The best thing about blogging is the fact that it takes place online; hence, while writing a blog post, the blogger is invariably engaged by the wonders of the internet like Facebook and Twitter at the same time.
Tonight exemplifies this phenomenon. As I was struggling to begin a brief post about this past weekend, I tabbed over to Facebook and perused my News Feed. Lo and behold, Randy Bramblett had just updated his status in a most intriguing fashion.
For those of you who don’t know Randy Bramblett, I’ll summarize him thus: he’s either a moderately good bike racer or a moderately good male model, but even he has yet to figure out which he is. As a consequence, his profile is inundated by a roughly 1:2 ratio of photographs like these.
Now that you have some idea of who I’m talking about, let’s get back to his status update. This evening, Mr. Bramblett posted the following:
I couldn’t believe my eyes, because, as fate would have it, I’ve recently been adhering to Randy Bramblett’s “training plan” as well!
Now, I know what you’re asking, and the answer is yes. Yes, that is a real Ed Hardy hat. No, I don’t know where I got it. It’s been sitting in my house for years, waiting for tonight’s breakout photo shoot. I think Randy must have left it here or something.
OK, that was fun, but let’s get back to bike racing…tangentially, at least. I may write about this weekend’s races properly tomorrow or Thursday, but for now, I have better things to discuss.
You see, the real reason I wanted to write a post tonight was to call out one Patrick Briggs on an outlandishly bold comment made on Saturday afternoon. Following Saturday’s Joseph Mendez Criterium in Pleasanton, Pat Briggs (Yahoo?) was talking to my teammate Joel Robertson about the upcoming Masters National Championships.
Much like Randy Bramblett, I’m sure not all of my readers are acquainted with Pat Briggs and the legend surrounding his character. If you’ll allow it, I’d like to introduce him properly before I continue.
Rumor has it that Briggs has won every single race Velopromo promotes at least once in his career. If we divide the district’s riders into two categories — riders who “make it big,” and riders who “don’t make it big” — Briggs is undoubtedly the most successful rider in the history of the latter category.
I first met Pat Briggs — as far as I can remember, at least — at the Albany Criterium in 2007. This criterium is a four-corner affair circumscribing a middle school in some nondescript part of the East Bay hills. Like a playing card tipped on its end, this course has two short, flattish straightaways and two long straights: one uphill, and one downhill. By virtue of the inclines, it has resulted in a breakaway win every year I’ve entered the event.
In the 2007 edition, as a fresh Category 2 racer, I found myself in an eight-man breakaway which contained three Cal Giant riders (at the time, Pat Briggs was a member of that team, the perennial juggernaut of our district). At one point during the event, a solo rider had feebly attacked the group and was dangling a few seconds ahead of the rest of the break; I pulled through in turn and brought him back on the hill, thinking I would ingratiate myself to my breakmates for doing my share of the work to keep the breakaway smooth and compact. Oh, how naive I was…
As I pulled off and rotated toward the back of the break, I was greeted by Briggs’ gruff, wailing voice, so loud and angry it seemed as if he was berating me for my very existence.
“GOD DAMN IT! Why are you pulling so hard to bring that guy back!? That’s not your f*&king JOB!” Briggs rode up alongside me, looking like a tightly-clothed pirate with his earrings and soulpatch, glaring at me out of one eye like I’d just pilfered his stash of pirates booty from belowdecks.
I was taken aback, to say the least, and replied “Uh, I’ve never been yelled at for working in a break before. I was just taking my pull. What the hell is your problem, dude?”
Briggs responded, “Why don’t you f*&king think about what you’re doing? What a dummy! Jesus…” He swiftly cut in front me, shaking his head in disgust.
At the time, I just didn’t get it. I didn’t realize that a large part of P/1/2 bike racing is about getting into your competitor’s head and convincing him he’s a lesser rider. At the time, I assumed Pat simply hated me or thought that I was worthless and stupid. I was intimidated, and it caused me to miss the split that ultimately decided the race — the best I could muster was 4th place. At the time, I also didn’t know that Pat’s renowned for arbitrarily yelling at his competitors (and his teammates, for that matter).
Now, nearly four years later, I’m the guy who is known for arbitrarily yelling at my competitors (and teammates); I can only hope I’ve become as intimidating as he was back then. I mean, I’m forging signed Patrick Briggs trading cards and selling them on Ebay for a living, so I must be close. But the past is the past, and the intimidating Briggs of yesteryear is nothing more than a vague memory to be recalled when the blogging material runs thin. Let’s get back to Saturday afternoon.
If you remember, Briggs was talking to my teammate Joel about the upcoming Masters National Championships. Here’s what was said.
Joel: “Hey Rand, Pat’s trying to convince me to race the Masters 45+ road race at Nationals. What do you think?”
Me: “Uh…ok. Sure. We aren’t gonna reimburse you for that crap, though.”
Joel: “I figured as much.”
Briggs: “You know, it’s crazy. I wanted to race down an age group, in the Masters 35+ category, but they [USACycling] won’t let me!”
Joel: “Wait…you mean you have to race in the 45+?”
Here comes the good part:
Briggs: “Yeah! Can you believe that? I mean, I want to call them up and tell them ‘If you’re gonna make me race the 45+ race, I’ll just stay home and you can MAIL me the stars and stripes jersey!’”
There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Pat Briggs, the undisputed king of the asinine one-liner, has outdone himself and has claimed that he’s guaranteed a victory in the Masters 45+ National Championship road race; it’s such a done deal, in fact, that he doesn’t even have to show up.
I’m gonna hold Pat to this. If he doesn’t win that road race now, I’m going to mail him a paper printout of the stars and stripes jersey, once a week, for a whole year.
If he does win, I guess I’ll buy him a six-pack of beer and let him the win the Timpani Criterium again. That seems fair.
In the end, though…after watching National Amateur Criterium Champion Steve Reaney (Cal Giant) flail around at the Tulsa Tough NRC crits this past weekend, I don’t even know why Pat wants one of those jerseys…