Welcome to the Offseason!

Susie Hartigan

Well, it's done now. Cycling is approaching soccer as yet another European sport dedicated to destroying the notion of an offseason, but I think there is no real rational argument that road cycling is still happening right now. Not in the northern hemisphere anyway. It's winter. Or close enough.

We have to use that word now to describe late October and onward to the new year, right? The connotations of "fall" and "spring" say we should be getting up early on Saturdays and Sundays, dialing up Sporza or NBC or legit subscriptions or VPNs to tune in to wherever a bike race is happening. "Summer" is basically the Tour de France. The only way for a cycling fan to have a "winter" is to toss out the planetary calendar and post a note somewhere that says "Monday, October 21 - Friday, January 18: No bike races." And even that demarcation is only for those still holding steady against the inevitable invasion of Cyclocross. Let's just call this Cycling Winter.

Me, I'll be busy. Cross is part of my life now, so even this note is only directed at the holdouts, not the entire Cafe. With mostly just one or two races a week to track, the Cycling Winter will be a slower pace, including one long block of vacation, which is about as poorly timed as my other vacations, which is to say, very poorly. One activity which knows no rest is the FSA Directeur Sportif, which will be undergoing some changes on the technical side (finalizing the site location, which kinda already happened), and as always undergoing plenty of tinkering to the game itself. I can assure you Ursula's emails to me have become longer and begun using ALL CAPS as we approached the end of this year's game, which is the traditional kickoff day for Ursula's own version of Cycling Winter, consumed by spreadsheets, calculators, test tubes, beakers, and dog-eared old copies of Miroir du Cyclisme. Let's just say we will be posting very soon on two topics -- a roundup of the very exciting conclusion to this year's action, and the beginning of some conversation about what to do for next season.

Also, look for our annual votes for Rider of the Year, Race Day of the Year, and perhaps a new third category that I haven't thought of yet. Then, of course, it's time to start looking at each of the World Tour teams, assessing their just-concluded campaign and forecasting what comes next for them. If you've thought about writing an Offseason Capsule, use the comments to register your interest and we'll start handing out assignments.

And then, before you know it, the TDU is happening.

I want to thank everyone in the community for their contributions to another excellent year. There are, as usual, so many different voices writing and commenting that I'd be asking for trouble trying to name them all; suffice to say that you know who you are. We do have a circle of editors, people who are known to be interested in yet another gift of their time to keep things moving here, for which I am endlessly grateful. But we also rely on new voices, occasional voices, people on the street, and de-lurkers to join the fray and keep the conversation as lively as ever, even after our eighth year at this.

And finally, I want to pass on my thanks to Jens and Douglas, for their constant stream of insight and organizational work all year long. By community blogging standards this was a pretty smooth year, and a great deal of fun to boot. I couldn't ask for a better team. Cheers!

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