Saturday, June 30, 2007

Introducing the FGBC TdF pool

One week from today, it all begins. Kinda wish I were in London, but I'll be in Canmore, which will be fun too. The cable is hooked up and countless preparations are currently underway to transform my basement once again into the FGBC TdF HQ. Mrs. dr. is even painting the walls yellow, though this is perhaps more a happy coincidence than part of my well-orchestrated plan. I'll be up and watching every morning (broadcast schedule here). Feel free to drop by.

Since there's no honorary captain to root for this year, I've put together a little TdF pool (or rather borrowed one and modified it) to help make following the race a little more interesting.

Here's how it works:

1. Pick a team of nine riders from this list. Salary cap is $50. Note that not all the riders on this list will actually be take to the start line in London. For team by team startlists, go here. Never heard of any of the guys on the list? Don't be intimidated. It's a crapshoot. This year more than ever. Just like March Madness. Just pick 9 guys and submit a team. Do it. It's not like there's a whole lot at stake. Pick a theme and go with it, if need be. Choose 9 from the same team if you like. Or go with an all Basque, Aussie or German team. Just don't try an all Canuck team. Michael Barry got pneumonia at the Dauphine so he won't be there. Bummer. Maybe a team of former mountain bikers. Or perhaps 9 guys named Sebastien. Whatever. Just do it.

2. Points will be awarded per stage and also for the final general classification (see below).

3. Entry fee = zero.

4. Prizes? Maybe.

5. Submit rosters to fortgarrybikeclub at gmail dot com no later than Friday July 6, 9pm.

If you need help, go out and buy the Velo News Tour Guide at Olympia or McNally Robinson. Or, if you're cheap, go surf around at cyclingnews, pezcycling, or Podium Cafe:

Points per stage:

1) Overall

1st = 100 pts
2 = 80
3 = 60
4 = 50
5 = 40
6 = 35
7 = 30
8 = 25
9 = 20
10 = 15
11 = 10
12 = 9
13 = 8
14 = 7
15 = 6
16 = 5
17 = 4
18 = 3
19 = 2
20 = 1

2) Green Jersey (sprinters)

1st = 50 pts
2 = 35
3 = 30
4 = 26
5 = 22
6 = 18
7 = 16
8 = 13
9 = 10
10 = 5

3) Polka dot jersey (climbers)

1st = 15 pts
2 = 10
3 = 8
4 = 7
5 = 6
6 = 5
7 = 4
8 = 3
9 = 2
10 = 1

Final General Classification

1) Yellow Jersey

1st = 500 pts
2 = 450
3 = 400
4 = 375
5 = 350
6 = 325
7 = 300
8 = 250
9 = 200
10 = 150
11 = 100
12 = 90
13 = 80
14 = 70
15 = 60
16 = 50
17 = 40
18 = 30
19 = 20
20 = 10

2) Green Jersey

1st = 250
2 = 225
3 = 200
4 = 175
5 = 150
6 = 125
7 = 100
8 = 80
9 = 70
10 = 60
11 = 50
12 = 40
13 = 30
14 = 20
15 = 10

3) Polka dot jersey

1st = 150
2 = 125
3 = 100
4 = 90
5 = 80
6 = 70
7 = 60
8 = 50
9 = 40
10 = 30
11 = 25
12 = 20
13 = 25
14 = 10
15 = 5

OTT: Ryan Adams, Gimme a Sign

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Looks like we're putting on a cx race, boys and girls. Same site as the annual Altona winter classic. Oct. 21, 2007. Mark it down on your calendars now. Nice work, Johnny S.

Also, the re-opening of Birch means the Bring a Friend event is on. So for any FGBCers who want to get out to a race, here's your chance. July 22.

Things are looking up.

OTT: Okkervil River, Lady Liberty

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

the poosher and the honorary captain

The poosher sends in the following report from Whitehorse about his first 24 solo race:
well, it's done. 16 laps (14 km/lap)/ 4100 m of elevation. my body over all felt pretty good and i was on schedule for 20-22 laps, except for the developed stomach problems. my last lap was brutal. it took me one and a half the usual time. i was so nauseous, i was not able to descend with any speed what so ever. some of the descends were about 60-70 km/h. there were other four solo riders. the guy who took the win managed to ride 25 laps. i came in second. two years ago jonah rode 26. these people really like to suffer. one day i would like be a bit like them.

during the race i realized i don't like grip shift for this type of riding. my right wrist was quite sore from the constant shifts. i am going to try trigger shifters. the 2x9 was good as well, a granny would have been welcomed in the second half of the race. i rode 12 laps in my first 13 hr. i slept for an hours when it was the darkest. and the consequent laps were about as good as the first 13, except again the dreadful 16th. i was really looking at 20-22 laps in the very beginning of the last 11 hrs. but my body was not with me. maybe next time i'll have a better idea of what i am doing.
While searching for results from the race, I stumbled upon this report from the dude who ended up winning. "The guy from winnipeg" clearly had him worried. Nice work, Tom. Too bad about the stomach.

The honorary captain has a new book out.

I'm sure it will end up being disappointing, as these sorts of books invariably are. But that won't stop me from going out and buying it. Need something to read during those interminable Bowflex ads during the Tour.

He's also busy hitting the talk show circuit. I bet he'd rather be riding his bike.

Last KOM event today. But plan for a Tuesday Night Ride next week. It's been too long.

OTT: The Hold Steady, Stuck Between Stations

Friday, June 22, 2007

Kids of Mud

Spent a good chunk of the day yesterday out at Whittier, helping out with the final Kids of Mud race of the season. 130 or so kids. Mud, sweat, and tears. Good times.

The place to be with the camera was along the river trail, where it was good and muddy at a few places. But here, at any rate, is the U9 group at the start:

... and finish:

OTT: Pavement, Summer Baby

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ryan Leech

will be at Bikes and Beyond this Saturday at 10:30 am. He'll also be in Altona on Friday at 4pm at Main Street Station. Not quite Prague, but it should be good nonetheless.

J-man and I were watching videos in preparation yesterday. Now all he wants to do is ride trials.

Another cold and wet ride home last night. Anyone else getting tired of this? Omand's Creek is almost flooded again. Shee-ite.

OTT: Superchunk, Swallow That

talk of the tour

it is that time of the year again - dr. h gets cable and eyes turn to france and coloured jerseys.

here is a nice little primer article from the people of the ny times

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

10 commandments for car drivers

Just released from the Vatican's "office for migrants and itinerant people":
1. You shall not kill.

2. The road shall be for you a means of communion between people and not of mortal harm.

3. Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen events.

4. Be charitable and help your neighbor in need, especially victims of accidents.

5. Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin.

6. Charitably convince the young and not so young not to drive when they are not in a fitting condition to do so.

7. Support the families of accident victims.

8. Bring guilty motorists and their victims together, at the appropriate time, so that they can undergo the liberating experience of forgiveness.

9. On the road, protect the more vulnerable party.

10. Feel responsible toward others.
While there is no explicit mention of bikes per se, it seems pretty clear that the vatican loves cyclists. Or at least JP II did.

Nice to know they are on our side.

OTT: Frog Holler, One in Traffic

wednesday ride

anyone interested in a ride to bur oak tomorrow after work?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Half-marathon results

251 Unger - 1:40:50
256 Jonny G - 1:41:00

Something tells me there's a story there.

Also crossing the finish line, at 2:05:38, was Bergen.

Way to go, guys!

Saw Lucinda last night. She did not disappoint.

OTT: Paul Westerberg, Seein' Her

Saturday, June 16, 2007

movin' on up

Breaking news. Red Ass HQ reports:
Sat, June 16: Special Update - Marty Halprin has informed us that after flatting near the beginning of the event he accepted a car ride to help bring him back up to the main pack of riders. Accordingly he has DNF'd from the event and everyone who finished behind him in the standings has moved up one in the overall placings.
4th place, baby! Good thing Tom and I had the good sense to decline the ride from that friendly dude just outside of Roseisle.

Also, see Duluthian Charlie Farrow's race report--especially "lucky event number six."

The Race Across America is under way. Jure Robic is leading, as usual. 2142 miles down, 900 to go. Kinda makes Red Ass seem like a short little Wednesday Night sprint.

And just for fun, check out the story of Ted Shred and his innovative approach to braking:

Good luck to Unger, Jonny G, and anyone else taking part in the marathon tomorrow.

OTT: Wolf Parade, The National People's Scare

Thursday, June 14, 2007

a few more Red Ass pics . . .

... are available over at Dave Simmons' blog. Courtesy of his buddy Rick, who was driving around the course, helping to keep everyone smiling and, apparently, documenting the event. Thanks for making the trip, guys. But where was Rick in the 2nd half of the race? And no sign of Colin's red pickup either. Seeing those guys every now and then sure was nice in the first half. No wonder the last 250 km felt like forever.

OTT: Spoon, The Fitted Shirt

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Red Ass Ramble

Red Ass? My ass. That's way too tame a description for this event. Attempted murder sounds a bit closer to the truth, except for the fact that we all participated willingly and coughed up $50 for the opportunity. And yet while it may have felt like the grim reaper was lurking just around the corner at times, it was somehow beautiful and rather exhilarating in the end.

After too much stressing and second guessing in the process of trying to Red Assify my bike and body, it came as a relief to finally hit the road at 6am. As expected, the eager gearies took off leaving the armada of singlespeeders to form and figure out the right pace for the ride ahead. Hal, Dave, Jonny B, Graham, North Dakota Nathan, Karate Monkey Mike and myself, along with the John, the token multispeeder. Before too long Mike and John dropped off, but the six of us rolled into the first checkpoint at Tinker Creek together at 1pm, warmly greeted by Tinker James and Jonnys G, S, and F. Seeing Dallas and Dave Simmons head out as were pulling in gave us some much needed encouragement, as did the arrival of Tomek just as we were about to leave. Graham pulled the plug at this point, and Nathan decided that he was better of taking his fixed gear (!) rig at a somewhat gentler pace.

The next 100 km was easily the most enjoyable portion of the route, with 4 crossings of the Pembina Valley en route to La Rivierre. The gravel descents were particularly fast. White knuckling it down at 60-70 kmh and barely staying up around the corners at the bottom was a bit frightening, but fun. We were all feeling pretty good and Jonny B put on a show of climbing prowess, easily taking home the King of the Mountains title. Climbing out of the Pembina Crossings valley we caught up with Cory and Ben, who had dropped off the front group. More encouragement, and Tomek immediately picked up the pace. By the time we hit La Rivierre at around 6pm, we could see Dallas and Dave in the distance and ended up pulling into the halfway point just behind them.

Realizing there were only 5 riders ahead of us, Tomek could barely contain himself waiting for the rest of us to get geared up for the second half. We left at 7pm, still feeling strong and more or less happy about our pace. Jonny B stayed back to rest a bit longer, and before too long Hal and Dave dropped off the pace as well. And then it began to rain. And the temperature dropped. And we started to lament the gear choices made at La Rivierre. Morale got a boost when we noticed two more riders ahead, but promptly plummeted when we realized it was Dave and Hal. I'll leave it to them to explain what happened. Of course, competitive jerks that we are, our joint instinct was to turn it up and drop them again. 2 miles of mud just before Altamont really sucked, but at least the rain had stopped and everything was going fine once we got back onto gravel. Until we couldn't find the "blue silo" signalling the road to Roseisle. A friendly farmer got us pointed in the right direction, and even offered us a ride, which was tempting but politely declined. It was after this that the series of wildlife incidents began. First, a deer darted out of the trees just in front of us, leaving us both a little stunned. And then a pheasant or some other large bird decided to lauch itself out of the ditch as I was rounding a corner, narrowly missing my head. After Roseisle, the roads got decidedly less interesting, but since it was dark by then, the straight, flat stretch into Portage was a nice change. In St. Claude we were taunted by some hot shots high school kids in a Camaro who didn't seem to like the idea of two lycra clad cyclists resting by the local pop machine on their strip late at night. Between St Claude and Portage, Tom's stomach finally had enough of the energy bars and started talking back. But he gutted it out, except for when he fell of his bike, and we made it to Portage at 1am. A little later than we'd hoped, but still on pace for a decent time.

Under the cheerful and attentive care of shop guys Luc and John, we had a pleasant rest for an hour, with coffee, cookies, samosas, and other eagerly anticipated real food. Brian Sklarchuk's wretched moaning on a cot behind the forklifts was a little eerie and disconcerting, but it also meant there were only 4 riders out front. So we set off at 2am, still feeling good, just as Hal, Dave, Jonny B, and Cory rolled in. With a change of clothes, we were now warm and dry again. But that didn't last very long, as the slippery algae covered spillway at Delta Marsh took us down. We didn't fall entirely into the lake, but it was close and we ended up wet enough and left with a healthy dose of bitterness. Tom cursed Lindsay almost as much as he did the elusive Finklestein Rd earlier in the day. Riding back to the main road, we startled a skunk who was hanging out in the tire track I was riding in. He turned around, lifted his tail, and cocked himself in my direction. I was sure I was toast, but either he missed or held off. Sheesh. Leaving Delta Marsh, we met up with Hal again, this time accompanied by Cory, on their way in. They looked really strong and focussed.

After feeling surprisingly good for the first 400 km, the last 90 were nothing short of miserable. Both of us literally nodded of while riding our bikes a couple of times. With 50 km left to go, struggling to go 20 kmh, we finally decided to stop and rest. Lying down on the side of a gravel road for a nap seemed like the wrong thing to do for so many reasons, not least of which was the fact that we figured Hal was about an hour behind us. But we woke up in 5-10 minutes and were able to pick up the pace for the next hour. We needed another nap at 30 km to go to muster up enough energy to finish it off. In the end, we rolled in at 9:30 am, finishing in 27.5 hours, well back of the 4 leaders, but still within the 24-30 hour window I was hoping for.

No room in my pack for a camera, so no pictures. But Hal took a bunch and he has a brand new site from which to share them, so surf on over there.

Next year? Way too early to say at this point. We'll see. But I have a feeling it'll be hard not to give it another go if it all goes again, especially if a few more FGBCers sign on. Good company, nice comraderie, and, in the end, lots of fun, despite being gruelling and excruciatingly arduous at times. Thanks to everyone behind the scenes who made it all happen.

OTT: The Bottle Rockets, Suffering Servant

pictures (and story) of a redass

Monday, June 11, 2007

mission accomplished

Tied for 5th overall; tied for 1st singlespeed.

More to come. Still recuperating. But I did ride my bike to work today--very slowly. So at least those sinister thoughts I had yesterday at about 7am about never, ever riding again have been overcome.

Friday, June 08, 2007

virtual red ass

Word is that updates will be posted from the checkpoints along the way. So if you want to check in to see how we're doing, maybe participate in a little vicarious suffering, surf on over to Olympia's Red Ass HQ.

What's done is done. Let the games begin.

ready or not

T minus 21 hours to Red Ass. By tomorrow at this time, the plan calls for us to be about half-way to Tinker Creek. "The plan," however, is admittedly rather imprecise. We really have very little idea what to expect, other than a noticeable amount of suffering. But the spirits are good, or at least as good as can be expected before heading out for a 500 km bike ride. Bring it on.

Hope to see the FGBC support crew out in full force at Tinker. Johnny S, we will try to call you from around Carman.

OTT: The Jayhawks, Ain't No End

Monday, June 04, 2007

Jean S

Mustaches are so yesterday. But I'll post this anyway because I think someone really wants to say something through it. As with his insistence on riding the Softride, I'm not sure what he's trying to say, exactly, but it seems rather bold.

I spent the last 4 days in Kitchener/Hamilton for a conference. Got out for a couple hours of riding in Waterloo on Saturday morning. Sweet, flowing singletrack. Kind of like riding a roller coaster. We just don't get that stuff around here. If you're ever in K/W, make sure to check it out.

OTT: The Minus 5, The Town that Lost its Groove Supply

Friday, June 01, 2007

my norco on the fixed gear gallery

somebody who's even more excited about his Norco Avanti than I am...

Spin 2 report

a nice group(a couple hundred mabe?) jaunt across the south end of Winnipeg. speeches at both ends. yup, a trail would be good around there... Joshua and I rode most of the way back on the shoulder of Bishop Grandin without the police escort... faster than the group ride, but the traffic is fast there....
all in all it went well... oh, except when the first two prizes went to Phil Roadley's kid and Jonny B (he picked up a bike computer)...