Yawn... winter. In the season of cycling, anyway. It's not technically winter here (though it might as well be), and for one pretty good slice of our audience (g'day y'all!) it's not even slightly winter. But if winter is the incubation period for the Earth's annual cycle of rebirth, then for the cycling season that's where we are. In fact, winter is well underway, even about to wind down. It won't be long now before we see the first little shoots of Cycling Spring, in the form of team training "camps" intermingled with flashy media launches. The groundhog might as well start looking for his shadow now, because there's scarcely more than six weeks til the Australian and New Zealand national championships. And there's only another four weeks from that -- February 1 -- til we launch the 2015 FSA Directeur Sportif. There's lots to do...
- First order of business is that I have redone our Facebook page. What started as a "hey, I wonder where that thing got to...?" notion turned into a project, followed by an idea. Facebook is an ideal platform for posting smaller tidbits of info that I can't work into a full-on blog post. Sharing Cosmo Catalano's The Week in Bike videos or something odd from Sporza. So look for our facebook page to be a complement to the site in some respects, covering some stuff that might not have a presence here. Thus, feel free to stop by, like the page, and pass it on to whomever you think would appreciate such a thing.
- Which led to another idea... are people out there looking to get more involved in posting here? I feel like this last year we've gone more toward longer pieces with less frequency, for good reasons, but it's always good to have more people posting, and whether that's longer stuff or maybe some of the quick little news notes that I haven't been able to keep up with but might be good for discussion (we do have another season of kit rollouts coming...) -- if any of this interests you, please email me at chris[at]podiumcafe[d0t]com.
- Jens kicked off the Offseason Capsule season with his look at BMC, and that should lead to our usual semi-wide-ranging look at teams, both where they were and where they're headed. We are divying up the topics now (and jump in if you want to take some on). New this year: requests! Just name a team, any team, and Jens will write a capsule on them. [Davide Rebellin rides for CCC Polsat. In case you were wondering.]
- The actual team launches aren't generally due to start until next month, but MTN Qhubeka kicks off next week at a winery in South Africa. Of course, the team's mission is partly to spread the sport around the continent, which is cool, and offers the Southern Hemisphere summer weather to boot. [Not that that will help them get ready for the classics, but it's a pleasant start.] On top of all that, if you live near Cape Town, the team is inviting fans to come ride with them on November 29.
- Personally I consider these team gatherings as a bit of a sore spot. No team has ever held a high-level launch in the Seattle area, and frankly if they did I'm sure I'd be on some work trip and miss it anyway. Which is a shame, because while riders are friendly and reasonably open to the media, generally speaking, there is no substitute for sucking on their wheel and pretending to be part of the club for a half hour or however long they tow around the tourists before using the excuse of needing to do an actual ride. You can't replicate that kind of comraderie over the phone. This much I have learned.