Hey look at me!

I got an interview on Pez, which went up today:

http://pezcyclingnews.com/?pg=fullstory&id=7198&status=True&catname=Late...

On Facebook I joked that I asked for my picture to go up in the Daily Distractions, but they said my tits weren't big enough. Funny, maybe, but I was actually trying to make a point there. I've been asked to be interviewed or to contribute to Pez in the past, and I've said no each time. I simply can not get past the "distraction." Not because I don't like boobies. I like boobies. But why are there boobies on a cycling news site?

From my standpoint, the Daily Distractions on Pez plays into a few different dynamics. One, there's a message that this is a web site by boys, for boys. Only boys race bikes, and only straight ones at that? It's almost English in its Page 5 tabloid girl approach. I also see it as related to the podium girl dynamic. Even if men and women are reading the site (or simarly watching a podium presentation), everyone likes to look at women. Male gazers are looking at potential sexual partners, and female viewers are looking at how these women are being perceived and evaluating them in relation to themselves. There are never male podium presenters because only straight women want to look at men, but everyone, male and female, likes to look at women. When the race winner has two beautiful women on either side of him, takes a fluted champagne bottle and explodes it from his hips, spraying the women on both sides of him and the crowd as well, can there be any mistaking this ritual as symbolic of the porn-style money shot? Further, it reinforces the traditional, patriarchal, heteronormative view of sex and gender roles. Even if the podium presentation is for a women's race, the dynamic is the same; the image is identical to a Girls Gone Wild-style mock lesbianism tailored specifically for the straight male audience and the women who want to be desired by those men. Welcome to the patriarchy.

When I go to Pez, I always go to the Daily Distractions. I simply have to look, because it's the proverbial train wreck. Again, it's not that I don't like hot girls, it's that when I go to a cycling news site, I want read about cycling, and not be distracted by the objectification of women. How can we possibly treat female cyclists as pro athletes if we're also putting up pictures of podium girls right next to them, or even pictures of the athletes themselves as sex objects? It's ok to be hot, and it's ok to be an athlete. But can we focus on the athletics, and the news, if that's what the point of the site is?

So I guess I finally caved, and agreed to be interviewed. Jered Gruber, who wrote the article, has been doing a great job recently with his reports and coverage from Europe. He's making a strong effort for serious cycling journalism with the unique approach of someone who's been a pro, and is also a huge fan of bike racing. He's also a friend and former teammate, and someone I spent a lot of time training with in Athens, GA. He's not the one responsible for the Daily Distractions, and he's aware of my distaste for it. I decided to compromise, I suppose, by agreeing to support Jered and work with him on an interview, while still saying no to writing anything myself of generating content for the site.

I feel a little bit like I sold out here with this compromise. I'm still generating traffic for Pez in exchange for some exposure for myself and Cycle-Smart, and in that way endorsing or supporting the Daily Distractions. But it also gave me the opportunity to talk about it here, show my support for the good journalism they're doing, while calling out the blatant boys club atmosphere created by the Distractions.

So Pez, thanks for the interview. But if you want to be serious about cycling news it's time to focus on cycling news. Get rid of the distractions.

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Comments

I liked that a lot, Adam.

I liked that a lot, Adam. Very well put. Liked the article too. Hope you and yours are well. -ashley

he said boobies..... hee hee

he said boobies..... hee hee hee.

I completely agree with you.

I completely agree with you. I don't approve of the Distractions, I don't love them, I think they're unnecessary, and in a way, to certain people, they probably take away from the work that I'm doing. They take away from biking. The Distractions are a different world from what I do. I take care of the writing, the editing, the pictures, the day to day functioning. The Distractions are elsewhere, a different part of the place where I work. It's frustrating, because it is not my site, it never will be. I can't tell Richard to get rid of the Distractions, and if I did, there would be laughter. The Distractions, for better or worse, will always be a part of PezCyclingNews.com. Just like the name, the logo, and the foundation of the site: it ain't my call. I have to respect that as a person working for someone else, right? Or am I giving in too easily? It is unfortunate that something like the Distractions can stand in the way of doing my job. I want to expand Pez, broaden its horizons, take it from being completely ProTour-centric, and bring it to American domestic racing, women's racing, and cross. It's kinda hard, as that quest feels like a one man show. Richard has no interest in it, and from what I can tell, the advertisers don't give a flying shit either. They want Tour Tour Tour, so we need to talk Tour Tour Tour. So Richard certainly isn't doing anything wrong. At this point, I'm doing it for the love of the sport, because I respect it, and because I hate the idea that a certain part of bike racing is being neglected. I love biking, and I want to do it justice...somehow. I don't know what I'm driving at here, but I agree. I'm glad you sold out for a few minutes though. Your perspective is a good one, and I'm happy it found its way to Pez. I feel like there's the chance to take Pez forward, inch by inch, even with a certain stereotype tagging along for the journey. Am I wrong to accept something that I don't agree with in the name of trying to find a spot for myself in the world of cycling journalism? Pez pays the bills, gives me great opportunities, and has given me the chance to grow, to learn my trade. I couldn't have gotten that anywhere else. I guess I sold out a long time ago. Thanks for the interview!

My favorite kind of

My favorite kind of revolution is the slow one, where you infiltrate the mainstream infrastructure and subvert from the inside. Become part of the system so you can change it, as opposed to destroying it and trying to build something now.

It's part of why I've always preferred to work with USA Cycling when I have an issue, rather than against it, and how I've managed to find myself in positions of power like the UCI 'Cross Commission.

So stay on your track, and slowly make the changes you want to see as your power and ability to make those changes increases with your responsibilities.

I struggle with the

I struggle with the distractions every single time I go to Pez, for all the reasons Adam points out. I've vowed countless times never to return to the site, but end up coming back for the slightly different take-- like the retrospectives-- that differentiate Pez from the pack. The content is generally thoughtful and original, which is why the distractions sticks out like a sore thumb. What is it even doing there? Does it genuinely draw clicks that wouldn't be there, say, for the toolbox columns? And so, while I enjoy the articles, I hate myself for every second I feel like I'm supporting a retrograde attitude that thinks of women as pieces of ass first, and humans second. In fact, I have a draft of a comment to Pez that's been sitting in my email box for over a year. I wanted to ask: how can someone with a baby daughter be ok with this? It wouldn't be disturbing to Richard if someone took a picture of her one day with this view in mind? Truly mystifying. And then I came across this article, Daddy Issues, via Salon over father's day weekend. So, maybe some Dads really aren't capable of stepping into their daughters' shoes. Either way, it points to a lack of empathy that is becoming less and less forgivable. Exhortations to "lighten up" are just the bully talking who knows he is doing something wrong.

Adam & Jered: good

Adam & Jered: good interview! Way to infiltrate the system Adam! Uh, FSU, but in a sly, subversive way... The "distractions" are terrible, they really to undermine the whole site more than anything else. Which is unfortunate because as mentioned, Pez really is an interesting read all in all...

adam, slay them in

adam, slay them in fitchburg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!-chris

Bring back Spanish Homeboy

Bring back Spanish Homeboy Nate on Pez!!!! He is back in Spain.

While most straight male

While most straight male cyclists I know will check out a conventionally "hot" girl such as the ones featured in Daily Distractions, almost all of us have chosen to pair with well rounded, healthy, real women for whom appearance is a secondary or even a tertiary trait. For example, I find my wife to be very attractive, but what initially drew me to her was her love of bicycles, her creativity, her stellar personality, her unique positive outlook and her looks, in that order. What I am pointing out that is that male cyclists are not generally a shallow lot. This makes pezcyclingnews's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition approach to us so confusing. Maybe I am dead wrong. Maybe Daily Distractions generates lots of web traffic. If that is the case, then shame on us.