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Posts Tagged ‘joe lawwill’

Followups: Interviews

Posted by bikezilla on November 6, 2011

I get scattered comments, tweets and emails about the interviews I have up on Bikezilla and Cyclismas, usually in regards to my relationship with or feelings about the subjects of those interviews.

So I figured I’d address the most common, here.

— You must really dislike James Stout.

Since we just had a short exchange on Twitter, this one came to mind first.

Dislike James? That’s not at all true.

There were things that happened during the run up to and after our interview that I took personally, perhaps in error, that irked me. THAT is true.

But, on the whole, I think James is a fantastic person. This opinion is bolstered by the fact that people who have had random contact with James have made a point to mention how he’s had a positive and sometimes life changing impact on them.

Another thing that greatly increases my opinion of James is that while he does a lot of volunteering of his time in an effort to educate diabetics in poor neighborhoods, you NEVER hear him boasting about doing this or that, and you NEVER hear him complain about how hard it is or how much time he spends doing it.

I personally believe that when you do a good deed, that it should remain between you and the person you’ve helped. I admire James greatly for this trait.

As far as I’m aware, there is no bad blood between us. I’m not saying we’re bestest best buds, but we’re not enemies.

— Why were you so mean to Chris Smith from Lazer Sports?

Mean? Hmmmmmm.

I believe, and maybe I’m wrong, that Chris understood going in, that he was, in part, a sacrificial lamb on behalf of the industry. That was not the entire point of the interview, not even close, and I did try to get some input from POC to ease the burden on Chris.

There are issues, or perceived issues, with the bicycle helmet industry that I wanted to address. Chris was gracious enough to step onto the pyre of his own free will to help me out.

I sincerely apologize if it seems (especially to Chris) that I unfairly bashed him or Lazer. I believe Chris is a guy with very high integrity and that Lazer is doing more than most companies to combat known shortcomings in the legal testing standards for bicycle helmets. He’s a good guy and they’re a good company.

To the best of my knowledge everything is cool between Chris and me.

Chris, I’m sorry if you felt ambushed or disrespected. That was never my intent or desire.

— Do you really think JV is good for professional cycling? Or were you just kissing his ass because he gave you a good interview?

Well, when you put it like that, it kind of makes it hard to answer without seeming like I’m just sucking up to JV, doesn’t it? I also think it’s interesting that this comes up repeatedly, because I know that immediately after the final article in our interview series went up, JV did not feel that I’d been especially kind to him.

But, yes, I really do believe that Jonathan Vaughters is good for professional cycling. That is not to say I think he’s a saint or that he’s 100% honest and transparent, or that he never puts self-interest ahead of the sport’s best interest.

As I’ve said several times, JV is the model for the phrase, “a pirate and a good man”.

JV inspires VERY intense emotional responses. There are people who hate his guts and think that because he refuses to openly admit that he was a dope sucking weasel when he rode professionally, that he cannot and should not be trusted. Ever.

I can only say that based on the total body of his public statements, and based on personal conversations I’ve had with him, on and off the record, that I trust him to lead professional cycling and that I think he does so with a reasonable amount of integrity and honesty.

— Do you really believe that Bill Strickland is not bought and paid for by Lance Armstrong?

Bill is very much like Greg LeMond in one respect: When he sees that someone has done something shitty, he’s very inclined to view that as a good person who happened to do a bad thing, rather than as a bad thing that was done because the person behind the act was also bad.

I won’t rehash the entire Postscript of our interview, here. But, yes, I 100% believe that Bill Strickland is a man and a journalist of very high integrity and that he is not bought and paid for by Lance Armstrong. That is NOT the belief I had going in to our conversation, but it is my belief now.

— After you interview these guys, are you like buddies or something?

Um, no. Not at all.

I have only rare contact with any of the people I’ve interviewed.

James and I have very little contact, all  of it via Twitter.

Chris and I spoke very briefly about the Afterword and his response, and like I said, as far as I know we’re cool.

JV is just way too busy for casual, “Hey, how ya been?” kind of emails and I would feel disrespectful even sending that kind of thing. We’ve had a couple very brief exchanges via Twitter.

Bill has been great. I’ve contacted him a couple of times, seeking his professional advice and opinion. He’s responded in a polite, friendly, professional manner, telling me his thoughts without at all saying, “This is what you should do.” But, again, I never write him just to find out what’s up. I’d feel like I was being intrusive and disrespectful.

Non-of these guys writes me just to check in.

I like and respect every one of them, but I’m not friends with any of them.

It’d be cool to meet all of them. I think I’d like a couple of them a lot on a personal level. But, no, I’m not buddies with any of them.

However, two of the interviews I still love the most are tiny deals that hardly anyone even notices.

Those were my interviews with Rebecca Rusch and Joe Lawwill. about clipless pedals.

No one had even heard of Bikezilla when I did those interviews. In fact during the offseason over that time period I had contacted Cadel Evans for a short interview of a similar nature. His agent politely told me no thanks there was enough of that kind of article out there. But, Rebecca and Joe were both great.

They were both big deals in MTB and I was this schmoe blog writer. They had no reason to say “yes” and they were paid nothing. Yet, they still took the time to talk to me. It was and still is incredibly cool to me.


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