Tuesday, June 29, 2004

TdF Pool

Johnny G (aka gimpy Johnny) suggested this evening that we should do a pool of sorts for the Tour de France. The excitement starts Saturday morning, with live coverage daily on OLN. If there has to be money involved, that's fine with me. If not, that's fine too. We can steal the scoring system from cyclingnews.com or modify it to suit our purposes. Let me know if you're interested.

ADW 624

Road rage alert: watch out for a red Ford pickup with license plate ADW 624. It has a University of British Columbia sticker on the rear window. Asshole tried to run me off the road this afternoon--apparently as retribution for my failure to heed the Stop sign at Arlington and Wolseley. Okay, okay . . . I plead guilty. But still, to wait at the next stop sign until I get there before cutting me off is more than a little out of order. Beware the four-wheeled enemy.

"The sound of a car door opening in front of you is similar to the sound of a gun being cocked." --Amy Webster

Next ride: Birds Hill July 6

So, the president and Unger have called a ride for Tuesday July 6. The only detail that is known is that we will meet at the president's at 6:30pm, which should have us on the trails shortly after 7:00.

It has also been confirmed that one Jeffrey Dale RL (Saskatchewan rep) will be joining us for the ride. We may need to come up with a ride for him if brother Greg's doesn't pan out.

This is not the family event that has been spoken of.

Sunday, June 27, 2004


well, the transition is beginning... I got a new flash intro made, so I'm starting to move stuff from the old geocities site to the new one. If I haven't moved it, I have put a link to the old stuff... so you can start using the new URL for everything if you want:

I will serve notice when there is no more content at the old site.

i heard a rumour that Marls is moving forward on stickers with our URL... any news Dr K?

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Lose 4 inches . . .

With all those emails that clutter up my inbox encouraging me to buy a little pill that promises satisfaction due to added inches, it's easy to understand how my perspective got a little skewed. Not that I've ever purachased one, but the whole idea sticks in your head after a while. Gotta give those guys some credit. But after too many mtb races where I lost valuable time due to running into trees and other obstacles, it was impossible to ignore the fact that bigger is not necessarily better. So I switched the riser bars from the Kona with the Norc's much narrower flat bar. After a ride last night at Whittier and today's race at BHP, I'm happy to report that the results are good: no trees hit and the bike just handles that much better. Of course, I still lost to the same guys I usually lose to, but I'm hoping the gap was a bit smaller, since I finished four minutes faster than the last BHP race. So if you want a more satisfying experience go flatter and four inches shorter.

"It never gets easier, you just go faster" -- Greg Lemond.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

a taste of photos to come from the recent FGBC ride

up the ramp at Falcon. Posted by Hello

Beauty crash, man.

I've figured out a way of getting pictures onto the blog fairly easily... it bodes well for the future sharing of pics.

Beauty crash on Garbage Hill, back when Hal could walk (and ride). Posted by Hello

Monday, June 21, 2004

Tragedy and Cycling

A book I am reading on the idea of the tragic contains the following attempt to delineate genuine from merely apparent tragedy by some yay-hoo named Geoffrey Brereton:

"The death of a great man in an air-crash qualifies for tragedy unequivocally; if he is killed in a sports car, the tragic quality becomes more dubious; if by falling off a bicycle, the whole conception is endangered."

Obviously this guy has never heard of Tom Simpson, whose haunting last words, "put me back on my bike," capture the dedication, spirit, and general love of riding that defines the FGBC. Nor has he heard of Marco Pantani or Graeme Obree, whose depression-induced falls from the bike were perhaps more metaphorical than literal, but hardly any less tragic for all that.

Somehow Mr. Brereton seems to have the notion that the idea of the tragic has some sort of direct correlation to the dollar value of the vehicle one dies in. Then again, if he's right I suppose most of us can look forward to relatively struggle-free lives, excpet maybe for Barg and his fancy bus.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

posting contrasts

I'm starting to really enjoy the tasty contrast between chris' race reports, and my "don't forget to bring the condiments" type posts... maybe it's just me enjoying that...

waiting for a few written reports about the weekend. send an anecdote, or overall thoughts. jointly, we should be able to approach Chris' total # of words... Aiden (his royal "A"ness) with two Masters' should be able to give us a boost in the race with the Doctor... or perhaps the Duke, who took time to ponder the goings-on, rather than mess his head up with questions of who was going to go over the bars next...

Monday, June 14, 2004

Alter Ego/FOG Stage Race Report

A brief report and a few observations from the race this weekend. Happily my legs felt better by Saturday morning. Fewer tactical errors in the crit. Finished 2nd., after an exciting 30 minutes of riding laps around the leg, and another fast sprint finish. Need to remember to start those a bit earlier. I think all the wedding parties out for their pictures were a bit taken aback by all the commotion, but it was a great location for a race. Tight corners to string out the pack, and even a slight uphill finish to make the final sprint more painful. The time trial was held on River Rd., which would normally also be a perfect location. But at race time the winds were gusting up to 55 kmh. We were heading with wind on the way out and straight into it on the way back. Exactly the wrong way around. But apparently, I'm good at time trials. I ended up winning again, this time by 1:24, which left me with a lead of 1:20 heading into Sunday's road race in Minnedosa. Why do they start these things so early, and why do they insist we be there a full hour before start time to sign in. I hate getting up at 5 am. But the road race course at Minnedosa was worth it. The highlight was a long (for Manitoba) 2 km climb, just in case we hadn't suffered enough in the wind on Saturday, and an equally long downhill to bring us back into town at 70 kmh. With a good lead going in, I didn't have to push it. Just make sure nobody else gets away. I did try to go for the $40 prize for King of the Mountains the third time up the hill, but after realizing my heart was about to explode I decided to conserve my energy for the last 20 km. Ended up losing a two-man uphill sprint at the finish, settling once again for 2nd place. But it was good enough to preserve first overall. Pizza, pasta salad and $85 in prize money were a nice way to wrap it up. Should be good to cover a few more races, or maybe just to help keep our namesake company in business for a little while longer.

After a few of these races, I've come to the conclusion that roadies can be a rather anal, uptight, and edgy bunch. Just the kind of crowd where an FGBC member should feel right at home. I've never seen so many people with gadgets designed to check this and that. Gotta have that edge on the competition, especially against all those other talented Sport riders. Must get a little machine to measure the lactic acid buildup in your legs so you know whether you are done cooling down. Can't do a time trial without aero-bars. Actually I must admit to being a bit curious about those, since everyone tells me it would take another minute or so off the time trial. I've also never seen so many bikes getting thrown around. Apparently, when you flat in a race or get dropped from the group you're supposed to throw your bike down, stomp around and generally draw attention to yourself. I hadn't noticed any such display at any of the mtb races I've done, but maybe that's because I'm usually wheezing with my head down somewhere back in the trees.

Miriam was out with her cowbells again and had a blast. Forget the stickers Mark, we need a run of FGBC cowbells, if only as an emergency signal for those night ride crashes in the woods. At the pancake breakfast on Sunday, I overheard one guy complaining that his poor result was on account of not realizing we were on the last lap. Some kid, he said, was ringing cowbells the whole time and so he hadn't picked out the bell which signals one lap to go. I didn't have the courage to mention that the kid was my daughter, nor to point out that the 14 other riders were somehow able to realize just fine that it was the last lap and time to kick it up a notch. Nice excuse, pal. You've got nothing on FGBC. We don't need no excuses. Sure the dark's a bit skunky at times, but you can't apologize for that. We are exactly what we are. And sometimes we even ride our bikes.

second annual FGBC out-trip

super deluxe!

a media page entry will be forthcoming. if anyone at the event would like to write a bit of something describing how sweet the event was, you can email it to me and I'll set it up as a blog entry and/or put some of it on the media page.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Feel the Burn

My legs are burning up. Not a satisfying feeling heading into the ominous sounding Leg Burner race this weekend. I guess pulling Miriam around by singlespeed Tuesday evening resulted in more lactic acid buildup than I had anticipated. But hopefully an easy, fast spinning ride this afternoon will flush all that toxic stuff out of there. The criterium tomorrow is at the Leg, starting at 9:30, for anyone who's not at Caddy. For those who are heading out, hope thie riding's good.

"Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the human race." --H.G. Wells.

Monday, June 07, 2004

final pre-event meeting

Yes, we are on our way... all the things this bike club stands for come together in one grand event. The time/space continuum is temporarily irrelevent. (Gravity remains, however. It should perhaps be moved to the agenda for next year's event that gravity be suspended as well... Yes, I realize it's a dangerous path, deciding to alter basic understood notions about the universe... but what are we as a Klub if we don't dream big? Friction? Free beer from the other FGBC? Jonny?)

So, transportation was somewhat arranged... dogs on Saturday eve will be supplied and figured into the per person cost of the event along with camping... let me put some of these things into a bit of a list...
  • the event is this weekend. We're camping at Caddy Lake. (I thought it might be good to start with the basics.)
  • we have three sites, and are allowed two tents on each site. so bring some of those.
  • Saturday supper is the traditional dogfest. Penner and I will supply dogs, buns and condiments (mustard, ketchup, relish, rooster sauce)
    • it would be very good if people would bring dog sticks if they have them

  • everything else to be brought, you need to bring on your own or with a group.
  • one item we did not discuss, which might be worth mentioning or discussing in the comments is the nature of lunch. Should we plan for lunches away from the campsite as per last year?
  • other useful items, this is now just as reminder
    • tarps and rope
    • chairs
    • beverage
    • lots of water... if the water's as bad as West Hawk was
    • firewood if you have, it's often pricey close to campgrounds

  • Jonny G and Unger stepped up as interim tech directors, and will bring any and all tools they have. bring your own tube if you can...

Once there is a bit of clarity on the lunch scenario, perhaps I'll send a group email reiterating some of these details.

Start the countdown.

Tour of Canaan and Grand Beach Race Reports

Yes, the tour of Canaan. Okay, not a race I actually participated in, nor even a race that involved official FGBC representation. But my good friend Alex Hawkins from North Carolina did this epic mtb stage race this weekend. And there is even a FGBC connection, in virtue of his being singned up to do the 24 hours of Adrenalin race at Canmore last year with our sister club, Tinker Creek Cycle. But that was before he tore up his ACL. In any case, read on below, as you get a taste of what a bike club might involve if it were actually about biking.

In terms of more direct FGBC involvement, Unger and I raced at Grand Beach on Sunday, taking 7th and 5th respectively in the solid Master Sport 30+ class. As for myself, a distinct pattern is beginning to emerge: lose ground in the rocks and roots, pick it back up on the climbs and flat sections. Unfortunately, the few technical sections coupled with a bad start still left me a few minutes back of the leaders. And it doesn't look good from here on in, as this was easily the least technical of any of the mtb races we'll be doing this year.

The tour of canaan was crazy. you have to check out the format for the race at granny gear productions. so much to tell, where to start. i did win my division, and for this race that was 35-44 rather than 40-49. unfortunatly, there were not that many entrants, so winning hte overall was not much of an accomplishment (although living to tell about it was). But Sunday's 4-stage race was part of a larger WV points series, and thus a bigger turnout, and i won that as well. Despite the victory, I did not feel confident about anything all weekend, but rather felt so in over my head the entire time. i both loved it and hated it at various points in the weekend. the terrain and the riders there were so hard core it was unbelievable. i am so beat up right now (huge bruise on left foot instep, chainring gash on right shin, random scrapes from thorn bushes all over legs, deep bruise on lower left thigh, bruised right hip, bruised left ribs that make coughing and various other everyday activities painful) and exhausted. Chris, i have to say that the terrain (tons of loose rocks - especially on the downhills -, way too much mud, and slick roots) makes me want a more thorough investigation of the trans rockies route before considering such a venture. i spent so much time off of my bike - either falling off on hte downhills, pushing it up the inridable (b/c either too steep, too muddy, too rocky or too rooty) climbs, or carrying it over the unridable obstacles on the flats - i do not think i would want to do a weeklong ride of that nature. i like to be on my bike when i ride my bike. having said that, i was able to ride so much more downhill by the end of the second day and on the third day just from having been forced to learn how over the course of the weekend. In that respect it was like an intensive mtn bike camp. i am definatly a better rider now than last week. still, some mud and rock sections are just unridable, and WV seems to have more than its share of such, and i don't enjoy those. The first day was a splash of cold water in the face. there i was with my norba racerboy setup and, boom, they throw is into the muddiest, rootiest, gnarliest terrain. my tires were slipping, spinning and sinking. i fell into a mud bog that went up to my hip, and got smoked by the local singlespeeder (hardtail) on the downhill. (that was a pattern that would repeat itself throughout the weekend) after a 45 min rest its off for more. as it turned out, i held my own on the climbs, and the second race climbed for the first 6 miles. one fun part about the weekend was getting to know and mixing it up with the expert riders - though i usually lost touch with them on the descents. as we turned downhill in what was essentially a dry rocky river bed i could not believe this was a) considered a mtn bike trail and b) considered appropriate for a race! At teh end I heard one of the women say she loved that stretch. there are some crazy people riding mtn bikes in WV. I did not fall on that b/c i did not attempt to ride it, and only looked on in disbelief as another rider bounced past me. later, after some more climbing straight up a ski slope, on a downhill section that actually resembled a trail i endoed, driving my head into the ground and spinning onto my back. for a brief second i was thinking that that fall was not as bad as it could have been when i was suddenly jerked away from that thought by the impact of the bike on my chest (hence the rib injury). i forgot to mention - it is cold and wet and i am underdressed for the duration of this day. well, the rest of the way down was hell, as i was so psyched out and in pain. at the ski lodge where we finish for lunch i am stunned to hear everyone going on about what a great ride that was. also i'm shivering. the third ride of the day is mercifully rock free, except for a 1/2 mile downhill after just one mile whhen the singlespeeder buzzes past me, causing me to dismount in an uncontrolled, but upright manner, stepping awkwardly on a rock (hence the instep bruise). one day, 3 1/2 hours of racing, time for a hot bath and a nice group dinner at which i got to know a couple of the other riders.Doing several stages in one day is interesting - it gives you just enough rest to go out full speed again in the next stage, thus maximizing your suffering.

ok, i better be briefer on the next days. suffice it to say i had to do some reevaluating before the next days. my rim brakes were killing me on the wet and muddy downhills - so i rode my tracer for saturday's downill stages. I also had some pretty beefy tires and low seat setting - and i have to say it was almost fun. a 1.4 mile downhill that took me 15 min. on my new bike in an earlier stage took only 9 min on hte tracer. admittedly, i was becoming more proficient as well. we also did a giant slalom that was a blast.

for sunday's epic, 5 stage, 44 mile tour all over the area (various trails and railroad beds from one town to the next) i was back on hte spider but with bigger tires and a shorter stem - which proved to be a good setup. one early stage was a 10 mile uphill up a steep railway grade (although steep for a train is still not that steep - but no letting up the whole way) it was like a mass time trial - i think charlie would have been fascinated by it. because the terrain was so predictable you could just pick a gear and go, pushing yourself as much or not as you like. i tried to hand with some of hte experts, and did so for 18 min. at 18 min i discovered that i can only maintain 182 bpm (about 93-4%) for that long. i simply could not continue at that pace past that point. but remarkably, 178 was fine. and sitting in at 178 i was not losing more than 40 yards to these other guys, but no way could i have closed the gap. then at 30 min i began having difficulty maintaining 178 and found that i needed to drop to 175-6, except for occasional bursts (like the need to stand up for a while to prevent any long term damage to the nerves to my penis - that was an ongoing internal debate in my head - stand up to get some feeling back or just hold out till the end of the ride?) i finished in 47 min. about 2 min back from the guys i initialy set out with, 4 min back from a lead group - and then there was this guy, maybe 22yrs, a pro with trek from colorado who is gearing up for snowshoe next week - he finished in 37 min. During the last 20 min of the last stage on sun (which was the end of 3 days for me) i was simply in survival mode. i was burning through those gu packs in less than an hour and was simply trying to return in one piece. it was brutal. it was all i could do to keep from cramping, falling, sitting. it felt good to be done. would i do it again? no way by myself. if someone else wanted to go, maybe.

my eyes have been opened to a different segment of hte mtn bike community that i was not really so aware of. these guys scoff at teh norba weenies who ride such smooth and easy courses - road biking on dirt. and yet, they are not just outlaw freeriders. these guys are racers, but of a different breed. it made me think of the eco challenge. i'm not sure if that's for me though.

in the tub at the end of the first day i was thinking of turning to road biking - maybe too old for this mtn stuff, etc. not road racing (also brutal with its crashes) but centuries, etc. but at the end i am still on the mtn bike.

Lastly, I hearby officially pronounce my knee fully healed.