In a couple days, I will be in the September issue of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine in some capacity. I’m not sure to what extent I will be featured, but I know there will be at least a few quotes, and maybe one or two of my images.
Now seems like a good time to reflect on my recent experiences with the media. There haven’t been many, just some small newspapers and now a small magazine. Contrary to the above graphic, I do not think I am a big deal, but it is nice to get a little bit of attention. They have at least made for some interesting stories.
Longtime readers and my local friends will remember the ‘Push It’ debacle from earlier this year. Long story short, I was pressured to estimate the time it would take me to complete a century ride. I overestimated myself, underestimated the route, and qualified my response with ‘if I push it.’ They ran with that as a theme for a larger feature of the paper. That weekend was bedlam. I heard from a lot of people, including some reputable cyclists I had never met before.
The last one was more recent, and I haven’t discussed it on the blog yet. While I was out in Colorado, I heard from a reporter doing a story for Smoky Mountain News on the Blue Ridge Breakaway. It was my ride of the year for 2011, and I gave an enthusiastic review. It is probably still my favorite ride to date.
I spoke with the reporter for maybe 30 minutes early in the morning from Colorado. Most of the interview went well. He had some interesting questions about the ride and cycling in general. There was the obligatory ‘why?’ question, which I have noticed is commonplace from non-cyclists.
He caught me off guard towards the end of the interview. He asked what I think about while I’m climbing up a big hill (I touched on this in my Loveland Pass write-up). That stumped me, as I hadn’t really given a lot of thought (ha!) to what I think about. Usually I just go with it.
After returning from Colorado, I discussed the question with someone I know who practices transcendent meditation. He said that cycling is a form of meditation, but the journalist was correct that it is rare to obtain a complete state of peace while on the bike. Many people will achieve it once or twice, then continue pushing themselves to try and achieve it again. Some of them never will. Realistically, I probably have not reached this point. There have been many times that, due to pure exhaustion, my thoughts have slowed and I have focused intently on the task at hand. Being hyper-focused on completing the task is not the same as meditative bliss.
Overall I was happy with the piece. After all, he called me an influential blogger. I don’t know about all that, but thanks! He also interviewed BRB’s route director Cecil Yount, as well as Laura and Russ from The Path Less Pedaled. I made a couple errors, including playfully exaggerating something for emphasis, which he quoted verbatim (from the article: “One girl spent about 20 minutes on the ground after she was finished because she was so tired.”).
This upcoming piece in Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine should be the biggest exposure yet. They have a readership of around 250,000, mostly concentrated in the Southeast USA. The magazine is free, and primarily aimed at tourists. I have been reading it over the last few months, and have been impressed. They usually tackle an activity every month, and give an overview of where in the Southeast you can enjoy that activity. For example, the August issue was about swimming, so they listed the best watering holes in the Southeast.
The September issue is going to be about road cycling. The piece where I’ll be quoted is about the toughest mountain centuries in the Southeast. Their editors had chosen six rides that were evenly spread throughout their readership. I had only ridden in two or three, but I knew about the others. I also suggested some rides that they had not mentioned, which should be part of a sidebar.
Fortunately I did not put my foot in my mouth this time. At least I don’t think I did. We’ll know for sure when it is released. Despite my participation, it sounds like it’ll be a useful article. I’ll post the web link on Twitter and Facebook.