A Fitting End to the Season

Saturday night I stayed up way past my bedtime. But sometimes when the good times are flowing it’s best to just go with it.

The evening stared at 4:30 with the official Annual General Meeting of the Manitoba Cycling Association. A respectable crowd was in attendance – respectable in the sense that some folks sported flat front dress trousers and a nice tie. This was a refreshing and notably better smelling alternative to the usual lycra shorts with manky bum pads.

Sadly my copy of the annual report, complete with pithy margin notes and insightful doodles was snatched by the over-zealous cleaning staff. Here are some of the highlights I remember from my occasional lucid moments:

– BMX is on the radar. Money is flowing in from generous sponsors, which will mean more kids on bikes, in a safe and decidedly rad environment.

– Jason Carter was voted in as president. Jason is a rider, former racer, randonneur, commuter, Provincial Kid parent, volunteer and overall great guy. Therefore I think it is likely he will be a great president. Just to be sure, I staged this incriminating photo of him to use as leverage should the need arise.– It was agreed that Road and Cross need to be split among two chairs. Cross has become too massive and awesome to be handled along with Road by one person. At next year’s AGM the role will be split, but until then Gary will remain Road chair and bear the Cross as well. He’ll need help. Which is exactly what he’ll get.

– The position of Vice President is still open. It would be cool if that position was filled by someone of the female persuasion. But of course anyone of the awesome persuasion would be completely suitable.

– Dave D. is going to take on the Mountain folk. I got the impression my fat tire cousins are in good hands. I also got the impression he will have lots of help.

– MCA has an Active Transportation committee. Who knew? It’s good to know we are helping untangle the tangled mess of red tape that is civil infrastructure in order to make our city a better and safer place to ride bikes.

– The Provincial Kids are starting to kick some pretty serious ass all over the country. Here at home they continue to kick ours with increasing ease and frequency. Terry suggested the rest of us should start to train harder. – Apparently the MCA is officially out of debt and in the black. I would be too if I didn’t spend all my money on expensive bike shit. I think there is some irony in there.


– it looks like the Assiniboine Park crits are coming back! The format is still in discussion, but the venue is back on the proverbial boards and this is a great thing. In spite of my mishap, the criterium continues to be my favourite race discipline and I have a serious bone to pick with corner number two.

After all the motions were passed and seconded, we eagerly left the stuffy meeting to stuff our faces and bask in the glory of another great race season. I was personally happy to bask in the glory of the meatballs and gravy, and a crash-free race season. (Except for cross of course, where crashes don’t count as crashes unless you break something).It was cool to get a glimpse into the behind the scenes working of the MCA, and hard not to appreciate the herculean efforts that are put in by the awesome staff (Twila and Jayson) plus the board and committees, who are all volunteers with jobs and kids and real lives outside of the servitude of our cycling community.

There were approximately a gazillion awards given out at the banquet that followed, each one very well-deserved and appreciated by the recipient. The Kids cleaned up, with Young Master Prendergast and the Boersma family winning so much bling they had to rent a trailer to bring it all home.

The Lifetime Acheivement Award was given to Eric Reid, an accomplished racer and coach who was eloquently toasted and introduced by local boys (who are arguably equally deserving of the same award) Erick Oland and Tim Woodcock.

Eric brought some amazing photo albums from his racing days with his dad Gord Reid (yes, THE Gord) and the likes of none other than our own Lindsay Gauld. There were great shots of the Gord’s team in their wool jerseys, and the impossibly steep banked velodrome in Minneapolis – a slippery plywood track coated in swimming pool paint. Eric told me the biggest problem with that velodrome was the banks weren’t steep enough – something I suspect physics can explain far better than I can. I suggested to him that the pictures are a valuable and historic record of cycling in Manitoba and worth scanning. I hope he does, but next time I go to Calgary I’m bringing my scanner just in case.

My date had to leave early, which gave me the opportunity to get totally hammered and flirt shamelessly with everyone in the room. (Kidding. About the hammered part). I was in my glory partaking in conversation after glorious conversation with old friends and new ones about nothing but the great and noble sport of cycling.

There are some very exciting things coming down the pipe in the immediate and not so immediate future. There is talk of alleycats, epic winter races, pub crawls, roller races, training camps, velodromes and perhaps even the return of the Cobblestone Classic complete with some top secret cycling celebrities who may or may not be Belgian. If you’re going to dream, dream big.

That’s Alex Steida and Chris Wilberg from the glory days of the Cobblestone Classic in Winnipeg, courtesy of Erick Oland. Thanks Erick!

The other shots in this post (with the exception of my blackmail shot of The President) are by Stefan Isfeld, who did a great job as usual, and will now retreat indoors until Spring thaw. Apparently our intrepid photographer isn’t a big fan of winter. The rest of the shots are here.

Stay tuned people. This is going to be good.