By Patrick O’Grady
Judging by the staggering popularity of our new online letters page, many of you have questions about the direction VeloNews is taking, especially since the debut of this “Friday’s Foaming Rant” column. “What the hell do you idiots think you’re doing?” is a frequent query, and one that is easily answered.
We don’t know.
I’m not kidding. We’re making it up as we go along, just like USA Cycling, except we’re still involved to some degree with bicycle racing.
With the Euro’ peloton cranking out more positive dope tests than Robert Downey Jr., and the UCI’s off-road World Cup down to a single mountain cross in Spaminacanisistan or some damn’ place, our Fearless Leader Felix thought about turning the entire mag’ over to the Velo Catalog guys, maybe run nothing but sexy apparel shots like Victoria’s Secret. But Anne-Caroline Chausson and Lyne Bessette just laughed at us when we asked them to model, and the contact sheets of the Missy Giove photo shoot made Wilcockson screech for ’is mum.
Hey, it was just a thought. I mean, put yourselves in our place. Chris Horner and one of the two or three hundred women on the Saturn team are going to win every freakin’ road race in the Homeland Security Zone this year, which means we might as well run file art from Sea Otter and phone in the copy from a stool at the HandleBar & Grill.
Why risk another cavity search at DIA ’cause your laptop’s hard drive clicks like a Glock being cocked just to watch a rerun of Redlands from the back seat of the Prime Alliance Geo Metro? We can do that from a pub, where the beer is, with our cavities safely parked in comfy chairs.
The various other disciplines are even less appealing from a magazine-sales perspective. The NORBA series has fewer dates than a Milli Vanilli reunion tour, the only interesting thing to happen to track in years is Brian Lopes, and cyclo-cross’s niche is even smaller than the one allotted to Fortunato in Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado.”
Some diehards still follow the Giro, but they’re all either pharmacists or Italian dope cops. There’s the Tour, of course, but Wilcockson’s covered every one of them, right back to 1903, and he could give you the next five winners and top 10 on GC right now, if he weren’t off chundering in the loo over the thought of that photo shoot making the mag.
Frankly, we’re tired. We’re 30, and we don’t have the get-up-and-go we had back when an American male could still see the front third of a World Cup cross country without the Hubble space telescope. Our hairy, knobby knees make sounds like Rosie O’Donnell sitting on a sackful of pork rinds, and the younguns’ constant gibbering about gravity racing only reminds us that everything is getting bigger, hairier and closer to the ground.
We’re kind of short of money, too. What with bankruptcies, consolidation and the amazingly low operating costs associated with employing slave labor, there’s really only one bike company left on the planet — China’s Amalgamated Death to the Running Dogs People’s Bicycle Company & Struggle for World Peace Nuclear Missile Works — and it sees little point in advertising.
Pick a head badge, any head badge — no matter which one you buy, your money winds up in the People’s Republic, and I ain’t talking Boulder here, buddy.
We thought about selling out to Rodale, but they’d probably make Zap the Totally Supreme Editor Dude, which means we’d either get pink-slipped or ordered to install bottom-bracket shells in our earlobes and start riding Ducatis, and Christ, Steve, our advertising director can’t even keep a bicycle upright. So that’s out.
Frankly, in this economy, it’s all about budgets and efficiency. So expect to see VeloNews.com whittled down to a two-man op’ — me, to make stuff up, and a minimum-wage pixel-twiddler to post the angry letters.
As for the print mag, well … you know all those names in the masthead at the back of the book? Between you and me, all those guys quit months ago, except for Wilcockson, who was out sick ’cause of that photo shoot, and our unpaid intern, who hasn’t got enough money to get out of town.
So until we can kidnap a few more interns, we may have to revisit that concept of a Missy centerfold.
Oh, hell, there goes Wilcockson again.
The views and/or opinions expressed on this page are just that: views and/or opinions. They do not necessarily represent those of VeloNews, its affiliated organizations or any other members of polite society. VeloNews.com welcomes the opionions of that immeasurably large group who quite logically might hold a contrary view on this and other subjects. Letters can be addressed to WebLetters@7Dogs.com,though too much attention may only encourage him.