Oh, hello 2014 road season. Kind of snuck up on me, didn't you?
Winter is far less serene here behind the curtain of the World's Greatest Podium-Themed English-Language Top-Level European Cycling Fan Website than it may appear. Yes, the words don't spill out on the page as quickly or as often, because basking in the apocalyptic awesomeness of cyclocross is as good a way to wile away the hours as any this time of year. But preparations are happening. Ursula is putting things in test tubes and shouting not to worry about the orange-colored steam coming out the window of his barn. Jens is sharpening his sharpening tools. Douglas is doing calisthenics while reciting the names of the top 30 French climbing specialists. It's about to happen.
Here's a quick little primer on some items of note.
- Desk-swapping! Jens and I have traded places, with he taking over the Spain Desk and me moving back to the Flanders Desk. Douglas is doing another rotation at the USA and France Desks, largely because of logistics and his hatred of bumpy roads. I think he's gotten spoiled in Indiana. Anyway, if I seem a bit more obsessed than usual about the Cobbles, it's not a syndrome... it's my job.
- N.b., these geographic distinctions are what Gavia and I used to call our Treaty of Tordesillas approach to figuring out who's going to write about what, so we didn't step on each other's toes. Same thing here. But! This is in no way an exclusive arrangement! This site thrives on you guys writing too, whenever you feel so inspired. If you have something you want to write, I'd start by saying there are no restrictions whatsoever, but if your subject is something you think others might be writing about (e.g. a race preview on the eve of a race) then check in with me for northern stuff, Jens for southern Europe (and by extension Colombia) and Douglas for what's in between. If I could have one hope for the site fulfilled in 2014, it'd be a killer year for you guys writing. More voices = better!
- Speaking of race previews, look for them to get slimmed down this year. I previewed the Santos Tour Down Under earlier and that's a format we're tinkering with. Quick and dirty, at least for races which don't change much each year. Where warranted, e.g. races that have changed (Flanders) or races that constantly change (grand tours), you can expect the usual detailed treatment. But my one rule for all writers is, write about what's interesting, inspiring or fun! And repeating last year's course assessment at the Scheldeprijs (which repeated 2012's assessment, and so on) is none of those things. Feedback would be welcomed here: what do you rely on previews for nowadays? Me, conversation and rider updates, mostly. And a confirmation that nothing much has changed.
- Announcing the FSA Directeur Sportif for 2014! Yep, that's something we will be doing soon. I've heard from several people looking for their account at the current location, and the answer is, it's not ready yet. We will raise the curtain at the usual time -- February 1 is always our target, so something between January 31 and Feb 3 is about right. Until the big announcement goes up, don't expect anything to happen when you try to log in.
- I am very excited to have FSA as our sponsor for 2014 again! Check out their wide and high-quality array of components at the Fullspeedahead.com site or their companion high-performance line of Vision products. Want to ride Peter Sagan's wheels? Go here. They're the bomb. More on this later.
- Oh, and CX season isn't quite over yet, is it? No, it is not.
Thanks to all of you guys for continuing to make this place such a hoot. This should be another great year, and I know all the Editors are fired up. Let's do this...