I began RKP for two reasons. The first was because I was tired of people telling me I was doing a good job but the guys in sales hadn’t hit their numbers and someone needed to go home. And it sure as hell wasn’t going to be the sales guys because that would be stupid. The second was to create a place where I could follow the pieces my heart told me to write. Why was that so hard? I still don’t know. One of the first pieces of advice I was ever given by a master poet was to follow my heart. That if I thought something was interesting, I was absolutely on the right track.
I’ve worked for a lot of different editors and only one—Brad Roe—trusts my gut without exception, so until peloton came along, I’d had a lot of ideas never find a home. What Brad did for me I’d like to do for some other folks.
Wait, let’s back up a sec. I thought this would be just part of my income stream. That it would be a modest little thing, but that I could make a home for a few writers where they could do good work guided by their guts.
As it turns out, things have gotten (note my use of the passive) decidedly less modest as of today. I’ve hired John Wilcockson.
You read that right, but go ahead and reread that last sentence. I’ve had to, myself.
John has covered an incredible 43 Tours de France. His career spans from Jan Janssens’s nail-biter of a finish to the present, with no interruption. Think about that. Merckx? He was there. Same for Hinault and Indurain. And Armstrong. How many other people know exactly what they are doing in July as clearly as John does? (Well, for the record, photographer John Pierce does, but he’s an exception.) His experience among English-language journalists is unparalleled and that’s a word that is frequently overused. In this instance, it’s not.
I can even credit John with being part of the inspiration for my desire to write about cycling.
Okay, so a bit of clarification: John has elected to work for both peloton and RKP. He’ll be splitting his time between the two entities. The story here is that two small (okay, one small, one tiny) companies coordinated efforts to give one of the gems of the cycling world a reasonable income. Neither one of us could have done this on our own.
People say opportunity knocks. I’m here to say that if it does, the tapping is very light. Stuff rarely lands in my lap. All the great things that have happened in my life—my wife, my work, my son, whatever passes for fitness these days—I’ve had to chase down. I’ve been working behind the scenes for weeks to make this happen.
That promise to make RKP a home to great writing has played out in a surprising way. I didn’t expect anything like this would ever happen. But a promise can hide ambition within it, so I’ve found. I’m excited to bring you a great voice. Watch for John’s posts on Tuesdays.
[UPDATE] I thought it might be nice to check in with John to get a statement from his perspective. He had this to say:
“I first heard about RKP from Boulder videographer Brian Patrick, who said it was the coolest cycling site he’d seen. So I checked it out and thought, anything that has ‘red kite’ and ‘prayer’ in its name has to be aimed at true European bike-racing aficionados, perhaps with a spiritual bent. Nice!
“So here I am, ready and excited to clip in to the pedals and begin this new challenge. My first RKP column will appear next Tuesday. Thanks, Patrick, for the chance to reach some new readers!”