For example, on the administrative page of the blog, there is a built in stat tracker. That's right- I know who you are, how often you read my blog, from which browser is your preference, what type of device you use to access my musings, what you had for breakfast and how much money is in your 401(k). Actually, I only get to know what country you are from. As one would expect, the United States ranks right at the top of my frequent flyers. I thought the list would stop there. But, as you can see by the Top 10 compiled nicely by Google, I have quite the diverse readership with the UK and the new USSR battling it out like in the good old days. Now, I admit to being a product of the American public education system with all of its hoots and whistles. Therefore, I have absolutely no idea where Moldova is. Even further proving my Western hemisphere status, I'm too lazy to look it up (mostly because I'm pretty sure it's that big island country near the bottom, right of the pic).
Another thing that the blogger gives me stats on are which of my posts receive the most traffic. The top bread winner in that category is the "Brief History of Swag" post by a long margin. Apparently there are a lot of people out there who want to know about how swag got invented and my gibberish is the world leader in that research. It really is pretty sad as to how little has been written on the topic.
I have noticed a recent trend in traffic lately. It seems that my race reports are getting rave reviews (not that anyone is actually reviewing or commenting on them. At least, not publicly or in earshot). Here in lies my next big clue that I'm getting
I met Al at my most recent race. I'm working on an official, soon to be popular, race review, which is only semi-related to Al. After the race, I walked what was left of my carcass over to the trailer where they were going to post race results. I was sweaty, smelly, and ugly (basically, business as usual). While scanning the list and searching for my name, a fine looking, middle-aged man was looking at me.
"You're the Banter, right?" said Mr. Handsome.
"Um, yes." I responded quizzically. "How do you know this?" This is about as sincere and honest of a question that I could ask a
"I read your blog." I'm pretty sure my jaw dropped at this moment. First, I am impressed that there is someone outside of the family and not on the Banter payroll that reads my blog. Second, I'm in disbelief that anyone in the world could recognize me from any one of the 4 photos that I've posted of myself lifetime. Third, I'm dumbfounded that someone would remember both the first and the second and match them with the disgusting beast of a triathlete that was standing before him.
So, we got to talking and he told me his name was Al. I admit it, Al is his real name. Meeting my first real fan (assuming I can call Al a fan) must mean something special to me as that name is forever engrained in my memory. Should I ever breed, I might be willing to name my first born Al (hopefully it'll be a boy as Al is not that common of a lady name). Now, here will be the tricky part... Will I actually be able to remember Al's face on the outside chance that I ever see him again? (Unlikely. Sorry Al. I simply suck. Plus, I'm pretty sure that you'll probably avoid me like the plague next time we cross paths after reading this post.)
During our short time together, Al told me that he came across my blog looking for race reviews on some of the local events that I frequent. He slyly left out opining on the quality of those reviews. Then, we chatted for a while about today's race. Al told me that he pretty much nailed his race and was able to predict his splits down to the minute (which, again, is amazing as not only could I not even predict my splits, I couldn't remember where I parked my bike). We talked about the season ahead (Al and I will race again in the near future). Mostly, we were wasting time waiting for the next page of race results to be posted. Once the results were posted, I was now the least interesting object in the vicinity. Al and I parted ways.
Thank you, Al, for providing me with a little bit of self esteem. I appreciated our time together and hopefully I'll see you again (both in real life and in blog-stats form).
Oh, and just because this is Wednesday and I typically do a Wacky Wednesday thing, I thought I'd leave you with a couple of race reports from a Canadian Triathlete Professional (especially nice since Canada is #4 on the Banter viewing top 10 list). Here is how Trevor Wurtele files his race reports, for your viewing pleasure.
Don't expect anything like this from me anytime soon.