Monday, April 30, 2012

G's ride/race report

When the whistle blew, I felt somewhat better than originally anticipated. Working on setting up the course, getting up too early, fighting off some sort of stomach ailment, and hanging out with non-racing lamers does not really get you feelin' race ready. I tried to stick with Tinker Link. He rode most of the race in third place. Turns out that Tinker folk are better technical riders than I. I would have thought that my skills would have improved with all the single track I have ridden over the past week. I guess riding at the KOM seven year old pace is not COMP. I did ride cleaner than usual though, cleaning both rock gardens at some point during the race. I did not however clean the 1st Rock Garden in my last lap which turned out to be my undoing. I was on the wheel of 2nd and 3rd place going in but boffed it at the very bottom. After running up, it took me three tries to get going again. That was the last time I saw those guys. Fort Garry Fourth is exactly what I was...I guess. Post race food was great. It was great to see a lot of old friends again. Thanks again to Olympia Club for hosting the good times.

Recon Ride Report [Updated]

The gravel is all there.  And then some.

Mark, Chris Yorke and I rode the route on a less than ideal day.  Ideally, the wind would not be gusting out of the south at 40-plus kph.  We opted for the whole route, about 110 km.  We are not sure it was the wisest decision.  But at least we know that it is there, it is navigable, and it is sweet.  It is also now Hipster-approved.

We did it on 2 cross bikes and a road bike (with 28c tires, though).  23c slicks may not be advisable due to the deep, fresh gravel on some of the secteurs gravé, as I'm calling them.  28 was okay, but don't try changing wheeltracks too often.  A file-tread cross tire might be the best compromise, but bear in mind that the last 30k or so are uninterrupted asphalt.

Important details coming soon here.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Dark Side Does Grand Beach

Some refer to him as the Awesome One. That is because he is, well, awesome. In case there was any doubt about the appropriateness of that description, Graham put the matter to rest once and for all at today's race. If ever there is a jersey that has the chance to match the sweetness of the Sweetest Jersey in the World, this may well be it.

Juan Eppstein showed up for his first ever mtb race. And he brought the Junior Dark Side along with him.

The Finnish Funkmaster was not quite as resourceful as the Awesome One. But he was there, along with JP, to show the Elite field what Darkness tastes like.

Others were there as well. Some of them even raced. Best to let the racers speak for themselves.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Gravel Recon

We have to make sure the gravel is actually there.
If you're not planning on racing on Sunday (not to discourage anyone, of course), there will be a ride to reconnoiter and confirm the route for next weekend.  We don't necessarily have to ride the whole thing, and this will definitely NOT be a race-pace ride.
Sunday morning, leaving my place at 8:30, or Starbuck's on Henderson at 8:45 for pre-ride caffeine.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Ridee ride

Anyone interested in a ride tomorrow morning?  10, 11 am meet at Omand's Park.  Ian's headed to Grand Beach and is looking for company for the beginning of his ride.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thursday Anticipation

Do we still race mtbs? Who is racing this weekend?

Ass. Forest on Fire?

Or at least, there is a rather ominous looking cloud of smoke rising from it. Let's hope they can get it under control.

About a Boy

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

TNR Report

Something strange happened. The Secretary showed up on a bike. He had to close his eyes and think real hard about when it was that this happened last. In the end, he could not remember. But after the ride, he declared himself fit for the Spring Ride.

Bill said he wanted to ride hard. We said we would oblige.

Juan Eppstein was feeling introspective. Or perhaps he was just visualizing his first ever mtb race at Grand Beach this weekend.

We did not let Bill down. The pace was high. High for a Tuesday night, at least. We tested a potential road race circuit. It passed with flying colours. Expect to ride it again soon when we launch the new Dark Side Nocturne Series sometime in the next little while. Some did not make it to the end, electing to duck out to the klubhaus instead. That is never a bad call. We filled up the whole table in a final big push to break our previous record in "The Book." We should probably remember to ask for a count sometime in the next few weeks, what with the Spring Ride being less than a month away. Lyle needs to find a mountain bike. Cousin Adam talked up his forthcoming gravel road race. He was also generally enthused about cultivating more darkness on the local road scene. It might happen. Unless the dates for races keep changing to weekends that don't suit. The tunes were interesting. Lisa kept us guessing for a while. But toward the end of the night the Sex Pistols graced the HiFi for what may well be the first time ever. It was just like being in grade five all over again. Pretty Vacant. Good times.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


9:30 pm at the Death Star (aka my place).

Monday, April 23, 2012

Weekend Race Report

There was a (road) stage race this weekend at Bird's Hill Park.  I only managed to get there for the road race on Sunday morning.  8am is very early to be starting a road race.  Some might even dismiss it as highly immoderate.  But in a strange way it was nice to be up early, and the East Beach parking lot was bustling with excitement.  The upside to the early start is that you race 2 and a half hours, and you're still done before noon, which was rather nice.
Anyway, the cat 3s, 4s, and 5s started at pretty much the same time, so the cat 5 race was over before mine was and I can't tell you what happened there.  The cat 3s were a smaller group, and they came in in ones and twos after 9 laps around the big loop.  I am similarly unaware of the dynamics in that race.  But in the cat 4 race (aka The only race that matters to 99% of the FGBC road squad), there was little drama.
The early part of the race was marked by the extreme cold.  It was clear and sunny, for the most part, so relief was on the horizon, but wardrobe selection was crucial.  We went around the park a few times.  You know how on our road rides, everybody takes a turn on the front, and if yours wasn't as long or as fast as someone else's, you feel a bit guilty and resolve to pull your own weight more?  Yeah, that doesn't happen in these races.  A couple times I glanced at the computer as I came into the second spot from the front, noted the speed, and then tried to pull at the same pace for a minute or so once I got to the front, and I found myself having slowly ridden away from the pack, who seemed unconcerned about a lone breakaway.  The few attacks that were launched were always marked, reeled in, and then the brakes would come on.
After about 4 or 5 laps, the jackets came off, but not the gloves.  And so the fully intact peloton rolled toward the final uphill, everyone jockeying for position for the field sprint.  I managed to stay near the front, grabbed somebody's wheel when they went, but couldn't come around.
The tactics obviously need work, but it was a good time.  It will be even better with teammates, next time. 

Andy, King of the Ardennes

Not to mention King of the 2012 FGBC Spring Classics Pool. In the end, Andy swept the final three races to win by almost 1000 points. Congratulations Andy! Do you have a favourite Belgian beer?

Congratulations also to Troy. Second place in your vicarious racing debut is nothing to feel ashamed about. We hope you will be back to give the King another run for his money.

Full results and overall standings here.

Thanks for playing boys and girls. That was fun.

We will do it all again for the 2012 FGBC Giro d'Italia Pool. That starts on May 5. The pool will be launched some time the week before. We need to wait until the start list has been finalized. Check back early and often to make sure you don't miss out.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Afternoon Ride Report

The Sunday afternoon ride was a success, with eight of us riding out to Lockport, then Selkirk and back home.

The ride started at a comfortable pace, until Johnny strung us out on a windy road halfway to Lockport, fracturing the group in two.

We stopped in Lockport to regroup and decide how far to go. A leisurely ride out to Selkirk was agreed on. It did not turn out to be so leisurely. I'm pretty sure I'm more sore than after the gravel grinder.

On the way back there were some close calls with a malfunctioning tire, but really the highlight of the Selkirk section was pulling back into Lockport on the way back and finding that Josh had turned around to eat fries and ice cream until we were on the way home. No reason to be embarrassed, I think we were all jealous we didn't think of that first.

In the end we rode around 60-80km, depending if you started downtown or in North Kildonan. Good times were had, lets do it again.

Randonee,  gravel grinder,  Rundfahrt, whatever.  A good time by any other name would be as sweet.  Just over 100k, on an alternating pavement and gravel route, starting and finishing at  the Secretary's place in NK.  Post race dogfest to follow.  We'll have more details for you closer to the date.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

It's going to be nice out tomorrow, so we should probably ride. I'm thinking Lockport and back. Maybe even Selkirk?

I'll be leaving my place at 2pm (29 Arbuthnot Street, off Corydon), then head to North Kildonan where my Dad will join us (158 Grandview St). If you'd like to join, you can meet up at either of those places. I'm guessing we will be in North Kildonan around 2:30 or so.

If you're planning on coming, please let me know so we wait for everyone to show up before leaving.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Wednesday Night Darkness

There wasn't exactly a Dark Horde at the first Wednesday Night Race of the season. But two of the newest members of the Dark Side were there. Anna beat Graham by 23 seconds. Maybe some of the rest of us will show up at the next one?

TNR Report

Cold and rainy is geese. We went straight to the klubhaus. Sometimes the best thing to do on a Tuesday Night Ride is not ride.

Jonny G spilled darkness all over himself. Such a slob.

We asked Cousin Adam to show us his road rash. It is not that bad. But he is still having his lawyer look over the waiver.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Vicarious Fleche Wallone

Troy's Ardennes stud, J-Rod, won the real race. But for the second race in a row, Andy won the vicarious one. Jelle Vanendert has become quite the revelation. He picked up another 250 points today. Nibali chipped in with 150. And Frank Schleck overcame an unfortunate late race puncture to pick up 55 points for the King. That gave Andy 455 points to Troy's 350. It also gave Andy a lead of 425 points heading into the final race of the season. But it's another monument, so Troy still has a chance to post some big numbers. JP finished second today, with 435 points. And Prince Dan finally found the podium. He had 425 points.

Full results and overall standings here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


My place at 9:30 pm. Rain or shine.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Vicarious Amstel Gold

That did not exactly play out as expected. A lot of the big favourites fizzled, including Troy's highly regarded tandem of J-Rod and Gerrans. King Andy won the race. But it was not because of his Ardennes guys so much as Jelle Vanendert, who finished second to Enrico Gasparotto. Gasparotto appears on exactly zero teams in the 2012 FGBC Spring Classics Pool. Andy had 395 points on the day and now has a 320 point lead on Troy with just two races to go. The Halfrican, the Tenor, and I finished in a three way tie for second. The Halfrican is now just 20 points back of Troy's second place overall and is arguably within striking distance of King Andy as well. But it doesn't help him that Sagan won't be participating in any more spring races. And if Vic is not careful, he will catch Ali and end up not finishing last.

Full results and overall standings here.

Back at it on Wednesday at Fleche Wallone.

FGBC cowbell!!

It may not be the prettiest cowbell but, it is the loudest and it has the new FGBC logo on it.  Get your orders in soon 'cause cross season is fast approaching.  $15

Rated RRR Report

Well, that was fun. Thanks to Brad, Mike, KK, and anyone else who helped make it happen. Let's do it again in about a year from now. The Sweetest Jersey in the World was out in full force. So dark. So beautiful.

But it only seemed fitting to let RRR take the lead for the first few kms.

After that, the race was on. Cousin Adam crashed. KK flatted. And the Cricket got a little bit of gravelly mud splattered on his jersey.

But Terry took home the hardware in the form of a RRRock and a hand-me-down ABES glass full of Scrapperrr. Not to mention a big smooch from the bearded podium girrrl.

Happily, the rain stopped and the temperature soared just in time for a dogfest. It doesn't really get much better than that.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Are you invited?

I am. And so is the rest of the Dark Side. It feels like we're back in junior high again. Only this time we are actually on the receiving end of the invitation to the bestest party of the year. Only two more sleeps! But how are we supposed to sleep with this sort of excitement on the horizon? It could be a sleepy pace on Saturday.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

TNR Report

No cars were crushed. Nor were any pedestrians chased. But poutine was consumed. Lots of it. And yes, it was awesome. Jonny G and I shared a Montreal themed order, with smoked meat, pickles, and mustard. It rated at least a two on the Epic Lindsay Scale.

The Impaler was intoxicated by the goodness of his serving as well.

The Secretary did indeed show up at the klubhaus. He did not assault any bikes. That was nice. But he did drop a bombshell that will no doubt take more than a little bit of time to digest: the President is unlikely to make it to the Spring Ride!!

The tunes sucked. But some how Jonny G knew them all. Weird.

Troy, Sacked?

The King fired his first warning shot a few weeks back. "Troy must pay," he growled, teeth gritted and brow furled. At the Tour of Flanders, he confirmed that he wasn't joking around. And today, he finally realized his objective. King Andy is now looking down on Troy from atop the Overall Standings. He's smiling that smile of his we all know and love. But it's not over yet. Who will have the last laugh? Troy is only 40 points off the pace. Buckle up your seat belts, boys and girls. With three more races left in the 2012 FGBC Spring Classics Pool, this battle could get entertaining. Andy is counting on Frank Schleck and Vincenzo Nibali for the Ardennes. He could get some decent points from Van Avermaet, who had a top five finish today. Jelle Vanendert (7th today) and Lloyd Mondory could contribute some points as well. Troy counters with Joachim Rodriguez, arguably the best of the Ardennes guys, and Milan-San Remo winner, Simon Gerrans. Haussler, Bak, Visconti, and Duque are his dark horses.

Andy did not win the race today. Anna did. The Dark Side's latest recruit will be counted on for some high finishes in fall. But she gave us a taste of what she has to offer today with 415 points and her first vicarious racing win. Andy was second with 400 points. Joe and Steve tied for third place. They each had 350 points.

Many laid goose eggs today. But Vic was not among them. Gilbert finished 12th today. And so Vic and all the others who were tempted by last year's show of domination picked up 95 points for that effort. It's not quite what they hoped for. But it's better than the string of crappy results he's had so far this season.

Full results and overall standings here.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Has it occurred to anyone else that last week's incident with the Big Frame's bike might actually be part of a sinister plan by the Secretary to get everyone participating in his routine of "checking on the bikes?" It hardly needs to be stated that he thrives on the application of social pressure. But we will state it anyway, because the obvious is sometimes the hardest thing to see, just like that pole that used to reside in the middle of the Omand's Creek bridge. Once again, the Secretary will be absent tonight. Or will he be?

Either way, we will forget about that for a while by riding around, crushing cars and chasing pedestrians. And maybe enjoying some poutine. But once we get to the klubhaus, it might be wise to give some thought to the question of security.

9:30 pm at my place.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Vicarious Hell

Tom Beans is back, winning the Hell of the North for a fourth time. Winning from 50 km out is impressive. It was like he was trying to show us he is as good as my boyfriend. Too bad my boyfriend wasn't there so that we could have witnessed the comparison between the two cobbled classics studs first-hand. In any case, all of us who didn't have the wisdom to pick Beans for the 2012 FGBC Spring Classics Pool are no doubt black and blue from kicking ourselves by now.

Kim had the best showing in the Pool. With contributions from Boonen, Flecha, and Boom, she got 1250 points. Mike H, who has been in Belgium checking in on his team, finished second. He had 1030 points. And Bill rounded out the podium with a 975 point day.

Troy is back atop the overall standings. He leads Pete by 275 points. I am in third overall, another 75 points back. But King Andy is lurking. He's just 10 points behind me and ready to pounce. Kim is also within striking distance of the podium. She's just 50 points back of the King.

Full results and overall standings here.

The Brabantse Pijl is on deck this Wednesday. And then we head to the Ardennes region where the skinny little climbers will come out to play.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

next steps for barn cross

I like the banked corners quite a bit...

Friday, April 06, 2012

Paris Roubaix viewing at Parlour Coffee

This Sunday! Tell your friends!

Awesome Friday

Four of us met to get a ride in on what looks to be the best day of the weekend, weather-wise - Jonny G, Cousin Thomas, the Cricket and I.

We rode north, stopping to regroup at the Half Moon in Lockport. Cousin Thomas immediately started chatting up the ladies.

"So, umm... do you guys know Brad Enns?"


It was a sweet afternoon, but it would have been even sweeter with more of you along. Jonny has plans to get you all out. They may involve beer.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Thursday Anticipation [Updated]

The forecast calls for good times:

1) Friday Road Ride - departing from my place Cousin Adam's place (23 Greene Ave.) at 1pm.

2) Paris - Roubaix viewing party at Parlour Coffee - Sunday at 7:30 am.

3) Story time with Arvid - next Tuesday night at the Secretary's place. Postponed. The Secretary is busy.

It is a full schedule. But there should still be some time to get caught up to date with Duck Dynasty.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

TNR Report

I had a dream last night that my bike was assaulted. It was very sad. Then I woke up and realized it was all a bad dream. At which point I was much less sad. Maybe even a little bit happy. But just a little bit.

Sadly, the same cannot be said for Lyle. The Big Frame's big frame was, in fact, assaulted last night while we were enjoying some confabulatory goodness inside the klubhaus. It was very nearly stolen too. But it seems the would-be thief was thwarted by the presence of a second lock and beat the crap out of the bike instead of riding away with a new bike that would no doubt have been way too large. Needless to say, that was not how we were hoping to end off the evening.

It was not the only strange thing to happen last night. For the second time in a couple of months, we were presented with the opportunity to do some sexy things--this time by some strangers standing atop the bridge under which we had stopped. We politely declined. All we wanted was to avoid riding through the mud.

Things started off well enough. After all, Jonny G and the Impaler were there.

We checked out the new rapid transit corridor. The tunnel was kind of fun. But the whole thing is rather short.

It is finished

Vic's streak, that is. Chris Sutton finished 15th in the Sheldeprijs Vlaanderen today, netting the Tenor 80 points. So the benchmark for vicarious futility stands at 14 consecutive races.

Chris O had 475 points to win the race. Andrea finished second with 355 points. Bill and Pete had to share the final podium step. They had 300 points each. This moves the Halfrican ahead of King Andy and into third place overall.

Full results and overall standings here.

Paris-Roubaix is up next. That is very exciting. But not quite as exciting as it would be if my boyfriend were racing.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012


Yes, we will ride. Somewhere.

9:30 pm at my place.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Sweetest Wool in the World - Washing Experiences

For those who have been using their jerseys in unfavorable weather, take note of the BF's washing tips to make sure you don't have any unexpected surprises:


I washed my jersey with room temperature water yesterday and it shrunk,...a little. Nothing to be alarmed about but, if people don't want it to shrink they should probably use ice cold water. I wanted to shrink mine a little because it wasn't snug enough, now it is perfect!


Duly noted.

The King is Back

King Andy won the Vicarious Tour of Flanders. With contributions from Boonen, Van Avermaet, and Leukemans, he bagged 1080 points yesterday. This was his first win in the 2012 FGBC Spring Classics Pool and signals the seriousness with which he is approaching the task of defeating the loudmouth rookie, Troy. The Halfrican finished second. He had 875 points. Joe was third with 750 points.

Troy is no longer leading the pool. I now have a slim 40 point lead over him. King Andy is in third place, 400 points from the lead, with Pete and Jonah rounding out the top 5.

And yes, Vic still has not scored a single point. That is now 14 races in a row.

In the real race, my boyfriend had a very bad day. Gilbert still sucks. And the so-called God of Thunder continues to strike fear in the hearts of absolutely no one.

Full results and overall standings here.

Up next: The Sheldeprijs Vlaanderen on Wednesday.