Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Why Blog?

That was the question in my earlier post today. I pondered it deeply for a few minutes... and then I googled "Why do you blog?" and discovered, like usual, this was not an original thought. One of the first search results was from the Washington Post and it had this gem:

Some outsiders believe bloggers are friendless shut-ins with hobbies so bizarre as to be shared only by a handful of people on the planet. Or, at best, they are the superstar narcissists of the look-at-me generation. Both are true, for some. But as with evaluating most groups, generalization is tough, dangerous and often damning.

Yeah, sounds about right!

But then I turned away from the google results and started thinking for myself again. There must be a reason, or at least there was a year ago when I started this thing.

I think Erik Saunders' blog (R.I.P.) was the first I had ever seen, and it was really good. He told all kinds of entertaining, behind-the-scenes stories about domestic bike racing. Things you'd never see in VeloNews or Cyclingnews. Funny stuff. Since he left SB, and I no longer could hear his ramblings on rides, his blog was the next best thing. Sadly, now that he doesn't race anymore, his blog has ended.

Around that same time I discovered Mike Jones' blog. This guy was hilarious. He too has stopped writing, but you can find his stuff archived here.

And then I stumbled across Hernando's site. Woah!! Stories about California racing! And more. This guy could sling some ink and it was (is) pleasurable reading. I followed his links and uncovered a huge community of bloggers up there.

A greater and greater percentage of my bike-related web-surfing time was spent in blog land, and less and less in traditional news sites. Whereas previously I'd visit cyclingnews and velonews a couple times a day, I'd now make the blog rounds instead. Hunting for the latest gossip and local'ish stuff. I'd try to find stories about Sea Otter before looking for the results of Paris-Roubaix.

So anyway, I lurked for awhile. Months, years, I don't really remember. And I started to think, "Hey, I could do this. I enjoy reading what regular people have to say, maybe folks would be interested in my stories too." For whatever reason, it seems SoCal's cycling community is not as into blogging as are our friends up north. I actually convinced myself that I'd be providing a useful service to the SoCal bike-racing community!! How's that for delusional! Plus, a blog seemed like a good way to keep friends and family informed, and maybe even entertained. Why do it? Well, as TnA suggested, why not do it.

Starting a blog proved remarkably easy, and the cost was right in my price range, i.e., free. The challenging part was (and is) deciding what to write about. And also how to write it... who is Marco Fanelli (not my real name btw) and what is his style (or lack thereof)? Is he a boring, mid-40s, middle-class white male (the reality) or is he edgy and witty Joe Cool bike racer. Given that this can be read by anyone--wife, children, and parents, friends and enemies, competitors and teammates, bosses past, present, and future--how much self-censorship should I do? What is the goal? Providing entertainment and information, or inciting controversy? Believe it or not, those questions never occurred to me before.

It seems I've gravitated to be the mid-40's boring guy who's trying to inform and entertain. That guy is easy to be. Obviously.

As to the what-to-write question... for now it's mostly bike racing. It's what I think about and it's what I do. Look at the banner at the top fercrissakes! Every cyclist likes to read race reports and I've never met a bike racer who doesn't enjoy pictures, especially of themselves. So I write up every race, and I take pictures and video when I can. Beyond that, maybe somebody out there likes a bit of history, and since I've been in this silly sport for 30+ years, I've got some to tell. Did you know I was in Greg LeMond's first race in NorCal (1976 Land Park crit) and we were friends for those years that he was a junior? And of course this blog must put forth any interesting gossip I run across, such as that Thurlow Rogers will be racing for Amgen-Giant next year. Perhaps he'll confirm or deny if he ever looks in here anymore. Funny or embarrassing stories too, like Steve Boelter TT'ing in flip-flops ...and beating people! But why write the weekly training log? Well, believe it or not, knowing that I'll publicly state my rides and hours actually motivates me to ride more. That's lame but it's true.

Other stuff creeps into my blog too. Occasional doings by family and friends, but mostly that stays private. What about work? Forget about it ...for reasons I can't even mention. Of course, if I ever have anything insightful to say about social or environmental issues, I'll post it. Sadly, that isn't very often. But growing food is cool to me. I actually think it's kind of noble. Quite the opposite of bike racing, which one can argue is a pretty selfish pursuit. When I make my first batch of salsa entirely from items grown in my back yard, believe me, you'll hear about it!

Why blog? To join another community. To share, inform, and hopefully entertain. To act out a different identity. To rant. To brag. To get feedback or confirmation. To scratch on a virtual tree, "I was here" or something like that.

...and I'll try not to be so long-winded from now on!


mattgulley said...

Totally, it's about expression, not narcissism. Great site.

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

you're like ... a cat 1 blogger, n' stuff.

Marco Fanelli said...

If that's true OV, then you're on a Pro Tour team for sure!

velogirl said...

your name isn't really Marco Fanelli?

hey! I did my first tri in September. your wife inspired me. I'm going to win Barb's Race next year.

and I agree, it's about community.

Marco Fanelli said...


Nope, marco fanelli is alter ego, just like VG is for you (though I suppose there really is a marco fanelli in italy somewhere, but doubtful any parent ever named a child velo girl..) Originally I was leery of using my real name, although it's pretty dang close and anyone could easily figure it out.

You did a real tri?!?! With swimming in water and stuff like that?? That's hardcore! Hopefully cycling won't lose you to the dark side!


velogirl said...

velogirls is my company. everybody knows my real name, but I do tend to protect the innocents I write about in my blog by not using their real names.

yup, swimming and everything. running, too! I hate to admit that it was great fun.