Richard Pestes – Publisher
Reading through the memories of the Crew brought back a lot of good ones for me too – and also reminded me of so many great moments I’d forgotten. And that is not something I like to do, but having old memories replaced with a long list of other good memories is surely a sign things are going well.
My own list of fave moments is enough to fill several pages, with random highlights including the long list of advertisers who’ve chosen us as a valuable way to reach readers like you, a 7:00AM meeting at a Starbucks in Vegas with Gary & Rob of Capo to start a relationship that’s lasted 8 years and seen us clad in some of the classiest kit around, there was riding with Lance at the Tour of Courage , riding with Greg LeMond (twice!), riding with Abraham Olano at the Tour of Germany, of course testing the latest and best gear from our sponsors, joining the press corps at the world’s biggest races, and being part of something that has attracted the talents of the guys on the PEZ-Crew.
But the ones I cherish the most are meeting up with PEZ-fans on the roads – whether local, or halfway across the globe. There was the fan at the Tour of California TT stage in Solvang way back who told me his favorite story was my Negroni Report, there was the time I met Ron Coombs in Menton (he arrived by train from the west, and I by car from San Remo) to ride the Col de la Madone (followed by pizza and beer), the last minute meeting with PEZ-Fans Steve & Jan in Edolo for a fantastic day riding the Mortirolo on the 19th stage of the 2010 Giro.
There have been a lot more too. I still marvel how thanks to the internet, a little effort, and our shared love for cycling, that I’ve met so many cool people while following this sport. It really does make the solitary hours at the keyboard worthwhile to know that readers find something in our work to keep you tuning in and riding along for all these years.
Charles Manantan – Tech Editor
My favorite has to be Interbike 2002…
Paying my own way there and putting myself up in a hotel, I popped down to the show floor only to have manufacturers find 125 different ways to say “never heard of PEZ, so kindly piss off…”.
But there were 3 companies that liked the tech conversation enough to take a chance on sending what would be the first products reviewed at PEZ (that I didn’t buy retail). Those three companies also very likely sent us faaaaaar more traffic than we sent them, based on links to the review at their home pages. And they also created a foundation of credibility by suggesting other companies give us a try and they eventually became the first three solid sponsors of PEZ right when Richard had decided “it was time to pull the plug and get a real job”.
We find lots of great moments in time over a decade, but the one that sticks out for me is having Bill and Ellen at American Classic, Chuck Wurster at Computrainer and Frank Day at PowerCranks take a chance on a web site with almost no audience and a tech guy with no track record in cycling… Huge thanks to BIll, Ellen, Chuck and Frank!
Edmond Hood – Roving Scribe
I can’t remember what the year was when I decided to go back to college to study journalism, but it must be around eight years ago. A friend told me about the ‘PEZ’ website and suggested that I submit one of my sad/fascinating (you chose) retro pieces – about Mike Neel, as I recall.
That was the start. The first Classic I covered for PEZ was Liege-Bastogne-Liege. And a real mess I made of it. But Pez was understanding, we talked through my errors and agreed that things would be better ‘next time.’ I remember thinking, ‘there’ll be no “next time” after that mess!’ But six Giros, six Tours, two Vueltas and all of the Monuments later – Richard still puts his trust in me.
A favourite moment is hard to nominate – but that first time I stumbled, blinking into a Giro permanence must deserve a mention. As must the first time I picked up my ‘creds’ at le Tour. But I think it might well be seeing my Mike Neel piece on that computer screen, for the first time.
And on a human level, there have been special moments getting to know and meet Richard the ‘PEZ-Meister’ and Jered ‘the Alchemist’ not forgetting Al, Ale, Gordan and Matt.
Must dash, before I get emotional and anyway, I’ve got a Primavera to report !
Alessandro Federico – Italian Office
For sure it’s the Sanremo 2004. I was not yet part of the PEZ-Crew but I was a reader. I was contacted the previous year (February 2003) by Pez asking me about picture I published on my blog; in March 2003 my first Pelopic. That time I had not even a digital camera, I was scanning my pictures and then posting on a space-free website which was created by a friend of mine.
So, how far away was Pez in that time? In those years another Italian (Michele Tommasi) was working as Italian reporter and both of us were co-operating for another Italian website (the web is a small place). He was telling me how cool it was working for a foreign website.
My work and my life in those years were having serious changes. From student to businessman. From single to married & a father in few months was a big jump. My wife is Uzbek, me Italian, our daughter coming to a new world with a lot of questions and no answers. The time was flying.
Back to my special moment with PEZ I was on the Turchino climb for the Sanremo passage in the March 2003. Bad weather, very cold. I was there as supporter with my bike and I was waiting the race. Hell of cold. It came a car just before the bunch; was a car with a logo of A-style I had seen on Pezcycling few weeks before. The driver stopped for a picture and shot me with some other fans. Than the surprise: the next Wednesday Duncan Steele published his SANREMO: The Day in Faces and I can see the picture he took to us on Turchino. Unfortunately he cut my face (well, I don’t blame him)
So that is all. The beginning; before the beginning (for me). And this is another reason why I love this place!
Jered Gruber – A little bit of everything
Trying to pick out a favorite moment during my time with PEZ is kind of like trying to pick out a favorite moment in your life, because that’s what it is. I started writing for PEZ in the fall of 2003. I wasn’t even 21-years-old yet. Fast forward to 2012, and I’m now 29, married, racing, and chasing the Classics in Flanders as a photographer and writer.
I see my life in two parts – the time before cycling, and the time since cycling – both involved growing up. I started riding a bike in 2002, so in a way, I feel like I’ve grown up with PEZ.
Of course, I can look back at a lot of fond memories, but most of all, I’m happy to have had the chance to grow up as part of such a great, odd, unique family. I can’t imagine what my life would be like without everyone involved with this site – colleagues, advisers, friends, all.
So in the end, I guess I just want to say thanks. Thanks to Richard for making this happen, thanks to you readers for all of your support, and thanks for giving me a home to grow up in.
Alastair Hamilton – EuroTrash, Spanish Office
It’s too difficult a job to tie down all my favourite moments from the last 10 PEZ years to just one, but I can give my top PEZ involved happenings. The first has to be receiving that first Vuelta accreditation and thinking “this is it we’ve made it!” but that was only the start of more “work”. That led onto the next top moments and both also concern La Vuelta; in Spain if anyone mentions PEZ, they mean fish, so for the first couple of years I received some strange looks and jokes about cycling fish, but people remembered. At the third Vuelta the podium girls said (in Spanish) “hey it’s the PEZ guy!” the job got easier, but was never a chore. The TV interview I did was a high but a nerve wracking time and a mile stone was when Cadel Evans said “ah PEZ, it’s funny, I like it.” But my best and most pleasing moments have been when I meet cyclists and they say they read PEZ and enjoy the site and If I mention I do EuroTrash, they tell me it’s their first read of the day on Monday and Thursday and I get that self confident warm feeling and it makes me glad to be involved with PEZ and all the guys in the virtual office all over the Globe. Happy Birthday PEZ.
Dr. Stephen Cheung – Toolbox Editor
The joys of cycling are universal, but they’re also intensely personal and individual. Ever since Pez introduced our ever stylish cycling kit in 2005, I’ve always found it a blast to ride around somewhere in the world and hear: “Hey Pez” from a fan and new friend. Of course, I’ve also been in mass ride/races where somebody recognizes the kit and passes me shouting, “Hey I read your stuff on Pez all the time!” Good to know my training advice is working for somebody!
My fave Pez moment came at the 2006 Tour de Georgia. At the base of Brasstown Bald, I bumped into this guy wearing a Pez cap so I stopped to say hi only to see that it was Steve Bauer. Beyond being a Canadian and all-round cycling legend, it was watching Bauer in the 1984 Olympics that got me into the sport of cycling in the first place. We chatted for a while and then the two of us rode up this famous climb together just as two friends and spent the day in the VIP area eating and watching the race. It was a bit of a culmination and chance to reflect on everything that cycling’s been for me, and to share that with the person who introduced me to the sport.
Gordan Cameron – UK Office
Man, I can’t believe that a decade ago I was dreaming about how cool it would be to be a cycling journalist, and go to the Tour de France as a reporter. It’s one of the few dreams of mine that I managed to turn into a reality, but for all the weird/amazing Tour stuff that’s happened – being tipped the wink about Ricco’s TdF bust before it happened, getting rescued from a storm-bound mountain resort, watching male two cross-dressers in stilettos nonchalantly teeter past a boisterous ‘Dutch corner’ – it’s the first really big interview I did that sticks in my mind, that still gives me a glow.
After weeks of back and fore, I finally got the legendary Sean Kelly on the line, a man I’d read about, and watched on TV, as he ruled the 1980s scene. I nudged the office door closed, and sat down to prepare my intro., silently crapping myself about how I’d maintain my cool. The words rattled down the line in a still-strong Irish accent: “Howlongwillthistake?” “Err, hopefully ten to fifteen minutes, Sean.” Four questions and close on fifty minutes later, King Kelly was still going, relating anecdotes of his Classics wins as I scribbled in my notebook … “Holy Sh*t! I’m interviewing Sean Kelly!” Still makes me smile.
Here’s to the next ten years. Thanks to you all for reading, and thanks to the big chief, Pez himself.
Corey Fox – Italian Office
One of the reasons I write, and more so publish articles is that having readers appreciate my little ideas somehow validates them. It makes them real. Although in the past four years I been called a pretentious idiot (not necessarily unfairly) and a racist (quite unfairly), the rest of the feedback has been positive. But none quite so surprising and moving as this email from Alessandra Tripodi. I restored her father’s Colnago Mexico a few months back, as she wrote:
“Thank you very much. You don’t know what a great pleasure it was for Mother and me to see my father’s bike restored with such care, ready again for more beautiful rides… Corey, when there was no longer any hope for my father, the hospital asked if we would donate his organs. It wasn’t an easy decision. Up until 16 days before, he was a healthy and active person and then disaster struck. We did donate his organs and over the past two years, I have waited every day, hoping to find a letter in our mailbox from someone that would thank us for our help, that would tell us that they were doing well thanks to our donation. But this still hasn’t happened. A few months ago, we were even featured in a newspaper article about donating and still no one contacted us. Instead, the greatest gift came from you. It might be considered a bit absurd, but for me the bicycle that my father loved is “more alive” than his organs that are still living in some part of Alto Adige that I might have even encountered on the street without knowing. For this, I thank you very much for what you did, your research and interest.”
Chris Selden – French Bureau
With Pez turning 10 years this year it gives me a chance to look back at my history with the site which all started as a fan and regular reader in 2002. In 2003 & 2004 I somehow found myself as a ‘Euro homeboy’ writing articles for Pez about my trials and tribulations as an amateur Australian cyclist trying to cut it against the big dogs on the French & Swiss amateur scene. Now to the present day living permanently in France as a retired cyclist covering races, interviews and EuroTrash’s on a semi regular basis – these last 10 years have certainly seen some changes. On the personal front the changes have been big, really big in fact. Stepping away from competitive riding was certainly a big change but that was nothing compared to meeting and subsequently marrying a beautiful French girl which led to a permanent change of countries, speaking only French at home and then the biggest change of all – having a daughter. Yep the changes have certainly been big since I started writing for Pez as a youngish cyclist with my mind only centered on the next race – not the next nappy change!
One thing that hasn’t changed in the last 10 years though is my love of cycling which hopefully I can somehow pass on to you the reader through my articles on Pez. How can I pick a favourite moment from the last seven years of writing stories though and the 200 odd stories I’ve published? It was difficult but some of my best ‘Pez’ experiences would have to be at the big races, where I’ve caught up with old friends, interviewed some top riders, ridden in team cars or even had riders comment on my articles! Here’s to another 10 years of Pez and especially to Richard for his inspiration in creating a cycling site that’s a bit different from all the others out there.
Leslie Reissner – Literary Editor, German Office
A decade of PezCycling News seems pretty amazing to me since I think I have been reading it from near the beginning and contributing to it since December 2006. Compared to the Action Men who chase the great races and get those on-the-spot interviews for Pez, my pieces, which have been all book or DVD reviews with only two exceptions, seem pretty sedate. I like to think I take a wider view of the pastime as I love where the bicycle takes me as well as its technological and sporting dimensions. But most of all I have enjoyed meeting new people and sharing the passion for two-wheels.
Since 2006 I have organized an annual ten days or so of cycling with a group of these good friends, with composition that varies from year to year but always promises fun. My trips tend to be climbing-focused as everyone seems to love the drama and we try to add in some local culture and especially food. And the trips have been notoriously inexpensive as the primary point is to ride which is how we came to end up in the youth hostel near the Bolzano train station in Summer 2009.
The other reason was that I had been encouraged to come to Bolzano by fellow-Pez contributor Corey Sar Fox, whom I had never actually met before. Meeting Corey, fluent speaker of Texitalian, gave me a stronger connection to the Pez group and he was generous with his time, accompanying us over one of Sьdtirol’s tougher passes and providing directions for a second one. Without his guidance and good humour we would probably not have found our way out of Bolzano and certainly not have found the excellent restaurant we enjoyed with him the next day.
Corey and I are not only both extremely parsimonious (his Mr. Cheap-oh pieces are icons of good sense to me in an age of $17,000 road bikes) but we share an enthusiasm for classic steel bicycles and an appreciation of the pre-carbon, pre-aluminum world that once was cycling. I was flattered when Corey asked me to edit a piece on his gifted (if perhaps not in the business sense) Italian mechanic for PEZ.
Our lives are really about building meaningful relationships and with PEZ the kinship is global in nature. I’ll have the chance to meet other PEZ contributors (including the Canadian contingent) this summer and I am excited and proud to have been a part of Pez’s 10 years of quality and success.
Matt Conn – Italian Office
Being part of the PEZ team for the past five years has led to some fantastic experiences covering the best bicycle races in the world. Some great moments that stick out include: Being Roadside in Mendrisio when Evans won the Worlds; chasing the Tour of Flanders with my great friend Jaco behind the wheel; walking into the pressroom at my first Tour de France; meeting fans of the site who just want to say how much they enjoy what we do; the great behind the scenes email-banter with the rest of the PEZ crew, (most of whom I have never actually met); and of course, “working” on the Giro d’Italia – the most beautiful stage race in the world. Even the stressful times, like late night deadlines with crappy hotel internet, wondering if I’d missed something important as I pressed “publish” every Thursday on EuroTrash, upsetting certain sports directors with questions they would rather not answer, or even just going completely blank in the middle of an interview when your Italian fails you, even all of those are great memories of working for PEZ.
Happy 10th birthday! A big thanks to Rich for letting me have fun while he picks up the tab and a best wishes for the next 10 years of race and roadside reporting done the way that only the Pez crew can do.
Dave Aldersebaes – American Office
Not to put too fine a point on it, or to sound too cliche, but had you told me 10 years ago I’d have seen all kinds of bike races in all parts of the earth I’d have told you that you were nuts. Crazy. Certifiable. My tenure at PEZ has opened the world and the inside line on professional cycling to me. It all started after a short run at another cycling site, right when I was getting into following the sport as a fan, and racing my bike as well, some 9 years ago. It all started with an email and then a short lived Tales from the Gutter column as a substandard Cat 4 and the beatings withstood within that rank. From there it’s been Tours de Georgia, Tours of California, Nationals, Road Worlds, race reporting on all three Grand Tours, traveling to Europe for Amstel Gold, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, and La Fleche Wallone, and many more scattered about. Suffice it to say, it’s been quite a ride.
Our Richard asked us to put forth a favorite moment in time from our respective tenures here at Pez, and at first blush that seemed an impossibility. The miles traveled, jet fuel burned, miles ridden on historic roads so deeply embedded in cycling’s lore; there seems just too much to pick one solitary moment. There have been some incredible highs, a few lows, and lots of laughs.
I suppose then I’ll distill this into one rather odd, hilarious, and purely happenstance moments of the Tour de Georgia, 2005. While in the press tent, having finished interviewing TT winner Floyd Landis (and inadvertently ruining then VS. Channel’s subsequent interview by swaying about in the background like an idiot – still have that on VHS somewhere) I managed to find Dave Zabriskie. A short interview took place, a few photos, him discovering I had beer in my cup, we both found ourselves in step to the City Hall converted into Race HQ to take a leak. After making some water we were washing our hands when Dave spied my shoes and said “I like your shoes”, “Thanks”, I said.
“Can I have them?”, he said.
“Sorry, the only ones I brought, Dave.”
“Oh, damn. They forgot to bring my actual shoes.”
Sorry again, and we parted ways. Throughout my times questioning Dave, I’ve always zeroed in on his quirky side, asking him as many non-cycling questions as I could. What was his favorite Star Wars toy? How much wood could a woodchuck chuck? You wanna go see Iron Maiden with me? And so on. At the same TdG’s final party, I ended up by Dave and his wife Randi. I said hi, and Dave said to his wife, poking me in the chest, “This is the guy that asks me all those weird questions.”
Seemed a feather in my cycling journalist cap, so early on.
And another quick favorite would have to be all the correspondence from PEZ readers, read in so many hotel rooms scattered over so many race routes, these have truly been wonderful to read along the way. I think I can safely say that for all of us here it is an honor and a privilege to work hard to provide unique cycling coverage for you, our readers. So I say thanks to you, and thanks to Pez, and thanks to the sport. It’s been a fun ride so far, and at times it feels like it’s only beginning.