We’ve already learned something here today.
Getting down to today’s business, if I recall correctly, when last we were together we’d just left a fancy dinner and had retreated to our places of rest.
Once again there was an extra early road ride departing into the idyllic rolling hills and mountains in which we were staying, but I’d done my time the day before and was in no shape for a repeat performance, so I let my people go, and I continued to study the area beneath my blankets.
Once standing upright, I took some food on and headed into the Raleigh display to see what was happening there.
It turns out, there was far less mountain bikecycles than last year, and far more cross (for both ladies;
Of course that’s not to say that they didn’t have a fat tired bike here and there;
This one I had a pretty serious heart-on for, if the belt drive would get thrown in the trash.
(Hashtag ‘belts are for pants.’)
They even unveiled a new gravel specific bike called the Tamland One;
Featuring slacker angles, lower bottom bracket, more room for fat skins, a longer wheel base, more upright riding position and a bunch of other stuff I can’t remember, the Tamland might be one to watch in the next few year’s worth of dirt road racing.
Then I sauntered past the lodge’s dumpsters en route to the expo area to see what other bells and whistles were on display.
Like for instance, that super bitchin new SRAM XX1 goodness;
Primarily my visit to the SRAM tent was selfishly motivated due to the fact that I reeeeaallllyyy want to get this on my bike and was interested to learn what specifics I’d need to investigate in terms of retrofitting my current wheel set.
The scoop as near as I can remember is that each hub manufacturer has an aftermarket free hub body available to make the cassette compatible, as it’s obviously not a traditional spline design, and it’s the pawls where the magic really happens. Whenever I round up the hundreds and hundreds of dollars to make this purchase a reality, I’m sure I will pull my remaining hair out during the installation, but I can almost guarantee that it will be worth it.
Leaving their company, I then stopped by TRP;
and ENVE Composits;
and Van Dessel;
and Clément Tires;
-then in amongst all of the parts nerdery, I even had a chance to catch up with these guys;
It was an all star cast of parts and people, to be sure.
But time was running short and the clock was ticking to mentally prepare for that evening’s ‘Midsummer Night Cyclocrosscycling race’. Beer and other supplies, but mostly beer had to be procured and we delivered in style;
Armed with twenty 30 packs, a keg, and a waffle truck, the crowds began to swell, and the 3/4 and one speed women’s class made mincemeat out of any notions that might have existed previously;
-And this young lass named Sydney Palmer-Leger proved to be a total monster;
After taking a bunch of pretty horrible shots of the women’s race, I returned to the tent to fuel up on a bit of beer in an attempt at doing better with the ‘industry race’ or ‘wheelers and dealers race ‘ or whatever event happened next;
Things got pretty blurry at this point as it was shortly after or possibly just before when Sally spit a bunch of beer in my eyes on the race we’d poached causing me to double kick the barriers and take a dirt nap;
Photo ©Cathy Fegan Kim, via Cyclocross Magazine.
But whateves… The elite women were about to storm through, and storm through they did;
Last year I was all over the course, but as I said, there were 30 packs to attend to so back into the tent I went;
This here fella is Kenny Butler from the previously mentioned Ride 2 Recovery, and if you ever have a notion that you know pain, think of his smiling face and what was lurking beneath his t-shirt;
Kenny has more tough in his little finger than most folks have in their entire families.
Anyhow, as we waited, anticipation and frivolity continued to mount;
The elite womens were done and with go time for the elite mens upon us, folks were getting amped;
The starting shot fired and fastness abounded;
Fat checks and podium boy kisses were doled out to the women’s winner, Caroline Mani;
-and Carl “I ruined cyclocross for everybody” Decker;
With the race’s conclusion, day was fading into night and it was time to get full blown Sylvester Stallone, which naturally we did;
We petered and we puttered out with some nonsense involving a hot tub and finally all hit our sacks at a billion miles an hour.
With ample blue flame to burn the following morning and with a final day left to appease the dirt gods, I vamoosed back into the thin air for a date with the Talus Carbon Elite;
and a whole lotta fine dirt fineness;
I could get used to that kind of elbow room.
Midway down the hill I ran into this guy;
And we enjoyed some final turns together.
With the last night in town for me to do with what I pleased, my compatriots and I broke bread, and drank drinks, (where at one particular watering hole, I spied this);
-and finally concluded it all with some last minute hot tub shoveling;
What better way to wrap up yet another Dealer Camp?
In conclusion, if it were possible to do such a thing, I leave with heart-felt thanks to old friends and new, the good people at Deer Valley, and most notably the absolutely world class human beings from Raleigh Bikes.
I most assuredly don’t deserve their friendship and continued support, but thank my lucky stars every day that for whatever reason, they don’t seem to feel the same way.