We’ve been rolling out a lot of new features and writers and titles at Ella this month. Here’s another new weekly column we’re going to add to the mix. Ella Picks. The best or most important things we’ve read or watched in the last week(ish) all in one place for your reading (and viewing!) pleasure.
Given this is our first column, we’ve been a bit generous with the one week time span. Here are some of the things we’ve stumbled across that we thought were worthy of passing along to all of you.
Evelyn Stevens donates prize money to World Bike Relief
Evelyn Stevens won the Amgen Tour of California women’s invitational time trial (our race report if you missed it). In honour of Bike Month (in the US), she donated her prize money to the World Bike Relief.
An inspiring day at chikumbuso, our hosts put it perfectly, “it is a place where beauty came from the ashes” pic.twitter.com/JaJVzbXrrM
— Evelyn Stevens (@evelyn_stevens) October 6, 2013
“The bike has given me so many wonderful opportunities and life experiences and I just wanted to celebrate Bike Month and particularly WBR’s ‘This is not a bike’ campaign by donating whatever prize money I win in the ITT to WBR. On my trip to Zambia, I had the privilege of seeing firsthand how WBR is transforming communities through the power of the bicycle and I love to give back, even if it is in a small way.
Sarah Connolly interviews sports directors on “surprise” races
Sarah Connolly spoke with two sport directors on their opinions on some of the last-minute changes to the women’s race calendar – particularly the addition of UCI races with little or no notice to teams of the changes made. Both Stef Wyman (Matrix) and Martin Barras (Orica-AIS) explain the problems these “surprise” races pose for their squads and the implication of these problems on the sport as a whole.
“It’s so infuriating that the people with the power to make some rule changes haven’t made any significant changes. I appreciate organisers putting on events, of course I do, oherwise I’d be unemployed. What we do desperately need at the top of the sport, though, is more commercial organisers like Sweetspot. The top of women’s racing isn’t a hobby sport. It’s professional. But it’s hard for it to thrive in an amateur world 50% of the time.
“Most teams will be planning their budgets (and therefore racing programs) one year in advance, and anything new popping up within this deadline is very difficult to fit in. We are not yet at the point where the UCI manages the information about these races status within the UCI Women’s calendar – and it reinforces the need to have a women specific office within the Road Management Committee. This could be the “one stop shop” port of call for anything relating to Women’s racing and would streamline the propagation of information within the discipline.
Barry Bonds is Shifting Gears
I always know I’m in for a treat when I read anything Bonnie Ford has written. This ESPN feature on Barry Bonds and his emotional and financial connection to women’s cycling via Twenty16 is excellent.
Bonds is right to duck out of the team photo in one sense. He didn’t build this team, and he doesn’t coach or train it. Cranmer, a 49-year-old British expatriate, former mountain bike competitor and longtime team manager, runs the business end of Twenty16. Holden, 44, directs the riders on the road. The team has a strong roster and an ambitious agenda this season, with athletes racing on the junior and senior levels in road cycling, and others competing in track, cyclocross and Paralympic events.
But Bonds is part of the big picture now, acknowledged with a simple uppercase B on the team’s apparel. Cranmer wanted to do something more — a baseball patch with his uniform number, maybe. He resisted. She slipped the initial onto the team’s jerseys and jackets without permission.
Ina Teutenberg talks retirement
Ina Teutenberg retired slightly more than two years ago when a career-ending crash left her with a concussion from which she still has symptoms, albeit minor ones. Formerly a patron of sorts in the women’s peloton, Teutenberg now wears several hats – including the role of team director Team USA in Europe. She spoke with CyclingNews about life after racing in this video.
How did Amsterdam become a haven for cyclists?
The Guardian explores the way in which Amsterdam has become the cycling capital of the world. If you think bikes and cars have always peacefully co-existed in the Dutch capitol, you’re in for a surprise – and a fantastic read.
Anyone who has ever tried to make their way through the centre of Amsterdam in a car knows it: the city is owned by cyclists. They hurry in swarms through the streets, unbothered by traffic rules, taking precedence whenever they want, rendering motorists powerless by their sheer numbers.
Cyclists rule in Amsterdam and great pains have been taken to accommodate them: the city is equipped with an elaborate network of cycle-paths and lanes, so safe and comfortable that even toddlers and elderly people use bikes as the easiest mode of transport. It’s not only Amsterdam which boasts a network of cycle-paths, of course; you’ll find them in all Dutch cities.
Loren Rowney speaks to Voxwomen about her Ronde van Drenthe crash
Loren Rowney returned to racing at the beginning of the month following her horrific crash involving a spectator at Ronde van Drenthe. She wrote two pieces for us about the incident – one in the immediate aftermath and a second story one day before her return to racing. Voxwomen caught up with Rowney at the Amgen Tour of California to learn more.
Learning to Ride
Anne-Marije Rook, the newly announced co-editor of Ella CyclingTips, joins us from Cascade Bicycle Club, where she currently works as Communication Director. One of her recent projects included this video – which captures the experience of learning to ride a bike as an adult.
Mental Health and Women’s Sports
While not cycling-specific, these two stories are captivating.
Split Image is about depression in athletes and the ways in which social media can complicate an already complex issues.
Everyone in Madison’s life holds a piece of her story, possesses a clue: a text message, a vacant look, a deleted Instagram post. In the days after she died, the people who knew her best converged on Allendale, New Jersey, her hometown; siblings (one brother, three sisters), parents (Jim and Stacy), high school friends, college classmates — all offered their shattered piece to see whether they could rebuild Madison.
It was as if they hoped she might be breathed back to life. As if they might then do and say the things they hadn’t known she needed.
This Huffington Post feature (which seems to lack a title) shares the story of Amaris Tyynismaa – a 14-year-old running prodigy who has Tourette syndrome. The young teen is currently posting some of the best times in the country for high school girls while still in middle school. Running seems to be her refuge from unbearable TS symptoms – for now.
Before Amaris discovered running, controlling her body was her biggest struggle. Now, her challenges tend to be interior ones. As Kristen puts it, the things that were physical are now mental.
“Her last tic was at the end of last year, but she acts like it was so long ago,” Kristen continues. “She’s in a waning period, and even now the OCD has surfaced and taken over.”
That’s why she holds new water bottles up to her ear to hear the seal break, just in case. She still washes her hands until they crack open, although not as often as she used to. After she finished Elie Wiesel’s Night, she fixated on the horror of the Holocaust and couldn’t stop talking about it for weeks. Sometimes, Kristen says, things consume her.
Ella reads you don’t want to miss
Here are a few of my favourite stories published on Ella in the last week or two:
- La Fabrica Girona: Where everyone knows your name
- Pro travel day essentials: Top tips to make long travel more bearable
- Don’t be “That Cyclist”
- Breaking it down: The fractured collarbone
- Weekly Wisdom: Become a more complete cyclist