Wednesday, December 31, 2008

tnr minutes

a bag of nuts; bill, colin, tomek, and hal; somebody named sue (a friend of crowbar's?); discussion of immoderate races; bikes; new year's eve plans and dinner's; travel.

Stybar Likes it Cold

It was cold yesterday in Loenhout. The ground was hard and the mud bogs were frozen over. That meant a fast and not-so-technical race. Stybar seemed to like it that way. He took his second win in three races, averaging 31 kmh for the hour. Not bad. Nys and Simunik were second and third. Boom crashed and cut his elbow. He didn't finish and will be missing at least one more race. His results have been fine for the most part, but with all the missed races Boom has to be considered a bit of a bust, at least from the perspective of the FGBC CX Pool. A 500 point win at the World Championships, however, would erase the taste of disappointment. More from CN.

The women raced yesterday as well. Van den Brand won it ahead of Compton and Vos. Lloyd was 5th, Gould was 9th, and Simms was 13th. CN has all the rest of the details.

The Bell Lap:

Olli was the day's winner of the FGBC CX Pool with 485 points. Chris A and Rachel rounded out the podium with 465 and 450 points, respectively. Rachel is now just 45 points behind Jonny M. He's been fading ever since the American season ended. Rachel, on the other hand, has been benefitting from the strong performances by Al and Stybar. El Presidente is still in on the hunt for 2nd place as well. While these guys are busy looking at each other, Gary continues to cruise. He's pushed his lead back up to ver 500 points. Masterful.

Yesterday's Results:

Olli 485
Chris A 465
Rachel 450
Ian 430
David S 415
Vic 395
Gary 385
Adam 380
Paddy & Naomi 375
Charlene 320
Dallas 315
Brad 290
Tomek 280
Hal 250
Andy 240
Matt 230
Jonny G 225
Jonny M 220
Deanna 195
Chris H 185
Bill 165

Overall Standings:

Gary 11535
Jonny M 11020
Rachel 10975
David S 10860
Chris A 10445
Olli 10010
Chris H 9610
Matt 9465
Vic 9100
Ian 9075
Paddy & Naomi 9045
Charlene 8615
Deanna 8460
Adam 8045
Tomek 8030
Brad 7995
Jonny G 7980
Dallas 7940
Bill 7455
Hal 7080
Andy 6825

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Anybody Riding Tonight?

Whoa, it's Tuesday. That snuck up on me. I don't know who's around and who's gone at this point. But figure it out in the comments if you like. Perhaps the three racers can get together to draft a set of dietary regulations for next year's race series. Or maybe they should meet to determine the appropriate penalties for those who missed the race. Fortunately, we haven't had to deal with missed drug tests, but unexcused absences from Nordic Cross races do not get taken lightly.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Nys Domineert Nordzecross

That's how the Belgian press put it. That kind of says all you need to know. And Vic domineert the FGBC CX Pool. Al and Franzoi were second and third in Middelkerke, while Rachel and Gary were second and third in the pool. It wasn't the strongest field as evidenced by the fact that three Americans cracked the top 15. Full story from CN. Notice that Rachel has bumped El Presidente out of third place. Can she catch Jonny M?

Up next: Azencross, tomorrow.

Today's Results:

Vic 460
Rachel 405
Gary 300
Olli 295
Ian 290
Jonny M 270
David S 230
Charlene 220
Hal 200
Dallas 190
Brad 155
Chris H 150
Andy 90
Paddy & Naomi 85
Adam 70
Bill 70
Chris A 60
Jonny G 40
Matt 40
Deanna 25
Tomek 0

Overall Standings:

Gary 11150
Jonny M 10800
Rachel 10525
David S 10445
Chris A 9980
Olli 9525
Chris H 9425
Matt 9235
Vic 8705
Paddy & Naomi 8670
Ian 8645
Charlene 8295
Deanna 8265
Jonny G 7755
Tomek 7750
Brad 7705
Adam 7665
Dallas 7625
Bill 7290
Hal 6830
Andy 6585

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dr. Holliday Cross Report

Submitted by Gianni:

3 riders. 6 litres of beverages totalling 5000 calories. 14km in 2 laps of Bunn Creek trails, all of which were bumpy and if you rode more than 6" off "the line" you were in 2 feet of loose powder. It wasn't an old west shootout, but it sure hurt.

The Impaler took the early lead on the nog guzzling - a strategic advantage which may have served to deflate the spirits of the other competitors. Plus, he rode a steady and solid race, opening up a lead of about 30 seconds on me and maybe 60 seconds on Mike by the end. With more than a litre of nog/Coke at the finish line (plus a slight time disadvantage) against Brad's remaining 500mL, Mike G and I slowly chipped away at our remaining burdens. Watching race videos of a very skinny Bernard Hinault in Brad's living room wasn't much motivation, but I eventually got it done. Mike was still working on his last few shots when I left. There's no photos, but Brad had pledged to photograph the empty cartons. My guts are positively trashed - I've had a massive headache since the end of the race.

Can I respectfully request that senior management consider limiting the gluttonous eat/drink-race combinations to say... once every 6 months? I fear serious health consequences are in the offing otherwise.


Brad - 2 laps + 2L light eggnog - approximately 1:20
Gianni - 2 laps + 2L [freshly opened] Coke - approximately 1:50
Mike G - 2 laps +1.5L less-light eggnog - 1:50 and counting

Zdenek Does Diegem

They raced under the lights today in Diegem. We are planning to do that next year, right? Stybar took an early lead and never looked back. Nys and Al were charging hard and, for a while, it looked like they just might catch up. But then Nys crashed on a sharp left-hander heading into the sand. Al got tangled up too. The beneficiary of that little mishap was Klaas Vantornout, who managed to catch up in the sand, attacked as soon as they got out and held on to take second place. He also benefitted from the fact that Nys had to stop to put his chain back on. That wasn't enough for Al, though. Nys still managed to catch and pass him to take third place. More from CN.

Jonathan Page was back racing. It seems his little break had something to do with him running afoul of The Law. It seems he missed a random test a while back after DNF'ing and heading home early. Bad timing. Sounds like the Jason Sager story. That's what Page is worried about. Sager got two years. So it looks like Page is going to do some time. The only question is how much. Bummer. More here. Troy Wells was the highest placed American. He finished 24th. Speaking of Americans, don't miss Molly Cameron's reports on what it's like to race against the big European stars in the World Cup. He got lapped twice in Zolder and finished dead last. But it sounds like he's still having a good time. John Derrick and Andre Sutton were the lone Canucks. They finished 34th and 41st, respectively.

Last Lap:

Over in the FGBC CX Pool, Vic pulled off a narrow win. His 385 points were good enough for the big beer prize. Chris A continues to do well. He was just 10 points back and now has his sights set on Rachel's 4th place overall standing. But Rachel is holding her own too. She finished 3rd with 360 points.

Next up: Nordzeecross tomorrow.

Today's Results:

Vic 385
Chris A 375
Rachel 360
David S 335
Ian 325
Jonny M 315
Adam 290
Matt 280
Dallas 250
Brad 205
Gary 195
Bill 175
Olli 170
Paddy & Naomi 155
Hal 120
Charlene 110
Deanna 95
Jonny G 85
Tomek 80
Chris H 60
Andy 45

Overall Standings:

Gary 10850
Jonny M 10530
David S 10215
Rachel 10120
Chris A 9920
Chris H 9275
Olli 9230
Matt 9195
Paddy & Naomi 8585
Ian 8355
Vic 8245
Deanna 8240
Charlene 8075
Tomek 7750
Jonny G 7715
Adam 7595
Brad 7550
Dallas 7435
Bill 7220
Hal 6630
Andy 6495


I still think we should approach the good folks at the F&H about setting up something. Then again, maybe they like those sleepy weekday nights. Or maybe they don't really care how many people are hanging out so long as those VLTs are humming. Of course, there would still be the matter of finding a DJ.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

tough times

just thought I´d wish everyone a merry christmas.

i managed to find an internet cafe with a.c. It´s a very rough +31 here. You can check the weather here. I haven´t found a place to rent a bike yet, nor have i found any good beer, so i´m suffering deeply as you can imagine. see you all in the new year.


Friday, December 26, 2008

Nordic Cross #2

Meet at the Forks. Espresso Junction seems to have become the meeting place of choice. Or perhaps you can gather by the little skating pad outside if it's closed. Plan a course that is not too long, but not too short. The usual harra-curry course might work well, but change it up if you like. Determine how many laps you will race for.

You must consume the entire carton of egg nog before your race is over. Exactly how you do so is up to you--as long as it goes in through your mouth and stays in your body until the race is over. You may drink the whole thing before you get on your bike if you like. Or you may drink some between laps, yerba cross style. Or you may chug it all at the very end, a la the Burger Cat finish line pint. You might even pour it into a camel back and sip a little bit at a time while you ride, although I wouldn't recommend it.

Can your tummy handle that, Ian? If not, then whatever you can negotiate with Brad as an alternative is fine with me. Just as long as he understands that he's still drinking 2 litres of egg nog.

Have fun boys. Wish I could join you. Except that I hate egg nog.

Al Tops in Zolder

The podium at the 7th round of the World Cup in Zolder today had a bit of a different look to it. Nys was not there. Nor was Boom. Albert showed up to race, but he's not back to peak condition yet. Instead, it was Thijs Al who pulled off his second big win in the last week. Pauwels took second and Sven Vanthourenhout was third. The Americans fared a little better, but still weren't able to crack the top 20. Driscoll finished 26th and Trebon was 27th. Page didn't show up at all. Full story from CN.

For the women, it was Vos followed by Kupfernagel and Van den Brand. All of the top Americans were there, and they all finished in the top 10. Wendy Simms was there too. She finished 9th. More from CN.

In the FGBC Pool, it was kind of like the men's race. No Gary. No Johnny M. He was in dead last. Not good for the battle with Gary. Instead, it was Chris A standing atop the podium with 765 points. Olli was second with 630 and Rachel rounded out the top three with 595 points.

If you want video, you can find some here.

Next race is on Sunday: Superprestige #6. That's the first of three days in a row.

Today's Results:

Chris A 765
Olli 630
Rachel 595
Vic 585
Ian 585
Matt 535
David S 530
Gary 500
Brad 445
Jonny G 420
Chris H 390
Adam 340
Dallas 335
Hal 325
Andy 325
Bill 300
Paddy & Naomi 280
Tomek 270
Charlene 245
Deanna 240
Jonny M 225

Overall Standings:

Gary 10655
Jonny M 10215
David S 9880
Rachel 9760
Chris A 9545
Chris H 9215
Olli 9060
Matt 8915
Paddy & Naomi 8430
Deanna 8145
Ian 8030
Charlene 7965
Vic 7860
Tomek 7670
Jonny G 7630
Brad 7345
Adam 7305
Dallas 7185
Bill 7045
Hal 6510
Andy 6450

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

No GP Montferland

It was supposed to take place yesterday. But somewhere along the way it was cancelled. I'd missed it, so after waiting around for results I went looking. Eventually I found the promotor's website, which contained the following notice (Google translated):
Welcome to the website of Cyclocross Promotion Foundation "The family." The organizer of several international cyclocross races and the World Cyclo-cross in 2006!

Cyclocross races year 2008/2009 will not!

Unfortunately, we must inform you that there is no Cyclocross coming year will be organized in Zeddam. With a decreasing number of sponsors and disappointing numbers of visitors, we are forced to cross the winter 2008/2009 to organize.
Bummer. The next race is Friday. It's another World Cup race, so once again there will be some big points up for grabs. While searching for information on the GP Montferland, I stumbled on this news story announcing that Niels Albert will be lining up for the start (also Google translated):
"It remains a small risk," says Albert

Tue 23/12/08 - At the press of his new team gave BKCP Niels Albert text and explanation of his return. "It looks fast, but it was becoming time." Albert runs from January to BKCP.
Niels Albert is Friday at the start of the WB veldrit in Zolder. He makes his comeback earlier than expected after his heavy fall in Asper-Gavere.

"I 'm a week on my schedule and the medical testing is no longer a risk", the field rider to Sporza.

"It remains a small risk, but the more I go for the championships, the better," says Albert.

"The basic condition is good and I hope as soon as possible to play for the victory."

"The six weeks long, you realize that everything could be over soon. But it looks good."

Albert can play no role in the rankings. "But my season has not failed, I hope that it is right. The World Cup was a goal anyway, that I beat Lars Boom," says Albert.
"Everything will turn me around"

Albert is the leader with his new team. "Sorry to say it, but everything will run pretty much around me. I hope that young people will learn a lot from me," says the 22-year-old Albert.

Should next year than the year Albert is? "Actually, yes. I felt I already able to do everything for the victory. I still spared bad luck, I put that right next season."

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Shall we say 9:30 at Espresso Junction? Or does someone have a better plan?

It sounds like there will be at least four riders. Maybe that will convince a few others to venture out.

Monday, December 22, 2008


For those who may have missed it, Dave D is clearing out all the old photos that have been collecting dust in his hard drive. The last several days have featured photos from Menno Cross 2007. These shots of the Impaler are my favourites. They're so good, in fact, that they're worth stealing and putting up here for the FGBC and friends. Thanks Dave. It reminds me of this sequence from last year, also captured by Dave.

Ian's Haul

Through the first two thirds of the season, we've had 13 different winners. But Ian was not among them. In fact, just a month ago he was languishing in last place. All of that changed yesterday at the 6th round of the World Cup in France. He picked up a whopping 735 points. In doing so, he lept ahead of Tomek and Vic and into 12th place overall. It is Andy who's been hanging out in the cellar for the last little while. But he's nipping at Hal's heels and is now needs just 60 points to escape the very dubious honour of moving from champion to DFL in just one year. Chris A finished second on the day with 650 points, while Bill was just 5 points back of that, in third place. Gary cracked the 10,000 point plateau. He regained some of the ground he lost to Jonny M in the last race and pushes his lead back up to 165 points.

Lars Boom showed that he's back on form, picking up his first win since his three week layoff. He beat Nys in a two-man sprint to the finish line. Wellens finished in third, 22 seconds back. More from CN. Ryan Trebon made his European debut. It didn't go so well. He finished 33rd, almost 6 minutes back. Jamey Driscoll and his moustache were there too. They fared even worse, getting lapped and ending up in 49th place. Ouch.

The women's race, however, featured the rather odd sight of two Americans standing on the podium. Compton finished first and Georgia Gould took third in her European debut. Those two have been looking strong all year. Only Kupfernagel, the defending World Champ, was able to prevent a 1-2 finish by the Americans. Full story here.

They're back at it again tomorrow in the Netherlands. And then on Friday, it's World Cup #7 in Belgium. Christmas is for cyclocross. Which reminds me, I'm told that the Fraggle scored a brand new Jake the Snake from the Weasel for Christmas. Nice.


Laatste Ronde:

Sunday's Results:

Ian 735
Chris A 650
Bill 645
Matt 615
Tomek 615
Jonny G 595
Chris H 575
Olli 560
Brad 555
David S 530
Hal 520
Andy 520
Gary 515
Paddy & Naomi 460
Jonny M 415
Deanna 405
Dallas 390
Rachel 390
Adam 375
Vic 315
Charlene 300

Overall Standings:

Gary 10155
Jonny M 9990
David S 9350
Rachel 9165
Chris H 8825
Chris A 8780
Olli 8430
Matt 8380
Paddy & Naomi 8150
Deanna 7905
Charlene 7720
Ian 7445
Tomek 7400
Vic 7275
Jonny G 7210
Adam 6965
Brad 6900
Dallas 6850
Bill 6745
Hal 6185
Andy 6125

So it could be colder...and darker.

Check this out. It's about 13 min. long but makes it feel somewhat warmer down here.

Couldn't figure out the embedding process so here is the address.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Whoa Gary, What Happened?

31 races into the season, Gary finally had a bad day. At yesterday's Scheldecross, he picked up a paltry 40 points. Even the bottom feeders of the FGBC CX Pool--you know who you are--managed to do better than that. Gary finishes dead last by over 30 points. Might this be a sign that he peaked too early? Probably not. But that's what Johnny M is hoping. He picked up 165 points on Gary and now sits just 65 points back of the overall lead. It looks like we have ourselves a battle for the much coveted title of 2008-09 FGBC CX Pool Champion. This week's news that Georgia Gould is heading over to do the European races was also good news for Johnny M. But it sounds like Albert will be racing again before the season is over. That will help Gary, so Johnny will need to start building a lead soon before Albert comes back and helps Gary to a late-season surge.

Vic had the best showing on the day. He picked up 380 points. Bill and Rachel rounded out the podium with 320 and 240 points, respectively.

As for the race itself, Thijs Al picked up his first big win of the season. Vantornout and Simunik were second and third. Nys sat this one out. Kupfernagel won the women's race ahead of Vos and Cant. Wendy Simms was the only FGBC CX Pool racer to show up. Her 75 points are what gave Vic his win. Head on over to CN for the rest of the story.

Yesterday's Results:

Vic 380
Bill 320
Rachel 240
Deanna 225
David S 205
Jonny M 205
Paddy & Naomi 195
Matt 185
Adam 180
Andy 175
Chris H 170
Brad 165
Ian 160
Charlene 155
Olli 140
Hal 135
Jonny G 130
Chris A 90
Dallas 90
Tomek 70
Gary 40

Overall Standings:

Gary 9640
Jonny M 9575
David S 8820
Rachel 8775
Chris H 8250
Chris A 8130
Olli 7870
Matt 7765
Paddy & Naomi 7690
Deanna 7500
Charlene 7420
Vic 6960
Tomek 6785
Ian 6710
Jonny G 6615
Adam 6590
Dallas 6460
Brad 6345
Bill 6100
Hal 5665
Andy 5605

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thursday Anticipation

1) Now that the 2008-09 Nordic Cross season is underway, let us direct our gaze a into the more distant future for a moment. It is cold in Winnipeg, and the riding conditions are a bit harsh. So take some time to imagine with me how much fun it will be to enjoy some long, long rides in the warm summer months. In other words, let us think about . . .

We've been told that Olympia is planning to do both Red Ass and Reach the Beach next year. This is good news. There is some reason to believe that this year's Back 40 will include an even longer endurance option. If so, look for it to kick off the MUERTO calendar. Currently, it looks like that will be scheduled for June 7, the week after Spring Ride, Vol. VII. (H)alberto has dropped some not-so-subtle hints that we can look forward to a very long cyclocross race that would take us from Morden to Tinker and back. And we have our fingers crossed in anticipation of another 8 hour version of the Fall Classic. In addition to this already fine slate of races, Bill A. and I are pleased to announce that we will be presenting the following:

It will be one big loop. The course will include both Ingolf and the Falcon Lake trails, connected by the Trans Canada Trail. In other words, it will be a good mix of slow, technical trail riding and screaming fast gravel. Expect to see a few other surprises thrown in to further enhance the overall experience. It will be entirely self-supported. But the course will take you by several small convenience stores, should you need to refuel. The total distance should clock in at somewhere between 100 kms and 100 miles. The start and finish will be at a group campsite somewhere in between Ingolf and Falcon Lake. Good times around the campfire will bookend the racing and will afford ample opportunity for us to regale one another with tales of triumph and woe, thereby satisfying the Ultra-Endurance Talking component of MUERTO.

2) Nordic Cross #2 is scheduled for Dec. 28. The editor has called it "Dr. Holiday Cross." I can't imagine what sorts of special challenges that will involve. Hopefully not a mid-race egg nog guzzling component or something silly like that.

3) Gianni's Grass Track Glossary, Vol. III.

So. We’ve had the scratch race. We added sprints into it and learned about the points race. Well, what if you take a points race and contest it in teams of two? You get a madison. The madison is one of the hardest races to describe (because it is complex), but it seems to capture the imagination, and it is lots of fun. So, despite its complexities it is the subject of this week’s Grass Track Glossary.

First, a little history:

The madison is a team event in track cycling, named after Madison Square Garden in New York, and known as the "American race" in French (course à l'américaine) and in Italian and Spanish as Americana. The madison began as a way of circumventing laws passed in New York, USA, aimed at restricting the exhaustion of cyclists taking part in six-day races. Exhuastion included delusions and hallucinations. Riders wobbled and frequently fell. But the riders were often well paid, especially since more people came to watch them as their condition worsened. Promoters in New York paid Teddy Hale $5,000 when he won in 1896 and he won "like a ghost, his face as white as a corpse, his eyes no longer visible because they'd retreated into his skull," as one report had it.

Alarmed, New York and Illinois ruled in 1898 that no competitor could race for more than 12 hours a day. The promoter of the event at Madison Square Garden, reluctant to close his stadium for half the day, realised that giving each rider a partner with whom he could share the racing meant the race could still go on 24 hours a day but that no one rider would exceed the 12-hour limit. Speeds rose, distances grew, crowds increased, money poured in. Where Charlie Miller rode 2,088 miles alone, the Australian Alf Goullet and a decent partner could ride 2,790.

The evolution of the race:

The madison is a conventional race but, since the innovation in New York, with riders in each team riding part of the distance, handing over to the other member, resting, and then returning to the race. Teams are usually of two riders. Only one of the team is racing at any time and the replacement rider has to be touched before he can take over. The touch can also be a push, often on the shorts, or one rider hurling the other into the race by a hand-sling.

How long each rider stays in the race is for each team to decide. Originally, riders took stints of a couple of hours or more and the resting rider went off for a sleep or a meal. That was easier in earlier six-day races because hours could pass without riders attempting to speed away from the others. As races became more intensive, both riders from the team began riding on the track at the same time, one going fast on the short line around the bottom of the track and the other idling higher up until his turn comes to take over. Modern six-days last less than 12 hours a day and the madison is now only a featured part, so staying on the track throughout is more feasible.

The aim of each team is to ride more laps than any of the others. Tied positions are split by points awarded for placings at a series of sprints at intervals during the race.

The madison is a feature of six-day races, but it can also be a separate race, as in the Olympic Games. It has its own championships and specialist riders. A madison typically lasts between 30 and 60 minutes.

Madison requires stamina, focus, strategy and nerves.

Some photos of the hand-sling used to accelerate one team member into the race (use your imagination to transform the wood into grass):

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

For Johnny S

He loves him some fixies.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

for what its worth

harra curry, a.k.a curry cross, came and went in epic fashion last night. 8 brave souls ventured forth for the third annual edition of this race and met the east india company for the test of will and endurance. the staff, upon seeing the participants entering the restaurant, let it be known that they had been wondering whether or not the crazy cyclists would be showing up again this year (it is nice to know that one can leave a lasting impression), well we would and we did.

(bike parking)

once the participants had gathered the editor explained the event would follow the 'rules of the viking.' no one was exactly sure what that meant, but we soon discovered that vic was made chief viking and he had sole discretion when it came to judging whether each plate brought to the table met the requirements of containing enough food or not (apparently the editor forgot to bring the scale). the other rule was that one could cheat with honor. we discussed this point for some time and still felt somewhat puzzled and wishing that dr. h. was there to interpret the editor' dictum's. the final rule was the first one to complete four plates would be declared the winner, failing that, all plates must be completed within 15 minutes of the first person to have completed their third plate, unless a fourth plate was going to be attempted.

the two rookies at the table, unsure of what to make of this event jumped in and loaded up their first plates to begin the race. sadly they showed their rookieness by only completing one plate each; they both attempted a second plate but failed miserably in their attempts, thereby suffering the penalty that comes with this failure - over stuffing themselves and then having to ride feeling less than spry.

gianni played the role of tactician brilliantly as he goaded the two pre-race favourites into living up to their reputations and going for a third plate each, even after both had declared that two plates was all they could do.

vic, the viking chief, really suffered on his third plate which he poked at for over 35 minutes.

(vic's feeble attempt at completing plate three)

juan eppstien, last year's champion, apparently feel out of condition since last year's race and could only manage two and 9/10 of a plate. yes, you read that correctly, 9/10ths of a plate.

this is what was left on juan's third plate, all he had to do was finish what amounted to three more fork fulls of food. when questioned about the little bit left all juan could reply was, "i've grown tired of this taste" as he pointed to the rice and dal .

jonny b, long left for dead, re-emerged for the beginning of the nordic cross season to claim the first victory of the series. jon sprinted to an early lead and never looked back. in fact jon finished his first plate and was up for his second well before most competitor's had even tasted one of everything from their own plate's. jon was the only person to successfully complete three plates. when asked by the vic, the viking chief, how he such a thin guy could eat so much, jon replied: "i'm stretchy."

of course the eating was only the first part of the race, there was still the matter of the actual bike race. with temps dipping into the -40's (windchill), it was decided by counsel that the race would take place in the parking lot across the street from the restaurant instead of at the traditional fork's location. but before we could begin the race we had to un-secure three of the bikes which had been locked together with patrick's combination u-bolt lock. it seems like the frigid temps had frozen patrick's lock and no amount of work on the lock could get it to work. eventually we had to pick up all three bikes and bring it into the front entrance of the east india company where the warmer temperature of the front entrance allowed patrick to undo his lock

the race was shortened to one pre-lap winding through the parking lot, followed by another lap for those who ate two plates (halberto, gianni, and the editor) and a third lap for the those who ate only one plate or had not completed their final plate (vic, patrick, juan, and craig). jon won the race by just completing the pre-lap, followed by halberto, gianni, the editor, craig, dave and then patrick. vic never started the race and left for home immediately after paying for his dinner, muttering something about maybe needing to walk home as riding seemed impossible and that he had never felt so bad in his whole life.

there it is and that's the way i saw it.


Espresso Junction, 9:30 pm?

If I recall correctly, Jonny G is finished with the distraction known as volleyball. Back on track. Stay warm, kids.

With all the cold weather, can we assume there will be another long skating rink on the river this winter?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mmmm, Curry

I had curry for supper. Two helpings. A small symbolic gesture of solidarity. I did not, however, race my bike. I didn't even ride it. I trust that the times were good. Photos please. Now that the sweetest race series in the world is under way, everything seems right in the world again. Or at least almost everything.

Don't forget about that Bike to the Future thing at City Hall. Tuesday at 1pm. We need better cycling infrastructure. Badly. It's definitely worth a shot.

Jamey Driscoll's Moustache

It looked so sweet up there on the podium at the US Cyclocross Nationals for all the world to see. Too bad it didn't quite make up to the top step. That was reserved for the long legs of Ryan Trebon. But there were some mighty fine cyclocrossers gathered in Kansas City for the weekend. Grizzled veteran Jonathan Page came back from Europe to show off his mad cx skillz. And Tim Johnson wanted so badly to defend the stars and stripes 9 Ball jersey he scored last year. So the second podium step is nothing to sneeze at for the sweetest 'stache in cyclocross. You may recall that Travis Brown sported a sweet 'stache at last year's national championships, but it doesn't look like he raced this year. The torch has been passed, and Driscoll handled it with aplomb. Well done, young man. Full report, results, and photos over at CN and CXMag.

Like Page, Katie Compton flew back from Europe for the race. Unlike Page, she won. Easily. Georgia Gould was the best of the rest, followed by Rachel Lloyd. Everyone else was way back. More at CN.

That brings the 2008 US CX Season to a close. Page and Compton will head back to Europe. It sounds like Trebon is going over too. It would be nice to see some of the others give it a shot. Compton seemed to be goading Gould to try it, saying she would likely finish in the top 5. We'll see. That would be good news for Johnny M, because Gary will continue to get points from Compton.

Over in Europe they were doing some racing too. Lars Boom made his return to the mud and grass, but it was not quite triumphant. He finished in ninth place on Saturday. Nys won it on Saturday, ahead of Stybar and Al. Boom did better on Sunday, though, losing at the line to Kevin Pauwels. Nys was a few seconds back in third. Now, if only we could get Albert back racing.

Saturday Highlights:

Sunday Highlights:

Over in the FGBC CX Pool, Rachel had the best weekend of the bunch with 1030 points. She sits in fourth place and looks ready to give David S a run for the final podium spot. But El Presidente is not about to give up so easily. He picked up 990 points of his own, and is starting to look pretty comfortable on that third step. Perhaps he should start working on that moustache. Matt was third on the weekend with 945 points. Meanwhile, Gary stretched his lead over Johnny M a little more. It doesn't help Johnny that Vantornout is engaged in a little battle with the organizers of the GVA series. They questioned some of his performances last year. And he thumbed his nose at their lowball offer for appearance fees this year. The long and short of it is that Johnny is only getting anything from him in the World Cup and Superprestige races.

Weekend Results:

Rachel 1030
David S 990
Matt 945
Vic 915
Ian 895
Gary 890
Chris A 850
Olli 830
Jonny M 820
Chris H 775
Brad 745
Adam 700
Jonny G 665
Bill 595
Andy 575
Paddy & Naomi 570
Dallas 565
Hal 560
Charlene 530
Tomek 450
Deanna 400

Overall Standings:

Gary 9600
Jonny M 9370
David S 8615
Rachel 8535
Chris H 8080
Chris A 8040
Olli 7730
Matt 7580
Paddy & Naomi 7495
Deanna 7275
Charlene 7265
Tomek 6715
Vic 6580
Ian 6550
Jonny G 6485
Adam 6410
Dallas 6370
Brad 6180
Bill 5780
Hal 5530
Andy 5430

Christmas is coming and that means the cx action is about to really heat up. Starting on Friday, we begin a stretch in which we have 10 races in just over two weeks. Someday we must plan a trip to Belgium over Christmas, don't you think?

Sunday, December 14, 2008


...despite the calculated discomfort created by the poster and the basic radio silence from the organizer (to induce a greater level of mystery, to be sure), the event is a beauty. Not to be missed. Except I'm going to be missing it. We're coming down to the wire with being away for a while over the holidays.

Is anyone going?

EDIT: After a recent conversation with one participant, a request has been raised: Dear Mr. Editor, can the location of the race be divulged? For some, it is not going to work to ride all the way from home, so if it's possible to drive to the Forks (assuming that's the location), or wherever the mayhem ends, that would make things easier to plan for.

Friday, December 12, 2008

tnr minutes

It's really bad news trying to remember all the goings on from a number of days ago, but it seems right to celebrate one member's new ride. Patrick, seen talking, no, waxing eloquent, to G, was sporting a shiny new ride... almost too shiny... but he was using language like "learning to fly" and other appropriate hyperbole/bs. So, that is deluxe.

It was sweet to have Halberto sacrifice his beauty rest and ride over to the klubhaus... It is fairly recent news to this minute taker that he is now of the biking bureaucracy... coordinator of mtb racing for the MCA. So, expect to hear more about the structures over the next while. He was sharing a number of his learnings about the UCI's strangle-hold on racing... and of course, one can hardly talk about organized bike riding without the whole question of insurance being battered around for a while.

While it's true, the lack of information on the Nordic Cross season was grumbled about, not one, but two posters have surfaced in the meanwhile. Let the games begin. Add other recollections to the comments.

ying and yang


and this...

Winnipeg has never been as close as we are today in seeing a significant increase in funding for Active Transportation (AT) to go towards complete routes throughout the city.

You may have read in the Free Press about efforts by Bike to the Future and partners like the Winnipeg Trails Association, Resource Conservation Manitoba, One Green City, and other local AT supporters advocating for an increase in AT funding in the City's 2009 Capital Budget.

In an unprecedented move, two of the mayor's Executive Policy Committee members voted against the proposed 2009 Capital Budget because of limited funding for cyclists and other AT users.

We need to show the councilors that cycling is not a fringe issue, but that safe, enjoyable, accessible, and convenient cycling infrastructure is in everyone's best interest.

Tuesday December 16th at 1:00 PM at City Hall

We are asking all cyclists to come out -– bring your bike bells -- and support Mark Cohoe from Bike to the Future and Janice Lukes from the Winnipeg Trails Association who will be doing a joint presentation to City Council opposing the 2009 Capital Budget and advocating for equality for cyclists.

Your attendance will help make a difference.

What else can you do to help?

1. Pass this message on to all the people you know who are interested in having better facilities for cycling in Winnipeg.

2. Contact your city councillor and ask him/her to increase the funding for active transportation. Share your reasons why you want to see more and safer infrastructure; if it existed, you would use it.

3. There may be an opportunity to speak on Tuesday at City Council if you feel strongly about increasing funding. Currently only two presentations opposing the budget are allowed, but by-laws can be waived if there are enough people wanting to be heard. Call your city councillor and tell him/her you want to speak to this issue.

Thank you.

Jackie Avent
Bike to the Future, Co-Chair

Catch and Release

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thursday Anticipation

1) Nordic Cross

Just when it looked like the regulars at the F&H had gotten tired of waiting and were getting ready to strike out and start a late-night winter race series of their own, the editor comes through with a race calendar. That was close. Arctic Cross is averted for now. The editor has spoken and Nordic Cross survives. But it seems there are still some scheduling issues to be adressed. Be patient. I'm sure this will all get sorted out in the end. I don't believe we've yet had a schedule that played out exactly as originally envisioned. Down here in Amurrca they talk about this guy Al Gore who invented something called the interwebs. It's a big invention. Almost as big as the beer widget. If you haven't heard of it, it's really cool. It lets you do things like what they call email. You can write to each other and say things like "Hey Johnny S. Those shots of you percussing in the Paul Bergman video were so awesome. LOL. What are you thinking for the Tour of Altona this year?" I've even heard that those interwebs extend all the way out to far flung regions like Altona. From there you might write something like, "Dear Mr. Editor, The Tour of Altona will be on the same day as the second Duke vs. Carolina game. Just like it always is. This year that is March 8." Just click on the "send" button and you're done. Just like that. But be careful not to click that "send" button too hastily. Down here, they tell sensational stories involving all manner of sordid situations that have arisen on account of overly hasty clicking. I don't believe the interwebs has yet achived the promise of allowing us to read each others minds. But it does make it relatively easy to coordinate schedules even across vast distances. Try it. You might find it useful. If not the interwebs, the telephone has been known to work pretty nicely too. It was invented by Al Gore's uncle, Alexander Graham Bell. Communication. As the Secretary might say, it's a life skill. Just like rolling your own.

At any rate, notice that the season is scheduled to kick off on Dec. 15 with Harra-Curry. That is this coming Monday. I assume that means we will be graced with more details and a race poster shortly. Watch for it. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure to attend the past two editions, Harra-Curry is a classic. You get to eat good food. Lots of it. And then ride your bike. You wouldn't want to miss it. But watch out for that Juan Eppstein fellow. He's skinny but he can really eat. And he's cagey too. He may try some sneaky tactics like avoiding rice. Is curry without basmati really curry?

2) Gianni's Grass Track Glossary, Vol. II

Last week we talked about scratch races. So… what happens when you throw a bunch of sprints into a scratch race? You get a points race.

A points race is a mass start track cycling event involving large numbers of riders simultaneously on track. This race can be one of the more confusing races to watch for less familiar viewers. Put simply this is a race over a long distance, usually 120-160 laps (often 30km or more) for men in major events and will take something in the region of 40 minutes. A sprint is held every ten laps, with 5,3,2 and 1 points being awarded to the top 4 finishers in each sprint. The winner of the race is the one to have the most points at the end of the race. In addition to the sprints, any riders managing to lap the main field is awarded an extra 20 points. This is therefore a popular way of gaining the points required to win the race and leads to many such attempts to gain a lap during the race.

Different tactics can be employed to try and win the race. Some riders may sit back in the main bunch conserving energy, only attacking for the sprints to gain points. Other riders may attempt to gain the lap early on in the race and try and defend the advantage. The most common breakaways seen the points race are groups of 2-5 riders, sharing the work to enable them to gain a lap. Although it is a difficult feat to gain the lap on your own, it is not uncommon for the top riders to be able to do this in order to win the race.

Points racing is fast and tactical – a hard event in its own right, but also a great training tool.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

the schedule is set

this just in from the editor's desk. the editor needs an editor (it's canuck not canack and coming not comming), but if there was not the obligatory error or two somewhere in his work one might suspect that the news release was false.

just in time in light of the discussion last night at the f-n-h...

Small Victory Revisited

Apparently Russ Wyatt and Mike Pagtakhan would like to see the recently announced "small victory" for active transportation be a little less small. Sweet. Good luck, guys. Courtesy of the WFP.
In a surprising rebuke of the city’s 2009 capital budget, two of six councillors on Mayor Sam Katz’s cabinet rejected the $476.1-million public works plan today, saying the city could do much more to build bike paths and pedestrian trails.

At a meeting of Executive Policy Committee, Point Douglas Coun. Mike Pagtakhan and Transcona Coun. Russ Wyatt turned the budget down, signalling a split on council between bike-riding advocates and others.

EPC, Katz’s cabinet, added $2.35 million to the budget.

The $1 million the committee pencilled in though for biking infrastructure, sidewalks and pedestrian trails - so-called active transportation - wasn’t enough for Pagtakhan and Wyatt.

The divide is likely not large enough to stop the budget from passing before the full 16-member council next week. But it was unmistakable around the committee table.

Ode to the Winter Cyclist

Yesterday's comments reminded me of this little essay on winter cycling from The History of Sports in Britain, 1880-1914, edited by Martin Polley (via the Bicycle Diaries). This is obviously not written by someone familiar with Winnipeg winters. Thick mud? But it's a good read nonetheless. When it says we are exactly what we are, might it mean that we are full of "boisterous health, cheerful good humour, and that ready give-and-take spirit of considerate cordiality so essential to the happiness of the home cicrle?" Maybe. At the very least, we are not butterflies.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Espresso Junction at 9:30?

Monday, December 08, 2008

FGBC CX Pool Roundup

Klaas Vantornout has never won a World Cup race. But he came pretty close this weekend in Igorre, Spain. He led the race early on, before Nys and a few others managed to bridge up. But when he showed up in the pits and there was no bike ready for him, it looked like his chance was effectively over. But even though he conceded ten seconds to Nys, he was able to catch up. That’s good, because that would be a bad way to lose. It was a crash in the mud with two laps to go that did him in. Nys, ever the opportunist, did not let him catch up this time around. He wins his second World Cup of the season. Vantornout settled for a second place finish that still has to be considered fairly impressive, all things considered. Vervecken was third. Lars Boom was supposed to make his return to racing after taking a couple of weeks off with a urinary tract infection. But it doesn't look like he showed up. Bummer. More from CN.


Over in the USA, the domestic season wrapped up this weekend in Portland. On Saturday it was Trebon who had bad luck. He was in a leading group with the teammates Johnson and Powers, but hit the ground when his front wheel slid out on the final lap. Johnson took the win in his first race back after spending some time on the sidelines with a bum knee. Powers was second and Trebon third. On Sunday, in conditions that were decidedly muddier, Trebon got his payback. He attacked on the third lap and stayed away until the end, taking an impressive win in the last race before next weekend’s Nationals. Todd Wells and Johnson rounded out the podium. In the women’s races, it was a show of force by Team Luna. Katerina Nash won both races, and her teammate, Gould, finished second in both. Rachel Lloyd finished third ahead of Sue Butler on Saturday, while they switched positions on Sunday. Canadian Champ Wendy Simms was back in the USA after spending some time in Europe. She finished fifth on both days.

After next weekend in Kansas City, that’s it for the US season. Some will head over to Europe, but the results will not be the same. That’s bad news for Jonny M. He’s been riding a string of victories in the US races to make up some serious ground on Gary. But he did gain some ground in the World Cup too. So it’s hardly over. Gary still leads, but Jonny has cut his lead to just 160 points. After those two, the rest of us are a long way back. David S has moved up into third overall, but he’s over 900 points out of second place. So it looks like we have ourselves a two-horse race. Let’s hope they make it exciting for the rest of us. Full scoring spreadsheet here.

Weekend Results:

Jonny M 1180
David S 1080
Rachel 915
Gary 895
Chris A 885
Deanna 805
Dallas 750
Matt 740
Vic 680
Chris H 665
Charlene 665
Tomek 645
Paddy & Naomi 640
Olli 620
Ian 620
Adam 600
Brad 580
Bill 455
Jonny G 380
Andy 340
Hal 330

Overall Standings:

Gary 8710
Jonny M 8550
David S 7625
Rachel 7505
Chris H 7305
Chris A 7190
Paddy & Naomi 6925
Olli 6900
Deanna 6875
Charlene 6735
Matt 6635
Tomek 6265
Jonny G 5820
Dallas 5805
Adam 5710
Vic 5665
Ian 5655
Brad 5435
Bill 5185
Hal 4970
Andy 4855

The Brewmaster is Getting Closer

It's slightly old news by now, but I just found out that Brewmaster Dave has moved into some new (and bigger) digs. This is good news, as it signals that his little hobby is going well. He's now much closer to the F&H too, and even closer to Olympia. Welcome to FGBC Country, Dave. Perhaps another visit to the brewery is in order. But not before May. I wouldn't want to miss that.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Cross Lab

The other day he decided that it was time for some cyclocross practice. The photos speak for themselves. Except, perhaps, for the stuffed donkey in the baby sling. That's just his thing. So here's a little narrative in pictures.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Sometimes There's a Man . . ., Part II

This one's for Cycling Dave:

More here.

Sometimes There's a Man . . .

Some of you have no doubt been wondering what is up with the Honorary Captain. He'll be back racing in two months at the Tour of Cali. In the meantime, it seems he's been keeping a bit of a low profile. But he was spotted in LA recently, humming Creedence and muttering something about new shit coming to light. Courtesy of MKA.

The 2009 domestic race scene promises to be an interesting one. The Dude abides.