Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thursday Anticipation

More here.

If you have some free time on Saturday afternoon, your help in setting up the course would be appreciated. We are lucky that there are some among us who understand that the show must go on. That kind of dedication deserves our support.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

TNR Report

There was some river trail. Some cobbles, tunnels, and alleyways in the Exchange. Some new bikeways. And a lot of meandering around. We started with a decent sized group and it grew as we rode. First RPM Clark. And then the Secretary.

The President was in attendance. That is two weeks in a row. Can he make it three?

KK's run of bad luck continued. He flatted on Wellington, just shy of the klubhaus.

Hal, Ian, and the Phanatic were warming the seats for us when we arrived. The latter without even being coaxed out. We filled the main table. This is good for The Book.

Over at the south end of the table, The President spent some time outlining the history of the FGBC for some of the new associates among us. JP was concerned with fine lines and how to identify them. Where does analog end and digital begin, he asked. And later he sought the advice of the medical practitioners around the table to help him determine the boundary between pneumonia and the mere coughing up of cats. Such a deep thinker, that guy. And, of course, we spent some time dreaming about future cx races and how to make them bigger and better.

The tunes started out good. It's hard to go wrong with Crazy Train. And then they went bad. But a coordinated craning of some necks was sufficient to have things restored. It is that sort of attentiveness to our needs that keeps us coming back week after week.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

CX Pool Weekend Roundup

It was not a good weekend for K-Smash. Menno Cross did not go as well as he'd hoped. It seems his big ring was allergic to the mud. Or perhaps he just can't hold his yerba. Either way, it was a disappointing day for RRR's lone A racer. Over in the CX Pool it was even worse. Heading into the weekend with a 300+ point cushion over Jonny G, KK saw his early lead evaporate. He now sits in fourth place overall, ceding the top spot to the Seattle Chapter. Gary has moved into second overall. Currently sitting in third place is our very own Race Director. Jonny G fared just as poorly as KK. He's dropped down from second to fifth.

Full results and overall standings here.


Menno Cross: The Debrief

9:30 pm at my place.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Breaking News

Gary sends along the following good news.
This weekend's race is confirmed for LaBarriere Park on Sunday, Oct. 3rd.

B/Citizen - 40 min
Children - 10-20 min
A - 60 min

Racing tentatively scheduled to start at 1:00 p.m.

More details to follow shortly.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Menno Cross in Photos

The best thing about Menno Cross: The ABES can no longer boast that Southern Cross is "Manitoba's Largest Cyclocross Race." Then again, who was the genius to come up with the brilliant idea of a cyclocross race in Altona anyway?

As for the rest of the Menno Cross story, we will let the pictures do the talking. At least until the Secretary supplies us with the movie.

Sorry, no A racers. I was busy racing.

Menno Cross Results - Unofficial

Right here. Official results will be posted on the MCA site shortly.

132 racers! And all of them were very dirty. Thanks to everyone who came out to play in the mud.

Good times.

Friday, September 24, 2010

In case anyone is wondering . . .

The Menno Cross course is awesome. There are lots of twists and turns on the hilly part. In fact, there is very little of that section that will not be ridden. But there is also a very long straightaway on the gravel to balance things out. And of course the bunker and the stone pit will be there to taunt you. There may be one or two puddles dotting the course as well, which may become a little muddy as the day progresses. We will see. But we managed to steer clear of the lake. After the whole Dirk Willems thing, Mennos can be a little skittish about the possibility of death by water. Not that they are afraid of drowning. They just don't want to interrupt their race in order to pull a pursuer out of the drink. That can only slow you down. Besides, it is so 1569.

See you tomorrow boys and girls. It's going to be a good one.

Menno Cross Course Setup

The Sweetest CX Course in the World will start to take shape at 9am this morning. Halberto, Jonny G, the President and I will be out there for most of the day. Additional help is not discouraged.

By late afternoon, you should be able to pre-ride at least a good chunk of the course.

Good times.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Vicarious CX: The First Week

Menno Cross Week also features some vicarious racing.

KK is off to a hot start in the 2010-11 FGBC CX Pool thanks to Francis Mourey's little trip to the USA. Mourey won both races in Seattle last weekend. And then he won again at Cross Vegas yesterday, breaking the heart of Jamey Driscoll in the process. KK won the vicarious versions of all those races. Rachel won the lone race over in Belgium.

Jonnys N and G round out the overall podium. They are close to each other, speparated by just 10 points. But they are a long way back from KK, who has a 330 point lead over Jonny N after just 4 races.

Full results and standings here.

Perhaps the biggest news for the CX Pool happened off the race course. Niels Albert has announced that he will miss at least four weeks as he recovers from a sore knee. That is bad news for about a third of the teams in the pool.

Four more races this weekend. Two in Wisconsin and two in Belgium.

Thursday Anticipation

Two more sleeps. Menno Cross Week continues.

We have barriers. Lots of stakes and tape, pylons and bales. We have a bunker and some stones. There are hills. Maybe a few puddles. And tents. More tents than last year. CMU students and alumni will supply us with the soundtrack.

We have prizes. The total purse will be $600: $100 each (3 deep) for the women's A race and men's and women's B races; and $300 (7 deep) for the men's A race. We're still a long way from the UCI payout scale. But we're also a long way from that level of racing. Bring it.

We also have faspa. The menu looks like this:

cold meatballs and farmer sausage

And there will be a yerba bar.

The weather forecast looks promising: 18 and sunny.

Are you excited? The Cycle Chick is. This is going to kick A.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

TNR Report

CX rigs were out, so we did a short race. It hurt. So we must have done it right. We also tested out the proposed course for Menno Cross. It was generally affirmed. And there were even some helpful suggestions made. We will incorporate those. Which means it will be even more awesome than we had anticipated. The people will be pleased.

Back at the klubhaus, we were happy to see the Secretary and President out for some Menno Cross talk. But the President seemed more concerned about how to make sense of his discovery that the Hipster is his neighbour. Or at least was. He still goes back to visit his parents from time to time. They are separated by just two houses. Worlds collide. The following visual was set up to demonstrate just how close the orbits of those two worlds are to one another. The Presidential palace is the piece of crumpled paper on the right. The Hipster grew up in the house represented by the glass on the left. I forget who the lemon slice and Blackberry refer to. But they were named as well. The more troublesome question is why there was a slice of lemon present at all. That is not part of the regular FGBC sanctioned program.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


During Menno Cross Week, the TNR is cross themed.

9:30 pm at my place.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Did somebody say Faspa?

The President has recently declared that this entire week will be known as Menno Cross Week. How sweet is that?

It will be busy. But exciting. Jonny G and I test rode a potential course yesterday afternoon. We think it will be awesome. More awesome than last year.

Course set-up will begin Friday morning and continue throughout the day. There is lots to do. If you are able to swing by and help for a couple of hours, that would be very much appreciated.

Anyone know where we might get some bales? We could use 20 or so for some of the faster, swoopier corners.

In the mean time: if you are reading this, your job is to spread the word. This one is open to anyone. No MCA license required. So find someone who has never raced a cx race before and try to convince them to come out and give it a try. Kids are especially encouraged to attend. Let's see if we can give Altona a run for their money in terms of the number of kids racing. If you are doing this by email, don't forget to point people to the official race website:

Good times.

Vuelta Pool Closed

Prince Dan won it. It was a dominant performance. He led since stage 3 and never looked back. Congratulations Dan!

In the end, King Andy fell to third overall. I was second.

Cousin Adam managed to escape the cellar, which left the Sartorialist holding the lanterne rouge. Coordinating that jersey re-order evidently took a lot more energy than he let on.

Full results and overall standings here.

Thanks for playing everybody. We turn our attention next to the 2010-11 FGBC CX Pool. The first weekend is done. Results will be posted later this evening. We are still waiting for the official results from Rad Cross.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Starcrossed Report

Abusive, soggy, and slick conditions were on hand this evening, or in other words - cross perfection. Last years wet and rainy conditions were a sunny day in comparison with tonight. Similar to last year, the women's elite race was a one woman show. Sue Butler had a great start, but Katerina Nash took the lead in the 1st lap and never looked back - totally dominant.

The elite men raced hard. Francis Mourey benefited right away, having been ahead of a crash that happened in the first turn after the start. He held onto an 11 second gap over Page in second place, before Trebon fought his way through traffic - from about 12th spot, passing Mourey about half way through the race to take the lead. Trebon made up about a 45 second gap in that effort to pass Mourey. Mourey 'let' Trebon set the pace for the rest of the race, and the two of them dropped the rest of the field. It seemed very clear that Mourey was just waiting for his time to pass Trebon and take the lead, which he did in the last straight away before entering the velodrome for the last time and the hairpin turns that he maneuvered through en route to the win.

Good night.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Wildwood Race Report

Old pains, new places. The MB cyclocross season is officially open. Olli added a bit to the familiar course (I'm told, first time for me) but there was still nowhere to catch your breath and rest. There were some notable absences, but the FGBC racing division represented well; especially on the female and rural fronts. Three women were flying the black flag: Charlene, the Fraggle and, in her debut race appearance, Mrs. Cricket. Johnny S and Cousin Thomas made the trek into the big city, to join G, Vic, Luke, and yours truly on the mens side in the first cross race of the 2010 calendar.
Best showing of the day: The Seamstress won the Womens B race and took home a hoody for her efforts. The Cricket placed a respectable 3rd, behind a yellow home team pair. To my mind, he looked a bit lonely without a black-clad teammate, which should be remedied next weekend.
Best mechanical: Johnny S made a convincing case for alloy seatposts when he snapped his carbon one off mid-race. It was a clean break at the clamp (nothing jagged aimed at his tender bits) and thankfully Johnny avoided injury. He finished the race on Ian's rig. A few rolled tires and dropped chains, otherwise.
The Red River folk also put up a decent effort. In addition to usual (and reviled) white, some sported a kind of maroon and blue jersey (the away version?). This was no doubt calculated to make them harder to mark.
No one I talked to felt particularly good afterward; the consensus was that it was good first race to have behind us and over with. It is worth mentioning that both A and B races were quite large. Including men, women and citizens, there were over 40 people lining up at the start of the B race, including many first time crossers, and about 25 in the A. That was great to see. There were also almost as many photographers as racers, so there should be plenty of pictures popping up soon.

CX Pool Entry Watch

The deadline is looming. Just under 6 more hours to go.

Ten teams have waded into the pool so far. Hopefully a bunch more are on the way.

Chris H
Jonny N (who will be at the race in Seattle today)
Matt H
Ryan A
Ian H
Josh G
Olli H
Andy L
Jonny B
Dan L

Meanwhile, over in Spain, today should decide both the real race and the vicarious one. Dan has Nibali and Roche, who are first and seventh before the confrontation with the monster named Bola del Mundo. I have Mosquera and Peter Velits. They currently lie in second and third place. Can Mosquera do it?

Good luck to everyone racing at Wildwood today. Those of us with Saturday commitments are left wishing the race was still on Sunday, as originally scheduled. But we will be back next week at Menno Cross. The date will not change.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sweetest Jersey D-day

D as in decision time, cuz you know you want one.

Order thus far:

Dr. H. 1 lrg. T-shield winter jacket

Adam: 2 ss jersey, full zip l+xl
1 lrg. ss summer jersey full zip
1 xl. Tech Fleece Jacket

Thomas: 1 lrg. SS jersey - 1/2 zip

Via the secretary: 1 xl Windguard/Fleece Casual Jacket.

G: 1 lrg. ss club cut full zip
1 lrg. t-shield winter jacket

Cricket: 1 med. ss race cut full zip
1 med. ls race cut full zip
1 sm. ss womens 3/4 zip
1 lrg. ss race cut 3/4 zip

P&N: 1 med ls full zip,
2 sleeveless gun show 1x med, 1x small

The Hipster: 1 sml. ss race cut FULL zip

Tony H: 2 SS Jerseys XL/S +1 Jersey for the Fox & Hounds towards which I'm taking contributions

Dr. John: 1 SS, XL, full zip
1 LS, XL, full zip Club cut.

Order goes in after lunch, so you've got a few more hours to add items or get in touch with folks you know are itching for sweet duds.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

2010-11 FGBC CX Pool

Giddy-up, boys and girls. The 2010-11 FGBC CX Pool is now open for business. It's not perfect, but it will do.

Same deal as last year. Except that a few more races will be added to the calendar. It will be a full one.

In case you have forgotten, our defending champion is Jay. Gary looked to have it sewn up. But Jay came on strong once the North American season was over and pulled off a thrilling come from behind win. Finishing third overall, a long way back, was Brad the Impaler.

As usual, it free and open to anyone. Feel free to invite others. There are no prizes. Just good times.


Pick a team of 9 riders from this list, using the following criteria:

4 European Men (values must add up to 11 or more)
2 North American Men (values must add up to 4 or more)
2 European Women (values must add up to 4 or more)
1 North America Woman (no values)

Email your team here before 12 noon on Saturday, Sept. 18.

The European races will include the Superprestige, GVA, World Cups, and World Championships, as well as a bunch of other UCI 1 and 2 races. The North American races will include the USGP and NACT series, the National Championships, as well as a few other big races. The full schedule will be posted shortly.

Scoring will be as follows:

Scoring for Superprestige, GVA, other non-World Cup European races, and all North American races:

150-125-100 -90-80-75-70-65-60-55-50-45-40-35-30-25-20-15-10-5

Scoring for the World Cup races:


Scoring for the World Championships:


Speaking of Three Pools

The GP Wallonie took place yesterday. Who knew? Not me. But we caught it and have updated the 2010 FGBC Fall Classics Pool. Paul Martens won the real race. That was good news for Val and Thomas. Even better for Val, Gerben Lowik finished in 11th place. Between Martens and Lowik, Val picked up 450 points and big win. Those 350 points Thomas got from Martens were good enough for second place. KK took a different approach. He got 340 points from Evans and Roman Feillu to take the final podium spot. Once again, there were plenty of goose eggs. Of the 23 teams in the pool, only eight of them wound up with any points at all. Perhaps the biggest news of the day is that Darryl's was one of the teams that found the scoreboard. He picked up 225 points thanks to Giovanni Visconti's 6th place finish. This moves him well out of the cellar. He now has a 195 point cushion over Jonny G.

Full results and standings here.

Over in Spain, it was another day for the sprinters. Nothing terribly exciting there. But don't tell that to Bill A. He picked up a belated birthday present, winning the stage on the strength of a 285 point performance. Vic and Ryan shared second place. They both had 275 points. No big changes at the top of the standings. But there's some indication that a shakeup may be on the horizon. Specifically, King Andy's lock on second place (over 300 points just four days ago) looks to be on shaky ground. It's less than 50 points now.

Full results and standings here.

Thursday Anticipation

It all starts on Saturday. Just like our local season. Check back later tonight for everything you'll need to assemble your team.

This means that for two days there will actually be three vicarious races running at the same time. No wonder I'm tired.

Vicarious ITT

Not nearly as dramatic as the real version. Brad the Impaler and I shared the win, with 250 points each. There was a three-way tie for second place. Matt, Jonny B, and Josh each had 195 points.

No change in the top three overall. But Brad has moved into fourth place.

Full results and standings here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

TNR Report

Every once in a while, Lady Luck rears back and gives you a big kick in the groin. Usually, you've done something to piss her off. Things like this don't happen for no reason. But rarely are you able to recall what that reason might be. It always seems to end badly. This is what happened to the Secretary last night. He had almost as many flat tyres as there were candles on Bill's birthday cake. Between the infinity race track and the klubhaus, he changed four of them--and for a variety of different reasons. We hope there weren't any more on the long ride back home. Our cache of spare tubes was very nearly exhausted. And in the end, he was forced to ride with a bumpy front end on account of a tire and tube combo that refused to seat properly. Bad times.

But it didn't start out that way. He was actually in a rather buoyant mood at the beginning of the ride, especially upon meeting up with the likeness of a certain Hindu hero.

The infinity relay race was won by those born on even numbered months. This meant that the birthday boy was on the losing side.

Tony was there to hawk some jerseys and to tell us about the new bike museum he has begun.

And then things went south. The Secretary took it in stride, as he usually does. But by the fourth change, even he was getting a little crusty. Especially when he reallized his front tyre was significantly less than round.

The Impaler closed down the evening with a message for Cousin Adam.

Sweetest Jersey Order Update

Confirmed orders thus far:

Tony H: 2 SS Jerseys XL/S +1 Jersey for the Fox & Hounds towards which I'm taking contributions
Dr. H: 1 Jacket L
Adam: 2 SS Jerseys XL/L, 1 SSS Jersey L, 1 Fleece XL
Thomas: 1 SS Jersey L

Get your orders in by Friday.

(Olli and other lurkers, your orders for non-race day wear are now officially welcome too)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fort Garry Barrier Club

Good times.


There is a birthday boy among us. He has made some special requests for tonight's ride. We will try to honour them.

My place at 9:30 pm.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sunday Action in the Pool

[updated: stage 16 added]

Short and sweet edition.

Vuelta Stage 15 and 16 here.

GP Montreal here.

Five More Sleeps

Woodcock Cycle Wildwood Cyclocross, CX series #1

September 18

The first race of the Manitoba Cyclocross series will be held at Wildwood Park, 271 North Drive, Winnipeg, MB.

Race course is the tested lung burner/leg buster in Wildwood Park along the Red River. Races will be fast and furious, the perfect way to get up to cyclocross speed. This is also the first race of the CXMB participation series. More info on CXMB blog.

Light food, fruit and water are available for all racers.

Race prizing to be awarded after all races are complete. You must be present to accept your prize.

Registration from 1:30pm - 3 pm at the Wildwood Community Club, washroom facilities located here. Parking on the North Drive gravel shoulder.

Registration $15, novice riders and kids under 16 race for free.
Races starts at 2pm

B Race - 2pm, 30min + 2 laps

Kids Race - 3pm, approximately 15min + 1 lap (modified course)

A Race - 3:30pm, 45min + 2 laps

Entry form here. Waiver here.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Juan Eppstein Needs Your Help

He sends the following note:
Sunday was a great day to be out on bikes in Winnipeg – the Juan Eppstein family biked through Assiniboine Park, down Wellington, and along the Ciclovia route to get to the Forks for the Dragon Boat races. Unfortunately, following our race we got back to our bikes and Jasmin’s had been stolen. So if anyone spots her bike around town, let me know. It is a Giant Boulder, 26” wheels, matte grey, with sky-blue platform pedals, purple handle bar grips, a red bell, and brand-new road slicks which I just put on this morning.

Sweetest Jersey Order

It has come to the attention of the Office of Sartorial Standards that several members, old and new, of our club are want of FGBC duds. Well want no more, yo, the Office is now taking orders for all manner of lycra goodness emblazoned with the colours and marks that will properly identify your allegiance and, doubtless, endlessly improve performance.

Reply below with orders. If in doubt about what's on offer, check ca Jean-Guy:


Too Much Vicarious Racing?

No, never. But with four races in the last two days, it has been a little hard to keep up. Let's start with the Vuelta, where the real race saw the abandonment of its leader when Igor Anton went down in a nasty crash. This did not affect the FGBC Vuelta Pool, however, since nobody picked him. Nobody picked Joachin Rodriguez either. He won yesterday's stage and moved up into second overall. Wierd. There could have been some big changes. But instead Prince Dan and King Andy continue to cruise along, distancing themselves even further from the rest of the pack. Dan had a mediocre day on stage 13, finishing in the middle of the pack with just 150 points. Chris D won that one with 235 points and Bill had 220 points for second place. Andy was just 5 points back to finish in third. Stage 14 saw Dan bounce back. He had 270 points and won his second stage in the last three days. I was second, with 250 points. Once again Andy had 215 points. And again he finished on the third step of the podium. Only this time he had to share it with El Presidente.

In the overall race, Dan's lead looks pretty safe for the next little while. He's over 100 points ahead of Andy. Greg the Lunchbucket kid is still in third. But he's fading and now finds himself over 400 points off the pace. El Presidente is only 42 points from the final podium spot and looking to make life difficult for Hamilton's top vicarious racer. It looks like he has finally found a good strategy--picking riders from former fascist states.

Vuelta Pool results and standings here.

Over in the Fall Classics Pool, good thing we added the two races in Quebec. Friday's Grand Prix Cycliste de Qu├ębec was exciting, both in its real and vicarious versions. Home boy Ryder Hesjedal just missed the podium. He was outwitted by Thomas Voeckler, who won the stage ahead of Boss Hogg and Robert Gesink. This was good news for El Presidente. You will recall that he started out with a huge lead before laying goose eggs in his next two efforts. He was back on the scoreboard yesterday, finishing with 750 points and taking his second win of the Fall Classics Pool. Josh was 40 points back to finish in second. And Cousin Thomas found the podium after shooting blanks in his previous three efforts. His 525 points were good enough for third on the day.

In Paris-Brussels, Cousin Thomas was back for more. He and Val tied for the win. They both had 250 points thanks to Paul Martens' forth place finish. LeAnn rounded out the podium with 85 points. Josh and Jonny G were the only others to score any points. They both had 30. This is most significant for Jonny. Those 30 points are the first he has scored so far. He's on the scoreboard now, just 1800 points behind race leader El Presidente. This leaves Darryl as the only person who has yet to score a point. Maybe he will get lucky today in Montreal. Back to the top end of the standings, Gianni sits in second place, just 60 points off the pace. Third place currently belongs to Ali.

Fall Classics results and standings here.

Two more races today. Another mountain top finish in Spain. And in Montreal, they'll be racing up and down Mount Royal. I rode it in November on one of those Bixi rental bikes. That was fun. They should make the prose race on those things. I'd fly to Montreal for that.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Deals on Wheels

We all know that the best deal going is the so-called citizen race license. $40 to buy a beginner race license and the awesome race organizers we have in this province will basically let you race for free. The hitch, though, is that it's good for one season only. After you're hooked--and let's face it, you will get hooked--you've got to pony up for a real license just like all the other big boys and girls who like to race their bikes. So if you have never taken out a race license before, pick up a citizen license. Then race your little heart out, and show your thanks by purchasing a regular license the following year.

Word on the street is that some crazy kids have gone and purchased a citizen license for a second year in a row. We are sure that was simply a result of misunderstanding and not an attempt to scam those heroic folks who provide us with races to race in. And we are even more sure that none of the inadvertent scammers were FGBC members. But on the off chance you screwed up, give the MCA office a call and get this straightened out ASAP. It is no fun showing up for a race only to find out you're ineligible.

The good deals don't stop with the citizen license, however. This year, the cx organizers have gotten together to offer a season pass. For just $90 you can register for all the races (except for provincials). Do it race by race and it would cost you $120. Races will be $15 this year, so you basically get two races for free. But wait, there's more. Seasons Pass holders also get their names entered in a draw for some of those same sweet brakes that Gary gave away at his race last year. Passes will be available for purchase at the first two races of the season: Wildwood next Saturday and our very own Menno Cross the following week. More info over at CXMB.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Revisiting the Fall Classics Pool

Unless anybody comes up with a compelling objection in the next 12 hours or so, the two Pro Tour races taking place in Quebec this weekend will be added to the 2010 FGBC Fall Classics Pool Calendar. It just seems right. In case you have forgotten, the list of races is here.

Thursday Anticipation

1) The Big One

This one is not to be missed. Period. There will be faspa.

2) Tweedy

Gianni passes along the following:

The King and the Prince

King Andy won stage 11. He finished with 280 points and moved into second place overall, just 5 points back of Prince Dan. Swatty and I tied for second, with 230 points apiece. But Dan pushed his lead back up over 100 points by taking the win on today's stage 12 with a 270 point day. Second place was once again shared, this time by the Impaler and the Lunchbucked Kid. They each had 205 points.

Full results and standings here.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

TNR Report

The mud, apparently, was enjoyed by some more than others. But with cyclocross season just around the corner, it seemed a fitting way to punctuate the ride with some much needed training. The president even feigned a flat tyre so that he could run some hills with his hand-me-down Colnago slung over his shoulder. That guy knows what it means to be exactly who he is.

We encountered a few startled deer along the way. We also encounterd a young couple whose lusty passion we inadvertently interrupted on account of our need to pass through the darkened and narrow trail they were lying on. They were more startled than the deer. It seems they had not counted on the eventuality that a bunch of old dudes on insufficiently lit bikes might ride by in the middle of the night. Unlike the deer, their reaction was not so much to make a run for the trees as it was to freeze and pretend they weren't there. And yet they were very much there. So much so that they are lucky we didn't ride right over them. Had we stopped, the president could have explained to them how little fun it is to have someone ride their bike over one's chest. But we elected to pass up the opportunity to engage them in conversation and rode on into the muddy trails that lay ahead.

We were happy to see Colin walk into the klubhaus shortly after we arrived. And we were equally happy to have Lump join us for the ride. It has been a long time. And we explained how much we'd missed them both. They promised they would make more of an effort to attend regularly from here on out.

The conversation meandered all over the place. From Ingolf to Eagle Head, with rare book rooms, cyclocross rules, flyovers, canoes, banks, and faspa menus getting their fair share of attention as well.

And finally, the tunes were a bit different last night. Not bad. Just different. For example, the Dead Milkmen were playing when we walked in. We also heard the Violent Femmes, some old school Madonna, and the Stray Cats.

Good times.

A History Lesson

Last night's discussion of the impending imposition of the UCI rules for all but the under 5-year-old cyclocross categories by the 2011 season had some riders upset. What will the Cricket do with his large stash of 35 mm tires? Can Colin put drop bars on his scooter? But none were more immediately affected by the coming changes than the Secretary, whose dedication to the fixed wheel transcends disciplines and, along with the ever-present wool socks, makes him a perennial fan favourite. With the news that all racers will require two - count 'em, two - functioning brakes, the Secretary is seriously considering a full season boycott. Although his minute-taking duties have long since been overshadowed by other, more pressing functions, this would be a monumental loss to our burgeoning scene. Also, this aggression will not stand, and so I offer the following in his defence.

From the desk of the FGBC Historical Society (a fraternal society, in the honourable tradition) comes this link. Back in the day, when men were men and cyclocross was apparently way harder than it is now (hard to believe, I know), all cross bikes were fixed. The author of the article, Eugene Christophe, was perhaps the winningest French 'crosser of the last century. Since I cannot put it more eloquently than he put it himself, I will simply reproduce his flawless words of wisdom:

"The freewheel is not recommended, if only for positioning of the pedals when one wishes to remount. What I have just said looks like a detail, however, it is a detail of this type that I owe my win over Tribouillard, in the 1911 French cyclocross championship. My redoubtable and valiant adversary, who made light of me in training, was remounting at the same time as me, at the top of a steep climb; he was on my wheel. I heard him grumble; I risked a look behind me and saw that he was losing contact with me while trying to get into his pedals; I seized the opportunity to increase my effort and lead; I kept them through the end of the race."

For the sake of tradition, for the sake of the sport itself, let us all unite in solidarity with the Secretary and proclaim that the fixed wheel is as much a part of cyclocross racing as a long run through a bramble thicket, or a runup from the bottom of a sand quarry. Vive la Tradition!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

What in Tarnation?

First off, apologies for the lengthy delay. The FGBC Low Stakes Gambling HQ was closed for the long weekend in order to facilitate some much needed bike riding. And today, just as we were about to get back to work, we found ourselves struck dumb in the face of some truly astonishing developments in the world of professional pedal bike racing. To put things into context, rewind the clock to July 2006. Some will recall the day the honorary captain pulled off what can only be described as one of most awesome rides in the history of history. Of course, we at the FGBC know that this had largely to do with his post-race rehydration program consisting of JD and Amstel Gold after the stinker of a performance he turned in on the previous day's stage. Those were some good times. And yet much has changed in the peloton since that day. So much so that it is not entirely clear that we are participating vicariously in the same sort of sporting event. But nothing captures those changes more than the bombshell that dropped from the Vuelta this morning, reporting that Andy Schleck and Stuey O'Grady have been turfed from the race by their own manager for enjoying a post-race pint or two. What next?

That is the bad news. The good news? It was supplied by the FGBC's Dept. of Integrity, which reported that almost everybody in the 2010 FGBC Vuelta Espana Pool responded by doing the right thing--namely calling off their riders and staging an impromptu protest of sorts. What else can explain the collection of goose eggs that were laid on today's stage? Half the field ended up with a grand total zero points. And those who did find themselves with a few riders in the top 20 clearly held back to make sure they ended up with underwhelming totals. Only Josh topped the 100 point plateau on the day. That is not surprising. Josh always seems to have to do things differently. He gets the stage win. Too bad it is tarnished more than KK's 2009 butter belt.

Prince Dan continues to lead the race. But the Lunchbucket Kid is closing in. This thing is far from over.

For everything else that happened over the last four stages, surf on over here.


Among other things, long weekends like this last one have the additional benefit of allowing us to start the week off with a Tuesday Night Ride.

My place at 9:30 pm.