Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I'm Expecting

I'll be welcoming a new addition to my harem of bikes just in time for cyclocross season. I had a little rendezvous outside with Shawn Whole Wheat Bunnin last week to seal the deal. He and Erik have been working hard to make sure everything is perfect. I'm so excited!

* Thanks to Balls Pedersen for the sonograph.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Attention Cyclists

Beware of sasquatches that will jump out of the bushes and chase you.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Moustache Madness

After watching Erik and Craig cross the finish line in Fernie (to complete a spectacular performance at TransRockies), I hustled up to Hinton for the final race in the Alberta XC Cup Series. The drive from Fernie to Hinton goes through some of the most spectacular scenery that Canada has to offer. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough to compel anyone to make the journey with me for a 'measly' sub-two hour race. On the plus side, this allowed DJ Tori to play an uninterrupted seven hour gig for a very captive audience. She's so awesome.

The course was fast and hilly. Long, soft, twisty single track descents through the shady forest and steady double track climbs in the blistering sun. My front brake was worn through, causing me to be cautious on the descents - not sure of how much braking power I really had. I lost a few positions on account of this during the first lap. But, I made up for it on the hills. I don't exactly have a climbers physique, but I seem to be willing to punish myself more on the inclines than others. It was a good solid effort.

I was surprised to see the number of riders sporting real moustaches for the occassion (plus a few that apparently celebrate the race year-round). Even Andre Sutton had a moustache! I wanted to take a picture, but I was too shy (he's so intimidating). My faux moustache lasted all of a half hour before sliding over to the middle of my cheek. I would love attribute this shift to the intense wind resistance generated by my speedy cycling, but I must concede that it was more likely a function of my profuse perspiration.
I think I might have been the only one from Calgary that made it up to Hinton for the race. It was definitely worth the drive, even if it meant taking off before results were posted so that I could get back to Calgary at a reasonable time. I found out this morning that I won my category!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tuesdays with Cindy

* Photo courtesy of Balls Pedersen

Every Tuesday, Midweek Mayhem hosts criterium races at the Research Park at the University of Calgary. In a criterium, cyclists ride around a circuit for a set period of time (in this case, 25 or 30 minutes) and then a bell is rung, indicating there are a set number of laps remaining (in this case, 2). Over the course of the race, riders will 'attack' (try to break away from the pack by riding faster and hoping that some others will not keep up).

In my experience as a spectator, men seem naturally competitive enough to do this to each other for no other reason than bragging rights. Still, to prevent any risk of a lazy race, there are 'prem' laps in which incentives (often prizes or cash, or points, the value of which is directly correlated with pride), are awarded to the first one through the line.

The majority of participants at the Tuesday crit are men, but there is a small contingent of women. In contrast to men, women, at least at my level, are not as predisposed to attacking each other. I attribute this to i) an aversion to disrupting the peace, ii) fear of failure, and iii) an emphasis on safety.

This week I tried the race for the first time. Cindy was there (which is the only reason I found the guts to try it), along with a handful of other girls. Coach Pedersen (aka 'Balls') rode behind to give us tips and spice up the race. Only a few laps into the race, Balls insisted that one of us should attack. That's when the fun started. There was an attack every couple of minutes, or so it seemed. As soon as one of us felt that anaerobic feeling of nausea subside, we would hammer down and try to pull away. The pace kept rising until there were only three of us (four, if you include Balls) remaining, Cindy, Caitlin, and me.

The last lap was an all out sprint. I'm talking an all out effort. The kind that makes your lungs feel like they are going to bleed. Like you could fail at any moment, but you keep trying anyway. All the way to the finish, where nobody was even keeping a record. The only audience that mattered was ourselves. It was exhilerating.

Afterward, Cindy, Balls and I rode to Jimmy's A&A Falafel house. It was kind of late for dinner, and a school night, but it was a beautiful evening and it seemed like a fun thing to do. Coach Pedersen earned his nickname of Balls with an agressive (but legal) traffic maneuver. In a misunderstanding that involved a Borat impersonation and almost resulted in severe injury to Balls, I earned the nickname of Thighs. We laughed and talked about bikes until it started to get dark. We talked about race strategy as though racing were our livelihood. I felt like a kid.

This was, by far, the best Tuesday work night that I can recall. I'm going to have to try this again sometime.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Totally Awesome