Monday, October 12

Sometimes you just need to do things yourself

Back at the Shenandoah 100 I ran in to an old FBB (friend before the blog), Adam Blumenthal. He had something odd scribbled on his arm in Sharpie...


When I asked him about the coded message he let me know that he was traveling with Dirt Rag editor Karen Brooks (KB). She was interested in doing an interview (according to Adam) with me (TD) and the scribblings on his arms were a reminder to let me know about said interview if he saw me over the course of the weekend. I sat with Karen for awhile, but the festive mood at the Shenandoah is no place for taking care of business, and I never bothered to ask Karen if she was really interested in an interview or if Adam was just suffering from an imbalance which was keeping him from being in touch with reality.

So a few weeks later I bumped into Karen at the SSXWC09, but it was raining, so I didn't bother to say more than "Hello"as our two ships passed in the night. She shoulda hooked onto the Dicky party train, as she missed out on the Derailed Bar dance club experience, but I'm sure she had fun at the SSWC09 poetry reading or wherever she ended up.

When I returned from SSWC09 my PR guy (Mike Piazza) wanted to know if I tracked down Karen to knock out the interview.

"No, it was raining, and it just didn't seem like the time... plus I never confirmed with her whether or not she really wanted to do it in the first place," I sheepishly said.

"Nonsense boy," Mike gruffly replied. "You have to force yourself on these media types. Weird bunch they are, what with their cults, rampant drug use, and strange sexual preferences. You gotta take the initiative."

"I know, I just didn't want to bother her...."

"Bother her?!? This is a shot at the big time. I mean Dirt Rag is huge... seriously, it's like four times bigger than I am, you moron."

"Well, what do you want me to do now?" I asked.

"Email her and see if she'll do it over the interweb or maybe even on the phone. You gotta try something," Mike Piazza said in his angry voice.

So I emailed her, and then I waited, and then I waited some more. I think I emailed her after Interbike, but I mighta emailed her sometime during Interbike. Either way, I'm sure she got the email by now, and I'm pretty sure her e-silence can be taken as a solid "no".

"Sorry Mike, I emailed Karen Brooks, and I never heard back from her," I said in my big boy voice.

"So that's how she wants to do this huh? We really needed this interview. You haven't been in a magazine in months. Tell you what... I've got an idea. We're gonna do this without her. Hell, we got a bigger readership than that glorified zine anyways," Mike Piazza said.

So here's the Dirt Rag interview with Mike Piazza standing in as Karen Brooks, and well, me just being me.

KB: So Dick, can I call you Dick? As I understand it you've been reading Dirt Rag since the early 90's when you were buying it at Bike Nashbar in Youngstown, Oh. You've had a subscription for somewhere close to fifteen years, so by my close estimates you've spent way more than $500 on our magazine. If you had to do it over again would you still spend more than half a grand on Dirt Rag?

TD: Half a grand? Shit... and please don't call me Dick.

KB: Okay Dick. You've been reading Dirt Rag for almost as long as it's been around, and in that time you were mentioned in our magazine only once. Sure we got some of your information wrong, but wouldn't you credit most of your success to the slightest of mention that you got in that article?

Karen Brooks and La Ruta article author Manuel Maqueda standing in front of a novelty sized version of the Dirt Rag issue Rich Dillen was mentioned in.

TD: I think I was doing fine before the article, but my boss wanted to know if I was quitting my job when he read that I was an "ex-bike messenger".

KB: I'd say I'm sorry for that, but I'm not. You've had some previous history with some of our former Dirt Rag staff and a possible writing opportunity. Can you tell us about that?

TD: Back when I came back from La Ruta in 2004 I wrote a lengthy post on MTBR about the experience. A bunch of people told me to submit it to Dirt Rag, and so I did. I got a reply back from Michael Browne (then editor at Dirt Rag) that my piece would need a lot of work. My grammar was way worse than it is now (ed: can't imagine it actually being worse), and I had issues with verb tense and all sorts of other problems. He said it needed a lot of work.

KB: So you reworked it?

TD: Yeah, I spent hours on it and submitted it as a 4,500 word article. Micheal said that was too long, so I cut it down to 3,000 words, and then Micheal said that was still too long. By the time it was said and done I couldn't get it any shorter, and Micheal felt like the timeliness of the article had passed. Dirt Rag had never had an article that long before, and Micheal said page space was at a premium. He was pretty cool about it all, and he ended up sending me a Dirt Rag jacket for all my efforts.

KB: How did that make you feel?

TD: Slightly warmer???

KB: Awhile later Dirt Rag published a way longer article from Kent Peterson (I would link to it, but there is no online version available as it would eat up all of Dirt Rag's bandwidth) titled "The Way of the Mountain Turtle", just an excerpt from a way longer story detailing his finishing the Continental Divide Race on a single speed. How did that make you feel?

TD: Errrrr.... ummm....

KB: Burn. Anyways, your feelings about our beer reviews and fictional pieces have slipped out into the public forum on multiple occasions. You said something like "If I wanted beer reviews I'd go down to the Common Market and see what the pretentious hipsters are drinking. "How's that Drunken Giraffe Ale? Do you find the Pregnant Nun IPA a bit too hoppy? Is the Unemployed Messenger Stout as bitter as they say?"" You've also mentioned that if you wanted fiction you'd go to the library and get a book that has a plot, character develpoment, twists and turns, and lasts longer than one good shit. Any comment?

TD: Well, I've just seen what a great job XXCMag has been doing with real stories and real peopl...

KB: Never heard of it. Next question. You're the first rider sponsored by MOOTS since Ruthie Matthes. She won the World Cross-Country Mountain Bike Championship in 1991, and raced at the top level on the professional cross country circuit for years. You, on the other hand, have won one non-UCI (so basically unofficial) World Championship and have been racing at a very mediocre level for many years. Why did MOOTS even bother with you?

TD: Touche'.

KB: That's neither an answer or a suitable comeback. Could you answer the question?

TD: No habla Ingles.

KB: Don't you think doing this interview without the cooperation of the real Karen Brooks may be violating some kinda law regarding the impersonation an editor?

TD: My attorney (Mike Piazza) has counseled me to not answer any such question.

KB: Nice. Since you're not being very interesting do you have anything you'd like to add before I end this interview?

TD: Can I plug my 2010 Bad Idea Racing jerseys I'll be selling? Would it be possible to tell everybody to email MOOTS ( and let them know how much they love my work? Can I write an article for Dirt Rag sometime?

KB: No, no, and no thanks.

TD: No habla Ingles. I'll get started on the article tomorrow.


Peter Keiller said...

this is where i'd offer to make 'a call' for you.
unfortunately...i already know the answer.

apparently you do too.


GenghisKhan said...

Great interview. Can't imagine the real KB doing any better.

Anonymous said...

Sounds to me that you need to dust off the keyboard and start writing some good stuff for XXC!

Leyonce said...

"TD: No habla Ingles."

shot coffee out my nose!

the real KB said...

Hee hee... thanks for doing all the work for me! Transcribing interviews is a bitch.
But actually, I never received an email from you. Perhaps that's a bit of artistic license, you know, for "color"?

- the "real" KB

Christopher said...

Dude, I'm still laughing about the 'touche' answer and KB's response. Brilliant!

sean said...

haha dicky, i've been in dirt rag twice. which clearly means you're even less famous and reputable than a shifty wierdo from new jersey alaska.....

AdamB said...

Brilliant! (said with the accent of the Guiness cut-out animated guy)

Thanks for the creative verbage and good laughs. Now this will be even better fodder for a "real" DR interview... with the bonus nude centerfold spread.

Hugs, AdamB (the real TDKB)