Thank You to My Friends at Giant Bicycle

My mother made this patch for me the second Tour de Pink I rode.  It honors my aunt Ginny and my friend and coworker Michelle.

I have to send a heartfelt thank you to Giant Bicycles.  The company helped me make many good friends and taught me quite a bit.  What I am most grateful to them for is introducing me to the Young Survival Coalition and Tour de Pink.

This ride touched me in a way that I never knew possible.  I am proud of these women and happy to call many of them friends.  I believe it is impossible to meet Lisa J Frank and not have enormous admiration for her.

The Today show followed along for one day this year on the East Coast.  It is great to see the organization get the recognition it deserves.

Click through HERE to see the coverage

Thank you Giant Bicycles for exposing me to these amazing people and this amazing organization.

Cavendish Crash

I am of the belief that the Cavendish crash from stage 1 was "just sprinting"

 In the End Cav was where he shouldn't have been so it was his fault.

That said... watching it I didn't think that Gerrans would have gone down had Coquard not bounced off of him on the left side effectively sandwiching him and causing him to twitch.  This video seems to show that well.

Now You Know. United States Edition

This may not be specifically about cycling.  Or is it?  I came across these two sites on Facebook.  The first is talking about the random bizarre border between the United States and Canada.  It was posted on HERE.  I do believe Stevil from All Hail The Black Market brought it to my attention.

The second interesting piece I came across was THIS article on Giant concrete arrows (see above) that were laid into the ground to guide US Airmail Pilots.  Before there was fancy GPS and all other sorts of guidance systems these 70 foot concrete arrows combined with beacons helped guide pilots across the US.  Read about it HERE,  it's worth the time. If memory serves I have the head marketing guy at Giant Bicycles, Andrew to thank for that find.

What could this possibly have to do with cycling?  These two articles just made me want to ride in some new places.  Riding along the canada US border?  Sure, I'm game.  And riding to find one of the giant arrows just made it way onto my "F*ck it" list.  

Don't know what a "F*ck it" list is?  It's like a bucket list but, it is more along the lines of "F*ck it, I have to do that".

Now you know.

Interbike Rant

Time to throw open the doors.

I am fortunate to work in the bicycle industry.  I do something I love and have met many people from varying backgrounds while on my bicycle.  One of the things I like about riding is that it isn't all about the bicycle....... BUT...... It kind of is.  We couldn't make the bonds we have or travel the miles without the bicycle.  The bicycle has kept a roof over my head, clothed my children and allowed me to travel the world.

People have told me many times "You are so lucky" in regards to my work.  I can only agree.  It is a job and has it's struggles. Those struggles pale in comparison to the benefits.

One of the things that I do for work is go to the annual trade show Interbike.  This is one of those things that people outside of the industry often are jealous of.  The crush of Interbike coverage from all of my favorite websites and publications is evidence that people are interested in the "Next big thing"

In my opinion it is time to throw open the doors and allow access to Interbike by the public.  They tried it this year with a bandaid approach.  This toe in the water was not enough.  The show is three days long (not counting dirt demo)  The third day is always slow.  It amounts to a bunch of industry people seeking out the friends they only see once a year and exchanging high fives.  For the exhibitors it is an enormous outlay of cash and time.  The middle of the day people start breaking down and rushing to wait for the containers to show up.

Having the last day of the show open to consumers would be a huge benefit to the industry if we approached it correctly.  The consumers are the intended end user of the products we make, but ironically we barely ever speak to them.

We use a whisper down the lane method of collecting information.  Consumers speak to shop owners, shop owners speak to sales reps, sales reps speak to sales managers, sales managers, speak to marketing, marketing speaks to product managers.   The chain of conversation can vary but its very similar.

In 17 years of being an outside sales representative I have never had a product manager take me up on my offer of having them travel with me.  Occasionally someone from management will travel with me.  Usually they only see the top performing stores and are gone.  With most of the industry in California the people working in it get a skewed view of the industry as a whole.  12 months of riding and 50 degrees being considered cold does not represent the United States.

When I started going to Interbike it was a sales show.  The new line was introduced. Pre-seasons were written.  It wasn't uncommon to book thousand's of bicycles and several hundred thousand dollars worth of business.  Now the major brands have their own shows, and the next model year's bicycles are introduced in June or July.  Whether that is good or bad is a completely different discussion.  This shift has many skipping the show and questioning why to attend.

If Interbike were to open up its doors to consumers on the last day it could breathe some life and relevancy back to the event.  Manufacturers could get some much needed input on products if they would listen with an open mind.  The insight as to how people are truly using their bicycles could shape the next big thing, not the next big thing we as an industry would like to sell.

The feedback on the current offerings could be invaluable as well.  For instance.... Mrs. Bicycle Shop Owner may be only buying the black color of the new super bike.  Every consumer coming through the booth is drawn to the green one.  When asked which would they purchase 80% say the green one.  Now I can go back to Mrs. Bicycle Shop Owner and give her some real insight into the product mix she is carrying.

The revenue stream this provides for Interbike as a company could help make for a better show for all of us.  Eurobike opened its doors a few years ago and it has been a rousing success.  They have overcome a difficult location and had 20,000 people pay to see the new bicycles. This excerpt is from the Eurobike Final Report.

"The 22nd Eurobike: 45,200 trade visitors from 111 countries - An additional 20,400 bike fans on public day - 1,883 journalists from 45 countries - 300 world premieres"

Las Vegas is a destination that is easily accessible and affordable (in the grand scheme of things) to get to.  If Interbike made a travel package for hotel and admission I believe people would utilize it.

At this time it would be difficult to include people in the Dirt Demo portion of the show.  I would walk before running and only make the trade show portion available right now.  People flock to car shows to look at the new models and can't drive them.

Let's evolve as an industry.  Stretch our boundaries and embrace the change.  After all, the only constant in life is change.

An Interbike Photo Essay

After attending my 20th or more Interbike I came away pleased with the new venue.  I will leave my consumer day rant for another post and put up a collection of photo's to sum up my experience.

It seems to be popular to signify you are flying by taking pictures of the airport carpet and your shoes.  I prefer taking pictures of my flying shirt.  

I believe this is what brought all of the purple anodizing back to the show floor.

I don't moto but if I did.

Upon walking into the show I was handed these amazing socks by my friends at Sock Guy.

The "Republic of Awesome" on the cuff and "Freedom to Dream" on the foot.

The new Electra Amsterdam Bloom struck me as possibly the best looking bike in the booth.  And that is saying something.

I saw George Thorogood.  He can still rock.

State Bicycle had a Wutang bike.  It was a bit "Livestrongesque".  I did dig the stem face plate though.

Saw Bobby Lea (the nicest guy in the peloton) signing autographs at the Cervelo booth.

Made the annual pilgrimage to In n Out burger AND..... Got stickers!


Went to Cross Vegas and watched Katerina and Sven put on clinics.

Adam Craig raced to an 8th place finish wearing an elite woman's number.  While speaking to Adam after the race he saw one of the course designers.  His only input was that he requested longer, straighter run-in's to the flyovers.  He wanted to jump them but didn't want to.... "Burn 1,000 watts to do it"  Another reason that Adam is great.  He turns himself inside out place 8th in a stacked field and his only worry was he couldn't get rad.

I avoided being this guy.

Went all the way to Vegas to get Swag for SSCXWC13.  If you don't know then go here and find out.  It's gonna be the place to be.

Saw this.

Wished the trim and not so fuzzy, Fuzzy a Happy 40th. 

Got to wish my friend Nelson and his boss Joanna from Strictly Bicycles congratulations again for being featured in an American Express commercial. Check it out HERE

Ran into this guy.  Together we had two functioning arms.

Had a pretty blonde girl fall asleep on my leg in a thumping nightclub.

Decided I needed this.

Shut down the booth.

Wished Vegas farewell with friends on top of the Mandalay Bay.

While flying home I looked down and saw dirt roads and trails everywhere.  It made me think that I should explore them.  You should come along and join me.

The End.

Interbike 2013

My first Interbike badge 

Sitting at the airport and trying to count the number of times I have been to Interbike.  I cant get an exact count.  Between California, Las Vegas, and Philadelphia I do know it is over 20 times.

As much as I am not a fan of Vegas I am a fan of Interbike.  The dynamic of the show has changed over the years.  Some say for the better, some for the worse.  I am not going to debate that.

Working in the bicycle industry is a blessing for me.  I get to do what I love.  Many people are not that lucky.  It is an interesting thing though. My job requires that I drive 50,000 miles a year to sell bicycles. Often I joke that my office has a windshield.

Working independently means I rarely see my co-workers.  Interbike gives me a chance to see them.It also lets me catch up with a multitude of friends and acquaintances that I see only once a year or at random events.  27 years in the industry means I know people at many of the companies in the industry.

So as I am asked to power down my mobile device I look forward to.... Selling some bicycles, seeing good friends, and being a part of this bicycle community.

Now I just have to keep people from slapping me on the shoulder.

Picture round ups to follow.

Wheezing like Heisenberg

My "Team" a rag tag group of friends and bicycle nuts have been accepted into the Rapha Gentlemen's Race.  This is awesome because the route is very much the roads I play on often.  It is going to be difficult.  

The course is long and quite hilly.  I "MAY" have seen the course.  This possible sighting has done nothing to quell my fears.  The group that I am riding with are all of friends of mine.  We don't ride together on a regular basis and do have some varying abilities.  This poses a bit of a problem as we are to start as a team of 6 and end as a team of 6.  

The other MAJOR (not really) issue is team kit.  Most of the invited teams ride or race together on a regular basis.  We are most likely going to be a rag tag mish mosh of kits.  Maybe this is rock and roll?  Maybe it's bad form?  

I was thinking we could wear T-shirts with "CUTTERS" written in black sharpie and old gym shorts or jorts, but most of us are partial to our taints.

Truthfully my biggest issue has been my health.  I have been going backwards since December.  Not because I haven't been trying.  Breathing has been an issue.

I got sick in December and have never bounced back.  In January at Worlds,  It seemed every time I went for a really hard surge I went backwards.  That was easy to write off to racing against fast guys.  After that I took a little rest and tried to continue training.  Intervals made me feel like I was going to black out.  Trying an uphill interval I almost did black out at the beginning of March.

First world problems right?  When I push too hard I cant ride as fast as I want... Waaah.  That's what I kept telling myself.  I started riding with Skinny Joe in preparation for the Hell of Hunterdon.  Joe was beating up on me but that is to be expected.  What wasn't expected was on one ride he looked at me and said "You need to get that checked out.  You were riding so much stronger at the beginning of cross season"

That was a little bit of a wake up call but being a stubborn dude I didn't do anything about it.  Then Hell of Hunterdon came.  This is in my wheelhouse.  80 miles, lot's of dirt roads and rolling hills.  Is tarted with a good group at the front.  One I should be comfortable in, especially given the fact that I have been training.  Then I promptly went backwards the longer I rode.  I was sliding from group to group like I water through a colander.

Normally I get stronger as the day goes on.  Or at least steady.  Double centuries, 12 and 13 hour MTN bike races have taught me this.  But not that day.  I knew something wasn't right.  Afterwards at a party when I was coughing and hacking like Walter White from Breaking Bad I really knew something wasn't right.

For some reason I still put off getting an appointment with my doctor for 2 weeks.  I figured it would get better.  I rode with CW twice.  Both longish difficult rides.  He walloped me.  I should at least be able to keep that young buck in my sights.

So I made the appointment.  After a minute of describing my issues breathing and hacking like Heisenberg the doc started nodding.  He believes I have Reactive Airway Disease/Syndrome as a lingering symptom from my wicked cold in December.  He also believes that it can be knocked relatively easily and somewhat quickly with an inhaler.

Why did I wait this long?  Not sure.  If you have something going on and that little birdie is chirping in the background to do something about it.... Listen to it.

Now I hope I a can be a help to the guys at Rapha Gentlemens Ride, and not a boat anchor.