cycling utah March 1999

SPEAKING OF SPOKES

"Labor of love" has been worth it

By David R. Ward

Publisher

As we commence our seventh year of publishing cycling utah, I have been reflecting on where we started, where we are and where we are going. It is probably a good thing we did not know what we were getting ourselves into when Editor Bob and I concocted this crazy idea of publishing a regional cycling rag. But, then, I have always believed the doers of the world are those who see what they want to do and then jump into it without worrying about, but determined to meet, the unknown challenges.

Our first issue, and indeed our first two years of publication, were printed in black and white with "spot" color. With expanding technology, the cost of color publication came down dramatically, so that we could move to a full-color format in our third year. That was a big step.

We printed three thousand copies of our first issue, 8 pages in length, featuring Bob Roll on the cover. I remember meeting in March, 1993, at Editor Bobís apartment after the first issue had been delivered from the printer, excited to see the final product. The next day, Bob and I split the Wasatch front and went out to deliver our first issue to bike, bagel, sport and coffee shops. Whether or not as some kind of omen, the heavens dropped about a foot of snow that day.

Now, each issue is at least 16 pages, with some going 24 pages, and we print 10,000 copies. Even though our next issue of cycling utah will be our 49th edition, I am still filled with excitement to see the finished product of each issue as it is delivered.

At the outset, putting the paper together was a labor-intensive project for Editor Bob. Writing, printing, cutting and pasting to boards, and then delivering those to the printer was a heavy-duty job. The labor is still there, but zip drives and technological advances have radically changed the way in which each issue of cycling utah is prepared and printed.

On my end, I was primarily responsible for selling advertising and handling the administrative duties of our project. I still am grateful to those people who believed in our publication enough to advertise in that first issue. Joel Bingham (Binghamís Cyclery) and Rod Golsan (Golsan Cycles) both came on board when cycling utah was just a hair-brained idea of two publishing magnate wannabes, and have constantly supported us through the years.

When we started, websites and the internet were still some futuristic netherworld for me. Actually, they still are a netherworld to me, but certainly not futuristic. We first put our paper on the internet in 1997. Editor Bob took care of that. I was too technologically-challenged to be of any help. It was exciting, though, when I first logged on to our new website.

Now, our website (www.cyclingutah.com) will be better than ever. We have brought Darin Boyd on board to handle that for us. He will see that cycling utah is always online and up to date. He has done much for us already, and we look forward to all that he will do.

We have been fortunate in many ways. First, Editor Bob and I both had our own professional careers. We did not need to make a profit on this venture, which is a good thing because, when our time is considered, we never have. For the most part, it has been a labor of love.

Then, two years ago, we learned that Dave Iltis might be interested in selling advertising for us. So, we hired him. In retrospect, that has to be the single, most important step we have taken. Fortunately, we had grown cycling utah to the point we could afford to pay someone to do that on a part-time basis.

Dave has proven to be not only a great salesman, but a great advocate for and contributor to cycling utah in so many ways. And all that on top of being a great guy.

We have picked up, through the years, the talents and knowledge of our contributing writers. Greg Overtonís "Classic Corner" and Rob McLeodís advocacy articles have given us some diverse and interesting content. The contributions of all these writers have been greatly appreciated.

cycling utah has provided me many memorable moments. In pursuit of stories, I have been to places and events I may have otherwise missed. Probably my most memorable event was interviewing Greg LeMond. What a great experience: Interviewing a three-time winner of the Tour de France and Americaís greatest cyclist, all while he gulped down a huge bagel sandwich.

So, where are we going? Who knows? I think it is now pretty safe to say we are around to stay for awhile. Thatís saying a lot, actually. There have been years, especially before the start of our third and fourth years, that cycling utah came close to being a relic of the past.

As always, we will go where events and the times take us. Mention has been made that within a few years we will be totally electronic. Actually, I have a hard time with that concept. I enjoy being able to read cycling utah while sitting on a sofa or laying in bed, places I usually do not take my computer. But then, technology has taken us places I never dreamed possible just a few years ago.

Wherever we go, cycling utah will be a great read and a great ride. It has been, and always will be, a labor love.

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