Friday, April 30, 2010

Green Death Alley Cat Review - Part 1

That race was crème de le crème. Shaun did a great job incorporating a few loves of his life: biking, smoking, beer and pottery. He failed to incorporate one of his other passions - bacon - another great race theme yet to be explored. Maybe his report will explain the complex nature of bribery for charity. Ironically the race which had a smoking theme was the inaugural race for Craig Doell, Respiratory Therapist. Glad you made it Craig. A race report from the coordinator will be forthcoming.
Conversation at the clubhouse included: NHL playoffs, Duke's new screen-printing prowess, utility trailers, hitches and bike carriers, classic 1970's cuisine (marshmallow/cheeze whiz/jell-o casserole), Bieber fever, the AMU (Altona's Most Underrated) hip-hop crew covering Paul Bergmans Birdsong, the upcoming Bomber season (21-0), and we discovered that Spin Magazine named U2's Achtung Baby the best album in the last 25 years. Thanks for the great race Shaun. The pottery prizes were a nice touch. JS

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Thursday night something something

The weather is looking rather ominous for the Thursday night Green Death Alley Cat. Maybe that's appropriate, maybe not. Weather is rather tricky to predict and the future is no better. People should just show up, BS, and we'll figure it out. If the numbers aren't there because the weather is shite, then we'll go for a ride and race another time. The races do take some time/effort to organize and its nice if the numbers are there to enjoy the fun. The more the merrier. Like I said, show up, BS, and we'll figure it out. JS

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Thanks to Colin at the Farm Service for graciously donating the parts for this project - a very crude bike mount for my digital camera.  A reflector mount, a 1/4" bolt, and two wing nuts.  Bike now has three wing nuts total.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sunday Ride videos

I'm no Stu Jeffries but even I can intro these video gems...a non-riding video (from a ride of course) involving creek crossing and one that needs no introduction...just a dirty mind. Enjoy.

local mountain bike track closed for repairs


Colin Braun informed me that the Altona moto cross 10 track will be unridable with bicycles as the motoheads are prepping (deep tilling) the tracks for a race on May 9. JS

Het Grote Ras Report

I missed the ride at lake Minnewasta, but I did enjoy the the big race in Bruxelles. 45 racers spun on the gravel roads covering both hill and dale. I bought an MCA citizen license this year and this was my first road race. The race started off with a blessing by the local priest who also sprinkled holy water on the group. There were 5 different groups riding between 1 and 3 laps based on bike choice and abilities. See the race results here. I battled hard for the win in the citizen class. The secret to my success was simple: speed + endurance + skill + luck + strategy + holy water = win. OK so maybe I was the only dude in the citizen’s category but that’s where my superior strategy put its foot in the door and said,” Just finish the race dummy”. I suppose I also won the less prestigious DFL title, so really I won twice! Not bad for my first road race. The trophy, gravel in a Mason jar, and biking shwag from Olympia were appreciated. When all the riding was done, the community hall hosted Belgian dancers, belgian beer stew/potatoes/carrots, and the awards ceremony. The community which doubled in size for the race, seemed to enjoy hosting the event. It was good to see Jon G, Kevin K, Brad the I, Craig, Adam, and other bicycle enthusiasts. It was a beautiful day for a ride. Very good times. JS

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Another reason we don't ride fast...especially in our current volcano-paranoid society...

Sunday afternoon ride at Lake Minnewasta

I'm planning on heading out to Lake Minnewasta for about 1:30.  Are you still interested Lorne? Everyone's invited. Should be fun hitting the lake trail!  If anyone needs a ride, let me know, I'll be leaving town around 1:00.   CK

Friday, April 23, 2010

Thursday Night Ride Report

Mike, Charles, Lorne, Tom, Gavin, Steven, David, Steve, Jeff, Shaun, Curt, James, Kyle (welcome to ABES Kyle) and I (who did I miss?) enjoyed a beautiful night of spinning in and out of town. Shaun did not have his newly purchase bike ready for its debut and was given a one week extension for his alleycat. Another week to anticipate the fun of huffing and puffing. Kyle and Lorne were riding fat, knobby, mountain bike tires and were working twice as hard as everyone in the skinny tire club. DSwat took some pictures that may make it on the blog. It was a big ABES crew that grew when Bruce tracked us down for the last minutes of the ride and Duke and Paul joining us at the clubhouse. Conversation topics at my third of the extra long table included the Bruxelles race, a Sunday ride at lake Minnewasta, the good times of the moto park 10, the fear and realities of loosing your wheel while riding, searching for arrowheads, bike purchases, hockey card collections, Lorne moving back to BC this summer, planting potatoes with santa and mexican elves, and the blessings/curses of the alpha male/salesman. Good times.

If anybody wants to join me for The Big Race in Bruxelles, let me know. JS

The pre-ride gathering begins.

Ride break at the south end of the Village.

Steve B. dominates the pavement.

Dismount time at the post-rdie headquarters.  New rider Kyle looks eager to rehydrate.

The end of the ride.

The sweet crew finishes another fine Thursday night ride.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wednesday Night Ride report

Okay, it wasn't really much of a ride. More of an amble. A few shortened, slow laps of the motocross track (both kids and adults) but still a good time. If you haven't checked it out, do it. Well worth the short drive out from town.

Watching the kids ride the little track.

Mia, Cheryl and Jacob on the big track.

Jacob and Cindy ride the big track. William enjoys the Softride approach.

Jacob riding the moguls.

Oh yeah...and especially for Johnny...seems like someone is a little on the dumb side. Hey dumb dumb. How's this sign look?

Note the name....

Thursday Night Ride

There's something about spring that makes me smile.

I believe D'Shaun is preparing an alleycat race for Thursday. Can the race coordinator confirm or deny these reports? JS

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

More good times on a bike

Have I mentioned that I love the Altona Moto X Park (or as David’s Gospel of Truth calls it, Moto Park X). It’s a fun, new biking option, it’s basically a mountain bike trail, and its a mile from town in the flattest part of Canada. I’m super pumped!

Last night I took my daughters to the Moto X Park. Kate is still working on her push bike skills, but Mia rode 5 laps of the kids course. She said “this is so awesome” about 5 times per lap. I was grinning like an idiot watching her ride the course, grinning like an idiot.

The track is open to motorbikes: Tuesday & Thursdays Noon - 9:00 p.m. & Saturday noon – 6:00 p.m. ABES are permitted to use the track all other times. Right on. JS

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Morning Coming Down (and going back up...and coming down...and back up...)

Johnny invited me to come out for a little recon ride of Altona's Moto Park X. Very nice. We rode the 1.83KM course twice (once in each direction) and found it both flowing yet challenging. The climbs are doable for the most part but also include a couple of possible foot-climbers for us less able riders (see video posted below!) All in all a nice little place for this years Dirty Double Cross and a potentil site for the Southern Cross as well.

Johnny surveys Moto Park X

A nice hill.steep bank combo. Tough to hit hard and still make the descent into the corner.

The food service facility with a mogul section in front.

The main grandstand (great views of the whole track!) and the announcers tower. Play-by-play anyone? Duker?

View down to a 2nd hill from one of the higher hills. Very fun descent.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Upcoming Events...

Lots of riding opportunities happening these days.

Let's get right to it...

1) Sunday Morning Ride - I'd like to ride some of the Trans Canada Trail (between Hwy 201 and Hamm's property) this Sunday morning for church. I'd like to leave Rocktona at 9:30 and return around 12:30. Anybody interested? Everybody is invited.

2) DShaun is planning what sounds like a smokin good alleycat race for this Thursday (April 22). I'm sure ridiculous ABES awesomeness will ensue. Plan to be there.

3) Ian Hall, Hall Loewen and the boys at Olympia are organizing the first MCA road race/ride of the year. This is the first time this event is taking place and there are some delightful details that should should be noted:

- the local parish priest will proved a pre-race blessing (that's a good thing)

- a race announcer (in English and Flemish) will broadcast the race

- homemade beer stew and the Winnipeg Belgium dancers at the community hall post race ceremonies

- it is anticipated that beer will be sold as a fundraiser for the local school. Yes, really

- What better excuse do you need to get out and ride these unique, beautiful and challenging Manitoba roads and hills with a bunch of awesome people

If anybody wants to start riding at MCA events, this sounds like a great place to start. If you buy an MCA citizens license at the race ($40 which entitles you to participate in the lower/est categories at most 2010 MCA events), the race registration for this event will be complimentary.

Here's what Ian had to say about Het grote Ras (The Big Race)...

The first bike race of 2010 is coming up on April 25th will be something special. Hosted by the Belgian-Manitoban community of Bruxelles , 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.

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.

Sounds very nice, no? What do you say? Team ABES draft crew?

4) May 2 - Fast Old Guys are organizing a Time Trial race in Birds Hill Park. You don't need an MCA license for this one. More info here

All these biking possibilities and it's only April. I love it. 2010 baby! JS

Thursday Night Ride Report

David, Lorne, Tom, Gavin and I braved the gales. We saw the first days work of Hiebzky's addition in the darp. We toured the town and raced for speed on the strip. David has the stats about the ride and took a few pictures. Myron, Steve and Paul joined us at the clubhouse. There were no sandwiches or popcorn this week but Myron and Paul unloaded the vending machine of a variety of Old Dutch products. Conversation topics included wind farms, hotel renovations and bookings, anthem runners, upcoming rides, Teemu Selanne, ABES shirts for sale, Buck Pierce, religion in the classroom, land barons, and the movie Identity - It was the baby! Good times. Terrible movie. JS

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010

Nobody messes with the Softride

Bike magazine has an awesome series called The Sh*t Bike Challenge. They take a softride bike (my bike is a softride) and give it to pro bikers to do various riding (cyclocross, trials, endurance races, downhill, etc.). In the last issue, the intent was to destroy the bike by setting it ablaze and flinging it with a trebuchet (catapult). Check out the results.

Sh*tbike Destroys Trebuchet from Bike Magazine on Vimeo.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Super Sunday Singletrack

 Lorne, pre-ride.

Gavin and Johnny - pre-ride

Lorne cruising down the path to the Minnewasta Golf and Country Club.  No bikes allowed!

Cruising through the aforementioned MG+CC.  Johnny and Gavin plan their lines.

Lorne and David discuss metaphysics.

Lorne conquers the first big climb.  Lorne-style.

Tragedy befalls Gavin and his crank.  Lorne cheers him up by showing off his killer abs.

The busted crank.

Johnny and Lorne cruise down the path towards the Trans Canada Trail.

The sweet descent to the creek.

Johnny (aka The Fonz) jumps the creek.

Sunday was a fantastic day for a ride.  Perfect temps, sunny, and the trails we rode out at Lake Minnewasta in Morden, MB were awesome.  After starting out strong we ran into a bit of trouble when Gavin's crank broke and he lost a pedal.  He had to turn back but Johnny, Lorne and David forged on.  We ran the sweet single track around the Lake then headed up to reconnect with the Trans Canada Trail and enjoy a bunch more awesomness.  Good times boys!  Soon to be done again.  Very soon.

Friday, April 9, 2010


Albert, Shaun, Bruce, Mike, Steve, Charles, Dan, David, Gavin, Jeff, Lorne, and I went on a zippy ride around town.  Mike set a fast pace for the ride and it was great.  He made it look effortless.  I did not.  Bruce was sporting his new yellow deep V rims – they look pretty sweet on his blue Sekini road bike.  I got a flat tire on the last stretch of the ride.  Even my bike knew it was time for a beer.  Fortunately I was only two blocks away from home.  Steve had the highlight of the night.  He made fun of a couple of girls in the clubhouse parking lot, and then forgot he was clipped-in and fell on the cement.  The girls laughed their A’s off - everybody did, including Steve.  Classic.  Duke and Paul B joined us at the clubhouse where we were offered complimentary hero sandwiches instead of our usual servings of popcorn - nice.  Conversations at my end of the table roamed between retirement plans, getting punched in the face, back-country camping, the incredible NCAA basketball finals, and biking around Lake Minnewasta this weekend.  Congratulations to Gavin and Joanne who are expecting baby number two in September(?).  Gavin will be joining the full-time work force in fall – party’s over Faurschou. 
Good times.  JS 

These are the ride statistics form tonight. Enjoy.

Route:--Elev. Avg:0 m
Location:Gretna, Canada, Elev. Gain:+0 m
Date:04/08/10Up/Downhill: [+0/-0]
Time:09:47 PMDifficulty:0 / 5.0
 -15 C temp; 70% humidity
 -15 C heat index; winds SE 16 kph

Distance: 13.87 km
Speed:23.0 kph
Pace:2' 37 /km
Speed (kph)
KmPace (min/km)Speed (kph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
12' 42+0' 0522.2-0.8-- m
22' 29-0' 0724.0+1.0-- m
32' 10-0' 2627.6+4.6-- m
41' 43-0' 5334.9+11.9-- m
52' 15-0' 2126.6+3.6-- m
62' 49+0' 1221.3-1.7-- m
74' 04+1' 2714.7-8.3-- m
82' 28-0' 0824.2+1.2-- m
92' 29-0' 0724.1+1.1-- m
102' 47+0' 1021.5-1.5-- m
112' 23-0' 1325.1+2.1-- m
122' 29-0' 0724.2+1.2-- m
132' 35-0' 0123.2+0.2-- m
end3' 07+0' 3019.2-3.8-- m
Versus average of 23.0 kph

Posted from

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Thursday Night Ride

Thursday night ride is on (like Donkey Kong).

I received these stop-watches in the mail yesterday. They are Dollar Store cheap and I'll be happy if they last a summer but at least we'll be able to time our races at the track.

Speaking of riding bike and looking forward to awesome is a preview of some of the upcoming bike goodness in 2010: Alleycats, Track races at Miller, Krahn Barn Kermesse - D.B., M.S. race – Bruuuce, Spring ride - May 28 – 30, Back 40 mountain bike race - June 6 - Morden, 24 hour race - July 24 – Falcon Lake, Dirty Double Crosser – August 22 – Moto X Park, Southern Cross - October 18 - Rocktona, Road rides, Short track sprints at the MotoX Park, Mountain bike trail rides - Morden/Tinker Creek, and hanging out with good people. It's good to be an ABE.

See you mo-fo's Thursday. JS

Friday, April 2, 2010


The ABES (pre-race) checking out cousin Tom's sweet garage sale bike purchase.

 Johnny and Tom eating their ice cream (i.e. checkpoint #1 in the alleycat.)  At this point they have already won the race since no one else knew how to read.

Lorne and the Duker arrive at the Hut to down their cones.  Lorne's rainsuit prepared him adequately for the rain.  A mild drizzle...Lorne takes it to "The Perfect Storm" level.

This was the puke we discovered near our rides after leaving the bar.  There were more

Johnny models his awesome ABES shirt.  The winner got the shirt and Johnny beat Tom in a coin toss.  Better luck next time cousin Tom.

The ABES "Spring Has Sprung" alleycat kicked off the 2010 season in fine form.  The rain may have dwindled our numbers but the true spirit of the ABES was alive and well.

Six racers participated in three teams of two racers.  Apparently ABES is not known for its comprehension prowess....even after repeated warnings (READ THE INSTRUCTIONS!!!) the ABES managed to misinterpret the instructions and mayhem ensued.  Johnny and Tom figured things out first and built and insurmountable lead early on.  Lorne and the Duker also figured things out but to no avail...a silver medal finish.  Shaun and Jeff seemingly wandered aimlessly.  And finished a respectable third of three.  Good times.

The teams finished off at the bar and the prizes were handed out. Johnny and Tom took the gold with some cold hard cash and a prized ABES V-neck as their spoils.  Duker and Lorne took the silver money while Shaun and Jeff got third. 

Many beers were consumed.  As were rum and cokes.  And Amaretto and coke.  Small mistake.  Evan (part time ABES member) made a brief appearance and the pre-Easter crowd was looking to party.  As were we.  Just not to the point of barfing like the younger folk.  ABES knows how to hold their liquor.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


The weather seems to be holding off but the forecast calls for the drizzle to begin around 7 PM tonight and run straight through all of tomorrow.  Dreary.  But as for now the race is on!  Check back around 6 or 7 PM and we'll make the call.  It might even end up a game time decision.  So come on down to Johhny's anyways for some fun.  Race or not.