Wednesday, January 16, 2008
The Peloton Diaries Vol. 2
Well, I recently wrapped up another trip in the WayBack machine and come to you, dear reader, armed with some new and enlightening nuggets of autobiographical splendor. This time I set the date back to late 1992. Dimitry Konyshev, known among the peloton as a party animal and genuine Russian hard man, is gearing up for the World Championship Road Race in Benidorm, Spain. Let's listen in, shall we?
If I have to deal with another one of Cees' stupid bird call wake ups, I'm going to punch him in the nuts. We're not four years old for christ' sake. I'd really have told him off too, but my head was banging around like a lugnut in Sputnik.
Last night, Skibby and I got really shitty at the disco and danced all night with some American backpackers. The one I was with kept on saying something like "If my dad saw me now, he'd kill me!" and then guzzle another shot. That cracked me up. The bullshit that came out of that girls mouth...
But, I was feeling good and finally said "If I was you're dad, I'd make love to you!" and made the David Copperfield eyes. Skibby heard that and nearly pissed himself. Totally blew my cover. Anyway, that's about all I remember. I think I threw up on one of them. It's alright though, because they were getting really annoying.
The ride today wasn't much. Just a 180km jaunt with no real hills. Skibby wound it up pretty good and put the hurt to some of the young guys. He's one tough comrade.
No late nights for awhile. I guess Cees caught wind from one of the bellhops that "a couple team members" were out past curfew last night. Apparently, they didn't like all the black marks from the doughnuts we did in the mechanic's van. I'm sure Cees has a good idea who that "couple" is, but he isn't saying anything. When he brought it up at the team meeting, Skibby said "I think Hamburger was looking for some bun!" Everyone cracked up about that. Even Cees. Bo got so embarrassed and worked up about it that he almost looked guilty.
Cees made us do extra distance so nobody thought they were getting away with anything. It wasn't so bad though. The weather was nice and all the booze was out of my system. A good day to be on the bike.
Theunisse was kind of creeping me out though. He had that spooky look he gets when he's either pissed off or riding out of his mind. Seeing as how we weren't going balls out, I assumed he was pissed. I hope it wasn't about the extra distance we did. I don't want to get on the wrong side of that dude.
Good news today! I got signed by team Jolly for the next two years. It's nice to have some financial security and all that, but the best part is the kit. Not only are they my favorite color, neon green, but they have a joker face on them that looks like the Graffix bong company logo. Skibby is really jealous.
On Lenin's grave I swear I won't go out for what Theunisse calls "fun" again. Saturday started off great. We had a nice ride with some good efforts. All the guys were working well together. Pacelines, echelons, deep leg burning efforts. We were like a well oiled machine. It was truly one of those rides where you feel like you could take anybody.
After the soigneur and dinner, Skibby and I decided we were going to go out and celebrate my new contract with the usual: vodka, dancing, and beautiful company. Then Theunisse decided he wanted to come too. Gert's a fine guy, we thought, a bit eccentric, but fine none the less. So, why not?
I should have listened to the voice in my head saying "Noooooooo!" I never listen to that damn voice, but I should have this time. It tried to tell me something wasn't quite right. I didn't realize that meant that he's totally out of his fucking mind.
Things changed real quick when we got to the club and Gert started to down gin like it was Coca-Cola after a tour stage. Skibby and I were half expecting him to pass out or get sick or something. Not this guy! He wasn't sweating it. He kept telling people he was Michael Jordan and was trying to keep a low profile. Some poor asshole called him on it and said Jordan was black. Bad move. Gert threw his drink at him and called him a racist. Damn near everyone in place laughed at that. I bet even the real Michael Jordan would have laughed.
About an hour later we heard more commotion and see Gert leaning over the bar choking the bartender saying he's watering his drinks down too much. That was enough to get security over, so we grabbed Gert and left before things got out of hand.
At this point it was around 1:30AM and we figured we'd get back to the hotel since Cees had another lame-ass team unity thing the next morning. Why do coaches think we need that crap? This isn't the junior leagues. If they want unity they should go out with me and Jesper. Cees would be sick of unity by the time we're done with him. Hugging the toilet in a stupor wondering what the hell he was thinking. Anyway, when we got to the hotel Gert asked if we were up for a nightcap and invited us to his room. We were still kind of wired so we said "yes."
When we walked in Gert handed us some glasses with ice. Then he rummaged through his travel bag and pulled out a big black bottle and poured us some. He said he made it off season. It smelled terrible, burned going down, and hit like Stalin's gulag. I felt numb, but really peaceful. Gert saw that we were cooing like baby lambs, so he topped us off. He raised his glass, nodded toward Skibby and I and smiled . Then things went all Chernobyl on us.
It felt like the top of my head opened up and my mind was pouring out upside down. Like gravity had reversed itself. I looked around in wonder. Everything was moving and shifting and flipping and flopping. The carpet grew out of the floor into six inch, smiling, neon green worms. My feet were resting on an orange and yellow koala bear with magazine teeth and Jello claws. A 12 foot blueberry with Skibby's head was sitting next to me talking about how cool it was to be a melting lobster while he drank with Michael Jordan.
I don't remember so much after that. Just bits. Skibby swimming in purple cabbage. Glowing yellow shellfish doing the tango on the ceiling. And, Gert's voice coming out of a joker face saying "Are you guys having "bun" yet?"