What do you like the most about working with the team?
The people, of course! It’s been great getting to know the crew—Jeremy, Ellen, Brandon and Tom. After a lot of time together last year, especially time in Europe where we’re fairly isolated, I think we’ve gotten to be really great friends. We work really hard, but we make time for team dinners… And last year, I got Rapha to work with me so we all had Christmas stockings to open since we missed Christmas at home with our families!
Now on to your career as a writer...
When she was at Cyclocross Magazine, Molly was also working for a business that sold text books. One time, while in Vegas for Cross Vegas, she visited a college to try to sell textbooks. The conversation quickly drifted as Molly started talking about the book she had written on cyclocross rather than about the textbooks she had to sell. As she was leaving, the prof told her that if she could sell textbooks 5 percent as well as she sold cyclocross, she would make a fortune. She quit working for the textbook publisher the next week.
Since then, she wrote 3 books related to cycling.
What inspired you to write your books?
It was different each time, so I’ll break it down! That said, the one thing that happened with each one was that it was a book that was just stuck in my head and would not get out. So they simply had to get written.
My first one, ‘Mud, Snow and Cyclocross’ was an absolute labor of love—actually, one reader called it a love letter to ‘cross, and he was totally right. I just loved the sport so freaking much.
The second book, “Saddle, Sore: A Women-Only Guide to You and Your Bike” was my answer to being asked a ton of women-specific (lady part specific) questions. I was trying to find a resource to send women to when they had saddle sore, chafing, chamois, or saddle questions and couldn’t find one that answered everything. So, I decided to write the book, seeking answers from experts like chamois designers and gynecologists. I don’t think my mother will ever forgive me for writing a book about lady parts!
My most recent book, Fuel Your Ride, was one that I’ve wanted to write forever—when I was six, I remember getting Cher’s fitness and nutrition book out of the library, and being obsessed. I read pretty much every book on exercise nutrition since then—Matt Fitzgerald and Allen Lim are huge inspirations to me and have become (I think, anyway!) friends over the years. But that book was also exciting because I got to consult with so many people with so much more nutrition expertise than I have, and distilling it into readable, hopefully fun content was an absolute blast.
I personally think your articles are super varied and interesting. You talk about topics that are not often talked about. When you work for a magazine, how does it work? Are you relatively free to write about everything you feel would be interesting?
First of all, thanks! Working at Bicycling is pretty rad: we have idea meetings weekly, and most of the time, the articles I write are ones that I pitched. But I also end up doing articles that the editors choose for me, and that’s actually been great. It helps me stretch my writing and researching muscles when I get a completely new topic! I’m lucky that if I’m super passionate about something, they’ll almost always green light it.
How do you prepare for an article?
As soon as I get assigned an article (or assign myself one!), I break it down into doing the research, finding an expert, conducting an interview, outlining the key points, transcribing quotes, and getting the draft together! Sometimes, photos are involved. Once it’s in the calendar—broken down so it’s done by the deadline—I get to it!
Google Scholar is a lifesaver, as is Skype, since I can record calls from anywhere in the world. I don’t envy reporters pre-Internet. Some articles only take a day or two, some can take weeks.
What is the biggest challenge in being a writer in cycling?
Definitely learning about gear. It’s a really steep learning curve, especially as technology gets even more complicated! Keeping up with that, and with current cycling events, can be a job in and of itself.
For example, a lot of the pro racers I interviewed when I first started in cycling journalism have since retired, so I make it a point to stay current and keep finding younger up-and-coming riders to talk to. It’s easy to get complacent with sources when deadlines are tight and a ton of articles are due too, so I really try to stretch myself to find new sources frequently, whether that means a new nutritionist or coach to talk to. But I have some favorites that give such great advice, I always come back to them for the tough stuff!