I Love L.A.
I Love L.A. (The Lula Classic: #6)
16 November 2005: CEO Briggs Carney had to raise the microphone a good six inches to keep from bending over. He had to hold the paper on which his speech was written in his teeth because he needed both hands—one to twist with and the other to slide the metal pole up. After tilting the mike up and thumping its head three times, Carney looked out, trying to shade his eyes with one hand from the blinding glare of the lights.
It was pointless; he couldn’t see a damn thing beyond the stage. He looked magnificent, like George Hamilton. He gave a tug to his red bow tie, cleared his throat, and began: “This craggy, boulder strewn path that human history ultimately deigns to follow is like a runaway bobsled brimming with idiots careening down Brasstown Bald on a snowy day—there ain't a whole hell of a lot any of us can do to stop this big sled, or to even alter its course. At some point it will crash—we just don't know which tree this runaway rocket we’re riding in will hit, or even how long it will continue crashing down the mountainside until all its precious cargo is slammed into oblivion. But as long as I’ve been granted a ticket down these slippery slopes, thank the Good Lord He’s also placed a few fair maidens at my side. After all, I fully intend to enjoy the ride. Therefore, I proclaim the first Saturday of 2006, 7 January, as Ladies’ Day, not only in the WBL, but also on all the 9.2 billion stars in Milky Way at large and over which I rule.” The Kennedy Center erupted. Carney moonwalked off the stage. He didn’t even notice the apple that zinged by his head.
8 January 2006 (Sunday—the morning after): Carney didn’t look well for the first time in a while. He was Facing the Nation the morning after the debacle. Tim Russert was leaning in, face furrowed, waiting on an answer to the question he had previously posed: “You say you may have made a mistake?”
“Well, I may have overlooked the fact that sometimes a person and a people and a civilization are able shunt the tracks of human history in a different direction. After all, John and Paul started a revolution that has swept us all up.”
“Oh, the disciples.”
“No, the Beatles.” Carney frowned at the insolent remark, but continued. “Somehow, they learn how to alter our course, to change our path. This is exactly what appears to be taking place in the WBL. The women are taking over; the ladies are in control. ‘Ladies’ Day’ may not have been such a wise move after all. You give some people an inch, and hell, they take a mile. First, it will be the WBL. The world will follow.”
“And you say this started because they wanted to change the color of the Leader’s jersey to mauve?”
“That’s right. What the hale is mauve? I don’t even know what color that is. People will think we’re a bunch of fruit loops and frosted flakes. But we’re scheduled for a meeting later today in my hilltop bungalow.” Carney’s eyes narrowed to a slit. He appeared to momentarily slip off the tracks.
“Well, they’ve been saying you’re a fruitcake for years.”
He was jolted back into the present. Carney stormed off the set.
7 January 2006 (Saturday at the WBL): Tina Mayola-Pic, known throughout the starry reaches of the cosmos by her salacious sobriquet, the Dahlonega Dominatrix, rolled snake eyes for the third time in her illustrious WBL career as she picked off yet another win with her kangaroo style jump and her wicked witch sprint that can peel paint off the roadway on the Atlantis Hydroponics Lula Classic on 7 January 2006. Mayola-Pic’s 3rd lifetime win also catapulted her into a tie for 5th place in the WBL for the total number of lifetime wins. The day also belonged to another speedy little ball o’ fire, the redheaded rocket now known as Wonder Woman, Aaron Furniture’s Kari Bradley, as she yanked the Yellow jersey off the back of Boots and placed it on her on. Wonder Woman took control, albeit a tenuous one, of WBL 2006 with a gritty ride (and small little Ahhhh-whoooa-sheeeeet-splat!) as she scored a 3rd place finish on this rough and tumble day in the saddle. This day truly belonged to the ladies, and they knew it. And now, they’re trying to extend their day into a whole damn year.
The deck was stacked against the men from the get-go, they just didn’t realize it. (Actually, it’s been stacked against them ever since Eve dropped in to say Hello to Adam. A good rule of thumb: Be chary of naked women bearing baskets of apples, especially the ones with snakes in their heads. A bevy of lovely ladies (femmes fatales?) arrived from both near and far to prove once and for all that they are stronger, faster and smarter than their men counterparts. In addition to the talented triumvirate mentioned above (the Dominatrix, Wonder Woman and Boots), a slew of other gals were also on hand including the Forum Racing’s foxy Leigh Anne Asbury; Superman’s girl, Jocelyne Belanger-Stiel; the bronze legged bombshell, Daniella Dembrak; Scott’s better half, Louise Edge; and the leggy French lady of Quebec, Quark racing’s Audrey Lemieux, just to name just a few.
Before the ride even began, rock star sprinter Wesley Garland, Russ Roundhouse Griebel and newly signed Team Fatboy rider John Greenjeans were arguing with Lee Anne Asbury over whether or not women were smarter than men. “I’ll bet you $100 I’m a helluva lot smarter than you,” Fatboy bragged to L.A. Asbury. “What’s the capitol of Paris?” Fatboy demanded?” The three erudite exegetes high-fived each other.
“The capitol of Paris? What?” L.A. was perplexed.
“Ha!” Greenjeans rejoiced. “It’s France. Here’s your $100 bucks.” The three wisemen high-fived again.
L.A. tucked her crisp C-note into the front of her jersey, smiled, and said, “By Gawd, you’re right Fatboy. You’re one bright hombre.” L.A. winked at the other ladies and yelled, “Let’s go.” The riders clipped in and shoved off to the west, towards California, in search of the day’s delectations. As the group of 125 or so pedaled down Prince Avenue, all the guys took the opportunity to find Fatboy and give him a pat on the back. He had saved the day for the good guys, or so they thought. The women were all whistling a Randy Newman tune, I Love L.A. Before long, the men were whistling too.
Congeries of heavy-hitters were on hand for the Lula event. The passion for miles upon miles of fast moving pavement skimming underneath their wheels was the magnet that pulled them in to the center of this wintertime cycling paradise, a paradise that features bilious winds, freezing air, and a cornucopia of hammerheads who pedal with a twang. Former Masters national champ Gordon Man of Stiel, Aerospace Engineering’s Hugh Moran, Atlanta’s own Russ Roundhouse Griebel, big time young gun Hoyt Halverson, rock solid Brady Rogers, the Hounddog Roberto Kollar, Kool Karu Kalle and Trek-Volkswagon’s young French expatriots Eric Boily, Raphael Rousseau and Raphael Tremblau were just a few of the rabid pedal bangers that came from all corners of the cycling cosmos to join in this moving conflagration on wheels known as the WBL.
The phalanx of fools moved swiftly down and out the Jefferson Riviera Road and were headed for a small mud spot in the road—Gilsville—in flat time no. The movie stars of the pack fought for position at the front while a photographer from Rolling Stone raced up and down these lonesome roads snapping group photos. Some of those frontmen seen in the glamour shots were Irish dancer Steve Stringbean Broglio, Big G Somerville, the Kid and IcePic.
The day started with a bitter, back biting chill, like a frozen blade thrust into the spine, but the Zealots slowly warmed, and the blade was slowly withdrawn, under the impetus of this hard charging group, a brilliant blue sky and a lukewarm sun. Of the three factors aforementioned, the hard charging group was doing most of the warming work. The wind, once again, was also a factor. A cold front had torn through town the day before and the tail end of the frigid air was still whipping through the tops of the trees, bending the tall pines at a most precarious angle, and causing the limbs of the large oaks to shake and shiver.
Onwards these soldiers marched, pressing, pushing and pedaling farther away from the Classic City, stretching the tether just a little bit more. The pack finally turned in Gilsville, two hours in, ready to harvest the fruits of their labor. With the wind at their backs, the Zealots now headed for home. But the tempo increased as these freaks of the bigring hammered over the tops of hills out of the saddle, ducked and tucked low on the downhills, and left a smoking scorch mark over the flats as they pumped like a piston about to blow. The long, thin line of riders were at times stretched out over ¼ of a mile, sailing down the roads like a raging fire blowing across the treetops, melting everything below in its smoldering furnace of heat. Lactic acid was sizzling in the riders’ thighs like eggs crackling and hissing on a Waffle House griddle. O sweet Mother of Pearl, this pack was having a rocking good time.
The impetuous groupetto cruised in through Commerce and took on the obtrusive and obstreperous Waterworks Road Humongoloid Hill. Funeral rites and obsequies were read over the corpus of a few, but this group had no time to bury its dead. Like early man before the origin of consciousness, the recently deceased were left to rot on top of their tracks. Carney was providing no respite for this weary and benighted band of brigands. Hill after hummock after nefarious knob greeted the group at every turn and around each bend. By the time the group did reach the first Attack Zone of the year at the Jefferson Riviera Road, there were more than a few lachrymose lads. “Cry me a river,” Carney laughed. They did.
The group turned onto the J. Riviera and the Attack whistle screamed for the first time of the year. Today the whistler warbled only for the ladies, trying to achieve the most mellifluous tune he could muster. Most agreed the disagreeable ostrich whose foot had been run over. The pack first had to conquer the steep pitch of the Jefferson Riviera Wall. Over the Wall, most in this salubrious bunch were able to claw their way onto the rear of the line, but more than a few were forced to call it a day. Over the top of the quad crushing climb, there was time to recover on the 4 mile downhill run to Alligator Pond. As the pack drove down the incline, the movers and the shakers assumed their positions. Mayola-Pic, Lemieux, K. Bradley, L.A. Asbury and E. Winter were all there. Aaron Furniture’s boy-toys (or K. Bradley’s slaves) set a death defying pace at the lance head of the line, negating any and all attacks from this point forward. But, the final 1 mile run up the hill from the Alligator Pond to the Pink Church still loomed in the distance like the death penalty.
As the pack turned right at Alligator Pond, the accelerator was pressed to the floorboard. Aaron’s men gave up the ghost one by one as the buried themselves in an all out frenzied effort to bring home the Golden Fleece. 200 meters from the line, Mayola-Pic sat second wheel with Lemieux on her tail: It was Canada verses the U.S. With 7.4 seconds to go, Mayla-Pic sprang from the bobbing line like she was the best sprinter in the country, and was out to prove it. She is, she was, and she did. She threw up her arms with a two-fisted, three-fingered victory salute with the impressive Lemieux hot on her tail. K. Bradley became tangled in a wheel 200 meters from the line and down she went. Banged and bruised, but certainly not beaten, she dusted herself off, and showing the courage of a true champion, put her bike on her back and walked across the line in 3rd. When Boots came cruising up a few moments later, she sprang from the bush and wrested the yellow jersey from her right then and there. L.A. Asbury pedaled home for 5th and the final point of the day. It had truly been a soul-searching, back-breaking, hell raising day in the saddle. The group cruised home with 90 miles in their legs and covered at an average speed of 20 miles per hour; total ride time: 4.5 hours. The naysayers and nihilists could only scratch their scrotums as the WBL once again followed its policy of truth. But one can only wonder how long this goodwill will last. Everyone knows the Board is comprised of liars, poltroons and thieves. Salud!
- Dominatrix: 5 + 2 = 7 pts.
- Lemieux: 4 + 2 = 6 pts.
- Wonder Woman: 3 + 2 = 5 pts.
- Boots: 2 + 2 = 4 pts.
- L.A.: 1 + 2 = 3 pts.
Everbody else = 2 pts (ride points).
Post Ride Press Conference: At the press conference was the first time that Carney had any inkling that there may be a problem. All the ladies appeared on stage, like a cadre of executioners. They jointly announced that since “they had controlled the leader’s jersey for over a year”, they had voted, and they were changing its color to mauve. “We’re changing it to mauve,” K. Bradley said as a matter of fact, adding to her man Glenn, “Hay hon, bring Mama a Moon Pie and an R.C. Cola. Don’t you think mauve goes well with my hair.” All five of the top lady dogs then pushed back from the table, stood up and walked off the stage. When they got to the edge, they turned and pointed at Tom Palmer and said, “Hey you, you get an extra point for one helluva ride. C’mon, you’re coming with us.” “Whar we going?” Tom asked. “It’s ladies’ night, and we need Hank Aaoron’s BMW. Lets go.” He did, and we haven’t seen him since. We know he died happy, if in fact he’s gone.
Today (Press Release): “CEO Briggs Carney announced a compromise has been reached in reference to the color of the leader’s jersey: It’ll be BLUE. The compromise was reached as a result of an all day, and all night, session in Carney’s hilltop bungalow.
Insiders report to your humble chronicler the deal was struck when Wonder Woman and her female cohorts realized that blue would look great with the Leader’s new Blue jersey. The small payment of 3.3 million in stocks and bonds, as well as the guarantee of one future draft pick didn’t hurt either. As he was leaving the hastily called press conference, when asked why his face was covered with mauve colored splotches, Carney only smiled and said, “No comment, but I Love L.A.” He started whistling Newman’s tune. He didn’t even notice the apple that went zinging by his head.
The Humble Chronicler