Saturday, December 23, 2006

top ten: the 2006 fleet

The first in a series of year-end top-ten list retrospectives.

It's been noted several times that 2006 was a banner year for bike acquisitions in the FGBC. It seems like every few weeks, somone was debuting a new set of wheels. The bike club that began as a post-hockey gathering is starting to look conspicuously like a bike club. It's all Unger's fault, really. He's the one who stepped up the the plate back in 2003 and bought a new bike for the inaugural spring ride. And he found himself a new bike on each of the next few spring rides. In fact, I believe 2006 was the first year he didn't get a new bike. So it was left to other members of the FGBC to pick up the slack.

10) Alberto's San Jose. Not actually purchased in 2006. He ordered it from One on One last year, while in Minneapolis for the state cx championships. But since it only showed up in 2006, we'll count it.

9) My XTC: This testifies to the persuasive powers of the poosher. I wasn't planning to get a new bike this year, but they say your friends often know your what you need more than you yourself do. This will be my race bike for 2007.

8) Jamsie D's Marin. Just in time for the spring ride. Welcome to the club, brother James.

7) Jonny S's Norco. 2006 marks the year that Jonny S expanded his impressive repetoire of cycling talents to include road riding. As for when he's going to swallow his stubborn pride and replace the Softride, the suspense continues.

6) LeAnn's Trek. Not technically an FGBC bike, since the long-standing issue of membership status for women remains unresolved. But LeAnn is a sister, and a more committed racer than James, so we'll claim it. Facing the end of her ultimate career, LeAnn has been forced to look for a new athletic outlet. So she picked up a used Trek 8000 and claims to be planning on racing it in 2007.

5) Laura's 9-2-5. Easily the coolest bike of the bunch, just as Laura is easily the coolest vocal coach in the world.

4) Vic's DeVinci. Another FGBC'er to hit the road. In fact, I believe I overheard Vic say several times that he preferred riding his Apex. If you see a blue blur streaking down Wellington Cr., chances are it's Vic.

3) Darryl's Instinct. The Univega has seen its last spring ride. One of old school rigid bike holdouts caves. Wheelie's are a bit more difficult for the wheelie king on full suspension, but he loves it nevertheless. Rumours of a 2007 race license have been detected.

2) Juan's NRS. The holdout among the holdouts. Long voted the most in need of a new bike, Juan Eppstein finally made the leap by picking up Dave L's NRS. This happened late in the year, so he only managed to get one ride in. But the preliminary report is positive. Can't wait to see what he can do next spring at Ingolf.

1) Penner's Fuel. This is the one that got it all started in 2006, demonstrating the leadership qualities that we have come to expect from our beloved President. He started racing and coaching the local Kids of Mud outfit too. And happily he hasn't trashed the bike yet. Word is he also picked up an old Colnago from his former road-racing brother. But I don't believe it has found its way onto the road yet.

Who will step up to the plate in 2007? Hal's talking about a new bike again, but that's as predictable as a Penner crash. Jonny N?

On deck: top ten races.

OTT: John Prine, It's a Big Goofy World

Thursday, December 21, 2006

ain't no Autumn Wind, part II

Not that anybody'll be in New York on Feb. 17--that's right in the middle of 24 Hours of Ass. But just in case: check out this video promo for the Monstercat alleycat. Could be better, actually, but this is noteworthy in that it brings race promotion to a whole new level. Jonny B and the poosher better watch out. The Duker is a specialist of sorts in this medium. Can we expect something along these lines for the annual Altona throwdown, cage match, and Duke - Carolina game?

OTT: Uncle Tupelo, Grindstone

Floyd's Folks

Yet another profile of our honorary captain's parents. Old school, Lancaster County style. Gotta love it.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Picture posting capacities restored. Good work, Jonny B. Your facility with the computer is better than your ability to count laps on a full stomach. Enjoy.

OTT: Iron & Wine, My Lady's House

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

ride tonight

first, more pictures added, see original post.

second, meet at the same place and time - foot bridge at 9:20

gustatory carnage

The first and hopefully only curry is for hurry race went down last night. To say it seemed like a good idea at the time would likely be a bit of an overstatement. But I was there at the meeting where the idea was first floated: eat as much as you can in an hour and a half, and then ride your bike as fast as you can for an hour. I believe I even voted in favor of the proposal. But in hindsight, that may have been a mistake. To say it was one of the dumbest things I've ever done would probably be an overstatement too, but only because I've done some extremely dumb things. At the very least, it was memorable.

Jonny G lined up at the start and ready to go.

Dave L. deserves some sort of special recognition. Storming out of the gates like he was all hopped up on Floyd juice, he downed two heaping plates before I finished my first. And he scared us all when he promptly got up to get a third--which would have gained him two more laps on the rest of us. But it seems like he peaked to early. The third plate could not be completed, and his race was pretty much doomed in the attempt. I bet there's probably something about that in the dharma somewhere.

I believe every one else finished at least two, cutting the race down from 10 laps to 8. Turns out Hal played a perfect Lance Armstrong-like bluff, making it look like he was about to die as he forced down the last few bites. But he promptly went out and schooled us all in the race. And by schooled I mean kicked out collective asses. Not even close. Paddy missed the meal, so was faced with the daunting prospect of a 12 lap race. I think it was lap 2 when he resorted to ambushes and snowball attacks. Not sure when the chain broke. took 2nd place, and mr.dr. took 3rd to round out the podium.

mr.dr. approaching the stairs

What we were told would be 2km laps ended up being more like 3km. That combined with a gutload of rice, curry, and tandoori chicken made it feel like an awfully long race. I think the overall standings looked something like this, but then again I'm not entirely sure. Jonny B claims he was 2 laps down, but Jonny's G and N insist it was only 1.

Jonny G (-1 lap)
Jonny B (-1 laps)
Jonny N (-2 laps)
Dave L (-4 laps?)
Shona DNF?
Paddy DNF

With that, nordic-cross is officially on. Lots of winter racing on tap, and something for everyone too. If eating is not your thing, maybe it's charity-drives or haikus.

It all continues on Dec. 23 with Christmas cross, presented by Jonny B. Sadly I can't be there. But hopefully a few other FGBC'ers can make it. It would be a shame to have his emerging artistic talents go to naught. Blogger won't let me post his poster, so check it out at the Team Jonny website.

OTT: Andrew Vincent and the Pirates, Sleeping Bag

curry (suffer) cross and ride

first, because we did not get enough riding last night, tuesday night's ride will take place - same time and place (foot bridge @ 9:20)

too many tales to tell. team jonny has a good write-up, and i hoping mr. dr. will add his words to this item. will let some of the these photos tell the story. sorry about the quality of the pictures, forgot to adjust the camera to the proper setting (need laura and gary's expertise here).

quick summary of the rules: 1 completed plate from the buffet got you into the race and each subsequent plate took 2 laps off. plates had to be completed for a plate to count. race consisted of 10 laps on a 3km course at the forks.

the gracious people at the east india company let us bring our bikes inside - cyclist never have it so good.

host with bikes

dave and jon before the meal began - mood and confidence is high

dave with plate 1 or 2? we were all amazed at the speed and amount with which dave "started" the race

tom starting to feel the effects of the 2nd plate

this plate took about 45 minutes to complete

do I ride or do I hurl??? dave's strategy is backfiring on him

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Curry is for Hurry, the inaugural race of the 2006-07 nordic-cross season, is just over 48 hours away. Tapering has begun. Not from riding. That would imply that there was something to taper back from. Other than a 2 hour ride on Monday morning, it's been a slow week on the riding front. But food intake levels will be monitored, which will hopefully make it possible to survive a few laps of the buffet at my favourite Indian restaurant. The hardest part, I suspect, will be mustering up the energy required to leave the table.

The LA Times ran an interesting two-part series on the doping wars last weekend, outlining the flaws in the testing protocols and the USADA's mercenary like approach. Could be the reason why our honorary captain has been feeling a bit blue lately.

Hal mentioned this at the clubhouse on Tuesday--scandal at the Opera. Hard to believe. Those guys always seem to have their emotions so firmly in control. At any rate, it seems the understudy is being lavished with all kinds of attention. The former headliner, however, claims it was low-blood sugar, not a wounded ego, that led to his stomping off the stage. That's why you've always got to keep a can of Red Bull on hand.

Kinda wish I was in Providence this weekend. Looks like a good time. But not as good as Monday promises to be. Hope to see the FGBC well represented, maybe even a delegate or two from Altona.

OTT: The Hold Steady, Multitude of Casualties


Every now and then one gets a chance to ......gain perspective.
Despite the fact that often I am not present at the club house nor come out for races and riding as often as I would like to, I do infact ride when I can, love it it and it gives me a focus.

Phone call 810 A.M, too late for work, but it was work. Nursing supervisor asking for me.
Brian we need someone to "step up to the plate." Clearly the 'B' team is on deck.
She is 32 years old, her heart has essentially stopped functioning in any normal capacity, she is on life support......., there is a heart in OTTAWA. We need someone to go. Will you go. It will be a short turnaround.

Plans are changed, kids dissappointed...
I am somewhat nervous, mostly terrified---this is not my usual thing--. the opportunity to F up is huge! I am one memeber of a team of transport personel... it is not good enough to finish the race this time. first place everyone is the onely thing that counts.

perspective at christmas time
(president penner)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

mmm, curry

You won't want to miss this. More fine work from, aka the poosher, aka the editor, and now, apparently, the poet. A real renaissance man, that guy:

Good times at the clubhouse last night. I counted 13 at one point. Even Luke made an appearance. And Penner too, showing some post-intervention commitment. We should be well ensconced in $1000+ territory by now.

OTT: Fred Eaglesmith, Alcohol and Pills

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

annals of science

Courtesy of
Intensive bicycling may dull female genital sensation. Previous studies correlated cycling with dulled male genital sensation and erectile dysfunction. This study compared female runners to young women who "consistently rode an average of at least 10 miles per week." Findings: The "cyclists have a decrease in genital sensation. However, there were no negative effects on sexual function and quality of life." Authors' hypothesis: "While seated on a bicycle, the external genital nerve and artery are directly compressed," which "may lead to compromised blood flow and nerve injury." Why male but not female dysfunction? Scientific answer: "Female cyclists may benefit from anatomical differences that produce less compression." Sarcastic translation: You don't say. (Fine print: Compared to the runners, the cyclists were older, fatter, and "more diverse in their sexual orientation.") (For Human Nature's previous updates on female arousal, drugs, and electric shocks, click here, here, and here. For an update on impotence drugs, click here.)
Genital sensation aside, note that a "cyclist" is defined as someone who rides 10 miles per week. Elsewhere in the article this same group is referred to as "competitive women cyclists." It appears that these scientists ought to get out of the lab a bit more.

Agenda for tonight's meeting: let's surpass the $1000 mark in "the book." The magic number is 17, I believe.

OTT: The Weakerthans, Left and Leaving

Monday, December 11, 2006

tuesday night pre-meeting ride

meet at the same place (pedestrian foot bridge - inside the park) at 9:20.

a light is a good idea. this would do, i have one and it is surprisingly bright (no need for the overkill which i had last week - just wanted to try out the new system. better still, call the boys at olympia and see what they have on the shelf.

the editor has spoken again

He blames the mix-up on his secretary (or secreterry). At any rate, here's the corrected plan of action:

the editor has spoken

Nordic-cross is coming soon. One week from today, to be precise. Let's call it All-you-can-eat Cross. Looks like I'm in charge of this one. That's news to me. But we'll make sure something memorable takes place next Monday. See the latest memo from "the editor" below for all the details, if you can decipher the code. Note that some of these details may change. In particular, 24 Hours of Ass. needs to happen in February, when it's colder. Rest assured all changes will be posted here.

This one's for the Duke.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


Nothing is more difficult than to watch, from a position of seeming helplessness, as one's friends are caught up in the slow tortuous drift toward potential self-annihilation. But this is the heart-wrenching situation we have been confonted with over the past little while concerning Penner, our beloved President, who has exhibited increasing evidence of what can only be described as self-destructive tendencies. It always seems to begin with a sort of disengagement, seemingly innocent at first. By the time a pattern of social invisibility is recognized, it is often tragically far too late.

No words have been uttered more frequently over the past 3-4 months, whether at our weekly gatherings or club rides, than the anguished refrain, "where's Penner?" And so after much soul searching and heart-felt discernment we, the devoted members of the Fort Garry Bike Club, felt that we were faced with no other option than to take the difficult and decidedly risky step of staging an intervention. We have to get Penner out for a ride. And with some pleading and carefully staged manipulation, not to mention the overwhelming support of the entire FGBC family, I'm happy to report that there is reason to believe that we might have been successful in our mission to rescue our weak but cherished friend. Last night, we managed to get Penner out for a ride.

It also gives me great pleasure to report that in spite of everything that has transpired recently, Penner apparently remains, well, Penner. Though he continues to bear traces of the extraordinary burdens he has been forced to shoulder, it appears that these have not been powerful enough to completely destroy the collection of habits and idiosyncrasies that make Penner Penner. His balance issues are clearly still there. And his uncanny knack for finding himself in trouble remains as doggedly persistent as ever. On this particular occasion, Penner's difficulties manifested themselves in what turned out to be a toothless cog. It began innocently enough, as it always does (some will recall an inocuous looking twig at Ingolf a few years back). Deep in the heart of the Ass. Forest, odd noises began to intrude into the placid winter night.

Initial investigations (pictured above) were not able to detect the severity of the problem. And thankfully we were able to ride on for a time. But before long, Penner's chain became increasingly recalcitrant and simply would not stay in place. Happily, however, by the time the old, but newly ss'd Peugot became completely inoperative, we were but a few steps away from the cozy confines known as the F&H. Jonny G and Jonny N were gracious enough to abort their ride and accompany Penner to the clubhouse, while the secretary and myself, good soldiers that we are, carried on to retreive the rescue vehicle. By the time we returned, karaoke night was not yet in its final throes, but we were nevertheless able to enjoy a pint of our official beverage, while undertaking a final session of debriefing with our dear brother. Though Penner is not yet out of the woods, we remain cautiously confident that a more serious crisis has been averted.

OTT: Dylan, Trying to Get to Heaven

Friday, December 08, 2006

karma police

Reggae-fied Radiohead, fixed-gear cruising, and Guy Maddin-esque cinematography. Intruiging, if nothing else. Courtesy of howtoavoidthebummerlife. Check out Spoke, or Swobo: The Film.

Can't say for sure that it'll work, but it wouldn't be altogether bad to go for a ride tomorrow night. Say 9:30/10:00-ish. Let me know if you're in.

OTT: The Cure, Hot Hot Hot!!!

friday fun file - again

so, on my way to work this morning i was charged by a cat. my only guess is that he was interested in the flashing blinky spot ahead of my bike. speaking of cats...some interesting cat sites here and here (only if you like cats).

training? training? i don't need no stinking training...seems like properties of red wine are linked to improved endurance. i am on the program as of right now.

further to dr. h's history piece.

annals of history

A brief history of cyclocross, courtesy of

"Think about a cyclist in wartime. He can't use the main roads; he has to ride or walk across unmade roads and worm his way through the undergrowth and clamber across ditches. Think of that and you'll get the principle of the cross cyclo-pédèstre."

OTT: Nirvana, Breed

Thursday, December 07, 2006

aint no Autumn Wind

Almost as yesterday as Wang Chung, I know, but here are two more videos of the MN cx race for the vicarious cyclists among us: A race and B race. Perspicacious viewers will pick out two FGBC clad riders in the opening sequence of the B race, way too far back. Not how it's done. But we clawed our way back to middle of the pack respectability by the end. Hal's ankles and ss rig also make an appearance near the end, as he safely negotiates the barriers.

Where can we get some of these?

OTT: Bowie, Young Americans

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

#23,279 with a bullet

mr. dr., did our part and ordered your book through amazon.

just a quick update on the tuesday night ride. beautiful evening. paddy, jonny g, and myself enjoyed a fine ride. cycled through assiniboine park and scouted some fine race courses, contemplated the toboggan slide and thought better of it (paddy suggested a hill climb up the slide some night with a studded tire on the back - we agreed an ambulance in waiting would be a good idea). off to the forest then back to the park.

picture of the foot bridge

we headed off to bruce park to see if creek was navigable (not yet) and then to the f-n-h. had one spill while i was trying to take a picture while riding through bruce park; too much front locked the wheel and down i went. the camera skidded across the snow and seemed to be alright and i snapped this pic of jon and paddy (you can see them through the fog).

like the idea of mr. dr's race. either 12 or 24 hour, as long as its 12 or 24 hours + 1 lap.

24 Hours of Ass.

Couldn't make it out for a ride with Alberto & Co. last night, so I went for a ride in the Ass. Forest this morning. Which got me thinking: my contribution to the nordic-cross winter race series (slated for Feb 18, I think) is going to be called 24 Hours of Ass. Maybe 12. We'll see. Either way, it's going to be epic. 2 person teams.

OTT: The Pixies, Monkey Gone to Heaven


That's how much our tally in "the book" comes to, as of last night. Should be able to push it over the $1000 mark by Christmas. Good work boys and girls. This year's spring ride is going to rock.

OTT: Gillian Welch, Throw Me a Rope

Tuesday, December 05, 2006 Sales Rank: #8,197 in Books

So I confess I've been checking my sales rank semi-regularly over the past couple of weeks. Egomaniacal, I know. But it's kind of fun to watch it shoot up and slowly sink back down. Was getting dangerously close to 60,000th place for a while, before it reached a new high this morning. This leads me to think that it only takes a purchase or two to rise 30,000 places or so.

OTT: Carolyn Mark, In a Valley

tuesday night

meet at the footbridge (inside the park) @ 9:20. on your way to the park scout trails for potential rides - we'll poll the masses and pick a route.

re: profile picture.

mac computers come with a built in camera and program called photobooth. lets you do weird pictures.

Monday, December 04, 2006



tuesday night meetings

throwing out a proposal to non-hockey members of fgbc:

1) meet for a ride at assiniboine park on tuesday nights @ 9:30. can be road or trail, usually the assiniboine forest is fun because of the amount of walkers

2) be at the f-n-h for 10:30 - no need to wait for the hockey guys (nothing against the hockey guys) for us to start (hockey guys get there too late anyways).

who's in?


Sunday night cruise

Nice little ride last night. Vic, Jonny G, Dave L, and myself. Rode the trails over to Whittier, where they proved unnavigable. Dog walkers are not doing their part. So urban exploration and skid-fest back to downtown, in and around the exchange.

First legitimate winter ride of the season, for me at least. Hopefully the first of many. Future rides will be posted here.

Forgot to mention one other event that is sure to be a highlight of the upcoming race season. Dave L is planning a haiku-cross. 5-7-5.

Any other brilliant initiatives should be forwarded to the race director.

OTT: Lesbians on Ectasy, Bring on Noise

Sunday, December 03, 2006


American Hardcore rocks hard. Go see it.

Saturdays are evidently karaoke night at the F & H. Don't even bother. Planning for the winter race series went down at Dave L's place instead.

Full nordic-cross details coming soon from the editor. But the kickoff is Dec. 17. Looks like an all-you-can-eat race, a smorgasbord of suffering. Other highlights: Food drive alleycat in early Jan; March Madness race, cage match, and Duke vs. Carolina in Altona on March 4; and much, much more.

Paddy also has something in the works. Better start getting ready now. This one's going to be big.

Ride tonight. My place, 9:30 pm. Winter's here. Bring it on.

OTT: Band of Horses, The Funeral

Saturday, December 02, 2006

weekend schedule

Saturday: American Hardcore - 9pm, Cinematheque.

Sunday: night ride - meet at my place, 9:30 pm. The more the merrier.

OTT: Sex Pistols, Search and Destroy

letter from Rwanda

In case you missed it in the latest Dirt Rag, Tom Ritchey is on a mission. He's one of the driving forces behind Project Rwanda, an attempt to contribute to the reconciliation, forgiveness, and hope already taking place in the little country that used to represent the embodiment of genocidal trauma. See their short video, Wheels of Mercy. Their strategy involves a variety of efforts: bringing better bikes and tools to the people of Rwanda, promoting Rwanda as a place to ride, and perhaps most importantly seeking to heal the wounds of Rwanda's recent history through difference-overcoming events such as the Wooden Bike Classic bike race and the development of a national cycling team.

In their own words, Project Rwanda’s vision is to “further the economic development of Rwanda through initiatives based on the bicycle as a tool and symbol of hope. Our goal is use the bike to help boost the Rwandan economy as well as re-brand Rwanda as a beautiful and safe place to do business and visit freely.”