Chris Selden, Editor – French Bureau
Another year almost over and what a hectic year it was! The site redesign back in April was about triple the work that we thought it would be but the nice comments from PEZ fans from around the world and the subsequent increase in readership made all the work worthwhile.
2013 also saw another new addition to the Selden household so the juggling of work and family got that bit harder again and then I decided to increase the degree of difficulty just one more notch by once again taking up a racing license after a number of years away from the competitive side of the sport that we all love. A host of victoires later I will now find myself in the top catgeory again in 2014 here in France up against the wannabe pros and local top guns – it might be time to put the license away again…
But what fun would that be? I here of so many inspiring stories in my work with PEZ of guys and girls that juggle way more than me and are successful so I will continue to do the best I can but most importantly just continue to enjoy riding as at the end of the day that’s what it’s all about. Getting out and riding, seeing the countryside, having fun with friends and keeping fit. No matter what your level of riding, no matter what you ride make sure you enjoy every moment that you can on the bike in 2014 – I know I will.
Alastair Hamilton, EuroTrash, Newswire – Spanish Bureau
Christmas in the little Spanish village that I live in was always a nice quiet time, not much going on except eating and drinking, you know how it is. Now with the road season starting in January all the teams are having training camps in December and then in January they have another one with maybe a team presentation thrown in. Many teams come to this area, which has made this my busiest time of year; of course it used to be September for La Vuelta a España. As you will be reading; it’s one team after another and more rider interviews than you can shake a Christmas tree at. Anyway, there will still be some eating and drinking between typing!
It looks like professional cycling has turned the page on doping and we can look forward to the young guys in 2014 mixing it up on just water and bread. So a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone, thanks for reading and all the comments good and bad. And an extra thanks to PEZ for the Christmas mug, the quote from Fausto Coppi is: “Age and treachery will overcome youth and skill,” I’m at that age to appreciate the message…and it isn’t tea in there!
Ed Hood – Reporter At Large
I loved the races I attended in 2013; from the steep bankings of the Berlin six day by way of Classics, Grand Tours and cyclo-cross back to the even steeper bankings in the Gent six – good racing, great memories.
I love the sport more as each year goes by. But like any love affair sometimes the waters get a tad choppy.
However, this year, there wasn’t just a bit of a storm, it was, ‘Krakatoa, East of Java’ – a tidal wave of scandal, in-fighting, claims, counter-claims and corruption which often had me with my head in my hands and wondering how people who profess to love this wonderful sport could want to inflict such deep wounds upon it. I won’t name names, there are too many and you’ll know to whom I refer, anyway.
On the positive side, the new wave of riders are coming out and saying things the last generation never would; Marcel Kittel to name but one subjected himself to a lie detector test regarding the provenance of his career. And attitudes in the peloton have changed dramatically from just a year or two ago – that must be encouraging.
Five top tier teams going to the wall is anything but encouraging, however.
Only the most naive would claim there’s no correlation between the aforementioned scandals and a situation which put 130-odd riders on the unemployment line. It depresses me that this situation exist whilst the sport’s governing body assures us that what we really need is another race in the desert. But enough of the heavy stuff.
I’ll be having Xmas with the family; turkey and all the trimmings and apparently I’m on cocktail duties – so mustn’t grumble.
In closing I’d like to wish all of my family, friends and colleagues at PEZ – particularly the PEZ-Meister himself for unleashing me on the roads of Europe yet again – Martin and Dave for being the best of companions and all of our loyal readers, without whom it would all be rather pointless, a very merry Xmas and a happy 2014.
Stephen Cheung – Toolbox Editor
While our goals as parents is to have our kids be happy and loving what they do, there’s no denying that, as cyclists, nothing would please us more than sharing our sport with our kids. My boys Jacob and Zachary have been competitive gymnasts for the past 8 years, so rather than hitting the road, I introduced them to the fun of technical trails riding for the first time this year. Seeing the thrill of their discovering their own abilities and talents in this new sport only renewed my own love for cycling even more. Here’s hoping that you find that special thrill in all of your riding in 2014!
Leslie Reissner, Literary Editory – German Bureau
Times flies and once again the Christmas markets throughout Germany are open and spreading good cheer and a great deal of Glühwein about. Time to take stock as my stay in Europe too-rapidly comes to a close after three and a half years.
There were many highlights to my year, including some great local rides here in North Rhine-Westphalia, the brutal hills of Hesse during the Rhönradmarathon event, and a week of cycling passes and alongside beautiful lakes in Switzerland and Italy during our annual Lost Boys Tour of Europe. For Pezcyclingnews.com, the best cycling website ever, I had the chance to provide inside coverage at the Rund um Köln pro race, the European Elite Track Racing Championships and the mammoth Eurobike trade show. However, it was clearly the Year of Retro for me, with events in Flanders, the Loire, the Odenwald, Tuscany and Wallonia, and bicycle museums, special exhibitions or old bicycle markets visited in the Netherlands, Belgium (numerous!), Austria and near Mainz. Surprisingly, I did not take any opportunity to add to my stable of classic steel bicycles in 2013; as Pez readers know it is pretty ridiculous already. And although almost every ride that involved travel also had a terrible weather forecast, I did not experience any of the dismal conditions expected so that wool jersey stayed dry.
But with all those kilometers ridden, cool morning descents and challenging climbs experienced, flats repaired, espresso downed and chain lubricant used up, with all those book reviews written and photos taken, the greatest pleasure in my cycling world remains the friends I have made. These include all the great guys at Pezcyclingnews.com, my Lost Boys fellow-adventurers, the tiny but colourful group that is the RSV Vagabund ’13 club, the Klassikerausfahrt group in Düsseldorf, the enthusiasts I know only on-line, old friends from Squadra Coppi and the Potomac Pedalers in Washington, DC, or the Ottawa Bicycle Club, new friends I met at the track racing in Apeldoorn or the bike café in Vienna–and of course all those loyal readers and advertisers at Pezcyclingnews. I wish everyone a happy holiday season surrounded by friends and all the best for a sunny and tailwind-only year ahead!
Mark McGhee – Reporter At Large
This is my first Christmas greeting for Pez and 2013 was a great year for me. One of the undoubted highlights was being asked to join the team in the run-up to Le Tour after acting as a contributer on a number of reports and articles. I´ve always followed professional cycling but this year like no other has allowed me to get up close and personal at the races.
I´m currently enjoying the holiday period in Spain with my wife and her family (just what Pez needs, another Scotsman in Spain) and making sure I get out on the bike as much as possible. In no time at all it´ll be back to the wind and rain in Scotland.
Nuria and I wish everyone the very best for Christmas and the New Year and we hope Santa (and the Kings) are kind to you. Felices Fiestas!
Darrell Parks – North American Photographer
Happy Holidays to all. Once again another whirlwind year has flown by and thanks to PEZ it’s been a great one. I’m really happy to be a part of the PEZ team and it’s unique approach to Cycling News. Though I didn’t get to shoot quite as many races as usual this year, I believe I was able to capture some of my best work this season. Being able to shoot the Cyclocross Worlds in Louisville Kentucky was just one of the highlights. I really look forward to bringing you my images and stories throughout the year and I hope everyone is enjoying them. Each year I run into more and more PEZ fans at the races and I truly appreciate all the nice things you have to say. I also wanted to say thanks to everyone that’s purchased one of my calendars over the years…
Now I’m looking forward to relaxing a bit and spending time with the family for the Holidays. Then in January it’s off to the warmth of the Florida keys to shoot the Wounded Warrior Project Soldier ride. I’m also going to attempt to get more saddle time in 2014 as well and hope to see some of you out on the road and at the races! Ride strong, ride hard, and most importantly, ride safe!
Gordan Cameron – Scottish Bureau
Another 365 days have rocketed by, since the last Pez-mas message and cycling continues to act like your mates from high school … while some of the guys get sensible and see the bigger picture, there’s always a dope that never grows up, that guy who always has one too many and tries to pick a fight at closing time, the one you try to avoid eye contact with on the late bus home. Somehow, you hope your pal will sort himself out because you’re sick of defending him … like he’s really sound when there’s no funny stuff on the go.
But cycling has another side, too. It’s like the guys and girls you can rely on, the friends who’ll pick you up when things ain’t going so well. It’s not just the pro scene that makes your heart race when times are good, thrills you with racing exploits and stories of heroism. The very act of turning the pedals clears the mind; it’s just going out for a spin, even just an hour when the weather is crap.
Happy holidays and all the best for New Year. Let’s hope cycling decides – like our trusted mates who grew up without losing their identities – to keep our spirits soaring in 2014.
Matt McNamara – Toolbox Contributor
Greetings to the PeZ family of readers!
As another year comes to a close I am not spending much time looking back, preferring instead to look forward to a 2014 filled with more rides, more trips, maybe a new bike (or two) and a few less pounds to portage around. I hope you and yours enjoy a great couple of weeks, and that it extends all year.
“The finest qualities of our nature, like the bloom on fruits, can be preserved only by the most delicate handling.” Thoreau
Alessandro Federico – Italian Bureau
Me and my wife Natalia are enjoying Christmas in family but we decided to dedicate to us some time even in a family event full of small babies crying every five minutes. But, at last, this is Christmas and we both love this day. We would like to send our greetings to all Pez readers and our friends in Pez crew!
Richard Pestes – Publisher
I’m writing this two days before Christmas and just got back from a roller derby rush around town collecting my out-of-school girls from a morning camp, and myself scrambling to get a few more things done before tucking in for a long winter’s nap on the 24th.
These last few hours have been a micro-version of the year – which ramped up 12 months ago when I crystallized my vision for the new PEZ website design, and then big ringed it to get ‘er built and launched by early April. That was just in time to catch my breath before jetting off to Napoli for the start of this year’s Giro d’Italia, and some truly excellent days on the race with my driver Mino. That freedom and adventure of the roadside chase always reminds me why I love this gig so much.
My girls (8 and 4 years old) are fully immersed in the Spirit of the Holiday. Their call for putting up the Christmas decorations came even before the end of November, and their excitement for Santa’s arrival goes up a notch each day. That’s pretty fun to watch, and just like Perry Como croons daily on my non-stop 24-7 Christmas playlist – “there’s no place like home for the Holidays.”
Thanks to everyone who joined us in 2013 and made us part of your own cycling lives, and I wish you all a safe and happy Holiday Season with the people who really matter.