And A Festivus For The Cyclists!

Festivus is a secular holiday celebrated on December 23 as a way to commemorate the holiday season without participating in its pressures and commercialism. It is usually celebrated with the practices of the "Airing of Grievances", the labeling of easily explainable events as "Festivus Miracles", and concludes with "Feats of Strength". If you are a person of a certain age, you of course remember it was featured on an episode of Seinfeld.

You can read more about the whole celebration of non-celebration here:

On BicyclingBlogger, I'd like to take this opportunity to recap the 2012 cycling season in my own Festivus fashion...

Airing of Grievances

The whole doping-in-cycling situation has to take the top podium spot in this year's "Airing of Grievances". I am so fed up with the denials that have been rampant in pro cycling since at least 1998. Marco Pantani is dead as a direct result of this garbage. A certain successive 7 years within that time period was dominated by such a systematic program of not only doping, but extreme pressure to dope just to be competitive that it fills me with disgust, even today.

But the saddest part throughout this most recent period of cycling history is that integrity was not rewarded. Many young cyclists were denied professional careers because they chose the higher road, kept to their morals, and resisted the pressures to dope. I wish there was some kind of time machine that could turn the clocks back for these cyclists, and give them the opportunity to be clean competitors at the professional level. Unfortunately there isn't such an invention. Time has marched on for the honest riders.

I can only hope, going forward, that this will be the end of it. Unfortunately there was a time that I hoped Santa Claus was real too - and look how that turned out!

Festivus Miracles

A Festivus Miracle is an easily explainable event. Check out these Miracles:

  • On the velodrome, when I increased my cadence, my speed increased! It's a Festivus Miracle!
  • Again on the velodrome, I never got wet riding in the rain! It's a Festivus Miracle!
  • But out on the road, every time it rained on me, I got wet! It's a Festivus Miracle!
  • Back at the Argyll Velodrome, Jeff Bakal beat us all in the Sprints! It's a Festivus Miracle!

Feats of Strength

It wasn't my strongest season of cycling, but some results - I've had a few. At the Axel Merckx Granfondo in Penticton I finished in the top 8% of my age group despite having to fix my own flat in the last 3km of the event. This result gave me a nice UCI World Cycling Tour (UWCT) medal and an automatic entry into the UWCT Final.

You see, back in 2011 the UCI replaced the old Masters World Road Championships with the UCI World Cycling Tour. It's a series of about 15 qualifying events (many of them Gran Fondos) that lead up to the UWCT Final. In 2012, the UWCT Final was in South Africa, a mere 6 weeks after the Axel Merckx Granfondo. Unfortunately, this didn't leave me enough time to organize a trip all the way to South Africa. Perhaps I should place this up in the "Airing of Grievances".

The 2013 UWCT Final will be September 19-22 in Trento, Italy. None of the qualifying events this year are in Canada, and only one is in the US. The 2014 UWCT Final will be in Slovenia. Perhaps I should aim for that one?

At the velodrome, in the Alberta Provincial Track Championships, I won Silver in the Master B Power Omnium and Bronze in the Endurance Omnium.

On the road, I won Bronze in the Alberta Master B 40km Time Trial Championships.

But in true Festivus fashion, the day isn't done until I've been defeated. And I've got three other results to share that soundly defeat mine.

The first result was the life-long cycling pursuit of a rainbow jersey by a good friend of mine...

At the 2012 World Masters Track Championships in Manchester, England. Peter Toth won not only one but two World Cycling Championships! He captured Gold in both the Master C Points Race and Scratch Race. If you're not quite sure what those events are, just CLICK HERE to read my post that describes some of the typical track racing events.

Next, Tara Whitten proudly represented not only Edmonton, but all of Canada at the Summer Olympics in London. She played what I think was the pivotal role on the Women's Pursuit Team, bringing home an Olympic Bronze medal. Tara had some of her first competitive track cycling experiences with many of us at the Argyll Velodrome in Edmonton. It is truly inspiring to see such huge results develop from such humble beginnings. Tara schooled me right and proper in the art of throwing a track bike in a points race! Thank you Tara - I'm a better rider for it!

And finally, a result that I think all of us cyclists should aspire to achieve. 100-year-old Frenchman Robert Marchand rode 100km at the outdoor Tete-d'Or Veldrome in Lyon, France, in a time of - get this - 4 hours, 17 minutes and 27 seconds! That is a respectable feat for any solo cyclist of any age, but to achieve that result at age 100 is truly inspirational!

Monsieur Marchand, you've successfully wrestled us all to the ground, and thus we can conclude our Festivus celebrations!

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