Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Less Rugged World: Goodbye, Gamjams

When I started writing this almanac, back in 1908, my main topic was the frailty of men who are not Tim Rugg, and this has remained my theme.  At the time, I derided men who wanted to be able to shift gears, instead of sticking to just one massive gear (I called this gear bigamy "mormonism of the driveshaft").  Then my disdain was directed to men who disdained the calloused hand, or even the heel of the shoe, to brake--why, after all, should one ever want to stop?  To this new, effeminate generation, winning was more important than, say, making sweet love to a bear--as Rugg was wont to do.

Then Hank Taint discovered his epynonyous taint and suddenly cycling became a leisure activity:  dual pivot brakes were mounted, pink trousers were donned, dime-sized mirrors were manufactured and mounted off helmets and where bar ends used to go, and Yanni's "Song of the Nightingale" was listened to whilst legs were lovingly lathered and depilated and then doused with "summer embrocation."  It was an end of the epoch of manly cycling.  

Paps has seen several epochs of cycling come and go.  Some epochal shifts are driven by performance enhancing substances (for instance, the introduction of water, rather than booze, as a way to rehydrate, was revolutionary), others involve equipment changes, others were driven by people, and still others were driven by publications.  Lest we forget, le Tour was and still is the creation of a newspaper; il Giro still springs fro La Gazzetta del Sport (this year live streaming the action from their site).

In a similar fashion, Gamjams, the publication of vaguely spermatazoic connotations, has driven the epoch of our local race scene.  It compiled the post-race bitchings in its Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda, Ella, Ella, Hey, Hey section, and pictures in Monday Multimedia.  It enabled those of us who explain the sport to the rest of us to have a forum:  the Gamjams Ambassadors News Roll.

Earlier this week, our own gazette, Gamjams, announced its cessation.  An epoch comes to an end.  The event was so momentous, that MABRA Bar Champ Also-Ran Tim Brown mustered the energy to write a complete sentence without the use of "brah," observing from his hovel in Venice Beach, " gamjams ends on the same day venus transits the sun... coincidence, i think not."

Further disasters marked the occasion:  noted scribe Bert Garcia was struck by a bus; even a man on Pap's Honor Roll of Hardmen, Chip Hoover, was attacked and brought down by a squirrel.  (This is a man who warms up for a race he subsequently wins by changing a diaper on the tailgate in a parking lot.  I'm not kidding.)  Rumor has it that Rugg has been struck by a debilitating ennui rather than an opposing team's support vehicle.  Strange signs are afoot.

On the bright side, the doyens of Gamjams aren't exactly leaving our world--they're moving on to their wheel and frame business, November Bikes.  The idea behind this project should appeal to those of us who scorn the flim-flam nonsense of today's marketing pitches, which make it seem as if the bicycle and the rider need reinvention every few weeks.  As the November boys state on their website:

We won't say that our gear is the best, the lightest, the laterally stiffest or the most vertically compliant. We’ve done the research and testing to know that you'll love riding our bikes and wheels, and we’ve got a great process to bring them to you, but clich├ęd superlatives don’t do it for us. 

Finally, a pitch humble enough for the humblest of cat 3s among us.  It reminds us that last year's aero weaponry is really quite sufficient, and getting it at last decade's aero weaponry prices is really quite wonderful.

But Paps is still unsatisfied with the publishers of Gamjams.  I've already got my last-decade aero weaponry; I lose quite often and successfully on it, thank you.  I'd rather have a rag that details every meaningless bit of information about our meaningless sport.  So I'm sorry to see the epoch of Gamjams go.  Then again, Paps is sorry to see every epoch go, since all epochal ends mark a decline of toughness, of simplicity, and of a world becoming less Rugg-ed every day.

1 comment:

Lindsay said...

We're not letting it die. MABRAites are stepping up to keep it going so that no race/ride/gossip in the region goes unexamined. What other choice do we have? Actually do WORK while at work? Nonsense. Viva la GamJams.