Friday, November 2, 2012

Un Nuevo Sitio: Operacion Muerto

Cool! Operacion Muerto (Manitoba Ultra-Endurance Racing and Talking Organization) is undergoing a resurrection.

If you're into the ultra endurance thing, you should add the new Operacion Muerto site to your list of favourites. Once it's fully populated, it should be a good reference for anything related to the local (and beyond?) ultra endurance scene. I suspect we'll see a lot of Lindsay, Manitoba's poster boy for ultra endurance, in the upcoming months.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween at the Camp 2012 Results

Aplogies for the delay in getting the results from yesterday's race. There was a problem with the results that caused the delay. The problem? I left them at Camp Assiniboia.

Thanks to all who joined us in our nod to cyclocross racing and Halloween. Good times!

Results can be found here.

Photos can be enjoyed courtesy of the following...let us know if you have or come across other albums.
The Hipster
ABES / Johnny S
Christopher Neufeld

photo credit: Cheryl Koop

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Camp is Ready...Are You?

Last year's Halloween at the Camp debut featured a fun course with some novelty course attractions. This year's course builds on 2011's fun stuff and adds a few more tricks and treats. If you want to know more you'll have to come see for yourself.

Online registration closes at midnight. Click on the link to the right for more information.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Halloween at the Camp Reminder

Costumes everywhere
It's Halloween at the Camp
Watch out for that log

Online registration for Halloween at the Camp closes tomorrow at midnight. Chances are probably good you'll be at a party when as deadline approaches, so don't forget—do it now!

Unsure of the weather? Unlike last year, we will have full access to Camp Assiniboia's main hall. All racers and spectators will be able to keep warm while still watching from the hall's wall of windows. The camp's canteen will also be open, offering coffee, hot chocolate, and other goodies.

AND...if you needed extra incentive, we have just turned up the entertainment value to 11. The wheels of steel will be on site with mad DJs mixin' and scratchin', scratchin' and mixin' to keep you body movin'. Manitoba's voice of cyclocross, Steve S, will also be on-hand, calling the races and possibly telling scary ghost stories.

AND...there will be prizes.


Julich Too?

So now Julich has confessed to using EPO and Sky's sacked him. Anyone notice that the vast majority of confessed dopers come from the USA and Germany? Those countries have issues. Why can't they race clean like the Spaniards, Italians, Belgians, and Russians? 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Halloween! Costumes! CYCLOCROSS!

Been thinking of costume ideas for our annual Halloween cyclocross race? Of course you have. We know you're ready for some scary fun. All the details, including online registration, can be found at the link to the right. 

In case you need some costume ideas, here are a few links to some photo galleries from past spooktacular fun.

Mark Reimer
Stefan Isfeld

Monday, October 1, 2012

Remember that flick "Tread"?

Do any of you remember going to that mountain biking movie called "Tread"? Y'know the one with Greg Herbold and that one riding/climbing sequence set to the song "No pain-o, no gain-o"? Well, it appears mountain bike movies have come a looooong way since 1994.

Tread full length movie can be found here.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Is that what heat exhaustion feels like??

  I think I can safely say that I'm acclimatized to Canadian weather, judging by the distress my body felt racing Mennocross yesterday in 28C temps. My throat was parched at the start, and things went downhill from there. Dehydration and the feeling of being on the verge of some really bad heat related sensations had me wondering how I'd survive. Thank goodness I only had to suffer 30min plus a lap, unlike the A race badboys. The highlight of the day was certainly the kids race, where my son participated in his first ever race. It was really cool to escort him around the course and to hear his name called out every time he passed his fanzone. Thanks to all who made for a stellar event, once again.

Monday, September 17, 2012

DarkCross Results

In case you've missed it, the results have been published over at the official DarkCross site. There was a total of 213 racers, a new MB record. Thanks to all the sponsors, racers, and spectators who came out to make the event what it was.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Thule Rack for Sale - new in box.

Brand new Thule roof rack for sale. Check out the ad here

DarkCross Is Here!

A lot of planning and effort finally comes together today. We can't wait for things to get started. The course is set and sure to excite both racers and spectators. Lots of prizes, cool DX merch, and a great forecast are just icing on the cake.

If you've been under a rock or need to look up last-minute details, check out the official event site at

See you out there!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Cross Labs

Want to look as good as Mike? Cross Labs are a good way to cut your teeth and hone your skills. Open to all regardless of age, ability, or experiences. Most of us can't practice enough.

CrossLabs - Free Casual Cyclocross Practice
Everyone is welcome! Join us for a fun cyclocross practice session and workout that will mix skills and drills with games and challenges. All you need is a bike (any bike will do) and a helmet. Suitable for all ages and abilities.
When: Tuesday nights in September at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Canadian Mennonite University (North Campus), 500 Shaftesbury Blvd.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The "Tripel"

So I think I know what's next on our cyclo cross scene. The triple flyover.
Forgive the beer pun in the title. I like beer.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Michelle's Maah Daah Hey 100 Race Report

We rolled into Watford City just in time for the start of pre-race meeting, and walked into a crowd that was 95% young ultra-fit males. We sat down at a table and were soon joined by a couple who asked Artur if he was racing solo. They looked a little surprised when he informed him that he was not racing, I was. The surprised look on their face left me thinking that to them, I must look something like the Pilsbury Doughboy on the RRR jersey. The guy asked me what I'd been doing to train for the event and I said "running". The look of surprise changed to a blank stare. I tried to explain that we ran very long distances etc., but that didn't seem to give them much confidence that I wasn't going to be lizard fodder out on the trail. 

As we listened to the race director give us a run-down of the trail and the things to watch out for I actually started to feel scared and leaned over to Artur to announce that likely I was going to die and who did I think I was signing up for this thing? Artur did not seem too concerned about my imminent demise, likely because he would be the one holding on to the car keys and would be able to get home with or without me. After the terror session, we zipped over to the CCC Campground which was at the MDH trail head and was where the race was to start at 5am the next morning. Got my bits and pieces together and curled up for what was going to be about 3 hours of fitful sleep. 

The next morning was freezing and I was more than a little nervous as I stood at the start line feeling like an enormous nerd in my 'RUN' shirt and rain jacket, standing among all these super fast looking folk and in their awesome biking outfits. At 5 am exactly the race was on. The first 1.5 hours was in total blackness and I thanked Kevin and Ryan many times over (silently of course, out loud would have been weird) for lending me their lights with zero notice. The nervousness was gone, replaced by exhilaration. The night riding was very cool and although I missed out on some great scenery, the other 14.5 hours I was on the trail offered unending spectacular views. I can't begin to count the number of times I let out "Oh WOW". 

The first leg was just under 25 miles and I pedalled along fairly conservatively, quite sure that I was at the very back of the pack because I couldn't see or hear anyone behind me. I wasn't overly concerned about that, after all, I was just here to have fun (I had now decided that I likely wouldn't die after all). As I rolled into the first aid station the volunteers were very excited telling me I was the first female and 28th overall (which put me about 1/2 way in the pack). I was more than slightly surprised and right then the competitive juices started flowing. I wasted no time at the first aid station and blasted off into leg 2. 

Leg 2 was a pure delight, I was absolutely flying high, loving my bike, loving life, loving everything. I arrived at aid station 2 (approx 50 miles in) still feeling great and chomping at the bit to get leg 3 done. I'd heard it was the toughest leg but wasn't worried because I had made good time in the first 2 and had approx. 7 hours to complete leg 3 (the first 2 legs took me about 3.5 to 4 hours each). I spent more time at that aid station then I should have and then really lost time because about 1.5 miles into leg 3, the trail was completely washed out and there were no posts or flags to be seen. I was convinced I'd somehow taken the wrong route and rode all the way back to the aid station to inquire. It turned out I had been on the right path and should have simply crossed the ravine where I would have found the trail markers. All in all about an hour was lost at that transition area, but I still felt sure I would get to TA 3 before cut-off. 

Leg 3 was a slog. Constant climbs and descents, very rough trails, lots of hike-a-bike portions (given my skill level, I know a lot of people would have ridden all or most of it). For sure I was tired but the ultra-running experience paid off big time. At no time did I ever feel the same fatigue that I do during an ultra. Brad is right, running is immoderate, but boy does it make you tough! It also helped that for about 1/3 of the course I had the company of a guy on a CX bike—talk about hardcore! The 3rd leg was approximately 30 miles—I had miscalculated and thought it was less so for most of the leg I still thought I would make cut-off. Once I realized I would miss it, I felt some disappointment, but I had done more than I expected to and certainly enjoyed the experience more than I thought possible. 

As I was closing down that last couple of miles of the leg I spotted a person sitting on top of a butte and perhaps due to fatigue, insanity or poor eye-sight decided it was a blonde woman doing yoga. Then I noticed that this blonde woman was taking pics (I could see the flash). Then I realized that this blonde woman was actually Artur who looks nothing like a blonde woman. Ian Hall had ended his ride at TA 3 and had offered his bike up to Artur so that he could take a rip on the trails. Very cool, Ian. As CX guy and I rolled up to Artur, he informed us the remainder of the tail was smooth, flow-y, and mainly downhill. It was pure bliss for the last 1.5 miles and we came zipping into TA 3 to sound of the volunteers cheering. High 5s all around. 20 minutes past cut-off, but it was OK. I had had the time of my life, and it's just the beginning.

Huge thanks to Kevin and Ryan for their "more powerful than the sun" lamps and to Artur for driving all over the middle of nowhere with my crazy dog to cheer me on and whip up all those PB+J sandwiches!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Fast enough to be last: Back 40 Recap

The rating on the package of my new 29er tires gave them a 0 for muddy conditions and a 5 for dry, smooth, packed trail. My thoughts... "Mud? When do I ever ride in mud? Achh, that's not important, what's important is that they knock over a pound of rolling weight off my bike. That's going to feel great on the climbs!" And so, the die had been cast...

I'm not sure how I can describe yesterdays race in terms that could allow you to fully grasp what it was like when the heavens opened up during lap 3 and half of 4. I felt great by the halfway point and had the energy to finish strong, but, alas, the final rain burst of the day threw a spanner into the works. It turned, what had been a slightly slick, but completely rideable, singletrack course, into a snotty, slippery trough of demoralization. Honestly. In dry conditions, my 5 year old son could ride most of the north lake shore trail. During lap 4, it was essentially impossible to ride even the most modest incline on this stretch, and getting off and pushing was equally bad. No joke. Even with four big, ol'lugs in the cleats, I was slipping out continuously as I walked up trail that is normally a roller coaster of good times. At one point I passed a rider completely splayed out on the slight, simple to ride descent to the boat ramp.(for those of you who know the trail) What was it like, you ask? You know those deep, ice ruts that sometimes develop on wintry Winnipeg roads? The trail was a bit like that, in the sense that it grabbed your wheel, spun you sideways, then dumped you to the ground. At other times I truly felt I was riding my bike on a slick, 10 inch wide, freshly iced bobsled run. The big, grassy descent towards the creek crossing, just before the 2nd stretch of roadway, was so treacherous I launched into the bush 3 times, and that was while walking! You may be thinking, "what a wuss. I've ridden trail in the rain plenty of times." In my defense, I count it a source of pride to have ridden, and finished the 2001(?-could have been 2002) cup race at Swan River in 11C temps and pouring rain. Somehow that course was still rideable, even in the rain. This trail is different. The mud on the lower sections, nearer the lake, is classic Manitoba gumbo, similar to what you'd find riding the monkey trails along the Red River.

The start of lap 4 was my lowpoint, and had me seriously considering packing it in and sheepishly accepting my non-mechanical induced DNF.  What kept me going...? Pride? Undoubtedly. But the very reason I made the last minute decision to race the 5 lap version was because RRR lacked a representative and, as a result would forfeit any chance of winning the 2012 version of the coveted Butter Belt. Sacrelige! I had to push on. I knew the Jonny G was a little behind, so in order to restore the belt to it's rightful home, I had to keep slipping and sliding my way towards the finish.  Well, the good news is that I was fast enough to make the last lap before the cutoff time, the bad news was that I was the last racer fast enough to make the cutoff time and as a result finished last place. It was a lonely last lap, and my crossing the finish with arms raised in victory was met by a chorus of soggy crickets, as by then the staging area resembled a ghost town. Ah well, at least Tim and Kevin were there to make the prize presentation that mattered most. The Butter Belt is back where it belongs. Rumours swirl that this could possibly be the final BB awarded, as the formation of Dark Red Racing makes the intersquad rivalry somewhat of a moot point. Or is it? Guess we'll have to wait until next year to find out. Now, how do I convince my wife that the belt is beautiful and should grace the display on our dining room buffet table?

As always, big thanks go out to the Tinker team that joined forces in making a the 2012 Back 40 another stellar event. Thanks guys/gals!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Can tires make you faster?

I had an interesting experience today. I went for my first ride on my new Michelin Pro3 Race Road tires. Right off the hop I felt like something was different. It was as though my bike was rolling more smoothly, and as the ride progressed, the feeling became more pronounced and I actually felt like I was going faster. Sure enough, at the end of my ride my avg. speed was about 1-1.5km/hr higher than what I was typically putting out on my old tires. Is that possible? How can swapping out one set of slick tires for another set make any difference? Weird. Anyway, I googled it and came across this chart.  Apparently there is a difference between tires. Here's the original site.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Updates From France

I know I said I'd have updates for you from my trip in France. There will be updates as there's a lot to share, but right now there's too much going on for a report to be made. When back at the hotel after riding I'm too fatigued to even think about it. Perhaps on our transfer day to Bedoin I can find a cafe...

I'll just leave you by saying we rode the Alpe d'Huez loop today in 30°C+ temps. Going down the backside of the mountain was fun. Going up the fabled 21 switchbacks was hard, even before encountering a headwind on a 10% grade segment. Elevation at altitude isn't your friend when you're a prairie boy.

Tomorrow is the ride to the Col de la Croix de Fer, total estimated distance of 107 kms including another climb up d'Huez back to the hotel. I'm curious to see how the legs respond are today. Can't wait.

Here are a few scenery pics from today's ride.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bonjour, Paris!

Roughly a year ago there was this little surprise. It took me a good long while to figure out what to do, but after careful consideration I came to the conclusion: with such an awesome wife I could possibly negotiate a trip to Colorado should a "guys trip" present itself, and having already extensively travelled through Asia, I should add another continent to my travel list. Europe it is, but where should I go to find the best cycling has to offer? Italy? Spain? France?

In the end, after talking to several sources who have experienced all that France has to offer, I settled on making the classic climbs of the TdF my motivation for training through the winter and spring. And if I played my cards right, I could sneak in witnessing a live TdF stage or two. 

Well, today, I'm lounging in the apartment I rented with Larry located in the heart of Paris. The next couple weeks have a lot in store. There's going to be some sight-seeing, lots of riding, and probably a healthy helping of cheese, baguettes, and wine (okay, that's already become a reality). A third week in Spain with my wife will probably not be detailed here.

Check back later for more as this trip unfolds. For now, here are a few photos from a brief exploration, all within a 10 minute walk of our apartment.

the the one in Winnipeg, but wider
some old art museum people were making a big deal of
nobody's going to steal this bridge
Larry's new favourite store
one of our neighbourhood streets

Friday, July 6, 2012

Brandon Race Course Preview

While out in Brandon this past weekend I decided to give a pass on the uber-awesome trails in the Brandon Hills south of town in favour of a few laps on the site of this year's Brandon Cup Race. When I heard that the Brandon race would not be played out in the hills, I have to say I had my doubts. But, after riding the new course, located just outside of Walmart along the north edge of the valley, I am convinced that the new course will certainly satisfy. Here is my take on the trail...
  • squeezing 6.5km of trail into a relatively small parcel of hillside is an amazing feat. As a result, there are a lot of switchbacks. If you plan on racing well here, you HAVE to preride it. There are a lot of sharpish uphill turns that will force you to scrub a lot of speed if you don't know they're coming.
  • pray for clouds. The south facing hillside will be roasting if it's sunny.
  • I was kind of expecting the trail to be a little like the old loop that used to be at Springhill Winter Park. (think waaaayyyyy back to the mid-90's, back when rumour has it Mike G could churn out 5 laps and hardly break a sweat...) But thankfully, this loop is a LOT more fun, and a lot less of a punishment. Mind, there is a lot of climbing, but the ascents are not overly demoralizing.
  • The stretches of trail cut into the wooded section are fun. 
  • The course will be very spectator friendly, almost like a cross race, as the trail turns back on itself often.
  • Not a very technical course, but there is one rock garden on the west end of the hill that could throw a person if they're not concentrating
  • I think it would do wonders for the popularity of mountain biking and mtb racing if every city had a course this fun and challenging within 5 minutes of home. I imagine that 5-10 years from now the biking scene in Brandon will reap the fruits of their labours in the form of more bikers, more racers, and healthier bottom lines for local bike shops as they serve the needs of the new riders.
Walmart and the rest of the Corral Centre form the Southern boundary.
You have to love it when trails have signs warning you you're about to have a fun time.
Not all the switchbacks are this obvious...
This is a good example of how tightly packed the trails are. The right hand portion of trail switchs back, then comes out and back and passes within a foot of the previous section of trail.
This straight section is one of two climbs up a toboggan hill. The zigzag trail is the descent.
trail. duh.

Will this race loop put a smile on your face?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Tour day Schmalz

He's back and he's as good as ever.  Mandatory reading for 21 days in July.  

Tour day Scmalz 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Weight weenies rejoice

Does being a weight weenie go against the RRR ethos? Maybe a little. More so with some members than others, right Lightness Larry? You don't get a nickname like Lightness without having a long history of gram counting. KK's weight weenie-ness, on the other hand, is less recognized, but no less powerful.

I think most cyclists have at least some part of them that keeps weight in mind when considering new bikes or parts. We all have this hope that shaving grams will transfer into faster riding. But, how do you know whether your gram shaving is actually making any difference on the overall weight of your ride? Sure, weighing small (often greasy) parts on your wife's kitchen cooking scale is great for seeing how many grams that 250$ carbon stem is saving over your original aluminum one, but isn't your overall bike weight the one that really matters? I found a $3.00 solution on Ebay. With free shipping, this luggage scale makes bike weight comparisons dead simple. And it comes cheap. So, with scale in hand, I decided to test out the weights of my 2 primary bikes.
2011 Trek Hifi 29er - is this weight a bit porky? Time to source some lighter tires...
2008 Specialized Tarmac. Ahhh, that's more like it. Full carbon, dura ace goodness equates to sub-17lb lightness. No wonder I STOMP the mit guys up the huge climbs around Steinbach.
After weighing my primary rides, I admit I started to get a little carried away...
I wonder if Leah will appreciate the carbon handle bars I have on order for her trike.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sandilands Race Course Preview

By all accounts, the race scheduled this Sunday in Sandilands forest is a go. Things did not look promising due to the recent forest fires in the area, but it's all systems go right now. About a month ago I had the chance to ride the race course that the AlterEgo and Body Driven guys have mapped out and here's my take on it.

The course combines existing trail with some newer cut singletrack as well as short sections of the Red ski trail, and is has a good mix of up and down. The existing trail was created, and is used, by dirtbikes and as a result is looser sand, with a few sections that the throttle twisters have gouged pretty deep ruts in. However, that being said, I found that these sections tended to be more on the downhill sections, and were therefore still fun to ride. I can only think of one section of slight uphill that has a rut that would affect pedal stroke. Mind you, I rode this about a month ago, and it's likely that the race course groomers have already remedied this. The dirt bike created trails tended to have the loosest sand, and that's something to consider when choosing your bike and tire combo. I switched over to a 29er this year and I solidly believe that the bigger wheels have a distinct advantage in the loose stuff, especially on the climbs. The trail groomers have worked doggedly to make this course absolutely as awesome as it can be and to minimize the loose, sandy sections by cutting stretches of trail that skirt them. These new sections of trail, as can be expected, needed to be worked in some.

The course starts at the base of Suicide Hill and begins with a good, solid climb. I found the climbing on this course to be good in the sense that it wasn't overly demoralizing. In other words, all the climbs are do-able. Probably one of the best things about the course is that it makes the most of your potential energy. The downhills seem to last a long time with the jewel in the crown being the final descent back to the starting point.

All in all, I think the race will leave people glad they made the effort. And any rainfall between now and the race will only improve the course by firming up the soft spots.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

29er Wheelset for sale $225

2011 Bontrager Rhythm Elites

$225 Takes them.

Kijiji: 29er Wheelset Bontrager Rhythm Elites

see ad. HERE

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Open Invitational

To all RRR and FGBC.(and anyone else who is of similar minds) Some good friends of ours who are in the know about some trails that are pretty cool and very difficult to find- have offered to tour guide for anyone interested. Birds Hill Park- nothing you've ridden there I'm pretty sure. Not Bur Oak, not chickadee trail. Names like "double d's" "park bench" "big pit" "little pit""Phil's bridge" "east side" etc..... Easily a few hours of trails that are new and need to be ridden. Mountain bike- full suspension if you have-I rode hardtail however and it's okay. So the offer is to take anyone out next Sunday. I know it's mothers day and all, but it's worth the hassle to ride these trails if you can get the kitchen pass. 8am East Gate. And don't be late. Our tour guides are prompt and don't wait for you if you're late.... So the invite is out.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Grand Beach Race Coming Up Quickly

The OCC gang are known for putting on great races, and Sunday's affair should be no different. If you wanna test your winter fitness program, get all the details and pre-register here.

Bonus: proceeds go to Siloam Mission to help with a new bike rack for its clients.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I'm More Out of Shape Than Ever

"I'm more out of shape than ever." That's a direct quote from this year's winner of Brad's gravel grinder. Upon hearing that, most of us thought, "bullshit", and the way it ended we were right. But at an event like this, everyone's a winner--good cycling, good camaraderie, good chips (even if only lightly salted).

Thanks Brad for putting on and hosting another great event, and to Mike for helping Brad with preparations. I'm already looking forward to next year.



Sunday, April 8, 2012

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Saturday Afternoon Road Ride Report

We pre-rode the course for Brad's upcoming third-annual gravel grinder. was awesome(rrr).