Behind the scenes of the Rocacorba Daily
We’ve been publishing the Rocacorba Daily news digest here at CyclingTips for more than 18 months now. In that time we’ve produced nearly 350 editions, pulling together the biggest news items of the day to give you a snapshot of what’s happening in the world of road cycling. For those of you who still aren’t familiar with the Rocacorba Daily, we thought we’d explain why we do it, what makes it different, and what’s involved in pulling it together.
Why it started
The Rocacorba began with a question about what I wanted to see as a reader of CyclingTips, just before I joined the company. “I reckon we should have a daily post that brings together all the big race results, all the important news items, and a bunch of other interesting stuff that gives people a one-stop shop for their cycling in the mornings.”
It wasn’t an original idea — online publications have done daily news round-ups for years — but at the time there was nothing that, we felt, pulled all the interesting cycling content together in one place, and presented it in a compelling way.
We began by pulling together an RSS feed of all the usual suspects in terms of cycling news — Cyclingnews, VeloNews, VeloNation (before it went under, obviously), blogs, etc. — plus a handful of more esoteric sources. We added a bunch of foreign cycling sites as well, and whenever there’s a report on the English-language news websites that’s originated in the foreign press we’ll chase down the original source whenever we can. You’d be surprised at how much content around the web is taken from other places and not credited.
What makes it different
Instead of writing each story in the Rocacorba as a standalone post, we want to give you an easily digestible overview on what’s happening that day without having to click on a number of different stories or go looking for them yourself. It certainly affects our site traffic unfavourably doing it that way, but having it all in one place — so you can scroll through and stop at the bits you want — is more important to us.
We didn’t want the Rocacorba to be limited to just hard news — the plan was always to include things like cycling-related research, entertaining videos, thought-provoking tweets and anything else that provided a well-rounded view of the world of road cycling and a compelling package for you first thing in the morning.
Before launching the first edition we had a decision to make — what should we call it? “News shorts” or similar seemed a little bland, so we opted for a name that mightn’t have been obvious to people – Rocacorba. It caused plenty of confusion at first (and still does to some extent) but to us — and to many of you I’m sure — the Rocacorba is now a daily news round-up more than it is a famous cycling climb near Girona, Spain.
Pulling it all together
Eighteen months on, the Rocacorba Daily is one of the pieces of content we’re most proud of. It’s a consistent performer in terms of daily visitors, but that’s never been the goal — the primary purpose has been to provide something that we ourselves would like to read and would find useful. Hopefully that’s how you find it.
It’s not always easy to find the info we’re after. Women’s races, in particular, are nearly impossible to find good reports on, even the big ones. So sometimes we can do little more than report how the race unfolded from day-to-day in terms of the results. We saw this most recently with the Trophee d’Or Feminin where the stage results often weren’t released until 24 hours after the race, and race reports were scarce at best.
We try to keep the the pieces in the Rocacorba reasonably short, simply giving you the basics of what you need to know. At that point it’s up to you whether you want to click through and read the full story, whether it’s on our site or elsewhere.
One of things we’re most proud of about the Rocacorba Daily is the presentation. It’s not just slabs of text separated by headlines — we find as many images as we can to illustrate the stories, and if we can find videos that help to tell the story we’ll include those as well. We also love featuring the great photography of Jered & Ashley Gruber, Kristof Ramon and others in the feature image (you can find a caption for that photo at the bottom of each edition).
Of course, all of this takes time. On average it’s probably around two or three hours work every morning, from the time we start pulling in the most interesting stories to write up later, to the time when we’re hitting ‘Publish’ and putting the word out via social media.
So, with 344 editions of the Rocacorba Daily now published (here’s our first, for reference), we wanted to say a big thank-you to everyone that’s read it so far, and thank you in advance for future editions you might read. We hope you get as much out of it reading it as we do producing it every day.