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Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on April 19th, 2016, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 17, Issue 7 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 17, Issue 7

The California Classic

Krider takes on the epic bike race on a beach cruiser

By ROB KRIDER

I like to consider myself quite the gentleman adventurer. The name “gentleman adventurer” sounds like a very prestigious title; however it’s completely self-subscribed and thus has no real legitimacy. I’m a gentleman adventurer merely because I say that I am and because occasionally I do stupid stuff. Simple as that.

Recently I decided to do a new stupid thing: enter a bicycle road race. Bicycle racing isn’t stupid, it’s actually a great workout for the human body. It’s only stupid for people entering a race who: A) Don’t race bicycles. B) Don’t own the proper equipment for racing bicycles. C) Don’t exercise. And of course, D) All of the above. I was in the “all of the above” category. However, those valid reasons weren’t going to keep me from entering the California Classic 35-mile bike race. I am, after all, a gentleman adventurer.

The rules said I had to have a bike helmet, which I didn’t own, so I borrowed my son’s skateboarding helmet. My bicycle was a $289 beach cruiser from Huntington Beach Bicycle Company with one speed and a bell on the handlebars. I decided to stick with the whole beach theme, so for footwear I wore flip-flops. Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks has Beast Mode, I had Beach Mode. For the record, my wife, whom I love, said the whole thing was “a bad idea.”

When I arrived at the start of the race I found a huge crowd of serious bike riders. Everyone had gruesomely expensive multi-speed bicycles made with carbon fiber parts. The riders were adorned in aerodynamic spandex clothing. People were eating Powerbars and drinking electrolytes. For my nutrition, I had in my beach cruiser basket nothing more than an Egg McMuffin and a 64-ounce soft drink. Lance Armstrong used performance enhancing drugs, I went to McDonalds. 

As I moved my way toward the start of the crowded race, I was desperately looking for someone, anyone, who looked sort of like me: an amateur, another gentleman adventurer, someone just out to enjoy the ride on a sunny Saturday morning. There was nobody casual, only immensely serious riders. I didn’t see anyone else in flip-flops or cargo shorts and I didn’t see anyone else on a bicycle that had only one speed. I was alone. I began to think my wife may have been right. The last thing she said to me was, “If you can’t make it to the finish, call me and I’ll come pick you up. There’s no shame in quitting. Nobody else is dumb enough to try this race on a beach cruiser.”

In the middle of the crowd of hundreds of legitimate riders, with my number hanging off my beach cruiser’s frame, I did feel a bit foolish. But the gentleman adventurer in me said, “Screw it. I’m going to set the world record for the fastest beach cruiser time at the California Classic! I’m going to beat one of these fools wearing spandex and special shoes that clip into their $1,000 pedals!” 

When the starting gun fired I took off like a rocket. I was flying! And I was passing people! I rang my little bicycle bell as I raced by. It turned out that the serious bike riders didn’t like my bell. In their defense I was a little obnoxious about ringing it as I passed them. One professional-looking rider came up next to me, stared at my bike, then gazed at my clothes and said, “What’s all this craziness?”

“I’m just here for the fun of it, sir,” I said a bit out of breath.

He looked over to his biking partner who was riding on my other side and said, “Let’s make sure we finish ahead of this guy. It would be pretty embarrassing if he finished before us.”

I heard a lot of this sort of rhetoric around me as I rode the course, “I gotta pass this guy wearing the flip-flops!” It turned out I was a strange sort of inspiration for many riders to push themselves harder. As I rode under freeway overcrossings crowds of people cheered me on, “Check out that dude on the beach cruiser!” I responded to the cheers by ringing my bell some more, which just annoyed the expert bike riders around me.

After a bit, I realized that coming out of the gate hard and fast was not a good plan for a long 35-mile ride. I started to get pretty fatigued around mile marker one. I also learned the hard way that as flat as the freeway appears when you are driving in a gasoline powered car, it actually has a lot of inclines when you are riding on a one-speed beach cruiser. I was getting pretty whipped. But I was determined to finish the race on my beach cruiser. “One race, one speed,” was my motto.

On one particularly grueling hill climb during the race (near mile marker two) I heard women behind me having the most casual conversation as they rode their bikes. I was huffing and puffing up the hill. Behind me I could hear, “So, I don’t know if I like the tile color or not. I just can’t decide on the sandy tan or the natural almond. They both look good with the cabinets.” As the group of 60-year-old ladies in tight bike-appropriate clothing passed me effortlessly on their expensive multi-speed bicycles, they continued their kitchen color palette debate. I realized that my cargo shorts were acting like parachutes slowing me down. I was working very hard just to keep up with them. All I could think about was my heart rate and my sore legs. All they were thinking about was colors of tile.

I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. But as a stupid gentleman adventurer, I knew I would kill myself trying before I quit the race and called my wife to pick me up. I couldn’t let her be right! I put my head down, rang my bell, and pedaled on. Eventually, after 35 hard-fought miles, my beach cruiser and I finished the race earning me a beautiful medal to hang around my neck. I would have worn it with pride, but I was too tired to have the heavy metal trophy around my neck. The official records show that I didn’t come in last place, but, admittedly, I did finish behind a lot of old ladies.  

Rob requested the California Classic board of directors recognize his victory as the first place finisher on a beach cruiser. They have yet to return his calls. You can read more from Rob Krider or contact him at robkrider.com.




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Should the proposed aquifer exemption in Cat Canyon be approved?

Yes—the water from the proposed area can't serve as drinking water.
No—oil containments could still pollute usable groundwater.
Additional oil and gas projects can create more jobs.
We need to move away from oil and gas and look at renewable energy projects.

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