Sunday, March 24, 2019

It's racejunkie's Race Safety Guidelines for Every Conceivable Variety of !&#$wit!

Look everybody, we've barely made it through one Monument this season, and already we've got road-rashed collarbone-snapped riders piling up on race courses like empty piss-water beer cans in a frat house.  So what can we do to help these nice athletes stay upright, and in one piece?  This!


1. No. Selfie Sticks. Ever!

2. Next !@#$ing !@#$wit who sets off a flare next to the peloton is gonna have that !@#$ing thing shoved down their throat like some fire-eating !@#$ing circus freak.  Understand, asshole?!

3. If you're gonna slap *anyone* in the face with an inflatable promotional item in the last 15 seconds of a sprint, let it be yourself--or at least that six-foot-seven assclown who just budged in front of the primo spot you've been hoarding since 4 o'clock this morning.  And keep that thing behind the barriers !@#dammit!

4. Hey, let your freak flag fly, honey.  Just not a fourteen-foot Lion of Flanders in the face of a bonking rider desperate to minimize every inch of the 8000 meters he's just finished climbing!

5. Don't text and walk.  You have *no* idea where you are in space.  At least until all 14 kg of a breakaway lands on your dimwit body and ends their race right there. Come to think of it, anywhere on the planet, in any situation, this oughta be a face-smackable offense.  But we'll keep it to this context for the moment!

6. Children.  You know what children are?  Cannonballs with feet.  Shot out of a roller-coaster-shaped cast-iron tube at a million miles an hour with no more sense--or sense of direction--than a drunken amoeba.  Keep 'em back!

7. Straps. Nice purse! Hey, cool camera! Which any rider has the preemptive right to instantly garrote you with like a B-movie gangster if you let it fly out into the wind and catch their handlebar.  Hey, are you that jack!@# that took down our dear little Iban?

8. Dogs.  Man, I *love* dogs. And I'm writing this directly to you, Fido, because it's obvious you're the brain trust in your relationship with your stupid owner, who refuses to keep you on a short leash for the six seconds it takes the peloton to flash by because you might feel oppressed for the moment before you decide to roll in another animal's poop on the roadside.  I don't care if a !@#damn steak truck crashes over in front of you and spills its meaty guts in a gift straight from God, or if your owner throws the BIGGEST TENNIS BALL EVER right out into the yellow line in the middle of the road, or if there is nothing more compelling to you ON EARTH than a stampeding herd of spinning carbon wheels begging to be chased after and bitten into submission.  Stay off the freakin' road, for chrissakes!

9. Runners. I get it, there's something about the dazzling internet glory of letting your barely-covered less-impressive-than-you-think neon-highlighted junk bounce out into the TV screens of thousands of people while screaming like a maniac, while the only part of you anyone actually maybe wants to see, your head so you can be id'd and thrown into a !@#damn gulag, is crowned by some giant pair of Viking helmet-horns and threatens to spear some poor flyweight climber like a tropical fish, that hardly *anyone* can be expected to resist.  Well, resist it. Just...back off before you crash somebody, you gaudy embarrassment, and for god's sake, put on some real underwear!

10. Drunks.  Hey, I know that there's !@#$-all to do for the six hours you're freezing on a mountain top or baking to death in a desert or getting torrentially-rained on slipping on cobblestones but make doping jokes, write chalk encouragement or obscenities on the pavement, or simply get hammered. But don't let alcohol make an ENTIRE PLANET OF SEVEN BILLION PEOPLE hate your !@#$ing guts, and some unfortunate bone-broken rider put you on an angry DS hit list, when you stumble obliviously into the roadway and take out some guy who's spent approximately 25 million training hours preparing for the exact moment you happen to lose total control of your most basic bodily functions.  Dammit people, make sure the one teetotaler in your group keeps an eye on you!

Race Motos and Cars: your job is to *escort* the riders, not jerk to a stop so they go flying through your rear windshield, knock them sideways into a barbed-wire cattle fence, or plow them over from behind in some incidental inconvenience to your sad little Vin Diesel "Fast and Furious" fantasy.  In fact, they're why you're there.  Drive like it!

Race Organizers:

1. Inflatables.  There is truly nothing more exciting for the fans, and riders, to see than the red kite dangling from that giant inflatable bridge thing.  Even more exciting, however, is for it not to collapse on some poor bastard just trying to drag their exhausted carcass to the finish line.  Pump, generator, attendant, done!

2. Road furniture. Hey, you know what's even more fun than finishing a bike race after 6 hours barbecuing in 200-degree heat and vomiting your guts out in front of 76 eager TV cameras? An unmarked and apparently totally unnecessary iron pole in the exact center of the road you can crash into at 40 kilometers an hour!  Um, no it's not.  Remember, if there's gotta be carnage, some squishy volunteer with a waving flouro-flag makes a *lot* nicer landing surface than sheet metal!

3. Weather.  It does, I admit, make great television to watch a peloton-hipster's ridiculous handlebar mustache encase in sleet like some freakish mountain hermit, or Nairo Quintana slowly freeze into an adorable tabletop wedding-bash ice-sculpture, or some heavyweight climber sink into melting tarmac and be preserved for all eternity like a woolly mammoth for some delighted, if puzzled, future anthropologist to dig up.  And of course, you can't underestimate the highly smug martyrdom aspect of the sport, which also makes the bitter envious couch peloton all want to see these guys *earn* their pampered princeling sports-icon paycheck, because we have to !@#damn earn *our* paltry one in some !@#$y job with a miserable prison guard of a sadistic boss !@#dammit.  But geez, these frail little things *need* their fingers and toes--can we make "just before they're desperate enough for their lives to let another human being urinate on them like some disgusting politician scandal-video" the rule of thumb for calling it a day already?

4. Timing.  This isn't a safety issue, but it *does* completely piss me off, so I'm throwing it in.  How *dare* you schedule any other race at the same time as the perfect beautiful Giro, you twisted freaks?

Race Helicopters (I Mean Holy !@#$, We Have to Talk About Race Helicopters!): now, we *love* you.  You bring us beautiful field-art shots of tractors slowly circling in perfect harmony as bike wheels to carefully sited bales of hay making up bike frames.  You show us historic castles, the impeccable elegance of an echelon, where Sagan is peeking out from an impossible distance, and the argy-bargy of a sprint whose hairs-breadth result can only be seen from above.  And what else are you apparently doing now?  *That's* right, buzzing the finish line with your power-blades and blasting rows of barriers into unsuspecting, and, let's face, downright eggshell cyclists staggering across the finish line.  Jaysus, they made it through all these other idiots, and now they have to worry about you guys sending them to hospital?  Stay airborne til these tiny little things get to shelter next time!

And Last But Not Least, The Folks Who Keep Watch at Crossing Zones and Other Race Guardians: we all know that public-safety work can be incredibly boring, spiked with the sort of intermittent heart-stopping terror that makes the rest of us entirely to wussy to even casually *think* of doing your job.  But when your *sole* purpose at that race is to secure the course for the riders against a veritable army of teeming citizen dumb!@#es, please, please, please, do not turn your back for even a *second*.  Because that's the *exact* moment that Joe Q. Numbnut is gonna sprint *right* across the approaching peloton, and fold those suckers up like a giant carbon-spandex origami menagerie.  Never underestimate our astonishing dimwittery, and race organizers, give these folks a giant raise!

Well, them's mine, but I'm sure I'll be back here when some eejit decides to, oh, dig up a coupla cobblestones from the Arenberg for a souvenir just before Van Avermaet powers through, or some other spectacular act of world-class stupidity I can't even begin to dream of.  But let's start with these--and don't make me add to this !@#damn list, you hear me?!