THE STORY OF I.M. SMOKED IS A SHORT ONE. It begins on a beguiling Saturday in December, 2017.
Why was it beguiling?
Because, December in Southern California is a beautiful time of year to go for a bike ride: the air is clear and crisp, the sunrise is a little later and the roads are tourist-free. The short days mean there’s pent up energy and fitness for the weekend.
Because, I.M. had a particularly rough week. There was work stress and family stress that needed to be released… and what could be better than a spin with the posse?
And so it began.
The weekly Big Loop, 80 miles and 4000′ of vert.
It started with the fellas riding to meet the Food Park group ride, I.M. and the others moved along at a good clip up the coast. The ocean on the left, the mountains on the right. Normally I.M. would wheel suck all the way up, but not today. Today I.M. was feeling frisky and leading the charge.
The 19 minute majestic ascent to the top of the world was chopped to 17 minutes… PRs for I.M.
Now the Food Park group ride isn’t just any group ride: it’s the most nastiest, the most adrenalinist, the most elbowrubbingist group ride in the county… maybe the state. It started out tame enough this fine morning until the group hit the new Tesla To Tesla Loop.
Previously, Tesla to Church was the most terrible 3 mile segment known to man. It’s not steady, it’s pitchy and will pop a rider off the back quicker than a finger-tweezing teenager in front of a mirror. Terrible, terrible, terrible…
Tesla To Tesla is a whole other kinda terrible: 11 miles with 500′ of gain and a surgey group averaging 25mph.
But, I.M. was still chugging… and truth be told, this is the perfect loop to fit I.M.’s weak super-powers. The runaway train up the canyon was shedding cabooses over every bump, pitch and turn… until it was just the big engine from CBS Cycling and a couple of little engines that could, including I.M. Steam was shooting straight up and bolts were flying off, but they were clear… long gone.
It was the kind of glory only a cyclist in need can appreciate,
Just a few moments at the front of the train,
With the lead cars,