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Kinda Sorta Signing Off... Ish

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I am stepping down as Editor, though not totally going away

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Chris Fontecchio for the Podium Cafe

The time has come for me to make good on my threat promise to Conor and Andrew, buried in an obscure notes column last winter, that I will be retiring as Editor of the Podium Cafe as of December 31. Like so many eras, this one will go out not with a bang but a whimper, as I’ll be on a plane and most of you will be offline. And then you’ll come back on line and before long see a story by me, probably about something to do with the Tour of Flanders. But I will no longer be in a position of authority here.

The bottom line is that I just don’t have as much to say about cycling anymore, or enough time to say it. I’ve been trying to think of a way to express the feeling, and the best I can come up with is from Forrest Gump, a ridiculous and annoying movie as Oscar winners go. In the film is the lead character’s friend Bubba, who spends several ridiculous and annoying minutes talking about shrimp recipes, but then one day he gets to the end of his list and doesn’t have any more shrimp recipes to discuss. That’s kind of how I feel when I try to write now. After 13 years of trying to not only discuss all the topics of the day from the sport of cycling but to try to make them interesting, I feel like I am out of ways to do that and prone to repeating myself. I wrote what was in me to write, even a whole book’s worth, only to learn that when a person is completely free to express themselves and takes full advantage of it, they will almost certainly run out of expressions at some point.

That’s the “me” piece. I do still feel excited to talk about the Cobbled Classics (shocking), and the Giro d’Italia, so you can look for me to be writing in March through May. Elsewhere along the way I will undoubtedly get inspired on occasion, or agree to help out the Editors in crunch times. I’ll just be a contributor. But I’m definitely not wandering off into the sunset or putting my laptop on a flaming raft of cedar boughs and pushing it out to sea.

The good news (or further good news, depending on how you view the above) is that my moving aside is an opportunity for fresh voices to take over. Conor and Andrew bring a better-polished, sharper perspective on the sport than I can right now, and not that they don’t remember the Lance or LeMond days (maybe?) but I think getting younger and more in touch is something every sports media entity needs. The thing about sports is, they generally keep churning along, forever, and the people of interest never truly age. Specific riders do, of course, but are then replaced by new ones who start the mini-cycle over again. In cycling we have guys on the Flanders podium who were born in the mid-90s. Who were seven years old when Boonen laid his first smackdown on the cobbles of France. These guys aren’t just younger but different from their predecessors, something maybe younger people will be better at discovering and appreciating. Every sports medium should strive to get younger, or at least arrest the aging process. I am pretty sure Conor and Andrew might move the needle some on that score, and the same goes for the rest of our ever-evolving community, so it’s entirely appropriate that I pass the baton to them and others here.

Boonen and PdC
It was all downhill from this moment anyway.

Of course, it’s not just me. The Podium Cafe has seen influential voices come and go over the years, people who were here every day and now just pop by once in a while. In their place new voices are showing up, and you’re just as likely as you ever were to catch an enlightened or entertaining point in a race thread. For example, here’s a photo from just a few years ago, the 2015 World Championships in Richmond. Nearly all of the people involved have gone on to other phases of life.

PDC in RVA

Where Are They Now? The PdCinRVA Crowd

  1. My Friend Adam: Last seen filing an injunction against public use of his image on any SBNation platform properties.
  2. Crashdan: Whereabouts largely unknown, though we have a short list of Bavarian-themed restaurants, including several in Bavaria, that would be worth checking.
  3. Tshawytcha: Recently photographed re-wrapping the bars of his beater bike after his wife complained that the tape “smelled like three-day-old salmon.”
  4. Me: Last seen writing this post. Although shortly before that I was spotted writing a different post about Mathieu van der Poel’s incredible future. At least I’m consistent.
  5. Ant1: Shortly after this photo was taken, he executed several successful beer handups to team cars as well as riders off the back. Of a world championship road race. Thanks to the resulting celebrity, he has since been elected to a position of senior leadership in every country he has visited. I think he might be Sultan of Bhutan at the moment.
  6. Megabeth: Recently spotted organizing and then crushing a century in wintry conditions. Some say her organizing the suffering of others is what fueled her performance, but whatever, you don’t get “mega” added to your name by being ordinary. If she went for a nice little club ride in the rain, we’d still just call her Regularbeth. Anyway, look for her in February when we do an All-Intoxicated FSA DS Team Selection Show.
  7. Drew: Last seen escaping from the Ronse Hospital after the nurses warned him about several strange cycling doctors looking for patients for surgical experiments. Jimbo kept insisting we smother him with his pillow for his own good, but in the end cooler heads prevailed and Chief Jens threw a chair through the window for Drew to escape. Was eventually returned to his parents for safe keeping.
  8. Jens: Spotted in the Lazio countryside looking for houses to rent for the upcoming PdC Roma Maxima Reunion. He also has engaged a few American lawyers in his effort to gain temporary custody over Drew for the event.
  9. French Kheldar: We always thought it was one person but by the time this photo was taken there were two of them. Then they multiplied and multiplied until they had colonized some remote areas in Quebec. Finally, they were rounded up and sent to a NASA to be returned to their original planet, Multilingual Kheldar.
  10. JSallee: Hm, not sure, he was here just a moment ago. Definitely had a beer in his hand.

So you see, these experiences we have, they are ephemeral, they are moments in time which, as sublime as they may be, get replaced by other moments in time, with other people involved, different energies, colors, times, and available pirate streams. The universe is forever evolving in strange and beautiful ways. Each day the mystery deepens. And then Quick Step win in a solo break.

OK, that’s all for now. It’s been a tremendous joy for me to have started this site, and worked it up to the point where others could join in, from which point it has become... what it has become. We can reminisce about all the old days (in the comments, to spare as many people as possible), or we can just let today be over and tomorrow begin. I’m sure I will always want to lend my voice to the chorus here, but am now proud and satisfied to turn over the day to day management of affairs to Conor and Andrew. Thanks everyone! See you in about 10 minutes when I do a kit update. XO cdf