27 March 2013

Tour of Flanders and the Easter Bunny

Who moved Easter?

I am so confused. This Sunday is Tour of Flanders, but this Sunday is also Easter Sunday. Dear Flanders, Easter Sunday is the traditional right of Paris-Roubaix, or so I thought it was tradition, so much so that I checked my calendar a couple times because I was confused.

If this is Easter Sunday - it must be Paris-Roubaix ... wrong

Tour of Flanders is this Sunday, March 31st, and Paris-Roubaix is next Sunday April 7th.

Which means my friends who are suggesting a 60-mile group ride at 9:30am this Sunday are just plain clueless. First thing, it is Tour of Flanders - there are no early morning rides during classics season! I will be busy until at least 10:30am watching online, because this year I will recognize many of the landmarks (so excited!) after my trip to Belgium to see the race in person last year, plus it's Easter Sunday. I get to go to an Easter brunch party and wear pastel colors and eat chocolate! I have priorities.

Ok so who moved Easter?

We can blame the first counsel of Nicaea. Apparently Easter is a "movable feast" (and I just thought that was a whimsical name created by Hemmingway), it typically falls between March 22nd and April 25th, always falling on the first Sunday after the full moon following the March equinox. None of which I keep track of, so to me Easter is whenever Google says it is after I search for "when is Easter 2013?"

Let's get this straight, 1) The chocolate Easter Bunny is associated with Georgian Easter as opposed to Julian Easter or Jewish Passover, 2) Paris-Roubaix is not exclusively associated with either the Easter Bunny or Easter. After some further searching, I discovered "Easter Sunday last fell on March 31 in 2002. Easter Sunday previously fell on this date in the years 1720, 1771, 1839, 1850, 1872, 1907, 1918, 1929 and 1991."

In 2014 we must wait all the way until April 20th for Easter. My guess is Paris-Roubaix will miss out again and the peloton will be off racing Liege-Bastogne-Liege by that time. So I think it is due time they rewrite the tradition of associating Paris-Roubaix with Easter, cuz it's just plain wrong. Forget that whole nickname of Paris-Roubaix as la Pascale (the Easter race), I'm not falling for that trick anymore just because it was first raced on Easter Sunday. Paris-Roubaix is 1-week after Tour of Flanders, period.

What about the chocolate bunnies!

Agreed, Belgium has the best chocolate and therefore chocolate bunny eating should commence as early as E3 Prijs Vlaanderen-Harelbeke and continue all the way through Liege-Bastogne-Liege every year, just in case. In fact if they want to rename E3 Prijs Vlaanderen-Harelbeke to Tour of the Chocolate Bunny (Ronde van de Chocolade Bunny), I would be all for that since I just learned how to spell Ronde van Vlaanderen and that was tough enough.

Belgian Bunnies! (With a few odd ducks)
I want you to know I traveled to Gent, Iper, Brugge, and Kortrijk to research and taste the best chocolates in the land; some (although few) even made it home as gifts.
Delicious choices of chocolates
Colorful shop windows make happy tourists
What about the race?

I know I should be writing up a pre-race report for Tour of Flanders, or at least sharing my gazillion photos from last year's trip to Belgium, but I must have been in the mood for chocolate.

For now, anyone going to the race, read my tips from last year, when I went to the start in Brugge, and then saw the race pass by on the Kwaremont (a whole bunch of times), and missed all the traffic - yippee! I offer driving tips which may apply to this year's race unless they have (as they threatened to do) blocked off all free viewing on the Kwaremont. I also met a really cool couple Chris and Maureen at the race (story here: Stories from Belgium) whom I remember fondly and hope they are well and returning again this year to watch from their traditional spot on the grassy embankment. The day was tons of fun.

Read the Pedal Dancer posts by Karen from my Day at Tour of Flanders (also called the Ronde van Vlaanderen, so proud I can spell that now) A day on the Kwaremont, and also my day of recon on the route: Big Day tomorrow (Koppenberg, Kwaremont, Paterberg), and a later day of fun riding the bergs: A day of pave in France and Belgium.  Also some fun pictures of Team Sky and BMC in Kortrijk: Hanging with the teams; plus lots of stories written by others about the individual climbs in the race at: SPRING CLASSICS.

I love Belgium, it's bike racing, it's beer, and it's chocolate bunnies. But especially I like Tom Boonen!

Watching the race on the Kwaremont 2012 Tour of Flanders   ©Photo by Karen at Pedal Dancer®
  = Easter  ≠  Paris-Roubaix  ,  Specialized bike  =  win Tour of Flanders! 
more on that later ...

23 March 2013

A new shorter Gent-Wevelgem

They have shortened a Classic

This is definitely the year of weather, or the year the Spring Classics became the Winter Classics. After the miserable conditions at Milan-San Remo last weekend, this weekend another race is expected to be pummeled with cold wet weather. Now the route of the 2013 Gent-Wevelgem has been changed due to heavy winter weather. This time, they are planning ahead to avoid major weather.

Gent-Wevelgem - 24 March 2013

Fifty-two of the planned 235.5km have been removed from tomorrow's race. Instead the riders will cover 183.4km in forecast freezing temperatures with 30% chance of snow and 19mph+ winds. The announcement to change the route was made Friday, after an awareness of almost certain poor conditions would affect the race and riders. Many of the same riders who recently suffered through a very cold E3-Harlebeke.

According to VeloNews, "It is the first time [race president Luc Gheysens] has made a route change due to external factors in his 30 years as the race president, and it wasn’t done lightly. The race will keep its start in Deinze but only as a matter of show: Riders will dress and sign in, but then board team buses for a 47km ride to Gistel, which allows the race to maintain its anticipated arrival times and stay on schedule."

CyclingNews further reports, "With more snow forecast to fall from around 10pm on Saturday evening and with temperatures plummeting to around -3, a decision will be made on Sunday morning before the race over the inclusion of the two ascents of the Casselberg."

As of today, the official parcoursmap is available on the race website for Gent-Wevelgem (still reflecting the entire route, but referred to as official by race organizers). Nieuwe roadmap en timetable: http://www.gent-wevelgem.be/nl/elite-men/race/track (hit the Start button).

Amazingly race organizers have come up with a plan that will not greatly affect the start or finish cities, nor the timetable for most cities along the route.

New parcours for 2013 Gent-Wevelgem. (This is my hand altered version of the route map).
The riders will not race between Deinze and Gistel (green line). After appearing in Deinze, they will take a bus to the new start in Gistel. They will race the gold line on this map. Click to enlarge map
Route map and timetable

View larger version of the route map for Gent-Wevelgem.

Sunday at 11:15am, the riders will have a ceremonial start in the traditional start city of Deinze. They will then drive with their teams, to the official race start in the city of Gistel. The race will begin at 12:35 at Aen Cafe Tourmalet, located at Kouter (N35) and Tieltsesteenweg (N35). The riders will disembark and begin riding on the originally planned route through Belgium, a bit of France, and back into Belgium to finish as planned in Wevelgem.

Here is the new accurate and updated timetable for Gent-Wevelgem reflecting the changes.

25 teams will compete: Official start list by procyclingstats.com
UCI Pro Teams 2013 
ALM/ AG2R La Mondiale (FRA)
AST/ Astana Pro Team (KAZ)
BLA/ Blanco Pro Cycling Team (NED)
BMC/ BMC Racing Team (USA)
CAN/ Cannondale Pro Cycling (ITA)
EUS/ Euskaltel Euskadi (ESP)
GRS/ Garmin Sharp (USA)
KAT/ Katusha (RUS)
LAM/ Lampre Merida (ITA)
LTB/ Lotto Belisol (BEL)
MOV/ Movistar Team (ESP)
OPQ/ Omega Pharma - Quick-step Cycling Team (BEL)
OGE/ Orica Greenedge (AUS)
RLT/ Radioshack Leopard (LUX)
SKY/ Sky Procycling (GBR)
ARG/ Team Argos Shimano (NED)
TST/ Team Saxo-Tinkoff (DEN)
VCD/ Vacansoleil - DCM Pro Cycling Team (NED)
AJW/ Accent Jobs - Wanty (BEL)
CRE/ CRELAN - Euphony (BEL)
TSV/ Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise (BEL)
COF/ Cofidis, Solutions Crédit (FRA)
EUC/ Team Europcar (FRA)
IAM/ IAM Cycling (SUI)

Race previews

PEZ Previews Gent Wevelgem By Edmond Hood, and also Team SKY. And a video: Greg Henderson talks cold weather racing at Gent-Wevelgem

Who won last year?: Tom Boonen

2009 Norway Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) Team Columbia-High Road
2010 Austria Bernhard Eisel (AUT) Team HTC-Columbia
2011 Belgium Tom Boonen (BEL) Quick Step
2012 Belgium Tom Boonen (BEL) Omega Pharma-Quick Step

The climbs in Gent-Wevelgem race (the location of these climbs (km) on this list is incorrect for 2013), please look at this schedule for the exact times and kilometers of the climbs)

Recommended reading: Iconic Places: The Kemmelberg By Cycle Sport
Also read: A Closer Look: Gent-Wevelgem Pre-Ride By Pez Cycling
Related posts by Pedal Dancer: Word of the Day: hellingen

Update Sunday morning - the race is on with no additional changes!

Photos from my own trip to Belgium last spring (please click any image to enlarge)

Related post by Pedal Dancer: Day 5 in Flanders (My trip in 2012) and more at Stories from Belgium
The fields of Flanders
Tyne Cot War Museum
Young students taking a tour of history
The Menin road
A different kind of map in 1918 Belgium
Ieper (Ypres)
Menin Gate
This year they will race under the gate

Race Coverage

Tomorrow will be another early race viewing morning in America. And although Cosmo at Cyclocosm wrote a good piece about the sorry state of TV watching for the sport of cycling this week (Why Americans Can’t Watch Cycling “On TV”), I am happy to have the old trusty [crappiest race coverage of all time] foreign language links to watch online. 

Once again Steve Hill at Steephill.TV informs us:
Start Time: Sunday March 24 11:15 CET (4:15:00 AM MDT); Weather in Gistel, Belgium
Earliest live video: 14:30 CET (7:30:00 AM MDT); see LINKS ON STEEPHILL
Approximate Finish: 17:00 CET (10:00:00 AM MDT); Weather in Wevelgem, Belgium

Race Results

1. Peter Sagan (SVK) 4hr 29min 10sec
2. Borut Bozic (SLO) at 23sec
3. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL) 

See the full 2013 Gent-Wevelgem race results by ProCyclingStats

My fav: How The Race Was Won – Gent-Wevelgem 2013, By Cyclocosm

Also by Pedal Dancer: Who is Peter Sagan? other than studly and very good at wheelies. 

22 March 2013

Best Sportives and Gran Fondos

Favorite Citizen Event Rides

By way of CyclingTips today comes this recommended viewing video from GCN listing the top 10 Cyclosportifs and Gran Fondos in the world. I have to say I fully agree with this list. These are the events that come closest to allowing amateur cyclists to feel what the pros endure on any given stage. They are true challenges, and I am sure there is some fool out there trying to conquer all ten.

Video link : Top 10 Best Sportives And Gran Fondos To Cycle In The World. By GCN


What are the top cyclotourist rides - although they are more like races!
  1. Etape du Tour, Annecy, France - 130km: July 7, 2013
  2. Haute Route, Geneva-Nice, 7 days (with time trial) - 866km (also in Pyrenees)
  3. La Marmotte, Central Alps - 174km: July 6, 2013
  4. Gran Fondo Stelvio Santini, Italy - 151km: June 2, 2013
  5. Paris-Roubaix, France - 212km: April 6, 2013
  6. Mallorca 312, Spain - 312km:  April 27, 2013
  7. Ronde van Vlaanderen Cyclo, Flanders, Belgium - 140km: March 3, 2013
  8. Wiggle Dragon Ride, South Wales, UK - 216km: June 9, 2013
  9. Levi's Gran Fondo, Ca1ifornia, USA - 165km: October 5, 2013
  10. Scody 3 Peaks Challenge, Victoria, Australia, 235km: March 10, 2013
Whether you call them a gran fondo, cyclosportif, cyclosportive, cyclorace, citizen's ride, event ride, or just plain crazy, I think these events are amazing, so I have written before about getting out there and doing it yourself. Related reading, previous posts by Pedal Dancer:
Recommended reading: Gran Fondo Bucket List By Cycling Tips

17 March 2013

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Did you see the animated version yesterday?
The advancement of modern art
My dog Jack Denny, named after my Irish Great Grandfather, whose daughter came to America (and sons, and son-in-law, and cousins, and ...)

14 March 2013

Milan-San Remo 2013 - this weekend!

La classica di Primavera

Milano-Sanremo - 17 March 2013, this Sunday!

Whether you call this race Milan-San Remo or Milano-Sanremo - just watch it! To set the mood for this extremely prestigious one-day 298 km race - first take a look at a great collection of photos by Cycling Tips : Milan-San Remo :: Moments in History. And then read this story: Milan to Sanremo, When Fausto Coppi Stopped for a Coffee on the Way to Victory.

Then go directly to the official race website for the 104th edition of this often epic race at Milano-Sanremo, where you should resist clicking the small British flag to change to English language. That's right, try to navigate and discover in Italian - if the new Pope can do it, so can we (A quick tip - silence the Matt White videos).
Squadre (teams)
Programmo (program)
Percorso (route)
Planimetria (map)
Altimetria (profile)
Ultimi 30 km (final 30 km)
Partenza (departure/start) 10:10am
Arrivo (arrival/finish) 17:00-17:30pm
Cronotabella (timetable)
Word of the Day: Passista, Scattista, Velocista

Route maps - 298 glorious kilometers with a sprint finish!
Route map of 2013 Milan-San Remo
Profile map 2013 Milan SanRemo.
Or view the complete 32-page official guide done with Italian style.
Let's remember who won Milan-San Remo in recent years:

2000 Germany Erik Zabel (GER) Team Telekom
2001 Germany Erik Zabel (GER) Team Telekom
2002 Italy Mario Cipollini (ITA) Acqua & Sapone-Cantina Tollo
2003 Italy Paolo Bettini (ITA) Quick Step-Davitamon
2004 Spain Óscar Freire (ESP) Rabobank
2005 Italy Alessandro Petacchi (ITA) Fassa Bortolo
2006 Italy Filippo Pozzato (ITA) Quick Step-Innergetic
2007 Spain Óscar Freire (ESP) Rabobank
2008 Switzerland Fabian Cancellara (SUI) Team CSC
2009 United Kingdom Mark Cavendish (GBR) Team Columbia-High Road
2010 Spain Óscar Freire (ESP) Rabobank
2011 Australia Matthew Goss (AUS) HTC-Highroad
2012 Australia Simon Gerrans (AUS) GreenEDGE

Check out the teams and roster of riders for 2013 by VeloNews: Milano-Sanremo 2013 confirmed riders

Read over a preview of the race for 2013: By my favorite race tactician Frankie Andreu (his picks are spot on) Race Preview: Milan-San Remo, "Every racer thinks they have a shot, if they can drop the sprinters." Or by Mikkel at C-Cycling: Milano - San Remo: Preview and Favorites, "there is only one true favorite for this race; Peter Sagan." Or read the lengthy preview by a very knowledgeable reporter Ed Hood: PEZ Previews: La Primavera.

Promo video: Milan-San Remo promo by Cycling Central (available for 3 days). 

Plan on popping up Steephill.TV to watch live coverage very early this Sunday morning (St. Patrick's Day): 2013 Milan-San Remo Live Video, Route, Teams, Results, Photos, TV.

According to Steve Hill at Steephill.TV we can expect:
Start time: Sunday March 17th 10:10 CET (3:10:00 AM MDT); Current Weather in Milan 
Earliest live video: 14:00 CET (7:00:00 AM MDT); Live video/text options 
Approximate finish 17:15 CET (10:15:00 AM MDT); Current Weather in San Remo

I always recommend opening a second browser online with live text coverage by Cyclingnews, this way you can truly know which riders made the break or are falling off the back on the climbs (something TV coverage does not always convey). Open http://www.cyclingnews.com/milan-san-remo coverage from 8:30am CET (European time) on Sunday morning (that's a little early here!).

I won't be watching at 12:30 am but I will rise early to see the final kilometers. Milan-Sanremo is a race in which I want to see the faces of the winner and loosers after 298 km of racing. Tough tough men win this race. M-SR is a career maker, I can't wait to see who the next victor will be.

Travel in the area

Did you know - the top 3 things to do as a tourist in Milan, Italy, are:
1. Viewing the frescos at Chiesa di San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore
2. The Cathedral (Duomo); every city in Italy has one.
3. L'Ultima Cena museum, the location on the Last Supper painting.

Top things to do in San Remo, Italy:
1. The sea
2. A bike ride from Sanremo to San Lorenzo on the old railway cycle path (24km along the Liguarian coast).
3. Eat!

Check out the route of the 2013 Giro d'Italia in May, this year Stage 13 of the Giro, from Busseto to Cherasco, will cross the route of Milan-Sanremo.

Here is a map that I think is of equal importance - all the pizza places near the route of Milan-San Remo. It is Italy, and racing makes me hungry.
That's a lot of pizza!
Related posts by Pedal Dancer:
Photos of the Day: 2013 Milan-San Remo & results

13 March 2013

Advice for Andy

Sometimes things are never the same again

And that is okay.

We are all watching Andy Schleck struggle. Did you see how sad he looked after pulling out of Tirreno-Adriatico two days ago? Andy needs a hug and some words of encouragement.

I want to save Andy some time and heart break and tell him that none of us can go backwards, we must go forward, and sometimes we are forever changed. For good, for bad, but definitely for different. Accepting that we may never be the same, but will heal over time, and can recreate ourselves anew may be of help to Andy.

But the point is - it is up to Andy! 

Not to those who criticize. Andy Schleck is attempting to return from an injury that has changed him physically and possibly mentally. It happens to a lot of us, but we don't have the pressure this young man has on his shoulders to meet expectations. Andy is a phenomenal cyclist, and I believe he still has it in him.

Don't cyclists get injured frequently - yes they do, and athletes are excellent at following advice, handling pain, imagining success and pushing through. Chances are Andy has good doctors, a good trainer, did his exercises, intended that he would bounce back as he had done before. But we don't always have control over what changes us and how.

You can't change a person 

Well that might be true, but injury sure can. We all know that an injured athlete is a pitiful sight. A body addicted to movement becomes broken and told to rest. Healing becomes an out-of-sync dance of mental and physical recovery, with constant questions about a return to normal. It is hard to reconcile trying to be as good as we once were if we feel that normal is threatened.

I listened to Tour Chats the other night with guest Jonathan Vaughters, the most interesting point he made was that riders now have to struggle with lesser-performance after deciding to race clean. Mentally the riders have to realize that they might never be as good as they once were, even if their performance was fake, it can be a tough realization going forward. Change in performance or health is scary, voluntarily or involuntarily from an accident.

Mental health in sport is rooted not only in will, but in survival

We have a way of protecting ourselves, and yet fiercly fighting for what we know we are capable of achieving. I'm not talking mind-body emotional stuff, I am talking brain function. This is why healing is so complex. It is both an intellectual check and balance and an involuntary matter of the brain protecting us from further injury, so much so that our skill-set and will can be over-ridden. It adds complexity to the total healing process, and it is not wise to discount it.

This is something I know a bit about, not just because I have a degree in Psychology but because I have had a lot of injuries, and not all injuries are created equal. Two and a half years ago I broke my pelvis in 4 places. I am fascinated with how the brain works because to me the injury seemed 75% brain and 25% body. The first thing that happened was that my brain shut down my body, basically paralyzing parts of my lower body as protection. There was nothing I could do but wait out the unknown. The fractures were the least of my concern. I was on a cannot-be-controlled ride.

Oh I kept doing

My positive attitude had me attacking the healing process from all angles. I expected a lot from myself, as I always had, and I wasn't naive, I knew there were risks of damage from fear, which can surface in unsuspecting ways later on. In 1996 I had broken my leg so severely tele-skiing in the back-country I was in a full leg cast for over 4 months, then braces, finally I had to relearn how to stand on my left leg and to walk again. All went fine, I even returned to skiing the next year. Then suddenly 4-years later, I could no longer remember how to make a telemark turn. I stood on the slope and had no memory of what to move first, it was as if I had never learned how to ski. I could alpine ski, but never really tele skied again. Latent Fear.

After I broke my pelvis mountain biking, I again returned to cycling within the year, but this time my fear centered around people. I was afraid to ride with others. I could no longer descend as skillfully as I once could, and I got downright angry at expectations or pressure. People assumed I could turn my great tolerance for pain into riding harder, but my brain was stuck in flight mode and not fight mode. Which looking back was appropriate because I was still healing.  

After a serious injury that took away my self independence, I went into a state of self-preservation and gratefulness to simply be alive and able to get around. I no longer related to others, lost any competitive edge, saw them as not realizing how precious life can be, and in no way wanted to be anything like "them". Was I a protective pansy, as some have accused Andy of being, or was I in instinctive survival mode?

I'm tough, what is going on?

Even more heart breaking, I was a cyclist, it was my identity, but I couldn't ride as I had before.

I barely made it a year before people were making comments about me not being an adequate cyclist. I even received a comment that I had no place blogging about cycling unless I was able to ride at least at the level I had before. People can be so cruel. They had no idea what I had been through. Inside I was still a cyclist. Finally I realized that title was determined by me and only me. Comparisons and cruel assessments from those who did not know the full story were hurtful and harmful. Encouragement goes a long way!

I wish everyone would give Andy a break and understand how hard he is trying. 

This is not the time for criticism or tough love, this is the time for understanding and encouragement, to respect and allow Andy to reconnect with the reason he loves to race a bike. In the blog Flandria Cafe, the author recently offered Andy some advice, "Go somewhere warm.  Or not so warm, maybe that's better.   Unplug from the Radio-Schleck entourage for a few weeks.   No texting and tweeting.   Unplug the SRM.  And just ride your bike like you did when you started.   For hours and hours.   And hours.    And when you're done, eat a little and sleep a lot.  Then get up and do it again.  Repeat"

Accurate honest helpful advice. Any bike rider knows that we feel our best when we simply get out and ride. That riding hard actually increases the sense of safety and well-being. If Andy rebuilds that foundation, he'll blow away the doubters, find his confidence and connect the dots back to his love of competition. I worry that he is not in the best team to find that support (a lack of support which began before his injury), so I hope Andy has the ability to make it happen on his own.

For me, I found the first returning glimpse of my love of cycling almost a year and a half later when I traveled to Belgium and rented a 10 euro bike and spontaneously pedaled up the Kwaremont and Koppenberg wearing jeans. Yes, I had been blogging away, writing about cycling, traveling all over the place chasing bike races, and yet what I was really searching for was my lost love.

Most of this blog was created because as I healed from that broken pelvis, I used the time that I would have spent riding a bike to write about bikes. Perhaps it also helped me, to find inspiration through the achievement of others. But only through my own riding, on long free rides when I can feel my strength building, do I feel a hope of reconnecting with my love of cycling.

Things may never be the same for Andy, they aren't for me, but I have a chance to reinvent myself anew. Even if I am not as fast or as fit as I once was.

I am a cyclist. And I don't care what anyone says. Neither should Andy.


I pump the tires.
Place the bottles where they belong.
Hear the click of my right shoe. Half a pedal stroke, a second click. I'm off.
The cool air flows over my arms. I am moving.
The first minutes offer a snapshot of what my ride will be. The first gear chosen tells me how my legs will feel.
I find my spot on the saddle and fix my gaze forward.
My mind clears and I settle into a rhythm. In the same moment a flash of confusion tells me I've just begun, I've ridden for hours, it is time to stop, I want more. This is experience talking.
I've ridden a bike a lot. My body remembers ever mile as one.
It is a knowing comfort on a bike, a place to feel at home.
The notion of a new mile covered, a new corner turned, has me longing for more.
I turn the Pedals. I am a road cyclist. 
With a long way to go. 

    ~ poem by Karen Rakestraw (Pedal Dancer) © 06 September 2011

Another inspirational story took place during the same stage of Tirreno Adriatico where Andy Schleck abandoned, when Taylor Phinney would not give up in a courageous effort to race himself to the finish line, alone. This Is Not a Story About Last Place, By Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journa.

Update 19 March 2013: Schleck: ‘My goals are still the same – the Classics with Liège and the Tour de France’, By Velonation

Update 31 May 2013: Mind Games: The psychology of fear, By Chris Case for VeloNews

Also I would like to further add that I was fortunate to meet a very dear friend, Olivia, who had a traumatic injury herself. Although Olivia is an accomplished runner and triathlete, our experiences were very similar. She made me feel normal and hopeful, and definitely nurtured my recovery and sense of well-being by making it seem much less serious yet real and nothing to be ashamed of, instead a transition that could be overcome. A friend in need is a friend indeed.

12 March 2013

2013-14 Colorado Cyclocross Calendar

Cyclocross Race Schedule for 2013-14 season

2014-15 Colorado Cyclocross Race Calendar and Professional CX Calendar List

2013 Season ....
CX - Race dates have been set for next year's races. I will add race flyer or website links as they become available at this location, and also at COLORADO CYCLING, where you can also find a list of 2013 Colorado cycling events and races.
At the race - Colorado Cyclocross Championships 2012. Photo by Karen Rakestraw at Pedal Dancer®
Colorado Cyclo-cross 2013 (last update 12/13/13)

09/07/13, Saturday - Kick It CX Festival and TT, Fort Collins Flyer
09/08/13, Sunday - Cross of the North, Loveland Flyer
09/14/13, Saturday - Zero Gravel Cross, Littleton Flyer
09/15/13, Sunday - Cyclo-X - Flatirons Flyer POSTPONED TILL 9/29
09/21/13, Saturday - Cyclo-X - Valmont Flyer (ON as scheduled)
09/22/13, Sunday - Body Sync Cyclocross Flyer (ON as scheduled)
09/28/13, Saturday - Storm the Castle, Castle Rock Flyer
09/29/13, Sunday - BRAC Junior Cyclocross Camp Flyer
09/29/13, Sunday - Cyclo-X - Flatirons Flyer
10/05/13, Saturday - Frisco Cross Flyer GOLD
10/06/13, Sunday - Primalpalooza, Arvada/Golden Flyer
10/12/13, Saturday - CO Cross Classic, Valmont Park GOLD Flyer
10/13/13, Sunday - Boulder Cup, Valmont Park GOLD Flyer
10/19/13, Saturday - Cross of the North #2 Flyer
10/20/13, Sunday - Cross of the North #3 Flyer
10/26/12, Saturday - Cyclo-X - Xilinx Flyer
10/27/13, Sunday - Crossoween '13 - Zombie Cross Flyer
11/02/13, Saturday - Schoolyard Cross, Longmont Flyer
11/03/13, Sunday - Feedback Cup Flyer
11/09/13, Saturday - Cyclo-X - Interlocken Flyer
11/10/13, Sunday - Blue Sky Velo Cup  GOLD Flyer
11/16/13, Saturday - Cyclo -X Louisville Rec Center Flyer
11/17/13, Sunday - Mile High Urban Cross, Denver  Flyer
11/23/13, Saturday - Cyclo-X - Westminster Flyer
11/24/13, Sunday - Green Mountain Sports POSTPONED TILL 11/30
11/28/13, Thursday - Turkey Cross Flyer
11/30/13, Saturday - Castle Cross, Castle Rock CANCELLED
11/30/13, Sunday - Green Mountain Sports CX, Golden/Morrison
12/01/13, Sunday - Cowboy Cross CANCELLED
12/07/13, Saturday - Cyclo-X - Boulder Res GOLD Flyer
12/08/13, Sunday - The RLW in memoriam CX Flyer
12/14/13, Saturday - Colorado Cyclocross Championships, Boulder GOLD Flyer
12/15/13, Sunday - Colorado Cyclocross Championships, Boulder Flyer
12/28/13, Saturday - Tune up Cup, Lookout Mountain Flyer
01/04/14, Saturday - Altitude Adjustment Cross Flyer
01/05/14, Sunday - Altitude Adjustment Cross 
Weds-Sun, Jan 8-12, 2013 - National CX Championships at Valmont Park Schedule
January 18, 2014 - 2013 Colorado Cross Cup Awards Party Flyer

Race flyers will be added as discovered, updates will be made as needed.  See the full race calendar at the BRAC website for Colorado, or find the pro and national cyclocross race calendar at USA Cycling.

Cross Vegas - "Biggest cyclocross race in America"

September 18, 2013, Las Vegas, NV: www.crossvegas.com

Cyclocross Nationals 2014

Boulder, Colorado
January 8-12, 2014 - 2014 USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships will be at Valmont Park in Boulder. Travel info. Schedule. [USA Cycling has selected Boulder, Colo. (2014), Austin, Texas (2015) and Asheville, N.C. (2016), to host its 2014, 2015 and 2016 USAC Cyclo-cross National Championships.]

Update 01.07.14: EVENT GUIDE 2014 USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships. Your guide to the race by Pedal Dancer.  

Cyclocross Worlds 2014

Hoogerheide, Nederlands
January 29-31, 2014 - UCI Masters World Championships.
February 1-2, 2014 - UCI Elite World Championships (Championnats du Monde / World),
CX Worlds Race information By Belgian Cycling
UCI 2013-2014 World Schedule - Cyclo-Cross

Other stuff

2013-2014 UCI Cyclocross Race Calendar Released, By Cyclocross Magazine. All national and international UCI CX races listed. 

Locations of other World Championships in 2013/14:
  • 2014 Road: Florence, Italy
  • 2014 MTB Marathon: Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
  • 2014 Cyclo-cross: Hoogerheide, Netherlands
  • 2014-2016 Track Masters: Manchester, Great Britain
Please verify all race dates

For a list of Colorado road races in 2013, please view:
For a list of Colorado cylcocross races in 2013, please view:  
Cyclocross RESULTS from around the nation: at CrossResults.com
Cyclocross RESULTS local Colorado races: at BRAC

BRAC Annual Club Council Meeting: November 20, 2013

To get you in the mood for cyclocross, this photo of the day is from Denver, Colorado, where the snow is again falling softly outside. Most of us have big rides planned within 3 months, although beautiful and restful, this much snow makes me wonder how I will ever be in shape again by early June.
Heavy wet spring snow makes great snowmen. A happy sight in the neighborhood.
Related posts by Pedal Dancer: Colorado Cyclocross Championships, a fun look at the sport of cyclocross. Also a cool slideshow of pictures from the day at the race by Pedal Dancer®: slideshow (with dramatic music. Gotta have fun with this sport).

Update - September 2013:  I regret that I will not be volunteering my time every weekend to come out and photograph and write about the weekend cyclocross races in Colorado this year. I look forward to attending just a few, including the Gold races, the Boulder Cup races, and CX Nationals in Boulder in January 2014, to witness the excellent level of sportsmanship, skill, and competition. And hopefully - fun.

07 March 2013

Teams for 2013 Tour of California Announced

And the 16 teams will be ...

UCI ProTeams
BMC Racing Team, USA
Cannondale Pro Cycling, Italy
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team, Belgium
Orica GreenEDGE, Australia
RadioShack Leopard Trek, Luxembourg
Team Garmin-Sharp, USA
Team Saxo-Tinkoff, Denmark
Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team, The Netherlands

UCI Professional Continental Teams
Champion System Pro Cycling Team, China
Team NetApp-Endura, Germany
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, USA

UCI Continental Teams
5-hour ENERGY presented by Kenda Racing Team, USA
Bissell Pro Cycling, USA
Bontrager Cycling Team, USA
Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies, USA
Team Jamis – Hagens Berman, USA

Update 05/06/13: Riders at the 2013 Tour of California 
Update 05/09/13: Team Jerseys for the Tour of California

Amgen Tour of California  May 12-19, 2013
Who is missing?

Robert Gesink! Last year's winner of the Amgen Tour of California. His team Blanco Pro Cycling (formerly Rabobank) will not be racing in California in 2013, and thus my favorite VIP tent of all time will also be absent (I know my priorities). Robert Gesink and his team will instead compete in the 2013 Giro d'Italia. Peter Sagan (Cannondale) will be back, so too will his affable teammate Ted King. World Champion Philippe Gilbert is expected to compete along with his My-bet-is-on-him teammate Tejay van Garderen. French team Vacansoleil-DCM is new to the race, maybe they will take back with them to France a lesson on hotels and race food from California.

Let the smack talk of the best teams, best riders, hardest route ever, hardest tour in America begin. They (ATOC, Tour Utah, USA Pro) all make this claim. Every year. Truth is I am just happy to see these races continue into 2013 and will be there to watch these excellent athletes race while I can on home soil. Here is the list of Sponsors that make this race possible ATOC sponsors - thank you thank you!

I'm betting on Tejay
Tejay van Garderen  ©Photo by Karen at Pedal Dancer®
Joanna, Tejay and Allison on the podium in 2012  ©Photo by Karen at Pedal Dancer®
This is one of those pictures when I do a photo search for "tejay" in my photo files and then say ... Did I take that picture of Tejay? ... cool!
Tejay in the white jersey at Tour de France 2012  ©Photo by Karen at Pedal Dancer®

And I'll put my money on Peter Sagan again (easy bet), it is so much fun to watch this kid race a bike.
Peter Sagan in Beverly Hills  ©Photo by Willie Reichenstein for Pedal Dancer®
Peter Sagan at ATOC sign in 2012.   ©Photo by Willie Reichenstein for Pedal Dancer®
Peter Sagan at ATOC ITT 2012.  ©Photo by Karen at Pedal Dancer®
I wish them both well.
Peter Sagan and Tejay van Garderen at ATOC 2012  ©Photo by Karen at Pedal Dancer®
But I'm most happy to see this guy return ... Tom Boonen!
It is always a thrill for me to see Tom Boonen rolling under the palm trees of California.
©Photo by Willie Reichenstein for Pedal Dancer®
Tom Boonen chomping at the bit in CA 2012  ©Photo by Willie Reichenstein for Pedal Dancer®
Tom Boonen in Bakersfield ITT   ©Photo by Karen at Pedal Dancer®
Tom Boonen in the ITT ATOC 2012.  ©Photo by Willie Reichenstein for Pedal Dancer®
I am thrilled that Boonen will be back at the Amgen Tour of California in 2013. Please bring your new teammate Mark Cavendish back with you, the Tour of California has not been the same without him. The last time Mark Cavendish raced ATOC was in 2010, much too long ago. And yes, I am thrilled to hear of Cavendish back in the news for being brash and aggressive, I don't want my sprinters cute and cuddly. His return to attitude signals he might be back to winning races.

Please come back Mark Cavendish. Mark at the ATOC in Los Angeles 2010.  ©Photo by Karen at Pedal Dancer®
More good news for the day

USA Cycling Announces ‘RaceClean’ Initiative, By PavedMag.com

...“The development of this innovative and collaborative RaceClean program is intended to send a strong statement about anti-doping, further establish the trust in our sport, and ensure a level playing field at all levels of racing,” said USA Cycling President & CEO Steve Johnson.

Good. This is needed. For some reason doping in the lower ranks of cycling bugs me almost more than at the pro level. Perhaps because I see it as a greater risk of spreading among the junior riders. But also because there is something disgusting about people who do not depend on racing for a living cheating their neighbors and friends on weekend races, with no apparent moral compass to see it as wrong.

Local doping is personal and I have definitely lost interest in local road races, track and crits in recent years because of it. I turned instead to cyclocross, a something-for-everyone sport, and to event rides where real individuals challenge themselves simply for the sense of accomplishment, not only for the win. I say let the spring cleaning commence in this sport. More details of the nationwide programs at USA Cycling and USADA launch new anti-doping program, By VeloNews.com.

Tour of California Route Information

For more ATOC information on routes, maps, cities, stages, please see the Pedal Dancer Guide Page:  TOUR OF CALIFORNIA or visit the official ATOC website.

2013 HOST CITIES and SCHEDULE  2013 Combined Stage and Profile PDF
Stage 1    5/12    Escondido
Stage 2    5/13    Murrieta to Greater Palm Springs
Stage 3    5/14    Palmdale to Santa Clarita
Stage 4    5/15    Santa Clarita to Santa Barbara
Stage 5    5/16    Santa Barbara to Avila Beach
Stage 6    5/17    San Jose (Individual Time Trial)
Stage 7    5/18    Livermore to Mt. Diablo
Stage 8    5/19    San Francisco to Santa Rosa
See maps of the route at TOUR OF CALIFORNIA or at 2013 Combined Stage and Profile PDF

As a friend, Jason Maxwell commented, there will be no Team Type I or Jelly Belly this year at the Tour of California (Also no AG2R, or Argos-Shimano who are currently doing so well at Paris-Nice. Exergy and Spidertech stopped sponsorship in 2012). I will miss those teams, although it is nice to see 5 HR Energy/Kenda back on the list of teams for ATOC in 2013. For Jason, I am going to share a photo I received a couple of days ago from Coloradoan John Sladek, who was lucky enough to host the Jelly Belly team at his home in 2011 before the USA Pro Challenge.