I’m not actually dead yet… yet…
So the Tour ended with a “surprise” winner, though it was no surprise to the winner himself. Cadel Evans finished the Tour without winning a stage himself, but with the Yellow jersey by riding smarter and better than all the other for 3 weeks. In the end, the Tour was nearly as exciting as the Giro has been in recent years and the winner is undoubtedly one of the most deserving in a very long time. BMC rode smart enough to capture the jersey when it mattered the most- at the end. Pundits will decry Cadel’s win and will criticize the team, but all of those comments and commentary mean absolutely nothing in the end- the final podium was all that mattered from the very beginning of the race and Cadel has it. In the vernacular; “nuff said.”
Sorry to have deprived you of the last week of coverage, but work was beyond insanely busy and is likely to remain that way until about mid October. After that, for a couple weeks, I’ll be able to catch my breath… I hope.
Two weeks ago I left for Phoenix to oversee our studio photo shoot for Pivot and a few remaining BH models, as well as prepare for Dealer Camp (which was last week). The weather in Phoenix was slightly less than surface-of-the-sun hot this time. I think the highest I saw was 111… “but it’s a dry heat”. Things in the office were all-hands-on-deck busy and nobody was spared the craziness of preparation. Dealer Camp is the official soft launch of the new products as well as our National Sales Meeting, so it’s pretty significant for a company- or pair of companies- our size/s. For much of the week, I was in the studio working on the photos of bikes with the help of my coworker/ friend Brien “Gonzo” Gonzales. We worked with the outstanding John Romero for the photos of the bikes in a very cool private work studio that he rents space in. The place has an amazing vibe to it and when combined with the beautiful bikes we make… you can imagine the overall feel of the work. We were under a lot of pressure to get the bikes photographed on time to get them back to the office and packed into the trailer/ truck for the trip to Utah, so there were some late nights and tons of work. In the end, the bikes came out looking fantastic in the pictures and they will make for another outstanding catalog… that I get to write all the copy for by next Friday… no pressure, of course.
I tried to ride as much as I could in Phoenix, but I missed a couple days due to the schedule being so stressed out. I did get a nugget ride in, along with some early morning rides, as well as Saturday morning ride with my boss and friend Chris Cocalis up to “The Towers”… an asskicking 7 mile long climb. Lemme just say that for all the “complaining” about the compact crank on the demo bike I’ve been riding in Phoenix, I was SOOO happy to have it on that climb!
Sunday morning was an early start for my flight with Chris to Salt Lake City and our drive to Park City, Utah. We got to Park City before noon and then went straight to our demo set up on the mountain at Deer Valley. Oh man… what an amazingly beautiful place… even if there is NO oxygen at that altitude. It’s “only” about 7200’ at the demo area, but man… my lungs were in total shock. We got out for a late afternoon ride up one of the trails- Deer Crest- and I rode our simply amazing Mach 5.7… the same bike to win the Bicycling Magazine Editor’s Choice Award for Best 26” wheel Trail Bike! Though the bike was awesome, I was not. The altitude combined with my very mild exercise induced asthma had me wheezing and unable to keep up. I rode as long as I could, but eventually had to turn around before the crest of the trail. Chris rolled down with me, since he had a meeting, so I “followed” him as best I could. Let’s all remember that I have almost NO technical skills on a MTB… and Chris is *really* good. Thankfully he waited a few times for me to catch up AND I managed to keep the bike almost exclusively on the trail. I consider that a moral victory.
The next day was our Sales Meeting and started with an early morning to set up and get ready. We got the conference set up and demo bikes ready to ride and then it was Game On. The presentations spawned great conversations and the rep force was pleased with the products for 2012- that’s a very good sign. In my new roll as “The Marketing Guy”, it was weird to not be presenting or to be truly responsible for any of the content of discussions… so I couldn’t keep my mouth shut and chimed in often. (I can’t help myself.) After a break for lunch, it was time to go out and ride! I joined a group of about 8-9 folks and headed out on a fantastically beautiful road ride. I can’t tell you where we went, simply because I’m terrible with directions and all, but it was a great ride through rolling hills and gorgeous farmlands. I sucked on the climbs- thank you altitude- but I tried my best to do as much work as I could on the flats. There was one particular section of road, just before a nice stretch of gravel/ dirt road, where I gassed it pretty good and set things up for the dirt. The rolling road and headwind was perfect for my style of big ring grinding… and was much loved by my companions enjoying the draft. Then they dropped me on the climbs… jeesh.
The bad part of the ride was that between the group, we had 7-8 flats that ate up all of the spare tubes and CO2 cartridges all of us had. I double flatted and then my spare tube had a hole in it too (it had been in the seatpack for a very long time). Needless to say, we were all kinda glad to finish the ride and not have to worry about any more flats! Still… it was an awesome ride.
Tuesday was the first day of the Dealer Camp event- which, if you don’t know, is like a mini Interbike with about 130-ish exhibitors and 300-ish retailers (600-700 people). Tuesday was also the unveiling of the all-new Pivot Mach 5.7 carbon bike, our first carbon MTB. With a frame weight of only 5 lbs and using the same amazing awesomeness as the aluminum Mach 5.7, we’re expecting to see a lot of excitement over the bike- with first sizes showing up in October (so stay tuned). The booth was full of buzz as retailers went out on rides on both BH and Pivot bikes… including the all-new BH Ultralight too… 747gm for a painted and decaled 56cm frame. I can’t wait for my size to finally be ready to ride! Tuesday was so busy and there was so much going on that I didn’t get to ride, but I did get to watch the short track MTB race (won by Tim Johnson) and have some nice grub and beer with many of my industry friends.
Wednesday was another spectacular day in Park City and the demo went very, very well. Not to brag or anything… BUT… our demo booth was consistently the busiest or among the busiest for the entire event. It’s the kind of thing that definitely helps to make my job easy! There were several times when key bikes were totally unavailable and there were folks waiting for sizes to return- which is a lot considering the size of our demo fleet of around 50 bikes! All of the excitement around the bikes was something to keep me very busy, having many conversations with media and retailers- which works well with the fact I hardly ever shut up!
Late in the day, I finally broke away for a ride. I was able to rely on my buddy from work, Grant, to get my bags back to the condo we were staying in and I headed out on the same loop from Tuesday. What a great ride! So plush and beautiful… but riding it solo meant I had to deal with the really nasty headwinds that I faced on the final climbs of the ride… ugh. With gusts that had to be reaching 25mph, it was one helluva effort for a big, fat, heavy track guy! Still, I loved each of those last painful miles.
Thursday morning I got up early and got out on a ride with Todd Tanner and Travis Erwin- my coworkers and friends, or so I thought until they made me cry on each slight roller or long climb. They’re mean, mean guys… because they’re much lighter and in much better shape than me. It’s just not fair or nice. So I tried my best to make’em hurt when we hit the same flat stretch as Tuesday. Now, according to Todd and Travis, I am to be called Big Ring. it was such a great ride- we got out before the sun was fully up and we got to see a beautiful sunrise over the hills along the way, as well as numerous deer- including two that hopped a fence directly in front of us by just a few feet, and two HUGE bucks in a field staring at us as if we were crazy.
The rest of the day was a bit slower at Dealer Camp, though we still appeared to get the lion’s share of the demo riders. Again, numerous times, bikes were gone and riders had to wait for them to return. Once the demo was over at 5:00, it was time to tear it all down and pack it all up in the truck and trailer… and we were there until nearly 10:00PM getting it done. We were one weary group by the time we headed down the mountain to the condo again. Dealer Camp was officially done and we were officially tired and officially happy with the way the week went. Dealer feedback was awesome. The reps were excited. The bikes were well received and the momentum was being built for me to try and build upon in the coming months. AND I AM VERY EXCITED ABOUT IT!! (Yes, that’s TWO exclamation marks!!)
Friday was another early morning to pack up and head back to San Diego. Chris and I were on the same flight from Salt Lake to Phoenix, and then I was on my own back to San Diego. The past two weeks were very long and busy weeks and it was fantastic to be home with 2/3’s of my family (getting Katie- aka Punkin tomorrow).
This morning, I got up and went for a ride on the Weekend Worlds group and stretched my legs out. Felt wiped out and tired- especially after chasing to catch the group because I had to fix a flat at the last second as I headed out the door- but it was good to be home among my friends. A little family time this weekend and then it’s back to the BBRRRRAAAAAPPPPP of an open throttle, full-gas week. Wicked. Rest. Not getting any… you get the picture.
I can’t possibly name off all of the great friends I saw this past week, but it it was great to run into so many them… “Sally”, Dave L, James A, Spencer, Mike McGravy, Dan, Marty, Elise, Sean K, Keith, Bill, Wolfgang, Rustoleum, Lori B, Hillary K, Megan T and way more than I can remember right now. I also want to give a big thanks to the entire crew of Dealer Camp and especially Lance, Chris and Scott; they’ve created an excellent event and I am very happy I got to be a part of it this year. We’ll see what the future brings for the event and the future of bike shows in general. It’s a crazy time in the show world right now, but one thing is for sure- there are many more ways for retailers and brands to engage than ever before. From big to small and everything in between… I never thought I’d see it come to this, good or bad, and it’s not done yet. Not even close.
Now for the pictures!!
Early morning ride in Phoenix… it was only about 90… at 6:00AM!
The crew in the studio- Brien, me, John and Leo.
Looking out over Phoenix from the top of The Towers.
The view just outside the condo.
Sales Meeting; listening and learning.
Open road and blue skies.
Just a little scenic…
Our suspension guru Dave Weagle, holding court- he and Chris have been partnering together for several years to create the amazing Pivot bikes.
They have every right to be smiling; the new Mach 5.7 Carbon is an amazing machine.
I didn’t even grow up as a moto fan, but when Bob- Hurricane- Hannah came to our booth to ride our bikes, I admit it was damned exciting.
I didn’t see a single car on this entire stretch of road.
Riding with the boys.
These are socks I MUST have!
A lot of bikes out on the road and trail. YEAH!!
Right there with ya, buddy…
I woulda eaten my own arm at this point!
And there you have it… more or less… in a rather lengthy nutshell.
UPDATED; I’ve since been reminded that Cadel did win a stage- Stage 4… so I stand reminded/ corrected… stoopid me… ;-)