I’m back from the thing at the place and for the first time I’ve attended in sixteen years, I didn’t get anyone pregnant.
This is the last thing I remember seeing before the boot heel came down into my mouth.
Suffice it to say, no biblical rainstorms happened, nor did any locust plagues or sand storms which blocked out the sun. What did happen was a bunch of idiots drove mountains and piles of vehicles from miles around for the sake of ‘celebrating the bicycle’. (Sponsored by a car manufacturer, natch).
Of course I didn’t ride my bike from the Bay Area to Monterey, so I too am included in that list of idiots. As a matter of fact, behind my motorhome I trailered down a Hummer, four motorcycles, and a diesel generator all of which were idling the entire time, but when celebrating bicycles, no amount of carbon footprint is too great.
While there is a fair amount of ridiculousness that occurs at this event, there also exists a long tradition of bicycle manufacturers and enthusiasts both big and small as well as young and old showing off their finest finery. Before the world even gets a glimpse of bells and whistles at either Eurobike or Interbike, the newest of the newness gets trotted out here. Secondly, it is a venue for hand slapping of every sort with folks who might not see one another but a few times a year.
For my part, in the years which I have attended the debacle, I have rallied Subarus in the muddy parking lot, raced my lungs out to near victory, broken wrists, ribs and hearts. I’ve been barfed on, nearly avoided prosecution for building illegal fires and almost gotten mobbed by a gang of white trash kids for laying my bike on top of their dad’s. I’ve been challenged to fisticuffs by the late Steve Larsen, poached a dozen races, payed for one and was still chased across trails by security forces. There have been broken frames, kiddie pools, vans full of beer, horrible live music being played live in the back of the Retrotec bus, tiny bikes, relationships made and broken and the former race promoter getting his panties in a serious bunch through it all.
All in all my history at the Sea Otter Classic is a sordid one, so there was no reason to think that this year would be any different.
The deal breaker was gonna be whether or not I could find a place to sleep. As it turned out, Ritte Van Vlaanderingham’s Lanolin had access to an entire camp site which wasn’t going to be utilized. With that little nugget of knowledge, I made haste and stuffed my junk in their place;
The funny thing is that sixteen years ago, a bunch of us met up (in some cases, for the first time) in a camp site just a stone’s throw away from this one during Swobo’s 1996 Lollapajama one speed freakout. A short description of said freakout is that the scene upon my arrival on that long ago Saturday morning looked as if a bomb had gone off, scattering bodies, empty beer cans and single speed styled mountain bikecycles in every conceivable direction. From that point, it only went downhill.
Having free access to the camp site, I called up a handful of the old school heads to see if anyone was interested in burning some shit down with me. (Pardon my french. I’m drunk again.) Yet, everyone has grown up and/or had pre-existing obligations, so when the final tally was counted, the numbers for our reunion was one.
There wasn’t enough pans of pot brownies in the world for me to make up for the amount of damage the lot of us caused in our younger days, so I simply hunkered down and basked in the glow of our legacy.
At some point on day one, Chopper and Jess asked if Garen, M.A., and me if we wanted to ride bikes.
So we did;
But the AHTBM readership doesn’t care about what a bunch of washed up never-will-bes riding bikes looks like. They want to know about hot new product that’s gonna be available for them to throw their hard earned money towards and other sexy bicycle industry stuffs.
Well, for the sake of brevity, this is what that looks like;
This photo down below here is Steve Delacruz. He and I have been friends for many years, but despite this fact, he designed the current line of shoes for Fi’zi:k. You may recognize them from the feet of recent Roubaix honch Alessandro Ballan;Dirtbags make a bad ass thing which then get rightly heralded as the new amazingness, and we sit back in the wings nodding knowingly, warm with the knowledge that one of our own just did right by all of us.
So here you have a bit of bicycle industry backroom insight.
Speaking of shoes, my homies at Giro had a bunch of badass stuff on display as well;However Mr. Blacksocks was wearing a pair of Adidas;For nearly the entirety of the weekend, temperatures were so unseasonably hot, that it was all I could do just to jump from shady spot to shady spot. The shadiest of which (both literally and figuratively) was of the booth of Maximo Supremo residents Raleigh Bicycles;Even the official Sea Otter mascot ‘The Beaver’ and the Specialized Bicycles think tank/Umbrella Girl gang liked beating the heat in our midst;To which Ritte’s Danger responded thusly;
Y’all might recall at last year’s Sea Otter, I gushed about Calfee Design’s internal battery upgrade to Shimano’s Di2 group;
It just so happens that they have done the impossible and one upped themselves with the introduction of their new ‘Power Bar’;
This effectively negates the need for the internally wired seat post battery back (as well as the frame retrofitting) as all of the goods fit snugly within the confines of one’s handlebar;
Yeah, that is super bitchin.
Let’s see…. What else?
There were Handsome AKs;
There were these goofball glasses by a company called POC that had such incredible lenses that they actually made my bare eyeballs seems like they had Vaseline smeared all over them in comparison;
There were kickass prosthetic limbs;
There were fancypants speedcycle racers wearing the colors of the wining team;
As well as an English bloke named Chipps;
There was also a sighting of this guy;
Plus a little bit of cyclocrossings;
And then as the sun set, two or three or five days later, this asshole shows up with a loaned $20,000 carbon off-road Calfee tandem, which apparently he later wrecked;
So more or less, that gives you a general idea of what happened.
At least I think it does.
In closing I will finish with a bit of the regular nonsensery. Last week I came across the website photoshopping celebrities into your holiday parties. Since I tend to not celebrate on holidays of any sort, I took about 45 seconds out of my day and threw together an image of my own from a regular party;
It’s clear that I’m not doing it right.
Then from the depths of the mail bag I found this;
was wondering if you’d give my cycling team a shout out? we like to ride bikes, drink beers, party, and race bikes of all varieties! we’re also not afraid to wear pink if that helps at all. thanks dude!
“Like” the page and they can almost promise to not give you kooties upon your eventual meeting.