July 02, 2011

Welcome to the 2011 Tour

I'm back again this year, trying to help people get the most out of the Tour de France on the web.

This weblog got started by accident. I had posted a guide to the Tour on my personal weblog in 2003 (here's the 2009 version), and a couple of posts noting who had won the day's stage, or what was on tap for the next day's stage. One morning, I woke up and went into my office, and realized the drive on the (AMD K6-2 350) Linux box that served my weblog was really laboring.

A few minutes later, I could see why the server was under load. Google's top result when you searched for "Tour de France update" was my weblog. I had been looking for a reason to try out the new hosted Moveable Type service at TypePad, so I spent about 45 minutes setting up a dedicated Tour weblog, and started publishing.

In the 9 Tours since, the cycling landscape on the web has shifted tremendously for the better. In the early years, I was pointing out just about everything of any value about the Tour on the web. Today, that idea seems preposterous. The websites that existed then, like VeloNews and CyclingNews have expanded tremendously, and been joined by fan-driven sites like PodiumCafe and literally dozens of enthusiastic fan weblogs. Average fans can go out and make terrific photos and videos, then share them on Flickr and other sharing sites, and the growth of Twitter means it's easy to find like-minded fans and trade snark while the race progresses.

So, this year, as in the last couple of years, I'll be very active on Twitter, and pointing out the best of the Tour de France web there and here on the weblog.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 2, 2011 in About the site, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 02, 2010

Welcome to 2010

Once again, it's time to clip in and ride. If you're a longtime reader of the site, thanks for coming back. I love the Tour, and I love chronicling the Tour every year here on TdFblog.

If you're new to the site, welcome. I've been yammering about the Tour de France here since 2003, and following the race since the late '80s. In addition to long-form summaries and commentary here, I also do a multitude of race updates on Twitter, at @TdFblog. This year, I'm going to extend the empire even a little farther, with a Tumblr site for that content that's too long for Twitter, too short for the main site, and that's at tumblr.tdfblog.com. Don't be too surprised if that site is in rapid flux for the next few days, as I figure out what goes where, and figure out how to do things with Tumblr.

Even though I'm tremendously depressed at the continuing scourge of doping in the sport, I'm really looking forward to this year's Tour. Last year's battle between Alberto Contador and the Schleck brothers looks to repeat. We'll see if Bradley Wiggins can fulfill the promise he showed finishing 4th last year on the new Team Sky. Cav's back, and brash as ever. And it looks like Big Tex is serious about retirement this time around, so it's the last shot for Lance Armstrong to win an 8th Tour.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 2, 2010 in About the site, Alberto Contador, Andy Schleck, Bradley Wiggins, Frank Schleck, Lance Armstrong, Mark Cavendish, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 04, 2009

Tuning up for the Tour

If you're new to the site, welcome! If you're back, thanks!

When I started TdFblog, back in 2003, there wasn't a lot of cycling coverage on the web. CyclingNews and VeloNews already had websites, but neither had much audio or video, and VeloNews didn't really create much content beyond what went in the magazine for the web.

originally uploaded by Frank Steele.
I started posting links to other bloggers, and to news sources that the average fan might not easily find, from the AP photo wire, BBC, and original sources not in English, like L'Equipe and AS.

Today, there are dozens of great bicycle sites, many of them focused on racing. Why come here? I hope to help English-speaking fans, who may only watch the Tour (and especially with Armstrong's return this year), gain an appreciation for the beauty and savagery of our sport. During the Tour, I'll link to dozens of stories in the main content column here, and hundreds more in the “Tour Posts at Other Sites" section of my left sidebar. I'm not picking those because they're from my content partners, or because they're part of my site -- the things I link are the things I like, whether I agree with them or not. I hope you'll like them, too.

The explosion of interest in the Tour and in outlets covering the Tour means it gets harder every year to find all the great Tour content out there, so I welcome (nay, beg for) your help. If you see something you think TdFblog readers would like to know about, please send it along.

Chris Horner
Christian Vande Velde,
originally uploaded by Frank Steele.

And, if you're on Twitter, feel free to reply or to direct-message me (I'm @TdFblog) with content or comments. The Twitter feed will be the only place for my as-it-happens race updates, and I'll usually post links to content there before I post stories about that content to the site. If you've got to know everything first, you'll want to follow the Twitter feed.

I think it's important to attribute links, so I'll usually add a “via” on Twitters and always try to at least abbreviate the news source I'm citing. “CN” is CyclingNews.com, “VN” is VeloNews, “CW” is Cycling Weekly, “Euro” is Eurosport. I'm using #tdf as my Tour hashtag; I prefer it to #tourdefrance since it saves 9 precious characters in a 140-character post. I'll probably use the #22 tag for Armstrong (that's his race number), and may adopt that convention for other riders, as well. That's also why I use the tr.im URL shortener -- when you see a link to “tr.im” in my Twitter stream, it's a shortened version of a link like http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/ cavendish-aims-for-stages-and-paris — that's 67 characters by itself! Feel free to retweet anything I've posted to Twitter.

When I post a photo on the site, clicking on it will always take you to a larger version in its original location. In the sidebar, I do that instead of attributing the photos in the limited sidebar space. If there's an uncredited photo in the main content column, it's probably one of mine: You can see many of my cycling photos on Flickr.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 4, 2009 in About the site | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 15, 2009

Curse of the cycling fan: My codependent relationship with the sport

So I'm sure that a few of you have wondered what's up with this weblog. Generally, I wind things up a lot earlier in the season, offering race results and analyses of Paris-Nice, the Spring Classics, and certainly the Giro and Dauphiné.

I've got to admit, however, that it's getting harder and harder to follow our sport. Every year, it seems, we've got a crop of outstanding new riders who offer breakout performances at the Tour. And every damn year, it seems, it turns out many, even most, of those performances have been chemically enhanced. Ullrich. Basso. Rasmussen. Schumacher. Kohl. Ricco and Piepoli. And yes, Floyd Landis. (Ask me again tomorrow, and I may be back to rationalizing for Landis).

It's enough to turn a fan against cycling. When, for April Fool's Day, Briggs Heaney posted that he was giving up on cycling, I almost bought it, because I shared a lot of his offered reasons. Certainly, it's been enough to turn off some of the other bloggers whose writing and commentary I have enjoyed, including Wim van Rossum, who used to maintain the indispensible cycling4all and the blogger who ran Cycling Fans Anonymous.

So why don't I flip the switch and lock the doors around here? Because, when the action starts, I've got to watch it. I loved this year's Giro, with Di Luca seemingly turning himself inside out day after day, and Menchov matching every move. Mark Cavendish and his team are just astounding. When April rolled around with no Tour de Georgia, I missed it something fierce.

On the other hand, I'm going to change my focus a little bit, back to more of a link-blog. I started this weblog with BoingBoing and Glenn Reynolds' Instapundit (he's authored 10 posts while you've been reading this) as models, and with only TypePad as an authoring tool.

Now, with the rise of Twitter and other social media, I plan on migrating real-time race updates, breaking news, and quick link-only posts to Twitter (I did race updates on Twitter last year -- at http://www.twitter.com/TdFblog ), with stage summaries, photo gallery links, and commentary here on the weblog.

Byron and I are talking about how best to incorporate some Tour coverage on Bike Hugger, as well. Thanks for reading (since 2003!), and for all your comments and feedback.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 15, 2009 in 2009 Tour de France, About the site, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 12, 2008

Travel day

It's a travel day for me, so neither Twitter updates nor blog posts on Stage 8 until this evening.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 12, 2008 in About the site | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 20, 2007

Test post

Hi, all -- just a test post, as it appears TypePad may have eaten my front page. I hope to post a look forward to the 2008 season shortly, and there's reason to have hope for the future of the Tour de Georgia, as the organizers have made changes to get the state tourism machine more involved, and there's a press conference announcing the 2008 venues on December 5.

Posted by Frank Steele on November 20, 2007 in About the site, Top Stories, Tour de Georgia | Permalink | Comments (0)

March 26, 2007

Some other racers I'm following

Team Bike Hugger

Team Bike HuggerI know some of you will remember I'm involved with Bike Hugger, a Hugger Industries site that tries to embrace all things bicycle, including bike commuting, bike travel, bike culture, and even racing.

But in keeping with the all-inclusive nature of the site, we wanted to get involved with citizen racing, people who race for the love of it, and arrange their lives to support their racing habits. So we hooked up with some very dedicated women in the Pacific Northwest, who just competed at the Redlands Classic, and who are blogging about their season over at Team.Bikehugger.com. If you've ever considered racing yourself, check it out.

Posted by Frank Steele on March 26, 2007 in About the site | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 13, 2006

TypePad outage shuffles TdFblog content, comments

Six Apart | TypePad Status Update

TdFblog is hosted on TypePad, the hosted MovableType service from Six Apart. Yesterday, they had a serious outage, and lost post data for midnight to 10:30 a.m. Pacific Time, or pretty much everything Byron and I posted yesterday.

Fortunately, a little voice in my head told me to grab those posts into my off-line editor, MarsEdit, yesterday morning, so I've been able to repost them. Unfortunately, for now at least, they're showing up with the current date, and TypePad errors out when I try to reset the dates.

Also, it appears that comments made yesterday morning were also lost, for which I apologize. At one point, TypePad would e-mail me all new comments, but that hasn't worked for a while, so I don't have any record of those comments. Again, my apologies.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 13, 2006 in About the site | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 09, 2006

Taking a pull

Thanks for the invite Frank and I'm glad I can help out as a guest blogger. Couple notes for the readers. I'm in Seattle, on PDT, so the live blogging will be a bit delayed. When I turned on OLN today, AG2R got the win! I'll recap the rest of the stage here in a bit and please remember that comments still need to approved by Frank and that'll take a few days. Please continue to send them in.

Also, as Frank noted in his intro post, we're working together on Bike Hugger and there's lots going on there, including bike culture, STP, and other cycling events (besides the tour). Frank will get caught up on posting there when he gets back as well.

Posted by Byron on July 9, 2006 in About the site | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Welcome, guest blogger DL Byron

I've got to go out of town for a couple of days for an out-of-town funeral.

I've arranged for DL Byron, designer, blogger, author, entrepeneur, and amateur racer, to fill in for a couple of days.

Byron was one of the first advertisers on the site, with his company Clip-n-Seal, which makes awesome clips to keep things fresh in regular bags, and he and I are working together on Bike Hugger, a new blog covering bike culture.

Comments may be held a little longer than usual for moderation for the next couple of days.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 9, 2006 in About the site | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 05, 2006

Welcome RoadCycling.com and BikeHugger.com

I wanted to offer a quick shout-out to two new sponsors.

RoadCycling.com has become an annual sponsor, during each year's Tour. They offer a diary from Julian Dean, so we should see some interesting commentary on today's late-stage wipeout over there. RoadCycling's RSS feed is here.

Bike Hugger, on the other hand, is a new venture I'm working on with DL Byron of Textura Design. It's about bike advocacy, utility cycling, commuting, day touring, bikes as art; whatever will turn the cranks of people who love bikes. You can follow the Hugger in your newsreaders by subscribing to its RSS feed.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 5, 2006 in About the site, Julian Dean, Links | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 12, 2006

Publish & Prosper published and prospering; RSS at Feedburner

A couple of site-related tidbits: DL Byron's new book, Publish and Prosper: Blogging for Your Business, is now available from Amazon.com and geekier bookstores everywhere.

It's a guide to building a blog that supports your business goals. Byron and Steve Broback have a great track record helping Boeing find a voice in the blogosphere, and their book concentrates on how to get started — finding a niche, a platform, and a voice you can call your own. TdFblog is one of dozens of example weblogs in the book. Here's the book's website, where you can check out a sample chapter.

Also, you shouldn't see any differences, but I've moved the site's syndication feeds over to FeedBurner. TypePad now offers easy integration with FB, and I can finally get some idea of how much of my traffic comes through RSS and Atom. Please let me know if anything's gone squirrely.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 12, 2006 in About the site | Permalink | Comments (1)

April 15, 2006

Introducing TdGblog.com

So, with the Tour de Georgia rushing toward us, I found myself finding links that I'm interested in because of the TdG, but that I'm not really sure are appropriate to TdFblog.

A quick domain-name check found that nobody was holding TdGblog.com, so, as of today, TdFblog has a new, close sibling.

The initial contents of the new site are all the articles in this site's Tour de Georgia category, but moving forward, I expect no more than about 20-25 percent overlap. Today, for instance, I've posted stories about the 2006 Tour de Georgia's TV coverage and what Litespeed is doing at the 2006 TdG, both exclusively on the new site. Look for race previews and reports on both sites.

Each site will offer a feed of the other's recent headlines, and of course, they'll have separate syndication feeds. Here are TdGblog.com's feeds in RSS, RSS 2.0, and Atom formats.

Posted by Frank Steele on April 15, 2006 in About the site, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 06, 2006

TDFBlog featured in new business blogging title

Publish and Prosper | Blogging for Your Business

DL Byron, one of the co-founders of the Blog Business Summit, has used this site as an example at the Summit.

Now, he and his co-organizers are wrapping up a book for Peachpit Press laying out what they've learned building blogs with and for Boeing, Clip-n-Seal, and Connexion, and from hosting their conferences.

If you're looking for more hands-on advice on starting and running a business blog, there's a pre-publication deal where you can get the book for 35% off with free shipping by ordering through the web and using the promotion code: PP-234P-LKMS.

Posted by Frank Steele on March 6, 2006 in About the site | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 13, 2005

Administrivia: Welcome to TDFBlog for 2005

I usually roll the site over right on January 1st, but I've had a lot going on, and am, like the pro teams, just kicking off my preseason training.

Expect posting to return almost to normal.

Posted by Frank Steele on January 13, 2005 in About the site | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 27, 2004

TDFBlog.com light posting this week

If you think the Tour is hard on participants, you should see what it does to bloggers!

I'm spending the week recuperating in southwest Florida, which could be paradise if only it had widespread broadband connectivity.

Barring that, posting will likely be light this week. Thanks for all the compliments for the site's Tour coverage.

I'll be back next week, with news about Tour riders prepping for the Olympics, and all the post-Tour hoopla.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 27, 2004 in About the site | Permalink | Comments (3)

July 13, 2004

New TdFblog sponsor

Clip-n-Seal® It Fresh

Welcome to the site's new sponsor, Clip-n-Seal, a simple but innovative way to close and reseal all kinds of bags.

Clip-n-Seal's rod and clamp system locks in freshness, and locks out air and water. Check out the Fish-in-a-Bag video demo for proof (Note: no fish were harmed in the making of this video!).

Just $4.99 American gets you 3 large Clip-n-Seals (sized for large chip bags, pet food, or popcorn) or a variety pack of small, medium, and large.

Joe Bob says: "Clip-n-Seal is like a recloseable bag, but without the bag."

Posted by Frank Steele on July 13, 2004 in About the site | Permalink | Comments (3)

June 29, 2004

Site updates

In advance of the Tour de France prologue on Saturday, I've made a few changes to the site. Some of them have filtered into production over the last few days, and I'll probably continue to tweak things over the next couple of days.

The most obvious change is probably the "Top Stories" heading. I got frustrated last year by the limitations of the weblog format, when a major story would break, but then get scrolled way down the front page by smaller, more recent stories, and disappear. The "Top Stories" section is my first crack at addressing that; I may make some more changes to it.

A couple of recent additions are the search engine link at right, which lets you search the site or the entire web through the magic of Google, and the "Tour posts at other weblogs" section down the right sidebar, which will highlight other webloggers and (again through the magic of Google) Usenet posters commenting on the Tour.

The 'Recent Posts' section no longer duplicates front-page stories. Once a story rolls off the front page, it will move to the 'Recent Posts' section, then move into the Archives. If you're on a daily, monthly, or category archive page, you'll also get a sidebar listing the current contents of the front page.

The 2003 Tour Wayback Machine has been retired to a quiet home on the Archives page, along with most of the rider category links. In their place is a dynamic list of the most recent posts about top riders, and I'll be adding riders to the list as the Tour progresses. The Wayback Machine will return, offering a simple way to jump back to any stage of the 2004 Tour. And, as always, the calendar at right is clickable, and will take you back to posts from that date.

I hope you'll enjoy the changes. If anything looks strange, or you have any comments on the changes, please post them as comments on this post.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 29, 2004 in About the site, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (6)

February 23, 2004

Welcome to TDFBlog.com

I’ve had enough visitors here on TDF2004 that I decided to buy a new domain for the site. I’m sure I was partly inspired by the new domain mapping wizard from TypePad, which hosts this weblog.

I think the one that meant the least typing for you, my readers, was “TdFBlog.com” (capitalization optional). You can still use the old http://notd.blogs.com/tdf/ form, or www.tdfblog.com.

I made some design changes, as well, so if anything looks off, or doesn’t work, please e-mail me.

At the same time, I enabled an Atom feed (What's Atom?), and there’s still an RSS feed, as well (What’s RSS?).

Posted by Frank Steele on February 23, 2004 in About the site | Permalink | Comments (1)

August 03, 2003

About TdF 2003's enabling tech

If you've followed the site, thanks!

One of the reasons I started TdF 2003 was to try out the new hosted service from MovableType, called TypePad. If you're curious about weblogs, you may be interested in a fairly quick review I've posted over at my regular weblog.

Posted by Frank Steele on August 3, 2003 in About the site | Permalink | Comments (1)

July 19, 2003

Stage 13 reports to be later than usual

I'll be traveling today during the stage, and will post the usual gaggle of links this afternoon or early evening.

Thanks for visiting!

Posted by Frank Steele on July 19, 2003 in About the site | Permalink | Comments (0)