Wednesday, October 31, 2007

MN State CX

Can't make it down there this year. I'm in San Diego that weekend. But it's worth posting anyway, just in case others may be so inclined. Well worth the drive. One warning though: the biscuits and gravy at Bert's favorite breakfast joint are real good and more. It's just that they're not necessarily the wisest choice as far as pre-race meals go.

OTT: Chris Garneau, Baby's Romance

Death Drive a Success

At least in that we are still here to talk about it. Jonny G, Cousin Adam, Paddy, Colin, and myself. Unfortunately, though not surprisingly I suppose, the gates were locked in those cases where there were gates to lock. There was a gaping hole in the fence at St. John's Cathedral, but a spooky rake wielding figure gave us pause. Paddy had a flat and left us at the basilica in St B. Or at least that's what he said. We wonder if he may have been spooked by the rabbit that ran out of Louis Riel's grave. He didn't even stick around to pay respect to Colin's kin. Either way, what started out as 5 was all of a sudden 4. Obligatory Blair Witch references were made as we rode over to the Elmwood Cemetery. On the way over to the F&H we ran into some scary kids in the Sherbrook parking lot who were out on a gate night ride. Greetings and pleasantries were exchanged.

Nice turnout at the F&H. Good to see coach Unger out for the first time in a while. Alberto wants to buy a helmet cam. This desire was affirmed. The mention of video recording devices led to a recounting of Penner's crash for the new recruits. It was noted that Matt hasn't made a Tuesday Night Ride appearance since he collected all the "downpayments" for the wool jerseys. Some tentative plans for 24 Hours of Louis Riel were shared. It is scheduled for Feb. 16-17, 2008. Put it on your calendars now. Jonny N will be visiting from the left coast next week. We expect him to be along for the ride. The secretary has a bike for him.

OTT: Jess Klein, Middle Road

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Now playing at a theatre near you

At least if you happen to live in Brighton or Sussex or Manchester. I wonder whether there are any conclusions that can be drawn from the fact that it is not showing in theatres here.

At any rate, it seems Tina Turner was wrong. Apparently there's still plenty of need for heroes. It's just that we should be looking for a new, less--or is it more?--than super (and apparently more menacing), breed of them. Like this.

Here, by the way, is the winning entry to the contest. Nice.

OTT: Brett Dennen, Someday

Monday, October 29, 2007

cemetery cycling

This one has been in the works for a while. Seems like the time is right, given that we're on the eve of all hallow's eve and all.

To get you in the mood, I offer a quote from one of the best books I've read this year, namely Robert Pogue Harrison's stunning The Dominion of the Dead:
The dead depend on the living to preserve their authority, heed their concerns, and keep them going in their afterlives. In return, they help us to know ourselves, give form to our lives, organize our social relations, and restrain our destructive impulses. They provide us with the counsel needed to maintain the institutional order, of which they remain the authors, and to prevent it from degenerating into a bestial barbarism. The dead are our guardians. We give them a future so that they may give us a past. We help them to live on so that they may help us go forward. (Dominion of the Dead, p. 158).
And in a desperate attempt to get Dave L to show up for a ride, I offer my haiku version of the same quote:

the dead and living
embracing, a fecund dance
human is humus

If you feel inclined to do some homework in preparation, you might begin by looking here and here.

OTT: Viva Voce, From the Devil Himself

super fantastic

And the accompanying press release from the race organizer:
This Sunday (November 4th), the Manitoba Cyclocross Championships are being held at the Belgian Club, 407 Provencher Boulevard, in Winnipeg. More than 50 racers will take on a demanding 2.5km circuit that includes mud, hills and speed. The tight course through the scenic park along the Seine River provides ample opportunities for spectators, with refreshements and washrooms available in the historic Belgian Club (oh, and Belgian beer after the race).

Racing starts at 11 a.m., with the elite race from 1:30 - 2:30 p.m.

Hope to see you there!
Needless to say, you'd be wise to be there.

OTT: St. Vincent, Now, Now

better late than never

more photos from southern cross...

psycho cross was a hoot. the benson boys and jay h were a sight to see (it may have only been 3 degrees celsius with a howling wind for the b race and start of the a race and these boys ran it virtually naked - crazy). other worth while sights was the queer marshmallow man trying to rip off his costume after the race because it may have been 50 degrees inside of it after the sun came out, that and the fact that he couldn't breathe because it was constricting his chest; luc trying to bunny hop the triple barrier, only to go over the handle bars on the last one because he couldn't carry enough speed...this is why cross rocks.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Powderhorn & Psychocross

Heading down to Minneapolis for the state cx championships last year was a boatload of fun. But this course looks like it might be worth the drive as well. Will have to keep an eye out for it next fall.

Looks like Pyscho Cross was a hoot as well. Some things, however, are better participated in vicariously. Photos courtest of Dave B.

OTT: Firewater, Storm Warning

Saturday, October 27, 2007

CX World Cup #2

Nys wins it over Vantournout and Boom. Full results and report over at CN. The top 20 are as follows:

Nys - 150 pts
Vantournout - 125
Boom - 100
Wellens - 90
Stybar - 80
Mourey - 75
Dlask - 70
Heule - 65
Chainel - 60
Simunik - 55
Vervecken - 50
Aernouts - 45
Pauwels - 40
Zahner - 35
S. Vanthourenhout - 30
Mlynar - 25
Groenendall - 20
Franzoi - 15
W. Van Gils - 10
De Knegt - 5

In terms of the FGBC cx Pool, it's good news for my team. Three guys in the top 6 (Vantournout at 2nd, Boom 3rd, and Mourey 6th) cash in for 300 points. Good enough for the win on the day over Matt and Andy. Also puts me in the overall lead ahead of Andy and Arlene.

Today's Results:

Chris - 300
Matt - 225
Andy - 180
Naomi - 150
Vic - 150
Rachel - 140
David - 135
Jonny B - 130
Tomek - 125
Hal - 115
Arlene - 95
Laura - 90
Dallas - 85
Paddy - 50

Overall Standings:

Chris - 545
Andy - 395
Arlene - 350
Naomi - 325
Matt - 320
Jonny B - 140
Tomek - 275
Vic - 275
Jonny B - 270
David S - 240
Rachel - 230
Laura - 210
Hal - 185
Paddy - 115

Next race on the calendar is the Koppenbergcross on Thursday at Oudenaarde, Belgium. Some of the guys who haven't yet started should make an appearance at this one, since it's trade teams instead of national teams. So those of you bummed about the fact that Albert has not been chosen for the Belgian team can hope for better luck.

Pyschocross tomorrow at Whittier:

Good luck to those who are racing. I'm sitting this one out.

OTT: Magnolia Electric Co., Leave the City

Front page news

. . . in the Altona Echo. Now if we can only get the Free Press out to cover Belgian cx.

Altona terrain creates challenging ride

By Lori Penner
Friday October 26, 2007

They couldn’t have asked for better weather or better participation. About 57 cyclists from across Southern Manitoba competed in Altona’s first ever cyclocross race on Sunday, Oct. 21. Twenty of them were local riders. “That’s a better turnout than the races they have in Winnipeg,” said local organizer Jonathan Sawatsky.

The standard 2.5 km course wound through the Altona Park and Buffalo Creek Nature Park. The course’s challenging terrain, a defining feature of cyclocross, included grass trails, steep hills, lots of sharp corners, off camber sections and even a sand pit. In many sections, cyclists needed to dismount and run with the bike or carry it. This constant need to change speed and effort is what makes cyclocross the most challenging and exhausting type of cycle racing. Winning is based on the most distance covered in a set amount of time.

The event began with a 15-minute kids race. About 15 participants age 6-13 braved the course, with Sam Brillinger of Gretna finishing with three laps. The 30-minute (plus a lap) race had even the most seasoned cyclists huffing and puffing up the hill at the Nature Park. Winner Jonny Friesen of Tinker Creek completed six laps and was amazed at the stiff competition. In it simply for the joy of racing, Friesen later gave his winnings to the last rider in the kids challenge. The winner of the one hour (plus a lap) race, Olli Hyytiainen of Winnipeg finished with 10 laps.

Plenty of support
The hills seemed to get steeper, but cyclists were cheered on by dozens of fans merrily ringing cow bells, another trademark of cyclocross. Cow bells could be purchased at the park for $10. “The sound of those bells really keeps you going,” said Deanna Wiebe of Winnipeg. She was one of four women who took part in the 30-minute race. “I took one spill coming down the off camber switchback on the other side of the hill,” she admitted. Deanna and her husband Scott have competed in cycling races for several years. Altona’s course was one of the best they’d ever seen She said the time limit in cyclocross makes it a fun event for everyone. “You all finish together, no matter where you are when the final bell rings,” she said. Prizes were awarded later at the Altona Curling Club. Sawatsky said the best part about competing isn’t taking home the largest prize. “You won’t get rich in cyclocross, but it was great to see so many people come out to take part in the fun, and so many fans out there with their cow bells.” He is grateful to all the sponsors and local retailers who contributed to the event in various ways. “It was great overall. Much better than I anticipated,” he said.

OTT: Flunk, True Faith

Friday, October 26, 2007

CX World Cup #2

... goes down tomorrow in Tabor, Czech Republic. Can Stybar do it again in front of the home fans? And, more importantly, what will happen in the FGBC cx Pool? Check back Saturday afternoon to find out.

In the mean time, here's the last 10 minutes of the race in Kalmthout on Sunday. Looks like a fun course. I love the part where they snake back and forth among the trees. Enjoy.

While we're at it, this is what cx races look like on the other side of the pond. Altona was fun, but we've got a long way to go. More shirtless, dancing and cigarette smoking fat dudes next time Johnny.

OTT: Johnny Irion, Good Cry

Thursday, October 25, 2007

CX Provincials

We are looking for volunteers to help in setting up the course for Provincials. Please let me know by replying to this email if you can give us a hand with the set up. We are looking for people to help prior and on the day of the race. Tasks that need to be completed:
  • Course cleaning (cutting branches, clearing some paths/trails of leaves and weeds, stump removal - there is at least one stump that needs to be removed to make the course safer). We would like to do this next week after work, day and time to be announced. We will also do some work on the Saturday before the race.
  • Snow removal if needed - this can be on the Saturday and even very early on Sunday.
  • Marking of the course - early on the morning of the race
  • Mud bog creation - the day of the race unless Mother Nature steps in for us on this one.
  • Other?
If you can help here are some tools that you could bring:
  • Pruning shears of buck saw
  • Rake (fan sytle)
  • Hammer (for stakes)
  • Bucket
  • Shovel
Also, let me know if any one is interested in helping out at Provinical's (course marshal, etc.)


... is now swimming in the FGBC cx Pool. He's the one in the red Speedos. With Stybar on his team, he sits in 3rd place after last Sunday. Seems a bit fishy, I know, given that Stybar was a bit of a surprise winner and all. But I have confirmation that his roster was submitted on Friday on paper, well before the race began. It's just that I wasn't able to pick it up from the poosher until Sunday evening.

At any rate, here are the updated standings.

Arlene - 255
Chris - 245
Andy - 215
Naomi - 175
Tomek - 150
Jonny B - 140
Vic - 125
Laura - 120
Dallas - 105
David S - 105
Matt - 95
Rachel - 90
Hal - 70
Paddy - 65

Andy's team:

Niels Albert 9
Jonathan Page 7.5
Dieter Vanthourenhout 2
Jan Verstraeten 2
Davy Willemsens 4.5
Zdenek Styber 9
Davy Commeyne 6.5
Lucas Kloucek 4.5
Lars Boom 5

OTT: Mission of Burma, Nancy Reagan's Head

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tuesday Night Ride report

A night of missed connections, it would seem. The plan to check out the course for the Belgian Club race was pre-empted by an earlier reconaissance mission. It seems the "night" in Tuesday Night Ride ends rather early for some. Still, the poosher, Colin, Juan Eppstein and myself made it back there to review the results of the initial effort under appropriate night ride conditions. The course is new and improved, yet includes all the classic bits we've come to love. Sounds like there are plenty of accoutrements in store to make it far more than just a race. Could be the event of the season. Don't miss out.

Duvel and chit chat at the BC and off to the F&H just after 11 for Juan and me. Too late for carpet boy, apparently. Jonny G had just arrived when we rolled in. But Hummelt Hockey must have gone into overtime or something. An eerie absence on that front.

By the end of the evening: Southern Cross has been debriefed and memorialized. It was good. Time to move on.

OTT: Ashley Park, Nobody Broke Your Heart

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tuesday Night Ride

Sounds like the plan is to scout out some options for the Belgian Club cx race that's coming up in a week and a half. Maybe stop in for a pint of Duvel at the alternative HQ. Be there.

OTT: The A-Lines, Can't Explain

Monday, October 22, 2007

Cyclocross With a Southern Accent

Nicely done, boys and girls. The first (annual?) cyclocross race in Altona came off splendidly. About 60 racers in total, more or less evenly divided over the three categories. Over half the participants were racing cx for the first time. And aside from the notable absences from several high-ranking FGBC officials--the president was there, but did not race, while the secretary and the coach were nowhere to be seen--the FGBC showed up in full force. By cx standards, the course was a bit on the tougher side, but it seemed to win the over hearts of racers and spectators alike in the end. It didn't hurt that it was a beautiful day.

The kids got things off to a dramatic start. Those of us who were close enough to see it watched in vain as the leader of the race took a wrong turn and headed off course, essentially giving away the race. Bummer. But it was all smiles in the end.

The B race not only featured a whole whack of first-timers and the largest field of the three races. It also offered up a fierce and fascinating battle for the overall victory. I don't think I've ever witnessed a cross race being won on a technical downhill before. But Johnny Friesen, rocking his full-suspension Slayer, took a little more time out of early leader Allan Robertson on each lap as he flew smoothly through the switchbacks down the backside of the hill, before eventually riding away with a 15 second victory.

I didn't really have a good vantage point from which to comment on the A race. I can, however, say that it really hurt. And also that it was one of most enjoyable races of the season so far. Daniel and Olli put the rest of us to shame, coming in several minutes ahead of anyone else.

Full results here

Among the many other highlights, the following stick in my mind: Jonny G and his snot-soaked beard. The girl with the banana-seat bike and streamers. The kid with the way-too-small bike with the near vertical seat, who rode the entire race standing on his pedals. Simon's fancy footwear. The dude with the blue jeans and cotton shirt. Charlene's pain-tinged smile as she ran up the hill. All the good looking people sporting the sweetest jersey in the world. The spectators and cowbells, not to mention the sweet (though not entirely southern) tunes, up on top of the hill. Juan Eppstein running the last few laps with a broken chain. The sand pit from hell. The inflatable arch that made everything else look like a miniature display-window replica.

Johnny S did an awful lot of work to pull this all together. All hail Johnny S. Myron and Julia also helped out in a big way, as did proud new papa, David S. Additional thanks to Mayor Mel for flipping burgers, Ian for course-design consultation, Jonny G for helping set up the course, Hal for the tunes, Tom for the arch, and Colin for not getting so entirely lost that we were without barriers altogether. And, of course, thanks to everyone who showed up to race and/or watch. Good times.

A few photos:

More photos here, courtesy of Mrs. Eppstein.

OTT: Jess Klein, Everybody's Crazy

sage advice

from the new york bike snob...

Cyclocross is the opposite of sex--if you're doing it right it hurts, and it's only fun before and after. In my time racing cyclocross I’ve learned some tips for dealing with that nasty in-between part, which I present to you herewith. I won’t say they’ll make you a better racer--the way I race puts the “can’t” back in “cantis”--but I guarantee they’ll make you a better loser:
Know When And Where The Race Is

Eddy Merckx famously said, "The Tour de France is won in bed." Cyclocross races, however, are not won in bed, since misreading the schedule, sleeping in, and arriving after your race has begun tends to winnow your chances down considerably. Furthermore, as I've cited before, Woody Allen once said, "90% of success is just showing up." Of course, that still leaves a 10% window for failure, since I've showed up at cyclocross races and not succeeded innumerable times. I will say though that 100% of failure is not showing up, because it's tough to be competitive when your race is starting and you're 30 miles from the venue because you Mapquested the wrong address.

Don't Pre-Ride the Course

Yes, you read that right. While this bit of advice flies counter to every bit of cyclocross wisdom you're likely ever to hear, I've always believed that courting common wisdom is the path to complacency. I find that going in cold and flying blind can take the edge off the searing pain of those first few laps, since you're too busy being surprised to focus on how awful you feel. And dreading that terrible run-up for a half a lap can be demoralizing, while the shock of suddenly discovering it can give you that extra shot of adrenaline to get you over it. Complete unfamiliarity with the course can turn a killing field into a haunted hayride teeming with fun-filled surprises, thrills and spills at every turn.

Do Not Have a Pit Bike

This is another counterintuitive tactic. If you’re like me, a crash or a mechanical problem comes as sweet relief. It’s like a fire drill in school during a test. Suddenly, the pressure’s off and there’s no more pressure to perform. On the other hand, having another bicycle in the pit so that you can make a quick bike change and continue to race only expands the vast horizon of opportunity for you to lose. It’s like getting one of those flu shots they give out at the office—how are you going to call in sick for a week when everybody knows you’re immune? Never squander your inventory of excuses.

Get a Bad Starting Position

There are few things as embarrassing as getting a great starting position only to drop through the pack and completely fall apart on the first lap. Not only do your fellow racers notice, but so do the spectators. It's like you're an Alka-Seltzer and the race is a big glass of water, and everybody gets to watch your effervescent, frothy demise. But if you start the race in the back, you have nowhere to go but up. If you finish DFL, you can blame your start position. If you finish strong, you can point out how many places you had to make up and how high you would have placed if you'd started up front. Everybody hates a sandbagger, but everybody loves an underdog.

Constantly Re-evaluate Your Goals

As in everyday life, it’s important to rationalize and to temper your expectations. Certainly you should start the race expecting to finish well. However, if you cling to that expectation you’ll only be disappointed. So take the time each lap to analyze your position and re-structure your goals. If you find yourself slipping back, try to keep the guy behind you from passing you. If he does, try to hold his wheel. If you can’t, repeat with the next guy. When there’s nobody left, just wait, because eventually you’ll get to experience the thrill of battling the race leader as you try to keep from being lapped. And if all else fails, comfort yourself with your superiority over the other riders in areas outside of racing. Sure, the guy who passed you just then was stronger than you, but there’s no way he’s better at cooking eggs than you. You’re the Egg Master.

“Chunk” the Race

You may have heard of the memorization technique called “chunking,” wherein you break large chunks of information up into smaller parts to make them easier to remember. Well, you should do that in cyclocross races as well. While a ‘cross race seems short and appears to unfold faster than a Dahon on a Friday afternoon, it can feel like an eternity if you’re actually in one. So like an alcoholic or someone getting paid by the hour to retile a bathroom, focus on completing one tiny section at a time. Like life, if you think about how much more you have left you can find yourself overwhelmed. Another “chunking” trick you can take from life is picking some small section of the course and convincing yourself you enjoy it. That way, you have something to look forward to each lap. It’s like hating your job but looking forward to lunch.

Ignore Your Surroundings

As the race leaves you behind like a club-footed tuba player in a marching band, try not to pay attention to the announcer or the crowd. The announcer’s spirited narration of the battle at the front will only serve to remind you how far back you are, especially when he starts describing the action on sections of the course you’ve just completed. Similarly, the crowd can be inadvertently discouraging as well. At first they’ll cheer excitedly. But as you slip back the cheers become gradually less animated and more conciliatory, until they eventually devolve into the type of “you can do it!” sentiments generally reserved for “special” people, and then finally disappear altogether. Then, it’s all about not getting passed by the riders warming up for the next race.

Have Fun!

That’s right, this is supposed to be fun. So try to remember that as you struggle to keep your perfectly-cooked eggs down.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

FGBC cx Pool Standings

First of all, for those of you who couldn't make it, Southern Cross was a blast. But more on that later. They raced over in Belgium before we got started this afternoon. So first things first. With the first World Cup race in the books, it's game on. Big surprise, with 21 year old Zdenek Stybar, one of the up-and-coming young-uns, taking the win over Nys. Full results and report over at CN.

The top 20 (in terms of FGBC cx Pool points) were as follows:

Z. Stybar - 150
S. Nys - 125
F. Mourey - 100
S. Vanthourenhout - 90
K. Vantournout - 80
B. Wellens - 75
C. Heule - 70
K. Pauwels - 65
R. Groenendal - 60
E. Franzoi - 55
J. Page - 50
B. Aernouts - 45
S. Zahner - 40
R. Simunik - 35
K. Ausbuher - 30
T. Al - 25
G. De Knegt - 20
L. Boom - 15
W. Van Gils - 10
S. Chainel - 5

Arlene was the only person to pick Stybar, and so the only person to cash in on the 150 points accorded to the winner. Nicely done. So she jumps out to an early lead, followed closely by yours truly, who had two riders in the top 5 and another in 11th. The complete standings are as follows.

Arlene - 255
Chris - 245
Naomi - 175
Tomek - 150
Jonny B - 140
Vic - 125
Laura - 120
Dallas - 105
David S - 105
Matt - 95
Rachel - 90
Hal - 70
Paddy - 65

You'll notice that Dallas has submitted a team. And apparently Andy has gotten something in on paper, which I'm still waiting for. I will add that and update the standings accordingly once I actually receive it from the poosher. Next race is on Saturday in Tabor, Czech Republic.

OTT: Sleater-Kinney, Buy Her Candy

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Ladies and gentelmen, I present the teams of the 2007-08 FGBC cx Pool. Let the fun begin. First race is tomorrow on Kalmthout, Belgium.


Enrico Franzoi - 10
Niels Albert - 9
Jonathan Page - 7.5
Zdenek Stybar - 9
Davey Commeyne - 6.5
David Willemsens - 4.5
Davide Frattini - 1.5
Geoff Kabush - 1
Jesse Anthony - 1


Francis Mourey - 14
Klaas Vantornout - 14
Jonathan Page - 7.5
Lars Boom - 5
Vaclav Metlicka - 2
Rob Peeters - 2
Jan Verstraeten - 2
Dieter Vanthourenhout - 2
Jan Soetens - 1.5

David S

Francis Mourey - 14
John Gadret - 13
Steve Chainel - 6.5
David Drepas - 4.5
Arnaud Labbe - 4.5
Romain Villa - 3.5
Jempy Drucker - 1.5
Nicolas Bazin - 1.5
Maxime Lefebre - 1


Enrico Frazoni - 10
Niels Albert - 9
Ryan Trebon - 8
Lars Boom - 5
David Willemsens - 4.5
Marek Cichosz - 4
Jan Chrobak - 3
Phillip Dixon - 2.5
Ronald Mustarrs - 2.5

Jonny B

Bart Wellens - 25
Kevin Pauwels - 12
Davy Commeyne - 6.5
Gusty Bausch - 1.5
Unai Yas Kerejeta - 1
Finn Heitmann - 1
Julien Taramarcaz - 1
Ricardo Van Der Velde - 1
Maxime Lefebre - 1


Christian Heule - 15
Martin Nijland - 8
Jonathan Page - 7.5
Zdenek Mylnar - 5
Arnaud Labbe - 4.5
Joachim Parbo - 3.5
Malte Urban - 3
Alexandre Moos -2
Jan Ramsauer - 1.5


Klass Vanthournot - 14
Albert Niels - 9
Ryan Trebon - 8
Lars Boom - 5
Lukas Kloucek - 4.5
Marek Cichosz - 4
Ondrej Bambula - 2.5
Rob Peeters - 2
Julian Taramarcaz - 1


Sven Njis -30
Jonathan Page - 7.5
Jan Verstaeten - 2
Jesse Anthony - 1
David Willemsens - 4.5
Dieter Vantherenhout - 2
Yves Corminboeuf - 1
Jussi Veikkanen - 1
Finn Heitmann - 1


Gerben De Kneght - 17
Bart Aernouts - 11
Marek Cichosz - 4
Joachim Parbo - 3
Barry Wicks - 2
Ryan Trebon - 2
Geoff Kabush - 2
Thomas Frischknecht - 1.5
Tristan Shouten - 1


Petr Dlask - 11
Enrico Franzoi - 10
Niels Albert - 9
Radomir Simunik - 9
Jan Chrobak - 3
Ondrej Bambula - 2.5
Dieter Vanthourenhout - 2
Jan Verstraeten - 2
Jan Soetens - 1.5


Francis Murey - 14
Niels Albert - 9
Ryan Trebon - 8
Jonathan Page - 7.5
Marek Cichosz - 4
Mariusz Gil - 2
Barry Wicks - 2
Jeremy Powers - 1.5
Geoff Kabush - 1


Sven Nys - 30
Neils Albert - 9
Rob Peeters - 2
Greg Reain - 2
Tristan Schouten - 1
Matthieu Toulouse - 1
Alexander Moos - 2
Dieter Vanthourenhout - 2
Geoff Kabush - 1

I think that's it. Have I missed anybody?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Go South

The cycling event of the season is just around the corner. Don't be stupid. Be there.

OTT: The Spinanes, Suffice

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Jersey update

I got word from Woolistic that our jerseys go into production today and that their goal is to have them to Atlanta in 45 days. So, realisitically, we're still shooting for a mid-Decmeber to Christmas delivery.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Calendar update

[Update: 10:48 pm] - the calendar update has been further updated. The Gazet van Antwerpen series (GVA) is now included below too. The races that comprise the 2007-08 FGBC cx Pool are now set. So far, Matt, Paddy, Jonny B, Alberto, Dr. Laura, El Presidente, Tenacious V and me have submitted teams. I'm waiting on the poosher to tidy up his roster. Still time for others to get in on the action too.

Now that we've added the Superprestige series, the calendar for the 2007-08 FGBC cx Pool now looks like this.

Oct. 21 - World Cup: Kalmthout (BEL)
Oct. 27 - World Cup: Tabor (CZE)
Nov. 01 - GVA: Koppenbergcross, Oudenaarde (BEL)
Nov. 04 - Superprestige: Hamme-Zogge (BEL)
Nov. 10 - GVA: Niel Jaarmarkt Cross, Niel (BEL)
Nov. 11 - World Cup: Pijnacker (NED)
Nov. 18 - Superprestige: Asper-Gavere (BEL)
Nov. 24 - World Cup: Koksijde (BEL)
Nov. 25 - Superprestige: Gieten (NED)
Dec. 02 - World Cup: Igorre (ESP)
Dec. 08 - World Cup: Milan (ITA)
Dec. 09 - Superprestige: Veghel-Eerde (NED)
Dec. 15 - GVA: GP Rouwmoer, Essen (BEL)
Dec. 26 - World Cup: Hofstade (BEL)
Dec. 28 - GVA: Azencross, Loenhout (BEL)
Dec. 30 - Superprestige: Diegem (BEL)
Jan. 01 - GVA: Grote Prijs Sven Nys, Baal (BEL)
Jan. 13 - World Cup: Liévin (FRA)
Jan. 20 - World Cup: Hoogerheide (NED)
Jan. 27 - World Championships, Teviso (ITA)
Feb. 02 - GVA: Krawatencross, Lille (BEL)
Feb. 03 - Superprestige: Hoogstraten (BEL)
Feb. 16 - Superprestige: Vorselaar (BEL)
Feb. 17 - GVA: Sluitingsprijs Oostmalle, Oostmalle (BEL)

Once I get around to it, I will probably add the Gazet van Antwerpen series as well. The benefit of both of these additions is that some of the lower priced riders will be more likely to ride these than the world cup races which are based on 9 person national teams. So there's a better chance of getting some points from any cheap $1-2 picks you might have on your team.

The teams are starting to come in. A few people have problems with math. Don't beat yourself up about it. Math is hard and it's easy to get intimidated. But hopefully it's still possible to figure out how to spread $50 amongst a team of 9 riders (do not think "as many as 9," but "exactly 9"). Really, once you get the basics it's not that difficult. So get your team in. Think of how much fun it will be to pronounce those cool Belgian and Dutch names at the F&H. Rosters due by tomorrow evening. Once I get them all, I'll post all the teams.

OTT: Bo Ramsey, Forget You

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

cx primer

Stolen, with deep appreciation, from The Podium Cafe. This is as close as The Hockey News' Ultimate Pool Guide as you're going to find for our humble little cx pool. But it should help to figure out some of the names and races. Two more days to submit your teams. fortgarrybikeclubATgmailDOTcom

In light of this, I'm inclined to add the Superprestige series to the World Cup and World Championship races as FGBC cx Pool points-conting races. The first one was this past Sunday. But we can count the rest. It'll give us something to look forward to during the breaks between some of the World Cup races.


Rabobank: The first name you need to know is Sven Nys. He is probably the most dominant cyclocross racer of all time, and at age 31, not out of his prime yet. Over 150 cyclocross wins including: 2005 World Champion, 4 time Belgian champion, 7 time superprestige series winner, and 4 GVA trophies. He's been seen occasionally racing Paris-Roubaix for the Rabobank road team. The second name you need to know is Lars Boom. The 21 year old is the current World Espoirs Champion and Dutch National Champion after being the Dutch espoirs champ the previous 3 years and the junior champion the 3 years before that. And of course he was the 2003 Junior World Champ as well. Nys has even tabbed Boom (along with Niels Albert) as one of the riders he fears this year. Other riders: Gerben De Knegt, Bart Aernouts

Fidea: Bart Wellens is the current Belgian champion, but has had to play 2nd best to Nys most of his career. Nonetheless, Wellens has won 2 World Championships, 3 Belgian Championships, 1 Superprestige and 1 GVA trophy. Plus he has his own reality TV show and he's just a badass, once taking a kick at a spectator who was taunting him. See it here. Now that is some impressive bike handling skill. Also on the team is current World Champion, Erwin Vervecken. At 35, he on his way down, but he still is a consistent top 5 threat who always seems to peak for the worlds, as he has won 3 titles and podiumed 5 other times. Other riders: Zdenek Stybar, Kevin Pauwels, Petr Dlask, Klaas Vantornout

Sunweb-Projob: A new team this year, notable for signing Jonathan Page. The 3 time USA National Champion was one of the first Americans cyclocross racer to move himself and his family to Belgium full time. His results have been getting progressively better each year, culminating in the Silver in last season's World Championship. Other riders: Sven Vanthourenhout, Tom Vannoppen, David Willemsens

Palmans-Collstrop: The team of the future with 2 young stars: 23 year old Radomir Simunek Jr, who won last year's World Cup race in Tabor, and 20 year old Niels Albert. The 2 time defending U23 Belgian champion beat Nys twice in last year's GVA series. Nys has publicly stated that Albert and Boom are the riders he fears most. Albert won the final race of last season (GVA Oostmalle) and the first of this season at Dudzele.

There are a smattering of smaller teams that I don't know enough about to write about. A few notables are: 5 time Dutch National Champion and 2000 World Champion Richard Groendaal has left Rabobank and will be riding for AA Drink instead of retiring. Several Americans will be racing a bit more in Europe this year including National Champion Ryan Trebon and Kona teammate Barry Wicks. And there are always a few established road racers who show up and do well in cross as well: Francis Mourey (FDJ) won the UCI World Cup in Treviso last year surprising Nys and Vervecken. John Gadret (AG2R), Enrico Franzoi (Bronze Medalist at 2007 Worlds) of Lampre, and Roger Hammond (T-Mob) are some of the other notable names that have had success at cyclocross.

The Races

The UCI rates and give points for each sanctioned cyclocross events with a World Cup, C1, or C2 classification. There are about 10 World Cup events each year, there was definite interest in having a World Cup event in the US this year, but the logistics couldn't get finalized. Maybe next year. Usually even the largest USA races are rated C2, but the Supercross #1 in New York got a C1 rating. Erwin Vervecken came to the USA and won that race. The UCI points not only determine the World Cup series winner, but also your critical start position at the World Championship race. Earlier this year a few European pros were racing in the USA to "cherry pick" a few precious points.

Superprestige is an series of C1 races in Belgium and the Netherlands. They are a series in themselves and wildly popular among the locals. Sven Nys owns this series, winning all 8 races last year and the series 7 out of the last 9 years. The website is

The Gazet van Antwerpen (GVA) are a series of C1 races held near Antwerp. Similar to Superprestige, this is a 8 race series. When looking at the race listings these are harder to pick out because the race name have unique names like: Jaarmarktcross, GP Sven Nys, or Krawatencross. But this is also a highly coveted trophy to win. Nys also won this series last year, but not quite in the dominant fashion as Superprestige.

And there is the World Championship. The cyclocross world championship is probably the most coveted of all titles. Unlike its road race counterpart, everyone is on good form after a full season of racing. And also unlike the road race, which can favor specialists depending on parcours, the cyclocross champion almost always goes to the strongest rider.

For the past 10 years, it's been (almost) all Belgium, except for the controversial 2000 race. Richard Groenendaal (Ned) was out in front, being chased by Mario de Clerq and Sven Nys, both Belgians. Nys refused to help de Clerq chase down his Rabobank team captain, and Groenendaal went on to win. Nys was harshly criticized in the Belgian media, but eventually all was forgotten. Despite being nearly unbeatable during the season, Nys has had some forgettable Worlds even though the Belgian team has been so utterly dominant. Their basic technique is to get to the front and run a virtual team time trial until everyone else dropped. Here is a perfect picture of the machine in action.

There really hasn't been a challenge to recent Belgium superiority, but last year Jonathan Page was just 1 Vervecken bobble away from taking it all.

Here are the results from last season

World Cup
UCI World Cup, Aigle (Swi) - Nys, Wellens, Vervecken
UCI World Cup, Kalmthout (Bel) - Nys, Mourey, Vervecken
UCI World Cup, Tabor (Cze) - Simunek, Wellens, Vervecken
UCI World Cup, Treviso (Ita) - Mourey, Nys, Vervecken
UCI World Cup, Pijnacker (Ned) - Nys, Mourey, de Knegt
UCI World Cup, Koksijde (Bel) - Nys, Wellens, Vanthourenhout
UCI World Cup, Igorre (Spa) - Nys, Wellens, Vantornout
UCI World Cup, Milan (Ita) - Wellens, Nys, Vanthourenhout
UCI World Cup, Hofstade (Bel) - Vervecken, Dlask, Al
UCI World Cup, Nommay (Fra) - Nys, Wellens, de Knegt
UCI World Cup, Hoogerheide(Ned) - Nys, Dlask, Vervecken

Ruddervoorde (Bel) - Nys, Vanthourenhout, Wellens
Sint-Michielsgestel (Ned) - Nys, Pauwels, Groenendaal
Asper-Gavere (Bel) - Nys, Vervecken, Gadret
Gieten (Ned) - Nys, de Knegt, Vantornout
Bollekescross, Hamme-Zogge (Bel) - Nys, Wellens, Vervecken
Diegem (Bel) - Nys, Wellens, Pauwels
Hoogstraten (Bel) - Nys, Groendaal, De Knegt
Vorselaar (Bel) - Nys, Vantornout, Vervecken

GVA Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy
Koppenberg (GP Willy Naessens) - Nys, Groendaal, Gadret
Niel (Jaarmarktcross) - Wellens, Groendaal, Nys
Essen (GP Rouwmoer) - Nys, Wellens, De Knegt
Loenhout (Azencross) - Albert, Nys, Vervecken
Baal (GP Sven Nys) - Nys, Boom, Albert
Lille (Krawatencross) - Nys, Groendaal, De Knegt
Oostmalle (Int. Sluitingsprijs) - Albert, Nys, Page

Worlds Championship
World Championship, Hooglede-Gits, (Bel) Vervecken, Page, Franzoi

Tuesday Night Ride

I might have to sit this one out. Work. Feel free to meet at the usual TNR staging grounds.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

2007-08 FGBC cx Pool

The season is almost upon us. The first world cup race is next Sunday. So it's time to start finalizing the pool.

Rules: Select a team of nine riders. You have $50 to spend. Virtual dollars, not real dollars. Rider values here. Note that the values are slightly different than the previous list--at least at the top end. Nys is just too dominant. Points will be awarded for the top 20 finishers at each of the world cup races plus the world championships, as per the chart below. $5 to enter. Winner takes all. Rosters are due by Thursday, Oct. 18 at 7pm. Send them in to fortgarrybikeclubATgmailDOTcom.

Pick a strategy and go nuts. Hint: an all Belgian team, while it didn't work out so well for Alberto in the TdF pool, might not be a bad idea this time around. Then again, the Americans are getting better. Sounds like Page and Trebon will be there for all of these races.

Bonus points: 50 extra points available to anyone who races next weekend in Altona!! It doesn't matter how well you do. Just take to the start line in either the A or B race and survive to the finish and you're on the scoreboard.

The 2007-08 calendar is as follows:

Oct. 21 - Kalmthout (BEL)
Oct. 27 - Tabor (CZE)
Nov. 11 - Pijnacker (NED)
Nov. 24 - Koksijde (BEL)
Dec. 02 - Igorre (ESP)
Dec. 08 - Milan (ITA)
Dec. 26 - Hofstade (BEL)
Jan. 13 - Liévin (FRA)
Jan. 20 - Hoogerheide (NED)
Jan. 27 - World Championships, Teviso (ITA)


1 - 150
2 - 125
3 - 100
4 - 90
5 - 80
6 - 75
7 - 70
8 - 65
9 - 60
10 - 55
11 - 50
12 - 45
13 - 40
14 - 35
15 - 30
16 - 25
17 - 20
18 - 15
19 - 10
20 - 5

OTT: The Bluie Van, Keep Me Running

Friday, October 12, 2007

Mud Bath

The bunker wasn't nearly this interesting at Menno X, but there were some moments. Will see what Altona has to offer.

And here's a bit more of the World Champion's recent visit to the USA. That looks like a steep hill, and those Kona dudes look TALL.

OTT: The Blow, Come on Petunia

Indoor Cross?

Sounds intriguing. But then again, perhaps more than anything else it demonstrates how soft New Englanders are when it comes to cold weather. I don't see how it could be nearly as satisfying as our Nordic Cross season.

OTT: Damien Rice, Rootless Tree

Thursday, October 11, 2007


The honorary captain is still riding. Look out. He seems to like it when everyone counts him for dead.

OTT: The Preakness, On the Couch

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Tuesday Night Ride report

Only the hard core
Wind and rain kept some away
Or so it would seem

Reconnaissance ride
Cyclocross under the lights
At Tom Chester Park?

Two-wheeled treachery
Misty glasses, sketchy roads
Watch out for the rut

Skanky FGD
Hopefully not ethanol
Flirting with Stella

Cousin Adam's Puch
One speed or variable?
What would Fonzie do?

OTT: Okkervil River, You Can't Hold the Hand of a Rock and Roll Man

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

It doesn't feel like Tuesday but it is

Maybe a night ride will help get things back on track.

OTT: The Lovetones, Wintertime in Hollywood

Monday, October 08, 2007

Menno X

Cold, rain, and some mud
45 minutes, plus one
Best 'cross race so far

Thanks to Colin and Naomi for keeping time and counting laps, and also to Hal for the canopy and tunes. Most importantly, thanks to everyone for coming out and turning what looked like a crappy day into a memorable one.


1. Jared
2. Tomek
3. Chris
4. Cam
5. Hal
6. Dan
7. Bryan
8. Dallas
9. Dave
[From here, individual placings are somewhat mysterious. But based on the number of laps completed, it went something like this. If you really care, feel free to clarify exactly how you fared.]
Luc (7 laps; )
Bill (7 laps)
Gary (7 laps)
Brad (7 laps)
Jon (6 laps)
Robin (6 laps)
LeAnn (6 laps)
Seema (6 laps)
Vic (5 laps)
David (5 laps)
Alex (1 lap; 1st place - kids race)

Photos courtesy of mrs. h:

OTT: Ryan Adams & The Cardinals, Life is Beautiful

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Menno X

The countdown is on. T minus 24 hours.

Here's the schedule of events:

1. 7:30 am - Coffee at Starbucks (Academy & Lanark)

2. 8:00-ish - Course set-up at CMU. Yes, we can use your help.

3. 10:00 am - pre-race coffee in the stone pit (picnic tables by the gym)

4. 10:15 am - game on.

In other cx news, the defending world champion came to race in North America yesterday. He won, but it looks like the twin towers from Kona plus Mr. 9-ball made him work for it at least. A couple of Canucks in the top 10. Sweet.

OTT: Digitalism, Echoes

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Southern Cross: A Sneak Preview

Some highlights from the course, courtesy of Johnny S--who, by the way, is pulling out all the stops. The word at cross lab this morning is that he's running some radio spots to advertise the race. Maybe they'd be interested in providing live play-by-play coverage as well, just in case there are some who can't be there to watch in person. If it's not already abundantly clear, this is one you would be wise not to miss.

You will be running up this hill--2x per lap.
Don't worry, it's bigger than it looks.

View from the top of the hill to the bridge
you will be riding over and under.

Heading back under the bridge.

But before we get to Southern Cross, we have to deal with Menno. A new and improved course this year. Thanksgiving Monday, 10am at CMU--North Campus (500 Shaftesbury Blvd).

And finally, for motivation, more Vegas. Sweet funky stuff indeed.

OTT: Wilco, Summer Teeth

Friday, October 05, 2007

cross lab

1. Coffee at Starbucks (Academy & Lanark) at 7:30 am.

2. Cross lab at CMU at 8:00.

Viva Cross Vegas

Not sure what I think about Tim Johnson's new kit. But cx under the lights. That seems right. Anywhere we can do that here?

OTT: Jim White, Bluebird

Thursday, October 04, 2007

well, it's begun

so far, everything's Italian. But now I need to find the remaining $$ to actually make it ride... Paddy, need anyone to sweep the shoppe?

Jerseys ordered...

...and deposit paid. 32 pieces of loveliness are being hand-spun by Swiss virgins in pristine valleys.


Poosher? How goes the 07/08 snowflake?

Cyclocross training tips #1

How not to negotiate the barriers. Presented by Brian S.

Nice. If you scroll down at just the right pace, it's almost like a movie. Photos courtesy of Dave D.

OTT: Arcade Fire, Haiti