Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Case Of The Ass

Fellow Cyclists and Cycling Enthusiasts:

Perhaps I need a better picture than the one above to illustrate the problem I have down below, and by ‘down below,’ I mean my moral epicenter, the heart of my stern, as it were, the entrance to my Mines of Moria (and please cover your earballs if you find this line of inquiry offensive): Yes, my anus hurts. Not my ass. My anus. I do not mean this in a figurative way, either.

Since I was a boy I’ve had periodic bouts with a disease called celiac, which is an intolerance to gluten, the symptoms of which are lovely things like long-term depression, unpredictable weight gain and weight loss, and, most severely in me, painful digestive troubles. True enough, I could eliminate all these problems entirely by being smart – something rather alien to me – and dispensing with gluten in my life: no more bread, pasta, bagels, schnitzel, pancakes, Tombstone Pizza, and so on. I have eliminated the most profound source of gluten from my diet, Miller High Life, the absence of which has created a sort of long-term depression of its own. But I haven’t eliminated the other fun forms of gluten, namely pasta and bread, my two favorite foods in the world besides nachos (gluten-free!).

What does celiac have to do with my current anus woes? Some forms of gluten fuck me up more than others – oddly enough, cheap, low-quality, processed-flour products don’t faze me one iota – but this last week, owing to a spirited stock-up session at Costco, I have found myself in possession of numerous loaves of excellent, high-quality La Brea bread. First, it tastes great. Second, it really tastes great. Third, I’ve been eating La Brea toast breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Happy times, right? I don’t know the exactly chemical formulation of La Brea bread, but there is clearly some significant, possibly world-threatening quantities of gluten in that stuff. I would count myself lucky if I had simply gotten a bout of good old explosive diarrhea from this bread. Instead – and I apologize for being clinical – I can’t seem to get a clean pinch. That’s right. I can’t finish the job! And I’m feeling rather raw, shall we say. Now, this would be horrible enough for a person whose chief recreational activity is playing bridge with little old ladies in Massachusetts, but for a cyclist on a nine-month epic quest to return to regular cyclocross racing, for a man who needs to place his anus on a thin strip of Italian saddle leather for a minimum of two hours a day? To have Unclean Pinch Syndrome?

Needless to say, I went out for a ride yesterday afternoon on the L.A. River Trail, heading west along the 5 toward Griffith Park, and the anus pain and misery were so horrific, so searingly unbearable, that I literally rolled my bike down the embankment to the raging river and placed my ass in the water for relief.

I was not relieved.

A homeless guy saw me in the water and said, “Something wrong?"

He was shell-shocked-looking after being outside all last week in the El Nino rains, and if anybody were expert in things going wrong, it had to have been him. But he kept his distance from me and waited for my response.

I said, “My anus hurts.”

He stared downriver and shook his head.

“Whose doesn’t?” he said. And he walked away.

I called after him: “You want six loaves of La Brea bread? Come on over to my place.” But he didn’t hear me.

The moral of this story is simple.


Ponder that.

And have a nice ride today.

Respectfully submitted,

Mike ‘Raw Anus” Magnuson


  1. Of course there is only one person currently on the planet that can write so poetically about such a topic...and that is Mr. Mike Magnuson!

  2. must be hurtin to think putting yo azz in that miserable excuse for a river would result in anything but a nasty tropical disease. Sympathies on the bunghole AND the oatmeal...don't know what's worse.

  3. OMG - just having the picture in my mind and then the descriptor, was almost too much! I have read in more recent posts that you are feeling better, which I am sure we are all very relieved in more ways than one! By the way, did you ever get rid of the bread?


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