06 September 2013

Things I am interested in

It sort of feels like a lull in cycling

Yet there is quite a lot going on in the world. It might be because happenings in the world make it hard to think of only cycling, but more likely the Vuelta is ticking along and the Tour of Britain has yet to start. News of rider transfers and new sponsors trickle in and our daily lives go on as intended.

I may have found a new fork for my Cannondale bike, and so it seems my cycling career might not be over yet. I admit I had visions of becoming a cycle to the market and yoga class kind of bike rider, which I still might end up as, you never know, almost losing a second bike in two years sort of took the wind out of my sails.

A lull is nice and I have taken the opportunity to finish a humorous travel book on Italy and do some home repairs as well as tick off items on the long neglected to do list. After chasing and writing about races for months straight, I began to dream cycling and needed a lull.

These things catch my interest of late: 

• I am a lover of maps, and here is a cool new one. Of particular interest since I am trying to reconsider where to live and am looking for a place that is 66℉ year round:  One Map, A World of Temperatures Microclimates and macro-, blended together in a gorgeous app. Further explore the Quicksilver weather map.
I no like red.
• There have been lots of news of rider transfers lately. I particularly liked the news of Deignan ‘really excited’ to return to WorldTour with Team Sky, by Shane Stokesy. Seems the notion of hiring a rider because he is of a certain nationality and might draw interest from a particular market share is an appealing idea. Go Ireland!
Philip Deignan in August 2013. Photo © by Karen Rakestraw at Pedal Dancer®
• There are plenty of other transfers as well, if you would like to keep up on which pro rider is going to which pro team, Cycling Fever has created a clear and concise table of pro rider transfers to new teams for the 2014 season (thank you very much) - Transfer Overview 2014.
Sylvain Chavanel, I'll follow him anywhere.   Photo © by Karen Rakestraw at Pedal Dancer®
• Euskaltel Euskadi is no more, a long history dried up, but in name only. Along came an incredibly wealthy sports car driver willing to make one of the worst investments ever just to keep this largely national squad of Spanish riders riding together. Fernando Alonso is my hero. Fernando Alonso admits Euskaltel-Euskadi cycling team takeover is an 'ambitious project' by SkySports
Fernando Alonso.  Photo from SkySports
• Which reminds me we need to get used to a couple of other new team names being in the headlines including the Swiss team IAM CYCLING. The team existed previously but they recently signed Sylvain Chavanel, Jérôme Pineau and Mathias Fränk. Think early Columbia or Orica, because this team intends to grow, big.
Who is IAM Cycling.  Photo from IAM Cycling
•  TREK CYCLING TEAM will be reborn from the old RadioShack Leopard team. Thank goodness, I was starting to wonder what ever happened to Fabian Cancellara, and then he went and won the Stage 11 time trial at the Vuelta last week - yeah!! This news means the competition is ON for the title of fastest man in rainbow stripes at the time trial at Worlds.

• I have two friends (one virtual) who recently completed the incredibly difficult Haute Route across the Alps. Greg Brown (USA) took on the route with a group of friends and succeeded, so too did Gerry Patterson (Canadian living in France) who writes a blog I follow regularly titled The Vicious Cycle. If you ever dream of riding the Haute Route yourself (7 timed stages from Geneva to Nice), Gerry created an incredibly informative detailed step by step approach chronicling his journey to completing the ride. And it is all on ONE page, read the do it yourself guide: Haute Route 2013.
Haute Route
Yesterday Gerry Patterson wrote up his recent interview with Peter Pouly, the three-time winner of the Haute Route, read that interview here: Peter Pouly Interview, By the Vicious Cycle. Also read Gerry's summary of thoughts after he completed the ride. I think hindsight an interesting human quality.

Chris Horner is in the news for winning a stage at the Vuelta and slipping on the red jersey and causing all sorts of talk about an old guy's chances of winning the vuelta. He is also in the news for sporting horrible ponytails and beards over the years. I noticed that Chris is attempting to learn Spanish! One language is apparently not enough to quench his gift of gab. This video of Chris Horner's attempt at Spanish makes me want to go give French another try.
•  That matador tshirt reminds me that although I have received tons of "Where did you get that tshirt?" comments on my favorite je ne suis pas Ted King tshirt, I admit I recently visited another maker of cycling tshirts Apres Velo. They have this snazzy cotton number which makes me wish I was heading to Toscana 2013 (otherwise knows as Worlds in Italy) right now.
Actually I wish I was in France right now because the Vuelta is climbing to the top of the Pyrenees this week. The route is going wonderfully close to the farm near Pau where I have luckily stayed 4 times in previous years. The Vuelta revisits the climb to Peyregudes this Sunday. I liked that climb a lot and wrote about it before when the climb was first included in the 2012 Tour de France - and I WAS THERE!! Stage 17 on Peyregudes

Campervans on road to Peyregudes in 2012.  Photo © by Karen Rakestraw at Pedal Dancer®
• An aging Chris Horner reminds me that a 37-year old quarterback named Peyton Manning threw a 7 touchdown winning game last night in the opening game of the National Football League (NFL) for the Denver Broncos. More Americans are fans of football than any other sport (cycling didn't even make the list).
Peyton Manning
• Over in France there is a chef who is building a cycling lodge in Burgundy. I check in on his progress (and recipes) every so often: Baked Peppers & Tomatoes – Cycling Picnic, by the Hungry Cyclist.
The view of the world from the Hungry Cyclist Lodge in Burgundy, France.  Photo from Hungry Cyclist website
Also Suze is back to bike touring her way across France again (3rd time). I enjoy looking at her photographs and reading her history lessons and stories from her travels on a bike on her blog Suze,Cycling. I have never toured on a bicycle so I am curious about those who load up and pedal from place to place. There are a lot of people who dream about hitting the open road with only the possessions they can carry on a bike. It has to be the ultimate of enjoying the unknown of the road ahead, but also Suze offers some great tips on accommodations across France friendly to cyclists.
Travels and stories from Suze, Cycling blog.  Photo by Suze
• Cross Season begins this weekend in Colorado .... and I have to rebuild my backyard fence. Dang it. No matter, a fleet of new and old cyclocross racers will hit the dirt, cement, tarmac and boards this weekend without me. The sport of cyclocross is growing rapidly and I am so pleased to see more and more juniors coming out to race. Cyclocross is a great way to expose kids to the fun of competition and healthy lifestyle of activity in a friendly no fail atmosphere.  Read more at Mud and cowbells (a local blog). Or see my calendar of CX races in Colorado: 2013-14 Colorado Cyclocross Calendar. We are hosting CX Nationals this year!
Photo from Mud and Cowbells blog
I continue to follow Dale Stetina's progress daily, which is encouraging.  Dale Stetina in serious bike accident

And lastly - NASA has an Instagram account.