Friday, October 29, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...


Growing up in Manitoba, you always knew Halloween often brought snow. Looking out the window tonight, I noticed a bit of the white stuff starting to accumulate. But have no fear. It won't last, but will make tomorrow's cross race—Halloween at the Harbour if you've been living under a tomb stone—as memorable as the first time your parents let you go out for a second pillow case of candy corn, Rockets, and that earwax-like stuff in the black and orange wrappers. What was that stuff anyway?

Course construction is well underway. A bit more work is to be done tomorrow morning before the registration desk opens at 11:00. We'll be congregating at 8:30 (-ish) to tie up the loose ends and get a head start on the good times. Feel free to come out and give us a hand if you're so inclined.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Help wanted

We will be doing the majority of course marking on Friday afternoon. Saturday morning we will start the final set up at 8:30. Any help Saturday morning would be greatly appreciated. Email me at bradleeennzAThotmailDOTcom for details.

There is a Salisbury House restaurant in the park and they are making lots of soup, coffee and hot chocolate which will be available for purchase.

Monday, October 25, 2010

CrossTastic Report—A Repost of Sorts

Mike sort of scooped my "cross sucks" take on yesterday's race at Whittier Park. I'll let him have it though, as I was going to re-post something he put up about a year ago. After watching from the sidelines last year, I'm fully experiencing the same sentiments he expressed here, particularly the first 4 paragraphs or so. I'll just leave it at that...and add that I'm not at all superstitious.

Overall for RRR, it wasn't the best of days. Ryan crashed out very early on in the B race, Artur had a rare off day, and Brad wiped out on the run-up and hurt his hand which set the tone for the rest of his race. Michelle (wearing the cool jersey she won at last year's CrossTastic), however, did well. Despite a quick and dirty fix to a rear der shifting problem mere minutes before the start of her race, she rode a strong race on her new 3x1 (big thanks to the good samaritans that provided mechanical expertise and tools for this quick fix). Despite this last-minute distraction, it might have been her best race all year. Larry and Jane also rode well to respectable finishes. For Jane, this was her first CX race.

Thanks to Gary and all the volunteers that made CrossTastc great. The course was punishing but fun. I look forward to exacting my revenge next year. Until then, here are some photos from the kids and B race to enjoy. More photos here, here, here, and here.

Next week: Halloween at the Harbour—win a sweet carbon fibre Cane Creek wheelset or one of the cool door prizes. Wear your costume and increase your odds of winning (and fun).

Cross Sucks! Kidney Stones Suck More!

So as much as I hate cyclocross- kidney stones are worse.
After a great course put on by Gary and the FOG guys, I felt fine- until it was time to leave. Pain dropped me to my knees. Good thing we have doctors on our team- and nurses- Dr. Larry drove me home in my close to passing out state- said it sounded like a kidney stone- (Thanks to Jane too)
Later that night the pain returned- a couple of visits to the porcelain throne on my knees (yes just like cross it drove me to vomit), and off to the hospital- only 5 hours of sitting around there and it appears I may have/had have, a kidney stone.
So, I have my excuse for Sunday's cross race- what's yours?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Swag: CrossTastic and Halloween at the Harbour

A couple of exciting races are on the horizon. First is this Sunday's CrossTactic at Whittier Park, put on by Gary and the FOG club. Based on Gary's philosophy of what a cyclocross course should be (at dirty road race) and what Whittier Park has to offer, expect this one to be a fast course.

Despite the fun of racing, the highlight will no doubt be the handing out of 3 Ridley cyclcross bike frames AND a top-end TRP brake set. Nice! (Can't wait to bring one of those Ridleys home.)

All the details, including A and B seeding, can be found at the CrossTastic site.

Next on the calendar is our very own Halloween at the Harbour (not to be confused with Hal Loewen at the Harbour, though I supposed the "sexy librarian" could be a side show to some). You can find all the details if you click on the graphic in the right-hand column. We've put a lot of thought and effort into making this a fun event, but that's not to say the course will be easy.

If you are lucky enough to win one of CrossTastic framesets, you'll want to make sure you're at our race on the 30th. Even if you don't win anything on Sunday, you'll want to be at our race for a chance to win our grand prize for the day—a carbon fibre Cane Creek wheelset worth $1,500!

Wear a costume! You'll get one ballot for showing up, but earn an additional entry into the door prize drawings if you're dressed up. In addition to the door prizes, prizes will also be awarded for best costume, so dig into that tickle trunk and try not to spew in your mask.

Southern Cross

I can't remember the last time I fell off my bike. I don't know what that says about me. Am I too timid? Too slow? Really smooth? Or just lucky?

At Southern Cross the streak ended. I got off to my usual fast start (which is typically followed by a slow fade to mid pack) and was in the top three or four when we hit the hill area for the first time. Like many others, I went down on that cursed shiny straw. The first time was pretty harmless. Up and rolling without losing much time. The second time not so lucky. I went down hard and was passed by several riders. And I have some pretty nice rash to show for it.

Both crashes were in the first lap, so I knew I had some time to get back in the mix. I started to pass a few folks and by the end I finished near where I felt I should have. For the third or fourth time this year I had a race within the race with Dallas. I got up to him, but just couldn't get by. I thought that's where I would finish, but he was kind enough to crash on the last lap and let me get by. What a guy.

Who knows what could have been if I could have used all that energy a bit further up in the group? Racing is full of unanswered questions like these. RRR's very own Artur Pich proved to be the most consistent racer of the weekend and took the top honors for B. Well done.

After my race I sped through my usual clean up and re-hydration routine to get ready for the best part of the day: heckling. With Dallas leading the charge, we assembled 30 strong on the hill. At some point we noticed some of the A racers were dismounting at the railway ties and running up the hill. A lot of us B slobs rode that, so of course this unleashed some vicious heckling. Sorry Anna, you deserved it.

The first time I saw Olli round that turn and get assaulted by the screams, he bunny hopped the ties clearing them easily and accelerated up the hill. I think I'm in love...Tristan, Tomek, and Luc also get top marks for form.

But the best move of the day was for sure by Rene. He almost got his front wheel, I mean Cam's front wheel, over the ties. But not quite. The endo was spectacular, as was the pretzeled handlebar that resulted. That hushed the crowd. For about two seconds. Man I do love me some heckling. I'm glad you're OK Rene.

Good times at the curling club to finish the day. Tons of swag was doled out, lots of Southern Cross IPA flowed, and chips were eaten. Every champions post race food of choice. And I went home with a sweet Sugoi cycling cap.

All in all another great day in Altona. Thanks to Johnny S and all the ABES crew. You guys know how to put on an event.

Next up, the amazing prize fest that is Crosstastic, and then our spooktacular Halloween at the Harbour. Singlespeeders be afraid, be very, very afraid.

Monday, October 18, 2010

I Think I'm Turning Superstitious

Saturday's race at St. Malo was the best I've had in a while. No mechanicals or flats. It was more than less a good day. Would have liked to finish in the top 10, but that's more about doing your homework ("if you want the grades you got to do your homework") and eating properly. Both of which have been less than more of a priority post-Hot Pursuit (my bad).

Anyway, on Saturday, in my scramble to get to the venue on time, I left behind several "race day essentials". No wool jersey to wear pre-race to keep me warm, no gloves, and no race jersey. Well, I did have the old white one—it would have to do. As I pulled it on, I realized the worst races I've had in a long time seem to happen when I don the new RRR jersey.

Starting a the back of the pack is far from ideal, but I did manage to work my way up closer to the front before the first tight corner where I took the honour of being the first to break the tape. Too aggressive (again), hoping to force the guy next to me to take a different line (he didn't...again). After getting the mess of tape out of my brake hanger, I was off and chasing hard to get back with the guys I was with when the mishap occurred.

I did catch up and managed to hang on for most of the race. I slowly reeled in a few guys, which felt good. Yikes! I was actually having fun! Rock on, ratty old white jersey!

It was a good course. Chapeau to the Olympia gang and the town of St. Malo for a fun day. As much as the run-up sucked, it was awesome. Same goes for the sand.

I couldn't make it out to Southern Cross. I was pretty bummed about that all day as I felt good to race on Sunday. Alas, being home on Sunday afternoon allowed me to accept an invite to watch Jason Bonham's Led Zepplin Experience from the comfort of a fully-stocked corporate box. So much for the homework I had intended for the evening.

I snapped a few pics of the St. Malo B-race; you can find them here. I would have taken more of everyone, but my camera batteries died early on.

I must say Artur never looked so at home in any race as he did on the St. Malo sand. Must be the shorts. With Artur being the winner of the Grand Prix Sugoi package, it's my guess he'll be rocking some new bib-knickers at Whittier. Not.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Smash Heard Around the World




"Mark Cavendish is absolutely right. I have not even thought of his name amongst the riders I think will be a part of the finale."

Friday, October 1, 2010

2 Sleeps Until The Barrier

I’ve put off writing up any kind of MennoCross race report. The truth is I had a bad race, maybe the most frustrating ever, and couldn’t find much that I wanted to say. That’s, of course, no reflection on the event itself. The Dark Horde did a fine job of organizing the event and with the course conditions what they were, it was as cross as we’ve seen in Manitoba in some time.

As I reflected on the race and what went wrong, I felt compelled to do what I could to minimize the chances of those variables ever coming together again.
  • Shifting problems? Sure, but everyone had ‘em so I can’t use that as an excuse. Wash the bike, give it some TLC and make sure things are running as smoothly as possible for the next race
  • Wrong gearing? A new crankset should arrive on my doorstep today which will give me something a little more ideal than my current 50/32 setup.
  • Over-extended? The bottom line for my poor showing was that there wasn’t much gas in the tank. Hard intervals (as opposed to easy intervals) on the Wednesday and Thursday before the race weren’t such a good idea. This week, I’m doing the opposite—if too much riding makes me slower then… I’ve been faithfully attending church and paying homage to St. Arnold. Penance has been 3 Hail Marys each day. And when not in church, I’ve been binging on Halloween candy and chocolate ice cream. Regardless of what happens on Sunday, I should be well-fueled.

Sunday: The Barrier

Led by Gary, a rag-tag team of volunteers have pressed on to ensure there will be a race this weekend despite the cancellation of the Omands Park race. These guys are proof positive that if there’s a will, there’s a way. Guys, you all get a “attaboy” for stepping up. All the details you need to know can be found here. Oh, and don't forget to bring a rake.