An Overdue Introduction

The Service Course has been up for two weeks or so in its present form, so it seems time to offer a bit of an introduction.

First, about the author. I got into cycling around 1989, when I began racing mountain bikes as a junior and working as a shop rat at a local bike shop in Virginia Beach, Virginia (a veritable mountain bike Mecca, due to the pan-flat terrain and lack of trails). Mountain biking led to the harder stuff, as they say, and after getting the chance to see the Geneva-Chamonix stage of the 1990 Tour de France, I began to pursue road racing as well.

Though my own racing was interrupted by college and life, I maintained an interest in the sport, working in a shop during college, always riding a bit, racing here and there, and eventually chucking a paying post-collegiate job at a think-tank to go work as an intern for VeloNews in 1999. The need for gainful employment led me back east at the end of that Summer of Lance, but I’ve continued to work with the magazine and its web site as a freelance correspondent ever since.

Now, about this site. With a press pass around my neck, I’ve had the opportunity to witness some of the best of international and domestic racing from the inside and see my words about the sport in print. But, as with any such endeavor, there’s a lot of material that gets left on the cutting room floor – either the actual one or the mental one. Sometimes, that material is pretty interesting, depicting the world of competitive cycling beyond who made the early break and who got the win. My hope is that I can present some of those bits here in an engaging way, whether they come in the form of commentary, tales from the road, unpublished material, photos, interviews, or by passing on a link to something interesting elsewhere. I’m aiming for two to three posts per week.

In trying to nail down what you are, sometimes it helps to include what you aren’t. To that end, the Service Course:

  • Won’t provide blow-by-blow coverage of professional racing. There are plenty of outfits better equipped to do so. Equipped with things like “a staff” and “a Web designer” and “a budget.”

  • Won’t provide blow-by-blow coverage of my training rides, PowerTap data, or pictures of things I find by the side of the road. I realize that, as a blog, featuring such things is mandated by the terms of service, but I don’t like math enough to use a PowerTap, and my eyes aren’t good enough to find 4mm hex wrenches and hair extensions on the road.

  • Won’t provide girlie pictures, even if said women are standing on a podium handing out flowers. Though I hear it’s a great way to boost traffic.

  • Won't feature fake news. Yes, it would be funny if Eddy Merckx were to come back and win the 2008 Tour of Flanders, but since he won't, I probably won't write a report about it.

  • Won’t publish an endless string of press releases. I get quite a few, but I don’t think reader demand for straight-up marketing copy is high enough to warrant repeating them here.

  • Won’t be a continuous stream of doping stories. Though I’m not going to whistle past the graveyard, either.

  • Won’t publish equipment reviews. Frankly, I’m not that discerning. But if anyone wants to send me stuff to ride, feel free.

Thanks for stopping into the Service Course. I hope you’ll check out what’s here now, and check back in to see what’s new.