Stirring the Winds of Change

It was with some disappointment that I read Darach McQuiad’s tweet from Friday, October 14th.

“Momentarily irked by bloggers. Q – any cycling blogger out there actually, EVER, achieved or created anything in this sport? Risked any €$ ?”

For those who don’t know Darach is the brother of UCI president Pat McQuaid. Darach is also a principal at Shadetree Sports – the company that was partly responsible for bringing the Road Cycling World Championships to Virginia in 2015. His company was also behind the now folded Tour of Ireland. I’m guessing his exasperation with bloggers is that they have pointed out possible nepotism in the process awarding Worlds to Richmond. It’s easy to see how there would be a conflict of interest. In an interview with Pat denies any possible family backdoor dealings. However, Darach fails to realize how bloggers are often the ones pointing out and exposing to the light some of the dirty secrets this sport has hidden. So this begs the question – why is Darach irked? Don’t both McQuaids want what’s best for the sport?

Some main stream media have taken bold steps to point out fallacies/lies/inaccuracies that the UCI tends to push out in poorly written press releases, but it’s the bloggers who have championed the cause of cycling for the better. They are not motivated by a sales team that is worried about a full-page ad being pulled or comp’ed hotel rooms for a magazine’s journalists being yanked. The good bloggers are questioning what needs to be questioned.

For me Darach’s statements once again smack of the era of “omerta” in the sport – don’t look behind the curtain and let us continue to run the sport as it always has been.

To follow Darach’s logic, before someone can fairly criticize the sport they have to have risked money or created something? That makes no sense. Instead McQuaid should be thanking blogs like Inrng, Cyclismas, Cyclocosm, NY Velocity, and The Elements of Guile, to name but a few, for carrying the banner of cycling with passion and verve. It’s writers like this, along with a select group of journalists, not willing to tow the company line, that have righted this ship and pushed for change. If not for these writers, we’d still be in the days when racers were going to bed with blood thick as ketchup and never waking up. Ah…the good old days…

As I talk to younger pros, some seem to understand how these “irksome bloggers” have been part of a change for the better. The old ways of not allowing critical analysis are gone and the Old Guard had better accept it and work with it. Comments such as McQuaid’s show a reluctance for change, which is necessary and unavoidable.

I sincerely hope this was a passing thought and he reconsidered his point of view after a few calming breaths. These changes that the McQuaids seem to be fighting against are for the best and if they can’t tack their sail into this new wind of change, they need to abandon ship. And to answer his question – yes I have risked $$, created and achieved in this sport. So have many others.

Speaking of change – one element of reporting or sharing our lives is the use of social media like YouTube and Twitter. On the next TourChats our two guests are masters at both. Austin Carroll posted daily video blogs for a year chronicling his personal life as he struggled as a professional cyclist in the discipline of the track. Carroll had been part of BMC, Rock Racing and in the beginning of this year, a new track squad, Team OUCH. However, plans didn’t go smoothly for him and Carroll was forced to make adjustments. Along the way we also got a look into his personal life off the bike – all in five to ten minute segments.

The other TourChats guest I’m not even sure how to describe. @Mmmaiko is an anonymous Twitter phenomenon. Her tweets are rapid fire and perplexing at first glance, but looked at again funny and poignant. She started a Tumbr blog where she Blingees professional cyclists. I invitede her on the show fully expecting to be shot down, but instead she agreed to come on camera and talk. To be honest I’m not sure what to expect. As @mmmaiko herself said, maybe she’s my Tyler Durden and in the end we’re just going to blow shit up. I guess you’ll have to tune in Sunday night…


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