Most of the time interviews go fairly smoothly. If I want to interview a rider and I know them well, I just email or call them about setting up a time to talk. If I don’t know them I go through the team and arrange it that way. For this issue of ROAD we just put to bed I interviewed Jelly Belly’s Andrew Bajadali on his win at the Redlands Classic. It was easy to set up. I emailed his director and 12 hours later I was talking to Andrew about Redlands. Naturally, talking to domestic pros is mostly drama free. They are in the country and they speak English. It’s when you want to talk to a European based rider, that’s when things tend to go sideways on you. You’ve got European time zones (they can be either eight to nine hours ahead of us), and spotty European cell coverage to contend with. Then they may not have a great command of the English language, other than random curse words (which is funny to hear them say). The other interview I wanted to conduct this month was with the recent winner of Paris-Nice and the Vuelta Castilla y Leon, Discovery Channel’s Alberto Contador.
This interview had a few challenges: he knows muy poco English, he’s in Spain, and everyone and their brother is trying to interview him because of his recent victories. On top of this, our deadline was looming. I emailed Discovery Channel’s media guy and asked for an interview. No problem he said, he’d arrange a time. Now the next dilemma: find someone who can speak Spanish fluently. Luckily, our Advertising Director, Nicole, knows Spanish. The date is set, Alberto can talk Saturday. I drive up to work, as does Nicole, to call Alberto. She calls. It goes to voice mail. We continue to call. It continues to go to voice mail. Oh damn, the magazine is due in 48 hours! I feel like an episode from the T.V. show 24. The screen splits and it shows the characters doing something at that exact moment as the digital clock counts down. The one screen would be Nicole and I feverishly re-dialing Spain, the other screen Alberto at home looking at his phone thinking, ‘Why haven’t the Americans called?’ and finally my publisher doing whatever he does on weekends and thinking, “Those ROAD guys had better finish the magazine on time!” All the while the countdown clock is running. I send off a quick email to Discovery’s media guy. He responds quickly and we arrange another day, Monday. We are cutting it close, but we can do it. Monday rolls around and after a few missed calls we connected with Alberto! It seems that where he was on Saturday was spotty cell coverage, so he didn’t get our calls. We transcribed the interview and it will be in the next issue of ROAD. It’s dramas like these that can put a knot in your stomach, but somehow it always works out.