Explosions in the sky.

What does this have to do with today’s effort?
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Nothing aside from the fact that now that we’re all back together again, I’m glad none of us were involved in any of the literal kind.

It looks quite noisy.

So yes. As I said here, I’ve spent the week in the loving embrace of Kona Bikecycles while drinking in almost every bit of both their alcohol, as well as their 2016 product line.

So as to not waste too much time with mumbo jumbo, I’ll just say right out of the gate that on my first night in town, my dad and I absolutely stuffed ourselves with some home cooked ribs, and baked beans.

On the second night however, I met up with my homies Opie and Suzy, and proceeded to burn down all that is good and right with the world.

It was a quality foundation on which I would ultimately need to build a whole lotta this;
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Or maybe that was two days later.

I can’t remember at this point.

Anyway, we kicked Monday off with a seminar that in years past was a bit more engaging, if only for the fact that in previous years there was a fair bit more video fodder. This year we received a whole lot more technical information either from the designers themselves, or from videos of the designers themselves.

Now please understand that I was a crappy student who was assumed by most of my instructors to be borderline retarded. My perspective on how anyone publicly presents information should be considered suspect. I sat in my chair and took the most detailed notes I could, but those generally wound up being doodles or lists of people’s names I can never seem to remember.

As the information was rolled out, I took some time to document all the wiz-bangery that surrounded us.

And I have to say, after having shot photos of various company’s new bike lines in an array of picturesque environs, the conference room at our hotel just can’t do these bikes justice. Kona has absolutely outdone themselves with this year’s line, and I feel bad posting my half assed, and half-in-the-bagged photos of any of them, as well as some of their finer details;
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See what I mean?

It’s like photos of a Fabergé egg in a box of Legos covered with candy sprinkles.

Though I guess I did get a couple quasi decent shots of Jason from Limberlost’s fully loaded Sutra LTD;
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Of course my favorite of the line is the Hei Hei model, which this year has expanded to the Hei Hei Trail, the Trail Deluxe, the Hei Hei Race (the images for both I just yanked, and scanned out of this year’s catalog);
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and the Hei Hei Race Deluxe;
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As near as I can tell, the short version regarding the differences between this year’s and those from previous years are travel availability, chain stay length, (though when they began talking about that part, I got distracted by bacon, but it looks to be a whopping 14 millimeters shorter than previous models, and in all sizes, which is insane), parts spec, and most notably, the linkage/rear suspension design.

Oh, and this year’s Hei Hei is back to aluminum, so those of us with no love for plastic bikes can once again rejoice.

I also have come to understand that the fellow who designed this bike in particular once rode a dumpster down a very steep hill and completely destroyed himself, so from my perspective, that’s pretty fucking rad.

At the conclusion of day one’s (them) talking, and (me) trying to listen part, the time to get outside and skedaddle up the hill for the beginning of this year’s demo was upon us, and though I was sad not to be riding, I was plenty happy to fill my bag with beer and ride up the trails with my homie Jessica to hang around in the woods and shoot photos, which is more or less exactly what we did;
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And then I came across a ti Humu;
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Which was super bad ass.

After a fantastic bike ride back to the hotel (which by the way, was my first since March);
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-We got cleaned up and made our way to Kona USA’s Ferndale, Washington headquarters.

The place is ridiculous;
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After taking this one single shot of the expanse, I sat down with some friends and some food before the great unwashed masses got cracking on the backyard pump track where I don’t think name badges were required, but some wore them anyway;
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I was daunted by this task because aside from not having taken proper action shots for months, I haven’t spent but a few hours of my life taking photos in these environs, so as such, I ended up with a lot of photos like this;
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But like Babe Ruth famously said, “every strike brings me closer to the next home run.

So at this point I gotta be literally sitting on top of my next home run.

Eventually I found my stride and snapped off at least a couple that kinda didn’t suck;
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And it pretty much went downhill from there, both as far as my waining photography skills go, as well as the constitution of some of the members of our crew.

Eventually we boarded the big bus back to the hotel and at the very moment we pulled in and the hiss of the air brake cut through the quiet night air, out of my periphery I see a fellow moving quickly up the aisle with purpose. Just then I hear the unmistakable sound of a spit-take, except the person in question wasn’t spraying a mouthful of wine at the suggestion of Donald Trump being a suitable leader of the Free World®, but rather his body was turning what should have remained inside of it, into a fine mist, mixed with pieces of dinner over a hapless selection of those seated ahead of him.

He moved on and thankfully made it outside before his organs fully rebelled against his chosen amount of libations. The fellow sitting opposite and a seat ahead of me looked incredulously at me, the particles on his arm, and then the beer in his hand, when I suggested that he should probably pour that one out.

The walking wounded retreated to their rooms, and the rest of us ended up first at the hotel bar, and then back upstairs where things got weirder;
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One particular highlight for me was teaching a few folks about ‘The Game’.

This is simply the act of slapping something out of someone’s hand and onto the ground.

Anything can get gamed at any time, but there are a few rules. Say for example your friend walks up to you with a brand new plate of food. You can game that delicious serving of sustenance right out of their hand, but you are then responsible for getting them a new one. However if you’re walking home from dinner and your friend is carrying their leftovers in a little box, slapping that out of their hand, and spilling tomorrow’s breakfast of chow mien all over the sidewalk is just a tough break for them, and a lesson that they should have been more protective of their food.

Anyway, in the wee hours of the morning, somewhat bleary eyed, I let my guard down and Cory slapped my bourbon and soda out of my hand with such force that upon impact, the tumbler it was previously contained in turned to sand;
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As you can see, pretty much all that was left of my cocktail were the straws, the lime, and a couple of chunks of glass.

Clearly, on this night the student became the teacher.

A few more things got slapped from one another’s grasp, leaving the room in a bit of disarray;
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From there we ended up back in the parking lot at Willie’s van, where we wrapped up the night by turning the knob to 11, and breaking it off with a hammer;
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At this point, the remaining stragglers that were us meandered back to our rooms for at least three hours of rest before doing it all over again the next day.

So with that, please come back on Wednesday for the conclusion of my take on Kona Ride 2016, with many more explosions, but in pretty much the same sky.
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Leave a Reply

6 Responses to “Explosions in the sky.”

  1. Steve August 10, 2015 at 8:17 am #

    Congratulations on being back on the bike! Have a 16 Kona arriving this week and cannot wait. What’s the barbed wire enclosure to the right of the warehouse photo for? Is that where they keep the really expensive bikes?

  2. DEVO August 10, 2015 at 9:10 am #

    Welcome back to the horse, if not the wagon. 🙂

  3. East Bay Ed August 10, 2015 at 9:33 am #

    You’ve gotten a lot better at not cutting off people’s heads with the camera. I’m sure the heads appreciate that.

  4. Largo August 11, 2015 at 6:49 am #

    I think I detected some grudging acceptance/appreciation of disc equipped CX rigs.
    Or not……

  5. JP August 11, 2015 at 7:50 am #

    ti humu holy shit

  6. Cory August 12, 2015 at 3:08 pm #

    Hey, you survived and i learned a new game. Everyone wins!