Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Ever wonder what it would be like to ride one of the legendary cyclocross courses in Belgium? This ride through the Koppenbergcross course gives you a good sense of what it might be like. In a word, nasty. Cobbles, mud, a hilly and bumpy cow pasture, and a killer switchback descent.

Check it out below. And don't forget to watch tomorrow morning if you are able. Check for live streaming options.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Last dogfest of the season

TNR is at the Impaler's tonight. He is providing the fire and bad jokes only. Bring everything else.

Train departs the usual station at 9:30 sharp...


(photo: Mark Reimer)
JP came close again. But Willem spoiled it. Stupid Willem. Stupid punk-ass kids in general. Hot Legs Dave looked like a winner early on. But then he rolled a tyre about half-way through the first lap. That was not at all how we planned for it to go. Anna, on the other hand, made it a clean sweep of the season, winning her seventh consecutive race. Then again, she's basically a punk-ass kid herself. At least compared to the rest of us, who are merely stupid and punk-assed. So it serves her right that she lost to Brad. The Hipster had a good day. He finished third in the Mens Cat 3 Race. And Mike won the hearts of all the children in attendance with his inspired rendition of Thomas the Tank Engine.

Full results and links to more photos than you could possibly want to see can be found right here.

After seven consecutive weekends of racing, it will be nice to have a break from the racing routine this weekend. But at the same time, the eight week wait until the final cx race of the season feels a bit like a cruel joke right now. But we will make do. Olli has a plan for this weekend. And there may have to be a throwdown or two in the next couple of months. Not to mention a little something we call Nordic Cross.

CX Pool Weekend Roundup

Anna swept the two races in Colorado and Darryl won the mudfest in Plzen. JP continues to stand atop the overall standings. But Anna has narrowed the gap to 110 points. Peter has moved into third overall. But he is  over 400 points behind Anna. It looks like it might be shaping up to be a two horse race.

Full results and overall standings here.

The next race is the Koppenbergcross on Thursday. With rain in the forecast, it promises to be a good one.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

What KK Said

Click here. No, here. Maybe here.

See you in the morning, Roosters and other CX-loving creatures.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Mud, Snow, and Cyclocross

Was anybody else super excited to wake up and see the white blanket of snow covering the ground this morning? If Molly Hurford's recent (and very awesome) book is to be believed, mud, snow, and cyclocross are the three main ingredients in a recipe for grassroots sports that's taking North America by storm these days. So we should count ourselves very lucky that this weekend's big cyclocross party looks set to take place against the backdrop of these perfect conditions. Seriously! Molly wrote a whole book about it. How can you not be quivering with excitement?

And if that wasn't already enough, there will be three additional ingredients that will be added to take what is already awesome and make it even awesomer:

1) Costumes! Cousin Thomas's bear suit, the Cricket's fairy wings, and Lindsay's ode to the Great Pumpkin. These are the things that make for good great times.

2) Tunes! Every party needs good tunes. We are very excited that DJ Ryan and friends will be on hand to spin tunes for us.

3) Last but not least, Winnipeg's answer to the legendary Richard Fries will be there as well. Steve Scoles will be working his usual narrative magic to tie all the drama together just as the rug did for the Dude's living room.

If you are not already registered, stop everything and click on this link right now. You don't want to live with the regret you will feel for the next 12 months if you miss this one.

And if you haven't already done so, make sure to buy Molly's book and read it.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Camp Cross

camp/kamp/adjective [origin unknown]. Ostentatious, exaggerated, affected, theatrical.
camp/kamp/verb. Do or behave in a camp manner.
Lest anybody remain confused, last year's relocation of RRR's Halloween-themed race from Harbourview to Camp Assiniboia is far more appropriate than it might seem at first blush. Camp is not just a place where one might bed down for the night. It is also an aesthetic, a style. So camp it up, boys and girls. This is not supposed to be like other cx races.

You could do worse than to let Susan Sontag, the so-called "Dark Lady of American Letters," be your guide. "The whole point of Camp," she says, "is to dethrone the serious. Camp is playful, anti-serious. More precisely, Camp involves a new, more complex relation to the serious. One can be serious about the frivolous, frivolous about the serious."

Cyclocross racing is already almost too much fun. So it is hard to imagine how much more fun this weekend is going to be.

Details, if you need them, can be found here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

DarkCross, Dutch Style

They raced in the dark last night in Woerden, in the Netherlands. Prince Dan won the vicarious race, with 290 points thanks to Dieter Vanthourenhout, Sanne Cant, and Ellen Van Loy. Little M was second with 195 points. And I had 190 points to finish third.

JP still sits atop the overall standings. He has 2270 points. Anna has moved ahead of Ali and into second place. She has 2065 points. Ali has 2040.

Full results and overall standings here.

No wonder he is so skinny

The Hipster, he really gets around.

See what he's been up to on his new website.

Provincials results are up


Three Golds, three Silvers, and two Bronze medals for the Dark Side. Good work boys and girls.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

CX Pool Update--Corrected

[Update: 7:17pm] One little typo and all hell breaks loose. Somehow we did Pepper Harlton a disservice and misspelled her name in the results for the USGP #3. It's been corrected now. But the implications are rather significant. Ali did not with that race. Anna did. And it gets even worse for Ali. He's not in first overall either. JP is, with 2120 points. Ali is in second place, 80 points back. Anna has 1985 points and remains in third overall. But the top three spots are much closer than we originally though. Full results and overall standings have been corrected. So click on the link below to find out more.

The 2012-13 FGBC CX Pool is finally up and running. It's been a busy couple of weekends already, with five races already in the books. Here's our first slate of winners:

USGP #3 - Ali
BB Trophy #1 - Marcus & Matt
USGP #4 - Ali
Kermisscross - Lyle
CDM #1 - Darryl

Ali currently leads the overall competition with 2040 points. JP is in second with 1945 points. Anna sits in third place overall. She has 1810 points.

Full results and overall standings here.

Note that BB refers to Bpost Bank. It's a Belgian Bank and is the new title sponsor of the series that used to be sponsored by the Gazet van Antwerpen. Same series, different name.

Monday, October 22, 2012

CX Provincials Report

(Photo: Jared Falk)
The course was a bit different. And the consensus is it was better, not worse. Thanks to Gary and Co. for all the work they did to make it happen.

The Dark (Red) Side walked home with a trunk full of medals. But then again, it seemed almost everyone who raced received a medal of some sort. Next year we should carve up the age categories a bit finer. We could group ourselves by age ranges of 5 years instead of 10, or maybe even 2 years as they do with the kids. Then we could all walk away with medals.

Daniel has worn the Sweetest Skinsuit in the World in place of his regular pajamas for some time now. But he pulled on his new Rooster Suit for the first time in a race yesterday and used it to annihilate the field for about 59 and a half minutes of the 60 min. race. Unfortunately, some jerk from Ontario decided to spoil the party sponsored by the Manitoba Medal Clearinghouse with about 500 meters to go on the bell lap. At least he didn't get a medal.

Johnny S's bike shit the bed. Again. But that is hardly newsworthy.

The most interesting moment of the day occurred before the race. During a warm-up lap down by the river I rounded a corner to come upon a couple that were, let's just say, very much into themselves and not cx provincials. They were right on the course and very oblivious to anything else that might have been going on around them. I politely pointed out that they might want to relocate to a different location as there was a bike race going on. They were just a little bit startled and scampered off to find a less public piece of the river bank. It seems they thought all the tape marked out a territory meant just for them.

The Hipster's sore knee did not prevent him from taking some pretty pictures. And Jared also put his camera to good use.

The next race is the costume party at Camp Ass. Everyone will be there on Saturday to help out with set-up, right?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thursday Anticipation

Our task this weekend is to win medals. Preferably, lots of them. It would also be nice if there were a few podiums that were populated only by Roosters. There are likely a few categories in which that might actually happen.

Since this race is technically to determine next year's provincial cx champions, it would seem to follow that those who have signed on to the Dark Red Side for next year's campaign are free to race as the Roosters we know they really are. So take your Rooster Suits out of the closet, boys and girls, and wear them with pride.

Speaking of Rooster Suits, due to an ordering snafu there is one large men's skinsuit still available. First person to send me an email gets it. Cost is $126.

Please note that this is also the last event of the season to include an "Open Race." So Thomas (and others), we expect to see you there.

More information here.

tnr report on the works of charity

There is an open rumour that the Dark Lord lost his way in attending this event. Too bad, it was a doozy, as they say. Charity flowed freely.

While this reporter was not able to join the ride, word is that it was a spirited jaunt along the river trails, down along the Seine River and back. Numerous riders actually had no idea where they were for much of the ride... further, some didn't even quite get what part of town they ended up in... That's a good ride.

Then our affable hosts, Ryan & Mel, opened the gates to charity, and the FGBC was there to ride through. We systematically took care of all their left overs, and when that was done, Ryan vanished into the basement with G to serve up more.... right down to the Innis & Gunn; and whiskey wedding favours.  We definitely relieved Ryan and Mel of their burdens... A further example of the depth of hospitality: when it turned out that Cyclocross Dave's jacket had departed earlier with someone, Ryan lent him the Felt wool jersey off his back for the ride home.

Highlights certainly had to be 1. Cyclocross Dave's dismount into the garden... it very much harkened back to the first spring ride when one of our riders found himself very upside down in the bush after but a few meters attempted pedaling.  Dave claims it was a nasty mismatch between clipped shoes and platform pedals. Who's to know, but everyone found it very funny in a strong, Belgian beer kind of way.
2. Oli wore an ironically fabulous (given the evening's task), green Labatt 50 vest. He likely received a lot more compliments on his dress than he expected.
3. Hot fire, good folks, fine beer, excellent hosts.

Finally, there was more hugging than ever before seen at a TNR. Not sure what to make of that.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lost Shorts

Hey folks. I just checked on the ABES site and noticed a pair of FGBC shorts that are lost and found. Only not found by the owners. Please let them know if they are yours. We don't want their powers to fall into the wrong hands.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Works of Charity

According to the tradition from which this seven paneled polyptych derives, there are seven works of charity: feeding the hungry, refreshing the thirsty, clothing the naked, burying the dead, receiving travelers, visiting the sick, and comforting prisoners. Good works, indeed. But to this list, the Dark Side would like to add another--not so much an eighth (because finely tuned numerology of this sort should not be messed with) as an extension of some of the existing seven. Let us call it relieving the over-prepared of their burdens.

Though they may not (yet) technically belong to the brotherhood and sisterhood of the Dark Side, our friends Ryan and Mel have a problem they need some help with. It seems they purchased too much fine Belgian goodness for their wedding this past summer. Lucky for them, the Dark Side is always ready and willing to help a brother and sister out.

So this week's TNR will be another special edition of sorts. After a short ride, we will gather around a fire in their back yard and help relieve them of this particular burden.

Please note this this is another special "sisters-welcome" TNR. Drastic times call for drastic measures.

Let's meet at the alternate TNR HQ--aka Espresso Junction at the Forks--at the regular meeting time of 9:30 pm. I may have to join in mid-ride due to another commitment.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Deadline Extended

Just checked the schedule for the race in Fort Collins today. The women are scheduled to start at 2:45pm. That is 3:45 pm Winnipeg time. So if you submit a team by then, we will still accept it.


CX Pool Entry Watch

With one hour to go, we have 24 teams in the pool. There is still room for more

Take a look at who's in the pool so far:

Chris H
Chris O

Friday, October 12, 2012

Going South?

What's this? A cyclocross race in Altona? Who knew? We should probably show up.

Everything you need to know, including a link for online registration, is here.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

CX Pool - Updated

[The update has to do with the scoring system. See below]

Good news, vicarious racing fans. The 2012-13 FGBC CX Pool is open for business.

Your task is as follows: assemble a team of nine riders consisting of 5 men and 4 women to compete vicariously at high level cx races in both Europe and North America. Specifically, your team will be broken down as follows:

3 European Men
2 European Women
2 North American Men
2 North American Women

In case it's not obvious, "European" here means "races largely in Europe." And likewise for "North American."

When assembling your team, pay careful attention to the values that the FGBC's Dept. of Low Stakes Gambling has assigned to each rider. The combined values of your three European men must add up to 10 or more. The pair of riders in each of the other three categories must have a combined value of at least 6. Math is hard. So be careful. And please include rider values when submitting your picks so that we can get our minions to verify the legitimacy of your team. The trick is to figure out whether it's more advantageous to go high and low or to split the difference in the middle. It is harder than it seems.

The list of riders can be found here.

Submit your team here by Saturday at noon.

The pool is free and open to all. Feel free to invite others.

Thanks to his last place finish in the Vuelta Pool, Ian will supply a six-pack of Belgian goodness to the winner. The loser of the CX Pool will supply the prize for the Spring Classics Pool.

We will use the same scoring system that we have used in the past. It seems to have worked well. Basically, World Cup races are worth more than others and the World Championships are worth even more. See the detailed points breakdown here.

[Update: King Andy raised the question about whether all the North American races should be scored the same. They always have been in the past. But for this year, the USGP races will be scored the same as the World Cups. It is the big national series and actually attracts an international field of racers. It only seems fitting that doing well there should count for more than doing well at a regional UCI 2 race somewhere else. So adjust your picks accordingly, if necessary.]

It is always tricky to specify which races are included. For this year, all UCI races in North America, Belgium and the Netherlands will be included. All races in the World Cup, Superprestige and GVA series will also be included. Other European races will be included only if there is sufficient representation from the list of riders included in the pool. You want me to define sufficient? If five or more riders from our list show up to race, it counts for the pool. Mens and womens categories will be evaluated separately in this regard. The point is to make sure a larger, more internationally diverse field shows up at the races. So, for example, a handful of Czech or French racers travelling to race in their respective countries doesn't make that race count. But if they bring along some Belgies or other top pros, that's a different story. Make sense?

See the full UCI Race Calendar here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Vanessa is a Cross Hottie

It's only been out for a week or so. But the Sweetest Skinsuit in the World is already starting to become famous, thanks to Vanessa's appearance on the Hot Cross Buns site.

There is some debate, however, about whether this is as valuable a presence on the interwebs as Cousin Thomas's awkward bear suit moment. Looking at it again, it all seems so innocent. I forget exactly where this one got off the rails. But somewhere along the way it did. In a big way. It's probably best not to revisit that particular moment.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Walter Sobchak, Creighton Bernette, Same Thing?

For those who missed the reference, this is what the Big Frame was talking about at the CycleChick's cabin. It is beautiful.

St Malo Report

It was a perfect day for cyclocross. There was snow and mud and sand. The wall was bigger and badder than ever. And the wall of hecklers lining the wall made the scramble up the muddy hill at least tolerable, if not actually a little but of fun. The beer and sambuca hand-up section was a nice touch, even if it was somewhat under-utilized. There was no second guessing the appropriateness of the Sweetest Skinsuit in the World this week. And our legs were all shiny and warm thanks to Mad Alchemy's magic potions.

As for the race, it proved the truth of Richard Fries' description of cyclocross, which can be found in Molly Hurford's great new book on cyclocross in the USA (this should be required reading for all Dark Red Roosters):
Cyclocross is a far more emotional cycling event than anything else. I think it's because you're on the limit right from the beginning. It has more tragedy--mechanical tragedy, crashes, rolled tires--it's a game of mistakes, it's very much like a Shakespearean drama.
Happily, the day featured a comedic ending for the Dark Red Side. Anna once again showed that she is in a class all to herself. The way she's riding right now, she can afford more than a handful of mistakes and still easily take the Womens Cat 1/2/3 race. It is only a matter of time until the beats that little punk, Oliver, to take the B Race outright.

In the Cat 1/2 Mens race, Olli experienced the fewest tragedies to make it two wins in a row for the Dark Red Side. JP led for most of the race before falling off the pace in the last couple of laps. Hot Legs Coughlin was right there as well, until a brake in the spokes derailed his efforts. For a short but very awesome period of time there were three Roosters leading the race, demonstrating that our dream of a Dark Red Podium may yet become a reality some day.

(Photo: Vanessa Peters)
In the end, we placed six Roosters in the top 10. Six and a half if you count Daniel. That is pretty awesome.

There were fewer Roosters populating the Mens Cat 3 race. But the Giant was there in his giant skinsuit. And it helped deliver him to his best finish so far this year. Vanessa and Charlene narrowly missed the podium in their races. And Anita's big smile suggested that she had another great time racing the C Race. Then again, I suppose it is possible that Anita simply has the happiest pain face in the world.

Full results here.

There are plenty of photos swirling around the interwebs in the usual places. And even a brief video of the wall run-up. Here are a few of my favourites:

(Photo: Stefan Isfeld)

(Photo: Stefan Isfeld)

(Photo: Jonathan Millions)
(Photo: Jonathan Millions)
(Photo: Stefan Isfeld)

Friday, October 05, 2012

The Wall is Ready

Who is going to be the first to slip on the snow and slide back down to the bottom?

St Malo Update

This just in from Ian:
St. Malo is a go, as planned. Roads and course are in good condition and improving.
Riders and spectators are reminded that there are limited places to get warm. So please dress warmly.

Where's the Beach?

It is very likely under the snow. For all those who thought last weekend was too hot for cyclocross, you got your wish. Now you better show up. We've got skinsuits and embro. There is nothing to fear. Hopefully some of that snow sticks around for the race. Or at least leaves the grass soft and slippery.

Halberto, Gianni, and Co. always serve up a good course. And the CycleChick is serving up chilli laced with Scrapper for the Dark Red Roosters after the race. What's not to love?

Registration closes just before midnight tonight. Don't forget to get yourself on the startlist. The beach will look good if it's covered with a swath of Dark Red.

There will be a couple of sections of sand to ride. And where there's sand, there is the potential for spectacular crashes. As this recent video from Kansas City attests:

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Monday, October 01, 2012

Last dogfest of the season

Juan Eppstein has finally pulled the trigger. As host of the original FGBC dogfest, the pressure has weighed mightily, but the dam has burst. Game on.

The disco will be frying by 10:00. Meet at the usual location at 9:30 if you like.

Bring dogs, buns, lawn chairs if you drive, and $$ for the supplied Half Pints. As the Impaler pointed out to Juan this evening, no good Oma comes up short on dessert. I think that was a learning from a month ago in his backyard. Anyway, there should be adequate supply. Perhaps no more needs to be said.