What's Cool In Road Cycling

Season’s Greetings From The PEZ-Crew!

We wouldn’t be PEZ without the camaraderie, and although we’re scattered across the globe, the warmth of the season makes the distance a little smaller. So today the PEZ CREW has gathered to thank readers for your support, and share a few thoughts as we close the year with family and friends.

Richard Pestes – Publisher
I’m fully immersed in that phase of life where every year passes faster than the last, which I’m still coming to terms with as our girls are now aged 7 & 3 – which apparently means every day is filled with a mix of amazing discoveries and cute stories played out against a “this one goes to eleven” background of fits of crying and laughter. And seeing as I just turned 50, how I’m going to keep this pace is anyone’s guess.

Meeting the guys for a week of riding in Italy was even better than the reason we were there in the first place.

My measuring stick for the past 12 months changes each year, and by all accounts 2012 was a great one – my family is healthy and well, and connecting with colleagues and friends to celebrate 10 year’s of PEZ with a week’s riding in Italy was more satisfying than any words could say.

My parents are in house for Christmas, and we’ll be spending much of it with our extended family. It’s a good feeling to have everyone together, and especially watch the bond both my girls have formed with their Paka & Granny, and my beautiful wife Teresa’s father (Nonno). Alessa has become the in-house dvd/ movie/ ipad / youtube expert, and last night introduced her 83 year old nonno to his very first 3D movie – Despicable Me. Having added people also makes for a lively cocktail hour too – scotch, negronis, and tequila are being well poured anytime after 5:00 here.

My girls sharing the 3D movie experience with their grandfathers – Paka & Nonno.

I’m grateful to our stellar roster of clients (many have become friends) who’ve chosen us to help support their fine brands, and I’m thankful to our loyal and PEZ-tastic readership (over 1.5 million of you logged in this year) for validating our musings and scribbles with your clicks, time, and an occasional emails.

I also want to thank the PEZ-Crew who again made me proud 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. While the rest of the bike industry seems to change jobs every few months, it means even more to me that we’ve all stayed together for so long – we are a rare group indeed.

Merry Christmas everyone – and here’s to a healthy and prosperous New Year!

Gordon Cameron – EuroBureau (Scotland)

Gord Cameron earlier this year near the top of the 2700+ meter Stelvio.

It’s been a big year for everyone at Pez, especially the Capo himself for having now steered this ship through a full ten years. That meant it was a blast meeting (most of) the Pez crew for our anniversary bash in Bormio and on Lake Garda, and the experience reaffirmed why we do this. Whether you’re a pro racer, a passionate amateur or a lapsed commuter thinking about getting back in the saddle, it’s about the hard miles and the rolling descents. It’s about the food, the chatter, the scenery, the challenge, the heat, the rain, the wind, the pain. And at the heart of it all, it is about the bike …

Happy holidays to all readers and supporters, and all the best for 2013.

Dr. Stephen Cheung – ToolBox Editor (Canada)

Bikes, cobbles, canals, brick buildings, and the Clan MacCheung on the second half of our 15 month adventure through Europe was our obvious highlight of the year. We started the year living in Belgium and living the cyclocross-mad lifestyle, then moved onto 4 months in the small town of Trikala in mainland Greece. The adventure wound up with three more months in the Netherlands. It’s pointless to try to list every highlight of our year, because there were just far too many. But biking-wise, riding in the Ardennes through the L-B-L route, the Amstel course with fellow-Pez man Leslie, and of course the Pez corporate gathering in Italy, and crashing the Tour prologue as a family will be toasted and remembered fondly for a very long time. In between, my long-dreamt-of cycling science book, Cutting-Edge Cycling, was finally published, and I even had enough left over to have my most successful CX season this fall. And if any of my bosses at Brock are reading this, I did squeeze out some real work too!

The trip really turned out better than even our highest expectations, and only left us wanting and planning for further adventures. Our family grew so much and learned so much together and from each other over the year away, and the best part was finding and making friends in all the most unexpected of places and ways. So a big thanks to Juha in Helsinki for showing me unexpectedly great riding in Helsinki, the Dutch who opened up their hearts to us last Christmas Eve at the war cemetery where my wife’s great-uncle was buried, Bart Wellens for making my boys’ and my day in Zolder, Nick for teaching us Greek in Trikala, and Ali in the Netherlands for showing us faith and grace in the midst of chaos and adversity. As we spend our Christmas back in Canada, we’ll be thankful for our friends close-by again, and especially for our new friends afar.

Ed Hood – EuroBureau (Scotland)

Ed’s long suffering family and friends preparing for another Christmas sermon on ‘le cyclisme’!

If you’re from the United Kingdom, it’s easy to pretend that it’s been a great year. Bradley Wiggins won the Tour, with Chris Froome not far behind. The London Olympics were a triumph and Wiggins was voted “BBC Sports Personality of the Year.” Fabulous.

But the fact is that this is the year when our sport was exposed as rotten to the core in the 90’s – or should that be rotten from the core? Change is overdue and things are happening – but let’s hope they’re happening for the good of the sport. Not simply to feed egos, sell books and make money.

And in 2013 let’s try to remember that the sport isn’t about forum squatting in your bedroom, Tweets, witch hunts, selective amnesia or judging who was a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ doper.

It’s about sitting roadside at a Tour time trial with your bottle of red, fresh bread, chunk of cheese and a copy of l’Equipe. It’s about getting splashed by the mud off Jeremy Powers’ Dugasts or watching a six day whirl around you as you chat to your buddies and clutch your pils. Or that rainy day which clears up and you have the best couple of hours on the bike you’ve had in ages.

Here endeth the sermon.

Jered and Matt, I miss you guys. Thank you to Martin Williamson for putting up with me on two Grand Tours and to Dave Chapman for driving all those kilometres in Flanders and Italy. I’m very lucky to have you both in my life. And to Marlene for her patience, understanding and kindness. To Chris Selden for his help in turning floods of words and pictures into nice looking articles – and of course, to Richard Pestes for letting me loose on the roads of Europe, again.

But most of all, to our readers, without you, there’s no point to it all. I hope that all of my friends, colleagues and readers have a great Xmas and that 2013 is all they want it to be.

Corey Fox – EuroBureau (Italy)

Matt Conn and Corey ‘Cheapoh’ Fox, our two expats in Italy lead the way into Verona during PEZ’s 10 year celebrations.

Seasons Greetings and PezWishes for 2013!

It’s been a pretty good year Pez-wise. Highlights include increasing my output of articles to never-seen-before (and never-to-be-seen-again) levels and more importantly, the team get together at Lake Garda to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. The cast and crew of this journal are a special bunch, each with unique “sensibilities” that are clearly reflected in their writings. If you read our stuff, you know us – the Garda trip merely matched faces to personalities (though a couple were missing). Next year promises some exciting cycling fodder that awaits our reporting thanks to all of the nutcases that run the sport, in addition to its participants and the manufacturers that supply them. Best Wishes and Happy New Year!

Darrell Parks – Photographer (North America)

Happy Holidays to all. It seems like 2012 has flown by for me and I’m still playing catch up. It was a whirlwind year that began with my volunteer work for the Wounded Warrior Project way back in January. Then PEZ once again enabled me to provide you with images of some amazing racing from the Tour of the Battenkill to the Thompson Bucks County Classic. I hope everyone is enjoying my Photog’s view stories as much as I enjoy providing a little insight into the creation of the images.

The USA Pro Challenge once again proved to be my favorite race to shoot. The Colorado crowds were as spectacular as the states majestic mountains. This year my race coverage had its share of ups and downs. I was actually run over and knocked down when a crash occurred on the finish line of the women’s Air Force Classic. And then there was the surprise of National Cross Champ Jeremy Powers showing up to race at one of our local Cyclo Cross venues.

And speaking of cross, a few weeks ago I had a blast as I raced my first ever Cross race and managed to survive. I’m also looking forward to bringing you PEZ coverage of the Cross Worlds from the good old US of A next February! Hopefully our boys can bring home a few medals with a home turf advantage.

My best memories of 2012 have nothing to do with cycling though. This Summer I spent a week in Hawaii with my own Daily Distraction as my wife and I celebrated our 25th anniversary. I wouldn’t be able to travel to all these races without her back home taking care of our 3 wonderful children and our mini pot belly pig! Thanks again Deb!

Here’s to some great rides in 2013 and hope to see you at the races!

Alessandro Federico – EuroBureau (Italy)

And another Christmas is coming! I think this is the 8th Pez greeting I’ve sent to headquarters in my life that means I’m becoming old. The Federico’s family will enjoy a traditional Christmas on the Adriatic coast in Italy with a nice warm weather expected for the next two days. Fish dinner tonight (and I will be busy on the grill with the eel) and a gorgeous Italian / Russian lunch tomorrow. By the way, the hot dish will be what we call in Italy ‘Russian Salad’, which in Russia is called ‘French salad’. How cool is that? Anyway, little Mario is very excited to have the grandma Graziella at home, playing with him with new toys. Diana, who’s growing very fast is more focused on what to do on next 31st December. Me and my wife Natalia simply will enjoy the luck to stay all together all day long!

Merry Christmas to all Pez readers and anyone who loves reading about our stories and our dreams!

Alastair Hamilton – EuroBureau (Spain)

Here in my part of Spain the weather doesn’t remind me much of my childhood Christmases in Scotland. I remember receiving a bike when I was about 9 years old and needing to ride it on Christmas morning, in the snow, yes I fell off and never took up cyclo-cross. Today (Christmas Eve) its 27єC and not a cloud in the sky, preparations are underway for the big feed tonight and the smells are wafting across from the village already. If the Mediterranean was short of seafood before, it must be empty now, as prawns and squid etc. are being readied for the first courses to hit the tables. The langoustines did look nice in the market and they are also from Scotland and still alive, so they must have flown in this morning. I spotted a RadioShack rider earlier today, but most teams have gone for the next week or so, to return in January. I’ve already had invites to team presentations for Argos-Shimano and RadioShack, both locally, and from Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, Vacansoliel-DCM and BMC who will all be here in the New Year for more training, so it’s all go.

Merry Christmas to everyone, cycling has turned a big corner in 2012 and next season will be a cracker! Thanks for reading and all the best from Espaсa.

Chris Selden – Assitant Editor (France)

Merry Christmas to all or ‘Joyeaux Noel’ as they say here in France as once again I spend a cold Christmas in Europe far, far from my native Australia and Christmas BBQs on the beach……

2012 was a big year for the Seldo household with plenty of changes with a new house, new region in France and also on a career level with me stepping up for Pez from roving reporter to Assistant Editor and all that goes with it.

Instead of just contributing a dozen articles per year I’m proud to now say that I have a real part in everything that goes on the site on a daily basis. Through this I’ve been lucky enough to correspond with not just all our great contributors from around the world but also many of you, the fans for whom we put this site together. Hearing from you that you loved an article or are appreciative of a certain PeloPic is always a true pleasure.

As the holiday period rolls into full swing and your off-season training is hopefully well under way, I wish you all, no matter where you are a great holiday break. Make sure you come back more motivated than ever to get out there and ride, race or just follow the beautiful sport that is cycling. See you on the bike!


Charles Manantan – Technical Editor (USA)

What a nutball year 2012…

There’s so much wrong with our sport that speaking about it this year is almost pointless. I’m more thankful than ever that I get to be the parts geek and just stick to loving bikes and riding…

The one thing that’s kept this circus in perspective has been my family and the host of friends, in and out of the industry.

Happy Holidays everyone and let’s hope that 2013 will be a year for finding heros again.

Leslie Reissner – Literary Editor (Germany)

It is hard to believe that another year has gone by so swiftly and much of it was so terrific that I wanted things to slow down a bit (well, except for my own speed on the bike of course). After a difficult start to the year for personal reasons, things really picked up. My introduction to the Amstel Gold cyclosportif was perhaps not ideal as I had to ride the last 50 kms of my 150 km long course in pouring, ice-cold rain, but I liked riding in Limburg and I went back again to ride the same course a month later with friends (including PEZ’s own Dr. Stephen Cheung aka Rodriguez), and then rode the World’s Time Trial course the next day. This was followed by a third trip to Limburg (which is only 90 minutes away from where I live) to ride the UCI World Championship cyclosportif with 8,000 Dutch people but I am getting far ahead of myself.

The highlight might have been my amazing Two-Trips-to-Verona-in-One-Month when I rode the Giro Team Time Trial Course and then did it the following day in an Astana team car during the race; two weeks later I enjoyed another fabulous week in Italy with the Pez crew in two marvellous bike hotels in two different locations, with my third time riding the Stelvio included. The Pez guys are a great bunch: has there ever been so much combined literary and athletic talent in one spot in history? Even though most of us had never met before in person, the male bonding thing was really successful immediately and I look forward to the next Pez-on-the-road Adventure.

Other memorable bike trips included a week in Corsica and another in Switzerland, as well as the ride through the middle of Cologne behind a police escort to mark Teddy Richter Day. Another trip that was also memorable but for the entirely wrong reasons was my attempt to ride the ancient Roman boundary in Germany, the Limes, in October when I learned that a bike path that is promoted is not necessarily a bike path that you can actually ride, no matter how bad your expletives are or how often you use them.
As always, it has been a pleasure for me to provide book and DVD reviews for the faithful readers of PEZ. It is my goal to present to you the kind of material I would like everyone interested in our beautiful sport to read or watch. And it is a beautiful sport, no matter how depressing the revelations from the pro scene might be.

I wish all you readers and contributors the best for the holidays. For me many of my cycling dreams came true in 2012 and I hope that your dreams, whether in sport or relationships or career, will also see realization in the year ahead.

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