Show #246 – May 16, 2015

Guests: Amanda Batty; Les Barzcewski

As has often been noted many times in history, there are outspoken and brave folks who end up being “shot at” – whether metaphorically or in reality – those champions who stand up, fight for what they believe to be just and fair, and find themselves in the cross hairs for doing so.

And then, there are unsung heroes  – people who have given themselves to their disciplines, given back to the community, are exemplary human beings, and who have garnered love and respect – and whose stories might not be told except by some little twist of fate that brings them to the attention of the public.

Tonight we have shining examples of both.

Amanda Batty is a tough girl – she is a pro downhill mountain bike racer, a chef, a ski racer, and a journalist. And it is in that capacity – writing a popular, outspoken, and sometimes controversial column for the online site Pink Bike – that she found herself in the position of having to make a choice to take the poison arrows being flung at her or to state her case and then eventually resign.

It all started when another writer included the following line in his review of a bike: “it will, much like your girlfriend after a few shots, do pretty much anything you ask of it.”  Amanda wrote a column calling him out and used the term “rape culture” in her commentary.

The indictments were swift and profuse; many were threatening and mean. And, the editors at the site not only did not defend her; but, by their inaction in a way condoned the misogynistic and crass comments.

Amanda joins me tonight in an emotional interview that sheds light just how far our industry and our culture has to go to show respect and honor to women.

Then, we will move on to someone many of you might not know; but, reach back into the history books just a couple of decades and ask any of the riders and racers of the day about Leslie Barzcewski and you will actually be able to hear them smile!

Bob Roll called him a legend.  Nelson Vails said: “he’s my lifetime brother”. He taught me to drive a stick (shift car)”[and], we went on many many road trips and traveled the world like brothers.”

Les was a #1 Junior champion, took a silver medal in the worlds, and yet, as fate would have it – was a bridesmaid – not a bride – more than once when President Jimmy Carter decided we weren’t going to attend the 1980 Moscow Olympics and then again when his teammate, Nelson beat him across the line by a mere 4” to move him to alternate instead of competitor at the 1984 Games.

But, Les has no regrets. He is still riding – though not racing. He’s still full of amazing stories of our sport from “back in the day”. And, he’s a delightful guest.