Friday, July 29, 2011

Setting the Standard...

...and showing the whipper snappers a thing or two. Well, we dodged the worst of the storm and were victim of only a decent rain shower on Wednesday night for our 20km age graded time trial spectacular. In a twist that we telegraphed about as well as a Shamalyman justedplot twist, wenot only age graded the results utilizing British cyclings vetrans tables but we made allowancefor those brave souls Merckxing it as well as the double Xers. And we always knewBruce Willis was dead all along and that the village was just a rural throwback sociologicalexperiment. On the other hand, who knew that aliens disliked water so much. If they show up, I'm headed to Vancouver.
Anyway, for the most part, raw speed ruled the day but the age grading of which I applied a slightly less gernerous advantage (due to the vigour and hardiness of us Canadians). In the end, it was Rob Schuhart pulling out the age adjusted win over the big man, Paul Rosenberg who blistered the course in a non adjusted 29 flat. Cody Godlonton took third overall and was just 9 seconds behind Paul on the road at the end of the day. Big thanks to the volunteers who braved the rain to help out, including Peter Heinemeyer (again), Callum Galbraith and Tom Kenney who wore a skinsuit to help out and looked fast standing still. I have included the adjusted results as well as a table of the adjustments to see how it changed things. Oddly more than half of the riders were within 2 years of eachother so for the most part the road times held. I'll investigate more before we do it again next year but food for thought. You're all fast in my books.

Monday, July 25, 2011

....police box spotted in Calgary, strange things a foot...

...Have you ever wanted to travel in time? Battle daleks? Visit the end of the universe? Find out where the dolphins went? Watch the daleks battle the dolphins?
Well, here's your chance. I'm looking for a few good time travellers to race man's oldest enemy...time. Maybe second oldest enemy, wolves would have to be first. And snakes, they're right up there too. So if you want to battle time tavelling, wolf riding snakes, then I have the event for you. The 2011 WNS Time Shifter Race Against the Clock. Through long and dedicated scientific research, I've concluded that life appears to peak at 38, and that the ravages to time begin to appear shortly thereafter like a Sontoran invasion. So seeing as nobody I seem to have met is either 909 years old, or has two heads, I'm going to compensate everyone on the descent from that inevitable peak with the most precious gift in the universe.....Time.
So when you register for the race this Wednesday, you'll have to tell me (in complete confidence of course), the number of months you are older or younger than 38. Your time will adjusted accordingly. In addition, the Cs and Bs will get a few precious seconds, as will the double Xers, Merckxers, and gingers. We'll age grade the TT and see exactly who is living up to their potential in a relativistic kind of way.
The race is this Wednesday the 27th at the olde Dunbow Road course. While we haven't used this course in a while, it is a good course to tune up for the upcoming provincial TT as we'll go the full 20km.
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Parking at the start is not a great idea, but as with other races, we encourage riding to the event or there is plenty of parking on the surrounding sideroads, especially along Range Road 294 which is the first right off Dunbow after you pass Deerfoot Trail heading east. The start is a couple of hundred metres farther up by the first road on the left heading east. The course is a simple out and back and as usual, I could use a couple of helpers. We'll get the first riders off shortly after 6:30.
I'll be there early (or have I already been there and back and even know who wins. Congrats ... ) in my Toyota which I assure you is the same size on the inside as it is on the outside and has a very high, almost infinite probability of getting me there.

....just cleared the WADA investigation....

....into the results of last Wednesdays Sprintastic time in Springbank. Clearly Randy's on something, but we couldn't nail him this time. Could be PEDs, could be love of the sport.

Sorry for the delay in results, I left the sheets at work on the weekend, and I didn't quite make it in to grab 'em. The good news is that I got the house pretty much prepped for the renovationsthatneverseemtoend, but the bad nes is that my golf handicap has gone up to 476.

Anyway, it was a really great time out there on Wednesday. The question that I kept getting asked was if i was going to switch directions and go with the wind. What would Jens do? That's all I have to say about that. It's worth the ride into the wind as tactics rules the day more than raw horsepower. It was cool to watch the learning curve that came with experience and fatigue. Quite a few races were won by less than half a wheel, and a couple by a tire. Good thing the photofinish machine was working.

I'll start with the amazing Cs. What can I say other than wow, did they ever give it a try and boy did they learn a few things. Competition was fierce and the final came down to youth vs experience. A how experience did triumph with former pres Randy Szasz schooling Adrian (the youngster) in a close, close final.

The Bs tore it up as well with a mix of watts and experience. Sometimes watts got it done, other times experience and watts got it done. In the end, it was the best combination of both traits that got it done, and Callum got it done over Aaron Prain. The kids are all right.The As were a show of power and experience as the riders tried to sort out how to hang with and hang without eachother. A close finish saw Cody Godlonton bring it home over Brodie Loster in a close final.

All in all a great evening and a neat event. Definitely going on the calendar for next year. Huge props to Ron Fiell for holding again, Rob Lanthier for holding as well, and Peter Heinemeyer for being the starting line general.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wild Wednesday Redux...

...Just a reminder that this week we're going to give the sprinting another try. Same bat time, same bat channel. Details are in last week's post.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Wheels are spinnin', sky is spinnin'...

...this can't be good. No, not a tale of Stampede excess but rather a tale of excitement, adventure, and a three hour tour. A tale of a fateful trip. What started under sunny skies, a slight breeze, and the best of intentions turned into a pelting storm, local (6km) tornado, and the tiny ship was tossed. Well, the brave and fearless crew got a few runs in of the sprint, but not enough to really calculate results. I tallied the participants and gave them half points for the effort with a little uptick for those winning heats, but not enough to really change the results so I have updated the Standings on the right with the Final Standings for the Second Series of the 2011 WNS.
This mate is a mighty sailing man, and the riders brave and sure, and again well set sail next week, for another three hour tour. In the Queen's english ... The participating riders quite enjoyed the challenge of the event and anticipate a subsequent installment. In American english ... We's gonna do it a'gin, cause the people liked it, and cuz it was all neat and everything. That's right, we'll reload and give it another go next week, same location, same course, same time. I'll fix a couple of the bugs and I think the format needs another go as it appears promising and it's cool to watch. I like that. Over and out little buddy.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

WNS Twister

Rode home under this developing twister last night after our partial race. The wierd thing is with the heavy downpour and some hail, the temperature seemed to increase. It was warm and actually felt kind of nice. I got off Lower Springbank Road, rode around the graveyard looking for shelter but there was none. Hope the others who rode home were ok.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Yeeeeehawww...'t time for the durn ole Stampede Showdown. A rip roarin', cleat scootin', wheel spinnin' time. Kinda like Chuckwagon races, minus three of the horses, the outriders, and the wagon. Oh, and the horse. There is no Stampede equivalent. The closest you can get would be to get two bulls (or sheep if that's your fancy), tie them to two bikes, and watch em drag race across the arena. The winner goes on, and the loser gets served ... on a bun.

Well, we're gonna be a little more urban than that but you get the drift. Think bull riding meets illegal midnight bike courier racing. Think Kevin Bacon does City Slickers. Think Lance Armstrong getting chased down a gravel road in rural Texas by a crazy wingnut, like Dick Chaney. The format will be elmination sprints. Sprint being a relative term for a race about a halk a kilometer in length. You'll be paired up, crowds silent in anticipation, Cindy Williams will drop a handkerchief, and off you'll go down paradise Road againt Bob Falfa ... wait, wait I've gone all 1138* here. Pretty much holds true though, we'll pair ya up, race ya, and see who goes up the ladder, and who goes down. It's elimination action, plain and simple. I will run a winner and loser bracket and you guys will sprint off for places so I hope to get a few runs each in.

The where is the trick. Given that it's Stampede and they took away my original course so that kids can go swimming (have they no heart), I've had to find a nice unused piece of asphalt. Given the nature of Stampede, I thought of using a library parking lot, city employee parking lot, or one of the runways at the airport which they wouldn't shut down for us. Thanks a lot international travellers. Anyway, I literally looked at a dozen potential locations and for one reason or another, they fell short. the solution appears to have been right under our nose, and more specifically, right in the heart of Springbank. I'm talking the paved roads for the housing development right by the finish of the piratical TT. That is to say, the new development on the south side of Lower Springbank Road between Range Road 32 and 31. I forget the classy name they give to these developments, (something like The Estates of Oak Bluff Manor Creek), but It's pretty obvious. Park at Springbank where we ran the TT (Springbank Park for All Seasons) and warm-up on the way down.

I'd love to get racing around 6:45 but I'll need ya signed in before that so alot enough time to get from the parking to the start (about 4km). If construction buggers up the road we'll use Range Road 32 next door. In any case I'll meet you guys at the housing development where you'll recognize me by my mighty steed (Toyota Matrix). I could use at least three volunteers, one as a starter, and two as holders, so we can start all cool and clipped in and the like. This is a new format, so I'm wingin' it here but I think we can pull something off. See ya then. Yahhoooooo.

*1138 is my internet code for an unnecessary Lucas movie reference.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


What a fun night. It was a stunner of an evening in the hills, with fairly calm winds, beeeyooooootiful temperature, and nary a cloud in sight. The mountains were pretty spectacular looking to boot. This is probably my favourite race of the year. On to the results...
In the A category, I was thrilled to see Harley back and in form. I almost didn't recognize him as I was expecting some kind of scratched up mess. He looked just fine. Ladies take note. Joining Harley were eight other racers as they tackled the full meal deal course of 51 kilometres of flats and hills. From where I sat, it looked all nice and orderly until the first ascent of Mount 'whatever it's named' where the group started to come apart. From my vantage at the summit it looked like Trev had opened it up and shattered the group. On the way back up the hill he looked like he was in a league of his own. I shall call it Mount Williams in honour of the man who defeated it. At least until next year. The finish was fairly spread out with Trev finishing, making a sandwich, having a bath, doing his taxes, and sequencing a genome before Stuart rumbled in. And for Stuart and third place Brodie, their performance was exceptional. The rest of the crew followed, reasonably humbled after a hard night of racing.

In the B category, mystery surrounded the C4 guys that appeared a little tardy to the start, and from all accounts they had been working on some kind of secret plan. It didn't work. What did work in the end was a little combination of luck and hard riding. Callum Galbraith came back from the split of the main graoup on the climb to claim a tight victory over Andrew Paul, Dan Barker, and Alan Oickle.

In the C category, we had us some fireworks. In lieu of a photo finish, I just blinked my eyes real fast. Upon reviewing the captured images, Shawna Donaldson prevailed over Adres, Lewis, and Willy. Images will not be available for the race jury, you'll have to take my word for it.
All in all, it was a great night, and a big thanks to the cvolunteers that made it all work: Sue and Andy Hill, Ania Bergmann, and Mike Urqhart.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The hills are alive with the sound of ...

...swearing. Well, that and grunting, whining, and whinging. It's that season. The bears have come out of their little hidey holes, the snow has left the city (until Stampede), the Leafs have already been eliminated from the playoffs, and Lindsay Lohan can celebrate six months without an arrest. We're also going to tilt the road upwards a little with our much anticipated Kananaskis Road Race.
This little classic, a favourite from the days of yore, starts where White Avenue in Bragg Creek meets Highway 66 just west of 22. This is on the back way out of Bragg Creek near the Provincial Park and people can park in Bragg Creek, at the school on 22, or at the Provincial Park and enjoy a nice easy warmup out to the meeting spot. Time is the usual 6:30, this Wednesday the 6th.

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While I endeavour to clean up the course where I can and to avoid significant obstacles, there are a couple of sections of this course that require some warning. The first thing to note is that there are three sets of 'Texas Gates' on the roadway in each direction. What are 'Texas Gates' you ask? Somebody somewhere though it would be a grand idea to let cows do what cows do wherever they want in large open areas. We like roads through these large open areas so fences just don't work to keep marauding bovines out of out gardens and china shops. The clever solution (clever being a relative term when you're dealing with Texas) is to lay a bunch of pipes across the roadway with the idea that cattle can't cross. Well they can't, but bikes can. They places a couple of small strips along the direction of travel for things like bikes or snakes or something like that to travel along. We've all ridden over these cursed things and for the most part they provide little obstacle. What I need from the riders is a commitment that you'll ride nice and neutral over them, at a comfortable speed, and you'll wait until everyone is across to open the throttle. Just at the gates, mind you. Open the throttle up the hills all you want, I'll be there to chuckle.
The second thing to note are the hills. While the fun and exciting part is going uphill, all things at some point have to come down. So when the roadway tilts down and you descend, take it easy, spread out, give room and ride safe. While it might look cool to open up a couple of hundred feet on the pack going downhill by the time you the uphill starts again that translates into about four feet.
The final thing to note is the proximity to the special area of the province known as McLean Creek. It's not that kind of 'special', it's the other kind of 'special', the kind with 'special' people. They people have bikes which like yours, have wheels. Many of them might also be armed in a way that Alberto 'El Pistolero' Contador is not. They might however, test cleaner. The course goes through the turnoff area and while we have right of way and all that, just be alert and keep your heads up. We all know what happens when the canoes wreck and the banjos start.
The course is pretty simple. The Cs will ride something like a 38km round trip, turning around at a pullout just up the hill after Elbow Falls. The Bs make the summit and turn around at the pullout there, and the As go to the end of the earth, I mean road and turn around at the entrance to the provincial park. The finish is pretty much back where we started.

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This is a great one to bring a volunteer to as I can certainly think of worse things to do than hang around in the spectacular mountains watching the race. In all, I need at least three to make it go, the plywood guys (I call them 'Texas volunteers') won't cut it this time. See ya then.