|"Dirt Rag" gave me my first break and published me, making me a "pro", I suppose.
Wednesday night news broke on Twitter that the venerable mountain bike publication, "Dirt Rag", was shuttering operations after a 30 year run.
It is hard to explain to young people what the impact of this publication upon mountain bikers was back in the 90's. So......I won't even try. You had to be there. This publication kicked butt then. Later on they kind of cruised and when all the other magazines went away, or to digital, "Dirt Rag" carried on. The 25th anniversary edition rocked, and in a way, it was an early requiem, a send off that we didn't know was a send off.
Subsequent years found the "Rag" floundering. Advertisers left, the page numbers dwindled, articles became bland and lacked the verve, irreverence, and vigor that the publication was marked for in years past. You could kind of feel that the wheels were coming off in the last couple of years. Changes in editors and style couldn't bring it back. It was just time, I guess, to end it.
The magazine meant a lot to me. They gave me a chance to write a feature story, and not just once, but twice. They talked about gravel grinding ten years ago, back when no other major cycling publication would give gravel a mention. The publication championed 29"ers starting in 1999! You could count on the "Rag" doing justice to any new trend, no matter how bizarre or off track. And you know what? They were right on more times than not.
I've had the pleasure of knowing several former "Dirt Rag" employees, writers, and editors. I've met Maurice Tierney, the founder who is a member of the Mountain Bike Hall Of Fame. The whole line of the members of that publication were committed and bled the passion for cycling into the pages of "Dirt Rag". Loosing this publication marks the end of an era.
Thanks for the ride, "Dirt Rag", it still is a Great Big World, and we all should still keep on riding on it.