What's Cool In Road Cycling

Season’s Greetings From The PEZ-Crew!

What started a few years ago as a way to find some easy content for Christmas Day has become a tradition – yep – it’s our annual Holiday sign-in from the PEZ—Crew. We all hope you’re with the people who matter, and that for the next few days at least, life is good.

Richard Pestes – Publisher
Even with the cycling season in a deep mid-winter’s sleep, December is my busiest month as I work to renew advertising contracts for next year, and do what we dads do as providers. Unlike other jobs, my income basically starts at zero every January 1st… so finding time to look back at the last 12 months takes more effort than usual. But the effort is worth it, and forces my nose out of the drops for a few perspective inducing glances at the bigger picture.


“Daddy, watch this!” – Alessa (6) & Loredana (2), in cahoots.

For anyone who’s followed us over the past 10 years, you’ve seen my ‘phase of life’ evolve from unemployed guy with a small website (I didn’t even have a road bike at the time!) to a veritable big ring of activity making PEZ into a full time job. After my family, this is the most important thing I do – but even if the ‘job’ seems to take the most time – it still pales to the joy I feel watching our two daughters grow into little girls. With PEZ HQ based out of the home office, I get to see my ‘best work’ throughout the day. And since the little one started walking this year, there’s even less time for ‘me’, but six years into this parenting gig, I’m finally used to being on duty all the time.

The best part has been watching my two daughters grow into sisters. Alessa, who’s almost 6, loves being the big sister, and dishes out the sisterly love & abuse with bottomless enthusiasm. Loredana just turned 2, and is Alessa’s biggest fan, accomplice, and nemesis all in one. Their antics have been the number one source for laughs around the home front this year, and a blessing that helped us all accept the passing of Teresa’s mother in March.

2011 won’t stand out as my fittest year on the bike, but I still did some rides I’ll remember – February training with CCSD in San Diego, riding the Dolomites with Thomson Tours at the Giro (and crashing on the Giau – ugh), finally doing Mt. Baker in Washington, and riding a few short kms with the fast guys the RBC Gran Fondo Whistler.

The guys on the Pez-Crew did me proud once again with our perspective of original and quality coverage of the racing season, training, gear reviews and the features we think are worth writing about, and worth reading about.

I’m grateful to my clients (many who’ve become friends over the years) who’ve chosen us to help support their fine brands, and thanks to our Readers for making us part of your lives. Best wishes to you and yours this holiday season.
– Richard

Alastair Hamilton – EuroTrash, Spanish Office

It’s that time of year again and they seem to come round faster every time! It’s been a good year for cycling, especially for Philippe Gilbert who has been phenomenal, add to that the wins of Alberto Contador in the Giro d’Italia and Cadel Evans in the Tour de France, the season has kept the fans (and me) interest from January to…now I guess, with the cross season on the go! Less drug scandals, but you can’t ignore the money problems; when you have a Grand Tour winner like Juan Jуse Cobo without a team, then things are not good. Anyway, Christmas is here and eating will be of the highest importance here in Spain, as usual. Christmas is strange without a covering of snow, 25єC+ is nicer though!

On a personal point, the 2011 Vuelta a Espaсa was the 10th Vuelta I have covered for PEZ, this wouldn’t be possible without the help of “The Pez” Richard. Thanks to him and all the guys at PEZ. The tenth year of PEZ is going to be the best yet!

All the best for Christmas and hope you all get what you want in the New Year.

Edmond Hood – Roving Scribe

Another year gone; life goes into fast forward once you leave your 30’s.

From a selfish point of view, I had a great year – Belgian classics, kermises, the Giro, the Tour, the Worlds and six days from Copenhagen to Grenoble by way of Berlin, Gent, Rotterdam and Zurich.

I had the good fortune to speak to a whole lot of dynamic bike riders; perhaps I’m deluding myself but all that chat with those wonderful young men helps keep me young – in my head, at least.

But there was sadness too; we lost two of the idols of my youth – Peter Post and Fedor Den Hertog and I was there on that grim day in May when the death of Wouter Weylandt reminded us that whilst cycling is the most beautiful of sports, it’s also a very dangerous one.

And much closer to home, I lost my oldest friend, John Bell to cancer – rest in peace Gentlemen, I miss you all, especially you, John.

The drugs demon didn’t rear it’s head in too spectacular a fashion in 2011 – long may that trend continue.

Xmas Day will be with family, but I’ll spare a moment to hope that the Floyd Landises and Joe Papps of this world find peace of mind – and that all those pros who’ve done the hard miles but have no contract find a place for 2012.

A big ‘thank you’ to Richard Pestes for the opportunities he gives me, Jered Gruber for his alchemy with words and pictures, Dave and Martin for being the best of companions on those long roads across Europe – and to Marlene, for putting up with me and looking after me so well.

And a special ‘thank you’ to all of our loyal readers – have a great Xmas and stay tuned to PEZ for 2012.

Dr. Stephen Cheung – Toolbox Editor

This past year has been a crazy wonderful and upside down year for our family. We’ve taken the bold step of renting out our house, saying goodbye to most of our possessions, and living as a family out of one suitcase each for 15 months in Europe during my sabbatical from Brock University. On a cycling level, it’s a year where I’ve traded the routine of riding every day and being as fit as I usually like to be, for a lot lower fitness and only a few rides (and heaven forbid, running!). In return, there’s the enhanced pleasures of a few choice cycling experiences, each and every one savoured to a greater extent as a result. It’s certainly been a fair trade to do a midnight run in Helsinki, ride in beautiful fall weather with new friends in Finland, explore the Flandrian fields of dreams, and see some real Euro CX in person! Best of all, our family gets to share an experience that has been even more amazing than what we originally imagined. So we’ll be spending the holidays here in Belgium, toasting an amazing year and ringing in my second decade with Pez! Happy holidays and a terrific 2012!

Corey Fox – Italian Office

After all of the adoring fan mail that feeds my ego, the next best thing about writing for Pez is the free kit [said like true CheapOh]. My children are probably the best dressed adolescent cyclists in this hemisphere. However, as is often the case, they take it for granted and are rather unappreciative. So I have to appreciate it for them. And I am very appreciative, thanks Richard! Now about this year: it has really flown by, except for a few days that were quite long. The end of the year results aren’t good: I seem to be riding less and less, (ironically enough) ever since I starting writing about it. I have tried to over-compensate this sad fact by increasing my journalistic output with deeper feelings of longing and guilt. But I am mostly left with an expanding belly and well dressed kids. My New Year’s Pez-olution: I will ride more in an effort not to embarass myself at the company get together this May. Season’s Greetings to Pretty Much All of You (and especially the ones that wrote me nice things)!

Gordan Cameron – UK Office

It’s been a privilege to have sailed on the good ship Pez for most of the last ten years (that long?!) and look forward to more adventures in the future with the Pez family. Let’s hope for great things for our sport in 2012, remembering the landscape, the hardship, the beauty, the glory and the people. Remember the fun, too, because that’s what got us all into this in the first place, right? And let’s not forget those we’ve lost along the way.

Thanks for following Valerie and I as we zoomed up and down the highways and byways of France last summer on another chase of the Tour de France. We’ll hope to bring you more adventures next time.

From a very blustery Scotland, happy holidays to all readers.
Cheers,

Gord

Leslie Reissner – Literary Editor, German Office

My first full year in Germany saw its ups and downs, professionally, personally and cycling-wise. There was the disappointment of not being one of the Chosen Few (or 15,000) to ride the Amstel Gold Sportif; there was the terrible endless rain all summer; there was the lack of motivation to train; there were the additional unwanted pounds of weight. On the positive side, I have begun to enjoy exploring the quiet roads of Northrhein-Westphalia and had the opportunity to ride several RTFs (the organized club rides) through some pretty landscapes. I have ridden the Erft, the Sieg and the Ahr bike routes and seen lots of castles, ruined and otherwise, picturesque towns and fine bakeries (see Weight Gain, above). More elaborate trips included three days riding the quiet roads of Mьnsterland, near the Dutch frontier, and admiring water castles; riding through the heart of Berlin on closed streets at the Velothon in May; a week in Tirol creaking up hard hard climbs, including the legendary Grossglockner, in Austria; and three wonderful days in Chianti, enjoying the wonders of l’Eroica. My own favourite story for Pezcyclingnews.com was the one about l’Eroica and enjoying the unique atmosphere of this entertaining (mostly) ride. https://pezcyclingnews.com/?pg=fullstory&id=9777 . In addition, I did not fall off my bicycle this year even though I have even more bicycles to choose from.

I have made new friends in Gemany and this will encourage me to train harder in preparation for the coming year. Not only did I get in to Amstel Gold for 2012, my friend Nick has somehow persuaded me to sign up for a 6 hour spinning class in the Netherlands in January. The sportif version of Paris-Roubaix might be on the books, followed soon after by a week in Corsica. I will be in Verona, Italy to watch the Giro team time trial in May, back at l’Eroica in October and then at the World Championships in the Netherlands soon after that. I have discovered the whole new sub-culture of retro-cycling events and look forward to regular rides with the Klassikerausfahrtgruppe in Dьsseldorf, involving cake and coffee beforehand and afterwards (see Weight Gain, above). And I will finally start my much threatened bike tour of the Limes, the Roman defensive wall that separated the civilized Romans from the barbaric Germans. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage route that runs for 600 kms. And of course I look forward to reviewing more books and DVDs for Pezcyclingnews readers.

With all this activity ahead, it is also good to slow down at times! Hang out with friends and family and don’t make everything a time trial. I wish the readers of Pezcyclingnews.com, all my fellow-contributors and everyone who enjoys cycling–whether to commute, to tour, to compete or just enjoy the culture–all the best for the season and a Happy New Year. I know I’ll be enjoying it! (see Weight Gain, above).

Darrell Parks – Roving North American Photographer

Happy Holidays to All! As I reflect back on 2011 here are some of the highlights being part of the PEZ team has helped me to accomplish…

From the Wounded Warrior Project Soldier ride in January to The Capitol Cross Classic in December I photographed over a dozen Cycling races and events in 2011. These consisted of 28 days of events shooting over 20,000 images. That’s over a month away from home in 2011 when you include travel time. Once again I really need to thank my family for allowing me that time to pursue my passion. And speaking of family, being able to shoot my son in his first “real” bike race was a great experience for me (even though he was wearing a Santa hat during the entire race).

Besides my contributions to all that is PEZ, a few other notables for me this year include having my images published in the cool cycling book “The Belgian Hammer” as well as the 2012 Velo Cycling Calendar. Having one of my AMGEN Tour of California images chosen to be published along with images by cycling photography legends Graham Watson, Tim De Waele and Casey Gibson is truly an honor.

The biggest standout for me again this year has to be the time I spent documenting the Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride. From capturing their Dolphin experience in Florida to their meeting with President Obama at the White House to cycling with them in Annapolis, MD – all truly inspirational and moving experiences for me. I’d like to thank them all for their service and sacrifices – please do the same if you get the chance!

Have a great 2012 and I’ll see you at the races!

Marvin Zauderer – Toolbox, Sports Psychology

A warm hello to all of our Pez readers worldwide!

Thank you for supporting Pez, and a special thank you to those who have read my Sport Psychology column, passed the link along to others, and given me feedback on the articles. You’ve been an inspiration to me, on and off the bike, this year.

On the bike, I was on the comeback trail this year. Top 3 moments: (3) Hearing my friend and teammate, Kevin, had won his first road race with a daring solo attack just a few kilometers from the start, (2) Suffering on the 11-mile, 3,249-foot race up Mt. Diablo, including that dang 18% kicker at the end (photo), and (1) Working hard for my sprinter teammates during my first healthy race back, chasing down attacks, feeling the legs respond and the joy of being back to racing again.

Lately I’ve been getting to know the rides in Sonoma County, California — Levi Leipheimer and Steven Cozza country — new hills to climb, cow crossings to avoid, bakeries to visit.

I’m grateful for the health, happiness, and love of my family and friends.

All the best to you and yours this holiday season!

Cheers,
Marv

Matt McNamara – Toolbox
With my daughter on the cusp of 7 we’ve entered those magical years when the reality of an idyllic holiday is in the words and wishes of my little one. Slowing down and enjoying those moments that become memories is the focus and we wish warmth and joy to everyone in the small family of cycling!

Matt Conn – Italian Office

Like trying to get around to writing this end of year message, 2011 seems to have been the year when I just didn’t have enough time. It was a great year for cycling with my highlights being Matt Goss’ fantastic win at Milan San Remo, Cadel Evans finally showing what he is capable of when injury and team complications do not factor into his Tour de France and Philppe Gilbert’s, well, just about every race he rode in this year.

As well as being just an all-around fantastic race, the 2011 Giro was one of the few events I managed to get to in the flesh and like always, the effort of going was well worth it and I enjoyed bringing PEZ readers some insight from the roadside. The race was overshadowed by tragedy and the Italian public showed their human side in the way they paid tribute to the life of Wouter Weylandt and made sure that the cycling world would never forget.

Here’s hoping that 2012 brings us even more fantastic racing than the year we have just had and I look forward to being able to share some of that with you, be it from the couch in the lounge room via Twitter or from halfway up a mountain in Italy, Austria or France.

Have a great holiday and stay safe on your bikes.
Matt Conn and family, Udine, Italy.

Alessandro Federico – Italian Office

Christmas in our home this year comes just three months after the new income to the family: the baby Mario. Already he’s been published on PEZ even if we still don’t know if he will never be on the site for a successful career on the bike.

The Federico family will enjoy the Christmas all together. My brother Massimo with his wife Sylvia and 1 year old Eliza are coming from Poland, and all together we are in Genoa home around Graziella’s (the grandma) table.

The menu is ready: lasagne with pesto, the “stocafisso” (fish traditional dish), and a bottle of Brunello.

Below follow a short thought by Mario:
“Still some space for me? I’m the last one in Pez crew and I would like to greet all Pez readers. I don’t know if I will be a climber or a journalist (like my father). By looking my legs I would say a sprinter but it’s maybe too early to say. For the moment I limit to watch daily distractions but I can’t find one better than my mother Natalia.

Dave Aldersebaes – American Office
Wishing all of the PEZ faithful and Crew a very happy Christmas and a warm, healthy, and prosperous New Year. Lots of tailwinds for all of you. From Portland, Oregon, from our family to yours, enjoy every moment and love your bicycle!

Love,
Dave and Carrie

Jered Gruber – A Little Bit Of Everything

We made a day trip earlier this week to the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado with my family. Photo taken by my father. Perfect.

I remember sitting down at this time last year and thinking – how could it possibly get any crazier or better? In 2011, it happened…it got crazier, better, and I can’t say enough how much it felt like we enrolled in the school of life. Ashley and I jumped off a cliff in 2011 – we moved to Europe without a place to live, with a 1500 euro car, and a whole bunch of hopes and dreams. Somehow, it worked out. With the support of PEZ and so many great people, we managed to make it through an amazing year, and now we’re making plans for how to improve in 2012.

But first, we’re at home in the US, visiting our family and friends, and appreciating just how good it is to be at home. We’ve had some great adventures in Europe, but no matter how awesome it is, there’s nothing like being home.

Thanks to everyone who has followed us and supported us – and thanks to PEZ for helping make it happen.

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