Thursday, January 31, 2013

Floyd's GF

Looks like we're heading to the Catskills the weekend after the spring ride.

For this.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

It's pronounced Loo-uh-vull

The Belgies are already there, checking out the course even though they've been told to stay off.

Before long, these fields will be teeming with Roosters too. It'll be quite the scene. Especially if one of us gets stuck on the fence like Sven Nys did at 1:25.

The official CX Worlds send-off party goes down tonight at the klubhuas. All Roosters should be there for this very special TNR. The pre-party parade departs from the Death Star at 9:30.

For those unfortunate souls who are only able to follow along from home, we will do our best to keep you up to date. This probably calls for an official hashtag. How about #DRRLouisville

CX Pool Update

Last one before Worlds!

After Kings CX in Cincinnati last weekend, the standings look like this.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Barn Cross Report

It seems we have a new tradition on our hands, boys and girls. That much awesome for two years in a row is going to be hard to forget when next winter comes around. Hot Legs Dave is our new Manitoba Indoor Cyclocross Champion of the World. Ari and Craig rounded out the podium.

Big thanks to Brad for making it happen. That guy's alright.

The Hipster will share some of his sweet photos soon. In the meantime, here are some crappy ones.

The sand was much faster this year. Too fast for photos.
The Hipster did his best impression of Mike and the Poosher.
These two must really like each other.
They're always riding so close together.
New for this year: horses.
We decided it was unwise to try a horse vs. human showdown
given the rather cramped quarters. It would have been close.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Weekend Ride Report and Product Testing

This morning Daniel, Dave and I ventured out into the cold for an hour and half of fun in the ass forest. After the snowfall we had this past week, it was anyone's guess if the trails would be rideable. We were greeted with narrow, reasonably packed trail conditions, with a few inches of soft snow on both sides. One little slip and it was over the bars. Dave once again put on a display of impressive bike handling prowess, and I got wrapped up in a few trees and spent considerable time on my ass. It seems the forest is appropriately named.

They say if you want to become a better cyclist, you should ride with people who are better than you. If that is true, then after today I expect to be a force to reckon with at BarnCross tomorrow. In reality I'll probably just get drunk and fall down. That's cool too.

In a nutshell, the ride was awesome and there isn't much more to say about it. But there was a particular winter cycling issue that came up and I think it is high time it's brought into a more public discourse. And it came at a funny time - just this week I was discussing with the VP of Style how it is strange that there aren't any brands or products for cold weather cycling that are designed and tested in this city. We are, after all, one of the coldest places to ride in North America. Why isn't anyone taking that as an opportunity to create clothing that can handle the toughest and coldest riding conditions?

Everyone seems to have their own magic combination of socks, overshoes, rain covers, warming packs, and other what-have-you's to keep their toes warm. But there is another much more important issue to consider that nobody talks about. We're about to enter a man's world here, so readers of the fairer sex may want to just continue about their day. There is no glamorous way to say what I'm talking about. I'm talking about dick freeze.

You know what I'm talking about. It could very well be the most uncomfortable thing to happen on two wheels in the winter. I made the mistake of not wearing enough layers on my lower half today and was left scrambling for a solution. With no obvious solution at hand, I was reminded of the old adage 'the old ways are the best ways.'

Many of you have probably seen photos of riders stuffing newspaper into their jersey after reaching the top of a major climb. The idea is that the newspaper blocks the wind on a cold descent.

Well if it's good enough for Fabian, why not give it a try. Despite some questionable looks from my riding companions, I think I've stumbled across the perfect solution.


So there you have it - a new product coming from one the coldest cycling environments in the world - available to you for free, in a range of colour and style options. I make no guarantees you won't get weird looks when arranging the proper placement of this now essential piece of kit, nor that having a newspaper stuffed in your pants won't make your side profile slighter, erm, unusual, but these are sacrifices that are worth making in the interest of a more comfortable ride. You're welcome.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Wet Worlds??

Forcast for Louisville is looking interesting!

Thursday Anticipation

It's been a while since we performed this weekly ritual. But we have lots to look forward to. It's time to start circling dates on the calendar. And speaking of calendars, the WCC promises she's still working on the 2013 DRR Calendar. Look for an update on that project soon.

Let's do this in chronological order:

1) Barn Cross goes down on Sunday. Attendance is mandatory.

2) Worlds!

By this time next week, 15 Roosters will be on their way to Louisville. Needless to say, this road trip is going to be one for the ages. For those who are unable to be there, your best bet for timely reports is Twitter: @fgbcdark.

3) Lindsay's Million Mile March.

For those who will not be in Louisville, your task is to head to the Forks on Feb. 2 to make sure our man Lindsay arrives in style. It only makes sense that the sweetest cyclist in the world be flanked by as many sweetest jerseys in the world as possible.

4) 24 Hours of Coens, the sequel.

Feb. 23-24. Enough said.

5) Rated RRR, Brad's Gravel Grinder, or whatever else it's called.

The Dark Red Racing Gravel Grinder Series will begin on the third weekend in April. Stay tuned for more details.

6) Strade Bianche?

Details of the 2013 MCA Race Calendar are starting to be leaked. One race we should all have circled is being called Strade Bianche. It goes down on the first weekend of May. It sounds like a good opportunity to see if the DRR Road Team is a strong as some people think it might be. Roosters on the road? It will be awesome. At least if it's anything like the race from which its name derived.

7) Spring Ride XI

Seven is a sacred number. So it is only fitting that one of our most sacred events should occupy the seventh spot on this list. By the time I am back from my little trip to the south, the countdown will be under 100. I don't know about the rest of you, but I find that very, very exciting.

8) Death March

People have been wondering whether OperaciĆ³n MUERTO is anything more than an excuse for Halberto to add another jersey to his collection. It appears the answer may be yes. Apparently, it is an excuse to produce more posters too.

More info here.

Class dismissed.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

CX Pool Roundup

Dan won in Zonnebeke. Val won in Hoogerheide.

Details here.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Honorary Captain is Upset

Apparently, he is under the impression that the whole thing with Dark Red Racing was really just an attempt to sever our ties with him. So he broke into the hen house and kidnapped the Dark Red Rooster.

If anybody should happen to know anything about either of their whereabouts, we would very much appreciate if that information would be shared with us.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday Night Ride

It has been a busy week with not nearly enough riding. But there's a window of opportunity this evening. My place at 9:30 if you've got a couple of hours you're looking to fill with some good times.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A message to dog owners

There are a lot of 'first times' that a cyclist goes through - first time on a bike, first ride over 100km, first race, first time doing well at a race, and first time getting run off a bike path by an angry dog that bites you in the leg and rips your pants apart. Thankfully not all cyclists experience that last 'first', but unfortunately for me, this past Tuesday I did.

I rode down to Olympia on Portage ave to pickup a new light. While riding home, I took my usual route - down Portage, duck under Route 90 and ride into Omand's Park toward the footbridge, when I'd normally cross over to Wellington. When riding on bike/walking paths, it's common for me to pass dog walkers, especially when in a park. And honestly until this week I have always enjoyed meeting dogs on the trail. They usually run up to me looking very excited - with tails wagging and tongues hanging out - I say hello and pet them, and they take off with their owners. To be clear, I really like dogs.

This encounter was entirely different and has really made me think about the responsibility dog owners have when walking through public parks and environments.

Here's how it went down:

I was about 50 meters from reaching the chain-link fence infront of the rail tracks when I passed a woman walking toward me. Immediately after I saw a dog sprinting from the train tracks down the path toward me. It was a large dog, perhaps a Boxer or some other similar breed, with a spiked choker collar around its neck, with a leash dragging on the ground behind it. Something felt different about the way the dog was running at me. It didn't feel like the other dogs I've come across, this one seemed on a mission. It ran full steam into my left side, knocking me off balance and off the packed bike path into the soft snow. Then it clamped down on my left calf, tearing my pants apart and breaking through my skin in three places.

And this may sound weird, but that isn't what really upset me. What upset me was the response of the owner.

At first she said nothing at all, just tried to keep her wild dog down and not attack me again. I stood and stared at her and her dog, waiting for her to say something. Apologize, ask if I was ok, anything! Nothing was said at all. Hey, maybe she didn't notice that her dog just bit me. So I took the initiative to informed her, "Hey, your dog just bit me in the leg...!".

Response? "That's the last time I let it off its leash".

Oh! Well that's just GREAT! So glad I won't have to worry about your attack dog eating my leg the next time I'm in the park. And yes, I am ok thanksforaskingyouidiot.

The conversation continued in that vein for the next five minutes, without an apology given. When I informed her that her dog had destroyed my clothes, bitten me and knocked me off my bike, the response was a 'courteous' "Want me to buy you some new pants? Fine. I'll buy you some new pants. What do you want me to do about it? ".

Actually, a lot of things. This has prompted me to come up with a guideline for dog owners to consider when bringing their dogs into a shared-use park, especially if it acts out against someone else.

1 - If you are taking your dog for a walk in a park, keep it on a leash at ALL times. There is a reason why off-leash parks were created. I was lucky that the owner was nearby when it bit me. The dog latched to my leg until the owner pulled it off. What if I was a young child on the opposite side of the baseball field? How long might it have taken you to run across a snowy field to pull your dog off? Think about it.

2 - If your dog does end up biting someone, ask IMMEDIATELY if they are hurt and need help. Don't make a show of scolding your bad dog infront of the victim. Make sure they are ok, and if not, get help.

3 - Take as much responsibility for your dog as if you had injured the person yourself. Anyone who has ever owned a pet will know that animals are 100% a product of their environment. Dogs aren't born predisposed to attack and bite people. There is a reason some dogs run up to people and want to play, and others run up with aggression. The reason is their owners. If you have an angry and violent dog, you are a bad dog owner and probably shouldn't have one to begin with.

4 - Don't make excuses for your dog. I don't care if your dog is normally gentle and friendly. The fact is, it bite someone without being startled, frightened, intimidated or cornered. It actively ran down an open path and bit someone. That means it is not a friendly dog and is in fact a danger to society. Maybe it's not aggressive to YOU, but to a stranger in a park, when your dog comes running at full tilt, it doesn't actually look like this:

It looks a lot more like this:

The last thing someone wants to hear after being bitten by a dog is how nice and gentle and friendly the dog normally is. That is of absolutely no consolation whatsoever.

5 - Accept the consequences and encourage a repot to be filed. If you have a car accident it goes without saying that you pull over, exchange information, and report the accident. There are due processes in place for situations like that. Being bitten by a dog is not something most people know how to deal with. What do you do? Who do you call?

Don't wait to be asked! Voluntarily provide your name, phone number, and contact information. This is so important in a situation like this because we aren't talking about a broken fender or cracked windshield here, we're talking about the risk of disease and illness. Has your dog had all it's vaccinations and shots? If not, well you are an idiot even more. If it has, tell the person! Because I didn't know anything about the dog or its history, I had two calls today from people introducing themselves as a public health professional following up on a rabies inquiry. RABIES. That is what people have to deal with after being bitten. Make it easier on us and be available for questions so this doesn't' have to be such an awful experience.

6 - And lastly, don't try to buy your way out of the consequences. Look, if your dog bites someone, all that happens is it goes into quarantine for 10 days to make sure it didn't act aggressively as a result of illness. What is wrong with that? Yes I get it, you love your dog. 10 days is not going to hurt anybody. And if after 10 days it is still acting with aggression, it goes into a rehabilitation program to help it calm down. Sounds good to me.

Rant adjourned.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Vicarious Stars 'n Bars

The US CX National Championships went down this weekend. It was muddy, cold, and generally awesome. How fitting that one of our American friends won the vicarious edition of the race? Congrats to Ali on an impressive win. He had 705 points thanks to Page, Powers, Compton, and Antonneau. Brad was the best of the rest. He finished with 570 points.

Ali was so excited with his big win that he went out and got his fingernails painted.

He also booked a flight to Winnipeg so that he can tell us in person how awesome it was to win that race. Ali will join us for next week's TNR. Come out and see those nails for yourself.

There were all kinds of other national championships crowned on the weekend. But unfortunately for those who have Klaas Vantornout on their teams, those races do not count toward the FGBC CX Pool.

Of course, in Belgium they were back at it right away with another race on Monday in Otegem. Jonny G took the win in that one. Also of note in Otegem is that it marks the first time since the beginning of November that Bill has not occupied last place. Lyle fell into the cellar with a big, loud thud.

Full results and overall standings here.

There are two races this weekend: a C2 race in Zonnebeke on Saturday and then the final round of the World Cup on Sunday in Hoogerheide.

Friday, January 11, 2013

BarnCross 2013

In case you weren't there last year--or have just erased it from your memory--it went something like this.


Needless to say, an event like this is not to be missed. Unless you're flying back from Guatemala.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

CX Pool Update

There have been four races since the last update. Winners are as follows:

Surhuisterveen - Mark
New Years Resolution #1 - Chris, Mark, Terry
World Cup: Rome - Jay
New Years Resolution #2 - Daniel, Vanessa

In the overall race, Matt's lead only continues to grow. But KK has moved ahead of Chris O and into second overall.

Full results and overall standings here.

Next up is the US Nationals. Judging by the photos that are floating around the interwebs, it will either be very snowy or very muddy. Or maybe a bit of both. More here.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

The Hipster Does Not Approve

. . . of Krulbollen.

Or maybe it was the Gulden Draak to which he took exception.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

CX Pool Roundup

Kerstperiode is done. And it was awesome, as usual.

In case you missed the live coverage of the races, you can watch them all here.

Results for the last three races are as follows:

Bredene: a five-way tie, with Ali, Daniel, Brad, Chris O, and Jonah sharing the win.
Diegem: Jared
Baal: Hal

In the overall race, Matt's lead is over 1000 points now. Chris O is still in second place. But KK has managed to claw back a big chunk of that lead over the past week.

The next race is tomorrow in Surhuisterveen. Then on the weekend, the American races resume in Chicago, while the Europeans travel to Rome for the next round of the World Cup.

Full results and overall standings here.