crankpunk’s 2014: ‘swollen’ is the word

It’s been quite a year here at, quite a mad, mad 363 days and counting. The website has gone from strength to strength thanks largely to a bunch of angry Americans flipping out every time they hear the Holy Trinity (Lance, Levi & George) getting called out. I never go chasing numbers but I tell ya, touch a nerve there and it runs real deep.

One of the most bizarre moments on 2014 came lat one night when I was writing about George’s Gran Fraudo and decided to find him on Facebook. Amazingly, I did and even more amazingly, he replied to my message within 10 seconds.

30 seconds later, without me getting in touch with her. Betsy Andreu popped up in another FB message window. She finally got to ask him a few questions she’d been waiting to ask (through me), and it was all quite trippy. As the conversations were going a friend called me.

What are you doing? he asked.

Just talking to George Hincapie and Betsy Andreu, I replied.

Yeah right…

I started getting on Twitter more often, and found the maxim ‘too many tweets makes a tw#t’ to be very true indeed.

Cycling-wise, a weird year all in all. In March I had an infection that affected my immune system and caused my face to expand to a good 4 times it’s normal size, resulting in me frantically googling ‘face swollen like a chipmunk‘ as i lay on a gurney in a corridor in the hospital with a liter of antibiotics being fed into my arm.

terrified and still expanding
terrified and still expanding

When i walked into the cubicle in A&E where the doctor sat, he had his head down looking at some notes. When he looked up he gasped audibly.

Thanks for that, Doc.

I’ve had this chipmunk face on and off for 8 years, I read online in horror. I don’t go out anymore, I lost my job and there’s nothing it seems that can be done.

Which consoled me greatly, obviously. 12 hours I spent in that corridor, occasionally dragging my saggy chops and drip bag to the toilet, scaring women and children on the way. Lots of fun.

The results of a blood test came in – my white blood cell count was up to 14,000, about double the norm.

More googling led me, inevitably, to cancer. Lesson learnt here – never, ever self-diagnose an illness in the internet, because no matter what it is – stubbed toe, toothache or even a bad hair day, whatever – IT ALL LEADS TO THE BIG C.

Finally I got to see the specialist. I’d come to terms with my inevitable (according to The Internet) demise and realised that I’d given the life thing a decent go, seemed to have put in a half decent shift all in all and was ready for the worse from The Doc 2.

“Cancer?! Haha! No, salival gland infection. They’ve backed up and are causing all this swelling. Worst I’ve seen but it’ll be gone by tomorrow.’

Oh you lovely man! I almost kissed him, but I couldn’t feel my lips so rather than drooling on him I refrained.

Anyway, two weeks later and a good 5kg over race weight, I went to the inaugural 3-day Tour of Tayabas in the Philippines and won, much to my surprise.

Winning the GC and the Points Classification at Tayabas
winning the GC and the Points Classification at Tayabas

From then on in though it all went very roller-coaster, I was flying one week and very slow the next. More blood tests revealed all was well but still the fluctuations in form continued.

A crit win in the UK was followed by ten days in Belgium in April followed with Velo Classic Tours (thanks to PEZ Cycling News), affording me the opportunity to pray at the alters of Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders. That was just like heaven. Incredible.

Get that on the list, if you haven’t already done it.

My trip to the TransAlp MTB stage race was quite the disaster and saw me dragging a very sorry cp arse over the mountains in a state of sufferation every single minute of that beast of a race. Still, it was beautiful!

Next big race was the Mongolia Bike Challenge in August, where I started ok and just got stronger and stronger as the week went on, winning 4 stages in the Masters category and taking 3rd in the Open on the final day. Had my bike not exploded on Stage 3 I might have won the Masters and taken 3rd in the Open overall, but, if there’s one race where the results really do not matter, it is this one in Mongolia.

proper cranking in Mongolia
proper cranking in Mongolia

Professionally (and I mean job-wise) things have been interesting. I now work for both the Mongolia Bike Challenge and the Taiwan KOM Challenge as Director of Communications, and am the official coach of both those events, of the Taiwan Cyclist Federation and also of the biggest club in Singapore, ANZA Cycling.

The big highlight with regards to all that has been the emergence of the zero-tolerance rule with regards to former dopers competing in the KOM (and, soon to be announced officially, the MBC too). Next year will, I hope, see a union formed consisting of other like-minded race organisers.

My work for PEZ Cycling News is to increase in 2015 with more regular writing, the articles on The Roar will also continue as will, of course, crankpunk.

Very soon a reinvigorated will be on your screens, a new site that will bring together all the various stuff I get up to, writing, riding, coaching, brand consulting and event co-ordinating.

Huge thank you to my sponsors, CCN, Lezyne, BLK TEC, 720Armour, Lapierre, and Xendurance. The depth of support these guys provide is fantastic.

Then there are the Crank Punk Coaching Systems clients also, who, well, have been phenomenal. It’s not rocket science, I tell them when they come on board, but it does take a chunk of effort. This year has seen some fantastic transformations, people hitting their targets and going beyond them, and a bunch of podiums that are always a nice cherry on the old cake.

Ladies and gentleman, your endeavor and motivation to crank it really humbles me, I sincerely mean that. Cheers!

Finally I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who comes in to read my scribblings here, sometimes it’s 1,000 a day, sometimes it’s 50,000. You guys make the effort worthwhile, many, many thanks.

Merry (belated) Xmas and Happy New Year!

And finally, I have a CrankBump on the way – or rather, Missus CrankPunk has one.

Yes, a little BabyPunk is on her way, due May 6th.


Alright alright, don’t get all emotional on me.. Sniff.

Let us all crank on.

And remember:





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coming soon, and hopefully without spelling mistakes

Author: Lee Rodgers

Cycling coach, race organiser, former professional cyclist and the original CrankPunk.

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