A Note from Fatty: Free Verse Friday is suspended today, due to me having something more interesting to write about, and the inclination to actually do that writing.
Yesterday was intense.
I did a serious interview with Levi Leipheimer, the replay of which you can see over at Spreecast, or right here:
Today, Velonews is talking about that interview, and on Twitter and elsewhere, people are saying really nice things about it.
So I’d like to write a little bit about what went on in putting this interview together. Because this is not the kind of thing I do every day.
You could say that the seed of this interview got planted as a result of the GranDonut Race. One of the things Levi agreed to do if I won — which was never in question, since I had slanted the rules so there was no way I couldn’t win — was be interviewed at some point on my blog.
My intention, of course, was to just do a silly fake interview, maybe with a side-intent of doing some good fundraising for a good cause.
And then, of course, the USADA report came out, and I figured that if I was ever going to do an interview with Levi, it wasn’t going to be a jokey one.
Less Deep Background
Flash forward a couple months to last Sunday. I’m deep into the World Bicycle Relief Fundraiser (you didn’t really think I’d let a post go without mentioning that, did you?), and had arranged with TourChats to go on their show with Tom Danielson and Patrick Dempsey to promote the big grand prize they’re giving: a week riding with them at a Malibu resort.
At show time, the video streaming service TourChats had been using — Vokle — completely self-destructed. To their massive credit, the TourChats guys quickly moved over to SpreeCast and did the show anyway. And the technology worked flawlessly.
Suddenly, I knew how I wanted to do the interview with Levi. And I knew when, too, since Levi himself was also providing a huge prize for my fundraiser.
I was actually really amazed at how easy it was to get Levi on board with doing the interview. the biggest logistics problem, in fact, was that Levi has lousy Internet at his house; he’d have to go to BikeMonkey HQ for a good internet connection.
But preparing myself for actually doing a serious interview wasn’t anywhere near as easy.
First, I made sure Levi knew that I wasn’t going to be just joking around; that I planned to ask him serious questions about doping and being fired by Omega-Pharma-Whatever. I am not a big fan of blindsiding folks (usually).
“That sounds great,” he replied.
Next, I spent some time reading. And I spent some time asking people what they’d ask Levi.
And then I spent a lot of time writing questions.
That step was crucial, because I know myself pretty well, including my tendency to be nice, rather than tough. I figured that if I just let the conversation flow, it’d wind up being pretty soft.
Then I printed the questions up onto cue cards — like I was a talk show host — and ordered them the way I wanted to use them. I held them right in front of me during the interview, which is out of the camera’s view.
I then cleaned up my office — my wife was incredibly embarrassed at how messy it appeared on TourChats — and even moved a Christmas tree into the basement where I work.
Then, at the last moment, I moved the Christmas tree out of the field of vision. Too festive for what I planned to do.
Then, at even the more last moment, I unscrewed the lightbulb that is directly over my head, so there wouldn’t be such a huge glare off my head.
And the rest, well you can see how it went. I’m proud of it, and I plan to do more video interviews.
Though I’d prefer them to mostly just be goofy.