Riding is Life


Sepp Kuss gets ready to lead the bike parade in Durango to celebrate his Vuelta a España win. Caley Fretz's smiling mug is jankily photoshopped over the top.

Our Favourite Stories: Caley Fretz’s eye for detail

The boss doesn't get to write as much as he wants, but when he does it's pretty great.

Welcome to our year-end Favourite Stories series. To pick the best of our over 1,000 stories published this year, we assigned each of our staff and core contributors to write about someone else. Today, Andy McGrath finds some gems from Escape Collective EIC and co-founder Caley Fretz.

The editor-in-chief probably doesn’t get to write as much as he likes. There are podcasts to pod, big plans to devise, fires to put out. But I like to think that means when he does, it’s stories he really connects with. 

In all the pieces I’ve picked, there’s a flair and rare eye for detail that carries the story.

Dunking the tech editor in a kermesse for fun and profit

Only Escape Collective would high-tail it to a kermesse on a whim, sign in with moments to spare and get in the racing action. For fun and #content. You don’t need to have been to Belgium before because you can practically smell the frites and feel the bristle of the bookie’s perfectly-waxed moustache through the screen. 

This is artful reportage. Just look at this line *chef’s kiss*: “Racing never leaves you. If you loved it once, you’ll love it always.” 

Through the personality and humor, it also made me unexpectedly wistful because it’s a little trip down memory lane for Ronan and his younger bike racing dreams.

Read “Only in Belgium” here.

A homecoming to remember

Caley’s account from the post-Vuelta victory parade in Durango hits different to the many profiles that arrived in the wake of GC Kuss.

It’s a visceral account of the homecoming adventurer, putting the reader there in the queue next to him, seeing Sepp Kuss’ tired wrist signing another baby. Watching the sea of red riders sweep through the Colorado town feels like a dream sequence.

This gets to the heart of why so many connect with Sepp Kuss. His unaffected sense of normality, his vigor, his anti-Lanceness. An afternoon in Kuss’ orbit only adds to the impression of a rare and charming young champion.

Read “Never forget the feeling” here.

A scoop and an era about to end

Orla Chennaoui, Dan Lloyd, and Adam Blythe sit in chairs on the GCN set. Adam Blythe is wearing the world's ugliest jumper, a horrible mix of pink and purple.

Escape Collective was the first outlet with the news that GCN was up for sale, a couple of months before the news GCN+ was closing. 

File this one next to the September piece hinting at the cracks in Jumbo-Visma’s team during the Vuelta. Another reminder that the whole team has its ear to the ground for news and that comes from the top down.

Read “GCN is for sale” here.

A little transparency

I’ve been disappointed by businesses and bosses a fair few times. Who hasn’t? Frustrated by things like opaqueness. Poor communication. Dodging accountability. All talk, no action.

Well, this is not your usual public-facing company communiqué. Detailed, clear and the word that repeats in the comments: transparent.

No other sports medium talks to its readers so directly, with zero BS, explaining decisions and admitting some mistakes. It’s so refreshing and it made me smile reading it.

It encapsulates what makes this whole endeavor so distinct and awesome.

Read “The inner workings” here.

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