“We were together. I forget the rest.”

-Walt Whitman.
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When last we were here I had concluded day one of the 2016 NAHBS show in Sacramento, California.

On Saturday morning I awoke bright eyed and bushy tailed with a hunger for breakfast, a strange rash spreading across the left side of my torso, and a dent and ding in my brand new Blue Collar cyclocross bike;
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Geno is why I can’t have nice things.

My life partner was en route to meet us but before she arrived, we scampered around and took in a bit more of the action.

Selle Anatomica;
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Alliance Bicycles;
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Alchemy Bicycles (this number won the ‘People’s Choice Award’);
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Magic Cycles (I like this bike, and also the face that the lady next to it is making);
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Pass And Stow Racks;
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It was barely mid morning and I was already on overload.

Tony Pereira and Ira Ryan have always brought the noise (so to speak) individually, but collectively their efforts with Breadwinner resulted in what I personally thought was one of the very finest spectacles at the show;
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As a matter of fact, as I was standing there, Patrick Brady swooped in and presented them with the best city/utility bike award for their ‘Gumball Rallier’® (I just came up with that. Ira or Tony, if you would like to use it, contact my people);
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Plus-sized tires were in abundance this year, some of which were on one of the prettier bikes made by The Stick;
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Right around this point, I began to suspect I might actually have shingles. This bit of self-diagnosis was based on the fact that I showed my side to some people who’d perviously had it, and they both ran away screaming.

I called Demonika to ask her if she’d swing by a pharmacy to grab some kind of cream or something for it. When she arrived she said the pharmacist recommended a capsaicin cream. I used a tiny bit which resulted in me feeling like I was being cut in half, so I made a b-line to the ER where they told me I was in fact, fully screwed.

They gave me some meds, said there wouldn’t be a need to quarantine me, and sent me on my way, but as I was wrapping my mind around all of this garbage, I come to find that my old friend Jenry Rollins was actually employed at the hospital where I wound up and came to see me;
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I’ve known Jen for years and have long been a fan.

When I first met her she was employed as a bike mechanic at Berkeley’s Missing Link Bike Shop. In the time since, she’s run technical support at King Components , and was Lisa Sher’s pro wrench on the NORBA circuit.

As a matter of fact, here’s a fun fact that you might enjoy knowing about Jen-
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You like apples?

Then I’m sure you like those apples.

Anyway, we all buggered off and had a very nice lunch together and discussed nearly all manner of topics, aside from bikes.

Time was slipping away however, and regardless of the fact that I was currently in a great deal of discomfort, I pressed on.

Immediately upon my return to the show, I ran into Jeff from Monkey Likes Shiny, and he presented me with this extremely generous gift;
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It’s a very long bottle opener, which is good, because at this stage in the game nobody wanted to be around me anyway.

From there we moved over to Schnozola Bikes, an imprint that by now most folks are probably aware is a joint partnership between Rock Lobster and Bruce Gordon Cycles;
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They even had branded yarmulkes for sale, which I’m not entirely sure, but probably means they’re going to go to hell;
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As I walked away, Paul pulled me aside and presented me with this;
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Which I elaborated upon on the Instagrams thusly;

I vowed to depart from this year’s NAHBS in possession of less stuff than I arrived with. I pulled that off like a champ save for a small AHTBM shirt I sent to a fella who’d actually ordered an XL, because I’m terrible at my job, an insanely cool bottle opener Yetiman made for me, and this.

When Paul Sadoff gave this to me I told him how much I appreciated it. He said that he hoped I did. I told him I don’t care about free stuff, and I have more crap than I know what to do with. It’s things like this, or the PMW made Hail-Bopp bottle opener, or the Gary Helfrich 15 mm weed wrench.

It’s those sorts of things that are really special, and help me to realize what an amazing community we have. You can have all the free shirts, and sunglasses, and hats and schwag, or whatever the kids call it these days. I don’t really have any interest. This is an heirloom, and one I consider myself extremely fortunate to be in possession of.

I was touched, and I appreciate Paul’s consideration.

I was about ready to stick a fork in me, so we rallied away in different directions, and I had to get back to my hotel to grab some stuff before turning around and making my way to the bar for the evening’s festivities;
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My first stop was to stick my head into the walk-in to see what the $800.00 we paid got us;
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My best guess was that it would last us about an hour.

Moments later, the capsaicin reactivated and I was dealing with a real, live chemical burn. I paced the floor, sweating, in nearly indescribable pain, retreating several times to the bathroom to put cool compresses on my side.

At one point, I called it. There was no way I was going to be able to concentrate on anything short of the blinding pain across my torso, but just before security opened the doors, it became manageable, and I bellied up to the bar for the first of many tall cans of liquid numb.

In fifteen minutes the bar was at maximum capacity, and as I guessed, we were out of the beer we’d covered in sixty minutes flat;
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So as to not waste any more time than necessary, the SOPWAMPTOS festivities got under way with quickness;
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The categories/winners to the best of my recollection were as follows;

The Best Flavor Vanilla AwardDeSalvo (Because Mike DeSalvo builds a number of Vanilla frames. That’s why it’s funny);
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The Best R&D (Rip Off And Duplicate) AwardMerry Sales (Pretty self explanatory.)

The Long Distance AwardTriton Bikes (who came over five thousand miles from his home in Moscow, Russia);
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The Shock And Awe AwardPeacock Groove, (because duh);
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The French Curve AwardOddity Cycles;
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The Rocky Mountain High AwardErikson (I think because weed is legal in Colorado, but I can’t remember because we were probably high when we came up with it.)

Excellence in litigation– Specialized, (naturally);
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No one from Specialized was present to claim their award, so we might just take it to their HQ and handcuff it to their front door.

The final three I had to deliver the next day, much to the recipients’ chagrin.

Most Likely To Steal Food From An Endangered Species AwardBoo Bicycles;
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Least Likely To Grow A Beard Award– (This one had four winners, only one of whom was at the show, so the remaining three will have theirs shipped to the winners.)

Megan Dean from Moth Attack, Caren Hartley from Hartley Cycles, Natalie Ramsland from Sweetpea Bicycles, and Jeremy Sycip. (Three are women, and Jeremy is Filipino. I’m hilarious);
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And finally, The Don Award– Don Rickles actually won it, but because he couldn’t be present, Don Walker took home the honors;
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This was about noon on Sunday, and I was closing in on death’s door, so Geno, Demonika, and I all loaded up the whip and got the hell out of dodge.

This year was cited by many to have been the best NAHBS in the show’s history, three of which I’m pretty sure I was present at.

Of those few, I’d be inclined to agree. We came, we saw, and I didn’t really kick anybody’s ass but my own, but holy crap, did I leave with some beautiful visions dancing in my skull.

Thanks to the builders, the organizers, the volunteers, and the great city of Sacramento for playing host. As I retreat back to beneath the blankets and I try to escape my current misery, this past weekend just seems like a blur.

Kinda like Walt said, I know we were together, but I’ve forgotten the rest.
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7 Responses to ““We were together. I forget the rest.””

  1. Mike P March 3, 2016 at 6:13 am #

    FYI there’s no “frequent flyer miles” for ER visits. FOR FUCKS SAKE! stay healthy.

    • Stevil March 3, 2016 at 6:18 am #

      I’m trying. I don’t go out of my way to have these experiences. In fact on Wednesday I was celebrating being away from the hospital for two whole months.

      • Bishop March 3, 2016 at 5:51 pm #

        I also had shingles several years ago (I was 31 at the time) and also used the stupid capsaicin cream… the cream is worse than the shingles! Aside from the searing pain, it also made my torso turn a very angry red!

  2. tommy everstone March 3, 2016 at 6:44 am #

    any reference to Don Rickles is a win in my book.

  3. Tman March 3, 2016 at 9:37 am #

    We need picatures of the door handcuffing when it goes down

  4. Nevid March 4, 2016 at 12:46 pm #

    nothing short of epic,, leave it to Gene to break your shit… #Liveage

  5. Caroline March 5, 2016 at 10:25 am #

    Yeah, Tony and Ira! Whoot. I call Creamcycle and Popcycle if you need those in the future… talk to my people. Yummy bike!