Friday, July 31, 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thursday Anticipation

1) Operación MUERTO

The final assignment is just over two weeks away. 8 Hours of sweet singletrack at Birch. And for those who aren't up for the solo edition, take note of the team options. Day licenses available. Who is in?



2) Cyclocross is Coming

This is how you do the barriers, Brad:


Yes, we are still waiting for Olympia to change their TBDs into actual locations. Until then, the MUCR advertising campaign must remain virtual. But it sure would be nice if these postcards would actually show up somewhere, don't you think?

The FGBC, at any rate, is ready to go. In addition to Southern Cross, this year Menno Cross moves out of the black market and sqarely onto-the-grid. It was always awesome. This year it will be even awesomer.

Stop the Presses


Yes, that photo is correct. No photoshopping. Just the raw visual facts. The Secretary showed up at Bur Oak last night for the Wednesday Night Race. I especially like how the sweetest jersey in the world is accompanied by the sweetest socks in the world. Very classy. It seems the Secretary is out to give the Vice President of Style a run for his money. He was praying for rain, the absence of zip ties, or anything else that might serve as an excuse to pull the plug. But the plug would not get pulled. There were zip ties. And the rain held up just long enough for us to get the race in, before it started pouring again on the way back home. So the Secretary raced his bike! And he was awesome. His awesomeness is confirmed in this post-race photo, where he reports on how it went.


As for the rest of us, after the last WNR our goals were simply not to finish last in our respective fields. And I am happy to report that we all successfully achieved those goals. The results show that Jonny G and Craig finished one second apart from each other. They were 7th and 8th, respectively, in the Comp race. I finished 6th in the Expert race. It sounds so much better than third-last. In the Sport race, the Secretary finished a respectable 9th place in his debut performace. And the President rolled in just behind him in 10th.

Back at the presidential palace after the race, there was post-race cake and a further recounting of Tuesday night's sweet ride. The Secretary suggested that it ranks, for him, among the very best TNRs of all time. Perhaps even the best. He was pretty pleased to have completed the airport circumnavigation project. It has been a few years in the works. He was also pleased to show off the fact that the Puch is just about ready for the road. All it needs is the bartape now. Expect to see it out next Tuesday night.


The Secretary's presence contributed to a impressive turnout for the FGBC. For the past two WNRs, we'd been significantly outmanned as RRR showed up with a truckload full of racers. But last night the FGBC finally had the larger team. In fact, the five of us comprised more than 10% of the overall field. KK did all he could to fly the flag for the mushy breakfast cereal boys. He finished third in the Comp race. But a couple of no-shows left him feeling vulnerable, alone, and surrounded by darkness. When all the results were tabulated, it added up to a convincing 70-20 victory for the dark side. We have reclaimed the lead. We are, however, still waiting on the results from Sunday. But for now, the scoreboard looks like this:

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

TNR Report

A stellar night of riding. It was more than a little different than the usual TNR. Last night will surely go down as one of the more memorable TNRs in the long and illustrious history of the FGBC. First off, it was record setting in a number of ways. 18 riders showed up at the HQ, among them five TNR rookies: Greg W, Brian S, Chris D, Graham W, and Dave P. We also saw the return of an old friend and FGBC veteran. Welcome back Bergen! And yet, as some joined us for the first time, for others it was the last Tuesday Night Ride for a while. Patrick is off to Toronto to spend some time cruising the hallways of the ivory tower known as the U of T. Good luck, Patrick. There were so many people out last night that we did not all fit around the table back at the F&H. The first time we've every had to colonize multiple tables at the klubhaus. The ride itself was punctuated by a record number of flat tyres (two) and more than the usual quota of crashes (I counted at least five). We finally managed the succesful completion of the much-discussed circumnavigation of the airport. Until last night, the missing link had been the gravel/dirt portion of Selkirk Ave. that runs along the north fence. Our arrival on the scene proved to be a bit of a shock to a pair of horny kids that were blocking the path while using their father's pick-up truck as a venue in which to get to know each other just a little more intimately. They experienced a few awkward moments and displayed a panicked, deer in the blinky-light look on their faces as 18 of us led a parade through a part of town that turned out to be quite a bit less secluded than they'd evidently thought. Beyond the young lovers, the road was rocky and rutted. But the large puddles of water and mud that put an end to previous attempts were not in evidence last night. The mountain bikers seemed to have a good time. Those riding skinny-tyred fixies, however, were presented with a bit of a stiffer challenge. But it was not insurmountable. And yet there were several riders who were taken down along this section of the route. The most notable of those was Brian S who, just moments after he came storming through the group and took a flier off the front of the pack, became entangled with KK and wound up landing on top of a particularly pointy rock. As his anguished shrieks pierced the accentuated quietude that marks the moment between planes flying overhead, it seemed as if we might have gotten ourselves into a situation that was going to require some finesse in order to get out of it. But Brian would get back on the bike, eventually, if only to retire early to the klubhouse along with a handful of escorts. The rest of us soldiered on and made it all the way around the airport and back. There was a fair amount of friskiness at the front end of the group, as the pace gradually ramped up until we found ourselves in a full on sprint down Portage as we neared the F&H.

Back at the klubhaus, the newly re-installed bike racks were duly admired. The work of Penner and Brad was so much appreciated, in fact, that the first round was on the house. Thanks guys. And the second round was picked up Dave P. Thanks Dave!

Jonny M was a no-show for his arm-wrestling tie-breaker showdown with Craig. So let the record state that Craig is the winner of Stage 18 of the 2009 FGBC Tour de France Pool.

Toward the end of the evening, things took a rather interesting turn. It was reminiscent of the time we were fêted by Crowbar. But perhaps even creepier. We were paid a surprise visit by a woman named Marilyn and her apparently nameless friend. At first, they zeroed in on Graham. He did not seem to bite at their attempts to draw him into a round of amorous chitchat. Perhaps "Hey there, Babycakes" was not the wisest opening line on their part. And yet they proved to be a resilient pair. That they did not give up easily was convenient, in a way, as it gave the rest of us an opportunity to slip away, one by one, over to the other table. But not before Dave P was victimized by a mild sexual assault--his head was kissed and his back boob-slapped--and Halberto was very nearly the victim of a theft. Marilyn tried to walk off with his bag. In her defense however, she was (a) very drunk and (b) carrying a large red purse of her own. She might simply have been confused.

We finally emerged back to the safety of our bikes, only to discover that Tom's rear tyre was flat. His new-fangled tubeless technology failed him. So he was forced to undertake a long and no doubt somewhat lonely walk back home. Bummer.

All in all, good times. We are a fortunate bunch.

Photographic evidence:









Tuesday, July 28, 2009

TNR


Gianni will be at the clubhouse with the MUERTO hoodies and shirts. Bring him some money if you want your stuff. Shirts - $20. Hoodies - $50. Just kidding. I'm sure it will still be okay to bring money though.

The president reported at our ultimate game last night that we will also get to try out the new and improved bike racks. He and the Impaler installed them (properly) on Saturday.

And finally, we will have another special guest tonight. Greg the Lunchbucket Kid is in town from Hamilton and will be joining us for the ride. Maybe he will be so kind as to share his secrets on vicarious racing success. The Lethbridge Chapter may be there again as well to entertain us with stories from 9 Mile.

For all this and more, meet at my place, 9:30 pm.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Points for Individual Riders

Who was the steal of the 2009 FGBC Tour de France Pool? How about Wiggins? 5th highest, with 966 total points. Or maybe Nicholas Roche, a 520 wild card guy. Who was the biggest bust? There are so many to choose from. Boonen, Menchov, Cadel, Sastre, and many more. Second guess yourself to death right here.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Breathe Out

Well, that was fun. Thanks for playing, everyone. I hope you enjoyed it. I know I did. It will take a little while to come down from the annual TdF high, but we will get there. Before that, we need one more roundup of all the action.

Matt R became the third member of the Durham connection to win a stage in the 2009 FGBC Tour de France Pool. With Cavendish and Renshaw on his squad, he mirrored the outcome in the real race. Add another 10 points from Fabian, and Matt ends up with 285 points and the much coveted victory on the Champs Elysees. RRR's Chris D picked up 230 points for a second place finish. And Prince Dan bagged another podium finish, his third of the race, with a 225 point day. Interested in the real race? How about some Pez.

After all the final results were tabulated, it was time to apply to bonus points--for the final GC and each of the three special jerseys. The big winner on this front was Chris D. He picked up a whopping 1320 points to help catapault him up the overall standings. Melissa was next best with 1275 points. She never ended up winning a stage, but nobody was as consistent from beginning to end. My team's 1260 points were good enough for third place.

As for the final overall standings, things turned out pretty much as we predicted yesterday. Melissa held on to win it all. And a very impressive win it was. Not a bad way to make your vicarious racing debut. Congratulations Melissa! Greg also managed to protect his second place spot from the fireworks that were going off below. That's 4th and 2nd in his first two vicarious races. Do we have a budding superstar on our hands? But after Melissa and Greg, the GC experienced a bit of a violent shakeup. Recall that Andy and Brad were tied for third place heading into the final stage, with Keith and James just off the pace. The King and the Impaler treated us to a thrilling battle for the final podium step over the course of the final week. But James and Keith didn't seem to care. On the strength of their 4th and 5th best totals in the bonus points, they lept ahead and let Brad and Andy duke it out for the bottom half of the top 10. The biggest winner in all this was, you guessed it, The Weasel. James shot up all the way from 6th place to find himself on the podium. Whatever. Keith was just 36 points behind him, slotting in at 4th overall. Brad dropped all the way down to 6th place on the final GC, thanks to Chris D's late power surge. And Andy slid down to 8th place. Having Cadel Evans on his team seemed like a good idea at the time. But I bet Andy would like to have that one back at this point. What happened to our defending champion? Mike entered the 2009 FGBC Tour de France Pool never having lost a vicarious race in three attempts. But his luck has finally run out. Mike ended up 33rd overall. Just ahead of Miriam, who's seven years old. And last but not least, we come to the lanterne rouge. This one remained close all the way to the end. Looking at it last night, LeAnn looked to be in good position to avoid finishing last, because she had 260 bonus points coming her way whereas Mark only had 150. But Mark picked up 185 points today from Renshaw and Bennati to limit his losses. So LeAnn ends up holding on to the lanterne rouge as the last place finisher of the 2009 FGBC Tour de France Pool. She did manage to crack the 1000 point barrier, finishing with 1232 points. But that still left her more than 3700 points behind Melissa.

Out of 55 teams in the pool, here are the top 10:

Melissa H 4959
Greg W 4792
James F 4616
Keith M 4580
Chris D 4557
Brad E 4349
John Wi 4243
Andy L 4239
Chris H 4229
Ian H 4186

Full results and final standings here.

Now of course all of this counted toward the FGBC - RRR FGD Challenge. For a while, it looked like the FGBC was in big trouble. Two weeks into the Tour, RRR had Brad, Mike, and Larry sitting 4th, 5th, and 6th, respectively. Chris D was also in the points, at 13th. The FGBC, meanwhile, only had one team in the Top 20--Paddy in 14th. But in the end, we managed to dodge another bullet. We both ended up with two teams in the Top 20. Mike and Larry evidently peaked too early and fell out of the points. And while Chris D moved up at the end, the Impaler was headed in the other direction. On the strength of a good showing in the final GC and Young Rider competitions, my team moved all the way up to 9th. And Jonny G came on strong, just like he did on the grass track last Wednesday. He wound up 17th overall. Good enough for 5 points in The Challenge. In the final analysis, RRR won this round 34 to 18. We should count ourselves lucky. It could have been much worse. With their victory, RRR has also retaken the overall lead. The see-saw battle continues.


With Mike and Chris doing the provincial road race today, we can expect to concede a little more ground. But hopefully the gap won't get too large before Matt and the Secretary start racing and save the day for the dark side.

SJITW on the Podium

Twice. Well done Paddy and Naomi. You guys are awesome.

3 Hours Left


Naomi is kicking ass too. 12 laps done! Too bad she has no competition. But 70th overall is pretty sweet.

Over Half Way There

Paddy still holding strong. RIght on. Go FGBC!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

What Do We Have Here?

We have ourselves a race, apparently. Not the real race. That was pretty sweet. But as far as the overall standings go, it wasn't really much of a difference maker. Dallas covers all the bases nicely. See Pez if you must. But where the organizers of the real bike race didn't give us the big GC shakeup they were hoping for, the vicarious race stepped up to the plate and belted a grand slam. Melissa looked to have this thing all sewn up. She was ahead by almost 200 points a couple of days ago and she was still ahead by 122 points yesterday. But that precocious kid with the lunchbucket from Hamilton refuses to give up. Greg has pulled to within just 57 points with one more stage to go. And if that wasn't thrilling enough, King Andy has managed to climb his way back onto the podium. It's just that the Impaler is still standing there as well. Amazingly, the two of them are tied for third at 3269 points. And Keith and the Weasel are nipping at their heels. Keith trails Andy and Brad by 14 points and James is 23 points from the final podium step. So with one more stage to go, the final composition of the podium for the 2009 FGBC Tour de France Pool is still very much up for grabs. There's no ceremonial final stage in the vicarious race. It's all out racing right to the finish.

Let's take a moment to cast our gaze toward the future, shall we? There are plenty of points up for grabs once the riders cross the Champs Elysees for the final time. If the GC and three points jerseys were to stay exactly as they are right now, here's what the top five would get:

Melissa 1255
Greg 1155
Andy 795
Brad 940
Keith 1195
James 1220

If that's how it plays out, Melissa would hold on to her lead. And it looks like the Weasel would come from out of the blue to end up on the podium. But we still have one more stage to race. Melissa and Greg both have Hushovd and Farrar, so that's a wash. But there's always a chance that someone could sneak into the top 5 or 10 and gain some points for Greg to steal the win. Not very likely. But you can always dream. It's a little more complicated for third place, as there is more diversity amongst the four teams. But the advantage seems to lie with James at this point. We will know for sure tomorrow.

Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves just yet, though. We still have some daily achievements to recognize. Matt H won the stage today. If anyone deserves the little taste of glory that a stage win offers, it's probably Matt. He's one of the few to have never missed a vicarious race. He was with us for the very first edition of the FGBC Tour de France Pool. And he won it. Or at least one version. That was the year we had to divide things up between the dirty pool and the clean pool. Matt floated to the top of the dirty pool thanks to the efforts of the Chicken, while Rachel won the clean pool because the had the foresight to pick some unknown kid named Contador. Matt's win today demonstrated the importance of the wild card. Garate, his wild card guy, came up with the stage win on Ventoux and the 150 points that go with it. And he got points from Andy Scheck and Pellizotti as well. It all adds up to 315 points for the Vice President of Style. Keith M continued his torrid pace with 300 points and a second place finish. And James, the aforementioned Weasel, was third best with 270 points.

Results and overall standings here.

9 Mile

Paddy is representing the FGBC. And doing a mighty fine job so far, sitting just off the pace in the ss field. Halberto seems not to have recovered from his jet lag. Cam is looking strong. As usual. Luc seems to have run into problems on lap 3. Here's the latest:


Check back later for more.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Grass Track Results

Omnium (i.e., overall results):

Chris 16
Kevin 16
Mike 15
Jonny G 8
Gilles 6
Ken 4
Brad 3
Ian 1
Steve 1

Full race by race results here. Thanks to Gianni for typing it all up.

As for the FGBC - RRR FGD Challenge, RRR wins this round 40-24. But despite being outmanned 4-2, the FGBC manages to hold onto the overall lead. It's just 3 points, though. RRR will be looking to take it back once again on Sunday in Holland. You will be there to stop them, right Cousin Adam? The next big showdown is scheduled to happen next Wednesday at Bur Oak. The way things have played out so far, every little contribution counts. Which is to say, be there.

Weaseled

James has become the 18th different person to win a stage in the 2009 FGBC Tour de France Pool. He had the right combination of riders today, namely Cavendish, Beppu, Armstrong, and Wiggins. Together, they collected 300 points to deliver the Weasel to the podium for an awkward round of kisses. Needless to say, he is quite proud of himself right now. His cheeky grin is so wide, in fact, that he almost choked on it. I think I can see it all the way from Machu Picchu, where he's hiking at the moment. Good thing he's not here to dole out a round of sass. That would be intolerable. We'd have no choice but to secure the permission of Crown Justice to deliver some FGBC-style justice by stealing his jersey again. And then we'd end up with some hurt feelings. The Weasel is hard to stomach when he's grinning impudently from ear to ear. But a whining Weasel is so much worse. It's probably best just to leave everything alone. John Wi took second today, with 275 points. And Keith rounded out the podium. He picked up 265 points. Keith probably hasn't received the attention he deserves. That's because he hasn't made it into the top three in the GC. But he hasn't been that far off. He made it all the way up to 4th overall at one point, and currently sits in 6th place on the GC. John Wi has also been on a good run lately. He's just back of Keith in 7th place. Not bad for two relative newcomes to the world of vicarious racing.

One person who hasn't yet won a stage is Melissa. That is surprising, because she's the only person to have remained among the top three since the race began almost three weeks ago. Not a bad consolation prize. She continues to hold the overall lead with 3349 points. Greg is in second, 122 points back. And Brad the Impaler is holding onto his third place standing. King Andy closed the gap a little bit, though. He's now just 40 points away from taking back his podium spot. In the race for last place, the Fraggle was shut out once again, while Mark S picked up a handful of points. So she solidifes her grip on the lanterne rouge. And Mark now has an 80 point cushion in his bid to avoid the dubious prize.

In the real race, Oscar Freire reminded me why I picked him when he cyclocrossed it through a roundabout with 1.5 km to go.


Original Video- More videos at TinyPic

Cavendish managed to drag himself over the final Cat. 2 climb to take the sprint ahead of Hushovd and Ciolek. That's 5 stage wins for the Manx Mouth. And likely one more to come on Sunday. Not bad. Check out the full story at Pez.

Results and standings here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Boyfriend's Back

Well, almost. Fabian very nearly laid another beating on the field today in the final ITT of this year's TdF. But he got pipped at the line by some pistol toting punk who is refusing to concede anything to anybody these days. Let us just say that this agression will not stand. It is nice to hear, however, that Fabian employed the FGBC post-race rehydration program to help him "calm down" after today's bitter defeat. It only confirms my love for him. Skinny little Andy Schleck managed to hold onto his second place standing. And the man they call the Boss has climbed back onto the third podium step, even though he didn't turn in a very boss-like performance today. There are three guys behind him who are very close. This should make for a nice showdown on Ventoux. Pez it for more.

In the race that really matters, Johnny M and the Cricket tied for the stage win. We sent it to a countback, but it came back all the same. I suppose that had something to do with the fact that they both have the identical combination of Contador, Cancellara, and Moreau on their squads. It happens. In fact, it's a bit surprising that it hasn't happened more often. We've had plenty of ties so far. But they have rarely been for the much ballyhooed honours bestowed upon the day's first place finisher. Rachel and Ramon tied for the win on Stage 14. But it wasn't nearly as crucial a stage, so we let it slide. But we can't do that this time around. After convening with a gaggle of other FGBC heads of state, we have decided to set up a little arm wrestling match at next week's TNR to determine who is entitled to claim sole bragging rites as the winner of Stage 18. Best two out of three. Some will recall that this has happened before. The Secretary and Jonny B once squared off. I believe the Secretary won the match 2-1, but I can't recall what it was for. Anyone? On the other hand, we could just let the results stand. On the plus side, this would allow us to claim that we've had an astonishing 17 different winners over the 18 stages of the Tour that have been completed thus far. Brad the Impaler was third on the day. He had 310 points. Thank heavens nobody ended up tied with him. He'd probably rip your arm out if it came down to an arm wrestle tiebreaker.

In the overall race, we have seen it coming for a while now. But now it has finally happened. King Andy has been unceremoniously tossed from the podium. He'd been on there since the very first stage. But the Impaler has muscled his way onto the final step and pushed our beloved vicarious racing hero from his rightful perch. Brad now sits at 2964 points to Andy's 2914. It's not over yet for Andy. But at the same time, it doesn't look like Brad is through claiming victims just yet either. After today, he's only 88 points back of Greg the Lunchbucket Kid's second place spot, and he's starting to make that funny sound he makes when he's ready to pounce. This is serious, Greg. But don't panic just yet. It doesn't always go well for the Impaler when he gets all excited like that. Meanwhile, Melissa's overall lead continues to grow. It's up to 172 now, as she has reached 3224 points. Wow! Finally, the tie for the lanterne rouge has been broken. Mark S has moved ahead of the Fraggle by 55 points.

Results and standings here.

Thursday Anticipation

Thank goodness for off-the-grid racing. After a busy couple of months in May and June, July has been nothing short of a black hole on the MCA racing calendar. Without grass track and Operación MUERTO, we'd have no doubt forgotten all about the FGBC - RRR FGD Challenge by now. But there is a little action on the horizon to capture our attention for the coming week.

1) Road provincials are this weekend in hilly Holland, MB. We expect Cousin Adam will be there to fly the dark flag. This should be the highlight of the season for our VP Road. And since the race is broken down into age groupings, he won't have to face the dreaded duo of 12 year olds.

2) The WNRS at Bur Oak resumes next Wednesday. The Cricket is back in town. The President says he will be there. Might we even witness the debuts of Matt and the Secretary? We can always dream.

3) Far more exciting than all that, however, we can now see the dawn of the 2009 cyclocross season off in not-so-distant future. The first race is just over a month away. With that in mind, MUCR is gearing up to launch its 2009 advertising campaign. They have prepared a series of postcards that will start appearing around town shortly. There are still a few details left to be finalized. But one of the postcards has been leaked to the press. It's a winner.



The race calendar, which will be printed on the back, is as follows:

MBCX #1 - Aug. 30 - Crescent Drive Park
MBCX #2 - Sept. 20 - Kings Park
MBCX #3 - Sept. 26 - CMU
MBCX #4 - Oct. 4 - Bourkevale/Bruce Park (see the website)
MBCX #5 - Oct. 10 - Belgian Club
MBCX #6 - Oct. 18 - Altona
MBCX #7 - Oct. 25 - Whittier Park
MBCX Provincials - Nov. 1 - Woodhaven
MBCX #8 - Nov. 8 - TBD

After that, we will head to Minneapolis for their state championship race. It takes place on Nov. 14. This year we are sticking around for the party.

There will no doubt also be a number of off-the-grid cx races to fill in the gaps in the calendar. The three week wait between the first and second races on the calendar is particularly problematic. We will find a way to race anyway.

Johnny S and The ABES are busily preparing for the always exciting Southern Cross race in Altona. Sponsors are being lined up as we speak. And they tell us that an all new course is in the works for 2009. They even have a poster ready to go.

Grass Track #2

The special Wednesday edition of Grass Track Fridays was a smashing success. 10 racers showed up to double the size the field we've seen so far.



The Grass Track Czar served up another tasty menu for us. The program consisted of six races, with a nice mix of longer and shorter events as well as individual and team efforts.



Here's Jonny G, Steve S, and Mike G one lap into their two-lap match sprint.



Jonny would go on to win and advance to the final. He is looking strong. Watch out for him when it comes time for cx. Some asses are going to get kicked.

The highlight of the evening: Gilles's wipeout in the last corner of the one lap ITT. He was flying and looked like he might take the win, on a full-suspension mtb no less.

The kids were out in full force too. I counted seven of them. They mostly stuck to the playground. But there were a few brief moments of vigorous cowbell ringing. And the J-Train did take part in the one lap ITT.



Special thanks to Charlene for helping out with the officiating.

Results coming soon. More photos over at RRR.

Good times.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

TNR Report

A night of firsts. First TNR for Paddy since he left us for greener--or at least hillier--pastures just over a year ago. Nice to have him back. We expect a fine showing at 9 Mile. We will be following via the interwebs.

Tom K also made his first appearance of the year. It seems that the enemy known as work has conspired to force him to forgo the regular highlight of the week, not to mention all the MUERTO races so far. That is why the TNR regulars among us don't really work. We just pretend. It's not easy. But after a while, you pick up a few tricks.

And Dallas showed up for his very first TNR. Ever. Fittingly, he was wearing a shirt that reminded us why we love him.



It was, as he said, his Christmas present. Being at the ride, that is. Not the sweet shirt. Though that was a present too. Hopefully Christmas next year will send him our way once again.

As for the ride itself, we stood around some and waited for the Secretary to show up. Paddy brought treats from Lethbridge to help pass the time.



Eventually, we managed to ride over to check out the status of the Pinedale Project. It has a roof and is beginning cast a striking presence on the streetscape with its bold second floor. It took us a while to digest it all. So we stood around some more. Fortunately, this allowed Colin time to get his act together so that he could join us for the rest of the ride.



From there, a quick lap of Whittier seemed in order. As did a trip to our favourite parking garage. Really. We actually did ride our bikes last night. Some of us even broke out into a light sweat.

Luc and Jonny M supplied the pizza. And Dallas was kept the conversation humming along at a steady pace. And, for the first time in a long, long time, the Secretary was not among the last to leave. This is a startling development. We will have to keep an eye on it. Nevertheless, much awesomeness was once again spread throughout the sad city streets.

We Love Gianni

He helps to coordinate clothing orders and gives us good times on the grass track (next up: tonight!). And now Gianni can add winning stages in the FGBC Tour de France Pool to the impressive list of things he does. He scored 260 points today from Contador, Wiggins and Moreau. If anyone deserves it, I think Gianni does. This gives us yet another new victor in the 2009 edition of the pool. That's 15 different stage winners in 17 stages. Not bad. Keith M and Matt R tied for second today with 250 points each. When crafting their teams, both of them went with the assumption that two Schlecks are better than one. That proved to be a good assumption today.

Melissa was the best of the rest. She grabbed another 235 points today. What a sweet run she is on. This was enough to enable her to reclaim the lead from Greg the Lunchbucket Kid. She now has 2949 points to Greg's 2932. It's still very close. King Andy continutes to survive the Impaler's threatening innuendoes. He continues to cling to his third place spot with 2709 points and a 55 cushion over Brad. Also, don't miss the race for the lanterne rouge. After today's stage, Mark S and the Fraggle are tied at 887!

It is also worth mentioning our defending champion, Mike G. His team was shut out today, and he dropped out of the top 20. It looks like he's going to have the experience of not winning a cycling pool for the very first time. Then again, with today's news that the doping detectives have finally caught up with the Killer, Mike's victory in the 2009 FGBC Giro d'Italia Pool now looks as stained as the green jersey that the Manx Mouth thinks he sees on Thor. Chris A's second place and Greg W's fourth place finish are both equally tainted, for that matter. But the FGBC doesn't believe in retroactive changes to the results. We only tolerate retroactive trash talk. Perhaps most significantly, this lends all the more credence to Dan's claim to princedom in the kingdom of the FGBC Cycling Pool. Had Di Luca been caught during the race, Dan would have been the champion. Bad timing.

In the real race today, we finally got the excitement we've been waiting for. The Schleck brothers gave it everything they had. And while it doesn't look like they'll be able to overtake Contador, they currently sit 2nd and 3rd on the GC. But tomorrow's ITT tips the advantage back in favour of guys like Wiggins, Kloden, Armstrong, and Vandevelde. Which only sets it up for a Schleck counter-attack on Ventoux. Good times. Sadly, Kenny Van Hummel, who had been proudly holding the lanterne rouge in the real race, crashed today and didn't make it to the finish. That dubious honour of being the last man in the race now goes to the Belarusian sprinter Yauheni Hutarovich. As always, consult Pez for the rest.

Results and standings here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Oh No, Jens!

That was horrible. Gut-wrenchingly awful. But the good news is that they say he's okay. By that, I think they mean he is alive. The way he went down, he very well might not be. Could this be his final exit from the Tour? Bonnie Ford seems to think it will be. I hope she is wrong. That would be a sad way to end it.


As for the rest of the race, it somehow seems less important after watching Jens hit the deck today. Besides, other than whiny little Cadel Evans riding himself out of contention, nothing really changed anyway. Mikel Astarloza won the stage. I'm sure he's happy. Check out Pez for more.

Brad the Impaler won the stage in the FGBC Tour de France Pool. That is fitting, really, since Brad does a spot-on impression of our man Jens. He racked up 270 points for the win, getting points from Casar, Contador, and Roche. Melissa's strong showing coninues. She took second place on stage 16 with 230 points. Charlene rounded out the podium with a 220 point day.

In the overall race, Greg is still holding onto his lead. But just barely. Melissa is a mere 3 points back of retaking the lead. Considering they both have over 2700 points, that is very, very close. With Contador and Nibali on her squad, it's starting to look like Melissa may well have the team to beat. It doubt Greg's American duo of Armstrong and Vandevelde will be able to match the GC placing of Melissa's top two guys. So someone will have to have a sizeable lead to prevent Melissa from jumping ahead on the strength of the points awarded for the final GC and special jersey competitions. That doesn't look like it's about to happen. King Andy wasn't able to keep pace today. He's still in third place, but now finds himself 138 points back of the top spot on the GC. And he better watch out, because Brad is breathing down the King's neck. The Impaler is 70 points away from pulling a Hinault and throwing Andy from the podium.

Results and standings here.

MUERTO Wear

I hate to push Penner's new bike down from the top spot. But all of a sudden we face a rather tight deadline to order our Operación MUERTO wear. MUERTO clothing director Gianni reports that the order needs to be placed tomorrow. And the magic number to make it happen is 15.

Hoodies - $50 give or take

T-shirts - $20 give or take

Who is in? Which one do you want? Drop a comment ASAP. And don't forget to include your size.

Based on the original discussion, here's what we have so far:

Hoodies:

KK
Colin
Hal
Greg S
Craig
Dallas
Mike G
Cory S
Dave D
Darryl (maybe?)
Olli (?)


T-shirts:

Chris H
KK
Adam
Jonny G
Johnny S
Dallas
Craig
Tom K

new ride


picked it up this morning
Giant TCX1, Carbon Fork with minor wheel upgrade to Mavic CXP22 & Hubs
there is no excuse for cross season now

What Would Shiva Ride?


9:30 pm at my place.

Sounds like we will be joined by a special visitor from Lethbridge.

Monday, July 20, 2009

WhitesHELL Enduro Report

A long'n, but a good'n. Interesting mix of gnarly singletrack, sweet, flowing doubletrack, and rolling paved roads. In the end, it added up to 105 kms. Ingolf was wet. Very wet. There was at least as much water as we had on the inaugural Spring Ride--the one where Luke almost drowned in the rock garden. Maybe more. Falcon was in good shape. But unfortunately, those of us who rode it were pretty well cooked by then. We would be even more cooked by the finish. But everyone managed a smile when they reached the finish at picnic shelter race HQ. The general consensus was that it was awesome. Which is, of course, what the FGBC is all about: spreading awesomeness around the world, one bike ride at a time.

13 riders took to the start. 8 finished. Newcomers Tyler M and Curtis W failed to make the 3.5 hour cut-off at the halfway mark and missed out on the second half of the race. I don't think they were terribly disappointed. They managed to achieved their goal of riding Ingolf for the first time. So it was mission accomplished. I hope it was fun. Bill, Paul, and Johnny S all did modified versions of the course. For a variety of reasons, they skipped the Ingolf loop. The Lemans start and nasty hike-a-bike start loop managed to string everybody out right from the start. Dan, Marty, and I were the first group to hit Ingolf. Cam wasn't too far behind. Marty stayed glued to my wheel for most of the loop, while Dan faded at the start. Somewhere around the beaver dam I noticed that Marty was gone. I'm not sure why. But I didn't see him again until the finish. Riding the remaining 80 kms alone wasn't necessarily fun. It made it especially difficult to satisfy the talking component of Operación MUERTO. But the prospect of Marty or Dan reappearing was enough motivation to keep going. I managed to grind it out to finish ahead of the rest. Good times. As it turns out, Dan suffered some significant mechanical problems toward the end of the Ingolf loop. KK and Jonny G were kind enough to stop and help him get going again. And get going he did. He finished just 2 minutes behind Marty despite being 15 minutes behind at the half-way mark. Bummer.

Results:

Chris H - 5:20
Marty H - 5:33
Dan L - 5:35
Kevin K - 5:46
Jonny G - 6:17
Cam M - 6:26
Craig P - 6:28
Brad E - 6:38
Tyler M - DNF
Curtis W - DNF
Bill A - Modified course
Paul V - Modified course
Johnny S - Modified course

Now I know you are all wondering how all of this impacted the FGBC - RRR FGD Challenge. With three riders the FGBC fielded a larger squad than RRR for the first time in a month. Fortunately we all survived to the finish and managed to cash in to take back the lead from the breakfast cereal boys. Once the double MUERTO points were tallied, it added up to a 120-71 victory for the dark side. The scoreboard now looks like this.



This was also the third assignment of Operación MUERTO. With a number of the previous leaders electing to skip out on this round, the overall standings have been reshuffled. After three rounds, it now looks like this. There is one more assignment to go. Eight Hours of Birch on August 15. We're still waiting on details on that one.

How about some photos?









The view from the finish line:

















The excitement wasn't just restricted to the race itself. Saturday's mission to mark the Ingolf course also provided plenty of excitement. Tegan was awesome. Nine years old and, despite having to traverse water that almost entirely submerged him at times, he rode that course better than most Spring Ride veterans. Of course, that might say more about the Spring Ride than it does about Tegan. But Tegan was an inspiration nonetheless. That kid will be making us all suffer some time in the not-so-distant future.



Johnny S also supplied some inspiration. Inspiration to keep your bike in working order. The Softride suffered a monumental mechanical episode. At first, he reported some wobbly brakes. Then, when we were about as far away from the parking lot as it gets, he asked "so this is about as far away as it gets, right?" Our first assumption was that the bungee cord holding the carbon seat shaft in place had failed. It didn't. What happened instead was this:



Which quickly turned into this:



Which meant Johnny had to find another way back to the parking lot:



Interestingly, he managed to keep up with the rest of us until the last few kms where the pace really picks up.

All things considered, a delightful weekend. Too bad it wasn't enjoyed by more.