torstai 15. huhtikuuta 2010

This just in...or actually this came in yesterday, but lazy me took a while to post it.

Het grote Ras (The Big Race)

The first bike race of 2010 is coming up on April 25th. This year’s season opener, organized by the Olympia Cycling Club, will be something special. Hosted by the Belgian-Manitoban community of Bruxelles (about 90 minutes southwest of Winnipeg), the course comprised of some of the most scenic (and most hilly) roads in Manitoba.

Styled like the “spring classics” that take place in Flanders at this time year and involve steep hills and rough cobbled roads, Manitoba’s own Belgian Classic will substitute gravel for the cobbles and includes sections of the Trans-Canada Trail. A winding lap of about 30 km will challenge riders with over 1,000 feet of climbing over nearly a dozen short, steep hills. Nobody will leave unchallenged.

The event is classed as a Manitoba Cup race and we’re expecting all the top riders from around the province to compete for series points. Elite riders will complete 3 laps, with novices and intermediates doing 1 or 2. A participation-oriented tour, led by experienced cyclists, is also taking place the same day for riders who want to try out the course at a more leisurely pace.

The Manitoba Belgian community and the town of Bruxelles are both involved in the event. A short awards banquet in the community hall following the race will include a performance by Winnipeg’s Belgian Folk Dancers. Locally-prepared Belgian beer stew and other treats will await hungry riders and spectators. Tours of historic St. Gerard’s church and cemetery will be available throughout the afternoon, and a large playground is nearby.

More event details, including course maps, can be found at
We’re looking for riders, spectators, and a few more volunteers. If you have questions or would like to help, contact Hal Loewen at

AND: A few people have asked about equipment. For the race categories, you are required to use a road (or cyclocross) bike. The roads are in excellent condition, so regular road tires (700x23) should suffice (a group ride last weekend that included about 7 people on 23mm tires did not result in any flats). That said, 25-28mm tires would probably be more comfortable and would be less prone to pinch flats. There will be a separate “open” category race (1 lap) for anyone wanting to race on a mountain bike. Oh, and… glasses and gloves are recommended to protect against the odd little stone that gets kicked up.

AND ALSO: The Olympia Cycling Club is also hosting the mountain bike season opener the following weekend (May 2) at Grand Beach Provincial Park. A fast and fun course is planned – c’mon out and ride or get some good bike karma by lending a hand helping out.
Should be good times. I tooled around a little bit and came up with this. Course on Mapmyride

I was planning to drive down there on Saturday to check out the race course, but then I noticed that Bruxelles, MB is 160-170km away from my house. I'm not that good in using time to measure distances yet so the distance in kilometers caught me by surprise. I might need to stick with my usual classic called GP HWY59 - Omloop Het Noord Sub-Urban. I'll see the race course three times next week anyway so I'll save the planet and keep my car in the garage. And win-win actually, the gas money buys me a twelve of beer and I'm not talking about Lucky here. It's not that I've never started a race with no idea what I'm getting myself into..."I guess I'll see how long the race is after the finish, if I ever get there".

But back to the topic...which is Fabian Cancellara.

Last Sunday even my wife got up at 7 to watch Fabian destroy one of the classics that I hold dear. She's actually becoming quite the hardcore cycling fan now and surprises me with her insightful comment regarding the race tactics and riders not working and Fabian ripping the legs off weekend warriors such as Boonen and Flecha. The other guys...the invisible guys, the guys who had to get the results even if it took some serious wheel sucking, were the downside of the race final. Boonen fought and lost like a man and even Flecha kinda rode bravish, but the test team guys were just sucking wheels and scrapping in whatever was left loose for wheelsuckers to take. Oh well, the strongest rider won and I think he would win more should he start more classics this spring. Maybe Riis is organizing his troops for July's crosswind/cobbles assault in July and rest of the classics don't fit in the plan?

I would like to write something about training, but I'm still feeling kind of crappy. I've tried to ride a little bit slow rides, but not much luck. Well that's how it goes sometimes. I've had lots of time for my other hobbies that are drinking beer and hanging on online forums. I'll be pretty surprised if I manage to get into any sort of shape by the end of June, but I can't really back off from doing the nationals, so it might be IKEA shopping trip with 40km of barely hanging in there thrown in the mix.

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