cycling utah April 2000
Apologies offered to two event organizers
By David R. Ward
Last month, I wrote the "Road Preview: Wide Variety of Events Meet Roadies' Dreams" for our first issue of 2000. Each year, I try to convey a sense of the variety of events available for the road riding enthusiast. Doing so, however, has its dangers, and two e-mails I received highlight those dangers.
First, an e-mail from Rob MacLeod stated:
"I also have a bone to pick with you about the listing in the calendar. There is no mention of MBAC [Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Committee] for the [Cycle Salt Lake] Century!!! Why should we buy ad space in CU [cycling utah] when you guys continue to list this as a BBTC [Bonneville Bicycle Touring Club] event? You know I am a supporter of BBTC and CU, but this has gone on year after year and I am tired of it. ... [T]he responsibility falls squarely on the MBAC. Dan Mayhew has organized the event for seven years, I have done it for two. Neither of us are even BBTC members (shame on us, I know). The MBAC pays for the century, we bear the financial responsibility if it fails, we get the permits, we get the sponsors, we pay for the ads we give you, we pay BBTC for the help they give us! And yet, year after year, the century gets included in their schedule and you guys list it as their event with seldom if ever a mention of the real people doing the work, the MBAC, or the fact that we run the ride in order to pump money back into cycling and bike advocacy, not to subsidize a bunch of other fun events for our membership."
I apologize to Rob and the MBAC. Both are tremendous assets to the cycling community, and I would never intentionally slight them or fail to give them due credit. Frankly, because BBTC has been very visibly involved in the Cycle Salt Lake Century, and it is listed in their publication and on their website as a BBTC event, I honestly thought BBTC was now the driving force behind it. I know this event takes a lot of organizational effort and risk, and Rob and the MBAC should be appropriately applauded and acknowledged for their efforts.
Next, an e-mail from Angela Snyder took me to task for failing to mention the Nissan Xterra Criterium scheduled for July 8:
"Somehow you forgot to mention The Nissan Crit in this article. I was wondering if this was an oversight. We are buying three half page ads in a row and I would like for our sponsors and race to get as much extra recognition as possible. F.Y.I., New for the Nissan Crit: We've doubled the purse to $2,000 and we've added a citizen fat tire race in the morning."
Again, Angela, Nissan and the other sponsors deserve much more credit than they will ever receive for putting on this event. The inaugural event last year was well-organized and promoted. It promises to be a good event this year and, with continued support, to become a premier event on the cycling calendar in future years.
Mention was made in both e-mails about advertising in cycling utah. An ethical journalist (an oxymoron you say?) would tell you that advertising must not affect editorial content. Honestly, advertising does affect my emphasis at times. But in both these cases, I was writing the article while Dave Iltis was gathering advertising. Given more time, I might have talked with Dave about who was buying what advertising. As it was, I wrote the article without that knowledge.
When I write the road preview, it would be great to list every event. In my opinion, everyone who takes on the thankless task of organizing an event deserves much recognition. It would, however, be unrealistic to do so, and bulky and unmanageable if we did. Again, my intent is to give a flavor of the number and variety of events available throughout the cycling season, and emphasize the need to keep an eye on cycling utah's advertising and "Calendar of Events". That is where the bulk of the publicity will be found.
Having made those apologies, I am inclined to go on and apologize to everyone else whom I offend, inconvenience, or in some way cause upset. There is my wife, my work, my employer, my parents, my children, my church, my fellow sufferers here at cycling utah, my friends, my enemies . . . Well, you get the idea. Unfortunately, such a list of apologies would go on far too long to attempt it in this article.
But I tend to keep myself far too involved, and time has become a very scarce commodity in my life. As a consequence, I cannot give most things the kind of research and depth that they deserve. This, of course, results in mistakes and slights that I really do try to avoid.
And frankly, cycling and cycling utah has to rank below a couple of other items on my list of priorities. So, when it comes time to pound out an article, I am sometimes lucky to even get it done (and well past the deadline). As a result, errors and oversights sometimes creep in despite my best efforts.
Cycling is a hobby for most of us, something we do only after we have secured a living and given our families the priority they deserve. Let us please be patient and understanding with each other. Otherwise, too many of us, particularly those providing the time and effort to promote events, head up clubs, and keep everyone informed, will continue to be driven away and the sport will suffer.