Author Archive

On women’s cycling and the Hour record

October 31, 2014 2 comments

Sometimes I drink a glass or two of wine and argue on twitter all night.  I KNOW, you’d never have guessed, but last night I waded into talking about the Hour record.  I’m clearly in a huge minority in not finding the Hour compelling viewing, or even interesting.  I guess it’s because of Chris Boardman and Graeme Obree , and the fact when I think of the Hour, I think of capricious rule changes and people achieving it and then having it wiped out, or people achieving it and being done for doping, and it’s bad enough when I can’t remember who won the Tour de France when, because of doping bans and such, but when records are set and then struck off because “we don’t like that position”, I just can’t get excited.  Plus, when it comes to track racing, my least favourite disciplines are the Individual Pursuit and kilo/500m qualifying rounds, that’s just my taste.

BUT I have found out I’m in a minority here – people who love the Hour LOVE it. Apparently the viewing figures are phenomenal and there’s guaranteed tv coverage forever for it (I doubt that last one, but journos and tv folk keep telling me it’s true, so…).  And I need to stress, if any rider wants to go for it, absolutely they should – if they want to put in the training, get the velodrome paid for etc, do it.  But what really rubs me up the way is guys (and it’s always guys) going on about “why aren’t women racing the Hour?”, “women should race the Hour”, and I want to talk about that in more than 140 characters.

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Thoughts on the 2014/15 transfer season (so far!) – part 2, the rise of super-teams

October 30, 2014 Leave a comment

Earlier this week I wrote about how teams have handled their (UCI-level road cycling) transfer announcements, and now I want to look at what it might mean for the peloton in 2015.  As before, this comes with a huge caveat that we don’t know what all the teams look like yet, it’s a snapshot of where we are right now, at the end of October 2014 – here’s the big transfer table (I’ll be updating it throughout November with any more news we see, so if you’re looking at this later in the month and thinking my questions are obviously answered, that’s why)

How the peloton will change in 2015 – more “super-teams”

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Women’s sports and prize money

October 28, 2014 2 comments

A few short links for you today, that are kind of related.

1.  If you’re in the UK, you might have seen a lot of things on various BBC sites on the different between prize money for women and men in the same sports.  That’s partly to do with this BBC report, which does a sport-by-sport comparison (including the Para-sports, which really suffer here) – and there’s an article about it too on the BBC site.

2.  One of the places this has been talked about is on BBC Radio 4 programme Woman’s Hour, where superstar Emma Pooley was discussing the issues.  If you missed it, listen here (if it’s restricted, you might need something like Hola set to the UK)

3.  Helen Wyman‘s latest blog on Cyclingnews talks about the work she’s been doing on prize money within cyclocross, and how she worked with Twenty20 Cycles to get equal prize money for the women at Saturday’s Koppenbergcross.  Helen also talked to me recently about how since men’s cyclocross in Belgium is pretty much at saturation point, so women’s cycling is the obvious way to bring in more audience – that’s in part 1 of my interview with her, in part 2 she talks more about her work with the UCI.

Podcast Special Feature Episode 47 – Sarah Interviews Sarah Fader and Amber Pierce on the USA cycling scene

October 28, 2014 Leave a comment

This year I started to watch the USA Criterium series, which was made so easy by USA Cycling mandating that if races want to be included in the series, they have to get the races streamed live on the USA Crits youtube (superb move! I’d love to see other Federations follow that!).  It’s high octane racing, with PREEEEEEEEEEM laps for tons of cash every 5 laps or so, and it intrigued me.  So I had to take the chance to talk to Sarah Fader and Amber Pierce, to find out more.

Sarah Fader is a star of the USA Crit circuit, who’s also the co-founder and manager of the Pepper Palace team.  For 2015 she’s hoping to take the team to UCI level, and expand into the USA National Racing Calendar and North American UCI-ranked races, and Amber’s one of the riders joining the team.  They told me about the differences between the series, how Sarah deals with both managing and riding on the team, and the plans for stepping up, the exciting developments on the USA cycling circuit for 2015 and much more. (41:32 MIN / 39.88 MB)

To stream the Pepperiest Palaciousest interview the internet has ever seen (or heard), click here (right-click, save-as to download).

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If you want to follow Sarah Fader and Pepper Palace, there’s a team website, instagram, facebook page, and twitter.  Amber is on twitter, and you can follow her latest project, the Network for Advancing Athletes, on their website and twitter – if you want to know more about that, check out my recent interview with her about the project.

The USA Crits series has a website, great twitter, and of course the YouTube account, and if you’d like to get a taste of the action, try the Chris Thater Memorial race, which Sarah won – full race, and highlights video – and Sarah also recommends watching the Athens Twilight Crit - full race coverage and highlights:

and the Novant Health (Presbyterian) Invitational (those links will take you to Youtube videos, which include the women’s, elite men and various other races that happen on the same day).

The National Racing Calendar information is on USA Cycling’s site.  And all the information about the Richmond 2015 Road Cycling World Championships is on their website, and follow their twitter too.

Thoughts on the 2014/15 transfer season (so far!) – part 1, announcements

October 27, 2014 3 comments

I write a lot on Podium Café, and they have a system where comments on an article close after a month, so I’m just about just put up my third in the series of “Women’s Cycling Transfers (and gossip!)” articles UPDATE! here’s the latest one.  I update the articles with all the confirmed UCI-team transfer news, and all throughout the month, we share gossip, speculation, links and conversation in the comments.  It’s a really nice crowd-sourced information-sharing series, and putting up a new article always gets me thinking – so I wanted to expand on some thoughts about the transfer season so far.  Of course, everything can, and probably will, change very fast – think of these as a snapshot of different thoughts right now!  Part 1 is about how announcements have been made (or not made) – I’ll talk more about the implications later in the week.

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Podcast special episode 46 – Helen Wyman interview part 2

October 21, 2014 2 comments

When I sat down to talk to European Cyclocross Champion Helen Wyman, our mutual love of talking meant the interview went on for longer than they were expecting – so it was divided into two parts.  Part 1 is over here, and now you can listen to Part 2, where Helen describes cyclocross courses, tells you what to watch if you have limited time (just book November out in your diary), talks about racing road at the Friends Life Women’s Tour, and talks prize money, change, and what fans can do to help CX.  It includes discussion of Helen’s rôle in getting equal prize money for the Koppenbergcross from the USA, and working with the UCI on the Cyclocross Commission….  and how Kona, and cyclocross, are like that picture-perfect family. (58:03 MIN / 55.73 MB)

To stream the greatest interview of the week/weeks/fortnight/part2, click here (right-click, save-as to download).

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Over the weekend, Helen came second in the first CX World Cup of the season, Valkenburg:

and if you want to watch the full replay of the entire race, it’s here, on the UCI youtube.


Follow Helen on her website and excellent twitter, where she’ll probably answer any question you have – and make sure you check out her page on the Kona website. Koppenbergcross equal prize money was provided by USA-East Coast bike shop Twenty20 Cycling – if you need a bike (a Kona, surely!) and are nearby, buy from them!

For all the details of how to follow the European Cyclocross season, here’s Sarah’s guide to following, and watching, European women’s cyclocross.

Gift Guide 4: Recommendations from twitter

October 19, 2014 1 comment

I’ve been compiling my kind-of-annual lists of things I really wish I had the money to buy myself present ideas for fans of cycling, and women (and men!) who bike, and this is my favourite part – recommendations from the twitterati, because you all have such great taste, and leave me wishing I had more money.  As always, I get no benefit in sharing these – they’re bike-related gift ideas that I hope you like too.

For some reason there’s a ton of art-related things in here (possible because Part 2 of the 2014 gift guide was arty) – but while there’s more than gorgeous prints here, I’m going to start there.

SaraEva showed me this lovely Edinburgh Old Town bike print by David Fleck, and that sent me down a rabbit-hole, because it’s for sale on Edinburgh’s Red Door Gallery website, and wow they have some beautiful things, including a whole Two Wheels section full of bike-related goodies (I love the bike bobble hats), but what really caught my eye was this print of the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Edinburgh.

It’s by Tommy Perman, there’s only one on the site, and it’s not cheap at £100, but there’s something about the curve of the sprint-line that catches in my throat, and makes me want it on my wall.  Ah well, hope whoever buys it loves it!

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