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Tales from the Lardbutt Peloton, August 17, 2004

Team Lardbutt races to win - all the time. Greg Taylor examines the competitive spirit and what makes cyclists tick at a stranger pace than 'ordinary' people. This is all done in the midst of 'The Second Annual Team Lardbutt 'All American Beer and Doughnuts Time Trial'. Enjoy.

Race you for it?


The coveted first prize
Photo ©: Greg Taylor
Click for larger image

A friend of mine once observed that cyclists are probably some of the most compulsively competitive people on earth. Consciously or unconsciously, whenever cyclists gather and ride, we are all seemingly hardwired and engage in little games of one-upsmanship whenever the situation presents itself. We want to be the first up the hill, the first to the stop sign, the first to the mailbox or the big tree at the end of the street. Get more than two of us together on the same piece of road and you are pretty much guaranteed to have an impromptu bicycle race on your hands.

It's worth noting that my friend shared these sage bits of wisdom with me as he was trying his level best to bury my ass on a nasty climb during what was supposed to be just a short "friendly" cruise around the neighbourhood.

But, you know, my friend is 100% correct. There is no denying the basic fact that we as a group are competitive beasts, and I've yet to participate in a group ride that isn't subtly fueled by the ebb and flow of these petite guerre.

But if you take that next step and up the ante by actually naming a prize to be won based on the outcome of these little competitions then, well, things start to get more interesting. It really doesn't matter what is on offer - it can as small as a packet of GU or a cup of bad coffee - the result is always the same: if there is something for the winner to take home at the end of the day, what may start out as a "friendly" wager will quickly turn into a festival of pain for everyone involved. Don't believe me? Just go to any local office park criterium sometime and watch what happens when a prime is announced, especially in the lower categories. The Red Mist descends, IQs drop about 15 points, and presently all hell breaks loose. Once "polite" lines through corners suddenly get sketchier, insults are frequently traded, and the occasional elbow is thrown all for the glory of winning...a packet of powdered sports drink.

Things are definitely more genteel but certainly no less hard fought when the particular competition in question is an Individual Time Trial. No banging handlebars with the hoi polloi, no road rash, no anticipating sketchy moves from The Next Lance Armstrong as he or she makes their bid for USCF Category 4 immortality. It's just you, the clock, and your ability to dance along that fine physiological line that separates going out and kicking major league ass from curling up in pain like a slug that just had salt poured on him.

Improbably returning for its second year, the Team Lardbutt All American Beer & Doughnuts Time Trial tested local riders against the clock in an effort to answer the classic question "how hard are you willing to flog yourself for a really cheesy prize?" The answer was soon discovered as riders lined up this past Sunday for the quick 6.2 mile/10km blitz down Gunston Road. Human nature being what it is, it turns out that folks were all too willing to just freakin' torture themselves for a crack at a prize list consisting entirely of beer and, strangely, various indigenous food products from our neighbour to the north, Canada.

The TT course followed the beloved and now-traditional Beer & Doughnuts Time Trial parcours. Riders launched at 90-second intervals under the watchful eye of official starter Steve Porter and his youthful assistant, Joseph Taylor. After clearing the start, the riders rampaged down a rural roller coaster of two-lane highway, whistled past small farms and "Gunston Hall," a colonial-era plantation, and rumbled to a finish beneath the trees of beautiful Mason Neck Park.

John "Terp" Terpinas of Alexandria, Virginia, successfully defended his 2004 title as the Beer & Doughnuts Time Trial champion by taking home the coveted "Most Excellent Six-Pack Of Cycling Champions" from the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. Celebrating the exploits of the 2005 Kodak EasyShare Gallery/Sierra Nevada Pro Cycling Team, the "Most Excellent Six-Pack of Cycling Champions" was filled with bottles of Sierra Nevada's finest porter - recognized by many as the most noble of beers. Completing the prize was a highly coveted and very valuable souvenir cardboard bottle holder, illustrated with photos of the Kodak/Sierra Nevada cycling squad and autographed by Kodak/Sierra Nevada racer (and Cyclingnews.com race correspondent) Ian Dille.

In second place, the winner of the prestigious Molson Golden Lager "Oh! Canada! Six-Pack Of International Co-operation and Friendship," was noted local racer "Slippery" Pete Czapiewski. "Slippery" Pete lived up to his name as he very nearly slipped past Terpinas for the top spot in what proved to be the closest finish in the short and somewhat notorious history of this non-USCF sanctioned event.

The third spot on the podium was captured by Alexandria's "Flyin' Brian" Chilton. Chilton's prize was the not-quite-as-prestigeous-as-first-or-second-place-but-still-very-thoughtful Budweiser "Six-Pack Of Health and Energy." This prize, new for 2005, featured Anheuser-Busch's latest product, Budweiser "Extra." Budweiser "Extra" represents an apparent attempt by the venerable American brewer to produce an "energy" beer that counteracts the normal affect of beer consumption - lethargy, flatulence, and bloating - by infusing the beverage with "extras" like caffeine, ginseng, guarana extract and, most intriguingly, a "natural" flavour. Exactly what "natural" flavor tastes like was hotly debated after the race, some contending that a "natural" flavour is usually equated with an alfalfa or grass-like essence, while others speculated that it probably tastes like chicken.

Adding an international flavor to the podium ceremony was the "Fiesta of Canadian Consumer Goods of Merit and Distinction," a series of awards selected to recognize riders whose efforts fell short of the podium yet were otherwise notable. These prizes consisted of a careful selection of exotic and pleasing Canadian household treasures heretofore unknown in the United States, all generously donated by Roger "Snow Goose" Curtis, Team Lardbutt's Canadian ambassador. Chris "Dura Ace" Dell, the youngest rider in the field, was the recipient of the "Tim Horton's Coffee Tins of Tenacity" for an excellent ride and "highly caffeinated" approach. Todd Nedorostek, respected cyclist and trained arborist, was the popular recipient of the "Pancake Condiment of Speed and Agility," a bottle of pure (and delicious) Canadian maple syrup.

Team Lardbutt would like to thank all of the riders for a highly entertaining (and highly painful) morning out. See you in 2006.


Top Five:

1. John Terpinas
2. "Slippery" Pete Czapiewski
3. Brian Chilton
4. George Schulz
5. (tie) "Tree Man" Todd Nedorostek, Manuel Feijo

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