What's Cool In Road Cycling


Reporting the news of pro cycling is not like other jobs…. Our ‘office’ is the internet – the place we meet, swap tales & jokes, and do our work. Appearing on the same web page is the closest we’ve come to all being in the same place at one time. But this time of year seemed right to ask the PEZ CREW to share a few stories about how we’ll each spend the Holidays…

Two things pretty much anyone reading or writing on PEZ shares is a love of cycling, and that we take pause at this time of year to celebrate some form of holiday. Publishing this website has expanded my circle of friends and colleagues to around the world.

We’re all grateful to have gathered such a loyal following of readers & sponsors over the past six years. I’m also grateful to have found the finest cycling reporting staff anywhere. But with our focus on bike racing, there’s little time to learn more about us, so I asked the PEZ Crew, and a few of our contributing pros to let us know how they’ll be spending the Holidays. Thanks again to everyone for reading PEZCycling, and have a safe and happy Holiday Season!
– Richard Pestes

Richard Pestes – The PEZ (Cdn)

It was pouring sunshine this morning (Dec. 24th) in Vancouver, so we braved the bright light and took a stroll on the beach. Not a bad way to ease into the festive days ahead.

It’s our second Christmas with our 23 month old daughter Alessa, who’s now getting into the spirit of Santa, ornaments, and lights (but not quite ready to sit on Santa’s lap). It’s a whole new experience to the season for me as I enjoy the Holiday’s through her eyes. My parents are visiting, and Teresa’s family will join us for the big dinner on Christmas Day. For me the time also is cause for a brief look back at the year personally. I turned 45, which puts me at the age where health issues (especially of my parents) start to become serious parts of life. Our daughter’s displaced hip was successfully sorted out and she’s now walking and talking up a storm, which has made fatherhood an experience full of joy I never imagined, but am very thankful I’m having now.

Over the Holidays I promise to not work too much and have a cocktail in my hand not later than 5PM each day – a smooth single malt scotch is my preferred winter libation (Highland Park 16 yr is my current top shelf pour). I’m good and ready to get back on the bike and start prep for some big rides in 2008 – like the Tour of California in Feb., the Giro start in Sicily, and L’Eroica and Lombardia next year – already booked my flights!

Top of the Season to everyone – and best wishes for 2008 – !

Jered Gruber – Assistant Editor (USA)

It’s about to snow in Colorado, so I expect to be riding in something like this soon – even if it’s not quite same as this pic I took in Austria!

I’m back in Colorado visiting my family for Christmas. I always look forward to heading to Colorado in December: it’s usually the only time I get to see my family every year. Without fail, I seem to call down the winter weather though – last year it snowed over six feet TWICE while I was here, and a year later, looks like we’re about to get some more.

Jered gets in a cold ride in Colorado with his custom Charlotte Fetty edition hat. Of course he wears a helmet the rest of the time, but couldn’t resist showing off this fine toboggan.

It’s a good time though for me to wind down a little bit and get ready for the upcoming racing season. Sometimes I get driven off the bike because of the snow and have to spend time with my family (gasp!) or go for some long snow walks with my little brother, sister, and our two dogs.

I just bought a trainer though, so I might be that guy in the corner hanging out on my bike while everybody else watches TV. Haha. Hey, it beats being by myself in sub freezing weather trying not to eat it through each icy corner! Beats the hell out of it if you ask me.

Ed Hood – Euro Bureau (Sco)

I’ve just bought a new apartment in Edinburgh and had hoped to be in there for Xmas, but as Robert Burns once said; ‘the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley.’ In the North American dialect, that would be; ‘s*** happens!’ So, Marlene and I are still in Kirkcaldy, which does have a connection with North America; John Paul Jones, father of the US Navy, once lobbed a few cannon balls at us.

Tonight (Xmas eve) we’ll drop-off Marlene’s daughter’s presents – her and hubby Paul are expecting their first baby, so she’s BIG – then we’ll go to the watch night service at the ‘Auld Kirk’ in Kirkcaldy. Xmas morning will be bucks fizz, open our presies, go for a walk along the beach before the standard ‘eat too much’ part of the day; then, unusually for me, the TV will play a part.

If I had a choice of where to be with my sweetheart on Xmas day – it would be at a ‘cross in West Flanders (yeah, they DO have them on Xmas day) or on the top of one of our Scottish mountains (see the pic), but we’re both working today and there’s no time for fancy arrangements. Kirkcaldy will be just fine though, close to the people who care about me, and out of the rat race, even if it’s just for 48 hours.

My Xmas wish? A scandal-free 2008 Tour would be nice. And at this time of the year it’s not corny to say; thank you to every one who has read my work and special thanks to those who gave me their time so generously – have a good Xmas, everybody.

Alessandro Federico – Italian Bureau (It)

We thought that without our cats we cannot show the real atmosphere of our home! Our daughter Diana choose the rosa jersey and Natalia the Pro Tour one. I don’t separate from my Pez falpa of course!! We are now very busy preparing the fish for the 24th night when we will have the traditional dinner. Fish on 24th evening and chicken on 25th lunch: this is the Italian tradition. And, of course, relatives, relatives and relatives!!!

Dr. Stephen Cheung – ToolBox Editor – (Cdn)

Being a scientist is a bit of a 24/7 job, in that my mind is always on science and ideas no matter what else I might be doing. It’s a bit of an obsessive profession in that sense, in the same way that a pro athlete bases their whole lifestyle and activity patterns around their sport. Therefore, the holiday season provides me with the excuse and opportunity to take a few days completely away from the computer and from writing or thinking science. Through this weekend, I’m cramming to finish the latest chapter of my textbook prior to Christmas Eve, then take a week or so break before I start preparing for next semester’s courses! With a good 40 cm of snow on the ground, the only riding beckoning me is the PowerCranks on the CompuTrainer.

It’s been a huge year for me, with moving to a new university and taking up a prestigious Canada Research Chair post. So 2007 has been a complete banner year, both professionally and personally, making me truly thankful for the opportunities I’ve received, the great friends we’ve left behind in Halifax, and our new friends here in Niagara. This year, our boys Zachary (7) and Jacob (5) are more excited than ever about Christmas, so most of our plans revolve around their concerts and Christmas activities with them. The only true Cheung Christmas Tradition worthy of capital letters is that, every year, we sit down and watch the classic “A Christmas Story” movie together! Triple dog dare you to not split a gut laughing throughout that movie!

Matt Conn – EuroTrash Editor (Aus)

This Christmas will be one of mixed feelings in our family. Earlier this year my wife Cass and I said goodbye to Italy and moved back to Australia ‘for a while’, which was a tough decision to make. However, we moved home to be with our families and we are really looking forward to our first Christmas with our daughter Ava and to sharing that with our family and friends. Coming from ‘Down Under’, Christmas always meant two months of school holidays and some great summer weather and this has always been a special time of the year for me. There is plenty of cycling action through December and January with track racing and criterium events and with a bit of luck I will be able to sneak in a few kilometres with my brother, after Christmas lunch. As my real job doesn’t start again until mid February, I will be looking forward to playing Dad and playing cyclist over the coming weeks. Bring on the BBQs and swimming and ride safely wherever you are.

Charles Manantan – Tech N Spec Editor (USA)

Charles’ wife Tracey and daughter Ella at the ‘Happiest Place on Earth’.

This Holiday season (and I say “Holiday” simply out of respect) isn’t over for most of the world, but I’ve already received the best present ever… A simple trip to Disneyland. I have a daughter at basically the perfect age for a place like that. What struck me was how small the place is compared to how I remember it. I lived less than mile from Disney as a kid and I still remember Pirates of the Caribbean (without a damn Johnny Depp figure…). I also remember a time when the Submarine ride absolutely went under the water and was in fact being attacked by sea monsters. It occurred to me that my daughter has it made right now because everything is real… In a single day she had a special breakfast with Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and the Fairy God Mother, hugged a giant mouse, played with a walking Tigger, took a jungle boat ride, hid from pirates, flew on an elephant and learned how small the world was by traveling through a dozen countries in 10 minutes. I couldn’t tell you how happy my wife and I were just seeing how happy she was. Then I came home and looked at the pictures and saw the pure wonder on her face and I thought… “Wow, that’s how I used to feel about bicycle racing.” And I’m sitting here a couple days later thinking, what’s really great is that unlike childhood fantasy, I can get that “ooooo!” feeling back!

Simeon Green – French Bureau (Aus & Fr)

Sim soaking it up in Oz… a long way from the frozen roads of France.

Joyeux Noel from Oz. It’s that time of year again… or is it? I usually spend Christmas at home, in the South of France. Every winter, Christmas rolls around and wakes us up with its frosty (hopefully snowy) festivities. A tradition for me is to get up and go for an early Christmas morning ride, (or at least what we in France call “early morning”). There’s something magical and special about riding on Christmas morning. The frosted ground turns the area into a postcard winter wonderland, and this is probably one of the only times in our modern world when you can go out on a bike and listen to the sounds of silence traveling through the crisp cold air. Everyone is wrapped up warm in their houses, lights shine through the windows leaving golden shadows on the white ground where cars are crammed in the driveway as families get together for a long French family lunch. There’s something magical about being alone on the roads, seemingly watching the world from an outside point of view. This year however will be somewhat different. A far cry from wrapping myself in 3 winter jackets to brave the -4 degrees of our French Christmas morning in the middle of winter, I will be spending Christmas in Australia, in the sun and on the beach with friends. Christmas in the middle of summer, so is it “that” time of year, or not? Either way, I’m not complaining!

Here’s wishing all the jolly readers of PezCyclingNews a very Joyeux Aussie Noel! May the New Year bring you all much joy and success, many great rides and a 2008 cycling season that promises to be full of surprises as we move into a new era.

Ho ho hooo… I hope Santa brings me sunscreen!

Guy Wilson-Roberts – Contributor at Large (NZ, Cdn)

Sometimes it can feel like it’s not the ‘season to be jolly’ in December because the weather in Vancouver is certainly not conducive to any riding, and compared to other parts of North America we’ve got it easy.

So it’s a great opportunity to spend time indoors with family and enjoying the festive spirit (and whatever brand of spirits Santa might bring this year), as well as catching up on missed chores from the year and making plans for the next one.

Any chance to get out and spin of the pedals and gulp some fresh air serves as a reminder, though, of better times to come – clear skies, the smell of freshly cut grass, new bar tape, the whirring on tyres on hot roads, and aching lungs riding up Mt Seymour. I can’t

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Dave Aldersebaes – Reporter At Large (USA)

Greetings one and all from Portland, Oregon. We’ll be spending our Christmas doing some leisurely base miles with friends, trying to work off the Christmas treats and ales. Well, the treats, anyhow. We wish you all a safe and happy Christmas, and a healthy and prosperous New Year! Be well!

Nick O’Brien – UK Bureau (UK)
Christmas Greetings from Squadra O’Brien – hope everyone has a great holiday and Santa gives them what they want.

Joe and the Bobster doing their best Paulo Bettini impressions.

I’m staying in the UK for the first time in years as we’ve just had a little baby boy “Finlay” [baby #3 – ed.] who is wonderful – but my cycling wishes will have to stay on hold for a couple of months, until at least May of next year when the Giro is coming to the area my wife’s family live in, during its last week and also later in the year when the world championships are on our doorstep in Varese. It’s going to be a superb 2008, I hope you all have a great one and continue to enjoy “our” great sport, Buon Natale…Nick O’Brien.

Marvin Zauderer – ToolBox Contributor (USA)

This is the time of year when, during Chanukah, I always think of light and miracles. (Don’t worry, I’m not going to break out the crystals and begin singing Kumbaya.) I’m grateful to have begun writing for PEZ in January 2007; one of the main things that attracted me to the gang was the sense of humor, the sense of light(ness) that PezPeople bring to cycling, training, racing, gear, swag, distractions,…um, you know what I mean. And, it very well may have been a miracle that my fellow PezGuy Bob Cullinan wasn’t more badly hurt by the car he mentioned here. I’m glad that I get to ride with him XMas Day – his first day back on the bike. May that be your last close encounter with a car, Bob, and may you have many, er, kittens in your future.

Thanks to all of you for reading, sending comments, and being passionate about cycling. And thanks to all of my PezColleagues for making this the best place to ride on the Web.

Happy Holidays to all, and as TV’s Frasier used to say, I wish you good mental health!

Bruce Hendler – ToolBox Contributor (USA)

Happy holidays to all and thanks so much for reading our Toolbox articles throughout the year. The Holidays are still a special time for our family and friends. Nothing special planned this year other than riding through the foothills, eating good food (desserts:-) and of course drinking good beer and vino!

I’ve been writing for PEZ for almost 6 years now and we’ve seen both our passions grow from from “What the hell, I got nothing better to do!” I’ve enjoyed the opportunity that Pez has given me and thank Rich for the “airtime”. I love the sport of cycling. It’s still the greatest sport in the world at all levels. Best of luck to all in 2008.

Be safe!

Josh Horowitz – ToolBox Contributor (USA)

Rachael and I will be driving a couple of hours North to the town of Solvang. Solvang is styled after a European city and is considered “The Danish Capital of America”, complete with windmills and tulips. If Solvang sounds familiar it’s because many of the top Pro Tour teams such as Discovery and CSC have done their winter training camps there. It’s also the home of the famous Solvang Century. Although we’ll be there on Christmas, it’s really the day after we’ll be celebrating as it will be our two year wedding anniversary. We’ll bring the bikes of course, but mostly we’re there to get away from Los Angeles and to enjoy a few days of wine tasting and sleeping in.

Bob Cullinan – Reporter At Large (USA)
After an unforgettable year of spanning the globe in search of stories, from the Tour of California, to Liege-Bastogne-Liege, a glorious Giro d’Italia and a stained-but-still spectacular Tour de France, it’s time to sit back and enjoy the holidays with friends and family.

Vanderkitten racer Liz Hatch does her best to inspire Bob’s return to riding.

For me, that means a trip back to my Nebraska homeland for some quality time with my brother, mother and assorted peeps and relatives. And, for the record, it’s about 26 degrees and snowing in luvely Omaha. Hardly the kind of conditions you’re want for a holiday bike ride, eh?

But due to an unfortunate close encounter with a car last month, I’m off the bike for a while anyway. Ugh. So, PEZ-fans, I’ve enlisted one of Santa’s little helpers to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from San Francisco.

Happy holidays to all the PEZ-fans from semi-sunny California.Here’s to a fast, fun…and crash-free…2008.

Bob Cullinan

Veronica Andreasson – Team Bigla Pro in Italy (Swe, It)
Ciao – My plans are very simple. Go to Sweden and eat like a pig..!! ;o). Not really, but almost. Tomorrow we leave for Sweden, so right now trying to fit all Christmas presents to the family in my suitcase. Not easy work.

Veronica and her beau Gustav Larson (riding for CSC in 2008).

Then we will be in Sweden to the 26th just. Otherwise we should bring bikes and all things. Now instead we go just a few days, but have a really relaxed time with family and the closest friends. So of course we are really looking forward for this Christmas!

Then the 26 we are back on track again with training and less fat food..!! But believe it or not, I will bike together with my mum on the Christmas day the 24th. I have borrowed a friend’s winter mtb. We are celebrating the afternoon in Halmstad and Varberg to Halmstad is 78 km. So what could be better then do this on the bike and for the first time together with my mum.

God Jul everyone or like they say here Buona Natale!

Bert Roesems – Silence-Lotto Pro in Belgium (BE)

Bert’s children Siebe and Joni are good ‘n ready for St. Nick.

Bert’s father-in-law Andy sent this reply.
Nice to hear from you. At this moment it is rather cold in Belgium but, as to the weather forecast, it will be less cold in a few days. Bert returned last Tuesday from a Spanish training camp with the team which new name is ” SILENCE LOTTO” . Bert is still suffering of his crash during last VUELTA de ESPANA , but we’ll hope all will be OK when the next season starts. We will pray for it.

On Jan 2nd, he goes to Los Angeles for three weeks with the Belgian Track Team for the World Cup (Team Trial Pursuit). About our holidays, we will spend the next days together with our family at the Belgian Coast where we stay until the 1st of Jan – myself, my wife Rita, our daughter Inge, Bert and the kids Joni (9) and Siebe (6). On 2nd Jan, Bert leaves us for three weeks LA and after his return, 2 or 3 days later he goes to The Tour of Qatar.

On 25 Jan 08, me and my wife go for 1 month on holiday to Spain and we’ll be back 1 day before the”Omloop Het Volk”, the first race in Belgium. During our holiday in Spain, Inge and the kids come to visit us for one week. Meanwhile, after he came back from Qatar he goes to Denmark for World cup Track and later with the Silence Lotto- team to The Tour of Algarve in Portugal.

So, as you can see, lots of things to look forward to. Meanwhile, from all of our family, we wish you and your Team a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Kind Regards.
Andy and company.

Dario Cioni – Silence-Lotto Pro in Italy (It)

Thanks for including me in your Crew – what an honour!

For Christmas I will have a quite busy day. I will be in North Italy at my wife’s parent’s house close to Padova. Training in the morning, lunch and then car transfer back to my house where I will have dinner with my parents, and my brother and wife that come back from Spain where they live.

Christmas holidays have nothing real special for riders as you train as usual. In addition to this time of the year I really start training harder so when Christmas arrives I know the training will increase!

Ciao to everyone!
Merry Christmas

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