Thursday, June 30, 2011

2011 FGBC Tour de France Pool

The pool is open for business. The official rosters have all been submitted and the FGBC Dept. of Hair Splitting has sorted through all the riders and assigned them with their respective values. Your task is to assemble a team by picking nine of them. This will allow you to follow along vicariously as the Tour presents us with three weeks of highs, lows and all manner of emotions in between.

Things are a little bit different this time around. So even if you have played before, please read through the following rules carefully, especially the criteria for assembling your team.

1. Pick a team of nine riders and send them here. Your team must be submitted before Saturday, 7am Winnipeg time (CDT).

2. Entry into the pool is free. Save your money for cyclocross races.

3. New for this year is a prize for the overall winner: a pair of the hot new FGBC wool socks.

4. The pool is open to all. Feel free to invite others to participate.

5. Points will be awarded based on the scoring system below (scroll down).

6. Any rider who is disqualified from the race for a doping violation (during the race) forfeits all his points. Survive the race and your points stay.

The list of riders can be found here.

Picking Riders: Here's where things get really different than in previous years. So please read these five criteria very, very carefully. This exercise will require some basic math skills and an understanding of simple logical operators (esp. "and," "or," and "not"). Past experience suggests that Criterion #3 will be especially tricky to navigate, since it requires the simultaneous negotiation of three different lists. I'm looking at you, Fraggle. Pay attention to the words in bold and it shouldn't be too hard. The timeline is tight. I won't have time to check over your teams for you. Screw it up badly and you might not get to play.

1. Pick two GC riders. Their combined values (the numbers to the right of the rider's name) must add up to eight or more. And no, the list of riders ranked as 7s is not a joke. If you elect to go with Contador, your other GC man must be one of these three.

2. Pick two sprinters. Combined values must add up to five or more.

3. TT Men, Climbers, and Stage Hunters - Pick one rider from each list. Their combined values must add up to seven or more.

4. Pick two Wild Cards. There are no values assigned to these guys. Pick any two from the list.


Individual stages:


Final GC:


Final Points Classification:


Final Mountains and Classification:


Final Young Rider Classification:


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

TNR Report

The Birthday Boy showed up in his best outfit. Double Rainbow.

The Other Birthday Boy got to call the ride. He said "parkade."

Then he said he was hungry.

Back at the klubhaus, we were joined by Birch Bill, who shared his ideas for a new and improved course he is considering for the 24 Hours of Falcon Ridge. We talked about the Butter Belt and what the Impaler will need to do in order to win it. We thought showing up in a van with images of his scantily clad self painted on the side would go a long way toward helping his chances. But it became clear that the most important thing he should focus on is finishing the race itself. This crucial task has eluded our friend on his previous couple of attempts. We talked about Where's the Beach? and how excited we are that Operación MUERTO is finally about to be launched. With We Love Arvid about to depart on his cross-country trip, we reminisced a bit about the Big Idea and how awesome it was last summer. Especially when Dr. John showed up. But we also gave some consideration to a new idea that promises to make the Big Idea look like it was but a fleeting ADHD moment. It is perhaps best summarized this way: 8 days, 8 hours and 14 minutes. We also talked about fast cars and, in some cases, even driving them. The tunes were dialed out. It was '90s night. I only recall recognizing Beck. I spent the bulk of the '90s in a library.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Maybe we should ride. It might be a bit tricky, though, on account of the kink that is preventing the Secretary's neck from turning to the right. We may have to find an oval. But at least it looks like the streak of rain-soaked TNR's will come to an end.

9:30 pm at my place.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Thursday Anticipation: Special Weekend Edition

We apologize for failing to keep up with the regular schedule. We have been busy planning races. But since we at the FGBC believe that thinking about what might happen is often more fun than the happenings themselves, we return with our weekly run down of what's coming up, even if it's a few days late. We will make up for our tardiness by serving up a long one. Make sure to read it all, boys and girls. This information is all very, very important. And, yes, it will be on the final exam. So grab yourself a hot cup of coffee or a cold bottle of beer and drink it all in.

This week, we dissect the 2011 Manitoba Racing Season, both on and off the grid.

The season can basically be divided into three parts.

The first part was essentially cancelled. It is probably best to just forget about it and move on. Thankfully, it is almost over. But there is one last opportunity to get your racing kicks in this weekend, thanks to our dear friends at the OCC. They share our conviction that cancelled races are geese. And so they've picked up the final cup race of the mtb season that was dropped by the Junkyard Dogs and moved it to Grand Beach. They have even prepared a poster. Because a race is not really a race if it does not have a poster.

You can find more details on that here.

The third part of the season is really the only one that ultimately matters. It is called cyclocross and it takes place in the fall. Last year's season was awesome. But we are confident that this year will make last year's look like an entirely uninspired effort. In particular, we have some big plans in store for Dark Cross, our race under the lights at the Red River Co-op Speedway. So big, in fact, that we have teamed up with our BFFs from RRR and the eloquent and persuasive cycling evangelist known as the Winnipeg Cycle Chick to help us bring it all together. The main ingredients of Dark Cross include four things that are dear to the Dark Side's collective heart: The sky will be clothed in darkness. There will be a beer garden. There will be energetic live music. And last but not least, there will be a kick-ass course on which to race. It will snake in and out of the dirt track oval, race past the beer garden, run up the grandstand and through the throng of screaming, cowbell shaking spectators, and rail the many sexy curves that the speedway has to offer. Look for a poster and a website coming soon.

Of course, Menno Cross will be back with another sweet flowing course and a second serving of faspa. Last year's race in the mud was a lot of fun. But we are hoping for dry weather this year, because that is a course that is really at its best when it can be ridden fast. There are plenty of other exciting races on the schedule as well. In fact, from top to bottom this year's season consists of one quality race after another. To keep up with all things related to the 2011 Manitoba Cyclocross season, or if you just need your daily dose of the Cricket, surf on over to Cyclocross Manitoba's virtual HQ.

The second part of the season, then, consists of the two big summer months that sit in between the first and third parts. Its primary purpose is really to provide us with an opportunity to get ready for cyclocross. The Dark side likes to approach this task with a two-pronged attack. So, like the Summa Theologiae of St Thomas Aquinas, the second part is itself divided into two parts. The first part of the second part, or the prima secunda, involves a series of really long races. We like to refer to it as Operación MUERTO. For the uninitiated, MUERTO stands for Manitoba Ultra-Endurance Racing (and Talking) Organization. It also means "dead" in Spanish. And, as if that weren't already enough, it rhymes with Operación Puerto. The three interwoven layers of meaning signal that it is an exceedingly serious endeavor. This notoriously demanding mission is dedicated to the task of cultivating an essential, if somewhat paradoxical, character trait of the successful cyclocross racer, namely the desire to keep riding hard even when things really start to suck. This year's calendar is full of opportunities that are guaranteed to hone this crucial skill.

It all starts next weekend with a race whose radness goes a long way toward inclining us forgive the cheesy pun that constitutes its name.

The Dark Side is planning to send a solid delegation to this one. We will be doing the 100 km version, of course.

Our primary contribution to Operación MUERTO is the 24 Hours of Falcon Ridge. We like to think of it as the Spring Ride, Part II. It is our opportunity to give back by sharing our patented approach to good times with those who fail to satisfy the stringent criteria (some call them testicles) for inclusion in the Spring Ride. It's less exclusive, but no less fun. Some say it's even more fun. Show up and you will see.

Online registration is now open. What are you waiting for?

We are also giving some thought to an off the grid contribution to Operación MUERTO in the form of a 100 mile gravel grinder through the Pembina Hills. Call it the Dark Side's Gran Fondo, if only because that's the trendy term of the moment. And we are nothing if not trend watchers. It may or may not happen. But if it does it will take place on the August long weekend at some point. Don't worry, we will let you know if the plans for this one find a way to come together.

The second part of the second part of the season--Thomas would call it the secunda secunda--helps to prepare us for cyclocross by providing an opportunity to get used to intense, lung-searing efforts on the grass. We call it grass track. And it comes complete with its very own cult of personality. Some know him as Gianni, but in July and August he takes the mantle of the Grass Track Czar. Then there is the Little Dicke. He is the reigning Provincial Grass Track Champion and is salivating at the opportunity to defend his title. Together with the Grass Track Czar, we are planning a series of three or four mid-week races. We are currently reviewing applications for potential host sites for both races and post-race festivities. Stay tuned for information.

Finally, it would be an egregious oversight to give the impression that racing is only about actually riding our bikes. We at the Dark Side are firmly committed to the value of vicarious racing. And the highlight of the vicarious racing season is coming up in the form of the 2012 FGBC Tour de France Pool. Rosters are just starting to trickle out onto the interwebs. Once they are all in, we will open the pool for business. That will probably happen sometime Wednesday or Thursday, with teams due early Saturday morning.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Socks Have Been Ordered

Thanks for playing meine sehr geehrten Damen und Herren. Don't worry if you didn't get back to me with a size - or with an order at all - I got a few extra of each.

I'll be back with details regarding payment and pick up in 4 to 6 weeks.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

TNR Report

The Summer of Brad has commenced. Make no mistake boys and girls, this is going to be one for the ages. We decided it was only right to kick it off with a bash the radness of which was matched only by the eponymous object of the season. There was no time to ride. And besides, it was raining again. For the third week in a row. We proceeded directly to the klubhaus to get on with the big celebration.

Never one to overlook the importance of dressing up for an occasion, the Impaler showed up in an outfit that paid homage to Kiera Knightley's portrayal of Celia Tallis and the deliciously elegant dress she wore in Atonement:

The Friendly Giant showed up for the party as well. That was a pleasant surprise, especially given the way he looked the last time we saw him. But mostly, we were interested in checking out his handmade wooden fenders.

The inaugural ride of the SOB did not unfold without incident. Upon his arrival at the F&H, the Impaler was greeted with a flat tyre.

That sucked. But not nearly as much as it would have sucked if the little punk in the car that almost sideswiped KK had actually sideswiped him. As it was, there was no physical encounter. But a few harsh words were exchanged. KK made his point clear.

The evening passed quickly. The mood was light and jovial, despite some unchecked aggression in the form of the slo-pitch team that was sitting at our table. We distracted ourselves with talk of the how Brad is going to win the Butter Belt, the SOB website, Liz Hatch, the 24 Hours of Falcon Ridge, Jägermeister, the Big Lebowski, car trips and vintage motorcycles, the Secretary's and President's unresolved tension, dentists and vasectomies, and a random assortment of other things that all somehow related to the Impaler in one fashion or another.

And then all of a sudden it was after 1am and time to go home. It took a while for the Impaler to find his way back into his party dress, so it all ended a little later than usual once again.

But in the end it all concluded perfectly. It is not often that an evening unfolds in such a way that the beginning and the end come together in such a flawlessly formed circle.

Further to KK's post about Arvid

Somehow "awesome" seems insufficiently superlative. Where is Howard when you need him? Needless to say, we will be following along closely as Arvid tries to ride coast to coast in 13 days.

There are at least three things to be thinking about:

1) Show up to Bikes and Beyond tomorrow at 11 am for the official launch. Invite your friends. More is better.

2) We hope to ride along with Arvid for a while as he gets close to Winnipeg. Even if it's in the middle of the night. Stay tuned for more info.

3) I suspect donations would also be appreciated. See the website for more on that score.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sock Final and sizes

Cycle Chick worked her usual magic, Sock Guy accommodated as best as he could and there it is: the official FGBC wool sock.

I'm going to use this post to try and get final numbers and sizes from everyone - a tall order I know, but we've done it successfully before.

Sock Guy does two sizes S/M (9 mens and below) & L/XL (9.5 and up), so that shouldn't be too hard. Final price is $10 a pair.


Dark Lord - 10 (5 S/M + 5 L/XL)
Halfrican - 3 L/XL
Hipster - 2
Dallas - 5 S/M
JP - 10 (7 L/XL + 3 S/M)
Adam - 10 15 (10 L/XL + 5 S/M)
Brad - 5 L/XL
Commander Tom - 2 L/XL
Co2Cycle - 2 L/XL (+ A Bull City Whip-around)
Tenacious V - 5 L/XL
Lyle - 1 2 L/XL
Cricket - 3
Greg S - 3 L/XL
Luke - 2
Cycle Chick - 3 S/M (Side of Sauce)
Colin - 2 L/XL
KK - 2
Thomas - 2 3 L/XL
Ryan - 5 L/XL
Johnny G - 5 L/XL
Secretary - 10 11 L/XL
Paddy - 10 (3 S/M + 7 L/XL)
Tony - 5 L/XL
Kim - 2 S/M
Tinker Tom - 2 L/XL
Juan E - 4 L/XL
Halberto - 2 L/XL
Mike - 2 L/XL
J.S. - 2 L/XL

Last time I added all that up it came to 113 now 128 pairs. We're ordering a bunch more than that.

TNR is Cancelled

Tonight's TNR is cancelled. There will be no ride. There will be no good times. It is too wet out there. It's not dark enough these days either. And besides, organizing stuff is work. And we'd just as soon not do it. Maybe if we're lucky someone else will pick it up.

Just kidding. We will ride. Just like we always do. Even if it's just me and Jonny G. Or the Cricket and the Impaler like it was so many times in the winter of 2009. And we will have good times. It is the first day of summer, so we will officially launch the Summer of Brad.

9:30 pm at my place.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


First of all, we would like to raise a pint of FGD to Cousin Adam and Red River Mike. One of the reasons the FGBC and RRR are BFFs is that we are entirely agreed upon the centrality of three key principles: (1) if you are going to organize a race, do it right; (2) cancelled races are geese; (3) same day results are the opposite of geese. Using these three principles as a baseline, Adam and Mike turned it up to 11 last night, demonstrating just how awesome a Wednesday Night Race can be. They would have turned it all the way up to 12 if Adam had brought enough dogs. But who knew there would be 14 teams on hand, not to mention a group of very hungry 9 year olds? Next year.

Speaking of next year, maybe next year the President and the Secretary will show up. And maybe Juan Eppstein will show up to fry some chips in his disco. How sweet would that be?

As for the racing portion of the festivities, everything was unfolding swimmingly until the Friendly Giant took a tumble. It is a long way to fall from way up there on his tall bike. And he fell hard. So hard, in fact, that the folks at the start/finish area said they could feel the ground shake. Seeing him lying in the ditch with Tom K bracing his neck was not exactly an encouraging sight. But happily, by the time we came around to the finish he was smiling. Aside from some road rash, he is more or less okay. His helmet did its job and is now trashed. And as for Vic's jersey, we can place another order for the Sweetest Jersey in the World at any time.

Lyle and Co. easily took the award for best (or is it worst?) trial. The poosher and his fattt tttyred friends were deemed the best team, narrowly edging out Gianni's cx themed outfit, the Mud Ripperz. As for the fastest team, let's just say the twelve year olds are no longer twelve. That is good in the sense that it makes losing to them slightly less embarrassing. But it is bad in the sense that they are even faster than they were when we were first introduced to them as the punks who beat up on Cousin Adam in the Cat 5 crits. Those kids were smoking. Good work boys. We hope you can agree on a plan for how to share that Backstreet Boys poster.

Token photos:

TTT Results

Results from tonight's race are now available here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

TNR Report

Thanks to an errant U-Haul truck, Jonny G and I were very nearly finished off before we could attend to the unfinished business over at the Secretary's place. But utilizing our superior bike handling skills, we managed to swerve out of harms way. That is good. Because last night's gathering was a sweet one. The unfinished business was finished in a hurry. So much so that the Secretary had to go out and find some more. Which was itself adroitly finished in due time.

The President was there. It helped that he could walk over. The imposing two humped beast known as the Disraeli Bridge has proven to be a formidable mental barrier for our beloved leader as of late. It also helped that the Presidential Hammock was on hand to provide him with a fitting platform from which to serve up his customary nuggets of wisdom.

We finalized the plans for the Highlight of the MCA Road Season otherwise known as the FGBC/RRR TTT. The Assistant Commissaire alluded to a Suspicion Index that may be invoked before the start. But he refused to name any names or to identify any particular suspected transgressions. He can be stubborn that way. We are confident, however, that tonight's festivities will be awesome and go off without a hitch. Or a Hatch, depending on which of the Impaler's gendered sides shows up. There is, after all, a dogfest on the menu. Between the two clubs, we have managed to assemble five teams:

FGBC #1: Cousin Adam, The Cricket, Jonny G, The Dark Lord
FGBC #2: JP, The Hipster, The Giant. So far they are but a threesome. But if they manage to find a fourth, look out for these guys.
FGBC #3: The Fraggle, The Mennonite Lady, Dr. John, and possibly Birch Bill
The Junior Dark Side: Little M, The J-Train, Gentle Ben, Ox

RRR will counter with KK, Red River Mike, Little Deuce Coupe, and hopefully Dr. Ry-No-Mite.

We trust others have been similarly diligent in assembling their squads. The rumour mill is spinning madly with talk of an all Pugsley unit, a cx themed squad, the Cycle Chick and her boyfriends, a gaggle of kids from the provincial team, and hopefully some other teams we are not yet aware of. Feel free to submit your teams and rosters in the comments below. For the Dark Side, the pre-race banter is often the highlight of the race.

Once we got all of that sorted out, the Secretary proceeded to close out the evening by treating us to a spontaneous knot tying clinic.

Without the threat of closing time at the F&H looming over our heads, we weren't exactly sure when to leave. But since it was the night before a big race, we made sure to get home early for some appropriate rest. Safely into bed before 2am.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Yes, we are still here. We have been busy honing our skills in preparation for tomorrow's big TTT. The Cricket and I reacquainted ourselves with our aero-bars by racing the River Road ITT on Saturday, where the Cricket was mistakenly referred to as the Mosquito. After that, we decamped to Garbage Hill for some last-minute altitude training. It looks like we are all set. We plan to enter three teams, as well as a team representing the Junior Dark Side.

We will finalize all the details at tonight's TNR, where we also have some unfinished business to attend to.

9:30 pm at my place.

The NK chapter may elect to convene at the Secretary's place. But if the business is finished before we arrive, there will be hell to pay.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Thursday Anticipation

There is only one thing we want to talk about this week, namely this:

Cousin Adam and Red River Mike are co-directing this one. The details have now been posted, so surf on over to the official race website to see all the radness they have in store for us. The raddest of the rad is that it will be supremely beginner-friendly, with 1, 2, and 3 lap options. How sweet will it be to participate alongside the kids? Little M and the J-Train are working on putting together a team. Hopefully they will have some competition. Did we also mention that kids race for free?

If you are having trouble coming up with a team, please let us know. We might be able to help out.

For those who want a little practice before the big event, there is an ITT on Saturday. Many like to refer to ITTs the race of truth. But that's not quite right, since, as Colonel Jessup so eloquently explains, facing the truth is really a team discipline. Truthful or not, I am hoping to be there. It would be nice to have others from the FGBC and RRR along to share the humiliation.

To anticipate how things are likely to go for the Dark Side next Wednesday, we thought it might be appropriate to pay homage to some of the worst TTT performances of all time. The gold standard is the 7-Eleven disaster from the 1986 TdF. It all starts to go south at around the 3:18 mark.

A close second is the TTT ditch ride by Bouygues Telecom in the 2009 TdF:

And perhaps most painfully, there is Dave Zabriskie in the 2005 TdF channeling his inner Alex Stieda to remind us what not to do in a TTT while wearing the yellow jersey.

For a more hopeful account of how things might go, watch this one:

Thank-you John Tesh.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

TNR Report

There is unfinished business. And it will remain unfinished until next Tuesday, when the Secretary resumes his association with us. But we found a good way to cope with the unexpected delay. It is called Smokes. It met our expectations. Maybe it even exceeded them, thanks to tunes that easily surpassed the pathetic offering the F&H served up last night. And stickers.

We will be back there. We discussed a couple of ways to work their poutine into a race of some sort. But it will take a few more reconnaissance trips before we can finalize anything on that front. Look for something a little later on in the summer. This event will be tailored especially for the Summer of Brad.

For now, all of our limited attention is focused squarely on next week's TTT. Mike G showed up to join Cousin Adam in chairing a meeting to finalize the details of that one. It is the Dark Side's first foray into organizing a road race. RRR's too, for that matter. We will let Adam and Mike explain all the big ideas they have come up with. But it is safe to say that things are coming together nicely. There were even rumours of a post-race dogfest. Consult the official race website for more information. Adam promised there would be something up in the next day or two. Unlike his commitment to the Spring Ride, he is taking this assignment very seriously.

It looks like the Dark Side will field two or three teams. RRR is stretched for bodies at the moment. They claim their waistlines are a bit stretched too. Nevertheless, they are committed to coming up with a team. If you are reading this, we trust you are merely taking a break from the hard work of putting together your own team(s) as well. Let us know if you have any questions.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011


Maybe we should ride some bikes.

9:30 pm at my place.

Cousin Adam says there will be a planning meeting for the TTT at the klubhaus. If you have any good ideas, bring them with you.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Because every race needs an official website...

Stay up to date with all things time trial here. Details will continue to be posted, but feel free to start trash talking, running the odds, or placing bets now.

Forget the Jets

Skynyrd is coming to town. The Dark Side should really be in attendance. But only Gary Rossington is left. We will discuss this perplexing dilemma at the klubhaus on Tuesday night.

The Lethbridge Chapter

. . . is now fully kitted. He prefers to combine his new shorts with the original SJITW. But the most important thing is that he is still kicking ass. Read about his exploits here.

Green tea? Who knew?

We can't wait for July to cheer him on as he attempts to defend his solo title at the 24 Hours of Falcon Ridge.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Further on the socks...

I understand that an eps/ai expert most of us secretly crush on (oops!) is having at miniaturizing the bottle cap logo for inclusion on a wool sock. Yes folks, the clan has spoken and they've said baaaaaa.

So - here's where we find ourselves: 70 pairs have been spoken for (N.B. I haven't counted Dallas' "All over" and the Cricket's "A few" and would be relieved of a terrible burden to have those expressions of interest numerated).

We're being aggressively courted by SockGuy and their 120 pair minimum. I have no experience of SockGuy wool, but have and like a couple of pairs of their standard-issue socks. If anyone can speak to SockGuy wool, now is the time.

I have and am smitten with DeFeet wool. Their minimum order is 144 pairs. I don't know that I love them that much.

Again - I think we're in the neighbourhood of $10 a pair on these.

What say you folks?

Thursday Anticipation

The TTT is just under two weeks away. Have you got your team assembled yet? It is definitely not too early to be thinking about that. And in case anyone is wondering, no this race will NOT be cancelled.

Also not cancelled (after all) is this weekend's mtb race at Falcon Lake. Big thanks to Dylan and Paul for stepping up and making sure it happened. Or were thay just looking for an excuse to crash the Spring Ride? Either way, it looks like they have come up with something good. And it was nice to have them join us under the tarp. See the official race website for more info. Every race needs an official website.

With all this talk of cancellations swirling about, the Dark Side would like to make a simple request. If you sign up to organize a race, please think long and hard before you decide to cancel it. Cancelled races are geese. Some might even call them bullshit. Without pointing fingers in any specific direction, our humble collective is of the opinion that the number of cancellations so far this season is simply unforgivable. Thank you for your consideration.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

TNR Report

Straight to the klubhaus, where the bulk of the time was spent debriefing the Spring Ride, talking about the Jets, and catching up with the Bluffton chapter.

The mood was light and breezy. It seemed like we were heading for a perfect night. Until Brad the Impaler lost it when someone--I think it was the Cricket--misquoted a line from the Big Lebowski. Brad shot out of his chair, stood up and gesticulated wildly while mumbling something vaguely reminiscent of "across this line you DO NOT . . . ." After which he started screaming "Thor Smash!" and proceeded to smash all the glasses he could get his hands on. Or at least the empty ones. It was all a bit frightening.

It was also a good reminder of the wisdom of our plan to remain firmly on his good side. We love the Original Hipster.