong!?

And so he attacked. To no avail.

Johann: Hehehe, a UT rider breaking away sure would be a good idea, odds are against it though.
Jacob: Never tell me the odds!

And so he attacked. To no avail.

Johann: His lead is growing, no one will take the front, ahahaha!
Jacob: Then tonight, we dine in hell!

And so he attacked. To no avail.

Johann: The MSU riders in the break outnumber UT riders two to one, ahahaha! There’s nothing you can do!
Jacob: Then it is a fair fight!

And so he attacked. To no avail.

Weary from constant attacking, the fact that it was a hard race, running low on his supply of inspiring yet insipid one-liners, and distressed that his most recent quote had revealed an all too nerdy side of himself, Jacob sat in. For the last two laps. After which he was outsprinted by an MSU rider and placed 8th. MSU had 5 in the top 7. Jacob did not talk to Johann after the race. In fact, he was so tired, he wouldn't write on his blog for almost a week.


Collegiate Cross!

It was windy, it was overcast, it was perhaps the greatest assembled field of Collegiate B riders the world had ever seen. Yet none of these would define the race. Only the gravel, and the puncture resistance of your tires would matter. 20 souls would start the race. 12 would finish. How would our hero Jacob fare??

Knowing that the gravel would define the race, Jacob was sure to position himself well into the first curve. But he didn’t know the grass shortcut, and he lost all his positioning in the curve. The field was being shredded by the quick pace and the razor-like gravel. With cyclists falling all around him, Jacob had some ground to make up…

Jacob: Stuart O’Grady?? What are you doing here?
Stuart: I’m racing Cs. I only race on gravel.
Jacob: Cs, don’t you think that’s overkill?
Stuart: I’m recovering from Rouge Roubaix this morning. Though apparently I have dropped them all and caught up to the Bs.
Jacob: Is it legal that you’re sticking to my wheel?
Stuart: No, no it’s not. You’re just going so fast though…

Jacob: It’s over!
Stuart: See, that was fast. Well done, you’ve just about caught them. I must be leaving you now, winning the Cs will be a great addition to my palmares.
Jacob: So long Stuey.

What was once 20 riders is now 7; Jacob, two UT riders, two A&M riders, an MSU rider, and Jacob’s good friend from the Dirt Derby, Lars Boom.

Lars: I thought I’d never see you again.
Jacob: All that slipping and sliding brought back my good ‘ol cross days, I had a hell of a job putting time into you all on the gravel.
Lars: It’s easier on a cross bike, and we really slowed down turning off the pavement and hitting that crosswind.
Jacob: Don’t take this from me Lars.
Lars: I’d take it easy from now on, trust me, I’m a former cyclocross world champion.

And take it easy he did. But it was not long before the gravel returned.

Jacob: Curses! My tire!
Lars: I’ll block for you, don’t worry.

After a rapid tire change, and that curious clothing change, Jacob was back on the bike, soon to be joined by the now vicotorious Stuart O'Grady

Jacob: You’re lapping me? Isn’t your race over then?
Stuart: I’m cooling down.
Jacob: Want to work with me to get back up to the leaders?
Stuart: It’s against the rules Jacob, I’m going to go cool down.

And so he solo’d, slowly gaining on the lead group. Meanwhile, the chase group was drawing up from behind. Soon they were all together.

Jacob: I thought I’d never see you again, thanks for blocking Lars.
Lars: Huh? I didn’t do anything.
Jacob: So it was all me, bridging back up like that??
Lars: No, your teammates blocked for you.
Jacob: Ugh, back on the gravel. You’re such a killjoy today Lars.


In a Bad Spot

After another grueling week in the saddle, including one day trying out a new saddle, the ever-vigilant Jacob Dodson returns to the Texas peloton, ready to avenge himself. The day began coldly, but things were about to get hotter. Jacob began the day chatting with Mark Cavendish, while George Hincapie lazily hung around as a domestique.

Jacob: So, this is your hill training?
Mark: Yeah. Just because I’m the fastest man in the world doesn’t mean that I go fast uphills. I think Contador is the fastest man in the world uphills. Did you ever watch Speedy Gonzalez? And his brother Slowpoke Rodriquez, where Speedy was powerless in the upstairs but Slowpoke could run really fast. I’m sorta like that. I’m speedy downstairs.
Jacob: But slow in the upstairs?
Mark: Yes, it comes with being the fastest man in the world. Speaking of man, did you know I’m from the Isle of Man?
Jacob: Yes, I’ve heard it mentioned.
Mark: That’s why they call me the Manxman, because of the Isle of Man thing, where I used to be a banker. Speaking of banker, you can bank on me to win sprints, because I’m the fastest man in the world.

Jacob: George, what’s happened to him?
George: He has become a caricature of himself, a dangerous thing, but watch:
Sprinter Cavendish?
Sprinter Mark Cavendish?
Mark Douglas Cavendish?
Mark: …Yes
George: Listen, you are no longer a feisty Manxman, you are a posh British aristocrat. Do you understand me?
Mark: Yes, perfectly.

George: Excellent.
Jacob: Wow, and that works?
George: Yes, Bob Stapleton worked it out, we can keep him under control and present him as the cultured man of Team Columbia that he’s supposed to be.
Jacob: Fascinating.
Mark. Fellows, it appears we’ve fallen off the back, oh bother.
Jacob: Already?
Mark: Yes, it seems to happen on an incline, on dear me.
Jacob: George, doesn’t this get annoying?
George: Oh no, he’s great at parties.
Mark: Is there one after the race perchance? How I do love a relaxing soiree.
George: No Mark, not today.
Mark: Oh bollocks.
Jacob: George, I paid $30 bucks to enter a race and I barely last 4 miles.
George: You must value time spent with yourself then.
Jacob: Yes, if only everyone would pay 30 bucks to spend an hour with me.

George: I know a bit about cycling and marketing. When I found the lyrca-spinning weevils of Southern Madagascar, I just knew there’d be a market for them.
Jacob: This stuff is made from worm excrement?
George: Yes, from their ass to yours. Creating catchy slogans isn’t my strength though.

Mark: I say, why’s that Tech fan cheering ‘Go Tech’? There isn’t a Tech rider here.
Jacob: He’s either illiterate or a poor sport.
Mark: Old chap, why not just throw a bottle at his crotch, that’ll set him straight.
George: Mark, no. You’re above that.
Mark: Oh, so I am. Ah, it appears we’re being pulled.
Jacob: Bloody hell, I didn’t do a thing.
George: But at least your saddle didn’t hurt you.

Jacob: You’ve been reading my blogs?
George: Oh yes, I’m a huge fan, so is Mark, on his cultured days.
Mark: Goes down swimmingly with my ten o’clock tea, it does.
George: Well, I better get him home. See you around…

The days race ended, one giant question remained – why had Jacob paired himself with a sprinter for what is a moderately climbing race? Just like how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop, the world may never know.

But, with his saddle issues removed, will he become the legendary cyclist he is destined to be? Will the start of the collegiate season see success for our young hero? Will the faux-cobbles of Tunis-Roubaix suit him? Will other people catch on to pronouncing it TouneƩ Roubaix? Find out with the next installment of: Tales from the Peloton!

Pack Fodder

The weather had improved dramatically. There was a slight crisp to sunny air that could’ve been a fall afternoon. But it was a spring morning. Fresh off their disintegration in yesterday’s race, the Cat 4 peloton began the day inauspiciously and cautiously.

Our hero, the young Jacob Dodson was still smarting after the betrayal of his saddle the day before and the fact that when showering he had forgotten to move his towel over, and had then gotten the floor wet. He arrived this day looking for victory, but a quick survey of his legs the first two laps showed him that this wasn’t going to be achieved. Amidst the almost 100 riders there, he soon became lost amongst his thoughts, and drifted into a daze, thinking weird thoughts. This is where our story begins.

Jacob: What weird thoughts I’m thinking.

Jacob: Wim Vansevenant! Three-time winner of the Lantern Rouge! I thought you were retired?
Wim: Yes, but I have returned to the sport of cycling to race 4s at Pace Bend. It is where heroes go to die.
Jacob: How tragic yet inspiring.
Wim: The Lantern Rouge does this to you. But enough about me, how are you doing?

Jacob: It’s an odd state Wim. I don’t like the easiness of the race, but I’m not in a position to do anything about it; I’m still sore from yesterday.
Wim: You are a worthless hypocrite. You are not the change you want to see. Listen to Ghandi. I’ve been reading him since I retired. I’m leaving you now.

Stricken by the words of the wise Wim, Jacob returned to solitude in his thoughts. If he couldn’t be the change, he’d at least think happy thoughts. 

Then Wim returned, somewhat spectrally, into his mind.

Wim: Use the force, Jacob.

Jacob made a move; a reconnaissance if you will. Other riders melted around him like women, and he was towards the front. Suddenly, there was a sound like a tent rending itself in agony, a curious little scream, and a rider went down behind him, with Jacob just narrowly escaping. Humbled by what could’ve been a brush with the pavement, still feeling his heroic efforts from the day before, and wanting to return to his previous weird thoughts, Jacob returned to the back of the pack, lost his thoughts.

And there he stayed. Until the very end. Getting 75th.

Next week: Tales from the Peloton continues with Lago Vista! Last year our intrepid hero placed 9th, will it be so friendly this year? Will his new saddle continue to impress? Will it be followed by an adventurous tale that forgets to bring up the things that he had brought up in the previous installment? There’s only one way to find out!

And so he rides on…