Back for more in 06/07. Div3 racing at it's finest.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

end of an era

Well kids, it's been fun. Blogger that is. It is with a bit of regret that I leave behind the wonderful world of [dot]blogspot. What started out as a way for me to keep my Ottawa community informed of my adventures during a rather impromptu trip to Europe to race cyclocross in the fall of '04 has gradually turned into the main pipeline of information for all things GReain related. Frankly it's becoming a little too much for this format to handle.

And with that, I would like to present the new online home of GReain

All your favourite things are still there, including, yes, the crazyfast blog. There is also a news page & archive, schedule, and many other things soon to come. All content from the checkonetwo blog has also been transferred, including a new [chart] page for those of you curious enough to care about what I'm listening to.

So this isn't really a goodbye, more of a "see you there"


Friday, January 05, 2007

Friday Tidbits

There is another interview type thingy of me floating around on the web. is "cross love from the soggy northwest", set up by Molly Cameron and flat-mate Brian Ellin. Molly was here in Belgium with us participating in the mighty beat-down of North American 'crossers, 06/07 edition.

St. Niklaas went off on Tuesday of this past week and it did not disappoint. Fast, muddy, sandy, sketch. I turned out a top 20 there, but didn't feel like I was riding especially well. I'm kind of surprised that in the 3 years that I've done this race, no one has been ejected from the sketchy off-camber traverse into the lake. I think that the fans are secretly disappointed about this.

I ate shit training today. Basically I was descending a trench-cut sandy downhill at a good clip, started to feel the groove, pedalled a couple of times, then clipped my left pedal, flipped over, landed pretty heavy on my left side and then continued to slide downhill head-first on my back in the middle of this sandy bobsled run. Ouch. Took me a little while to get up and now my knee is kinda sore. No helmet, so I was lucky to get away with a toque-full of sand. Note to Americans- a wooly hat is a toque, not a wooly hat. Jeez.

Next stop- the 2nd annual Scheldecross in Antwerpen on Wednesday 10 December. All the Euro nations have their championships this weekend, so no racing for us.

Countdown to Worlds = 23 days.


Monday, January 01, 2007

2007 - is it the new 2006?

A couple of interesting things going on...

1. The guys at have started up an online drive for funding to support the Canadian athletes going to CX Worlds in Belgium on January 27/28 2007. It's a pretty cool initiative and if anyone feels like pitching, head on over there.

2. There is a New Years phone interview with me posted up on right now. Just click on my face. No, it doesn't look like I'm actually talking at you but I do look a little stoned.

3. OK, this is the exciting one. Jason of has started a special "pro talk" forum, in which I will be the January "pro talker", or whatever you want to call it. He didn't blackmail me with secrets from my past, honest.

Racing news-

1. I took the hiding of a lifetime at the World Cup in Hofstade on 26 December. I was expecting it, but that didn't really make me feel any better about it. Turns out that racing once in the preceding month and being sick for a week beforehand wasn't great preparation. Who knew? The upside was that I wasn't alone in the caboose group- Wicks bodyslammed a tree, Powers just felt crappy, Troy Wells made us all suffer needlessly, and Tonkin tried to demolish the wooden stairs with his face. Not a pretty group of North Americans, to be sure.

2. Raced the SuperPrestige in Diegem on 31 December. Got a decent start position and once again found myself in the North American group but this time we didn't get lapped. Powers decided he was too good for us today and turned in a stellar top 20 result, Wicks made the group ahead of ours, and Eric stayed upright. Troy continued to put the smack down whenever the course opened up, and I felt a little better than I had 5 days previously.

3. Next race is tomorrow in Sint Niklaas. Love this course, and it will be the only race along with the Hoogerheide World Cup that I'll have done in each of my three seasons here. I hope to continue towards finding some form here.


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Tying the knot

November & December are always stressful months for me. As a normal road racer, one would be taking a bit of a break at this time while occupied with finding and negotiating contracts for the next season. Given that I have chosen 'cross as my specialty, the season is in full swing with Nationals and a boatload of other races to prepare for, as well as finding and organizing start contracts for the Dec/Jan period. It all kinda adds up...

I'm happy to report that, after much ado, I will be riding for the Calyon Canada Pro Continental Cycling Team next season. I am looking forward to riding a strong program of North American events in the company of riders and staff that I know and trust. In fact, af all the Canadian teams that I saw in action on the road last season these guys were the most disciplined and organized of them all, and it was at that time that I first thought that I could see myself as a part of this team.

At this juncture, I feel that I need to give big shout-outs to my agents, the Ottawa-based Revolution Council, who have worked tirelessly on my behalf to find homes for me in the peloton that contribute to my overall growth as an athlete. From Cyclelogik Racing to Stevens Continental Team to Calyon Pro Continental, they've been instrumental in making it happen.

I've had 2 great seasons based out of Germany with Stevens but make no mistake, the bonds that developed there remain strong and I will continue to race cyclocross in Europe aboard a Stevens.

Press releases on the following sites:
canadian cyclist
pedal magazine


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

My Apologies

I've been catching some flak for not updating this in awhile. I probably deserve it.

Here's what's been going on since Nationals:

- did the OBC race at Morrisburg while still (ahem) somewhat inebriated from the previous evening's festivities. Hangover came and went sometime during, so it was all good. Hardest race of the year, guranteed.

- drove 7-1/2 hours to Sterling MA, rode the hometrainer in my motel room that smelled of vomit, raced for an hour where I showcased the jersey well by getting the holeshot and riding in the lead for a bit, got popped and finished 5th, drove 5 hours back to MTL.

- 3 days later, I'm back in MTL at the airport to fly back to Hamburg. Uneventful flight, but really crappy films. Note to Air Canada - update your damn movie collection already!

- Worst jetlag, ever. I was a total zombie for like a week. You try sleeping 2 hours a night and training 4 hours (in what feels like the middle of the night). It sucks.

- Raced the C2 in Frankfurt this past Sunday. Figured I had a shot at the top ten if everything went right. Everything didn't go quite right, and I ended up on place 16. Not all bad, and I can tell the technique and general level of fitness are good. Just need to get the turbo back, no probs.

Here's what's up in the next little bit:

- "Mid-season training camp". We're not actually going anywhere, just training 5hrs a day in shitty weather until 24 December.

- Weinachten! 24 December I get to do the Christmas dinner thing with my friends Anne & Matthias and their families. No partying this year though, did enough of that last year to last for two.

- 26 December- World Cup in Hofstade, BEL. This should serve to rejuvenate my UCI ranking, as I am now in danger of slipping out of the top 50. Here's hoping my tires stay on. This is also the beginning of my sojourn in Belgien, where I will be staying at Josc's house yet again, in the company of my esteemed colleagues Tara & Neil Ross, Kyle Douglas (U23 Canuck champ, yo!) & Helen (Brit champ, cheers!) & Stef Wyman.

I'll be back in Canada post-worlds, start of Feb. I should think.

Stay warm back home!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

how it went down

I guess everyone probably know the result from National ‘Cross Champs by now, so I’ll just give a brief rundown of how it happened.

As many of you know, I’ve been stressing about this race for quite some time now so it’s nice to finally have it over and with the result that I wanted. Most of that stress revolved around what tactic to use knowing that the Maxxis duo of Kabush and Toulouse were going to be there. I have been on balance confident in my form and technical abilities, so barring any severe errors in judgment I knew that I would be in contention on the day. Essentially what it came down to was having to choose between riding defensively (waiting for someone else to make the race and following), or taking control early and trying to force the other guys on the defensive (downside- blowing early and seeing the win ride away).

The problem with playing the defensive game was that I knew there would be three of us who would clearly be on a different level from the rest of the field, with two of those riders on the same team. I really did not want to be in a three man group with Toulouse and Kabush, since they would surely have started working me over in one/two style until I cracked. Maybe I’d be strong enough to withstand the attacks, but that’s a risk I didn’t really want to take- not with those guys. My other option was to dictate the pace early and try to put one (or both) of them in difficulty and take it from there. That scenario forces a chase on their part, which allows for me to launch another attack if they make the bridge. If I could open that gap by using technical skills instead of pure power, so much the better. The addition of two nights and one day of heavy rain helped in my decision, since the course became very slick and started to favour good cyclocross technique.

And that’s how it worked. I got the holeshot coming off the start straight into a muddy field section that contained a few corners. That allowed me to hit it at full speed and make use of the entire width of the course, where I had already scoped the lines that offered the best speed and traction. 500m into the race I could hear that I already had a gap. After verifying the gap, I pinned it up a short rise to the first pit area in order to carve out a bit more time so that I could rest over the following technical segments. After the first lap I had just under ten seconds, and was able to execute the same pattern over the following laps – 100% effort on the important sections, 90% in the intermediate sections and 80% in the technical sections. This put me clearly in control, since I was consciously keeping enough in reserve to stave off a late-race charge from Kabush. That’s about it- I rode everything clean, measured my efforts and monitored the gap until the finish line.

All in all, I’m pretty damn happy to have that jersey!

Back home in a flash,

CX Nats

I did it. Finally.

1) Reain
2) Kabush
3) Toulouse


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Denk Mal

670km hinn, 670km zurück, 1 std. rennen.

Internationales Querfeldeinrennen Magstadt, UCI C2, 1 Nov 06

1 Christian Heule, Stevens, 1:00:45
2 Simon Zahner, Ridley Schweiz, s.t.
3 Tim van Nuffle, Stevens, +0:17
10 Greg Reain, Stevens, +3:30

The form she is here.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Today in Germany

Forecast for Sunday October 23rd-
Generally fast, with short periods of intense ass kicking.

So things went well today. I finally got a decent start position, had some legs for once, and actually managed to pilot my bike like a champ. Didn't get the win, but I felt strong enough. Sometimes being professional you can't ride when you'd like to. I didn't make it directly into the front group and since it contained some teammates, I couldn't ride in the chase group so I contented myself with riding second wheel for the first few laps. Eventually all but two riders got shelled out of the lead, leaving my teammate Rene up there with Sebastian Hannover. I was riding shotgun in a group of 8 about 15 seconds back and really feeling like I could ride across the gap - the only downside being that I was likely to drag the other 7 guys across with me. Didn't like those numbers. Eventually the chase shattered under pressure from some guy who did a nice job of towing me around for another couple laps, then he threw me the chicken-wing and I was like "Can't ride, teammate up front", him "OK, well only a bit, they're not coming back" me (looking back down the course) "well, alright". So I pulled for a lap and was really starting to feel the groove. We were running into a lot of lapped traffic at that point and a few key passes at good places on the course got me a gap over my companion and I was away. At some point I decided to drill it for a bit and in doing so blew past Hannover like he was standing still (I was as surprised as him, I think), leaving me in second. Nice. I wasn't closing the gap on Birke and I had a pretty big advantage over third so I flipped over to cruise mode for the last three laps, but lit up the afterburners on the climb every lap for a bit of interval training.

Stevens 1,2.
2nd place in a Deutschland Cup ain't bad.

Oh baby, the form is coming!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Why I'll be fast in Canada

But first-
How many UCI races can you have on one weekend in North America? I mean really. It's kind of ridiculous. Cincinnati and Maine on the same weekend?? C'mon, especially when all the really good riders are going to be at the Verge race in Maine because of sponsor committments. I already vented on this last year, so you know how I feel. The new UCI ranking on Monday is going to be pretty funny looking, for sure. However, if that's the way it's played I'm happy to join in- Aurora (conflict with VergeNE), Nats (Canucks only) & NCGP 1 & 2 (conflict with USGP) should make for a tidy little points haul in 3 weekends.

Here's why-

• Sat 7 Oct – C2 race, Netherlands
• Sun 8 Oct – C2 race, Belgium
• Mon 9 Oct – 1-1/2 hrs easy, CX
• Tue 10 Oct – AM – 2hrs. CX, stairs & accelerations
• Tue 10 Oct – PM – 2hrs. CX, technique, sand, stairs, accelerations
• Wed 11 Oct – 140km road
• Thu 12 Oct – AM – 1-1/2hrs. CX, stairs & accelerations
• Thu 12 Oct – PM – 3hrs. CX technique, sand, stairs inc. 1hr. full gas
• Fri 13 Oct – 1-1/2hr. CX easy
• Sat 14 Oct – 2hrs. CX tempo w/ accels then 2hrs on the road
• Sun 15 Oct – Hilly Deutschland Cup race
• Mon 16 Oct – 1hr. CX easy
• Tue 17 Oct – AM – 90km road
• Tue 17 Oct – PM – 3hrs. CX, 10x400m starts, 2x 10min. full gas

And then…

• Wed 18 Oct – 130km road
• Thu 19 Oct – 2x CX, same as last week
• Fri 20 Oct – 1-1/2 hrs. CX, easy
• Sat 21 Oct – 2-3hrs. CX tempo & technique
• Sun 22 Oct – Deutschland Cup race

You'd better believe it.


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Oops, parts 1 & 2

I made a small mistake training the other day. JRA, I swear. That was Part 1.

Part 2 pertains to riding like a tourist today and nicely rounding out the back end of the top ten. I was really expecting a better performance...well, not really given the amount of training I did yesterday, but whatever. I think that if the course had been flat I could've done a good job, but no - total mountain bike course. Honestly, add a couple of kms and this was completely an O-Cup MTB course. Sandy, hilly, pine needles, braking bumps all over the place and not a single solitary dismount - sort of like Pleasure Valley. 2 major climbs and another 5 minor ones per lap, nothing flat. I have never seen a course more completely lacking in anything cyclocross.

Stevens didn't get the win today, but we came close with Birkefeld getting edged in a sprint. I brought it home toute seule in 10th. Long battle alone out there today.

Oh, and I have a big beef with the BDR now after getting a shitty start position today. I should have been first row given the amount of points that I SHOULD have in the Deutschland Cup series, but I guess if you're not German you don't count. Thanks guys. I only race here all year AND ride for a German team...


Saturday, October 14, 2006

German Professional Hockey Update #1

So my friend Karla copped 4 tickets to the Hamburg-Duisburg game last night. I haven't been to see a hockey game in like 4 years, so I thought it would be a good time. And fun it was, lots of people drinking beer and truly amped up for a bit of eis-hockey. The fans are definitly Euro- lots of singing and waving of team scarves. Scarves are an essential piece of Euro soccer-fan kit that have made their way into the hocky arena. Nice.

Hamburg jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first six minutes, only to have Duisburg exhibit some top-notch penalty killing and score one goal per period to win 3-2 in the end. Damn. I think Duisburg is lurking somewhere around the bottom of the league table, so not good for the Homeboys. The HSV (Hamburg Bundesliga Soccer Team) is sucking a big one this season too. Haven't seen anyone crying in the streets yet, but it's not looking like a good winter season of professional sport in Hamburg - except for cyclocross of course.

To that end, I have a race to win tomorrow...or at least someone on the team has to. Deutschland Cup race, so no really big guns, but we've been told by management that we "have to win every race in Germany this year". 3 for 3 so far, but all credit to Heule who isn't going to be here this weekend.


Sunday, October 08, 2006

Where to find results

Click on the "Uitslagen" button on the left and then select the race from the drop-down menu right in front of your face. Reference my previous blog posting outlining my schedule, match it to the race in the menu, click, and there you go.

Also cool because there's a neat little Canadian flag next to my name, making me easier to find. Only UCI categorized races.

But quickly:

Harderwijk, UCI C2-
1) Stybar
2) de Kneght
3) Bianco
18) Reain

Neerpelt, UCI C2-
1) Albert
2) Wellens
3) Nys
23) Reain


Bar Fighter

I always come back from Belgium feeling like I've been in a wild west style saloon brawl. You know, the ones where guys are flying out through the windows and throwing tables around and shit. Racing there is so cutthroat and there are so many fast guys that sometimes it seems impossible to come to a good placing, and you always feel like you suck.

I used to sort my good days from bad days by applying the "lap down" rule - if I got lapped, bad day; not lapped, good day. Actually it was more like if I got lapped in 45 minutes or less, bad day; 45-60 minutes or not at all, good day. Now I tend to use the "lead group vs. chase group" theory - Make the lead group in the first lap, good day; chase group or worse on first lap, bad day. The problem is that since I sucked a big bag in Hamburg I am now constantly starting from the back row, and making the lead group from the back row in any UCI race over here is impossible. Let me say that again - IMPOSSIBLE. Anyone who says that they have done this is either a World Champion or flat out lying.

Let's take today for an example. Grote Prijs Neerpelt, Belgium. C2 category, 4 current National Champions, 1 current World Champion, blah blah blah. Maybe 40 guys started the race, and since it was part of some Belgian series in which I had no points I was pretty much the last guy (save two) on the grid. One lap around a running track and we hit the course proper, which is achieved by a 180 degree turn through some sand, up and around a bank, etc. So it pretty much narrows down to nothing right away. There were 5 (count 'em, 5) run-up sections (in deep sand) rammed into about 400m of course distance, all on one bump-hill) Know what that means? get off, run up, 180 degree turn and remount in 2 meters of trail, hope you get in your pedals so you don't die on the way down (sandy, so no), turn, get off, run up... so by the time I was at the top of the second runup, the leaders were coming over number four. I know this because I could basically reach out and touch them as we were all going over the top, albeit in opposite directions and separated by like a minute already. I had 2 or 3 near catastrophic moments on repearted attempts of the same descent and I for certain heard the collective intake of breath as the crowd waited for me to eat shit. Sorry to disappoint them, but I have learned a few things over here in a couple of years.

All that to say that I did in fact get lapped today, along with everyone else not in like the top 15. I was in fact classified, and I'm pretty sure even Vannoppen got lapped today. Geert Wellens and I spent a couple of laps discussing the finer points of how long it was going to be before we got lapped and how much we really needed a beer (each, not to share), because we were only operating at about 80% at that point. He did it right though and got passed by his older and faster brother just before the start/finish, and I had to go out for another lap. I thought I might get to do the jit thing and tag along on the back of the lead group for a lap to learn some things, but I got dropped in like the first corner so I learned pretty much nothing.

Yesterday in Harderwijk was a little more fun. I exacted some sweet, sweet revenge on some idiot that crashed me and popped us both off the back of the chase group early in the race. I got in front in the last km, blocked him in a couple corners, then as he tried to come around the outside in a fast sweeper I pushed him outside until he hit a post and crashed. Hard. I think he hurt his hand or wrist, and I lost one position for doing it, but it was totally worth it. It wasn't only the chase group thing that pissed me off, it was all the other dick moves he was pulling by boxing me out of second wheel in our three man group repeatedly during the whole race and chopping the third guy in every second corner. In spite of all that he still didn't get it and in the finish area called me "a girl" for "not riding the whole race" and then "racing for one position" (as if it was about 17th place anyway! idiot). Well, I wasn't going to chase down my teammate who was 10 seconds in front, and then I would have been happy to work after we caught him if I hadn't been chopped all the time. So I told him in no uncertain terms where to go, and then capped it with "F*ck with me and you get f*cked up!". I think that scared him a little and the onlookers were kind of amused. I had no idea who he was, but I was talking with Maarten Nijland in the shower about it after and he knew exactly who, so I guess dude has a bit of a rep.

I was going to save some of this for midweek, but there it all is.

Still no UCI points.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Berlin done, next!

Long story short, I got pummelled again on Tuesday. 280km drive in 2 hrs. Dodge the dog shit in the team area. Turn a couple laps on the same course as last year - know all the corners, nice. Watch 2 of our juniors demolish the rest of the field on lap one. Try to convince myself that the 800km and 53x21 repeats on the Waseberg I did in the previous week had nothing to do with the somewhat heavy feeling in my legs. Pretend that the pinched nerve in my pelvis was in fact a figment of my imagination and was not hurting me everytime a got off the bike (4 stair sets per lap x 11 laps = 44 dismounts ! ). I pulled an amateur move and missed my pedal again at the start, flushing a very nice start position straight down the toilet...

So to look for the spite of all the negatives I still managed to pull off 16th, which is better than I managed here last year when I was arguably on some of my best form all season. One month to Nationals, 7 more Euro races. I'm not too worried. Still no UCI points, but Kalmthout is coming up soon and I'm planning on opening my account there.

Christian Heule won again. So, in one and a half weeks he's got 3 C2 wins, a top ten in the first World Cup and 4th on UCI world rank list. Dude is seriously on fire this year, and I'm proud to be able to learn from him.

The new Challenge tire profile is awesome. Beats the snot out of the old version, even though the changes are superficially minor. Almost as good as Dugast, way less expensive and more durable too.

Two more C2's in Holland and Belgium this weekend.

Motorpacing tomorrow - behind the Mercedes! (photos to follow)


Friday, September 29, 2006

Still got some work to do...

So things didn’t work out quite as planned the other day. I didn’t find the right holes in the start, and I didn’t really have the horsepower to do anything anyway. Long story short, I ended up sucking wheels for most of the race, lost out in a 3-way sprint for 14th and finished on place 16. Again, not too bad, but not great either. One of my teammates stacked right in front of me on the first lap resulting in me breaking his carbon rim and then almost breaking my own finger in the pileup. Not that that had a huge effect on the race, but my finger does really hurt right now.

I don’t have to race again until October 3rd in Berlin, so I’ve been doing some long training rides this week, which is something that I have been missing lately. Things start to heat up a bit after that; here’s my schedule.

• Tue 3 Oct – Berlin Cross im Park C2, GER
• Sat 7 Oct – Harderwijk Prijs Shimano C2, NED
• Sun 8 Oct – Grote Prijs Neerpelt C2, BEL
• Sat 21 Oct – Kleicross Lebbeke C2, BEL
• Sun 22 Oct – UCI World Cup, Kalmthout, BEL
• Sun 29 Oct – City-cross Hannover, GER
• Wed 1 Nov – Magstadt C2, GER

There may be some races on the 14/15 weekend, but I haven’t seen the plan yet. I fly home on 2 November (assuming I can get my flight changed) and I’m planning on being at the Aurora UCI C2 race on 5 November.


Saturday, September 23, 2006

Demolition Man

Things to do this year- Not blow up.

The first race of a new season is always the same. You never really know where you’re at, so you’re mad nervous on the line wondering if you’ve done enough work, if you’re fast enough, if you can pilot the corners alright. Hell, you don’t even know if you can make it to the end of the start straight without getting dropped.

Second row call-up, good. Slow to get into the pedal, bad. Running the 48 all the way down to the 12 before hitting the dirt, good. Riding in the lead group without breathing hard, good. Getting gapped off the top five by a Slovakian rider, bad. Chasing with Nijland and van Gils, good, then very, very bad.

All that to say the first 20 minutes were really good, next 20 so-so after I blew sky high trying to chase back to the lead group (but still in the top ten I think), last 20 minutes really slow as I had been caught and blown out the back of a couple of chase groups. So I kinda backed off on the throttle a bit in the hopes that conserving a little bit today means that I have some extra gas to give tomorrow and maybe hit the top ten. Here’s hoping the guys who killed themselves to get there today are a little cracked for tomorrow!

I ended up 14th, which is rather encouraging given the fact that I have little to no race form and essentially soft pedaled the last 3 laps. Considering I can hit the top fifteen in a Euro C2 without killing myself is a good sign for things to come this year. I used to need a stellar ride to make that kind of result.

More after tomorrow.

Impending Doom

So it used to be fun for some of guys on the team to make fun of my accent when speaking German, but that had faded away of late and people were kind of getting used to it. Then at dinner last night Christian told me that I spoke German with a French accent. Whatever that means. Now it’s whole worlds of fun for the boys again. Thanks Christian.

We just got a whole pile of wheels last night and today, so we basically spent the whole day glueing tires onto rims after an hour spent getting stabbed in the ear by a doctor while turning hot laps on the race course. I’m not too sure if bike number 2 and wheelset number 2 are quite up to the job tomorrow, since I haven’t actually ridden them yet. Better save them for next week in Berlin.

Hm, yes, that’s right, the return of the Berlin park race. For those of you not with me at this time last year, just look in the archives for a course description. Tight, mossy, hilly pavement path criterium makes for a good short version. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to mount the file treads before then, but that would require another set of wheels which may or may not appear by then. Did I mention how much fun the early season is? Great anticipation of new gear countered by the agony of getting it all ready in time when it shows up mere hours before the first time one has to race it.

Still no sign of it cooling off here, and no air conditioning in sight.

Groenendaal is racing here tomorrow, as is Wilant van Gils, Steve Chainel and probably some other OG’s too. The chances of scoring UCI points are diminishing rapidly. Nothing like racing to build form! Oh yeah, and the start list is currently at 75 in the elite field, on an extremely narrow and twisty course, so basically where you start is where you finish- unless you eat shit, and then you’re finishing worse. Moving up really isn’t a realistic goal here.

Friday, September 22, 2006

More Pre-Season Fun

Today we had our team presentation & photo shoot for the media. Basically that meant hanging around for 4 hours in our race clothing doing a lot of posing, Euro-style. About the best thing that came out of this was the fact that I have not one, but two, photos of me on the top of every page of the media package. I scored a couple of these to feed my ego.

We also had a sneak peak at our new Carbon Team bikes, which we are supposed to be receiving in mid October. Only the prototypes are around right now, but they are to be kitted out with Easton carbon cockpit and fork, full Shimano Dura-Ace, Mavic Ksyrium ES wheels (or Stevens carbon) & Challenge tires. They look pretty damn hot and are way lighter than year’s aluminum bikes. In the interim we’ll be riding this year’s Super Prestige aluminum frames.

That’s all for now.

Oh yeah- Kim G, you can stop sending me your BlackBerry bills now that I'm updating this thing again.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Back form the dead?

So, just in case anyone has been wondering what I’ve been doing all summer (assuming anyone is still checking up on this long out-of-date blog), here’s a quick rundown:

• Beauce – got dropped most days, didn’t finish
• Nationals – pulled this weekend out of the toilet and picked up top tens in TT and RR.
• Tour of Qinghai Lake – got dropped most days, did finish
• Mtl-QC – made the final selection then missed the key counters to finish 11th
• Spent most of August burnt out and kicking tunes at CL

And now I’m back in my other home, Hamburg, for the Stevens Racing Team pre-cross season training camp. I guess it’s not really pre-season, since there have already been UCI races in Czech and Belgium this weekend. First up for me is a double header next weekend (23 & 24 Sept) here in Hamburg; the Stevens Cross Sup UCI C2 events. Let’s hope my new bikes and wheels show up before then, otherwise I’m using one somewhat battle-worn ’06 chariot.

Things are looking good, fitness-wise. I was definitely a little sketched out after basically not riding a bike for the critical month of August, but I’m coming around pretty well. There’s a pretty huge diesel engine sitting under the hood right now, and with a little high-speed race tuning the turbo should be coming into service soon. With a bit of luck and some hard work I should be killing it in time for ‘cross nats in early November.

I’ll drop the word on my schedule just as soon as it is confirmed, but it’s looking like I’m doing some early World Cups as well as a bunch of C2 races in Holland and Belgium before I come back to Canada. Maybe this year I’ll have enough UCI points to actually get a call-up at Nationals…

Kay, I’m off to bed.

Oh yeah, I think Kool & the Gang stayed in this hotel once (no shit!)

Saturday, June 10, 2006


Wednesday__Beitostølen – Beitostølen ; 160km
Oh my, did I get spanked today... I was looking forward to feeling good on the bike, and at least finding a group I could ride with if things got too hot at the front, but it was not to be. Very hilly today, and I was in trouble the first time the road tipped up. Basically spent the entire day patrolling the back of the group until the inevitable happened on the 35km uphill drag to the finish. After getting popped once and coming back through the cars, I got dropped for real with about 15km to go. Lots of crashes, and I felt quite happy at the end of the day when I got away without going down. The upside of getting thrashed for 7km on the way up is that you generally get a ripper descent down the other side, and the Norwegian roads did not disappoint with uncharacteristically butter-smooth pavement and sweeping turns all the way. Hoping for a better day tomorrow…

Thursday__Fagernes – Hønefoss ; 160km
Made it over the first KOM climb of the day in considerably better form than yesterday and managed to ride a little closer to the front when we hit the valley on the other side. Once again, crash avoidance mode was on high alert as guys were falling off their bikes in all sorts of unlikely scenarios. Sketch. Christian went on the attack at some point so I got to do a little bit of attack coverage duty on the front with PeterP, which was actually going pretty well for me. I was thinking at this point that I might be able to do something useful today, like preparing a sprint or getting in a late move or something but yet again my legs were to fail me. I got dropped on a steep little climb at 120km, chased back with a small group and then went straight back to the front to avoid a repeat performance. Then sent some guys to the front to try and bring back a small group that got away over the climb. I was really wishing for an 11t cog at this point, with speeds regularly topping 60kph, but then again I was pretty happy to be packing the 25 for some of the uphills. Hm. I was staying on point near the front, but I went backwards pretty fast on the next hill and got caught out with a 5m gap coming over the top. Rode pretty hard for a k or two to try and close it but n go, so I had to content myself with the grupetto for two days running.

Friday__Oslo – Ottawa ; 6000+ km
Stage 3 for me involved a mildly scary 80km car transfer to Oslo airport (thanks Jens), then airplanes from Oslo to Montreal and a bus to Ottawa. Thankfully everything was super-smooth and my bike even showed on time too – I was a little sceptical given my bags were checked through even though I was running on two separate tickets. Nice. The low stress makes a marathon travel day that much less taxing. I need all the relaxing I can get with Beauce and another 600km worth of car transfer coming in the next few days. When am I going to train??

Oh yeah, going to bed at 11.30 – still light out
Waking up at 4.30 going to the bathroom – still light out
I'm thinking it must have gotten dark out sometime there.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006


I don't know one single word of Norske. Nothing. So sudden was my departure that I did not have a chance to find a phrasebook or dictionary or anything, although maybe my chances of finding and English/Norske book in Hamburg might have been slim. Now I feel like a complete tool trying buy stuff at the grocery store, cause I can't even say please or thank you. Good thing all the locals speak super-good English and are ridiculously happy to use it. Like ecstatic.

So the overnight ferry from Kiel was the dope shit. Check it out - we drive an hour and a half from Hamburg, load onto this big-ass boat at 1.30pm (no problems with the bikes & racks, sweet), and then basically chill out, walk around, eat in reastaurants and generally take it easy until 9.30 the next day when we roll out in to the sunshine in Oslo. No stress. No airplane legs. No, we did not hit the on-board nightclub. Slept awesome too.

Norway is beautiful. Now that I am here, I don't want to go home after only two stages, I want to stay for the whole thing! And then maybe never go back. It's that nice. Bit of a rough place to be a cyclist though, the roads are all super-narrow and heavily travelled. It looks like there's only a couple of hundred kilometers of motorway in the whole country, so all the traffic still runs on the small roads. The problem being, of course, that the land just doesn't allow for building big straight roads. Really, really beautiful though.

Christian had this great idea that we should ride the last 50km or so to the hotel, and idea with which, at least in principle, I agree with. This did, however, result in the 5 of us standing around naked at the side of the road somewhere on the way from Oslo to Beitostølen. The fact that the old guy getting his mail across the street didn't even seem to care led me to make the only possible assumption under the circumstances - that this is a perfectly normal thing to do in Norway.

Oh yeah, and 40 of the last 50 km were uphill. The upside, or indeed, the downside (depending on how I'm feeling), is that these are the same 50km as the last 50km of tomorrow's stage. So now we've seen the stage end, but now we also know that it is HARD. Whee. That'll feel good after I complete my task for tomorrow (see below).

I never really know when Jens is joking. The task list for tomorrow: Benny - sprint ; Heule - prepare the spring for Benny ; Tim van Nuffle - "ride like Lucien" (van Impe, old school Belgian climber of Tour fame) ; Presslauer - "ride for Lucien" ; Greg - "since you're only here for two days, full gas both days". So does that mean that I go on the attack at km 1? The first 40 are all downhill, so...maybe after 40 minutes or so. Geez. Wireless internet at the hotel means I might be able to let you know how it works out.

I think it's only dark for like 3 hours here.


Friday, June 02, 2006

Just when I think I'm out...

...they pull me back in.

Al Pacino quotes aside, it looks like I'm prolonging my stay here for another 5 days for something called the Ringerike GP (UCI 2.5) in Norway. Never been to Norway before...

Got the call this afternoon after my first training ride since Ireland, feeling very nice and comfortable with the idea of climbing onto the plane Monday for the flight home. Instead I'll be climbing onto the ferry for a 20 hour cruise. Should be nice.

Seems that the team is dropping like flies and unless I start in Norway, we won't make the minimum number of riders and the whole team can't start. Not good. The plan is for me to do the first two stages (grupetto king styles) Wed & Thur then hit the airport Friday AM Oslo -> AMS -> YUL -> Ottawa; home in time for dinner.

I guess the upside is this postpones my appearance at the Tue and Thur Ottawa evening appointments for another 2 weeks - post Beauce. Enjoy!


Monday, May 29, 2006

Is it over yet?

I was looking forward to the Ras for like six months, now I am so totally happy that it is over!

Last update ended on a high note as I had just ridden a super tactical breakaway resulting in a top ten on stage 4 and GC.

And then it got ugly.

Stage 5 was long and I came totally unglued over the last climb and following 25km of wind and rollers. Finished in the group, but I needed some help from Fabian to keep me near the front and out of the wind. Lost two places on GC due to a 150km breakaway containing two riders close behind me. TIAA-CREF and Ireland were content to limit the gap to 2-3 minutes to pretect their GC, but it was too much time to keep me secure in 9th. Florian was up the road in that move too, so we weren't too worried.

So, the notorious split stage - 24km TTT in the AM, 83km road stage in the PM. The night before was really rough. Not a lot of sleep, bad stomach problems. I'll spare you the details. Couldn't eat breakfast and my legs felt horrible. Noodled my way through the 24km, when I really should be the strongest time triallist on the team. Got schooled to the tune of 4 minutes by, and lost more places on GC (down to 14th now, I think). Drifted in and out of sleep in the intervening hours between stages.

It was going to be critical to be near the front in the road stage because of some particularly hideous crosswinds. Problem was, I was so stoned I couldn't get anywhere close to the front. Didn't help that we hit the ground running at 65kph either. Every. Freaking. Day. So I missed the front group (obviously), got dropped out of the chase group (crap), dropped out of the third group (double crap) and finally found a place with some other stragglers. So it turns out our DS told my guys in the group ahead to wait up for me, we caught their group and then they went to the front and rode tempo, just the two of them, with me in third wheel for the last 55km or so. Felt pretty pro, but too bad it was cause I was feeling so crap. Anyways, limited the damage and came home in 20th place on GC. Not the worst outcome on the day, for sure.

Next two days were run with a tailwind under the power of Recycling trying to keep in control of the GC lead, with the hired help of the Polish team. Just tried to stay out of the wind and near the front. Not too many problems with that, except for the three wheel changes I had to get. Total for the week - 8. Somehow made up one GC place on the last day. Weird.

19th on GC
19th stage 2
9th stage 4

That's it till I get home in a week.
Next stop - Tour de Beauce.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Stage 4, 2006 FBD Insurance Ras - done & done

Pulled a daring raid on the peloton today with Ciaran Power. The racing was super-intense, just tons of attacks going off all over the place and I was sick of doing the 35kph-53kph-35kph thing, so I rode off the front on a descent where Power and I proceeded to bridge to the early 5 man break, drive it for the next 90km, and blow shit up on the Cat 1 KOM climb. Snagged thrid on that (who said I couldn't climb?), but then Pate threw down with a massive attack on a wall shortly thereafter and I was too blown to do anything. After the dust settled, I was 9th on the stage and catapulted myself into 9th on GC. Can't sleep tomorrow though, there's like 9 guys within a minute and half behind me on GC, but I have all the boys riding for me so hopefully I won't have to ride much for the 173km.

I'll do a better stage-by-stage sometime, but so far I've had four wheel changes. Two on the first day, and that sucked because shit was really starting to go off and I spent 15km in the caravan (in a headwind, with bad caravan drivers) to get back, only to flat again as soon as I got there. Another 5km in the caravan for that one. Schiesse. Lost a minute in the last km cause I was so blown from chasing. Yesterday and today the changes were a lot smoother.

Racing is very unpredictable here, with only 5-man teams it is hard for any one team to control the race, so every day is a run-off like a one day race. Attacks, more attacks, big groups riding away that shouldn't, etc. Here's hoping guys are too tired to attack from here on in.

Shitty weather too, oh my god.

Apologies for not e-mailing anyone personally on this, but this is the first internet I have seen sine Germany, and I am going straight to bed when I am done writing this.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Ze Germans are Coming

Yes, that's right. The mighty Stevens racing team aus Deutschland is going to Ireland tomorrow for the UCI 2.2 FBD Insurance Ras, a.k.a. the Tour of Ireland.

Needless to say, I should be packing right now but this is also important. So. Since I don't know what the internet access scenario will be there, it is quite possible that I won't be able to update you myself on how things are going. You should be able to find results/reports/etc. on the following sites:

Form is good, the bike is locked down tight, just need some good tactics and a bit of luck.


Friday, May 12, 2006

Paging Martin Gilbert... have offically made it big in Europe! Sadly it was your crash at track World's that made it onto the Eurosport Watts clip show, but we don't see too many Canadians on the TV over here. Congrats!

In the latest GReain news, I returned to racing last weekend with a not-too-shabby 2nd place sprinting out of the breakaway group. Good confirmation that my form is right on target for Ireland. Capped off a big week last week, and this one will be even bigger, finishing with a 160km road race in the mountains on Sunday. I'll be sure to let you know how I handle the half-hour climbs.

The 'very strong' Stevens Racing Team has been confirmed for the FBD Insurance Ras (Tour of Ireland, UCI 2.2) May 21-28.

I have also been confirmed on the Canadian National selection for the Tour de Beauce, June 13-18, UCI 2.2. Looks like a strong team this year with Ryan Roth (, Dominique Rollin (velo club roubaix), Charles Dionne (saunier duval - prodir), Bruno Langlois (AEG Toshiba - JetNetwork) and Dustin MacBurnie (Targetraining) completing the roster. Three cheers to staying on the pavement this year!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

I pity da fool...

...that has to scrounge for bit torrents (or some shit like that) of the Spring Classics. I just come home from training, make a coffee, sit down on the couch, punch in 25 and I'm watching it all live. Damn, those ProTour guys are strong. Schleck is on fire right now, but no one is going to let him get an inch up the road after his win in Amstel Gold. Boogerd was strong today, maybe one of the strongest guys in the last 30km, but going up the road with Joaquin Rodriguez at 18km to go leaving strong T-Mobile & Quickstep teams plus a bunch of heavy hitters in the group was maybe not a great move.

No racing for me this weekend, but training has been going alright and the weather is markedly better this week. Finally. I actually saw some green in the woods the other day, which was nice. And now that the wind is dying down I can really start to get the bike rolling, and that feels good in the legs.

In other news, we got our new Pearl Izumi Octane shoes the other day. Silver carbon & Titanium sole plate; these things are hot. Stevens Racing and the Lamonta team are the only people with these shoes right now, so that's also pretty cool. Oh yeah, and Adidas are kicking in with some dope eyeware too. Now we're all little Kloden clones.

I missed the Ottawa Paris Roubaix today; fully bummed about that. It's one of my favourite races, even if it is only an Ottawa Posse thing. Props to Bob Woods for putting that on. Which reminds me I probably should have made arrangements to give the cobble stone trophy back before I came over if anyone is looking for it it's on the shelf with the spare tubes at Cyclelogik.


Monday, April 17, 2006

Rest? What?

Big race yesterday, back to training today.

First, results from Duren:
No time gaps though. Regiostrom put the smack down, holy crap.

Today we had the pleasure of more wind and rain to accompany 150km of motorpacing and echelon work. At least it dried out a bit for the last half, but that's when the wind picked up too - try 20kph on the flats, small ring, big power. Two groups of four swapping between echelon work in front of the car and recovering behind; not an easy day on the bike, but not as hard as yesterday for sure. We all showed up at the meet point expecting 2-1/2 hrs, so I think I was running on two small bottles and one Enervit bar for 4-1/2. Cool.

Oh, and that's right, no rest day tomorrow. Or the day after. Or until sometime after the two races on the plan this weekend. Who knows?


Sunday, April 16, 2006

1000 Deaths

Well, I hope everyone had fun riding around in circles at Mosport yesterday. I just got back from the pounding of a lifetime at Duren today. I will say this much first - we do not have wind in Canada. At least not in Ontario. And nor do we have hills, of which this circuit had two monsters. Nor do we have races anywhere close to as hard as this one was.

Woke up to driving rainand (guess what) more violent crosswinds. We rolled about 20km out of Duren, then did three circuits of what felt like an exceptionally tough round before piling headlong back down into town for a 5-lap criterium finish to make 160km. I don't want to give a total play-by-play, but there were basically four distinct sections of the circuit.

1) 80kph twisty descent, 180 degree turn at the bottom straight into a 1.5km climb topping out at 15-17%. Have to ride this in a 21 at the lowest, or you get dropped. Steep part of the climb ends, then slackens into some vicious crosswinds (still uphill though)

2) Rolly crosswind section, then the only flat section of the course, but it was 3/4 tailwind so deathline at 70kph (no shit). Actually saw a UCI motorcycle deck two bikes in front of me and I thought I was going to die.

3) Fast sweeping switchbacky downhill (no brakes, or again you get dropped), onto a one lane farm track (still downhill) and back out onto the main road to start climb number two. Leaving a one bike gap on the sketchy farm track to main road gutter transition spells almost instant death trying to get back on for the climb.

4) 3km climb, not uber-steep, but light headwinds make it tough. Coming out of the top of this one you're into some really massive crosswinds (worst on the circuit) and more rolly hills.

Repeat 3 times for fun.

The return leg to town was a little sketch, again at 70kph, sweeping through these little villages and everyone is getting all nervy for a sprint (even though we still have 5 finishing circuits to do and there are two groups away). More confusion on the finishing circuit today, but long story short I did a lot of work to keep things under control for Finn in the sprint and I think I ended up somewhere in the top 40 or so. That's a pretty killer result in this race. 200 starters, all pro, usually only a quarter of the guys even finish this race.

I lost count of how many times I had to chase across gaps and fight for position in the front echelon, but it was a lot. I did make the lead group for a little while on the first lap, but I was dangling and got popped on climb #2 where I hooked up with the chase group and we made the junction up top somewhere in the wind after a really tough chase. Ten guys got away on lap 2 and we never saw them again, then another 10 or so in a crosswind section at the start of the last lap. I didn't try to bridge in the wind because I was scared of hill #1 which was looming about a km up the road, so I rode the descent like a star and (unfortunately) almost hooked up with that group halfway up the other side before my legs shut down. Then it was peloton for me.

More info as it becomes available, but check for results over the next couple of days.

Oh yeah - 1000 deaths. I dunno how many times I thought I was totally done today, only to fight and come back, but it was the same story for everyone. Even British Champ Russell Downing looked like he was fighting for his life out there in our group...until he put in a killer attack on the finish circuits.


Thursday, April 13, 2006

Big Hill, Big Gear

Was training on the hill from HEW Cyclassics the other day. I've already bored some people with this story, but I'll do it again. Normally training around Hamburg is pretty flat, but there is one hill in town that climbs up from the banks of the river Elbe and it is STEEP. It breaks down something like this - 300m @ 6%, 150m @ 10%, kicks to 18% for about 100m, then levels off at the top. AM- 3 times 53x23; PM- 4 times 53x23, 1 time 53x21. 170km. Then I was tired.

The criterium in Bielefeld last weekend was OK; big field at 199 starters. Had no problems staying in the front of the field, which was cool, and I did my work at the front for the team but I was not good enough to make the lead group of 16. Such is life. Maybe next time. The Dutch guys can corner, in case you haven't heard.


Saturday, April 08, 2006

Spring in Hamburg

It has rained here every single day since 23 March. So that means that, since I got here from Majorca on 19 March, I've only managed to stay dry for 2 days of training. very nice.

Today was another exercise in stupidity as I was dressed for 12 degree dry weather, but the weather changed 50km from home to become icy rain mixed with hail, 4 degrees, and violently windy (headwind, naturally).

So as the more astute of you have by now realized, I did in fact race twice last weekend. Saturday was a relatively low-key affair (no Pro Contental or ProTour teams allowed), and yes, it did rain for the whole 120km. I spent the day cruising in the group under orders to be saved for the finale along with Sebastian. Unfortunately none of our guys got into the early break that ended up going to the end, and some confusion with the lap bell meant that I set Sebastian up with a perfect leadout to win the bunch for ninth to start the last lap. Oops. Not just us though, everyone thought that was it and after we came to a halt en masse we had to get going again for another 16km in the rain. Uphill start too. Bummer. Needless to say a lot of guys just turned around and hit the showers, which meant they were nice and cold by the time I got there. Oh yeah, and I ran out of rear brake with 50km to go and rode the front brake the rest of the way which was at complete zero when I finished. Scared.

Sunday was a little more high powered, with full teams from, Heinz von Heiden and Milram TT3, plus one lonely looking Wiesenhof-Akud rider and three (only, long story) Stevens riders. The balance of the 100 man field was made up of really strong amateur teams. 160km, out-and-back, heavy duty crosswinds. The word from on high said to be well positioned in the first 10-20km, because a large group usually gets away then and goes the distance. OK, so I'm in super-good position for the first 10km, then I get stuck on the wrong side of the group as 40 guys charge up the other side of the road, make the corner and then the entire NotebooksBilliger squad goes to the front and splits the field in a crosswind. At like 50kph. So I chase really hard around all the dead bodies and get to within 15m, I can practically reach out and touch the last guy in the group, and then I blow sky high. I hook up with the chase group as they come blazing by and the next 10km are hell as I try to recover in a deathline at 45kph from my chase effort. We ride pretty hard for the next 60km or so but we get a split on the circuit in the turnaround town (which included two times up a 4km climb and twice up the cobbled main street) of 4 minutes to the leaders and then everyone pretty much sat up and we had a nice and social ride back to Berlin taking pulls in 2-man turns. Very gentlemanly. We eventually finished 15 minutes down or something, apparently the guys up front were killing each other all the way home. One of our guys didn't make it past the first 20 km, and the other guy got in the split but got spat out 10km later, so not a good day for us.

Did 500km in three days this past week, plus some intervals, and now I'm ready for our first criterium of the year in Brackwelde tomorrow. I am praying for a dry circuit because I really want to stay upright.

I lied earlier, we do have a UCI race on the calendar. Next Sunday is the Rund um Duren UCI 1.2, precursor to the 1.1 Rund um Koln (for which we do not have an invitation). Duren is reputedly very difficult, as the German Div2 and Div3 teams are usually all there, plus some good Belgian Div2's as well. Just look up the results from last year on and you'll see. Hilly too.


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Race Program

Just got this today. As far as I can tell none of these are UCI ranked international races, except for the Ras.

April 1 - Rund um Huttener Berge, Budelsdorf
April 2 - Berlin-Bad Freienwald-Berlin
April 9 - Bielefeld
April 16 - Rund um Duren
April 22 - Grosser Preis von Barmstedt
April 23 - Scan Hans Marlow radkriteriom
April 30 - Cottbus-Gorlitz-Cottbus
May 11 - Lubeck City Rennen
May 13 - 56. Harzrundfahrt
May 21-28 - FBD Insurance Ras (Tour of Ireland)

That's as much as I know for now...


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Hometown Hamburg

Got back into Hamburg late on Sunday night after a lovely 12 days in Majorca. I didn't really want to leave, especially after doing 150km in the best possible weather in the morning before we left. The weather reports coming out of Hamburg were pretty crappy too - like below zero and snowy, so it wasn't looking like it would be a good time back here. Today is awesome, but I'm on two days of rest before training again, so guaranteed that tomorrow the weather will be crap again.

The new bike, by the way, is killer. Aside from giving me a bit of tendinitis due to new frame, new pedals etc., it rides really well. Light, stiff, the whole deal. Can't wait to race it. Our early season race program kicks off on April 1st and 2nd, with back to back road races. Point to point, fast, windy and wet, these should be a good way to wake myself up for a another year of racing. So I'm busy scrambling around right now getting new tires glued up, tracking down racing cassettes and generally making sure that everything is good to go. It's hard to believe, but cyclocross season only ended for me about 6 weeks ago, and now I'm right back into the road season. Somehow we'll have to figure out how to integrate lots of distance training with all the racing. I think basically I'll just be really tired a lot of the time. The team isn't too concerned about getting results in the early season; we are mainly looking for building a really solid fitness base for 'cross season, so don't expect to see me up the road a whole lot this spring. Hiding out in the group is OK by me, but hey, if the opportunity presents itself I will take a crack for sure.

Stay warm,

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Club Med

It's good to be back...Everything went OK with the trip - got through immigration OK, not too tired and all my bags made it in one piece. Didn't have to stress about travelling with a bike this time though, cause my new Vuelta SL was brought from Hamburg by the team. The bike, by the way, is totally dope; you can check it out at It arrived perfectly sized for me, right down to the proper seat height, saddle and bar positions (benefits of pro team support). Did I mention it is fully euro-ed out in a sparkly gold paint job? Like I said - dope.

I'm digging on the Majorca scene too. It's been like 20 C here the last couple days, but the wind is a little chilly so I haven't been able to ditch the legwarmers and long sleeve jersey yet. The place is fully rammed with cyclists, mostly German, and they all seem pretty excited to see a bunch of pros rolling around. The big names are all gone by now - they're all off racing Paris-Nice or Tirreno-Adriatico. But soon we get to join the action as our race program kicks off two weeks after training camp, which ends on 19 March. I´ve got the motivation to start racing again, which is great since it means that I will be suitably motivated to train again. Train, and eat a whole lot less. Like I predicted before I left, I'm getting hammered about my weight so it's time to step up and be careful about what I'm eating.

I hope everyone back home is dealing OK - cheer up, there's not much winter left! I've got to get out of here, because at the going rate of 2€ per half hour, this internet is not cheap...

hasta luego,

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Cleared for Takeoff

Took the bus to YUL. Got checked in no probs. Drinking a very nice Heineken beer right now. That's about all to report. Looks like I'm flying out after all! Next stop - immigration in Amsterdam. If I clear that I'm Majorca bound.

Just got the word from my agents ( - looks like the race program is shaping up nicely for this season, but more on that when it's all confirmed. Sorry for the suspense build, but that's all I can say for now.


Monday, March 06, 2006

Got Brains?

Um, yeah. Apparently the Ottawa Greyhound station has wireless internet, which I am only finding out because I screwed up my departure from Ottawa to Montreal. So I am now sitting here for the second time in two days, which is the most I've seen of the inside of this place in like 8 years. Long and complicated story, made even more long and complicated by my own inattention to my itinerary. At least my flight from Montreal to Amsterdam is delayed by three hours, giving me a chance to catch up with it there. Apparently the KLM staff in Montreal know I'm coming, but I'm stil bracing for the worst.

I'll let you know if I ever get to Majorca.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

So what's up?

The plane ticket is booked, hotels are arranged and I am getting out of here in 24 hrs. for the sunny shores of Majorca. The Stevens Racing Team training camp officially started today (5th March), but due to some confusion I am showing up a couple days later. No probs; a couple extra days to chill with my friends here in Ottawa is never a bad thing. I'll be flying KLM, which my travel agent assures me is dope, so I'll update you on the status of my first non-Star Alliance transatlantic experience when I get there. Pending, of course, internet access. I'm thinking that Majorca is maybe a little more wired than Tielt-Winge, but you never know.

Everyone is like "must be nice, Spain, get to lie on the beach...". Dude. I'm going there to work, so it'll be like 4 to 6 hrs on the bike every day rain or shine, and I'm going to be so worked that the beach is gonna look like a lot of effort. Besides, it's not SA hot there right now, only like 15 degrees C or something. Great for training, bad for tanning.

Had a great night out with the crew at 56 last night, which is pretty much my last port of call every time before I head back to my office in Europe. We kept shit pretty under control, and I don't think that I pissed anyone off too badly. If you're ever in Ottawa looking for a great place to chill/party/whatever, you're pretty much set at 56 (56 Byward Mkt.), and Saturday nights always gets you a killer set by Jim Reilly, who is hands down Ottawa's best DJ.

Good times,

Monday, February 06, 2006

Snowy Snowy Ottawa

So I guess it is not all that bad here in Ottawa, only -10 or so right now, and it has been pretty consistently above zero since I got back on last Thursday evening. It is supposed to get a little cold for the next week, but no problem because I get to rest for the next little while! No stress about training, racing, or getting cold.

As always, it was a little bit hard leaving Europe to come back here, but I am almost fully adjusted to being back here after the first couple of nights of poor sleep and days of cursing Canadian driving habits. Coming back here after these trips only serves to remind me that Ottawa is in fact a pretty nice place to live, and after all I do have family and a lot of good friends here.

Next stop is team training camp in Majorca, which is due to start 5 March. My appearance there will hinge on how my visa application goes with the German authorities, since I have utilized all my tourist days and there is also the small matter of actually getting paid by a German company. Should be a fun time.


Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Mullet Styles

Mullet Styles
Originally uploaded by hmbrg rprsnt.
Had to get this one up. This is a classic; from the GP Sven Nijs in Baal on 1 January 2005. Rocking the flowing mullet. Incidentally, there was a photo of my right foot from this race that made it into the GVA series newspaper insert in the fall. Didn't see any royalties for that one though!

Monday, January 30, 2006


I'm just collecting and uploading some photos from Worlds and other races from the season past to my gallery.

I'm still trying to figure this shit out, so it's a little all over the place but at least they're up there.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Post Worlds Update

If you're reading this, you're probably enthusiastic enough to have checked out the goings on from Zeddam on or something like that. But, in brief, it was cold, Sven crashed, Bart didn't win but Erwin did (for the second time) and Page put in a killer ride to slide into 10th place. I finished 47th. Numerically, that is an improvement from last year (I think I was 56th or something), but there were fewer starters this time around. Not exactly the top thirty, which was where I had wanted to be.

Last row start, which is rapidly becoming a tradition for me here at worlds, but I managed to move up pretty well due to a fancy crash avoidance maneuver on the start stretch and some good cornering thereafter. I couldn't sustain my first lap effort and had to let go of the group I was in and slide back to the next one after a couple laps, then got popped out of that one a lap or two later, but I did find some guys to race with and so managed to salvage something of the day. I had a good elbow wrestling match with one of the Japanese guys in some corners, much to the enjoyment of the crowd. I dealt with him OK, but then he rode around me a little later and proceded to execute a perfect Kamikaze-style T-bone attack on my Stevens teammate (and Austrian champ) Peter Presslauer in a corner directly in front of me. They both went down, but Peter didn't get back up. I was a little pissed about that, and seriously contemplated educating him in the ways of the NHL, but I couldn't quite seem to find the right moment.

We had a great support crew over here again this year. Norm did a stellar job stepping in as project manager after Kris Westwood broke his foot and couldn't make the trip. We had great mechanical support from our friendly Dutch mechanic Pim and his friend Bert, as well as Stu Thorne from RobbieO pulled a surprise visit from Ottawa in lightning strike fashion - in Friday morning, out Monday morning. Funny, but he didn't seem to be suffereing from any jetlag. Tons of people out there cheering for us this year - I guess the fact that we keep coming back and more of us are racing here during the season means that we are cultivating a fan base.

I barely had time to get back, shower and throw my bags outside the bungalow before the Stevens crew came by for a rapid surgical extraction, and now I am back in Hamburg once again. No post-Worlds partying for me this year! I'll be flying back to Ottawa on Feb. 2nd for a quick rest before the spring training camps start again. Big things for the Stevens continentat road team this year...

home in a flash,

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Land of Rabobank

I've been hearing rumours that people are wondering what the hell I've been up tp for the last three weeks. No reports, no race results no e-mail. Well, two of those can be explained by the fact that internet access in Belgium is harder to find than, say, a decent hockey team (I watched some Belgian "pro" hockey game on TV here last year. Ouch. But then, that's probabally what we look like racing bikes). The no race results thing is a by product of not doing any racing, due to a really nasty cold-type virusy thing that laid me out for like two weeks. Ironically, I came to Belgium in January to do more racing than I could in Germany but ended up doing less.

I am back on my feet again and installed in Zeddam, Netherlands in the lead up to the World Championships this weekend. I've only been training for a little over a week now, with the World Cup in Hoogerheide last weekend being my first race back. That was an exercise in pain, let me tell you. Nothing like jumping into the last World Cup before Worlds when everyone is firing on all cyclinders and you're running on like 4 days of training. Anyways, the fact was that I had to do it in order to bring myself up for Worlds, so mission accomplished I guess. The upside of that thrashing was that I managed to not get lapped on arguably my worst race day of the season, and I was able to ride in a group with all the top Americans for a few laps (JPage doesn't count; he's a full-fledged Eurostud now) before getting popped. Last year I rode the best race of my season there and barely crossed the line before getting passed by the leaders (who were sprinting for the finish).

I've been turning laps on the course here in Zeddam for 4 days no and I am starting to get pretty confident on it. Even if I am still getting dropped with relative ease by my teammate Christian Heule in most of the corners, I am still riding way fast that ever before in a technical sense. The state of my fitness remains to be seen and that will become obvious on Sunday. For now I am just riding a bunch and doing a little intensity when it feels right, because all the work has been done at this point. Now it is all about being comfortable and confident going into the big day on Sunday.

I'll let you know next week how it all pans out.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Installed in Belgium

I've been in Belgium for about a week and a half now, staying chez Tim & Joscelin in Tielt-Winge (try that in Mapquest). The accomodations are great, the weather has fabulous, but I've been sick. Bit of a drag, but there is still plenty of time till World's and I am in a great situation for training - plenty of locations and great groups to train with.

Current residents at the house include Dave Coughlin (from Ontario), Helen Wyman (recently crowned UK champ), Barb Howe (US CX team & diarist) and Mark Perry (in his first year with a Belgiqn U23 road squad). Hamish Haynes of the team should be arriving soon, thereby completing our little piece of English speaking Flanders. If anyone is thinking of coming to this part of the world, you can get in touch with Joscelin ( she will hook you up with everything you need to know. We are right in cycling country here, and I really don't want to have to leave.

There is a new diary entry on, so be sure to check it out when you get a chance.


Wednesday, December 28, 2005

So, since posting a crapload of photos to this blog is clearly a bad solution I've started up a gallery on The most direct way to get to my snaps is by typing (or copying) this direkt to your browser:

Sadly, these are only racing photos so far since apparently I am an idiot and can't get Bluetooth to work on my computer so all my other pics are stuck in my phone.

Enjoy looking at me.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Hamburg Represent

Oh my. It's been like a month since I've put anything up on here...hope there are still some people checking in on this.

Anyways, there is a new Pez diary coming up soon so I won't bother to duplicate anything here, but just in case you don't know I am back in Hamburg again. I've been here for about a week and a half now; just starting to get settled in again but I'm off to join Coughlin in Belgium on the 31st after a race in Herford, so no chance of getting too comfortable. That's a bit rude, because just now am I starting get into the whole Hamburg thing. It's not like I didn't realize that it was a cool city before, but I'm starting to recognize just how dope it really is. It's easy to get around, good clubs, great shopping, cool people, good sense of city pride, and just a lot going on. This could have something to do with the x-mas season partying, or meeting new people and going new places but whatever, mainly I'm just getting into living here a litle more comfortably. And I speak better German after 5 weeks in Canada than I did when I left. Weird, huh?

Yeah- so my wrist is mostly better, I'm over my jetlag, got my ass kicked a couple times, ate lunch in the UK one day (jus' passin' thru, int'l jet set yo), drank some beers, recovered from some hangovers. Business as usual.

Johannes finally got the wireless LAN figured out on my new laptop today, which is rad, but I'm leaving for rural Belgium in four days (no WiFi), which is bad. So I'm on a bit of Limewire rampage right now, tryna stock up for a month on the farm. Should give me some decent food for my infant music blog, but don't bother checking it now cause ain't nothing on it.

I'd like to be able to say that the updates will be fast and furious in the new year, but no guarantees on that. Belgian farmhouse again. Here's my schedule as I have it set so far:

1) Dec. 30 - Deutschland Cup in Vechta
2) Dec. 31 - C2 race in Herford
3) Jan. 01 - GP Sven Nijs, Baal, Bel.
4) Jan. 02 - GP de Ster, St.-Niklaas, Bel.
5) Jan. 09 - Otegem, Bel.
6) Jan. 14 - GP Stad Genk, Bel.
7) Jan. 15 - GP Pierre Kellner, Lux.
8) Jan. 22 - GP Adri van der Poel (World Cup), Ned.
9) Jan. 29 - World Championships, Zeddam, Ned.

Tight, huh? Then it's home on Feb. 2 for a 2 week pause before I start training for the upcoming road season.


Friday, November 25, 2005

Pez v2.0

Just to keep everyone in the loop, my latest diary went up on yesterday.

The hand still looks like an inflated rubber glove, but it's feeling better already so I'll probably be back to training shortly.


Thursday, November 24, 2005

On the DL

This is gonna be exceptionally short because typing right now is exceptionally painful. I crashed in training yesterday morning and damaged my left hand pretty badly. The X-rays say there is no fracture, but mobility is bad and there is plenty of swelling. So, no racing in the Verge series this weekend. I'd really like to not talk about how it happened because it is rather embarassing. Glamour factor = very low.

After Nationals, Aurora and two top tens in Verge NE series competition, I am now sitting in 48th on UCI world rank. I'm pretty happy with that as it will help my contract negotiations with my team and with the European promoters. I'm due to head back over there in early December so this kind of stuff needs to be sorted quick snap.

I've accepted my spot on the Canadian team to CX Worlds in Zeddam, Netherlands, so that puts me in Europe till at least the end of January. I have to return to Hamburg first in order to get things dialled with the team, but ideally I'd like to be based in West Flanders like I was last year. The CX racing scene is so hot there, it'd be hard to pass up. I just have to find a place to live...

That's about all I can handle right now, but I'll try to keep you updated on my situation.


Friday, November 11, 2005

Back from the Dead

Aw man, I'm trying so hard to get another diary entry out for Pez right now but it really is not working at all. That, and I'm supposed to be getting all my crap ready to go to the Verge series races in CT and MA tomorrow morning. I thought that the LCBO would help out in that department but it is apparently failing me miserably.

Ok, I've been suitably chastised by most of you for not keeping you informed of my actions since I got back from D-land two and a half weeks ago so this is me keeping you up to speed. Partly I was trying to keep things a little under wraps prior to CX Nats cause I didn't want to give any hints as to where my form was at. The reality was that I had been very tired and sick (hence my non-appearance at Gloucester USGP), but I was in fine form come Nationals. I was definitely a little sketched out about where my form would be at, but after turning some laps on Friday I knew it was going to be a good day for me. I took it at about 80% off the start, and that was OK but soon it was time to get it started for real and by midway through lap 2 it was just Wedge and I out front. I still wasn't at max power, so I decided to test it a little bit on the acceleration front and I could feel that I was a little stronger than Peter in that area. I rode the main climb on the third lap (we had been running it until that point) and I think that ahowed me that I was definitely strong enough to ride for the win. Sadly, I blew my line through the sand pit about 20 seconds later and landed on my face. That was an event that could hardly have gone unnoticed by monsieur Wedge and he punched the throttle open. I would have done the same; in this game you don't leave anything to chance if you can help it.

So that's the story of Canadian Nationals - silver medal. Worlds qualification, check. Better than last year, check. Still wanting the jersey, you bet. Next year. And yes, I did hear everyone yelling for me out there on Saturday and I will never forget it. You all gave me so much motivation to keep driving out there in the rain. Really cool. Thanks.

Hey, Aurora was cool. Tim Johnson and I kicked it from then gun and never looked back. I think that we had about a 10 second gap after like one minute of racing. I felt pretty damn good, but TJ was rocking and he just rode away like it was nothing. All I wanted was a little wheel to suck but he was not helping me out there. Actually, I don't get much draft off that dude anyway, so it's debateable whether it would've helped at all. Two minutes is a big gap. I absolutely love that course in Aurora and I hope I get to race there many times in the future. Thanks Scott.

I won't be at Ontario Provincials, so go nuts boys. I would love to be there and contest the title on the ground where I first started CX racing many years ago, but I have to go and dice it with the big boys in New England. Bam.


Sunday, October 23, 2005

Rough Day at the Office

Ouch. You know what it's like to have not had a bad race in while and you kinda forget what it feels like, then you get totally worked and you're like "oh, yeah, that's what it feels like"? Right. I had one of those days today. It looks like my run of form has come to a bit of a lull, so it's probably a good thing I'm coming back to Canada on Tuesday. Take a week to recharge and then get it rolling again for Nationals (after getting spanked around in Gloucester MA for two days).

The course today actually really reminded me of an Ontario course of old (further to the whole course design thing). Gently rolling trails in a pine forest, lots of singletrack and fast sweeping corners. There was one good CX section around the soccer field though, so that was cool. I just didn't get a good vibe out of it in practice and my legs really weren't responding the way they should have, so I wasn't feeling great at the start line.

Got the first row call-up, right on, and then threw it out the window cause I blew out of my pedal almost right away. I had to chase pretty hard for two laps to make the lead group, where I was just starting to feel OK after about a lap when someone attacked and that's when I cracked. Just started going backwards, blowing lines all over the place and generally looking ridiculous. So after awhile I just throttled right back, regained some composure and managed to pick it up a bit near the end to finish 6th. Not bad, but then again this was only a Deutschland Cup race, no UCI points, and on the same day as Kalmthout WC so not a super-strong field. My roommate Johannes killed it to take the win and Finn Heitmann (who hasn't been seen since Beauce, where he was the youngest and only finisher from the mighty Stevens Racing squad) came back from a summer of logging serious couch time to take 5th.

I've been saying my goodbyes to all my various support personel, friends and training partners over the last few days, but I'll be back here in a little while so it's not like we're all crying and shit. Looking forward to a fun day of packing up my 2 bikes and 1 gear bag tomorrow for my (argh) 5 am wakeup on Tuesday morning. Think about it - I'll be waking up to a day of 15hrs of travelling at about the same time you're going to bed! Hamburg -> Frankfurt -> Montreal -> Ottawa. Fun times!

See y'all in Ottawa,

Friday, October 21, 2005

The PezCyclingnews Secret

OK, so I did a little research into PezCyclingnews thing. In case you are looking in that site for my diary and can't find it, here's how:

1) Go to
2) Find, on the left hand navigation bar, the "latest news" button
3) This takes you to list of all the Latest News stories
4) On that list there should be a "Introducing - Homeboy Hamburg" item dated Fri Oct 14
5) That's me

And that's how it's done!

Race on Sunday in Lohne- Deutschland Cup. Should be a fun time as usual.


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

A collection of mid-week nonsense

Oh man, I hate being sick. I woke up last Saturday with a bit of a cold which, strangely enough, did not disappear by race time on Sunday. So one race and three training days later and I really feel like crap. Unfortunately, it's not bad enough to justify a complete halt to training but also not good enough for me to feel stellar on the bike. I opted out of the interval & start training yesterday and went on a 2hr technique session instead; that made me feel better about where I'm at. I did spend half an hour hooked up to an IV drip yesterday, but that apparently has not really helped at all.

The Pezcycling diary can be found by going to the main page, then scrolling down the menu on the lefthand side until you see the button for the "Homeboy Diaries". Should be in there, unless it got removed for objectionable content. Always a possibility!

Now for the real point of today's editorial - Cyclocross course design. This has been on my mind a lot over the last year or so as I find myself wishing for more in the way of "euro-style" 'cross courses back home. I go back and forth on this though, because the whole deal with cyclocross is the fact that it should take place on a variety of different terrains and surfaces, making use of what is available. That being said, I do believe that a course should be set up in such a way as to not favour one style of riding over another. There has been some discussion about this in other forums lately, with some displeasure voiced re: singletrack and other "bottlenecks". There certainly should not be an overabundance of singletrack, otherwise we should all just go back to racing mountain bikes. Conversely, a wide open highway with no speed checks should also be avoided as this presents no real challenge to a competitors ability to pilot his or her machine.

Maybe I'll give you the rundown of a typical Belgian or Dutch 'cross course...

-minimum 200m start stretch, normally paved/cobbled
-most of course is 2-5m wide, sometimes a short (100m or so) singletrack section
-plenty of corners on a variety of surfaces/speeds - 180 degrees is very common
-one double set of barriers, no more than this, sometimes none
-one 8-12 stair runup; maybe one additional short hill/stair runup
-lots of grass
-sketchy overpass bridges as required
-slippery pavement/cobblestone corners
-unbending 200lb. fencing and support posts
-total disregard for rider safety
-shitty weather

That's about it. Staying out of trouble is up to the riders. In spite of some really nasty stuff I have yet to see anyone go home in an ambulance. There is really very little running here these days unless the weather has been particularly horrendous. Bike handling is usually rigorously tested, but the racing surface generally smooth-ish (no rocks, roots etc.).

The main thing that we lack in Canada is tight corners - I'm not talking gentle curves here. Fast corners, slow corners, downhill corners, slippery corners, whatever. Not enough! Also, not enough places where a total speed dump followed by a nasty acceleration is required. Most of the courses I have ridden back home require a really good cruise control function. Barriers have a habit of cropping up in the most unusual places here, usually when you are travelling at warp speed. Haven't seen them on a downhill. Yet.

But I must reiterate - anything goes. It's all about making the bike go fast over what you're given. I've also done cx races in parking lots and on mountain bike circuits here, and usually the same people win.

That's enough for today,

Monday, October 17, 2005

One week left!

I hope that everyone had a chance to check out the diary on Expect a new entry soon as a wrap-up to my first stint in Europe for the 05/06 season.

Speaking of which, it hardly seems like 6 weeks ago that I got here. When I look back, training camp in Freiburg seems so long ago and yet the time has passed fairly quickly. Racing does that - you spend half the week getting ready, then you race for and hour and spend the next couple of days fixing stuff up. By the time you're done with the fixing, it's time to get ready for the next one.

I am spending some time today planning my schedule for when I arrive back in Canada. Lots of things to do, but I can't forget the racing angle. I think it'll look something like this:
1) October 29/30 : USGP races in Gloucester, MA
2) November 5 : Canadian National Championships, Barrie, ON
3) November 6 : Aurora UCI C2, Aurora, ON (look out Tim Johnson!)
3) November 12 : Chainbiter 2.0 UCI C2, Farmington, CT (long-ass drive, but need pts)
4) November 13 : Ontario Provincial Championships, Ottawa, ON
5) November 19/20 : A weekend off. Finally.
6) November 26/27 : ah, forget it - that's over a month away...

As you can see, a little busy.

Oh yeah, I did race yesterday in Hannover. No, I didn't win this one as predicted but that's only because management decided to send in their secret weapon Jens Schwedler to make sure the job got done. After I got the holeshot off the start and proceeded to take a faceful of grass after the barriers (while in the lead, how embarassing!), Jens and I rode away in commanding fashion. OK, so Jens rode away in commanding fashion and I suffered on his wheel like a bitch. Same deal in the end. So it was Jens in first, me in second at same time and Sebastian Hannöver in a distant third at 40sec. or so. Maybe next time. Another very bizarre circuit, this time in a semi-abandoned parking lot in an industrial/commercial area. Short circuit too- 20 laps to make one hour. My rear tire has lasted exactly 4 races with all the pavement kms we've been logging. Cool.

Talk at you later,

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Coming to you live from

Just punch that little fistful of letters into your compy, click on my pretty face and you will be able to read more straight from my brain. I think there is an editorial filter built in there somewhere, so that's probably a good thing. I just can't seem to get rid of that swollen-face portrait pic though. People really like putting that one on the web.

I don't really know what this means for this here blog. I think that I will continue to hit you with the random-ish stuff here and the Pez diary is going to be a little more formalized, less raw and certainly less frequently updated (prob. every 2 weeks or so). So don't stop checking up in here.

Man alive the weather is killer here. Just got back from training (Racing?!) and it was like 15-20 deg. (that's in celsius for you American types) and super sunny. Everyone is telling this is not normal for Hamburg, it's usuallly cold and damp and rainy, and I'm just like "dude, this weather kicks ass!". Haven't had to ride in the rain here yet. 2 rain days in 4 weeks ain't bad.

Split schedule for racing (real racing...) tomorrow - 1 team at the SuperPrestige in Ruddervoorde, Belgie; 1 team at the Deutchland Cup race in Güstrow; and 1 team at some other race in Hannover. I'm at the "some other race". The good news is that I may be in a position to win this one, which is good for my profile and good for the team. My profile here in D-Land needs some help - the last race promoter we called was like "who the F&%$ is Greg Reain?!" and then said maybe there'll be 50€ for me to start. Hm. So a win would be nice.

OK, enjoy the weather back home!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Sticky Fingers

So, as promised I guess that I will give you the low-down on how I glue my cyclocross tubulars.

I should probably first point out that there is a pretty big difference between road tubulars and 'cross tubulars in terms of how they stay on the rim. A road tubular at 8 bar of pressure will stay on the rim almost by itself, sans-glue. The glue is essentially there to prevent any movement between the tire and rim from starting in the first place. You can try this if you have a new tire and new rim at home; just throw the tire on the rim, pump it up and try to push it off. Hard, yeah? Now release the pressure to 1.8 bar (about 25psi, a standard CX racing pressure) and the tire will slide right off. Scary. That is why standard tub-glueing knowledge does not necessarily apply for 'cross use - the only thing holding the tire on the rim is the glue, there is no help from air pressure.

Next up is the issue of tubular tape. Great for road applications, especially the Tufo variety, horrible for 'cross. Here's why. As has been repeated ad-nauseum in other tubular installation instructions, the bond between tire and rim at the very edge is über-important if you want to keep your rubber on. This is even more critical in 'cross because there is so much water flying around on the course and from the ubiquitous pressure-washers. If there is any gap in this area, water and dirt will penetrate into the bond and weaken it to the point where it may fail in cornering. Tubular tape is bad because it never completely fills the interface between tire and rim. It also causes the center section of the tire to sit a little higher than the edges, making it easier for a gap to form. This is true even of the so-called "Belgian Method", where glue is applied to both tire and rim and tape used to complete the joint. Another bone of contention here- if you are using glue and tubular tape, why not just use glue?

My solution to this problem is Vittoria Mastik´one - and lots of it. Next best is Continental. If you can get your hands on a big can of the stuff, so much the better. If not, be prepared to use about 3 (maybe even 4) litle tubes per wheel, if you are starting with new fresh rims and tires. My team-mate Jiri told me he uses 1 can for 4 wheels. That's a crapload of glue. Some people will say that's too much, but Jiri has also never had a rolled tub in 14 years of high level racing. You decide.

You should probably start by cleaning your rims, just a really quick polish with some light sand paper and then acetone should do the trick. Now you need to apply a relatively thin layer of glue to the rim, making sure that you get it all the way out to the edges of the rim. I don't really care how you spread it, just get it on there. Take your tires, put a little air in them to make them easier to handle and put a thin layer onto the base tape, making sure the entire surface of the tape is saturated (but not dripping) with glue. Now you wait. General rule of thumb is 8 hours of drying time between coats on the rim, but basically as long as it is dry to the touch and not too rubbery you can apply the next coat. Ideally you should do 3 thin-ish coats to the rim this way. For most people who aren't sitting around all day waiting for glue to dry this means three days. Somewhere in these 3 days you need to pull out the tires (remember them?) and put another coat of glue on the base tape. This layer should be über-thick - as thick as you can make it and not have it running off the tape as you apply it. This is when a brush of some type is required. Let that dry overnight too. Finally, on the fourth day you can put the tire to the rim. Put a medium-thick layer of glue on the rim, give the tire a quick stretchy-stretchy and fire it on the rim, starting at the valve. For God's sake make sure you put the tire on in the right direction first, otherwise you will make an atrocious mess peeling it off while the glue is wet (assuming you didn't make an atrocious mess putting it on. Sorry, can't help you there!). Make sure the tire is centered, put it up to 4 bar and leave overnight. Next day, deflate the tire and check the edge bonding by going around the entire circumference of the tire (on both sides), trying to peel it off the rim with your thumbs. If any gaps form, you need to poke some glue in there and inflate the tire again. Leave overnight again. Check the edges again. Now nothing short of a herculean effort should separate the tire from the rim - this a good thing. The glue generally requires 24 hours from the time the tire goes on the rim to reach full strength.

Like anything related to bicycle mechanics, there is a certain amount of feel involved with all this. With tires and/or rims that already have glue on them, less glue will need to be applied. The end result should be somewhere around 0.5mm of glue thickness (even up to 1mm is OK). Sounds like a lot, but it works. With Tufos you can get away with less because there is no seam on the underside.

That's the extent of my knowledge. Argue all you want, but I have never rolled a tub since I started doing it this way.

Please don't sue me

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Interview on

The title says it all folks. Thanks to Vicki Thomas for doing the e-mail interview and Stu Thorne for posting my horrible allergic-reaction head shot on his website.

In related news, I am due to have a regular diary posting on The first entry has been submitted but we are currently waiting on fresh action pics. In the meantime, please check out the other Homeboy diaries for a snapshot of racing life in Europe.


Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned

The latest Prodigy album title seems somehow apt after today's experience at the Hamburg horse track.

So we were out to dinner with management on Friday night and I got a look at the confirmed starter list for Sunday, and I saw that my man Jeremy Powers was on there. I had a full jones on to see him 'cause it's been awhile since I saw any North Americans over here. JP was here the same time as me last year so we shared a few Belgian ass-kickings together. As the only two NorAms on the race today, we were definitely outnumbered in a pretty massive field, but we charged pretty hard and finished pretty respectably (I think) in 11th and 12th spots. Hence, certainly not outgunned.

Because this is the Stevens home race the full team was present and did a really good job of packing the top ten (1,2,5,6,7,8,10 I think), so I didn't really feel that any obstructive team tactics were the order of the day. Basically that this means I felt pretty happy to work with Jeremy to better our placings instead of being a jerk.

I got my good start position today and had a rocket start, which was being led out by Austria's latest fast-start sensation PeterP. When you have a gap on Heule and van den Berghe after the first 100m, you know you're going quick. I found the top ten really quickly and hung out near the middle of that for a bit, which honestly didn't feel that bad, but the pace got ratcheted up near the end of lap 1 and I came off with a couple other guys. That was pretty much the race right there with JP, me and Fabian riding together for most of the time trying to keep our gap on the chase group behind.

Good fast course, lots of deep rutted sand passages and some nice corners to keep things interesting. Small time gaps again today, and I am starting to feel really good about how my form is progressing for Nationals.

Until next time,

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Sorry Kids

I know that I promised you all a primer on tubular glueing this week, but things got a little out of hand. I am working on a diary for right now, so that is taking up my time. Next week, I promise...

Most of the team is in town this week, since Stevens is sponsoring a C2 race in Hamburg this weekend. It's nice to have a larger group to train with for a bit. Lots of guys in white lycra. Hot.

Team presentation on Saturday, race on Sunday. Check out for the scoop on results etc.