Another Year

How To Win Races And Influence People.sm

A week ago RKP marked its fourth birthday. Where my brain was is anyone’s guess. I’m precisely the sort that would forget his own birthday if given half a chance, so maybe this shouldn’t be too surprising. It’s not like I didn’t have the Tour de France, my own riding, posts for RKP, two kids and a marriage to keep me busy. And frankly, no one orders a cake for a blog, right?

When I think of all that has transpired in the last year I wonder how I got through it. I’ve been through the events of my life plenty, so I won’t rehash them now, but when I look back I can’t help but be amazed at how the readership has remained utterly consistent. The particular trifecta of the beer fund, the Deuce ordeal and the resulting Kickstarter has done much to rewrite what I think the cycling community offers its own, the depth to which calling someone “our peeps” can resonate and initiate action.

The shot above was taken this past weekend in the kids’ race (actually, one of five our six) at the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix by my friend Ian McLagan. This is the kids’ equivalent of the 45+ Masters 1, 2, 3 race—it was 2, 3 and 4 year olds with no training wheels. Ian, like most of my friends, is a rider whose photo hobby could double as a part-time job if his day gig dries up. Last year he dropped by the race to do some shooting and stuck around for the kids’ race when he saw me. That’s when the following image was captured.

The Joy Of Bike Racing.sm

 

You’ve probably seen that shot here; you may also have seen it on the Specialized web site. Of these shots all I know to say is that Philip has great fun radar. He needs no introduction; he can find it himself. He’s got something of the performer in him and I think the constellation of something he loves and being encouraged to do it in a very public way really tickles him. He talks about the race and how much fun he had.

Whos The Cool One And Who Is Freaking Out-1

 

Prior to the moment above, one in which I was unable to restrain myself from cheering him like I’ve cheered nothing in my life, I spent the day at the race selling RKP t-shirts. The opportunity to do so came about thanks to a friend who supported the Kickstarter project at the Coppi level. He’s also on the board for the Southbay Wheelmen, the club that has put the race on for 50 or so years. Here’s where I thank Steve Whitsitt publicly for pulling a few strings to get me that booth space.

I sold far more shirts than I ever expected, thought I can’t say that I really had an expectation for how things would go. And while the result was as pleasant as it was unexpected, the real gift of the day was meeting a number of RKP readers. In every instance they asked about the Deuce and most said their wives had been asking how he is. I’ll reiterate what I told them, that Matthew is happy and healthy, and I really do mean happy. He’s a really smiley, easygoing kid. I confess that having people continue to ask about him is really touching. I think back on those 37 days and it all seems so dreamlike. From the daily routine of driving to the hospital to the meetings with the doctors, nurses, social workers and administrators, I can’t help but wonder if this is what an F1 driver feels when he looks at a photo of his car after he walks away from a crash. Really? I was in that?

What I’m less at ease with is how much more personal RKP has become in the last year. There’s always been a personal side to my work here, but in the last year, from my crash, to the death of my stepfather Byron, and of course to the baring of my life in Enter the Deuce, my work has taken on a “me” edge that isn’t always comfortable. Putting my sons out there has given—is giving—me a chance to write about some powerful experiences, but I’m not a stage parent, and that part of the equation is quease-inducing.

That note of caution is more for me, than you. As I write this, I’m sitting in a condo at Copper Mountain in Summit County, Colorado. Outside my window I-70 passes and I can see a doe grazing on the grass just above the highway. My head throbs thanks to the 9700-foot elevation. I’m here to check out new bikes and last night, when I met someone who contributed to the beer fund (the world gets smaller), I found myself asking whether the kids’ bikes would be shown as well.

So as RKP marks its fourth year, this is a fair occasion to note that what we do here has evolved a bit. It’ll probably change more, but your continued support is why I continue to explore unusual avenues. Thanks for reading.

11 comments

  1. Naz

    Padraig —

    Congrats on 4 years! Has it been that long already? RKP is my favourite cycling publication period because of the very mix of personal reflection, reviews, perspectives on cycling (both at the race and normal riding level). The personal writing has been quite welcome, despite the circumstances for them and I appreciate and am fortunate that you felt that you could share. Your writing, along with everyone else’s is a gift. I’m never more happier than when I see new posts here.

    Cheers!

  2. Phillip Ivan

    Padraig,

    Thank you very much for this website. As an expecting father, thank you for sharing your journey with The Deuce. But, this website transcended, in my mind, blog status along time ago. I’m not sure if that’s a compliment, but it’s not a criticisim (except that I thi I you are incorrect calling it such).

    If that’s the main bone I’ve got to pick then let me reiterirate; thank you.

    PhillipIvan

  3. P Poppenjay

    HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY RKP!

    A rough year foe you Padraig.

    I’ve admired your strength and determination.

  4. Randomactsofcycling

    I have been more of a lurker than a commentator during the last twelve months. However that is more to do with my own time constraints than any of the progress that RKP has made. It is the personal though very empathetic writing of RKP that has always attracted me. Thank you for working through all of your ‘issues’ and continuing to provide quality reading.

  5. Pingback: Things you see while you’re riding, bike-friendly Roaring Nights at the Zoo, and a happy bike riding kid | BikingInLA

  6. Janet D.

    Told you at the Thompson road rage trial that you looked like VeloNews – a cyclist need not be in lycra to be identified. Your reporting for them got me to the courthouse to witness the proceedings, but it was your recent writing about your son that moved me to tears. Congratulations on the evolution and the birthday!!

  7. Jeremy

    This site is fantastic. I find myself checking it religiously throughout my work day, anxiously awaiting for a new post. When it comes, it never seems to matter if its about the latest carbon layup or your sons latest throw-up, the style and manner in which all of you write always draws me in. Keep up what you’re doing. I hope that it is as successful for you from a business sense as it is enjoyable to your readers.

    As an additional kudos, the readers and commentors of RKP deserve my gratification. The material posted in the comments section often rivals or compliments the content of the article. It appears there may be many closet writers among us, just waiting for the opportunity to exercise their chops.

  8. Hautacam

    I don’t really follow cycling media much anymore.

    But I still check in on RKP a couple times a week. It’s so much more than cycling media. And I mean that as a HUGE compliment.

    Happy birthday, and keep up the great work and great company (Robot, August, et al.)!

    Cheers!

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