07 April 2015

Five years as a blogger

For five years I have tried to contribute to the cycling community

A sudden inspiration occurred to me while watching the Paris-Roubaix race in 2010. I should blog.

It was a time when I was really into pro races abroad and learning the roads and travel logistics to attend the races. I had friends in Belgium attending the Paris-Roubaix in April 2010; they were in Belgium and I was home watching the race online - it felt as if I was there with them. Then it occurred to me: I should share my experiences and research about cycling travel. Maybe I could help others by sharing what I know and more importantly, what I learn.

I was planning a five-week cycling trip to France that following July, it would be my fifth trip to see the Tour de France. I wanted a way to share my travels with friends and family back home, so I continued blogging while traveling through France ticking off many of the high Cols. I remember looking at my blog statistics one day in July 2010 and marveling that a hundred people had read my blog. One hundred people where interested in my stories of riding a bike in France - it was hard for me to comprehend.

Then a strange thing happened - people started to recognize me.

I began to hear from people through email, comments or in person; readers who recognized me from my blog. It was cool! Every person I met, told me their story. And I love travel stories! They told me where they had been, where they had stayed, and whom they had met along the way. My world suddenly became much bigger.

If you are a traveler - or better yet, a traveler who loves to ride a bike - I am guessing you have experienced the feeling when the mountain makes you feel so small. Where the world makes you marvel at how insignificant you are and yet how your actions impact so many others.

For me, this is the joy and purpose of getting out and riding a bike in new places. 

Sometimes I think I shouldn't be so transparent on my blog; that I should protect my privacy. As much as I love facts and information (and if you read my blog you know I love compiling and sharing data), it is the times when I share my humor (Irish humor that would be!) or tell of my woes, which seems to best connect me with all of you readers.

I've had some great times and I've had some hard times in the past 5 years. I long to be in the shape I was five years ago when the Triple Bypass was completed with ease. I have worked very hard on Pedal Dancer and enjoyed covering the pro races and traveling to France, Belgium and especially Ireland for the Giro d'Italia last May, but the time spent on creating the blog was great. I probably should have been following a regimented training plan instead to maintain that awesome shape that is now long gone.

I wish I never broke my pelvis mountain biking in Moab - that was a true bummer and I have never been the same cyclist since. I have fears and pains that I am still trying to solve 4-years later. I injured my left knee in the fall of 2014 and was recently diagnosed with Trigeminal Neuralgia. But through all the pain, I put together six totally awesome routes for Ride with GPS as a new Ambassador to Summit County bike rides in Colorado. I swear I wrote an entire guidebook to cycling in Summit County in the process.

Without a doubt, I can say that I contribute to the cycling community in Colorado. And that makes me feel good. I suppose we all want to feel as if we contribute in some small way to the great big world around us.

The topics I write about, in my blog, have varied greatly over the years. Like my fellow cyclists, I am sometimes interested in bikes, or training, nutrition, race routes, pro riders, hot topics, best new equipment, or simply a good place to grab a beer. If you scroll down my blog you will see the topics discussed vary as much as a conversation with a good friend. That is the exact joy of being a blogger - freedom of expression.

I get to take and share photos like this, even if they are not finish line shots, and especially because I like seeing Bradley Wiggins' kids in the frame ...

I get to be close enough to feel the spray of champagne after a good competition in sport ...

I get to recommend cool places to visit like this cafe in Carbondale, Colorado ...

I get to travel to places like this, in France and sit and have a picnic (with wine of course!) ...

I get to say "I've been there", "I've climbed there on my bike" ...

I get to direct Bradley and Cav to their team buses after sign-in before the stage start ...

I get to write a guide to Summit County bike rides, because I love Colorado! ...

I get to plan more travel and hopefully much more cycling ...

And I get to meet all of you!

Thank you all so much for your support and encouragement over the years. Those one hundred visitors have now turned into thousands daily. That makes me happy. If I had made a dime off of all of this - it would've made me even happier!

I have visitors from around the world, although most come from the U.K., Germany, Australia and France (along with those Russia spam visitors). Most visitors still come to read about races or equipment, or about roads and tollways in France. Plenty visit to see Marcel Kittel's legs. I hope I can provide visitors from outside the United States with a sense of what it is like to ride or race a bike in Colorado or California.

California is my home state, Colorado is now my home residence.

Some of the things I personally do for Colorado Cycling:
  • Compile annual Event and Race Calendar Lists
  • Detail the climbs in Colorado with facts and links to experts
  • Write a Guide Page to Summit County Cycling
  • Recommend local rides in Colorado
  • Cover the race and write Fan Guides to the USA Pro Challenge
  • Volunteer in the community at events and as a photographer at races
1.  Pedal Dancer® Colorado Bike Event and Race Calendar Lists
2.  Pedal Dancer® Colorado Climbs
  • Colorado Climbs - The very best bike climbs in Colorado with all the facts, offered in one convenient place.
3.  Pedal Dancer® Summit County Cycling
4.  Pedal Dancer® Favorite Rides
  • Favorite Rides - My favorite rides in Colorado and France are featured.
5.  Pedal Dancer® USA Pro Challenge Race Planning and Coverage
  • USA Pro Challenge -  For information on the 2015 USA Pro Challenge bike race in Colorado, August 17-23, 2015, please go directly to this Pedal Dancer Guide Page
6.  Pedal Dancer® Volunteers!

I sure hope all this effort and good will has helped someone. If it hasn't, I should have just hired a personal coach and gone for those personal STRAVA records, then gone home, cleaned my bike and opened a beer. For five years!

Instead I wanted to contribute and accomplish a few things, I think I did that. And my photography got much better. Thanks again for the ride ! Thank you so much for visiting my blog.