Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Just In Time For The Long Weekend

I love it when my wife is home to answer the mailman's knock on the door (well, yesterday I was...). These C29ssmax wheels are pretty sweet. Wrapped in Racing Ralphs, these knock off close to 4lbs of rotating weight compared to the WTB SpeedDisc Trail/Nevegal wheels that came stock on my 29er.

Granted there are lighter wheelsets out there, but you gotta love ebay when you can get such a significant upgrade for a steal of a deal. Besides, when you're my size lighter isn't necessarily better.

BNIB—a Roval box apparently


Now I need to clean out some of the miscellaneous parts that have been accumulating. Watch for my garage sale coming soon.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Weekend in Vancouver

Got back late last night from a whirlwind of a weekend in Vancouver with the better half—just the two of us. The weather was good despite the weekend-long forecast for cloud and rain. To take advantage of the day-and-a-half of sun, we rented some bikes which not only let us Deb get to some of Vancouver's best shopping, but enjoy popular spots like Granville Island, Stanley Park, and the adjoining beaches/sea wall.

It's no secret Vancouver has some great cycling infrastructure, but what was really puzzling was the general absence of cyclists out on the streets. I've been to Toronto many times and always marvel at how many people rely on their bikes as part of their lifestyle. Honestly, I think we have more people circumnavigating potholes and beligerant drivers on Winnipeg streets than those enjoying Vancouver's bike lanes based on what I saw (didn't see) this past weekend (and it was sunny). Even Deb noticed and commented. Too bad...some people don't know how good they go it.

The only thing better than cherry blossoms in Stanley Park is a Japadog! Mmmmm...Japadog.

Ice Cube is one thing, but hey—if they're good enough for Steven Seagal, I'd be Above The Law, Under Siege, and Marked For Death to think I could find better street food in YVR.

Hey, I think I have a new idea for FGBC's next 24-hour bike race...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Hincapie 4th

Not quite the results that I hoped for, but not bad.
Sad day for Hincapie, 4th, with a good effort at the finish.  Eisel proved the stronger- which is good for me in the vicarious racing. Got the days mixed up for the swiss time machine.  A great day for him yesterday, and sadly, Boonen is second again.  Third for Flecha- good for Brad again.
No Flecha today though.  Good races, great to watch.  All those actually riding today, enjoy a great day. 
As for Johnnie Walker, not even a finish.  

Friday, March 26, 2010

Race Weekend Forecast

Big weekend for us vicarious racers.  E3 Prijs Vlaanderen tomorrow, followed  by Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday.
Expect Boonen to be trying to win at E3- he's won 4 times before and finished 2nd last year to Pozzato.  His motivation should be high- unless the weather is bad, then he'll probably quit before the rain hits. He is my pick for the win though.  He's been doing well this year, his form is good and I think He wants it.  Keep an eye out for Greg Avermaet though, I think he might come up with something special for this race. And if all else fails, Boss Hog will put in a good performance too. (Edvald Boasson Hagen). And maybe a showing by Johnnie Walker?  (Footen-Servetto) 

As for Gent Wevelgem, I'd love to see Hincapie win again.  Hoping for Cavendish cause he's in my pool, or Haussler, who is also in my pool.  Probably the swiss time machine will want a win, so look for him on the podium here.  
And the ubiquitous Flecha will be in the top 20  on both days, which bodes well for Brad. No Boss Hog for Gent this year though, even though he won last year.  If I put money on races, I might put a fiver on Bennati, just because I like to hear Phil Ligget say Liquigas. 
Enjoy the vicarious races fellows.  Might even do a real bike ride this weekend after all this motivation.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

March 20: Burr Oak Fun (and then some)

Mike and I got in our first rides at Burr Oak this afternoon. Trails were in great shape for March 20th. Most of it was clear of snow, but there were a few parts snow-covered and slippery. As it was pretty wet in the shadows, we didn't venture down into the boggy area.

We also went for a ride to the Wednesday Night Series venue of yesteryear - Hillside. En route, we witness what has to be the highlight of the day. Watching an unlicensed Suzuki Sidekick that was 4x4ing in the neighbouring gravel pits try to outrun a RCMP cruiser. Loser.

After tooling around what's left of the Hillside trails, we rode across BHP to the previous WNS course which seemed to have a lot more snow than the Burr Oak. That didn't stop Mike from masterfully navigating the tight switchbacks...he's almost 40, but he's still got it.

It felt great to be on the mtb again. The Olympia Club is meeting out at Burr Oak ride on Sunday, so it only proves that all the cool kids are doing it. You should go.

Oh yeah. After Mike left I rode 5 more laps at race pace. I felt a little sluggish after missing my protein intake on Friday, but I pushed through it and set a new PB. I'll do it again tomorrow. Again, this is what all the cool kids do.

Saturday Afternoon Ride: Burr Oak

Mike and I are meeting up at 3:30 for some fun on the Burr Oak trails (and out of the wind). Join us if you can.

Milan San Remo Live

Here's a link to watch live http://videochat.gazzetta.it/index_Live01.shtml  or check out cyclingfans.com to find other connections.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Commuter Dreams

Don't lie: You've pretended you were winning a Tour stage on a ride before. This guy just takes it to the next level.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Roller Racing—Wednesday Night Wind-up

Get the 411 here.

Giddy-up, ladies. Show us what you got.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Remember When?

Remember when Paul used to ride? Those were the days. I came across this picture from BAF 2005 which made me think we need to get Mr. Doe back into the groove.

Getting out with Paul was always enteraining. Occasionally the entertainment came in the way of a cracked ti bottom bracket that pronounced itself midway through the Headwaters Century or listening his yelps of torment after enduring mile after mile of patented Giesbrecht foulness to and from said event. Most often, it was just being in the easy-going company of his quick wit and a self-depreciating sense of humour.

After a summer being a bike messenger and becoming a gym teacher he ironically hung up his cycling shoes without explanation. While still active in RRR's behind-the-scenes discussions and social gatherings, his absence on two wheels has been missed, and I'm not the only one to have said so much.

C'mon out for a ride, Paul. Don't make us go all intervention on your ass. It's the least you can do after giving me that chopper last summer.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Spring Training

I did my first ride to Lockport today. Switched to my summer gearing on my fixie commuter yesterday; I'm running a 53 X 16. I rode to Lockport flat out with that tail wind, averaging 550 watts on the ride there. I stopped at the Subway for a huge coffee, and to remove my seat. That forced me to stand on the pedals all the way home. No way I wanted to just sit and grind into that headwind all the way back. (Average watts on the way home was 719).

I just got off the phone with my coach, and he says my numbers are a little better than last year at this time. That is very encouraging. Even though I am about 2.3 kilos above my racing weight, (which is about the same winter weight gain as Alberto Contador), I had really good sensations in the legs today, and the form is coming along nicely. I should be right on target for my first goal of the season, the Bruxelles gravel race.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


A video feed of today's spring classic, L'Eroica, appears to be nowhere to be found. (DOH! I could have slept in instead of searching in vain for a link to race coverage).

I did, however, find an interesting revue of the Italian region's white gravel roads and the classic bicycle tour for which L'Eroica's becoming know for. It's a poor substitute for race coverage, but at least there are bikes riding on the white gravel.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Old Magazine, Fresh Perspective

Our school library is pretty lame. For some reason, it hasn't received any new magazines since I signed on 3 years ago. Living in a foreign country can sometimes leave you feeling media starved and a quick escape into a quality magazine can be a sweet indulgence. With this in mind I decided to grab a handful of old issues of Outside magazine. In doing so I uncovered a great article on Floyd Landis from July 2006. (I realize that he's the honourary captain of the evil black horde, but it was such a great article I figured I'd post about it in spite of that) Here's my favourite, laugh out loud section that highlights the quirky side of Floyd.

Landis, 30, is the kind of person other bike racers like to tell stories about. A lot of it has to do with the narrative potency of his background, including his escape from a strict, oldfangled Mennonite childhood in Pennsylvania's Lancaster County. A lot of it has to do with Landis's penchant for offbeat, memorable feats—like riding wheelies after detaching his front tire or seeing how many bags of airline peanuts he can eat during a cross-country flight (28, for those of you keeping score). The result is that his fellow bike racers are constantly telling and retelling Floyd stories, creating a highlight reel that resembles nothing so much as old Warner Bros. cartoons. There is "The Time Floyd Dove into a Dumpster to Get a Pair of Shoes" and "The Time Floyd and Z-Man Drank 30 Cappuccinos in One Sitting" and "The Time Floyd Rode the Tour de France Nine Weeks After Having Major Hip Surgery." The stories hang together because they have the same plot: a curious, unusually determined guy pushes against conventional limits, causing varying degrees of pain, humiliation, and triumph, not necessarily in that order.

Landis begins our visit by showing me something on his computer: an image of his grimacing face superimposed on the heavily muscled body of an ax-wielding maniac. Beneath the image, in stylish typescript, are the words I'M A HOMO.

"I e-mailed this to Lance and Z-Man and my wife," Landis says, smiling hugely. "Z-Man and my wife got right back to me—they thought it was pretty funny. I never heard back from Lance, though."

"I wonder why?" Z-Man asks, deadpan.

They contemplate this question with amused expressions, the two former U.S. Postal teammates tapping easily into a convenient theme: Landis's semifamous feud with another former teammate, seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong. The clash, which began in 2004 when Landis left Armstrong's Postal team, and reached soap-operatic proportions during the 2005 season, is now officially over. But it would be unlike Landis and Zabriskie to leave the scab alone, never mind any attempt at diplomacy. So they joke about it. Landis and Zabriskie might be riding the Tour for rival teams—Landis the leader for Phonak, the 27-year-old Zabriskie a key lieutenant for CSC—but it's instantly apparent why the two have been best friends since they first wore Postal blue together back in 2002.

"We were just wondering if, when this biking thing is over with," Landis says, "we could apply to Harvard."

Judging by the bookshelf, I offer, they might have a shot.

"We were thinking we'd get in based on life experience," Landis says.

"And death experience," Z-Man points out.

"We know how to kill things," Landis says with enthusiasm. "Killing things can be extremely useful."

"For eating," Z-Man says.

I ask what they eat around here. Bike racers are prodigious eaters, yet the cupboards and counters are distinctly bare. "We eat a lot of eggs," Landis says. "And we boil chickens."

"Boiling chickens," Z-Man says, in a Beavis-like voice. "Gotta boil the chicken."

"That's our philosophy, in a nutshell," Landis says. "You gotta boil the chicken. Until the bird flu comes. Then the chicken boils you."

"Boo-yah," says Z-Man.

Landis offers another of his philosophies, one that comes courtesy of comedy writer Jack Handey. "If life deals you lemons," Landis quotes, "why not go kill someone with the lemons, maybe by shoving them down his throat."

"Lemons," says Z-Man. "Leeee-mons."

I think the article was such a standout for me because he's such an interesting subject. After reading the article you just feel extra sick when you stop and consider how far his star has fallen. Oh how sweet it would be if he got his head screwed back on and made a comeback of his own. Too bad that's never going to happen.

I don't know, Duece. He seems to be doing pretty well for himself these days.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

New ride

How cool is that?

Think of all the money you could save buying one of these. I am guessing it would sell for probably $5,000. I have a huge lawn, and I use about 15 liters of fuel per season in my ten year old $200 mower, so something like this really makes sense.

I figure the payback is roughly 100 years.

Darwin Award Nominee

The following story came through this morning at work via the lottery industry's news digest service. Some people really shouldn't be spending their money on instant tickets, but on getting help.
Angry Flight Passenger Eats Winning Scratch Card
CASTLE DONINGTON, England (February 27, 2010) – According to the UPI news service a spokesman for an Irish airline said a passenger who won nearly $13,620 on a scratch card ate the instant lottery ticket when told he could not cash it in.

UPI reports Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara said the strange behavior by the male passenger came after staff on board a flight from Poland to England confirmed the ticket was authentic and could be cashed in once the airplane landed, ‘The Daily Telegraph’ said Saturday. McNamara said the passenger, whose identity was not released, wanted to cash in his ticket on the flight, but staff informed him there was not enough available cash on the flight.

The passenger's actions during Thursday's flight means the ticket winnings will be donated to charity, making the man's mid-flight snack a very pricey treat.

"Crew tried to stop the air Gourmet Scratch Card eater by offering him one of our great tasting sandwiches, pizzas or snacks instead, but clearly he had much more expensive tastes," McNamara told the ‘Telegraph.’

Monday, March 1, 2010

Whew! I'm Glad That's All Over

I sure enjoyed watching the Winter Olympics. Maybe you’re like me: the TV was on the minute I got home until I went to be, which was usually well past midnight. Even if it seemed like figure skating was the only thing on. That’s a lot of time on the couch, and I feel guilty for that. Not because I should be spending my time being productive around the house, catching up on work, or helping the kids with their homework, but because time on the couch watching sports usually means beer and potato chips. Or ice cream. Or pie and ice cream. Or...you get the idea.

If the games lasted another week, I’d surely contemplate giving up on the 2010 cycling season all together. Luckily, things came to an end before it got that bad. Seriously. After so much time on the couch I’m starting to look like this guy.

Now it’s time to play catch-up. Tonight, it’s one-legged power intervals, climbing repeats followed by some some heavy squats and lunges. Rinse and repeat again tomorrow. Wednesday will be an entire day spent snow shoeing in the Interlake.