Monday, March 14, 2005

Bannana Belt 3: Lemming Parade

I have many weapons in the quest to conquer Bannana Belt, that dreaded first race of the US season. This year I attacked with a potent mixture of two weeks of illness and a lack of enthusiasm. The results were un-fantastic, as expected. If nothing else, these three Sundays of furious pageantry make for amazing entertainment, like hanging out in front of the chimp cage at the zoo, waiting for the inevitable crap-tossing fights and spontaneous masturbation.

Remember that game Lemmings? If you've never played Lemmings, you're missing a huge chunk of videogame history. Lemmings is right up there with Pac-Man on the list of all-time classic games... Anyway. The point of the game was to find a way to get a large group of brainless green midgets out of a tricky situation. Lemmings couldn't be counted on to offer any help or great ideas, because (just like the real thing) all they could do was toddle around and walk off cliffs. It was both supremely frustrating and endlessly entertaining.

Cut to the first lap, 11 miles of rolling lakeside roads. I'm feeling like crap on wheels, but it's a sprint lap, sprinters are getting twitchy, and by habit I roll into a nice position close to the front. Bummer deal is, a group of 3 is just off the front of the field, so without considering consequences(thinking is for sissies) I blast out of the field with a K to go and catch the group. It's way too long to go, but choices are few, so instead of slowing down to sprint off the break, I keep up the rediculous effort and attack them as well. Now I see the green guy... He's small, and really green, I've dragged him all this way and now he's gonna try to pass me. Damn the man, I think, and struggle to the line. 20 meters past the line he rolls up and says something about how I suck because I can't ride straight, so naturally I tell him to get f*#ed. I couldn't catch the rest that he fumed through clenched teeth, I think he was a bit upset that I wasn't respecting his authority as a member of the Seattle racing community... oh well...

SO. Jump forward to the next sprint I find myself tangled in, and we happen to be in an identical position: Me bearing down on three guys at a comfortable speed with a good distance between myself and the finish, with a little green shadow glued to my rear wheel.

I have to wonder, how well is he glued there?

How well is he paying attention?

What if I yank the e-brake right... NOW!

And I did. In mid sprint, in a great position and for no good reason at all, as soon as I recognize my shadow and run the previous questions through my head a few times, I abruptly stop pedalling and hear a satisfying flurry of swearing and insults mixed with that great sound of carbon brake-pad squeal. To my credit I never touched my brakes. Just keeping you on your toes, little lemming.

So I pretty much got the cold shoulder from the rest of the Seattle lemmings after that, which was nice. If only I could get another green guy to shut up... He's on a different team that looks exactly the same, and apparently he's really smart, he's wicked fast, he's not even trying right now and he knows exactly what to do in any situation because he's "been around the block." Yeah that's right folks, here comes another former pro, watch out. Apparently one and a half seasons with the worst pro team on the continent entitles you to a king-like status that most of us could only dream of. This guy doesn't seem to get it. Some pros retire because they feel fulfilled with thier results and they're ready to move on, while others get fired because they AREN'T GOOD ENOUGH. Being a pro once doesn't make you cool and it sure as shit doesn't mean that everyone wants to hear you flap your jaw at us for three hours. Seriously. Those 8 year old pro team socks you still wear? Doesn't mean you're not irritating.

Such is the joy of the season's opener. New uniforms, shiny new bikes, a couple new faces and the same jackasses that just keep showing up... What a way to spend a sunday. More fun than TV and a hundred times more dangerous. DT

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