Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sloth Cross Report

Dante locates sloth at the centre of the moral structure he depicts in the Purgatorio. And since the annual 24 hour race and film festival has become the centrepiece of the Nordic Cross season, it seems fitting that for 2010 the event received the moniker of Sloth Cross. This year marked the 4th time we have gathered to ride bikes and hang out for 24 hours in February. And we had our best turnout yet. 23 racers did at least one lap. That is spectacular! Big, big thanks to our hosts, Tomek, Arlene, and Solomon. The house is sweet and you guys are awesome. Thanks also to Colin and Anita for the garage, food, and for generally tolerating our presence.

In addition to the biggest field so far, this year's edition also featured the best menu. Arlene cooked up a pot of some fantastic split pea soup and also brewed some delightfully strong coffee. Deanna brought some very tasty cupcakes. Matt supplied cookies and brownies. And Halberto brought a few loaves of his signature bread. There was, of course, a dogfest. This year it was supplied by Colin and supplemented with a side order of barbecued chicken. And of course there was the Sal's breakfast lap to finish off the race in the morning.

The neutral media lap was a big success. Among the many highlights was a chance meeting with the designer of one of the warming huts out on the river trail. He was kind enough to take the official Sloth Cross Group Photo. The Secretary and Tom K both got plenty of raw footage. They are no doubt hard at work in the editorial chamber as we speak. Look for their commemorative films to appear sometime in the next little while.

As for the race itself, Juan Eppstein got off to an early lead. Unfortunately, however, some domestic duties derailed his efforts just as it was beginning to look like he was headed for a certain win. Jonny G seemed more determined than ever. He even took a page out of Juan Eppstein's book and snuck out very stealthily once or twice in an attempt to get a leg up on the competition. KK, the Cricket, and I rode the first several laps together, trying to keep pace with Juan and Jonny G. Others, such as Brad the Impaler, the Secretary, and Jonny B, took the more relaxing route. They anchored themselves on the couch and proceeded to pound though a number of movies. Brad managed 11 laps in total, only two of which involved spending time on the saddle. He earned the title of biggest sloth of them all. This being Sloth Cross, however, no effort went into the securing of prizes. So he will have to make his own slothy crown to wear. Solomon and Nick represented the next generation and acquitted themselves well. Other notable performances included Unger's running lap, which counted as two. Just as notably, if not as happily, the Secretary ended up dislocating his shoulder on a crash heading down from the boardwalk. Fortunately, it popped back into place. Unfortunately, it really hurt. Speaking of dislocated shoulders, Lindsay showed up to provide words of encouragement and tales of his latest cycling exploits. And in the dept. of unsolved mysteries, effort is currently underway in an attempt to gain some clarity on how Tom K managed to end up ahead of Scott at one point, even though he set off several minutes later. Tom insisted that this was not a result of cheating. He did not, however, manage to supply an alternate explanation. The defending champion from last year did not defend his title. But at least Gianni showed up for a lap and some high fives for one last commemoration of his 2009 performance. Halberto was second last year. This year he was only slightly better than second last.

There was a flurry of activity after supper at Colin's and leading up to the mandatory Big Lebowski lap at midnight. The Cricket, however, was not involved. He said he had to a birthday party to head to which, upon cross-examination, turned out to be his own. Happy Birthday Cricket. This late night burst of energy was made possible, in part, by the presence of a group of kids who where gathered around a bonfire on the river bank for some good times. They greeted us more and more eagerly with each subsequent lap. They did not, however, make good on their offer of a beverage. And so we were forced to retire to the poosher's palace in order to have our thirst slaked.

From midnight to 4:30 am, the bikes remained inside Colin's garage. But the race continued for those who watched the Big Lebowski and Pure Sweet Hell. 1.5 laps were on hand for those two. By 5am, everyone was asleep. But the activity resumed at 7am. Tomek, Tom K, and I were up first. We headed out for a couple of a couple of laps prior to the Sal's breakfast lap. With the wind howling down the Red, it was cold. But happily the colder conditions served to restore the river bank singletrack to a state that made it rideable once again. The Impaler was up early too and quickly found his way back to the couch to watch some more films.

As far as the films went, The Triplets of Belleville and A Sunday in Hell seemed to be the unanimous favourites. Transitions and BMX Bandits did not manage to capture the attention of the crowd and got ejected before they were finished.

In the end, my 17.5 laps were good enough for the win. The closest race was the battle for 2nd place. Tom K, Jonny G, and KK all ended up tied with 14.5 laps. KK finished his final lap about a minute ahead of Jonny G to secure the silver medal. Tom K was a few minutes further back and wound up without any hardware to show the grandchildren some day. Still, it was an impressive performance, even if he only wound up with a pair of sore knees to show for his efforts.


1. Chris - 17.5
2. Kevin - 14.5
3. Jonny G - 14.5
4. Tom K - 14.5
5. Brad - 11
6. Vic - 10.5
7. Unger - 10
8. Juan Eppstein - 10
9. Darryl - 9.5
10. Scott - 9
11. Tomek - 8.5
12. Craig - 8
13. Liam - 5
14. Colin - 5
15. Adam - 4.5
16. Jonny B - 3.5
17. Thomas - 3.5
18. Olli - 1
19. Solomon - 1
20. Hal - 1
21. Ian - 1
22. Nick - 1
23. Luke 1

Token photos:

After three rounds, the battle for the Nordic Cross 2010 title is wide open. The top four are separated by just two points.

Juan 30
Vic 29
Brad 29
KK 28
Jonny G 26
Chris 23
Tom K 22
Darryl 17
Unger 14
Olli 12
Jonny B 11
Scott 11
Tomek 10
Craig 9
Jonh Paul 8
Liam 8
Colin 7
Adam 6
Graham 4
Thomas 4
Hal 3
Solomon 2
Ian 1
Nick 1
Luke 1

The next race on the 2010 Nordic Cross calendar otherwise known as Sin Boldly will coincide with the 2010 ABES Winter Bike Festival in Altona on March 5. It will serve, for our purposes, as Lust Cross, if for no other reason than that the event will be headquartered at a venue called the sExchange and that it happens to satisfy the one-race-every-three-weeks scheduling criterion. It is also fitting in light of the fact that what we now know as lust was originally named luxuria and defined as extravagance. There is nothing more extravagant than the event Johnny S, David, and Co. put on for us every March. Those ABES are so lust-inducing. It will be well worth the drive south. All the info you need can be found right here.


Tom K said...

Well reported Chris and a totally awesome Sloth Cross! Finally made it to one of your FGBC 24 Hr events and I will be back as many times as possible! 25 Hrs of time avail for riding, movies, beer, BBQ and great socializing - beyond terrific!!

Big kudos to Tomek and Arlene for hosting us so well in their unique and comfy home! Tasty soup Arlene.

I enjoyed all 13 laps I rode with the large group, with single & multiple partners and solo as well. My later laps had some right knee pain due a nasty downhill fall, but pressing on is all part of the zest of life - life was good this weekend. Finishing just behind the speedy Jonny G and KK was cool for me (thanks for dropping me on that one lap bud ;-)).

I have tons of helmet cam video and will put together an event video soon at:

Speaking of media gathering, I see Chris didn't hear my "tricksy" reason for cutting on lap 2. When I heard that Vic & Colin had just headed out for their second lap (supposedly their last for a while), I blasted off to catch them so I could film them and made a cut to get ahead of them. It didn't work them, but did for Scott's group. I did double up that section later ...

What a blast of winter biking and fun times!!!

Adam said...

Is this the powder I used before?
Those of us on the couch for the Eddy Mercx films found it particularly amusing/bizarre that the crush of reporters continued to accompany Mercx and the other riders after the race, even into the showers. Apparently he now has a plaque in the showers at Roubaix:
Big thanks to Tomek and Arlene for being such accomodating hosts, the house is quite something.

KK said...

"Butter belted" again, eh Jonny?

PaddyH said...


Anonymous said...

I didn't touch my bike either.

* * *

"Ich bin expert!" *thud*