26 September 2012

Looking Forward

A bright and fun-filled future
I am back, I took a break. I needed it. It was time to reflect on the past year, recover from so much running around and honestly, I must admit, read the words of others. Sometimes clarity comes from listening instead of speaking. I have never presented myself to be anything other than that of a fan and rider who wanted to learn more about cycling. And this, I gotta admit, has been quite a time of learning. I sit here this evening as a tremendous thunder storm rolls over my home in Denver, Colorado. Similar to the storm that has rolled through this sport recently threatening to shake it to it's foundation.
My brother said to me quite directly, that if I intended to write about this sport I needed to continue to learn about all of it's history, good or bad. Bad is hard to take, especially when I want to have some area of my life where good prevails. To believe. Belief is a close sister to hope; admiration a sister to respect; desire to dreams, and so on, all those values we hold dear, where we want to see hard work and honesty prevail.

I was never ignorant to the truth of doping, but I was perhaps indifferent to the ugliness of greed (and this coming from a person who has lived in a 4th-world country). It is just the way things are may have been a poor excuse. In the end all of this matters because I believe fans want to see honor in sport as in life, to physically see it, so that the suspension of disbelief can be maintained. Good for the journalists who ask the tough questions, even though it comes at a great cost to them and even though the truth is hard to hear. I remain a loyal fan, and more importantly a huge fan of the bicycle and of travel.
Then I got excited
The route of the Giro d'Italia will be announced this Sunday. The Giro excites me. The World Championships were fantastic, they excite me and next year they will be held in Tuscany, and in 2014 the World Championships Road will come to the United States! Right here in our country we will have the opportunity to see the best racers in the world, and a team time trial. 

Can you imagine arriving for a team time trial one weekend, spending the weekdays being a tourist and riding your own bike across some fantastic roads, and then seeing the road race at the World Championships the following weekend? Awesome. This is what the World Championships now offer fans, and I see it as the next big opportunity for traveling cyclists.
If anything gets a traveling cyclist excited it is hearing the news of race destinations and routes -
And oh do we have some great race locations to travel to over the coming years:
Giro d'Italia
  • 2013 Giro d'Italia begins with a TTT in Naples, summits the Col de Galibier in France, and also the famed Passo di Gavia in Italy, passes through Florence and ends in Brescia, not Milan as has been tradition. (possible route)
  • 2014 Giro d'Italia has a possible start in Ireland (Plans being considered for Giro d’Italia start in Dublin & Belfast, by Sticky Bottle)
  • 2015 Giro d'Italia could see a prologue in Amsterdam
Tour de France
  • 2013 Tour de France returns to Mont Ventoux and Alpe d'Huez (possibly twice) (possible route) and to the Le Grand Bornand (one of my favorite areas of cycling in France).
  • 2014 Tour de France start is rumored for Florence, Italy, although earlier rumors mentioned Barcelona and Qatar, and England is bidding for another grand depart as soon as possible.
Vuelta a España
  • The 2012 Vuelta a España proved to be one of the most exciting races of the year, I can't wait for 2013. Although I know little of the route, next August my focus will be on the Vuelta.
World Championships
  • 2013 World Championships will be in Tuscany, Italy, 21-29 September, 2013, (Tuscany 2013 world championship routes unveiled, By CyclingNews.com)
  • 2014 World Championships could be in Ponferrada, Spain (13-21 September. 2014)
  • 2015 World Championships will be in Richmond, Virginia, USA (with an estimated $135 million local economic impact - news)
  • 2016 World Championships will be in Doha, Qatar
  • 2016 Summer Olympics - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (website)
We can always depend on the stable Spring Classics (whose locations vary slightly) but I can safely guess that the Paris-Roubaix will end in Roubaix, Here is the schedule of dates of the World Tour races for 2013:
The second thing that excites a traveling cyclist is race dates -

2013 UCI WorldTour Calendar
Jan 22-27, 2013 Tour Down Under (Aus)
Mar 3-10, 2013 Paris - Nice (Fra)
Mar 6-12, 2013 Tirreno-Adriatico (Ita)
Mar 16, 2013 Milano-Sanremo (Ita)
Mar 18-24, 2013 Volta Ciclista a Catalunya (Esp)
Mar 22, 2013 E3 Prijs Vlaanderen - Harelbeke (Bel)
Mar 24, 2013 Gent - Wevelgem (Bel)
Mar 31, 2013 Ronde van Vlaanderen / Tour des Flandres (Bel)
Apr 1-6, 2013 Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco (Esp)Apr 7, 2013 Paris - Roubaix (Fra)
Apr 14, 2013 Amstel Gold Race (Ned)
Apr 17, 2013 La Flèche Wallonne (Bel)
Apr 21, 2013 Liège - Bastogne - Liège (Bel)
Apr 23-28, 2013 Tour de Romandie (Sui)
May 4-26, 2013 Giro d'Italia (Ita)
Jun 2-9, 2013 Critérium du Dauphiné (Fra)
Jun 8-16, 2013 Tour de Suisse (Sui)
Jun 29 - Jul 21, 2013 Tour de France (Fra)
Jul 27, 2013 Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian (Esp)
Jul 27 - Aug 3, 2013 Tour de Pologne (Pol)
Aug 12-18 2013 Eneco Tour (Ita)
Aug 24 - Sep 15, 2013 Vuelta a España (Esp)
Aug 25, 2013 Vattenfall Cyclassics (Ger)
Sep 1, 2013 GP Ouest France - Plouay (Fra)
Sep 13, 2013 Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec (Can)
Sep 15, 2013 Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal (Can)
Oct 5, 2013 il Lombardia (formerly Giro di Lombardia) (Ita)
Oct 9-13, 2013 Tour of Hangzhou (Chn)
Oct 16-20, 2013 Tour of Beijing (Chn)
And our popular American Tour races in the USA have 2013 dates as well (no they are not on the World Tour):
April 14, 2013 Tour of the Battenkill, Cambridge, New York
May 1-5, 2013 Tour of the Gila, Silver City, New Mexico
May 12-1, 2013 Amgen Tour of California, State of California
June 2, 2013 American Cycling Classic, Philadelphia
August 2-4, 2013 Tour of Elk Grove, Elk Grove Village, Illinois
August 6-11, 2013 Tour of Utah, State of Utah
August 19-25, 2013 USA Pro Challenge, State of Colorado
September 14, 2013,Bucks County Classic, Pennsylvania

My favorites
In 2012, I attended the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Amgen Tour of California, Tour de France, and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. By far my favorite experiences as a fan came while in Belgium. I just loved being at the Ronde van Vlaanderen and the Hell of the North as a fan, it was more than I had dreamed it would be, in fact it was so good, I hesitate to go back soon because the memories are so sweet.
Tom Boonen leading on Kwaremont, 2012 Ronde van Vlaanderen  Photo © Karen at PedalDancer.com
My heart will always be with the Amgen Tour of California, even though Bakersfield was brutal this year, I have attended since the beginning and always will. The Tour of California attracts good teams and great riders and is an important preparation for the summer World Tour race schedule.

Peter Sagan at the 2012 Tour of California  Photo © Karen at PedalDancer.com
Someday I dream of going to the Giro d'Italia, I love the Giro (and traveling in Italy) and plan to follow the race daily online along with the Vuelta in 2013. I definitely plan to attend the World Championships Road within the next two years; again that combo of TTT + road race is so appealing.
The Giro trophy   Photo © Karen at PedalDancer.com
The USA Pro Challenge was a bit of a disappointment for me this year, lots of hard work, attendance was down, not as many teams, and a bit too much "home-town" theme after the incredible international epic grand-scale races I had attended this year. I admit I like the pageantry.
Froome and Wiggins arrive at Peyrugudes, Stage 16, 2012 Tour de France  Photo © Karen at PedalDancer.com
If you can manage it - go see a bike race in Belgium.  It will get you excited about the sport of cycling.
Philippe Gilbert happily preparing for a ride the day before the 2012 Tour of Flanders  Photo © Karen at PedalDancer.com
I can't believe I WAS THERE!