You'll Beg Me to Be a Part of This

Posted by Ryan Jerz on Tuesday October 4, 2005.

Sunday afternoon was the event of the year. When we got invited, I wasn’t all that sure how cool it’d be, or how interesting it’d be. But when I got there and saw the setup and how things were going to go down, I was totally into it. The event: The third annual Tour de Cul de Sac.

Here’s the lowdown. It’s a bikerace. In a cul de sac. Around cones. Through people’s yards. On little kid bikes. With wine. And not just wine, but there is a wine stop where your cup is filled to the brim with some sort of warm red wine. They used mainly chianti. At said wine stop, you must chug said wine. Why? Because there’s a timer, that’s why. If you don’t drink it, there’s a penalty. If you spill half of it, there’s a penalty. If you puke it up, you get bonus time. Also, there are penalties for things like knocking cones over and putting your feet down. It’s a tough race.

But the race wasn’t all. First off, you have to bring crappy wine and crappy appetizers. our wineWe brought celery filled with peanut butter and Cheez Whiz™ and the best wine ever. So we cheated. What the heck. Somebody brought a bag of pork rinds. That was awesome.

Then, you have to get a race kit. It consisted of a race number, a Livestrong wristband, a cup for wine, and a band-aid. I chose number 38 because a certain Dodger wears that number on his back. He throws fast, I figured I could ride fast. I watched a few people do their thing and immediately lost hope. I would not be taking home the stained jersey given to the fastest drinker of the wine. The second dude slammed it in 4.79 seconds. 4.79 seconds! What the hell is that? That was 8 ounces of wine right there, and that dude went through it like it was nothing.

the starting rampThe race was something entirely its own. First off, there was the starting gate. It was a bit makeshift, as you might see, but it’s not like we weren’t warned. I mean, the MC told us we could use it or not. Then he offered the caveat that we “may have some issues” with the gate. We did a couple of times. The extent of it was that the ramp became dislodged from the platform and the start was rocky. but this is the big leagues and you don’t get restarts (unless something really cool happens, as you will learn later).

When riding kids bikes, it’s important to feel comfortable. Therefore, one tends to pick a bike that is closer to their own bike in size. That seemed to hold true for the early riders. Almost everyone picked the biggest bike and went for it. There were a few pretty good times. I think the early leader (same guy who slammed the wine in 4.79) came in at about 1:03. That seemed pretty damn good with the added difficulty of feet being unable to touch.

Then came my turn. I got on the ramp, heard the instructions, checked out the bike, realized that the handbrake on it was merely for decoration, and got ready. I hit it, went around the first cone alright, realized that the tires were a bit lower than they should have been for safety, hit the second turn, then came to the really weavy part. Something about riding a bike with coaster brakes instead of handbrakes is that when you normally ride with freewheel, you get spoiled. Your feet are always in a good position with freewheel. When you try to position four feet wwith a coaster brake, you simply slam the brakes on and lose precious time. I did that, came to an almost complete stop, realizzed my problem, and cranked. Hard. I heard a loud bang, spun my legs, lost balance, and went over the handlebars.

About halfway through the fall, I cursed the chain. It had failed me. I attempted to roll, but wasn’t really going fast enough. I hit shoulder first, felt it grind, then felt it bounce and gring again. Sometime in there my right knee hit the ground as well. Of course I was wearing shorts. I think I lay on the graound for a few seconds, heard the roar of the crowd of about 75 people, got up, checked the bike and knew it was done. I walked the bike back, it was checked, and determined to be useless. I broke the best bike.

the wine stopThe cool part was they let me go again. If you crash and draw blood, you even get time deducted. I like that. So I took it easy this time, also wearing a helmet that was graciously provided to me. Cruised through the cones, and got to the wine stop. I picked up the cup, and tilted. Holy shit. Slamming wine was something I did for fun in college, but it was not something I was prepared for on this day. It was the foulest taste I have had in my mouth in a very long time. It took me two tilts of the cup, clearly taking me out of the running for the stained jersey. But I finished, and with all the deductions and penalties, my time was somewhere in the neighborhood of 1:04. Not bad for a roookie.

Now the good part. After sitting around a while and getting lots of attention, I decided to clean up my leg. But, just for you, dear reader, I had the knee documented. Right here. Print that out and hang it up. It’s cool. Next year, I will be more prepared. Plus, all the competition is getting older as we speak.

Ryan JerzRyan Jerz is an all-around good guy who wants people to eventually refer to him as "that dude who climbs mountains."

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