Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thursday Anticipation

The racing season has begun. The Dark Side is involved in putting on four races this year. Let's take a look-see and find out what's in store.

June 15 - FGBC/RRR TTT. The team time trial took a sabbatical last year. But Cousin Adam and Mike G teamed up to bring it back. Some will no doubt suggest a resurrection of the Challenge. That might be fun. Our past performance might suggest that the FGBC approaches this discipline as performance art. In the genre of slapstick. Think Keystone Cops on bikes. We think we can tighten it up a bit for this year. We should aim to field at least two mens teams and one women's team for this one. Let's show Brad the Impaler what a dark horde really looks like.

July 16-17 - The second annual 24 Hours of Falcon Ridge. We collaborate with RRR and the Birch Club for this one. Last year was awesome. We have a few new developments in store to make this year even awesomer. Paddy says he will be back to defend his title in the solo race. Others will no doubt line up to try and knock him off the podium. But they will have their work cut out for them, especially if he's not racing with a broken hand this year. We expect a deeper field of teams as well. It's not too early to start making plans.

Sept. 17 - Dark Cross. A new initiative. Cyclocross racing. On a dirt track car racing oval (and beyond). Under the lights. With a beer garden. Maybe some live music. Did somebody say party? This is another joint venture with RRR and our friend the CycleChick. The forecast calls for good times. Very good times.

Oct. 1 - Menno Cross. This will be the sixth edition. That should qualify to make it a classic. The stone pit and the bunker will be back. As will the swoopy corners. Some folks with connections have suggested we give some further consideration to the building ride through. But if that should fail, we will at least ride through the new CMU farm. Who knows, maybe the flyover project will come out of the mothballs. We have some new ideas.

Before all that, we have the Spring Ride to focus on. It's only four short weeks away now. Big Luke is ready.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

TNR Report

KK showed up with some posters for the 24 Hours of Falcon Ridge. He added a QR code, so the gadgets came out to give it a try. It seems to have worked.

Brad the Impaler rejoined our ranks. We were also treated to a surprise appearance of another long lost friend.

He says he will be at the Spring Ride this year. And this time he hopes actually to find us. He may bring a bike too.

The ride took us back to the Silver Ave. Bike Super Highway. We'd heard a rumour that it goes all the way to the perimeter, so decided to check its veracity. It was true in the same way as the claim "I am the most tested athlete in the history of professional sport" is true. That is to say, sort of. The super highway becomes a gravel path which hooks up with the end of the Sturgeon Creek trail. From there, our option was a rather grassy and soggy trail along the railway line. But there was lots of hollering and a general sense of dissension in the ranks. So we crossed the ditch back to the road, which was decidedly less of an energy sapping slog. This also gave us an opportunity to practice our cx skills. They are considerably rusty. Fortunately, there is time.

We did eventually make it to the perimeter and then decided it was time to head back to the klubhaus. KK turned up the heat and tore the group to shreds. It seemed for a while like we'd lost Jonny G. That would be no good. Who would make us smile? So we waited to make sure he was still with us. It turns out it was Bill we were missing. He had some phone calls to take, but rejoined us at the klubhaus.

And then the Secretary realized his rear tyre was almost flat. Again. We stopped to change. And then realized we were almost at the runway. So we repositioned ourselves and played Garth and Wayne while snapping photos for Cousin Thomas's desktop background.

We got the tyre changed and removed the offending sliver of green glass. All in less than 30 minutes.

Back at the klubhaus, we enjoyed the tail end of the hockey game and another Cars-free night on the tunes front. There was talk of local cycling polemica and stories of speaking in tongues. We spent some more time talking about the team race van. Jonny G reports that we need to give some attention to the comfort level for the passengers in the rear. Bolted down recliners and bonfires were suggested. Halberto told us about a conference that sounds more like a bike trip. Those who had them gave us a run down of their recent PD days at school. We concluded that consultants are best avoided. Alleycats, however, seem to go over well with the educators. Just as bike trips do with librarians. We tried to come up with a pool that would enable us to enjoy the coverage of the upcoming Royal Wedding. That attempt was not successful.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


9:30 pm at my place.

TNR Report: Bonus Monday Edition

Because sometimes Tuesday is not enough. Actually, come to think of it, Tuesday is never enough. But it takes a special occasion to get us actually to do something about it. A visit from the Saskatchewan Chapter to work on the Bus Project constitutes just such an occasion. It has been eight months or so since the project commenced. A lot of hard work and even more spurious conversation has taken place since that time. But word on the street was that the engine was ready to go back in. So Jonny G and I joined the Secretary and the Saskatchewan Chapter to witness this historic event. The President was there for a time too, as was Big Country.

There were highs. And lows. A healthy dose of befuddlement. And maybe a little bit of cussing. But in the end, it all led to the following glorious climax.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Prince Dan, Vicarious Classics Hero

The real race was a bit of a yawner, with the Brothers Schleck essentially escorting Gilbert to his fourth consecutive win. The vicarious version of the race, however, featured the bold riding we missed from the leading trio on their way up the final climb into Ans. Prince Dan kicked big time ass. He took home 1530 points on the day. That is just 70 points less than Andrea tallied for the season! Winning like that is the vicarious racing equivalent of my boyfriend attacking from 40 km out and sticking it to the field. Very impressive! Olli and Miriam were a distant second and third.

So Dan wins the 2011 FGBC Spring Classics Pool. In the end, he finished 745 points ahead of Andy. Olli was third overall, another 685 points back. Darryl and Miriam rounded out the top five thanks to their solid Ardennes campaigns.

Full results and overall standings here.

Thanks for playing boys and girls. That was fun. And don't worry, your next vicarious racing fix is just a couple of weeks away. We are heading into the grand tour season. Look for the 2011 FGBC Giro d'Italia pool to be launched shortly.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thursday Anticipation

1) There is no racing this weekend. Hopefully we can squeeze in a ride. Check back for details, should they emerge.

2) As for the Spring Ride, dnb 2.0 says he is going to own the steppes this year. That is too bad. His missteps were always spectacular. Should he manage to stay true to his word, someone else will no doubt step up. There will be crashes. That much is certain.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

TNR Report

A lovely night for a bike ride. Just as we were wondering where we should go, the Secretary called to say he was stranded on the second hump of the Disraeli Bridge with a flat tyre. So we headed over to meet him--just to make sure his first ride of the season got off to a good start. And just as he was ready to hit the road again, we got a call alerting us to the fact that we left the TNR HQ without Dr. John. We met up with him just in time to have KK introduce us to his favourite new restaurant.

From there, the Secretary took the lead.

He suggested a visit to the fabled Northeast Passage, only this time ride it in the reverse direction.

It was every bit as awesome as we remembered. On the way to the klubhaus, we stopped in at the infinity race track for a few spine tingling laps of the figure eight course. There were no crashes. That is always convenient.

As for the meeting, much of our discussion centered on the development that is being hailed as the biggest revelation of the past five years--the Dark Side's new race van. Plans include a paint job and some FGBC themed decoration. There was some talk about adding a bar in the back as well. Stay tuned.

Not only did we have two Butter Belt winners in attendance. We were also graced by the presence of the genius who came up with the idea in the first place. So naturally, there was discussion about the 2011 edition. All the hype that is the Summer of Brad will no doubt make the Impaler a legitimate contender. But dnb 2.0 is beginning to receive his share of attention as well. The only problem is, neither of them has ever completed a race. This task could be even more demanding this year, with some extra rules added to the mix. In particular, there was talk of mandatory butter shots for all Butter Belt contenders.

There were no tunes last night. Instead, we had the sound of the hockey game. The nice thing about this is that it meant the Cars streak was halted at seven weeks.

Flèche Wallonne Report

Here's an idea: what if my boyfriend were to hook up with Philippe Gilbert and have a baby? Think of how powerful it would be. Mix their DNA together and it would be a potent cocktail. Maybe even more potent than the life forms that have begun to colonize in the Impaler's beard. Fabian, of course, has been every bit the stud we have come to expect him to be. But Gilbert is having a better Spring Classics campaign. He won his fourth race of the season today and, amazingly, his third in a row. Can he do it again in Liege? Tune in Sunday to find out.

Meanwhile, over in the 2011 FGBC Spring Classics Pool, dnb 2.0 continues to impress. Fresh off his first-ever vicarious race win, he he won his second race in a row today, narrowly edging out the King and the Prince. Darryl had a 435 point day, while Andy and Dan each had 425 points. The royal duo continue to sit atop the overall standings, with Dan holding a narrow 40 point lead. Olli remains in third place, but he's over 800 points back.

Full results and overall standings here.

Fleche Wallone Live

50 km to go. 20 until they hit the Muur de Huy for the second last time. Live streaming options here.

The Dark Side might also be interested in reading the honorary captain's recollections about racing this one.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


The Secretary is busting the Puch out of the mothballs.

9:30 pm at my place.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Report from Bruxelles

The second annual season-opening Spring Classic in Bruxelles was even more classic than the first, in that it was colder, wetter, and muddier; and therefore awesomer.

The FGBC (racing division) made a proper day of it, in the newly christened racing van. The rough accommodations for those in the back were less than ideal on the way out, but post-ride refreshments improved the mood for the trip back. About five minutes out from Bruxelles, there was suddenly a lot more snow on the ground. Cross tires started to look like a good call. The race started somewhat differently than last year, as the neutral portion of the race was really a four km ride out to the starting line. It was not a warm-up lap, though, as we arrived significantly colder and more anxious than we'd begun. The Cat 3s got off to a bit of a bad start: first a false start, then a crash within sight of the rest of us at the start line, taking down at least two victims. I don't know whether both of them finished the ride. 3 minutes later the much bigger Cat 4 group got the nod, including the five FGBC racers (Craig, Jonny, JP, Mark and Adam) and Brad, bravely flying the Red River flag on his own.

The road conditions (doubletrack, usually separated by a good bit of snow) made for difficulties in the paceline. The course was simple this year - a clockwise rectangle 1 mile by 2, starting in the southeast corner. Not simple enough for us, apparently. With our heads down and hopes of putting our numbers to good use, we were in a good position after the first 2 miles, with 4 black jerseys at the front and Jonny leading the way. Then we missed the first turn. Unfortunately, Jonny wasn't able to regroup right away, and a mile of chasing up and down and into the wind didn’t help. Between the wind and the constant climbing, there was little opportunity to recover, and the short Cat 4 course (30k) meant the pace was high and cross-like. By the middle of the second lap Craig, JP and another rider (Willy, I believe?) dropped me, and then the two of them managed to pull ahead on their own on the longer downhill stretches at the beginning of lap 3. JP got away from Craig before the final corner, and cruised to top of the podium. Craig took second, and I rolled in fifth. Jonny was not far behind.

With a jar of gravel to set next to the icon from last week, we apparently have a classics stud in our midst in the form of JP.

The Cat 3s did 2 more laps, but we were more than muddy enough by that point, and there were toasts to be made. The community once again put in an amazing effort: warm food, a silent auction, and lots of volunteers. This race is really about Bruxelles and the surrounding community, which is what makes it work so well. Also, hats off to the Olympia crew, they not only know how to put on a great race, but a really good time too. Post-race banter including the Spring Ride (it will be awesome, and I will need a mountain bike), vasectomies (not during race season, was the conclusion), the election (meh), and the innate skiing ability of some European nations (the Norwegians have it, the Dutch do not, apparently).

Photos courtesy of JP.

Amstel Gold Report

The Secretary wins it. He had 705 points thanks to Gilbert, Leukemans, Gesink, and Wegmann. Prince Dan was second with 660 points. Olli had 545 points to round out the podium.

In the overall race, Dan has retaken the lead. The King is just 40 points back. But unfortunately he is racing without his Ardennes captain, Cadel Evans, who is sidelined with injuries. That is too bad. I was looking forward to watching those two battle each other right to the bitter end. Olli has moved into third overall. But he is a long way back.

Full results and overall standings here.

Back at it on Wednesday with Fleche Wallone.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Amstel Gold Live

For those of us not racing today, we will have to get our kicks vicariously. They have about 120 km to go. Evans is not racing. That is bad news for King Andy, among others. My money is on Gilbert. Andy has him too, so it's not all bad for the King.

Look for live feeds here or here.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Thursday Anticipation: Another Friday Edition

Yes, we're late once again. These Thursdays, they come so fast. And then all of a sudden it's Tuesday again. No wonder the Spring Ride is just around the corner.

There is racing on tap this weekend. Specifically the Bruxelles Spring Classic where, among other things, you can win a jar of gravel. This is as close to Belgium as one can get without leaving Manitoba. It would be wise to attend. Sadly, I am not wise.

The OCC boys, they have made some guarantees for Sunday's race. They have not, however, guaranteed good times. At least they're honest. We like to think we are an honest bunch too, even if perhaps a bit prone to exaggeration. But for the Spring Ride, we can say with confidence that good times are guaranteed. A good chunk of that revolves around the annual Friday Feast. Every once in a while, I still find myself burping up tastes of that enormous steak from last year. I can't wait to see how dnb 2.0 steps it up for this year's festivities. The old version was already very impressive with his meal preparations.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Brabanste Pijl Results

I will keep this brief so that the Secretary's latest work of art doesn't get bumped down too far.

Everything you need to know is here.

Memories of Falcon Ridge 24hr

This was a good time.  Let's do it again!
24hrs of Falcon Ridge

24 Hours of Falcon Ridge 2010 from dnb on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

TNR Report

We checked out the water levels on the Ass. River and Sturgeon Creek. They are high. Very high. For some reason, this made KK happy.

The Secretary joined us at the klubhaus and made it official. dnb 2.0 has officially been launched. Watch out.

We talked about some stuff. But all I can remember is the account of how Elton John triggers memories of early adolescent groping. Or perhaps pseudo-groping would be a more accurate description. KK also shared a story about showing up to a Judas Priest gathering with a Smiths CD. As far as daring initiatives go, it was about as successful as the groping.

On the tunes front: at the beginning of the evening, it was apparently the hour for those who could hit the high notes. By the end, the vocal range was considerably lower. And yes, we heard the Cars for the 7th week in a row.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


We will ride. Hopefully the Secretary will be there to report on his recent adventures.

9:30 pm at my place.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Rated RRR Report

For anyone who wants to know how it's done, you could do worse than following Brad the Impaler around. That guy does it right. Very right. Last year already kicked ass. But this year he upped the ante and then some with a new and improved course, a trophy, an enormous glass of Little Scrapper, and bearded poduim girls.

It's not clear whether JP did it right. But whatever he did wound up working out for him in the end. He very nearly pulled a KK by attacking himself out of the race. Shortly after the ice rink, he went to the front and kicked it into a higher gear. Just as we were about to cry uncle, he promptly drifted toward the rear and fell right off the back. And just like that he was gone. But he took advantage of our not-exactly-well-executed attempt at a pace line and bridged back up just before we turned onto Hillside Rd. In the end, it was his superior sense of direction that won him the race. He watched calmly as Halberto and the Cricket, off the front and seemingly headed for a sprint finish, missed the final turn. JP gladly accepted the gift and soloed in for an easy win. Navigational skills are important. Nicely done.

Is anybody else feeling kind of achy today?

Summer of Johan

My boyfriend is the bridesmaid once again. And we had another surprise winner thanks to the defensive tactics of the best of the rest of the classics studs.

Ian won the vicarious race. He had 1150 points thanks to Cancellara, Hushovd, and Rast. Mike was second with 990 points. And Queen Val had 910 points to round out the podium.

In the overall race, Dan dropped from first all the way to sixth place. Ouch. King Andy was happy to take over the lead. He leads Queen Val by 220 points. Melissa has been moving up steadily over the last few races and now sits in third overall. But the Fraggle is lurking just behind her. Mark, Dan, and Tom are all within striking distance too. Andrea picked up 300 points but still holds onto the lanterne rouge.

Full results and overall standings here.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cobbles for Breakfast

It's dry and dusty. They're 120 km in. Just starting to get into the cobbled sectors.

Live streaming options here.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Update from the honorary captain's home turf

I swung past Green Mountain Cyclery yesterday, Floyd's old bike shop. They have undergone significant expansion. Apparently Mike is still the proprietor, but he was unavailable for interview.
So, I couldn't help but ask the 4 shop rats what the general feeling was towards Floyd these days. Apparently we appreciate him more than they do. They were cautious in response, but it was clear that they felt a bit burned. I pushed a bit... surely they didn't think he was clean the whole time... yes, yes they did. I decided not to push further.
While their clothing line had not arrived (sorry Chris, no new socks), they did give me a bunch of free stickers.
Enjoy the gravel. I hope no one has the bad/good luck I had last year. Riding around in the van with Mike and his brother was good times... just not how I had planned them.

Thursday Anticipation

Giddy up, boys and girls. It all begins this weekend. Brad the Impaler does it right. You may not receive the sloppy kisses he has promised to plant on the winner's cheeks, but good times are guaranteed.

Need more info? Go spend some time with the Red Brigades.

As for the Spring Ride, remember just a few weeks ago when we toasted the fact that the countdown had passed below the century mark? Now that we are on the other side of 50, we are closer to Spring Ride Friday than we are to the day we raised our glasses in celebration of that significant temporal marker. How sweet is that?

There are some among us who have come to believe the ABES are just a figment of Johnny S's sick, twisted and perpetually distracted imagination, seeing as how he is the only one who ever shows up to any of our rides. Maybe we will be proven wrong this year. But even if this theory turns out to be true, it doesn't really matter. Because the good times Johnny S brings to the table are the equivalent of the good times output of at least 10 or so others.

Scheldeprijs Results

David and Jonny G shared the win. They had 575 points each. Ian rounded out the podium with 440 points. Bill had a good day too, thanks to the Manx Mouth. He picked up 350 points and tossed the vicarious lanterne rouge back to Andrea.

Prince Dan continues to lead the overall race with King Andy close behind. But the Fraggle came roaring out of her cave to push Val off the third podium step. Mark is only 20 points behind her.

Full results and overall standings here.

Paris - Roubaix goes down on Sunday!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

TNR Report

Tom K showed up on his new Pugsley, so we did the counter-intuitive thing and went off in search of some snow despite the fact that the conditions served up the possibility of the first snow and ice free ride in a long, long time. The search took us along the new Silver Ave. super highway for bikes. It is as smooth as it is wide. And it featured a brand new bridge for JP to play on.

We also pretended we were Garth and Wayne while a plane came in for a landing. Eventually we did end up finding some snow. It was not nearly as good as we remembered. But it did give Ryan the opportunity to practice some of his new cyclocross skills. He is going to kick ass next year. You heard it here first.

Apparently, JP had some issues. I do not remember that. But Tom was kind enough to share the photographic evidence.

Back at the klubhaus, there was much confabulatory goodness. We especially enjoyed reliving last year's inaugural edition of Brad's Spring Classic. In particular, we enjoyed hearing about KK's ill-fated attempt to throw down the gauntlet. Everyone is in just as bad shape this year as they were last year. So it should be interesting, as our tactical incompetence once again tears the group to shreds. Don't forget to RSVP if you plan on attending this year's race. Because that would make Brad the Impaler angry. And nobody wants that. He's grouchy enough when he is happy.

The tunes were decidedly so-so. But at least we were Cars free. Until, that is, we were headed out the door. At which point they came onto the hi fi to send us on our way home. Is that six weeks in a row now? How depressing.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


We return to our regularly scheduled program.

My place at 9:30 pm.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

The Answer is Yes

Yes, he can be beaten. But who would have guessed Nick Nuyens would be the man to do it? Nobody in the FGBC Spring Classics Pool, apparently. Not a single person was willing to show Nuyens the love. Bummer. In retrospect, he would have been a solid tier 3 pick. Much better than Thor and Heinrich and all their Garvelo teammates. The best classics team in the world continues to disappoint. Some might even say they just plain suck. Conventional wisdom would have it be a case of too many cooks. But that is the kind of weak analysis that comes from refusing to face the facts. We all know that the real reason for their string of pedestrian performances is that they dared to move away from a jersey that once resembled the sweetest jersey in the world. Remember when Thor won a classics race two seasons ago? And how he kind of looked like Johnny S? Haussler was all over the top of the standings that year too. And if we didn't believe it then, by now it is indisputable where his run of good form came from. Forget the curse of the rainbow jersey. What those guys are experiencing is the curse of the SJITW. The lesson here is clear: spurn sweetness at your own peril. One wonders what effect the curse will have on Johnny when his new ABES jersey shows up.

Was there a race going on? Oh yes, King Andy and Graham shared the win. They each came up with 1145 points. Prince Dan rounded out the podium with 1070 points. Third on the day was no doubt disappointing for him. My boyfriend can totally relate. But Dan had a nice consolation prize in that he took over first place in the overall standings. With 4160 points, he leads King Andy by 150 points. Shhhh, don't tell Dr. Freud. Queen Val is right there too. Her 3710 points are good enough for third overall. The first family of vicarious racing is looking better than ever. At the other end of the standings, Andrea tossed the lanterne rouge to Bill.

Full results and overall standings here.

Flanders Live

114 km to go. Thor just SMASHED his rear tyre. The forecast for rain is wrong for now. But there will still be plenty of carnage. The bergs will be coming fast and furious soon.

Live coverage options here.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Can Anyone Beat My Boyfriend?

That is the question everyone seems to be asking these days. And it is not only because of what he did last weekend. It all started when he savagely destroyed poor old Beans on the kapelmuur in last year's Ronde before time trialling to a solo win:

Go stock up on your favourite Belgian treats and find someone to debate this important matter with. Then check back tomorrow morning for the live video links. Because this race is so awesome, coverage starts early. Possibly as early as 5am. Make sure to go to bed early, boys and girls.

Meanwhile, The cyclotourists and the pros have been bumping into each other on the hellingen lately. It appears the Koppenberg is harder than the pros make it seem.

Apparently the dude further down the hill broke his hip. Cobbles and hills are not to be taken lightly.

More photos here.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Thursday Anticipation: Special Friday Edition

The order has been placed. The all new Sweetest Jersey in the World, now with shorts will be here in 6-8 weeks. There is a chance they could be here for the Spring Ride. The Spring Ride is 56 days away. That is exactly eight weeks. How sweet would it be to be hanging out on the back porch amongst the grape flavoured bubbles in our new kit? Answer: dorky. Very dorky. But there are dorks among us. We are exactly what we are.

To help us pass the time, we have racing. Specifically, our own version of the Spring Classics:

1) Rated RRR, Brad the Impaler's race to kick off the season, is just over a week away. This year's course will be different. He found some gravelly hills! But we will still visit the Grotto to recite the Regina Caeli in the presence of the Blessed Virgin. And of course there will be a dogfest and some Scrapper to end it off right. Stop in at the Red Brigades' HQ for more info.

2) And the following weekend is the the Olympia Classic in Bruxelles. It is as close to Belgium as one can get without leaving Manitoba. More info at the OCC.

3) There will be recon rides for both races this weekend. It would be wise to attend at least one of them.