Three happy films (& links) for February: Bike science fiction, Lee Craigie and WorldTour

If you, like me, live in the UK, you’ll know that February can be a hard month – so often grey, dreary, dreich, and feeling like it will never end.  Cyclocross is over, and the Spring Classics are yet to begin.  But there are also so many positives too – sunny days feel so much better, for their rarity, and days are getting noticeably longer; the first Spring flowers are out; and in the women’s cycling world, we get tons of great film-ettes that remind us that the winter is nearly over.

I’ve seen three that I love this week – and they include a book giveaway too, because I’m sharing the joy and want to give two lucky readers a nice gift!

1. Lee Craigie’s ‘Escape’ film

You probably already know I’m a huge fan of the Adventure Syndicate, a group of women who share their bike-based adventures to inspire and encourage others to do more.  One of the Founders, Lee Craigie, has made a little film for UK charity Sustrans, sharing her love of cycling as she rides the Caledonia Way.

It’s a gorgeous little film, combining a love of bike riding with gorgeous scenery, and Craigie’s soft Scottish accent.  It’s uplifting, inspiring and happy, and you all should watch it!

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Watch and follow the 2017 Cali Track World Cup

17th-19th February 2017

The third round of the 2016-7 Tissot Track World Cup is in Cali, Colombia – we can follow the action live, and even watch some of it.

The UCI will have a livestream on Sunday 19th February that will be a mix of live racing, and highlights of the previous days’ – I think it will start at 15:30 COT (3:30pm USA EDT; 8:30pm UK GMT; European 21:30 CET; 7:30 Monday AEST).  Head to the UCI YouTube or the UCI’s website for that, and for any highlights clips from the racing that might go up before then.

(The stream may be geo-restricted in some countries, because it’ll be shown on TV – here’s the UCI broadcast guide, showing how to watch on TV live in Norway, Singapore and South Africa, and on a delay in France, USA and on European Eurosport.  If it’s blocked in your country, try watching with a VPN set to the UK – here’s inrng’s guide to what VPNs are)

But what about following the racing before that stream?  I have some top tips!

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Vote for (and buy!) your favourite 2017 Women’s Cycling kits – the WorldTour edition

It’s that time of year again, when we’re waiting for the Spring Classics to start – and as is now traditional, I’m here to show you who’s wearing what kit, so it’s easier for you to work out who’s who when you’re watching all the live racing this year, and to give you the chance to vote for your favourites.  I’ll also include links to any team shops, so you can buy jerseys, caps and much more.

I’m starting with kits from the teams that get automatic invitations to the 2017 UCI Women’s WorldTour stage races – but if you want to nominate other women’s road team kits, tell me in the comments or on twitter, and I’ll put up a “best of the rest” vote next week.

Once you’ve had a look at the kits, don’t forget to VOTE FOR YOUR FAVOURITE at the bottom of the page!  The voting will close on Monday 20th February 2017.

The previous year’s kit posts are on Podium Café for 2014 and 2015, and here for last year’s votes for the WorldTour and the ‘Best of the Rest‘ – and you can buy the 2016 kits through the links for the WorldTour teams, and for the USA domestic squads.

All photos are from the team websites, unless otherwise stated – click through them for the sources and credits.

Alé Cipollinichloe-hosking

The kit has kept the same #YellowFlourance colour scheme that make them the easiest squad to pick out of the peloton, but the bubbles on the jersey have been swapped for squares, and the shorts are now black.

There are photos of the 2017 team presentation on the Alé Cipollini website, and on Cyclingnews, if you want to see more – and of course, you can watch Chloe Hosking win stage 3 of the 2017 Santos Women’s Tour, although she’s wearing the Sprint jersey, not the Alé kit, because she was doing so well.

Usually a variation of the kit, without all the sponsors etc, is for sale on the Alé Cycling site – it’s not up on the website yet, but if you like it, check back later in the year.   Last year’s jersey was based on Alé’s ‘bubbles’ design, which is still for sale in the women’s winter jersey and jacket, and men’s winter jersey and jacket.

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Astana

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Three women’s cycling crowdfunders

One of the things that’s both frustrating and inspiring is pro athletes having to crowdfund to compete in their sport.  Frustrating, for obvious reasons, but inspiring because the fan community really helps them.  There are three very different ones running fro British women cyclists right now – Para-cycling, MTB and road racing, and here’s how you can help.

Hannah Dines’ Crowdfunder for a new racing trike

Hannah Dines is a Scottish Para-cyclist, who competed in the 2016 Paralympics in the tricycle road races.  She’s having a hard time right now – she recently lost her UK Sport funding, and on top of that, has had her racing trike destroyed, when her car was stolen and set on fire, with the trike inside it. As you can imagine, these both put a large dent in her goal of medaling at the 2010 Paralympics.

Her insurance won’t cover the cost of a new trike, so she’s raising the money herself – and anything she raises over her goal of £7,454 will be donated to the Neil’s Wheels bike shop, so that other disabled people can get their own specialised sports equipment.  The

Read more about her crowdfunder, and please do donate, if you can.  Follow Hannah on twitter, find out more about her in this articles by the Herald, read her blog about why ride a trike, and in this video about Rio, which also was crowd-funded, by handcyclist Karen Darke:

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Bex Baraona’s raffle to fund her racing the 2017 Enduro World Series

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Sarah interviews…. Ellen Noble on her amazing cyclocross season

Podcast interview logoThe 2016/17 cyclocross season has been an amazing one for Ellen Noble, the 21-year-old American rider who not only won the U23 Cyclocross World Cup series (and came 6th overall in the elite women’s series), but finished the season coming second in the U23 Cyclocross World Championships, with some incredible descending skills.

She tells me all about how it’s been, what’s helped her get here, and where she wants to go next, with a lot more – including how she felt when the USA cycling media said there was no chance of an American getting onto the podium at the U23 Worlds!  Listen to our interview here:

 

 

You can find out more about Ellen on her website, and follow her adventures on her twitter, her instagram and her facebook.  Ellen’s teams are Aspire Racing in cyclocross, and she’ll race the 2017 road season with Colavita Bianchi.

Watch the videos of the women’s races at the 2017 Cyclocross World Championships – both the U23 and elite races are some of the best you’ll ever see!

Big thanks to my wonderful Patreon supporters, who fund me to do this kind of thing.

Let’s play a cycling game! Three for 2017

February is an important month for the cycling fan, with the end of the cylocross season, the start of the Classics… and the launch of all the Virtual Directeur Sportif games.  I’ve written about my love for DS games before, so before I tell you about the 2017 versions of the Podium Café FSA DS game, and ChicaBike, this is why I love them so much:

If you’ve followed the sport for a long time, they’re the perfect opportunity to show off your skills.  We’ve all been armchair tacticians, and have views on who’d be the best rider for which race, and this gives you a chance to prove it!  Or not, and then sob all season as your favourite rider makes mistake after mistake…

But if you’re not already a die-hard women’s cycling fan, they’re a fantastic way to get to know the sport.  You don’t have to have a team you can spend hours over – some people pick their FSA VDS team purely on nationality, all the Aussies, or all the Canadians, eg, and one team that did especially well one year was all riders whose names began with E (with Emma Johansson and Evie Stevens, that was fantastic!).  There’s always a huge helping of luck involved, too.  Years ago I played a Tour de France game, and as well as my own lovingly-picked team, ran a “Team Random” that was auto-generated by the site, and it was depressing how well that did – and the person who picked the “wrong Feillu” by accident ended up winning a TdF game stage!

DS Games are such an excellent way to get to know more about riders’ skills – even if you don’t know that much when you choose your team, you’ll definitely learn.  And with so much live women’s racing being shown and streamed in 2017, you can cheer them on in real time.  And most importantly… there will always, always be someone who does worse than you in the game, and hundreds of players, so you don’t need to worry about people laughing and pointing.

So, how do you play?

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Watch the last cyclocross race of the 2016/7 season – Middelkerke NoordZeeCross

Saturday 11th February

It’s been a fantastic cyclocross season, not least because every major women’s race has been shown live, as well as a ton of minor ones – but all good things must come to an end, and this weekend it’s the last big race of the season, and the final round of the 2016/7 Hansgrohe SuperPrestige – the NoordZeeCross at Middelkerke.

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