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Welcome to The Unofficial Thursday Night Race Page (UTNiRP) 2008 Edition.
Well, that's kind of a bullshit title, because the stuff i put up on here for 2008 is not going to have nearly the same passion or majesty as it used to back in The Golden Age Of The UTNiRP. However, i have indeed been racing with perfect attendance [errt - not any more], and i managed to get crappy photos of some of the race results, so if i'm going to post them somewhere, here is as good a place as any.
What happened to 2007 and 2006? Well, i missed the first two-thirds of 2006 - if not more - because i was working in far-off lands, and i can't write anything if i'm not there, and i didn't want to do some half-assed thing for like, the last 4 races. For all i can remember, i may have missed all of 2006 (the time sheets would know the truth). No, wait. i must have done some at the end because i remember the most excellent Fanshawe Lake group rides after the season ended. Anyway, i digress. In 2007 i made it to the first 3, missed 6 in a row (again, working in far-off lands), and then made it to the last 7 and in leiu of doing this, i started a facebook group instead of updating here - even though facebook is arguably lame. i hoped that others might contribute and comment on the races i missed, but might be a bust though, with only 12 members at present. Meanwhile, the mighty Yanner started the most-excellent londonmtb.com web site and forum, which at this time of writing seems to be approaching web site critical mass. i'm quite addicted. If previous patterns continue, i'll finish this post and then neglect this web site in a terrible way for an indeterminate amount of time.
2008/05/15 - Good weather, decent turnout, interesting new course - very fast and short. Shitty photos of the time sheets are posted.
2008/07/31 - Before we say anything, we want to extend our most sincere concern and anxious hopes for Jacques, who had to be airlifted out of the Fanshawe Lake trail last Saturday with busted ribs, collarbone, and a punctured lung after a high-speed trip over the bars. It's stuff like this that makes you feel a bit ill and makes you question if doing this stuff is really a sensible idea at all. It wasn't rider stupidity; Jacques was a skilled rider, having won his O-Cup category at Boler just a few weeks ago. Perhaps we just need to slow down and look around a bit more and appreciate where we are, rather than riding so close to the edge? i don't know. But we'll be thinking about him the next time we fly into a rooted section at speed, and be a bit more careful, and in that strange way his crash helps us all be a little bit safer. It's bullshit that he should have to make the sacrifice to set an example, but it happens. Please heal up and come back, Jacques. (Note: after all this, it was fucking awesome to see the other Berniers still racing this week, despite the crash nightmare.)
Now, back to our usual programming: Perfect 77° weather with a cool 9 MPH breeze, but the intense blast of rain the day before left the course in a bizarre state that i don't think i've ever seen before. i think what happened was that we had so much rain that parts of the course hit their saturation point, and therefore refused to dry up. Most of the course was dry and grippy. However, the quicksand area at the top of the doubletrack was five times its normal size, and the bottom of the doubletrack was a slimy mess under an inch of water - like hitting a wet skating rink at full speed. The section with the bridge after Luke's Sidewalk was super-slick with deep, splashy puddles, as was the first path just inside the forest east of the field. The biggest killer, though, was the wet sand pits that formed throughout the course. Anywhere there was previously light fluff was now this heavy sand much like you'd make sand castles out of at the beach. If you hit it at speed, any attempted change of direction, no matter how subtle, could result in your front wheel digging in like a roto-tiller. You could either fly off the side or flop over the bars. And this shit was in the most unexpected places, making the first lap a bit of a lottery for some of us - not knowing if there was more around the next bend. It could also pack up your tires robbing you of traction, and it made your drivetrain sound like a real train creaking and grinding along. Turnout was 48. Blarg. Prizes were worthwhile, and everyone seemed to be in a good mood. We photographed the race times, photoshopped them up, and put them in the usual place. Opens are max'ing out 22~25 minute laps, Elites are hitting 24~29's and Sports are 27~32's… a nice spread through the categories. Points stats may be updated if i have time - go check and see. Note: Johnny claims big changes are coming to the course for next week.
2008/08/07 - Only 35 riders showed up today to perfect cool weather and an unchanged course despite Johnny's threats. Actually, Johnny was nowhere to be found (on vacation) which led to a bit of a last minute scramble for Sarah to find someone to man the barbeque. Fortunately, it all worked out. It rained the day before and threatened to rain earlier today (which likely kept some entrants away) but the course wasn't too bad. There was a 25 foot long section of slime at the end of the doubletrack, and the sloshy. slimy potholes after Luke's Sidewalk, but the rest was fast and grippy. The sand pits still occasionally required some finesse and commitment, but they were much better than last week. No serious crashes or mechanicals that i heard of although Yann busted a spoke before the start and DNR'd. Prizes were decent and appreciated, and people were chatty and in good spirits. i overheard several people say it was their first race at Boler which is encouraging; it always seems that we get a lot of new racers as we approach the end of the season. Times are in the usual folder; Stats are as well, and this time i put the boys and girls in the same table, just to see how they compare. i'm a little concerned about how the points are being added up. One fellow has 6 wins and is listed as being in the Sport category. Didn't they used to dock you 10 points if you raced a category you've previously won 3 times? If people are able to progress up their category and potentially win, they'll come back and race more. If they finish 6th for 8 races in a row, they might just quit. FAIL.
When i was digging through some backups last week, i went off on a tangent and dug out all the UTNiRP posts i could find going back to the beginning over a decade ago, long before the word "blog" was invented. i hope someday to get them back up, but they got me thinking about all the different course routings we've had, and i figure i should jot this one down for archival. Take a deep breath, and here goes: This is mostly the course that was set up for this year's O-Cup, but the O-Cup had some extra goodies near the clubhouse like a feed zone into the small, wooded downhill right at the top of the gravel. Before that it was similar but ran backwards. Starts behind clubhouse, switchbacks up tubeing run, down doubletrack, across road and through Luke's Sidewalk, right turn and over the tiny creekbed and up to descend Bob's Stairway. cross the creek again and up to G.M. Corners, climb over the two humps and drop through the old rock garden. Then up and over the narrow bridge and out of the woods and west over the newer Rock Garden. Wind through The Orchard section and back east and south to loop up through the off-camber with it's steep climb right afterward. Then back out to head west across The Field with a new tight wiggle through some small pine trees, and complete The Field section loop ending up behind Hill 2000. Zip along the forest and turn left just short of the top of Heart Attack Hill and turn back just inside the woods for the tight trees there, and a big drop down and a gentle climb back up toward the south at which point it switches back and you get a fast, kinked descent down to the two log crossings (the second is the biggest on the course) and then we climb to the base of The Axe and up, up, up and over into the switchbacks leading to the old diagonal log crossing (remember when that log was huge?). Down to the backside of The Saddle but jog right and dip through a huge berm at the access road before climbing over The Saddle and dropping into the fast section that passes the entrance to The Lungbuster (now unused for years). Turn back and climb up toward The Saddle yet again and back down through mushy sand to loop up and start crossing the ski hills which get steeper as you work your way east. There is a bridge you climb at one of the tree lines which leads to a short, very steep climb (The Whiny Brat) at the next tree line, arguably the toughest climb on the course to clean. From there it turns up and over the crest of the ski hill and drops to The Saddle yet again where we turn in and climb back up just inside the trees. Two switchbacks down and across to Greg's old berms and the 4-Log drop, then down across the access road and up backwards through the old humps around the Compressor section. Flip back south and turn left to blast down Heart Attack Hill. At this point we head straight north along the fence line, but earlier in the season and for the O-Cup we climbed Simon's Stairway (which has a swoopy, banked, switchback thing in the middle - it's no longer the super-steep, straight run with the bridge with a turn directly underneath). After the stairway, we'd wiggle back toward the corner of the fence line and rejoin. At the fence corner, the trail climbs part way up the back of the ski hill and switches back down towards the fence corner, and then follows the old trail up to the steep descent out of the woods along the houses. This section is quite torn up as usual, and requires a strong will and a perfect line to stay off the brakes. Slide back across the ski hills with a couple short climbs under the chair lifts and drop back down to the clubhouse. How's that? See you in a week - i hope.
2008/08/14 - Despite the ski hill being under attack by trenchers, the racing continued. The only difference was a single rerouting: After the bridge, as you approach The Whiny Brat, you turn right and head straight up the hill and rejoin at the top - skipping The Whiny Brat and the loop beyond it. Turnout was a ho-hum 42, but i think we had a few more new faces and perhaps even a couple old ones, including the smiling face of Steve Copeland (made up of equal parts enthusiastic and sarcastic). But where are the regulars? Have they become bored and complacent? Weather was a gorgeous 70°F with no wind, but the slick and splashy sections at the end of the doubletrack and in the back simply refuse to dry up. Was there rain earlier today? Rest of the course was just slightly on the damp side of grippy, so you had to be alert. i saw one other person walking his bike in after the start so i suspect we had more than one technical problem, and i heard of at least one crash, but it didn't seem like anyone was hurt. Results and stats will come when they come [miss dibblopotamus] but right now i'm writing this on a westbound train, and net access on this thing ain't cheap. Only three more races left. Now is the time to get off your asses. Really.
2008/08/21 - i had to work in the big city, so i missed the race, and not one person emailed to tell us what it was like, so we have no report other than one person the following week who said, "Well, the weather was nice." FAIL. Sarah fax-o-mailed the race times to us though, so at least we have those.
2008/08/28 - Light rain off and on throughout the day wasn't enough to cancel the race, but it was slick in spots, or so we were told. Looking at the times, the rain didn't slow down the measly 28 hardened souls who raced. Times were still pretty fast. You guys are good.
So next week is the final race of the series and this is how the points stack up: Abby Owsley pretty much owns the girls overall points title with 385 points. Moe O'Hare is in an untouchable 2nd place and Melanie Bernier has claimed 3rd. Abby has the highest average points per race (including the boys) and the highest points total overall. While it could obviously be argued that there is far less competition in the girls' categories - we can't let that diminish her accomplishment. She raced one Elite and twelve Open races (that's 4 laps every week - how many boys do that?) and while she DNF'd two, she won everything she finished. It takes passion to keep racing week after week with almost no one in your category, and it inspires others to keep at it. Thanks and well done, Abby!
In the boys' categories, the top five places are still undecided. Nolan Adkin has a 5 point lead at 315 points, but Rod Helm at 310 points could tie or beat that, and Dan Simard and Tony Owsley are currently tied in 3rd place with 285 points. A win in the Open category awards 35 points, so mathematically any of these four guys could win the overall, but Dan has raced Sport all season so it would be a stretch to see him win an Open. Tony races Open so he could actually do it if Rod and Nolan don't show up. Rod and Nolan are at opposite ends of the age spectrum, so they could both win next week, but Derek Mitchell has been close enough to Nolan in the race times - we could see an upset. Rod Helm and Tony Owsley both race Elite 40+, and they have stiff competition with guys like Pete Brooks and Joe Fallon, so they have a job to do. It makes for an exciting end to the season!
ONE MORE THING:
We got an email regarding Jacques Bernier (see the July 31st blurb above) and amazingly, he's already back on the bike. He's taking it easy, staying on pavement [most of the time *chuckle*] and hopes to be in reasonable shape to do the Boler Mounatin Fall Classic on September 28th. We hoped for a speedy recovery and considering his injuries - i think he got one! Now i have to go and wipe this happy tear away from my eye before you all think i'm a sissy. Keep the faith, Jacques. Even injured, i think you could kick most of our asses.
2008/09/04 - FINAL - Weather and trail conditions were pretty much perfect for the final race of the season, and turnout seemed ok, but we had no barbeque, which was bullshit. Come on! This was the final! i didn't see any serious mechanical failures, and while there were a few minor wipeouts, none were serious.
i shot a bit of videotape and chopped it up and uploaded it to vimeo (which has the best video quality i've seen that doesn't cost anything). You can watch it here, but i really suggest you go to the vimeo page and watch it in High-Definition. It's much better. Click the link below the video here:
UTNiRP Presents: Boler Mountain 2008 Final Race, London, Ontario on Vimeo.
We have no times or final points yet. Apparently, Boler's Fax-O-Mailer was busted when they tried to send them to me. i really hope i can get them eventually, and if/when i do, i'll post them as usual. Dont forget the Fall Classic race on Sunday, the 28th of September, and the University Cup race a week later on October the 5th (i think you have to be on a university team to race, but anyone can go check it out and root for their locals). All in all, it was an enjoyable year, and i want to thank Sarah, Johnny, Randie and the ski patrollers for making it all available to us. See you next year?
2008 | Weekly Time Sheets | Points Standings and Stats
NOTE: THE FOLLOWING IS ALL OLD STUFF:
Welcome to The Unofficial Thursday Night Race Page (UTNiRP) 2005 Edition.
Well, it seems to be moving along now, doesn't it? This site is an attempt to document the rumours, bullshit, outright lies, and maybe some actual mountain bike racing that occurs every Thursday evening at 6:30pm at the London Ski Club at Boler Mountain. i have no affiliation to anybody, and everything i write is my own opinion blah blah blah. i hereby reserve the right to be totally wrong, my uncle fought in two wars to defend my right to drink and drive, etc. If all goes well i may even resurrect the original 1996-era formatting and graphics since retro is cool and everything old is new again. Wanna read the old crap? Click here.
2005/05/12 - Good weather for the most part, but the ride home was damn cold! Course was ok. Didn't get out much last year or the year before so i can't comment on how the course has changed. i can say that the course is very twisty and has only one really fast section that lasts about 6 seconds. i really miss the Quarter Mile and treeline doubletrack sections where you could really open it up. Fun logs and jumps, and we have a new Compressor section next to the old Compressor section - and rather than a Compressor this one's more like a set of downhill whoop-de-doos with trees in the way… but we'll still call it The Compressor anyway. Greg's berms are still a gas, but the field needs smoothing out and Der Sandkasten Von Tod is stuck in the middle of a right hand turn which could turn out to be a huge pain in the ass. Conditions this week were typically soft but dry and grippy. 57 registered racers if i got it right, and registration was typically slow and confusing with the staff doing the typical Keystone Kops thing behind the counter, bumping into each other and such. This is normal for the first race of the season. Race went off without any serious problems or injuries as far as i know, and James Osmond beat Stevo by over four minutes to win the 4-Lap at 1:25:00. i didn't get my digital camera charged so i have no results sheets (yet?). Post-race action was good. Excellent barbeque with good burgers, dogs, sausages and oh-my-lordy they remembered the mayonnaise. No free Powerade, though. Draw prizes (thanks Missing Link) included chain lube, lights, a t-shirt and a few other odds and ends, and of course i won something.
4 Lap | Girls | Elite Boys | Sport Boys | Beginner Boys
So how about them apples, huh? Let's see if we can keep this going…
Nice to see more old faces returning: Dawn Lewis, Greg Marshall… i want Russ Higginbottom back! A slight threat of rain but it just got nicer out as the evening wore on. It should be noted that registration is back to being quick and trouble-free. The whole staff seems to be chilled out and enthusiastic once again (wait 'til August when boredom sets in?). i think most of us sliced a chunk off out lap times and rode through the finish thinking we kicked everyone's ass - but were disappointed to find that everybody else kicked ass too so we actually finished in about the same place as last week. A whole new section on the white course that brings back the steep downhill leading into Heart Attack Hill. i, for one, am very happy to see it back. But while i'm thinking about it, the tree just around the corner of the fence at the bottom of the downhill (behind the ski hills near the houses) will eat somebody soon. Hay bales, anyone?
Here's the stats: 4 Lap | Girls | Elite Boys | Sport Boys | Beginner Boys
Burgers were back and the mayo was flowing, but no hot dogs this week, and no free Powerade. Perhaps those days are over? A fine selection of prizes was distributed, and rumour has it that Tim had to take off to put out the out-of-control fire somewhere that stunk up the whole course during the race. Quote of the Week: the collective groan after Steve asked, "So when do we get the Lungbuster back?"
…and for the first time this year there was a section of the climb that almost nobody made. i keep noticing little tweaks being made to thc course here and there (like the jump after Simon's/Bob's Stairway) and it's cool that somebody is giving a shit about the details. Very cool. Didn't see anybody hurt (though i did see evidence of a couple doozie crashes in the tire tracks on the course) and didn't see any busted bikes or grass fires this week.
Results'em up: 4 Lap | Girls | Elite Boys | Sport Boys | Beginner Boys
Barbeque was excellent again despite the lack of hot dogs, but the damn Powerade machine gave me Blue when i pressed the Orange button for the third week out of four. Everybody knows how gross blue Powerade is (unless you're one of those sugar junkies who eats a breakfast of little rubber feet that you camp out in front of Sugar Mountain to buy in bulk each morning). We must find some way to build a device that uses an optical sensor to determine the colour of the bottle in the hole at the bottom and instantly returns your money if the bottle is blue... Condiments were adequate though, and the vibe on the patio was cheerful. Prizes were given and satisfied smiles were seen. Thus concludes another typical Thursday evening. Quote of the Week: "If you see any grass fires…" - Tim Oliver during the pre-race spiel.
How'd you do? 4 Lap | Girls | Elite Boys | Sport Boys | Beginner Boys
NOTE: The Official Boler Page has the ongoing Official Points Standings up. Click here to go directly to the chart. Also, it should be noted we once again have a trials-y section set up next to the main building that could prove to be fun. Barbeque was as good as ever minus the dogs, but the Powerade machine continues to mock me: The old Orange button now has a crude magic-marker label that says "Blue Powerade" and orange is nowhere to be found. i had to go with Lemon-Lime, but at least it was super-cold! Prizes were a step up from weeks past - Kona shorts, a shirt, some gloves and socks… People definitely wanted to stick around this week. Thanks to Missing Link (the most "L" of "LBS", and the most laid-back-super-cool people i know in bicycle retail. i wish they were closer to where i live). Quote of the Week: "I picked ME!" - the young girl who "coincidentally" picked her own name in the prize draw and then proceeded to take the gloves i wanted… Actually, it was pretty funny. She seemed so shocked for a moment…
Here's what you really wanted: 4 Lap | Girls | Elite Boys | Sport Boys | Beginner Boys
Barbeque was hot dog-less and the Powerade machine was orange-Powerade-less (but i made do with lemon-lime) and i don't think anyone cared but me. Prize draw went quickly and we managed to bike back downtown by 9pm! Quote of the Week: Uhh… sorry, i don't remember one. somebody said something good at the start but i was too busy getting my bike ready to pay attention.
( * well, there was one gorgeous day in Collingwood when we were riding 3-Stage back in 1998 that may have been as nice)
Quote of the Week: "Listen Daoust. Stick to what you do best; EATIN' BURGERS!" - Boler mountain staffer chiding a racer during the barbeque. (is it "Daoust" or "D'Aoust?")…
2005/06/30 - Course had a new hill - turn right off the saddle and do the pre-lungbuster dive down (great fun) and haul it back up the ski hill to the end of the saddle again. The bottom part of the climb is new trail. It's cool, but i think maybe i'd rather have had this part be stuck in after we cross the ski hills before we exit to the tube run; that way the berm at the bottom would make sense - and the fast blitz across the saddle was one of the truely fast parts of the course and carrying your speed through the corner into the next climb was a tricky technical bit that sometimes worked and sometimes didn't depending how "on it" you were. But then we'd have to do some kind of two-way split run at the top of the saddle in order to keep the fast part of the downhill… could be done i suppose. Ahh fuck it - it's cool the way it is i guess. Also, someone put hoopies demarking the inside of the second turn after the start on the ski hill - a great idea :-), but at least half a dozen people dove down the inside and cut the corner :-|. Foul, i say! Lastly, it should be noted that the Quarter-Mile bit leading into the trees before the saddle part has been moved closer to the trees to make room for the ever-growing Hill 2000 (should it now be called Hill 2010?).
The suckage: 4 Lap | Girls | Elite Boys | Sport Boys | Beginner Boys (Sorry Barry White; i took the pics before you came in. Your time was 1:51 and change. i wrote it on my arm at the race but it came off on the ride home.)
Barbeque was non-existent. Lame. Powerade machine was down to only red and blue. Lame. Prizes were cool and un-lame. Slightly better than usual Kona/Stevo stuff. Go buy shit at Missing Link. Quote of the Week: None, but i've got another good one from last week: "Man, I could have won if I'd entered a different category!" Isn't that always how life works?
The WebCounter on this page sat at 1430 all winter, and it looks like it will hit 1530 this week, so that's a hundred hits. Not quite the torrent of activity we had here back in the late '90s, but still seems worth the hour or so a week i usually put into it. If you see me at the race, buy me a damn burger.
The Devoted Ones™: 4 Lap | Girls | Elite Boys | Sport Boys | Beginner Boys
The rain had pretty much stopped by the time registration was underway, and the sandy loam of Boler Mountain was saoking the water up like a sponge. It was the typical post-rain race where the front half dried out enough that you barely noticed the wetness ('cept on the occasional slimy root) and the back section was more slick and nasty. A few people went down in Greg's Berms, and i saw some skid marks leading off the trail toward some odd destinations on some of the downhills. An interesting thing to note was that while many of us were able to make the Tube Run climb, i don't think anybody made the short climb out of the front section leading to the bit just inside the trees next to the old Quarter-Mile. It was brutal.
One more thing: You may have noticed a guy walking around with a fancy camera this past couple weeks. His name is Mike and he's taken some great photos, many of which can be viewed here. Check them out; you might be in them! He also does a blog that you can find with a little bit of digging, that briefly mentions his trips to Boler.
Wanted: Good Semi-Starter Bike - you know, like an old race bike with some life left in it for trail cruising, or even a sub-race bike, just as long as it isn't too outrageously heavy and cumbersome. Age unimportant. Cheap (LX-ish or below) is good, but not-so cheap (XT or better) will be considered if it's a good deal on a good bike. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you know of anything kicking around.
Odometer: thanks to digits.com - reset May 2001. Last update to this page May 14, 2009 5:54 PM