Greetings and Salutations from the Art Director

Oh I know, I’ve snuck into the Dirt Rag ranks here and you probably don’t know who I am. In fact I just visited the staff page and I’m not even there. (gasp.) So who is this mystery person? Well, I can tell you.

My mother named me Amanda after her mother’s mother, Grandma Blankenship. And most people call me…Amanda. It works. My husband calls me ‘hey, you’ but you have to hear his voice inflections to realize it’s an endearment. It’s ‘Hey! You.’ I grew up back West in the suburbs of Denver back when the suburbs of Denver still had lots of empty lots and fields to play around in. Didn’t really get into the biking until later in life, but in retrospect, those old stomping grounds would have been perfect for mountain biking. They were great for collecting bugs and climbing rocks anyway. Dan and I moved out East here technically for his job, but we both like exploring so we did it reverse to the settlers.

I jumped in to Dirt Rag this year as a freelance designer helping Karen and the gang put together issue 129. Eventually, they let me stay. So now I have a loaned Fat Chance that I’m getting to know. My old hybrid is acceptable, but it is heavy and awkward and it’s a relationship I have to work at. Fat Chance on the other hand, is light and quick and graceful on the single tracks. It’s unfortunate that deadlines can get in the way of riding and weather is starting to get nippy, so the clock is ticking, but I’ll get in what I can. In fact, just finished the final revisions for the last issue of 2007, so I can breath a heavy sigh of relief that that is done. It’s so nerve wracking in this digital age of production because one little glitch in the binary world of the internet and things could go very, very wrong. I’m never completely happy until the actual magazine is in my hands. And that’s usually the best time for a ride.

Bits of my mountain biking past: My first ride here with the Dirt Rag staff was quite the adventure. I fell only 30 times in the two-hour ride and I was spent. But, boy, did I feel like I had accomplished something. It was an interesting experience to leave the office environment and suddenly connect to people differently as you hit the obstacles on the trail. I have more thoughts on that later, but the point I’m trying to make is that a by-product of this sport is something very healthy mentally as well as physically. Riding in quiet companionship is worth more than words. And I think this is an intergral part of the addiction to biking. Just an evolving thought on my end, but it makes sense. Well anyway, we all know this on some level and that’s why we ride.

Oh, before I go: Justin and I are heading out to Ray Mountain Bike Park in Cleveland this weekend for Ray’s big season opening. Stop by the booth and say hi. It’s always great to meet our readers face to face.