Chasing a Grand Tour - or any race for that matter, is often less about the race, and more about the adventure. One of my best days 'happened' at the 2013 Giro d'Italia as my driver Mino and I crossed the ankle of southern Italy's boot. The tiny road we chose eventually disappeared, leaving us to find our way across uncharted farm tracks to a distant hill top town - which itself was a maze of navigational chaos. In the end we didn't accomplish much, but it's days like these that make the journey worth every wrong turn.
As part of his continued Spring Classics trip with Velo Classic Tours our man Mark McGhee has been out riding the Belgian cobbles that included the Gent-Wevelgem parcours and its famous bergs whilst being followed around by pro photographers on motorbikes, been up close to the pros at the Scheldepris race and hung out in VIP comfort in between. Life's tough as Paris Roubaix approaches!
After the craziness of chasing De Ronde, Mark McGhee goes for a ride to find a different craziness... the craziness of Belgium. On his 100 kilometre ride, Mark takes in some of the iconic climbs and cobbles of Flanders, all in preparation for an evening of Belgian food and drink for our voyeur pleasure of course.
Sunday's Tour of Flanders was a great race but the best way to really experience the Classics is roadside with a group like Velo Classic Tours. Luckily for our man Mark, that's exactly where he was on Sunday, backstage at the sign on and then roadside for the action.
Milan Sanremo is the longest classic of the year but the kilometers can simply fly by when you are chasing the race. From the start in Milan to the key points along the route and finally to the Poggio our man Ale was there, in the rain, taking it all in - from the first rider on the road until the very last.
Two races in Belgium at the week-end, so we put Ed Hood roadside in Flanders, and he was in his element. Cobbles, riders, fans, bikes and beer; all you need for two full days of Flemish fun. Although it was a sober Ed who walked stunned out of a bar after Saturday's Het Nieuwsblad debacle!
Over a lifetime of cycling the roads of our sport, a few stand out: the fun ones, the beautiful ones, and the brutal ones - where you suffer like you never knew possible. Riding your bike up the Mortirolo in Northern Italy is all three, and ranks up there with the Stelvio and Gavia as epic climbs one must do.
The 2014 Giro d'Italia's Irish sojourn came to a close after three stages and our own Gordan Cameron was on hand to take it all in with Marcel Kittel being the sorriest rider to leave after two awesome sprint victories. After crossing from the north into the land of bilingual roadsigns, Euros, and kilometers not miles, Gordan was also sorry to see the Giro return home.
Roadside Reload: Grand Tour veteran Ed Hood was at the 2013 Giro d'Italia covering the action for PEZ and the stage to Vicenza that year has practically the same profile and course as stage 12 for the Giro'15. We retrace Ed's day of fun on the Crosara climb and look forward to next years Italian Tour.
Italian PEZ man Ale Federico has moved on from Il Lombardia to his favourite race; the Giro dell'Emilia in Bologna. It's not just the racing that's good, but also the food pulls Ale back year after year. He will be roadside on Saturday, but here is why he loves Emilia.
Roadside Report: The Giro di Lombardia is always a highlight of the year for our Italian superfan Alessandro and this year he was fortunate enought to experience a perfect fall day instead of the rain of previous editions. Here's the story of his day out chasing the 'Race of the Falling Leaves'
Our PEZ man at the World road championships, Ed Hood, filled his camera’s memory on Sunday. And so on his journey home he picked out his selection of favourite photos. You can’t beat those unique, behind the scenes shots to keep the Ponferrada World's feeling going for just a little bit longer.
Roadside Report: 255km of tough racing was on the agenda on Sunday and as always Ed Hood was there for every single moment from the warmup to the startline the finishline and then the post race reactions. Here's a look at his day, roadside in the rain in Ponferrada for the 2014 Men's World Road Cycling Championships.
Roadside Report: Roadside for the action & back stage before and after the race for the reactions - Ed Hood was everywhere in Ponferrada today as he watched the Junior Men's Road Race in the morning and then the big Women's Race in the afternoon where France's Pauline Ferrand-Prevot upset the favorites with a great sprint victory.
I knew it was a good Tour when only a couple days in I'd already lost track of the days, and by the end of the week I actually couldn't remember what I'd done just three days earlier. It was my first Tour in 11 years, and this was our final day on the race - destination Briancon, via the Col du Lautaret.
Roadside Report: From the religious tourist trap of Lourdes to the history of Le Tour and on to to the backstage areas with the buses, tour tech and more - Ed Hood was everywhere today taking it all in. It might have been a rainy day in the South-West of France but it was a great day out roadside at Le Tour. Let's have a look at Ed's day through his eyes...
Roadside: What a better way to see the Tour de France than in the Pyrenean mountains with L'Equipe open in front of you and in a tent with a TV and a drink in your hand. Ed Hood knows how to see the Tour and have a good time. Day three...
Roadside Interview: Ed Hood’s first hectic day on this year’s Tour de France was meant to be a rest day, but not for Ed. After the mussel party with OPQS, there were rider interviews to get. First up was PEZ favourite; Michael Morkov of Tinkoff-Saxo.
Roadside Rest Day: A superb setting with top class food, wine, beer and more it was easy to see why our experienced Tour reporter Ed Hood headed to the OmegaPharma-Quickstep media gig in Carcassonne on the Tour's rest day. Mussels to eat and some tired muscled cyclists to interview were the menu of the day.
Tour de PEZ St.12: The climb to HC category ski station at Chamrousse is the capper on the Tour de France's first day in the Alps. I saddled up for a closer look on two wheels at the stage 13 finish, and find out who's already set up camp.