Happy New Year to one and all. I’m sure you will have enjoyed the festive season wherever you have celebrated it and I hope you are looking forward to a great 2012. Whilst most blogs and websites have been writing reviews, roundups and summaries of 2011, I chose to stay away from this area for two main reasons. Firstly, there are many fine writers out there who are much more qualified than I am to write such an article. Being able to write a blog on a daily basis really gets into your blood and the mind which makes recalling information though memory and your own archives much easier. Secondly, if I write about stuff that’s already happened and is in the history books, other people can check the accuracy of my research and writing and find me out to be a lazy, fantastical nincompoop and condemn me to the non-non-fiction section of the interweb. Therefor the obvious solution is to write about stuff that has not happened yet and you can’t tell me I’m wrong… yet! Genius!
2012 The Year of The Dragon
In my extensive research (stop sniggering) for this article I found out that 2012 is the Chinese Year of The Dragon and amongst other wonderful attributes such as hard-wearing scaly skin and a warm disposition the dragon is described as having “enough courage to face challenges and easily finds weak points that stand on his way to success.” A nice way to be I think. Although Mrs D has just reminded me that China beats to their own ancient drum and we’ll have to wait until the end of January sometime for the dragon magic to kick in.
2012 is set to be a great year for all… I can feel it in my dragon juice. Below is a selection of things I’m looking forward to in the coming year ranging from events and races to blogs, sites and products.
London 2012 Olympics
Bit of an obvious one really but I thought I had better lead with it. In short this Olympic games is set to be the biggest, shiniest and boldest games in history and will be a true statement of British achievement and world status. The home nation of any major sporting occasion always makes a big song and dance and gets behind their sporting troops, whether it be a FIFA World Cup, Commonwealth Games or World Series (!?) but being in the midst of that fever feels brilliant and it will only get better as we move closer to the event itself. Cycling as a sport has more separate disciplines than any other in existence so is sure to be a majorly exciting part of the games and of course, for British hopes of lots of medal! [Ed: I have no basis for this statement and have done no research to confirm this but someone once told me in a pub. So there.] There will be many articles about London 2012 as the months tick by but if you have any doubt about how much of a show-stopping event we are going to put on, check out the video below of the ‘V for Vendetta’ style fireworks display over London. The fireworks from the Clock Tower of St Stephens (known to most as Big Ben… that is actual factual!) were amazing. It’s a long video of the whole display to music but it is impressive to the last bang. Set aside 11 minutes and 28 seconds in your day and check it out…
Union Cycliste Internationale
2011 has seen its share of scandals and ludicrously mishandled issues that landed with a thwack on the desk of Mr McQuaid but I can’t help felling a sense of loving familiarity with the silly old git. As much as I hate the UCI sitting there quietly, doing their silent little farts in the room of cycling (which absolutely stink by the way and I wish they would do it behind closed doors or not at all) I can’t help feeling like I want to give them a cuddle and tell them it will be alright in the end. Just like that slightly musty smelling relative who arrives around Christmas who you don’t really want to sit next to at the dinner table. You also don’t want them to pass on to the re-cycle centre in the sky. So I say, “Pat, keep rocking on and try to balls up less stuff than you did in 2011 and you’ll be on to a winner.” I think that is about as much as we can ask from them!
Personally I’m looking forward to doing some proper training and racing this year. I said it last year and never pulled my finger out and organised a licence. This year is going to be different damn it and I’m putting serious efforts into competing… not necessarily winning! On the professional race circuit there are a few races I’m looking forward to in particular. The Santos Tour Down Under is only 2 weeks away and sparks the arrival of the new season. It’s a crazy race with Aussies fresh from the National Champs toting for glory along side pros looking for any early season spurt. The Ronde Van Vlaanderen will be held without the Muur this year as the finish line will change from Meerbeke to Oudenaarde. For those unfamiliar with racing in Europe, Spring Classics or Flandrian bike history, for the riders not to be tackling the Kapelmuur (and the Bosberg incidentally) is like… well I couldn’t think of something similar but its bloody weird! hopefully the race itself won’t be tainted by what will surely be a relentless media commentary on how the race will be run without two of it’s most iconic climbs. My final race I’m really looking forward to (I’m just plain-looking forward to all of them) is the Tour de Suisse. Not one of the most obvious races on the calendar but golly is it exciting!? Riders that have been absent from the Giro or Critérium du Dauphiné (Dauphiné Libere if your old school) suddenly come storming out of the gate. It truly is an exciting race and I urge you to find a feed… probably from @ProCycling Live.
Crying in pain
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times (never understood that phrase!) I love The Sufferfest videos. They don’t pay me to say that I promise. I’m looking forward to see what other dastardly montages explode out of that hellish studio, 2012 looks big for pain. A relative new kid on the block in the realm of indoor training videos is 3LC.TV. An Isle of Man based outfit that utilises the close-knit professional cycling community including World Champion and Team Sky rider Mark Cavendish. Keep your eyes peeled for a review of 3LC.TV coming to LovingTheBike.com in the near future.
If you weren’t already aware, here at LovingTheBike.com we have The Cranklist which is a collection of bike related blogs across all disciplines from across the world. Check them out but I have some of my personal favourites which I urge you to check out to get the most out of your cycling bloggery in 2012. Big Ring Riding is a great collection of photos and funny comments showing the hard-arsed side of cycling. Only championing the hardest of hard men it has bite-size chunks of Chapeau. Not a lot needs to be said about Cycling Tips, one of the finest cycling blogs out there and the reason I began writing about bike racing. Wade Wallace is considered by many to be the king of cycling bloggery and the excellent articles as well as breathtaking photography from around the world’s greatest races are well worth checking out. As a regular reader, Cyclocosm feels like a UK political magazine called Private Eye (I’m sure there is an American equivalent but I’ve no idea what it is). It is a mix of satirical, funny and intelligent articles from a guy who really knows his stuff about bikes and especially racing. Finally, The Inner Ring is what I consider to be the finest blog about professional bike riding as it incorporates so many up to date issues, covered in-depth and with a real understanding of the subject. I urge you to check out these blogs and others on the Crank List. I know most of my particular selections are race orientated but that’s what I’m into… this is my list not yours!
Bring it on…
There it is. Lots of things I’m looking forward to in 2012. Not an exhaustive list by any means but it’s something to be going on with. Here at LovingTheBike.com and #bikeschool we are really looking forward to a great 2012 and will be looking to push the limits. Of course we always want your imput so do let us know.
Tell us what you are looking forward to in 2012 in the comments below. You never know, your wish may become our blog!
Keep The Rubber Side Down