Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

I Never Cared Whether They Won Or Not

The crack of the bat. Crowd chatter and cheers. The honest smell of hot-dogs and leather mitts ready to snap up bleacher-bound balls like Venus flytraps. Salt assaults from the fresh pretzel on my tongue.

I miss the Expos.

Roller Derby Dirty

When a friend of mine called me up to invite me to go to an all-girls roller derby final championship game at a convenient plateau arena where cheap beer and raging girls with attitude on rollerblades were to be featured, it sounded too ridiculous to say no.

Indeed, we lined up yesterday evening at the St. Louis arena on St. Dominique just north of St. Viateur, paid our $12 entrance fee, paid for our 2 for $5 beers (or $3 for one, but who only gets one?) and made our way down into the hockey area. Having the foresight to bring pillows, we settled down in prime parterre seating (at your own peril) and cracked open our first cans of a truly horrible-but-good American brew “Pabst” and the Roller Derby championships between the two Montreal teams La Racaille and Les Contrabanditas began. Hosted by the fabulous Plastic Patrick and some other dude, we were quickly launched into screaming, cheering fans as the first half started.

What fun! I highly encourage you to check this sport out. Teams of mouthguard wearing, fishnet sporting women racing around a hockey arena in a violent, jostling, strategic, competitive and action-packed activity, it’s fun for the whole family. (There were a significant amount of kids there, actually). With player names like Wrath Poutine, Ashley Thudd, Iron Wench and Georgia W. Tush, how can you not go?

(Next game happens at Arena St. Louis on August 13, between Montreal’s New Skids on the Block and the Long Island Roller Rebels).

Official site: http://www.mtlrollerderby.com/
An informative Flickr set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bubbabrown/sets/72157606154552557/

Dear pedestrian…

The new bike path on deMaisonneuve running through downtown is all very well, but there are some surefire hazards. As a véloïste, I’m getting used to the concrete median between road and bike path though I’m not sure it has been the best of ideas. Let me tell you, it’s absolutely horrible when it comes to pedestrians. Pedestrians downtown still need to learn that they cannot loiter in the bike path oblivious to bike traffic, with their backs to oncoming speeding cyclists. Also, they need to learn that they cannot take up the entire width of the path by using it as a sidewalk. They need to learn faster. I have nearly sliced pedestrians in two with my bicycle several times this season, giving myself and hopefully the pedestrian a proper heart attack. It is rare when cars are less hazardous to cyclists than pedestrians, but that is the case in this city right now, especially where the bike path is newest. All I can say is that they are darned lucky I tuned up my brakes this year.

Ski Conditions

    Yes, I know. It was Easter weekend. I should be writing about how warm it was and how my second weekend outdoor ride went.

Mont Tremblant is in an alternate universe. At least, I don’t think it’s in Quebec. We ran up Friday (big mistake) to ski Tremblant. First time in close to 20 years. I had seen the changes, just never skied there since. What a zoo.

  1. Wait in line for a bus to take you to the hill.
  2. Wait in line for 40 minutes to buy your lift ticket (70 bucks)
  3. Wait in line for another 40 minutes to get to the top via the gondola.

It wasn’t like that 20 years ago! When I first skied Tremblant as a kid, I remember the single chairlift on the North Side. I even remember taking it..

Chalk full of tourists.. Lots of Americans and British. All the staff speak to you in English with accents. It’s so bizare. It’s Quebec, yet not quite.  Tourists who routinely ask you how you are doing.. Whoa, again, we don’t do that in Quebec!

Winds at the top were insane. If you slid down with your arms out, the wind would stop you from moving. Conditions however were still excellent. Mid winter stuff, yet on Easter Weekend.

Sunday was a quick trip to Sauveur. No one there. No one. Skied all morning without having to wait for a chair. Conditions there too were the best I have seen all year.

Next weekend is the famous Pond Crossing at Morin Heights.  If this weather holds up, they are going to have a hard time keeping that water from freezing.

The Price of Chaise Longue

Not much work got done Tuesday. Glued to our laptop screens, hitting the refresh buttons to the point of absurdity, chat windows opened up all over, including our Blackberries, us Hab fans sat, waiting.

As time ticked on, despair began to set in.

“That’s it?!?” One coworker who had tickets to Tuesday’s game said he didn’t feel like going.

Another who had tickets to Saturday’s game said he too felt like staying home. When I queried them for their tickets, their tune quickly changed..

Listening to CKAC and the radio show hosts predicting complete disaster. “Stop treating us like idiots when you say the Habs are a better team now, then before the trade deadline” I believe is how one put it.

Huge dissapointment from so many calling in.

Fast forward several days later and the Habs sit atop first place. All alone. Carey Price played spectacularly. Higgins is scoring goals again. Lapierre is back in excellent form. The team looks absolutely fantastic.

I tuned in again to CKAC. One thing is for sure, people who call, call-in shows after a win tend to be rather drunk. It was as if the Habs had won the Cup. Who would have thought the habs would be sitting atop alone in first place with how many weeks left in the season ?

What was that guy’s name again that the Penguins got and we didn’t ?

Les Chaise Longues at Crappy Tire are no longer reduced in price.

Canadiens finally won one at home…

And it’s the one I went to… Cheering for the opposite team: the LEAFS! But yea, both teams really played well, a nice fast-paced game with so many great shots on goal (some that turned into goals, mostly for the Habs… 4-1 being the final score)!

A faceoff…
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The final score board…
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Pictures (c): Christelle

Curling Rocks!

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Last night, I tried curling for the very first time and boy was it ever fun! I went to what’s called a “Friendly” at the Montreal West Curling Club – sort of like an open-house intro to curling for non-members. Curling at the club is a great social event where you can curl a little, snack a little at the bar, have some dinner and then curl some more! As a newbie curler, my technique is less than perfect – alright, downright awkward and pathetic – but I never thought that curling could be so amusing. For someone who doesn’t like winter, this is a pretty good winter sport to engage in. It’s an outdoor kind of sport that you can practice in the comfort of the indoors. Mind you, it’s really quite chilly in the rink – a jacket and gloves are a good idea and your feet get chilly if you don’t keep moving. But instead of hibernating through the winter, this is a great way to get through the long cold days ahead. I always thought of curling as a rather quaint, ok dorky, Canadian sport but it’s really one of those things that you’ve got to try to truly appreciate it. It’s really not as easy as it looks and the sweeping provides a not too bad cardio workout ’cause baby, that rock moves fast! It’s a great sport for all ages and there are curling clubs all across the island. If you’re interested in trying it out, and I highly recommend it, you can join a group like the Montreal West Curling Club Meetup.

Ski Conditions

The month of November is usually the month I dread the most. If there is one thing I fear, it’s having nothing to do over the weekend. I need to get outside and do something.

The problem with November is often snow falls making the roads too tough to bike on and there not being enough snow to ski on.

But this year, we’ve lucked out. Last week I was riding the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and yesterday I was snowboarding.

St-Sauveur has 5 runs and 3 lifts open. Now, 1 of those runs is the kiddie run and one of those lifts is the moving carpet for the kiddies. So really, it’s 4 runs and two chairs. I arrived yesterday at Sauveur at 09:30 and already the parking lot was full. Not a good sign. Packed, wall to wall people and conditions were a little on the icy side.

After one run, I packed it in, jumped in the car and headed off to Morin Heights. They have 1.5 runs open with one chair running. But there is NO ONE there. It was entirely dead. Skied for 3 hrs with my father and headed back.

They are blasting snow all over that mountain. If we don’t get too much rain this week, I think it’ll be great skiing next weekend.

P.S Anyone know where I can score a pair of Flow snowboard bindings? I’m getting too old for this having to bend down to tie up my bindings..

Be seen

Riding to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve yesterday and along Viger, I noticed that the city has painted what looks to be the start of a bike path. Could this be ? It starts from at least Papineau and goes straight until McGill. I ride that route almost daily on the way to another workout.

A bike path there would be fantastic.

Two things I wanted to mention to cyclists now that Autumn is upon us. The first is wet leaves. Many of the bike paths are now covered in leaves. When they are dry, they don’t pose much of a problem. However, when they are wet, they are slippy as all get out. So be careful on rainy days.

The next is purchasing LED lights. All my bikes have lights on them for when I ride after sunset (which now is getting depressingly sooner and sooner). The idea behind these LED lights isn’t so much to see better. Because if you really want something that will illuminate your way, you are going to have to spend lots of money. The idea behind LED lights is to beseen. I’m not just referring to cars but also fellow cyclists and pedestrians. I picked up two yesterday at ABC for 12 bucks a pop.

Jeanson as Victim Part Deux

The second part to Alain Gravel’s excellent report on Enquête (Radio Canada) was aired yesterday. Some absolutely fantastic reporting by Mr Gravel. The two part series which included the confession by Miss Jeanson as having been doped on EPO since the age of 16, was gripping reporting.

Yesterday’s reportage attempted to explain who was to blame for all of this. How could it be that a 16 year old girl was introduced to EPO ?
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