Saturday, November 29, 2008

Koksijde

With Boom and Albert out, the smart money was on Nys to win the sandy fourth round of the World Cup today in Koksijde, Belgium. Or perhaps Wellens, who's been coming on strong as of late. But they were both upstaged by the crafty veteran, Vervecken. Nys looked to have it won, but Vervecken managed to get past him on the run-in to the finish. Sweet. Full results, etc. here. Compton won the women's race ahead of Kupfernagel and Van den Brand.

Watch the last lap of the men's race here.

Four Fidea riders finished in the top five: Vervecken, Stybar, Wellens, and Pauwels. THis was good news for Chris A. His gamble to stack his team with Fidea riders paid off today. He picks up 745 points and an impressive stage win. Ian was second, with 655 points, while Gary finished third at 605. Gary's lead is now up over 600 points. He's starting to look pretty unstoppabe. And don't look now, but last place is currently occupied by the King himself.

They're back at it again tomorrow with the fifth round of the Supreprestige series in Geiten, Netherlands.

Today's Results:

Chris A 745
Ian 655
Gary 605
Olli 575
Adam 550
David S 510
Dallas 495
Vic 485
Rachel 485
Matt 470
Paddy & Naomi 465
Jonny M 420
Brad 390
Tomek 335
Bill 310
Charlene 305
Hal 250
Jonny G 245
Deanna 210
Andy 165
Chris H 100


Overall Standings:

Gary 7625
Jonny M 7020
Chris H 6575
Rachel 6350
David S 6290
Olli 6045
Chris A 6005
Paddy & Naomi 5970
Charlene 5900
Deanna 5855
Matt 5630
Tomek 5480
Jonny G 5365
Ian 4835
Dallas 4815
Adam 4810
Brad 4740
Vic 4725
Hal 4575
Bill 4490
Andy 4445

Thursday, November 27, 2008

a meeting you may want to attend

NOTICE OF COMMUNITY MEETING:

At 7 p.m. on November 27, 2008, the West Central Commuter Cyclists (WC3) will be holding a community meeting at Valour Community Centre Orioles site at 444 Burnell Street to discuss the possibility of creating a community bike repair centre.

WC3 is a non-profit neighbourhood cycling interest group serving Winnipeg’s west central area. We are online at http://groups.google.com/group/westcentralcommutercyclists.

Although no decisions have been made about how it would be organized or how it would be run, the repair centre, proposed to open in 2009 at the Valour Community Centre Orioles site, could be organized as a collective that helps members of the community perform free repairs on their own bikes. Programming relating to cycling education and safety could also be run out of the repair centre.

If you’d like to be part of this project or have an opinion about how this centre could serve the community, please attend.

Thursday Anticipation: Special Hoops Edition

It's a bit of a slow week on the anticipation front. There's nothing on the immediate horizon. We have reason to believe a Nordic Cross calendar is on the way. But we're still waiting on an official word from the editor. The NC chapter has no cyclocross race to look forward to this weekend. It's all about turkey for the next four days. The NCCX season concludes next weekend in Salisbury, NC.

But loyal friends of the FGBC will know that from time to time our attention turns to from cycling to basketball, specifically of the college variety. The annual March Madness Pool is still many thrilling games away. But Jonah and I scored some tickets to see the Devils play in Cameron tomorrow afternoon. It's always a treat. Unfortunately, most of the Cameron Crazies will have gone home for Thanksgiving. But we still get to see the home team in action. Sweet. Let's go Duke!


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

tnr ride report

three riders took up the call/torch... made a second attempt at riding our special bike lanes downtown. apparently they weren't completely covered by crazy celine dion fans in cars this time...

and then the turnout later was substantial. mucr had a little meeting first, i understand, and then on to Nordic Cross agenda... much of the calendar is penciled in, but, far be it from me to scoop the Editer... stay tooned for the poestr.

attendence was so delightful, it should be noted:
kevin, craig, bill, brad, gianni, halberto, dr. mr., tenacious v, secretary, juan eppstein... what happened to you G?

Suds & Cycles

Apparently they just belong together. At least if the advertisers are to be believed. (H)alberto got it started the other day when he linked that sweet ad from Stella Artois. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. Here's a little gallery. Consider it the FGBC version of the Cannes Lions they show at the Art Gallery every year.

1) High Life. This is the gold standard. It's been up here before, but it's so good it warrants another viewing.




2) Stella Artois: This is the one (H)alberto linked.




3) Guinness




4) New Belgium Brewieries




5) Green King IPA




6) Carling Premier




7) Budweiser (China?)




9) Miller




8) Skoler




9) Brand (Belgium)




And it's not just television. There are radio spots too, like this ode to the winter cyclist from the Yukon Bewing Company.

There are no doubt a whole bunch more. Share them if you know about them. The only question is, why haven't Fort Garry and Brewmaster Dave gotten in on the action.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

TNR


I'm going to go out on a limb and say meet at Espresso Junction, 9:30. But feel free to suggest an alternative plan like, say, a recon ride out to Little Mountain or something. Maybe Jonny G won't have a v-ball game today. Maybe the president will make an appearance.

I've heard a rumour about a Nordic Cross planning meeting going down tonight. That would be nice.

Monday, November 24, 2008

FGBC CX Pool Roundup

First Albert. Now Boom. What is going on? It is starting to look very much like Albert's spleen injury will cost him his season. That's too bad, since he was off to such a great start. And Boom missed the two races this weekend due to a kidney infection. I haven't heard how long he's expected to be out. Meanwhile, Sven Nys keeps on rolling right along. Surely he wouldn't be involved in a sinister plot to do away with the two young guns who almost managed to make him look mortal earlier in the season. That's the stuff of Hollywood and figure skating.

Actually Nys only finished fifth on Saturday at the GVA race in Hasselt. First, he got his bike tangled up on one of the posts (see the highlights below). Then he got a flat tyre. Surely he wasn't the victim of a little voodoo spell himself. Wellens won the race, followed by Pauwels and Peeters. But Nys was back on the top step of the podium on Sunday in the snowy and muddy conditions at the Superprestige race in Hamme-Zogg, finishing ahead of Vantornout and Wellens. He seems to be at his best when the conditions are at their nastiest.

GVA highlights:




Superprestige highlights:




On this side of the Atlantic, Trebon got back to winning races in Southampton, NY. He took the men's race on Saturday ahead of Powers and Todd Wells. In the women's race it was Gould once again, ahead of Lynne Bessette, who came out of retirement for the weekend, and Natasha Elliott. On Sunday, Todd Wells won the men's race, ahead of Driscoll and Trebon. Gould doubled up in the women's race, ahead of Bessette again, and Laura Van Gilder.

Over in the FGBC CX Pool, over half the teams have been stung with the loss of either Albert or Boom or both. Eight teams, however, remain intact: David S, Vic, Chris A, Jonny M, Dallas, Adam, Ian, and Rachel. Of these, the best placed is Jonny M. He's also been smoking hot in the North American races lately, with Trebon, Todd Wells, and Gould on his team. He had the best weekend of the bunch, with 1295 points, and moves into second place overall. He's still over 400 points behind Gary, and the the North American series is winding down. But perhaps he can pull it off. David S had a good weekend as well, finishing with just 100 points fewer than Jonny. He weasles his way into the top five. But Gary didn't fare too badly. He got 1070 points and actually has a bigger lead this weekend than last. Full spreadsheet here.

Weekend Results:

Jonny M 1295
David S 1195
Gary 1070
Rachel 895
Paddy & Naomi 845
Dallas 840
Charlene 825
Adam 805
Chris H 755
Vic 750
Deanna 705
Chris A 640
Matt 575
Ian 535
Bill 535
Olli 520
Hal 415
Brad 360
Andy 355
Tomek 320
Jonny G 320


Overall Standings:

Gary 7020
Jonny M 6600
Chris H 6475
Rachel 5865
David S 5780
Deanna 5645
Charlene 5595
Paddy & Naomi 5505
Olli 5470
Chris A 5260
Matt 5160
Tomek 5145
Jonny G 5120
Brad 4350
Hal 4325
Dallas 4320
Andy 4280
Adam 4260
Vic 4240
Ian 4180
Bill 4180

GNR

It will probably be disappointing, but I have to say I'm still excited. If nothing else, though, the album cover artwork is sweet.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

NC Grand Prix, Day 2


For some reason, it's not until the second lap that I start feeling right. Once I reach that point, I feel like I can go forever. Definitely longer than the 45 minutes they give us. Unfortunately, I'm usually somewhere in the back third of the pack by then. As others start to fade, I leapfrog ahead and move a little closer to the front, usually finishing somewhere between 10th and 15th place. So it's not so much the start I need to work on as the second half of the first lap and the first half of the second. Same old script today. Hung on to the back of the lead train for about half a lap. Lost contact and even got passed by a few. And then felt strong for the last 4 laps, re-passing all the passers and a few more. I ended up basically trading punches with one other guy all race long. We took turns attacking one another for several laps, but neither of us could shake the other. It turns out he was the same dude who was wearing the Special Edition Haiku Jeff Wool Jersey in that picture from yesterday. He was also wearing a black, red, and white jersey named after a local brewery. Wierd. If the FGBC is looking for a sister club in Nashville, it seems like there's a good match. Anyway, he got the better of me in the end. But I still managed my best finish so far: 11th place. Full results here. Still not the top 10, though. There's only one race left.

Overall, the course was awesome. Not really like anything we've done in Winnipeg. Fast and flowing with long, swooping corners. But there were also enough tricky bits to keep you on your toes. This was the host race of the same group that oversees the entire series. They put on a really good, well organized event. And people have responded by driving from all over the southeast for the weekend.

You MUCR folks will be pleased to know that the sweetest skinsuit in the world is getting some some attention--and not only from me riding it through the tape. As I was riding a cool down lap with the Special Edition Haiku Jeff Wool Jersey dude, someone yelled out that our outfits made us look like we were from Rock Racing squad. Thanks, but I don't think so. A lot of people really seem to hate those guys. I am not one of them. I actually find them kind of refresshing. Kind of like the yang to Garmin's squeeky clean, prep school yin (Tyler Hamilton ended up on the wrong team). It's just that Michael Ball's got nothing on the poosher.


Don't be afraid of the dark: Special Edition Haiku Jeff Wool Jersey
leading the Sweetest Skinsuit in the World.


They call it the wall. It was steep.


In the Cat 4 race, more than one person fell
and tumbled all the way back down to the bottom.
Fortunately the sweetest skinsuit in the world did not hit the ground.


This time, we stuck around to watch the elite men's race. Jeremian Bishop won again. Yesterday he won a close one in a sprint out of a group of four. Today he was off the front with Steve Tilford and Russell Stevenson from the first lap. Jonathan Baker got the hole shot and led early on. But Tilford attacked and got a huge gap. Stevenson bridged up first. And by the end of the first lap, Bishop had crossed the gap as well. They worked well together, extending their lead with each lap. On lap three, Bishop crashed right in front of me on a sandy off-camber turn leading up to the wall. He went down hard and Stevenson attacked immediately, getting a decent sized gap. But by the next lap, Bishop had caught back up. And then with two laps to go, he stepped on the gas. By the time he came back around for the bell lap, he held a 30 second lead and cruised to a win that no doubt looked a lot easier than it really was. Stevenson beat Tilford for second place.


No, no. Not like that.


Much better.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

NC Grand Prix, Day 1

The sweetest skinsuit in the world's American debut didn't go exactly as planned. It started out well enough. We finally got some real cx weather: -5 when they blew the whistle. The sweetest skinsuit in the world handled that nicely. I think I was the only one in shorts. Most had jackets on. Suckers. The plan was to use my Nordic Cross hardened psyche as a big advantage. Decent start off the line. After the first lap I was hanging in the top 10, or at least close to it. But two dumb crashes on the second lap quickly altered the plan. First, some dude in front of me slammed on the brakes heading into a tight corner. And I went through the tape while trying to avoid him. Then, only a couple of hundred metres further, trying to make up the ground I'd just lost, I overshot a corner and went through the tape again. Dumb. All of a sudden, the goal changed from a top ten finish to seeing how many people I could catch. I think I was up to around eight or so in the next two laps when my left crank arm came off. I'd felt something a little loose, but assumed it was my cleat and kept riding. Apparently it was not my cleat. Dr. DNF. Damn. Hopefully things go a bit better tomorrow. The course was super sweet. Fast, but still lots of fun. And easily the best set-up course I've ever ridden. I can't wait for another crack at it. That's the nice thing about double crosses. You don't have to wait a full week to try and redeem a crappy day.


Jeremiah Bishop won the elite race. We didn't stick around to watch though. It was back to Asheville for the Santa Claus parade. I dropped off the rest of the gang and went in search of a bike shop. They got it all fixed up and ready to go again for tomorrow. Made it back for the last few floats.

Asheville, by the way, is a sweet town. Lots of bikes, artists, musicians, good restaurants, galleries, etc. Of course, the mtb trails are pretty awesome around here too. Definitely worth a visit. Hint, hint.


This is what a Santa Claus parade in a bike-friendly town looks like.


The dude was playing Freebird. Sweet.


Special edition Haiku Jeff wool jersey?


Belt buckles are awesome.


A bar specializing in Belgian beer. Right on.

Friday, November 21, 2008

This Sounds Promising

Courtesy of cyclingnews.com:
North Carolina hosts weekend of UCI cyclo-cross

By Peter Hymas

UCI cyclo-cross returns to western North Carolina for the fourth consecutive year at the North Carolina Grand Prix in Hendersonville on Saturday and Sunday, November 22 to 23. UCI C2 events for elite men and women on both days highlight a full schedule of racing at the Jackson Park venue.

Race Director Tim Hopkin, who conveniently also oversees Jackson Park through his employment at the Henderson County Parks and Recreation Department, is looking forward to the crown jewel of the North Carolina Cyclo-cross Series. "There's some big talent coming in this weekend," said Hopkin to Cyclingnews. "Steve Tilford is coming back, there's Jeremiah Bishop plus some riders from Washington, Utah and Colorado. We'll get to see how [local rider] Will Black fairs versus the influx from out-of-state. I'm always impressed how the homegrown riders handle the competition."

In addition to Tilford and Bishop, some cyclo-cross strongmen from the western part of the United States – including Bart Gillespie, Russell Stevenson, Jonathan Baker and Jake Wells – have opted to duel for UCI points in North Carolina instead of at the country's only other UCI races being held further north in Southampton, New York.

While the North Carolina Grand Prix has always had other UCI events on the calendar to potentially draw riders away, Hopkin has been pleased with his event's attendance over the years. "In 2005 there were only competitors within driving distance, but in the last three years we've had riders flying here. Riders have enjoyed the course, have enjoyed coming to the mountains and have spread the word to their friends."

For more information on the North Carolina Grand Prix visit www.nccyclocross.com

Living Barriers

At the start line, two names are drawn randomly from a slightly sweaty velo artisan bread cap. The two people whose names are drawn gain a free pass and are excused from the 60 minutes of suffering that is to commence shortly. Instead they get to lie on the grass and act as living barriers. Wood is so yesterday. Mere words for now, perhaps. Action will follow. Or not.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Right On

Chicks on Bikes, Part II

Thursday Anticipation

1) Nordic Cross? Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me. Is there anyone home?

2) The NC chapter is heading to the mountains for the Hendersonville Grand Prix. The sweetest skinsuit in the world will be making its American debut.

3) The seeds for Darp Cross have been sown: Neubergthal, MB, Spring 2009. More info to come.

4) The Spring ride is only 190 days away. The official adverstising campaign will be commence soon.

5) Anything else?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

tnr report - good news and bad news

good news: three out for the extended ride
bad news: all four bikes on the rack outside the klubhouse had their front tires slashed

yup, other than the nearly legendary seat theft attempt, this is the first real vandalism.


Craig, Patrick and Luke met at 9:30 as planned, had coffee and road around... I beat them and G to the Klubhouse just after 11:00. All good, lots of talk about ingolf and bikes. A few of us step out for some fresh air and note the nasty deed. Patrick had the nearly 2" slash, and the others seemed punctured.

Lovely empathy from the F&H staff... they were madder than those done wrong.

A big tire change event to end the evening... Turns out Craig also had a slash he hadn't noticed, so part of the way home it blows again and he enjoyed a 45minute walk/jog home. Ouch.

Extreme Beer

A New Yorker profile of Sam Calagione, of Dogfish Head Brewery. Brilliant.

For the folks out in EK, there's even a Paraguay connection: Palo Santo brewing barrels. I used to have a guamp made of palo santo. I have to say I preferred it to the horns. The beer's called Palo Santo Marron. Sounds like a must try. Speaking of other hobbies . . . .

An Open Letter to MUCR

First off, let me admit to being completely addicted to cyclocross. I can't get enough. The race ends and, after I finally catch my breath and stop feeling like I'm going to puke, I find myself feeling a little sad that I have to wait another week for the next race.

I also have a lot of spare time on my hands these days. Hanging out in the library all day is good, but you can only do it for so long. Since I don't really know anybody here--and don't particularly want to put in the effort required to change that--I mostly end up taking coffee breaks to talk to myself. Fortunately, there are all kinds of great coffee shops on campus. And I'm easy to entertain. So here are a few ideas that have emerged out of those conversations with myself in the last little while. Some are no doubt better than others. Take them for whatever they're worth. There are no doubt more and better ideas out there. But now's the time to start thinking about next year.

CX in MB is already good. But it could be even better.

1) Longer Season

Starting in mid-September leaves us with just a two month season. That's too short. In Winnipeg, cyclocross weather arrives already in mid-August.


2) Altona Grand Prix

What if we were to add a second race in Altona? It sounds like we might be able to use the motocross course, just outside of town. So two races on two entirely different courses. Motocross Cross on Saturday and Southern Cross on Sunday. The time in between will be filled with a big party. Pixie cross in the afternoon, indoor flat track races in the evening, consumption of the Big Beer Primes, and all manner of other goofy bike-related competitions. It sounds like we might also have access to the main floor of the curling club. Having said that, we don't want to screw up a good thing. And Southern Cross the past few years has been more than good. Would people be willing to stick around for two races? Perhaps even travel from, say, Lethbridge. If it's early enough, there's camping. If not, perhaps the many FGBC connected folks would be willing to host a racer or two for the night.


3) Colert Cross

The area in and around Colert Beach in Morden would be perfect for a cx race. Lots of sand, a boardwalk, hills, gravel, and perhaps even some of the lake trail. And the folks at Tinker always put on a good race. I suspect such an event would bring out the locals the same way we've been able to do in Altona.


4) Enduro Cross

Morden/Tinker would work well for this too. Something like the Eden ride, but a round-trip. This would be the conclusion to the MUERTO series.


5) Night race

Everyone else is doing it.


6) Folklorama Cross

We already have the cyclocross booth at Belgian Pavilion. Why not run an actual race sometime during the weekend of Folklorama? There’s no reason we can’t race cyclocross in mid-August. If nothing else, it would provide one more thing we could say to the people who wander by the booth.


7) Menno Cross IV

Next year, it will be part of the CMU Homecoming festivities. It's already scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 26. This will mean more participants, more fans, and generally more good times. Is there any reason it should not be part of the regular 'cross calendar?


8) Points series

Six races in three “double cross” weekends. Altona could be one, if we expand to two races; the Belgian Club might be another. I'd race there two days in a row, especially if there's a party at the Belgian Club in between.


9) Spring Cyclcocross

Why not? Say 4-6 races. On Wednesday nights when there aren't other races going on. There would be time constraints, so only one big starting group.

Thoughts?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Snow?

I was just walking back to the library after my lunch break and for a brief moment you could see small white flakes falling from the sky. And then it stopped. But for a few seconds, at least, you could actually say it was snowing. Wierd. Definitely not your average November weather. High of only 4 C. today. I even busted out the gloves for the ride in this morning. I just thought you folks in Winnipeg might like to know that. The funny thing is, the stores are probably out of milk, bread, and other "essentials" by now. Once, during half-time of a Duke basketball game, I ran to the supermarket to pick up some beer. There was a light dusting of snow falling. At the checkout line, I started to get the sense that everyone was looking at me like I was from another planet. The weight of their collective gaze was palpable, and I was starting to feel slightly claustrophobic. And then I realized I was the only person in the entire store purchasing something other than milk and bread. People down here go crazy about snow and cold. They've been wearing toques and parkas for weeks. Crazy southern folk. At least there's one thing that allows us to cultivate a sense of superiority.

TNR


Where and when? Have at it. Impaler, I believe you're up first.

Monday, November 17, 2008

FGBC CX Pool Roundup

The organizers of the USGP series take forever to get their results up. They're almost as bad as the MCA. Full results from yesterday's race are still not up. But we finally have everything we need as far as the FGBC CX Pool goes.

At the muddy Mercer cup, Johnson beat Todd Wells and Trebon on Saturday. The Wells brothers ganged up on the field on Sunday. They finished 1-2, while Jeremy Powers finished in 3rd. Georgia Gould swept the womens races. Nash and Bruno Roy rounded out the podium on Saturday. On Sunday, it was Nash again in 2nd place, followed by Rachel Lloyd in 3rd.

Interesting to see a couple of locals from NC in the elite field. They didn't fare so well: 41st, 51st, and 64th on Saturday. Hopefully things went a little better on Sunday.

Over in Belgium, Sven Nys found himself back on the top step of the podium in another muddy affair. Bart Wellens finally raced like the badass we expect him to be. He had his best race of the season so far, finishing second. Klaas Vantornout was third. Lars Boom did not have a great race. He finished in 7th place. In the women's race, Katie Compton finally picked up her first European win of the season. Van den Brand and Cant rounded out the podium.

Highlights of the men's race here:



The biggest news of the weekend didn't happen in any of these races. Neils Albert impaled himself on his stem while warming up on Sunday's Superprestige race in Gavere, Belgium. He was carried off the course on a stretcher and spent the night in ICU with a torn spleen. I believe he's out of ICU now, but still in the hospital. Needless to say, he won't be racing anytime soon. All of a sudden, those who picked Stybar or Vantornout instead of Albert get a sudden boost. Watch here.

Apparently Tim Johnson injured himself on Saturday too. He stayed in the race to grab his win, but didn't take to the start line on Sunday.

In the FGBC CX Pool, Jonny M had a nice weekend. He picked up 1105 points, mostly on the strength of the two USGP races. Gary had another good week. With 920 points, he stretches his lead back to over 200 points. Deanna continues to do well too. She moves ahead of Tomek into 6th overall. Full scoring spreadsheet here.

Weekend Results:

Jonny M 1105
Gary 920
Deanna 805
Chris H 790
Matt 760
Charlene 740
Rachel 715
David S 705
Dallas 645
Chris A 635
Jonny G 630
Bill 595
Tomek 595
Olli 565
Vic 565
Paddy & Naomi 560
Hal 560
Andy 520
Brad 515
Adam 505
Ian 495


Overall Standings:

Gary 5950
Chris H 5720
Jonny M 5305
Rachel 4970
Olli 4950
Deanna 4940
Tomek 4825
Jonny G 4800
Charlene 4770
Paddy & Naomi 4660
Chris A 4620
Matt 4585
David S 4585
Brad 3990
Andy 3925
Hal 3910
Bill 3645
Ian 3645
Vic 3490
Dallas 3480
Adam 3455

Black is the New Black

The sweetest skinsuit in the world has arrived in Durham, North Carolina. They're not kidding when they say "skin." Yes, it looks awesome. No, I will not pose in it for a photo. But I can't wait to wear it this weekend in Hendersonville. Do you think they will notice my gut?

Grudge Cross Results


Perhaps someone who was actually there can help translate for the rest of us. It looks like Dave D successfully defended his title, ahead of Welcome-Back-Paddy and Luc. After that, I'm lost.

Sandhell



Once more, from the top.

When I was younger--much younger--I couldn't get enough of playing in the sand. Sandbox, beach, you name it. To be in the sand generally meant that good times were at hand. Once, on our way back from Sharm el Sheikh, we stumbled upon a huge sand mountain that seemed to spring up out of nowhere in the middle of the Sinai Penninsula. We stopped for about an hour to run, jump, tumble, etc. It was one of the best days of my then-13 year old life. I've even had dreams about that day.

But if sand is to make an appearance in one of my dreams any time soon, it will most certainly be a nightmare. Yesterday's course in Southern Pines dealt out a hand full of pain--most of it concentrated in the sandy run-up from hell. Southern Pines is more well-known for its golf courses. But in the cyclocross community, it's know for its sand. They say that the sandhills are what's left of the shore when the ocean once came this far in land. Whether that's true or not, there's plenty of sand that somehow found its way to that part of the state. The course featured both a steep, sandy downhill switchback not unlike the one on the Epinette trail. And then a hill about twice as long as Altona's with ankle-deep sand the whole way up. It was like running in water and heading up the down escalator--both at the same time. You feel like you're giving it everything and yet you're moving in slow motion. Step after energy sapping step, it seemed to go on forever. And of course it got longer and harder with each consecutive lap. That there was a crowd of people lining both sides of the course seemingly unable to comprehend the difficulty of this feat didn't exactly help matters. The barriers were about 300 meters past the top of the hill. Many were still suffering the effects of the run-up by the time they go there. This made what otherwise seemed to be a fairly straightforward pair of barriers rather amusing at times.

If it wasn't the sand, it was the phlegm. I've been fighting a bit of a cold for the last little while, so the phlegm producing organs in my body seem to be working overtime. After finishing two laps, it was time to remove some of it from my throat, lest an Unger-style catastrophe occur. I mustered as powerful a spit as I could. But the viscosity level of my phlegm is pretty high these days. And I was riding into a headwind at the time too. So it snapped back like an elastic band and ended up splattered all over my chin and the sweetest jersey in the world. Somehow it also ended up on my bars and brake levers. This made them rather slippery, which in turn made the next trip down the sandy switchback even more interesting than the last lap. The crowd must have been wondering what I was laughing at in a part of the course that left most others cursing.

Fortunately, the phlegm and the sand did not get combined--at least inside my throat. That could have been deadly.

All in all, an awesome course. Easily the best course of the series so far. 

21 lined up at the start line. I finished 13th. I thought I'd managed to catch a dude in a final sprint to the line to finish 12th. But apparently not. Results here. Overall series standings here.

Next weekend is the big North Carolina Grand Prix. Back to the mountains for two days of racing and cyclocross festivity. Hopefully my MUCR skinsuit will be here by then.






Saturday, November 15, 2008

Prizes

As we all know, there is plenty of room for improvement in that department. Specifically we have much to learn from the European cyclocross and six day race scenes:




Next year in Altona: Big Beer Primes.

Of Montreal

The 19th best invention of 2008, according to Time Magazine:


It's not so much the concept itself that the folks at Time were so excited about. That is nothing new by now. It's the little touches that make them both accessible and yet likely to survive the inevitable abuses of life in the city:
The modular bike-rack stations are Web-enabled and solar-powered. The bicycles are designed with tons of sealed components to resist the savage beatings they will undoubtedly receive, and they're equipped with RFID tags so they're easily trackable.
I'm there for a conference next October. Can't wait to check them out. More info here.

The top-rated invention, by the way, was a retail DNA test. This could prove useful, for example, in ensuring that you don't accidentally end up married to your sister.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Power Brands on The Office

The episode kind of sucked, I thought. But there was some Peg City product placement. It was subtle and rather fleeting, though. So in case you missed it:

Or is it Dill Pickle?


Chicks on Bikes

Thursday, November 13, 2008

sweetest jersey order update

Despite some frustrating confusion from our jersey representative over at Champ-Sys, I've finally been assured that our order will ship late this month... we may have new jerseys in time for Christmas.

I regret not ordering another one, but I'm barely doing justice to the one I have... and I spent the money on Campy cranks and brakes for the Puch... had to substitute sweetness for sweetness.

Art is Awesome; So are Cities

Thursday Anticipation Special Supplement:


To what extent do perspectives on the nature of urban life acknowledge the role of artists and other creative thinkers in the organic versus constructed evolution of city dynamics? How can a local arts policy help a city move toward intelligent and sustainable incorporations of creativity that embrace challenging practices and empowering critique as part of a healthy social and political process and framework for equitable development?
More information here and here.

Thursday Anticipation

1) Get yer grudge on:
2) Meanwhile, down in NC, the cx season is just heating up. This week: Plumbing Knight Cross. Sponsorship is a good thing, I suppose, but it sure makes for some goofy race names. This one's in an area called the Sandhills, and the course is known for its long, sand run-up. Sandhell Cross. Perfect. Pre-race media coverage here.

Trouble Brewing at the (other) FGBC

Oh no! Our brewmaster's gotten the boot. The president's pal Orest is now in charge.

Some quotes:
Brian Harris, CEO of Russell, said the move had nothing to do with Saville's skills as a brewmaster, but with a change in corporate philosophy.

Harris said the company is in the process of putting its money and marketing strength behind a number of "power" brands and some less-popular brands will likely be phased out.
Power brands? Sounds ominous. Next they'll probably decide to drop their eponymous cycling team. The script is all too familiar. Full story here.

Michael Barry on CX in the NYT

Barry's a good writer. The NYT is a good newspaper. And CX is the sweetest kind of bike racing around. It's a perfect match. Last weekend's race in TO provides the backdrop. Wasn't the poosher there? He should provide a brief race report, don't you think? Or at least a photo. For now, however, Barry will have to do. Read it here.

Bourkevale Results, Take II

Let's try this again, shall we?. Corrected results right here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

High Times

Let us return for a moment to the topic of tall bikes. You will recall that on Labor Day weekend out in Asheville, NC Michael Mooney took a serious shot at the tall bike record held by our friend Terry G. I have done a little further research and some hands on investigative reporting to bring you the following report. Terry's bike was 18 ft, 5 inches tall. He rode it more than 1000 ft. to establish a new world record on June 26, 2004. Michael Mooney's bike was listed at 43 ft. That's more than twice the height of Terry's! If you're going to play, you may as well play hard. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective) he didn't meet the minimum distance requirement and so officially failed in his attempt to shatter the record for the world's tallest rideable bike. So Terry holds on to his record for now. I have a feeling, though, that Mooney's going to take it one of these days. He came very close on his last attempt, but the bike was damaged as it fell.

For the linguistically challenged, here is a visual comparison:

18 ft, 5 inches


43 ft


By contrast, I rode this tall(ish) bike the other day. We didn't do an official measurement. But it probably comes in at around 5 or 6 ft. That was plenty high for me. Trying to navigate the rather narrow path around the pool was particularly precarious. But I managed successfully to complete a lap.

Where two of you are gathered...

The Impaler and I had a lovely ride last evening. We hit up the forks for a cup of coffee to star things off. Always a good start. Then we headed up to the Belgian war memorial across from the Belgian Club. Turns out there was a lot less action there than we had anticipated. It looked like one or two folks had been there during the day and dropped off some flowers but that was about it. So there was some brief banter about how sucky it would be to be drafted as a kid and end up face down in the mud like the dude on the statue and off we rolled.
The klubhaus was busy as ever. We shared a pint or two and called it a night. They kicked us out at 12. No problem as I need the sleep.

Till next week...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Watch Your Back, Gary

In a rare mid-week race (is it a holiday in Belgium too?), Lars Boom took his second consecutive victory over Albert and Nys at the Jaarmarktcross in Niel, Belgium (GVA #2). It wasn’t even close. Boom shattered the competition, leaving a trail of grimacing, tormented bodies in his wake. Albert was 45 seconds back, and Nys was over a minute behind. Look out. Powerful Sven Nys has been humbled by the younguns for two races in a row. In fact, the top five finishers were identical to Sunday’s race: Boom, Albert, Nys, Wellens and Sven Vanthourenhout. Full results, report and photos here:

It all added up to a sweet win for yours truly in the FGBC CX Pool. In addition to Boom and Albert, Aernouts, Groenendaal, and Soetens finished 6th, 8th, and 17th, respectively, to add up to a nice one-day total of 435 points. Gary could only muster 300 points today. So his near 250 point lead is all of a sudden down to 100. Deanna finished second today, with 365 points, while Jonny G tied with Paddy & Naomi at 340 points. Meanwhile, Tomek cracks the top five for this first time this year. It comes at the expense of Jonny M. All of these guys, along with Olli and Rachel, find themselves in a really tight group that sits just back of the blistering early pace being set by Gary and me. There are 645 points between first and third place, while third through seventh are separated by just 285 points. Full scoring spreadsheet here.

You can find the last lap (i.e., laatste ronde) here. Highlights here.

Today’s Results:

Chris H 435
Deanna 365
Paddy & Naomi 340
Jonny G 340
Hal 335
Andy 320
Gary 300
Olli 300
Ian 285
Bill 285
Tomek 280
Charlene 270
David S 265
Chris A 265
Vic 240
Adam 230
Brad 205
Matt 205
Rachel 190
Jonny M 185
Dallas 130


Overall Standings:

Gary 5030
Chris H 4930
Olli 4385
Rachel 4255
Tomek 4230
Jonny M 4200
Jonny G 4170
Deanna 4135
Paddy & Naomi 4100
Charlene 4030
Chris A 3985
David S 3880
Matt 3825
Brad 3475
Andy 3405
Hal 3350
Ian 3150
Bill 3050
Adam 2950
Vic 2925
Dallas 2835

To Remember is To Ride Your Bike


Further details to be determined by you.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bourkevale Results

Here.

But see the following note from Scott:
Please note: These are the results that we received following the race, but our gut feeling is that some of the results are inaccurate (based on what we saw of the race ourselves, and based on where many 'regular' participants ususually slot in). We are speaking with others to determine what adjustments need to be made. If you are reading the results and see any obvious corrections feel free to email us at scott[AT]thetrainingcoop.com. We're sorry for this inconvenience, and hope that accurate results will be posted soon (please check back).
And just like that, the season's over. Nicely done boys and girls. Next year will be even better.

MBCX: Done


Stolen from Tom K, via the trainingcoop. Lots more photos there. No results yet, but presumably they'll be up soon.

Is Gary the New Andy?

Just one race in the FGBC CX Pool this weekend. But it was a World Cup race, so there were plenty of points up for grabs. It looks like Sven Nys finally has some competition this year. Boom and Albert were both able to drop him on the third lap. Boom grabbed the win, his first big one of the season, while Nys took third ahead of Wellens. Full results and report here.

Watch the final lap. A nice little battle between the two young guns. I love how they run the course through the shore of the lake, or whatever that body of water is. We could do that in Morden. There's lots of potential for a race in and around Colert Beach, don't you think? There's climbing, grass, sand, gravel, maybe even a bit of the lake trail. Isn't there even a boardwalk? Beach Cross 2009. Anybody?



The women's race saw the return of Katie Compton from a leg injury that's been keeping her on the shelf for the last few weeks. She's didn't lose much of her good form, though. She takes second behind defending world champ Hanka Kupfernagel. Wendy Simms finished in 14th.

As far as the pool goes, Jonny G picked up 765 points to win the day ahead of Tomek and Hal, who finished with 740 and 730, respectively. Gary still holds a lead of almost 250 points and doesn't show any signs of slowing down, especially now that Compton is back and Todd Wells has found the podium steps. Meanwhile, the king of last years inaugural FGBC CX Pool is languishing in the bottom third of the standings. He's barely ahead of Hal. And Vic, who finished last year in second place, is sitting dead last. What is going on?

Gary 4730
Chris H 4495
Olli 4085
Rachel 4065
Jonny M 4015
Tomek 3950
Jonny G 3830
Deanna 3770
Paddy & Naomi 3760
Charlene 3760
Chris A 3720
Matt 3620
David S 3615
Brad 3270
Andy 3085
Hal 3015
Ian 2865
Bill 2765
Adam 2720
Dallas 2705
Vic 2685

Full spreadsheet here.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

FGD on NBC

Sticking with the topic of what's on TV this week, Thursday is the day Michael Scott and the folks at Dunder Mifflin leave Scranton for a visit Winnipeg. Among the many Peg-centric props that were sent down to LA for the fimling were such FGBC favourites as Old Dutch potato chips and Fort Garry Brewing paraphernalia. Sweet. To make it even more authentic, they probably should have flown a few FGBCers down to ride their bikes around the fake hotel--or perhaps through its lobby--all kitted up in the sweetest jersey in the world. Maybe next season.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

David Suzuki Presents

. . . Copenhagen. And specifically its impressive bike culture and cycling infrastructure. All part of a documentary on sustaibable energy, and what Canada might learn from Europe.

More info on his visit to Copenhagen here and here. The Vancouver Sun also has an article, in which he tears Vancouver a new asshole by arguing that its self-image as a bike friendly city is nothing compared to Copenhagen:
"You have to be a road warrior with helmets and reflective strips to brave Vancouver streets on a bike," he said. "In Copenhagen they are in their street clothes, in high heels."
"We always hear about how liveable our city is and how great our bike culture is," Cullis-Suzuki said.
"That's such a load."
"When the emphasis is on people, rather than cars, you end up with a very different city," Suzuki said.
The episode airs next Sunday, Nov. 16. You're supposed to be able to watch the trailer here, but it seems a little finicky.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Nice Rack, Part III


Here's the money quote: "It's just as easy to build an attractive, functional item as it is an ugly one, so why not do it?" And no, it's not from NYC or Chicago or San Francisco, but Sioux Falls, SD. If they can do it, why not Winnipeg? Full story at USA Today.

The Other Southern Cross

Did anyone else see this on cyclingnews.com? Exactly what we've been talking about to round out the MUERTO series next year. A 50 mile cyclocross race based on Iron Cross and Three Peaks. It's not too far away from here. So it might be worth checking out if there are still spots available.
Southern US gets new endurance 'cross event

By Laura Weislo

The Southeastern United States will have its first long-distance cyclo-cross race in 2009. The Southern 'Cross presented by BH Bikes, will take place on January 24, 2009 in Ellijay, Georgia. Promoted by 55nine Performance's Namrita and Eddie O'Dea, the 50-mile race is loosely modelled on Pennsylvania's Iron 'Cross.

"We have a local race series that has become very successful, and a lot of people come down South to race and train because it's warmer," explained Namrita O'Dea. "We've had a lot of good feedback on the idea, but because of parking issues, we've had to limit the number of entries to 50 riders."

Despite the limit to entrants, O'Dea is encouraging spectators to come out to watch riders tackle the course, which will include a short circuit on the Mulberry Gap property and a 45 mile loop. "The long loop is mainly gravel roads with a lot of climbing with similar terrain to the Cohutta 100," said O'Dea. "Mulberry Gap has 15 acres, and we'll use its natural cyclo-cross terrain – hills for steep run-ups and natural barriers, to make a spectator-friendly circuit to finish off the race."

Southern 'Cross will be the third race the O'Deas will be promoting in 2009, and their future could see more cyclo-cross races. "We have some other ideas, but we don't want to add more than one race a year. We want to do a good job with it so we don't want to add too much. We're constantly gauging where the interest lies. Right now it's moving from the long endurance stuff to shorter, and a lot of people are racing cyclo-cross."

The Southern 'Cross will have categories for men, women, single speed and fixed geared bikes.

For more information and to register, visit www.55nineperformance.com

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Yes.

Thursday Anticipation

1) Transition. Or, the race to settle all scores, sporting or otherwise.It sounds like the chief snowball thrower/tackler/heckler might even make an appearance from out west.

2) But before we get there, we have to finish off this season first. The last race of the 2008 MBCX season is nigh. It looks like another good one.


3) All of which means Nordic Cross is coming soon. Stay tuned.

4) No Nordic Cross for the North Carolina chapter this year. But we are now officially signed up for TMHTE. In true FGBC style, it's as much a party as a bike race. If anyone's looking for a winter vacation idea, you could do much worse than this. Feb. 7-8, 2009. Note, however, that you must find a partner.


Here's the official description:

Starting at Midnight Friday night Feb 6th and racing until Noon Sunday (36 hours) Teams of two riders will race to reach up to 36 checkpoints. There will be six separate stages each with their own mandatory checkpoints and unique format. There will be time trials, specific routes, and PMBAR & Double Dare style 'choose your own adventure' stages all centered around White Pines group campground. There is no entry fee. There will be no prizes. This race will be about glory and suffering, pain and endurance, fun and..... no fun at all. There will be no amenities other than beer, toilets, a campfire, and a light charging station at the campground. You will need to bring EVERYTHING else you may need for the weekend. Please do not underestimate the extreme difficulty of this event. If 150 miles of Pisgah in February isn't your thing.... This isn't your race.

5) And finally, it is worth pointing out that the Spring Ride Countdown is about to reach another milestone, as it prepares to dip under 200 days. Sweet.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

FGBC CX Pool Roundup

Another round of the FGBC CX Pool is done. The GVA 1 (Koppenbergcross) and SP 2 races went down in Europe, with Nys beating Boom and Albert on Saturday, and then Albert taking it ahead of Boom and Nys on Sunday. Meanwhile over in Boulder, the NAT series continued with races #5 and #6. Tood Wells took the win ahead of Trebon and Johnson in the first one, while Johnson beat Wells and Trebon on day two. It looks like the Koppenbergcross was the race of the weekend: lots of mud and a fabled cobblestone climb made for all kinds of thrills and spills.

See the hightlights here:



Or better yet, watch the whole race here. It looks like all the big European races are available.

Gary continues to enjoy a nice lead the FGBC CX Pool. But beyond that, the top five were reshuffled a bit after the weekend. Full scoring spreadsheet here.

Current Standings:

Gary 4080
Chris H 3870
Rachel 3700
Jonny M 3665
Olli 3410
Charlene 3265
Tomek 3210
David S 3185
Deanna 3180
Paddy & Naomi 3140
Chris A 3125
Jonny G 3065
Matt 3025
Brad 2690
Dallas 2415
Andy 2360
Vic 2355
Adam 2345
Hal 2285
Ian 2220
Bill 2155

Fall Colors

That's what they call it. It's big time tourist season in the western part of the state. At its peak, in mid-October, cars are lined up bumper to bumper on the Blue Ridge Parkway to catch a glimpse of the changing leaves. And with the in-laws in town for a visit last weekend, it was a perfect excuse for a trip to the mountains for some spelunking, mountain climbing, and just taking in the scenery.






That there was a cyclocross race out there on Sunday was a happy coincidence. NCCX #4 in Lenoir. The course was fast and not at all technical. Other than a short, easy stair run-up and a pair of barriers, it was all grass and double-track through the trees. No sand. No mud. Not even anything that would count as a hill. One would think that the point of hosting a cx race in the mountains would be to take advantage of the climbs. Apparently not. It was also a rather long course. Right around 3.5 kms. In general the courses seem to be quite a bit longer down in Tar Heel land. They also shortchanged us a lap. Our 45 minute race ended in just over 30 minutes. Which sucks because I'd been passing 2-3 riders per lap since the first one. In the end, enother mid-pack finish for me: 16th out of 25. Good times, though. It's sweet to have so many good racers out. Once the MUCR skinsuit shows up, I'm gunning for the top 10. Or at least more than the 2 series points that everyone who finishes 16th and lower receives. Results here. See also the overall series standings. Most significantly, scroll down and look at all the names on the list. Some of those are doubled up, since some of the masters racers also race in another category. But there's still around 400 racers who've done at least one race in the series. MUCR, we have some work to do. But it's also worth noting that this series is a result of the efforts of a similar group that calls themselves NCCX. See the history here. You will notice some familiar names among the series winners: Ryan Trebon, Jesse Anthony, Adam Craig. I also noticed that some of the guys I'm lining up alongside are past winners of the Pro/1/2 series. That explains why they're so fast.





Tuesday, November 04, 2008

super psycho provincial pics

a mixed bag of pictures (photographers: alberto, tinker tim, cam). okay here is the cool thing, i get an email from vince (?) saying he was at race and wanted to share some pictures he took with us...well here they are.

TNR


Where and when to meet to be determined. Eventually.

Monday, November 03, 2008

a bike club video

grand analog is a fairly sweet outfit from Winnipeg. Saw them at the folk fest this summer... bought the iTunes 'cause I liked it so much... now this:

We Have Results

Provincials.


Right on.

Supercross Photos

A bunch of them right here. Courtesy of Chris A. Probably more to come. It sounds like there were as many photographers as racers.

These two are my favourites:

SJITW.



Results coming soon, for both Supercross and Provincials. But probably not before tomorrow. It seems I can only upload those at Duke, and I'm not heading in today.