Most of the year, the PEZ crew is outside on the roadside chasing cycling's best. Every once in awhile, however, we get a day pass, and we get to go inside. Let's take a closer look at the amusing, fantastic spectacle that was the 2013 Giro Presentation.
Roadside Report: We arrived in Europe the day before the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad - the first major classic of the Classics season. Two months later, we were there for one last big day out to draw the Spring Classics season to a close: Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Let's take a look back at the day that was.
Roadside: We've been chasing the cobbled classics since the Omloop in February. With Sunday's Paris-Roubaix the cobbled classic season culminated in legendary fashion, and we were incredibly fortunate to chase the race with former Roubaix podium finisher, Roger Hammond and seen-everything-there-is-to-see soigneur, Bart Brackez.
Roadside Report: While Richard was enjoying an amazing day with VeloClassic Tours, Ashley and Jered were on their bikes in search of as many photo locations as possible in the finale of Sunday's Ronde van Vlaanderen. They managed twelve. Let's take a photo look back at their day...
Roadside: When I left off in Part One, the break was in its death throes, the field was lined out following the Knokteberg, and the day's first major berg, the Oude Kwaremont, was next on the misery list with just under 90 kilometers remaining until someone's childhood dream would be fulfilled in front of thousands in Meerbeke.
Roadside Report: For the second time in three days, we were spoiled with a race in our backyard. So after a morning of work and relaxing, we got our kits on, shouldered our backpacks, and headed into the Vlaamse Ardennen to enjoy an incredible afternoon of bike racing.
Roadside: All eyes have rightly been focused on Italy this week, but in between yesterday's fantastic race and tomorrow's Roadside report from Ale, we'll take a quick trip back to Belgium for a little photo essay of a classic midweek race in Belgium - the Nokere Koerse.
Best of PEZ: If you ever get the chance to chase one of the spring's Monuments - whether it be Italy's Milano-Sanremo, Flanders's Ronde van Vlaanderen, France’s, scratch that, Flanders's Paris-Roubaix, or Wallonia's Liege-Bastogne-Liege - do yourself a favor: find a person who lives for that race, a person that looks forward to the next edition of the race the minute it ends each year. The opportunity to be taken behind the scenes and shown the race from the eyes of a local will change how you look at that race forever.
Generally, the word stereotype conjures up negative images. Fair enough, but on the flip side, there are those happy stereotypes - like the Italian grandmother for instance (or German, American, whatever) - here, eat more, you're all skin and bones - have some more sugary deliciousness. It's the stereotype we all love to roll our eyes to, but on a hot Sunday in July, it was the stereotype that saved the day.
Riding a bike in New Orleans is like nothing else I've ever experienced. I was prepared for the worst, instead, I found something amazing. I hear your incredulous cry: New Orleans?! Yes, New Orleans. I'm not advocating making New Orleans the venue for your next training camp, but I am proposing that if you ever get a chance to get down to the Crescent City - bring your bike - and enjoy.
It was a startling realization at the end of a long day and an even longer week that we didn't have a home in Innsbruck anymore. Ashley and I had spent thirteen months calling the throbbing heart of the Alps our place of residence, but a year on, we were just visitors, tourists even, heading to a friend's house to sleep on a curiously rigged lawn chair.
Roadside Report, Part One: On a perfect day in the Ardennes, we chased our final Monument of the spring. The oldest classic of them all, La Doyenne, a figure eight from Liege to Bastogne and back, proved that picking a favorite race of the first part of the year is about as easy as buying a yacht.
Part Two: When we left off yesterday, we had been prematurely stopped by a race passage yet again. Our quickly changing plans didn't mind - we were still catching the race with alarming frequency after all. The second part of the afternoon involves much of the same - happy changes in plans while watching a beautiful day of racing in the Limburg hills.
Part Two: When we left off yesterday, the dust storming field had just rolled through Sector 27 in Troisvilles. 26 more sectors lay ahead of them, and we were off to get hold of as many cobbled views as we could before a winner was crowned in the velodrome on a heavenly Sunday afternoon in Hell.
Part One: The cobbled classics often get lumped together, and for the two super cobbled classics, Flanders and Roubaix, they're rarely mentioned in separate sentences. It's a shame, because the two races can't be more different. De Ronde is justifiably known as Flanders's Most Beautiful, whilst Roubaix - her nickname is just as appropriate and perfect: the Hell of the North. We were there once again on Sunday, chasing the dust to Roubaix.
Part One:I have to start this by confessing: I love the Ronde van Vlaanderen more than any other race...times a million, squared. Sunday's trip around Flanders under the direction of Andy Deschuyffeleer was straight out of my one of my wildest dreams. I'll try to use words where they're available, but I remember the day most through the pictures Ashley and I shot from Brugge to the Bosberg.
PEZ Roadside: It was actually supposed to be an entire day at the races, which would have included the horrifically windy Stage 3a in De Panne, which saw a huge chunk of the field time cut, but alas, we were sleeping. We managed to wake up in just enough time to hurry out of the house and get to De Panne in time for the race's finale, a 17 kilometer time trial through the residential streets of the coastal town.
Roadside PEZ: I woke up this morning warm and cozy in my bed, doing some work, when I realized: oh, the stage start of today's second stage of the Three Days of De Panne is two kilometers from where I'm now laying. After some light debate, we decided that it was time to go have a look at the scene in Oudenaarde's Grote Markt.
When the television tells the name of the winner the silence comes into the Poggio. The tifosi are very upset. Another year without an Italian winner. And most of the people are asking who this Goss is. They cannot believe that such a great race was won by such a 'small' name. The Poggio turns to the quietness in a moment, and I feel so strange now that everything is finished. The first thought is how far this passion has led me from home. The second one is the time I will need to get back. But how did I arrive here?