Monday, December 31, 2007

10. Back Room Bash – It's a little too early to declare it a classic, no doubt. But with treats from brewmaster Dave, Santa Lucia’s Greek Pizza, and an ultimate rock, paper, scissors throwdown, it wasn’t your average Tuesday Night Ride. If we squeeze it into the top 10, maybe it’ll become an annual event.

9. Haiku Cross – Composing poetry while racing bikes is harder than it sounds--especially when you're also dodging snowballs. The concept alone is enough to get this one on the list.

8. Scheissbike scouting ride – The race itself was a blast. Literally. -41 with windchill. The mere fact we were racing at all in those conditions is worthy of all kinds of overweening self-congratulation. But the scouting ride the day before, punctuated with mid-afternoon pit-stop at the Albert, was a classic.

7. Menno Cross, Vol II – The weather gods shone upon us. Best cyclocross weather of the season, by far. The bunker alone was one of my favorite cycling moments of the year.

6. Tour de Half Pints – The top-ranked Tuesday Night Ride. It took two tries before it worked. But in the end, our perseverance paid off. I heart brewmaster Dave.

5. ‘Stache Cross – The most talked about event of the season. How can it not be up there?

4. Red Ass – Epic. So epic, in fact, it warrants a top 10 of its own. Only a handful of FGBC racers, but having the Jonnys there at the Tinker Creek check point is enough to make it qualify.

3. Southern Cross – first ever FGBC race. And best ever FGBC participation in a race. A sign of things to come, I hope.

2. 24 Hours of Ass. – As much a party as a bike race. Plus a specially themed lap. And a dog fest of sorts. As it should be. There's even a movie about it all.

1. Spring Ride Vol. V – The best weekend of the year, five years running. Fittingly, it also has a movie. It just keeps getting better and better. I can’t wait to see what Vol. VI brings.

Honorable mentions: Supercross, Tour of Altona, Secretary’s Bike Build, The Parks Tour, Tour of Saint James, The Death Drive, Fall Dogfest, Grudge Cross.

I trust 2008 will be just as good, if not better. Time will tell. That the year begins on a Tuesday is a good omen. We will ride.

OTT: White Whale, One Prayer.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Diegem in the Dark

They raced under the lights today in Diegem. Not that it made much of a difference. Nys wins again. And Andy had another good day as well, with Stybar and Albert placing 3rd and 4th. His lead has stretched to over 340 points. And Vic is just 10 points out of 2nd. While they've both been hot, my team has been struggling as of late. Mourey is nowhere to be seen, and Vantornout seems to be focusing his attention on the winning the 2nd tier races as of late. I'm holding out hope for the two World Cups and the World Championships that are coming up. Otherwise, I think the professor has about wrapped it up. Full results, report, and photos over at CN.

I've put the scoring spreadsheet online. So if you're interested in seeing how things break down, go here.


The top 20:

Nys - 150
Simunik - 125
Stybar - 100
Albert - 90
Wellens - 80
Groenendaal - 75
Vervecken - 70
Gadret - 65
D. Vanthourenhout - 60
Page - 55
Van Gils - 50
Vantornout - 45
Verstraeten - 40
Bianco - 35
Van Der Linden - 30
Pauwels - 25
Al - 20
Berden - 15
Barenyi - 10
Vanoppen - 5

Today's Results:

Andy - 345
Rachel - 315
Naomi - 305
Vic - 300
Arlene - 245
Chris - 200
Tomek - 145
Matt - 135
Dallas - 120
Jonny - 105
Hal - 90
David - 65
Laura - 55
Paddy - 0

Overall Standings:

Andy - 4240
Chris - 3900
Vic - 3890
Matt - 3395
Naomi - 3085
Rachel - 2830
Arlene - 2645
Jonny - 2320
Hal - 2220
Tomek - 1575
Paddy - 1035
Dallas - 1035
David - 605
Laura - 540

OTT: Guy Clark, Let Him Roll

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Azencross Highlights

Better late than never. The bell lap of yesterday's race in Loenhout:

Haiku Ride Report

Lovely night for a bike ride. Just Jonny G, Juan Eppstein, and me. Further recon for 24 Hours of Sedition. It may feel like it's a long way off, but it's really just around the corner. And scouting out some options for future snow crits as well. The future looks bright.

Soft snow, lack of plows
Inaugural river ride
Still a bit slushy

Friday night foosball
Up in Juan Eppstein's office
And some Kieth's Amber

OTT: Cocteau Twins, Iceblink Luck

Friday, December 28, 2007

It's Friday and yet it feels like Tuesday

Which is to say a ride is in order.

OTT: Modest Mouse, Steam Engenius


The next generation of cyclocross superstars made a rather bold statement today in Loenhout, namely that the future is now. Boom, Stybar, and Albert finished together ahead of Nys, Wellens, and the rest, with Boom taking the sprint for the victory. Trebon was the best of the North Americans. He finished 21st, 3.36 behind. Get the full story over at CN.

I had a feeling the next few races would be good for Andy. And that was certainly the case today. With the top three finishers plus a handful of others in the top 20, the professor bags a whopping 450 points and the win. I think that's the highest point total so far. The decisive victory stretches his lead to almost 200 points.

The top 20:

Boom - 150
Stybar - 125
Albert - 100
Nys - 90
Wellens - 80
Groenendaal - 75
Van Gils - 70
Al - 65
Aernouts - 60
Simunik - 55
Vervecken - 50
Berden - 45
D. Vanthourenhout - 40
Verstraeten - 35
Mouray - 30
Peeters - 25
Heule - 20
Sickmueller - 15
Gil - 10
Zahner - 5

Today's Results:

Andy - 450
Chris - 280
Matt - 275
Vic - 255
Hal - 250
Rachel - 230
Arlene - 225
Naomi - 165
Tomek - 140
Jonny - 80
Paddy - 60
David - 30
Laura - 20
Dallas - 0

Overall Standings:

Andy - 3895
Chris - 3700
Vic - 3590
Matt - 3260
Naomi - 2780
Rachel - 2515
Arlene - 2400
Jonny - 2215
Hal - 2130
Tomek - 1430
Paddy - 1035
Dallas - 835
David - 540
Laura - 485

OTT: Yo La Tengo, The Race is On Again

Thursday, December 27, 2007

due to popular pressure...

...the canuck cross is postponed until a later date (not on the 30th). i will speak with the editor and we will pick a new date, maybe a double cross weekend will be in order.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


The 2007 FGBC CX Pool continued today as the boys hit the mud in Hofstade, Belgium for Round 6 of the World Cup. Newly crowned US CX Champ, Tim Johnson, along with Trebon and Powers joined Jonathan Page, who's been in Europe all season. Only Page was able to crack the top 20, however. The others all got lapped. It's a little faster over on the other side of the puddle, apparently. It was Nys, Wellens, and Boom on the podium. The three were away from the start and nobody could catch them. More from CN.

Over in the FGBC CX pool, things are getting even tighter at the top. The professor still holds the lead. But the dr. sits just 25 points back. And the tenor is less than one Sven Nys win away, at 110 points behind. It'll be a busy week. There are three more races to come in the next five days. There's a GvA race in Loenhout and Superprestige races in Diegem and Baal. This should bode well for the professor.

The top 20:

Nys - 150
Wellens - 125
Boom - 100
S. Vanthourenhout - 90
Vervecken - 80
Groenendaal - 75
Van Gils - 70
Aernouts - 65
Vantornout - 60
De Knegt - 55
D. Vanthourenhout - 50
Al - 45
Stybar - 40
Franzoi - 35
Peeters - 30
Simunik - 25
Page - 20
Gadret - 15
Heule - 10
Pauwels - 5

Today's Results:

Chris - 260
Vic - 230
Naomi - 220
Andy - 210
Matt - 190
Hal - 135
Jonny - 130
Paddy - 120
Rachel - 110
Arlene - 95
Dallas - 70
Laura - 30
Tomek - 20
David - 15

Overall Standings:

Andy - 3445
Chris - 3420
Vic - 3335
Matt - 2985
Naomi - 2615
Rachel - 2285
Arlene - 2175
Jonny - 2135
Hal - 1880
Tomek - 1290
Paddy - 975
Dallas - 835
David - 510
Laura - 465

I'm heading out for a ski with the missus. After four days of sitting around and eating, it's about time. Then again, I console myself with the fact that this can all be considered as training for some curried racing.

OTT: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Date With the Night

Saturday, December 22, 2007

What is CX?

A short docu-drama. Insightful interviews, sweet original soundtrack, and even some claymation for the Duker. What more could you ask for, really? Other than a season that was still going on.

OTT: Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, Now That You're Gone

Friday, December 21, 2007

Travis Brown: Honorary Assistant Captain

There's only one Honorary Captain. Just as there's only one original poosher, only one Nordic Cross founder, etc. But I'm nominating Travis Brown to fill the vacant post of Honorary Assistant Captain. His frost covered 'stache from last weekend's cx nationals is a clincher. If there should be another round of 'stache-cross--just speaking hypothetically for a moment--I think we have ourselves a celebrity judge.

Speaking of last weekend in KC, here's a little highlight package, courtesy of Cyclofile.

Looks like the conditions were almost worthy of a Nordic Cross designation. But not quite as frozen. So more mud. Nasty.

OTT: The Rosebuds, Big Heartbreak

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Suits for Skinny People

The poosher has been a busy little elf as of late. He's always been known to stay one step ahead of the rest of us mere plebs. While most are content to rest easy in our satisfaction with the new Nordic Cross wear, the poosher's been toiling away on a new plan so that we can have something to look forward to once the fascination wears off. He's a veritable merchandising savant, that guy. Always ready with something for the rest of us to consume. From designing race courses and posters to promote them to designing cycling apparel, it's a wonder he has any time to exercise that third lung of his.

Here is his latest submission. Notice the FGBC appropriate colour-scheme--more appropriate than the colour scheme of this blog, for that matter. And just think of how much less it will hurt racing around in the sand and mud and tripping over barriers with that fancy sublimated lion on your chest. Check it out. Make sure to click on it in order to get the full sized view.

OTT: Flashlight Brown, Ready to Roll

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Get your fancy pants on

The poosher's put together a little holiday treat. He would really like you to be there--with handfulls of courage.

Arriving in Winnipeg

Plane tickets puchased last night. Will be in the 'Peg in time for 24 hours of sedition...bring it on. Will the Univega be available?

last night, in verse: a rebuttal

Windowless back room
Stir Stick and Little Scrapper
Haiku Dave was there

Bad idea, huh?
Chit chat, greek pizza, good times
Can't wait til next week

bad ideas

angry gut demon
foul greek air rises within
stomach pump desire

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

pre-tuesday night ride

anyone interested in exploring some of the trails in the park and forest around 7:30ish? thinking of taking out the new bike for a little spin. fat tires and light might be a good idea.

Tuesday Night Soiree

Note the time change.

Note also that the ride to revelry ratio may be slightly more disproportionate than usual.

OTT: Pete Yorn, Life on a Chain

Monday, December 17, 2007

Sunday Night Ride Report

Ass. park and forest
With deer and a little train
And Nordic Cross wool

OTT: Carolyn Mark, Claxton's Lament

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sunday Night Ride


Ski Club

The president, as you all know, has some well-documented balance issues. We've all witnessed it once or twice by now. Lakeside docks, tiny tree stumps, the Omand's Creek bridge pole. Even the most negligible obstacle is an adventure with our hallowed figurehead leader.

One might reasonably conclude, then, that skiing would not be a wise idea. But the president is a courageous little soldier. Always up for the challenge. That's why he's the president. Here he is at Wildwood last night. Good times.

The president has also just undergone a much anticipated job change. No more somnambulism for him, we hope. And hopefully no more interventions required from us either. We expect to be seeing him more regularly on Tuesday nights from here on out.

Results are just in from Kansas City:

1 Tim Johnson (Cannondale/Leer/Cyclocrossworl)
2 Jonathan Page (Sunweb Projob)
3 Todd Wells (Gt Bicycles)
4 Barry Wicks (Kona Les Gets)
5 Troy Wells (Team Clif Bar)

Single Speed:

1 Marko Lalonde 34.13
2 Travis Brown 34.41
3 Clay Harris 35.18
4 Patrick Morrisey 35.23
5 Cameron Chambers 35.24

Had the FGBC made the trip, most of us would have been here. 170 riders in the 35+ Mens field:

Jonny G and I talked about putting the new jerseys to the test with a possible night ride tonight. Stay tuned.

OTT: TV On the Radio, I Was a Lover

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Sure, the US CX Nationals are going on right now in Kansas City. Jonathan Page is back to see what he can do. But the Europeans are racing too. The GP Rouwmoer, round 4 of the GvA series, took place earlier today in Essen, Belgium. Surprise, surprise. Nys nabs another win. But the interesting battle today was for 2nd place. Wellens and the kids--Boom, Stybar, and Albert--duked it out, jockeying back and forth on the final lap. Boom eventually took the sprint for 2nd ahead of Stybar, with Wellens and Albert a bit further back.

See the last lap here:

Boom, Stybar, Albert. All on Andy's team. 370 points and the overall lead for the professor, who's been setting a blistering pace as of late. Victor, the tenacions tenor, had another good day as well. His 325 points now leave him just 55 points out of 2nd place. And only 130 out of first place. No Vantornout + no Mourey = not a good day for me. The dr. slips into 2nd place, 75 points back. With only 130 points separating 1st through 3rd, we've got ourselves an extremely tight three-way race. Perfect.

No racing for the next 11 days. But then they're back with a vengeance. 4 races over 7 days between Boxing Day and New Years.

The top 20:

Nys - 150
Boom - 125
Stybar - 100
Wellens - 90
Albert - 80
Groenendaal - 75
Vervecken - 70
D. Vanthourenhout - 65
Van Gils - 60
Aernouts - 55
Al - 50
S. Vanthourenhout - 45
Pauwels - 40
De Knegt - 35
Peeters - 30
Drucker - 25
Meeusen - 20
Berden - 15
Vanoppen - 10
Gil - 5

Today's results:

Andy - 370
Vic - 325
Matt - 235
Chris - 220
Naomi - 215
Hal - 205
Arlene - 180
Rachel - 145
Jonny - 130
Paddy - 90
Tomek - 85
David - 25
Laura - 0
Dallas - 0

Overall Standings:

Andy - 3235
Chris - 3160
Vic - 3105
Matt - 2795
Naomi - 2395
Rachel - 2175
Arlene - 2080
Jonny - 2005
Hal - 1745
Tomek - 1270
Paddy - 855
Dallas - 765
David - 495
Laura - 435

OTT: X, Under the Bib Black Sun

Friday, December 14, 2007

Jerseys for Breakfast

Better than Froot Loops.

Come and get 'em before they get soggy.

Saturday morning. Anytime after 9am.

OTT: St Vincent, Paris is Burning

They're here!

All 32 of them. And, yes, they look real nice. No spelling mistakes, as far as I can tell. Not sure, yet, when they will be available to the general public. Not today, though. I'm busy. Maybe tomorrow sometime. Details will be posted here. Stay tuned.

See below for how much you have paid. Subtract that from $100 and you get the balance remaining. Here's the rule: no money = no jersey.

Matt x 2: XL & S /Yup
Paddy x 2: XS & S/$200
Gianni x 2: S & XL/$100
gary x 2: M & M/$100
dr. h: L/$100
alberto (aka mr. mrs. dr.): XL/$50
mrs. dr.: S/$50
john l: XL/$50
tenacious v: XXL/$50
the president: L
el presidente: XL
dave: XL/$50
jonny g: XL/$50
jonny h: XXL/$50
neuf: XXL
the poosher/editor: L/$50
the secretary: XL/$50
juan e: L/$50
dallas: S/$100
cam: L/$100
luc: S /$50
scott: L/$50
deanna: S/$50
dave: M/$50
seema: S/$50
adam: XL/$50
jonny s: XL/$100

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Coffee Calamity

This coffee is sheit!
Bitter, absent floral notes
Shoot me, don't gag me

There's a coffee conspiracy afoot. At my hallowed knowledge factory, we drink the Equal Exchange fair trade stuff that comes in the golden bags. The same stuff I and many of you drink at home. There is better coffee available, I know, but it's pretty good nonetheless. I stumbled on the troubling situation yesterday afternoon. I'd been noticing for a few weeks already that the coffee's been tasting rather sketchy. And yesterday, as I was preparing a new batch, it struck me that the colour and texture were amiss. Turns out there was some more coarsley ground stuff with a lighter hue mixed in with the fine dark brown grind I regularly wake up dreaming about. Upon further investigation, it became clear that somebody at my place of employ has seen fit to cut the good stuff with Maxwell House. It's about 50-50 as far as I can tell. I'm pretty sure I know who the culprit is too. Her projections of innocence and gentility are just a front. But my caffiene-starved glare pierces right through it and descries a wicked, wicked soul. At this point, however, I'm uncertain as to the best course of action this mess calls for. It's not clear to me whether this is primarily an economic issue or a matter of taste preference. But either way, this is an outrage. I am hurting. Feel my pain.

OTT: The Cramps, Bikini Girls With Machine Guns

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Round 1 is in the books

A haiku race report:

Tuesday Night Snow Crit
Figure eights, snowy corners
Fast, yet not so fast

Decent turnout for the inaugural edition. 11 racers took to the start, by my count. Eight finished, while the others cheered from the swings. 20 laps (more or less) in just under 40 minutes. Nice to ride a little harder than the usual Tuesday Night fare of late. Additional reports here. And here. And maybe eventually here.


Dave D

The last three positions are my best guess. If you must, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

DNF's: Shona, Big Al, and another dude whose name I didn't catch Jonny b & b.

Round 2 is on Jan. 8.

Good times at the clubhouse as well, highlighted by a visit from Coach Unger. Turns out he's been preoccupied with nordic walking.

As I was nearing home just after 1am, I noticed someone pushing two bikes and a dude carrying a large wooden cabinet on a grocery cart. Turns out it was our friend Mr. Geez and his partner, Geez Louise. They had shown up earlier to catch the last few laps of the race. Sounds like they found the cabinet out by Assiniboine Ave and it was apparently too good to pass up. I helped them carry it into the porch, kind-hearted guy that I am. Keepin it real, those two.

No, the jerseys have not yet arrived. I will let you know when they do. And we will have an approriate gathering to celebrate their arrival.

OTT: The Neckers, What About Me?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Tuesday Night Snow Crit, Round 1

It all starts tomorrow . . .

OTT: Spoon, Believing is Art

canuck cross is being rescheduled

due to the festive season being upon us (read conflicting xmas parties) canuck cross is being rescheduled for sunday, december 30th, time to be determined.

Fix Push

This really requires no comment. Other than to say that it's brilliant.

OTT: The Details, Capture and Develop

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Victor Victorious

The Superprestige series continued today in Veghel-Eerde, Netherlands. Niels Albert very nearly made it two in a row. But a certain Mr. Nys was not about to let that happen. Apparently he's pretty good. Despite going down around a muddy corner and suffering a puncture that allowed Albert to get away, Nys was able to chase back and take the win, eight seconds ahead of Fast Albert. More from CN. Next race is on Saturday with the next instalment in the GVA series.

Nys and Albert are both on Vic's team. So are Peeters and Dieter Vanthourenhout, who also finished in the top 10. Big win for the tenor. He's crept up behind Andy, and now sits just 160 points out of the overall lead. Looks like we've got ourselves a three-way race with half-the season left to go. Sweet.


Top 20:

Nys - 150
Albert - 125
Wellens - 100
Albert - 90
Van Gils - 80
Vervecken - 75
Stybar - 70
Groenendaal - 65
Peeters - 60
D. Vanthourenhout - 55
Simunik - 50
Vantornout - 45
S. Vanthourenhout - 40
Pauwels - 35
Boom - 30
De Knegt - 25
Verstraeten - 20
Berden - 15
Bianco - 10
Commeyne - 5

Today's Results

Vic - 390
Andy - 305
Matt - 260
Rachel - 250
Naomi - 225
Chris - 210
Arlene - 200
Hal - 155
Jonny - 140
Tomek - 125
David - 75
Paddy - 25
Laura - 0
Dallas - 0

Overal Standings:

Chris - 2940
Andy - 2865
Vic - 2780
Matt - 2560
Naomi - 2180
Rachel - 2030
Arlene - 1900
Jonny - 1875
Hal - 1540
Tomek - 1185
Dallas - 765
Paddy - 765
David - 470
Laura - 435

OTT: Andy Budd, Saints and Scoundrels

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Letter from Bodo

With -40 windchill this morning, I'm thinking these folks in Norway might be onto something. Bring on the bike tube.

The city of Bodø in the County of Nordland in northern Norway wants to become a bicycle city. NPRA and the municipal of Bodø have suggested to build in a foot and bicycle path between the College of Higher Education and the city centre to make cycling easier and more attractive.

Bodø is situated with the rough open sea right outside. With the slogan “Bodø in the wind” the city has created its image as a place of heavy weather. Nevertheless the citizens of Bodø often must stand heavy wind.

– Perhaps this is the reason for the low interest in using bicycle in the area, says Deputy Mayor Kirsten Hasvoll, who is happy for a possibility to neutralize windy weather.

Some years ago a glass roof was constructed over a part of the main street and the experience with the project was so positive, now the inhabitants of Bodø gladly look forward to the tube being built. The idea, which was introduced by the City Plan Director, Jørn Roar Moe, is to construct a framed structure covered with transparent plastic plates. The bicycle tube will have a number of roofed openings for
access and ventilation. There will also be internal illumination. The tube will hold physical separated roads for cyclists and pedestrians.

– The tube can be placed on the existing foot and bicycle path, but the best solution would be to construct it parallel to the existing foot and bicycle path, says Torbjørn Naimak, Regional Director, NPRA. The bicycle tube has to be ended before crossings or, if possible, be lead over or under the roadway. The project is at the starting line, but
has already passed its first milestone after consideration and decision in Bodø Town Council, which allocated EUR 12,500 to a preliminary study. But the road towards realization is long. However, before anybody can rejoice at indoor cycling in Bodø, the idea must be further developed on the paper. If the conclusion is positive a pilot model for
testing can be ready in 2008. The bicycle tube will cost approximately EUR 1,875 per metre. Consequently the 8 km long distance between the College of Higher Education and the city centre will cost about EUR 15 million.

– This is a manageable sum of money, and we think the idea is fully realizable, says Naimak.

OTT: The Raconteurs, Store Bought Bones

Two Mile Challenge

OTT: Cosigner, Eve

Friday, December 07, 2007


Or, a reason to don your new wool jersey.

No barriers. No mud. No need to run with your bike. Unless you get stuck in a snowbank. No haikus, curry, trivia questions, or bat spinning. Just plain riding hard.

OTT: Tom Waits, Lowside of the Road

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Nordic Cross Jerseys

They're on the continent at Woolistic HQ in Atlanta and will be shipped today or tomorrow. I'm out of here for a bit, so the jerseys are going to go to dr. h's place for distribution and we can settle up when I'm back.

Looks like the $100 estimate will be about it - we've managed to almost completely avoid the favourable exchange.

Anyway - here's the size distribution chart and amounts currently paid:

Me x 2: XL & S /Yup
Paddy x 2: XS & S/$200
Gianni x 2: S & XL/$100
gary x 2: M & M/$100
dr. h: L/$100
alberto (aka mr. mrs. dr.): XL/$50
mrs. dr.: S/$50
john l: XL/$50
tenacious v: XXL/$50
the president: L
el presidente: XL
dave: XL/$50
jonny g: XL/$50
jonny h: XXL/$50
neuf: XXL
the poosher/editor: L/$50
the secretary: XL/$50
juan e: L/$50
dallas: S/$100
cam: L/$100
luc: S /$50
scott: L/$50
deanna: S/$50
dave: M/$50
seema: S/$50
adam: XL/$50
jonny s: XL/$100

Poosher, how are the 2007/2008 snowflakes coming along?

velo artisan bread: the early years

OTT: Jim White, Stabbed in the Heart

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Short ride last night. But a sweet one nonetheless. What was missing on the distance front was more than adequately compensated for in the bone chilling ride home. Much of the discussion, at least later on in the evening, followed a musical thread. From reminiscing about our favourite Whitesnake videos to exploring the cultural significance of Radiohead and Joy Division, and many points in between. On the way back home, the editor and I previewed the course for a new Tuesday Night race series. Still in the R&D stage at this point, but it's coming together nicely. Keep your dial tuned to this station for an announcement coming soon. Yes, the excitement never ends at the FGBC.

And now for the bad haiku rendering of the evening:

Bert's new bike is sweet
Is it missing some gears, though?
You only need two?

Radiohead, or
the Philosophy of Pop
Lots to ponder here

OTT: Giant Bear, Clementine

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Tuesday Night Ride

The plan is to ride over to the alternate HQ and check out the over-hyped and under-witnessed underground Belgian bowling scene. What about Flemish football? Do they do that too?

OTT: Apostle of Hustle, Chances Are

Monday, December 03, 2007

Critical Mess

The Angry Clown is back and angry as ever.

OTT: Editors, Bullets

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Nordic Cross #1

The dr. was out. Get the lowdown here. And here.

OTT: Leonard Cohen, I Can't Forget

Ziklo Krosa: Igorre World Cup

Mourey looked to have it in the bag. Until his derailleur blew up with a couple laps to go. Then Wellens looked like the winner on the day. But his derailleur blew up too, giving Nys the win and the funny hat. Are you kidding me? Something stinks here. More from CN.


Smaller numbers in the FGBC pool. 220 wins it this time around. I'll take it. Especially with an uncharacteristically poor showing for the professor (no Albert, no Boom, Stybar fading?). But with the Superprestige series coming next week--and more importantly Albert racing in it--he'll no doubt close the gap again.

The top 20:

Nys - 150
Wellens - 125
Vantournout - 100
Vervecken - 90
Groenendaal - 80
S. Vanthourenhout - 75
Mourey - 70
Al - 65
Heule - 60
Aernouts - 55
Pauwels - 50
Simunik - 45
Stybar - 40
Duval - 35
Peeters - 30
De Knegt - 25
Page - 20
Nijland - 15
Zahner - 10
Derepas - 5

Today's results:

Chris - 220
Vic - 180
Jonny - 175
Naomi - 170
Matt - 130
Laura - 95
Tomek - 90
Paddy - 80
David - 75
Andy - 60
Arlene - 60
Rachel - 45
Dallas - 20
Hal - 0

Overall standings:

Chris - 2730
Andy - 2560
Vic - 2390
Matt - 2300
Naomi - 1955
Rachel - 1780
Jonny - 1735
Arlene - 1700
Hal - 1385
Tomek - 1060
Dallas - 765
Paddy - 740
David - 470
Laura - 435

OTT: Tom Waits, Make it Rain

Saturday, December 01, 2007

SS Johnny

Check out Johnny S's new wheels. Says it makes him feel like a ninja. That would expain the black pyjamas. If you see him, make sure to mention the white wall tires. I know they mean a lot to him. Looking good, Johnny. Looking good. You are going to be unstoppable at Altona-cross, knockdown and rink-dog extravaganza on that thing.

OTT: PJ Harvey, Before Departure

Crazy Kids

Also, check out training camp, CSC style. Not sure if Bjarne Riis is a genius or a madman. The line is pretty thin I suppose. I'll stick with Nordic-Cross, please.

OTT: Lab Partners, Hey Children

CX in the NYT

1000 people racing. That's only 950 to go for the local scene.

Published: November 30, 2007

ABOVE the pool of filth, but still within the shadow of the ditch, my bike skidded sideways in muck. “Heads up!” yelled a fellow racer, elbow out, body a blur.

It was lap No. 5 at Grumpy’s CX, a cyclocross bike race in Blaine, Minn., and I was fighting for position in a deep gulch of mud.

“On your left!” a rider yelled, tires squishing through the ooze.

The race had kicked off 20 minutes before, a crush of cyclists squeezing through a start gate to the two-kilometer course beyond. What would come included a gravel track, pavement, grass, switchback climbs and multiple knee-high barriers that forced riders to dismount, shoulder their rigs and hurdle on foot before hopping back on their bikes to race away.

Cyclocross, a growing off-road discipline, appears at first to be an amalgam of BMX bike racing and road riding. The sport’s short, looped courses include obstacles, ramps, bumps, sand pits, sharp turns and lots of the aforementioned mud — all navigated on a road-bike-like cycle that has drop-bar handles, skinny tires and no suspension.

Cyclocross, invented nearly 100 years ago in Europe as an off-season training regimen for road-bike racers, has a storied tradition and a worldwide following. Internationally, professional competition is administered by the Union Cycliste Internationale, the Swiss organization that also oversees the Tour de France.

And in the United States, a longtime dead zone for cyclocross, the sport has recently caught fire.

“We’re seeing a cyclocross phenomenon of sorts in this country,” said Stuart Thorne, a former professional cyclocross rider from Wenham, Mass., who now runs the online publication “A race in Oregon last month drew nearly 1,000 cyclocross racers, which was one of the biggest showings ever.”

About 40,000 cyclists registered to race in a cyclocross event last year, according to USA Cycling, a Colorado Springs organization that sanctions competitions. That’s up from 17,000 registered racers in 2004.

Cyclocross is a fall sport, with races starting in September and continuing every weekend past Thanksgiving. Hundreds of races are held each year nationwide, many organized into regional series, from Maine to Colorado to California. USA Cycling’s season-ending Cyclocross National Championships this year are in Kansas City, Kan., Dec. 13 to 16.

“Cyclocross caters to the abilities of both road cyclists and mountain bikers,” said Andy Lee, director of communications for USA Cycling. “Thus, it draws from both worlds.”

Mountain bikers, Mr. Lee said, excel at the technical off-road terrain. Road cyclists bank on power and speed honed from pedaling on pavement. Cyclocross’s idiosyncrasies — from sand traps and standing water to the get-off-your-bike-and-leap barriers — necessitate technique specific to the sport.

“There’s an art to popping off, shouldering your bike, then getting back on without losing speed,” said Mark Mettler, a 45-year-old road cyclist from Minnetonka, Minn. Mr. Mettler spins through 36 road races a year, starting in the spring and pedaling through the end of August. Then he moves on to cross, as its riders tend to call it. “You build a base all summer road racing,” he said, “then you’re fit and ready when cyclocross season starts.”

At Grumpy’s CX — a race held earlier this month in Blaine, Minn., that drew 160 competitors — Mr. Mettler and dozens of road riders, almost all men, tried to hold their own against a smaller crowd of mountain bikers. Most rode cyclocross-specific bikes, which — unlike mountain bikes — have stiff forks and thin, knobby tires, trading shock absorption and some traction for a cross bike’s bigger gears, lighter weight and inherent speed.

Other riders pedaled pared-down single-speed bikes. There were track bikers and road specialists who came to try the sport for the first time. A contingent of urban bike messengers with tattoos, nose rings and knickers rounded out the field. “There’s a wide demographic in this sport,” said Robert Danneker, a Grumpy’s CX organizer.

I rode in the first race of the day, a half-hour-long lap event open to neophytes on up to intermediate riders.

Our heat began at the shout of an official: “Racers ready, and go!” Wheels started to turn. Pedals clicked. Riders leaned in to fight for position.

“Come on! Come on!” yelled a racer in the back.

The course, set on the grounds of the National Sports Center athletics campus, twisted and turned on grass at first, with little orange flags and police tape strung to sequester the lanes. It climbed a hill and then dropped on a carpeted ramp into a velodrome track-bike stadium — the first of many oddities encountered on the course.

A crowd cheered from bleachers above the track. “Go Mike!” someone shouted. “Let’s hit it, guys!”

Three barriers — stout 16-inch-high wooden walls — blocked the lane inside the stadium. Brakes squeaked in abrupt goose honks as the pedaling procession slowed to dismount and jump.

I swung a leg over my bike’s frame before slowing, coasting on one pedal for five feet. Then it was: unclip from the pedal; hit the grass running; grab the bike; hoist it; gallop; and leap.

Ozzy Osbourne blared on the stadium speakers: “I’m going off the rails on a crazy train ...”

The mud pits came next. The first one — a sulfur-smelling mess — was a dis-aster, with riders flipping, feet flying over handlebars, as a fist of riders again collectively slammed on the brakes.

“Look out!” one downed competitor screamed.

The course swung east on a straightaway. It dived down a ditch to a long channel of mud. Grit crunched in gears. Brakes chattered through tight turns.

A race official shouted as I flew by the start area: “Rider 275,” he piped, noting the number on my bib. A tally of each rider’s laps would determine race standings.

And so I started on lap No. 2, a few minutes into the race, pedaling somewhere in the middle of the pack. Mud was already matted on my legs. Sweat dribbled off my nose.

I cranked up a hill and leaned into a turn, straining to see ahead. Tires searched for grip. Dirt flew. Fans screamed. Riders whizzed by, pedaling to hurdles and ramps and mud pits beyond.

It was a strange show, and I was happy to be a part of the act.