I seriously thought my brain was gonna pop.

Illustration courtesy Troy Gonzales.

There I was at one hour twenty minutes of my two hour flight to Bellingham, Washington when it suddenly dawned on me that my laptop computer was no longer on, or around my person.

Reflecting back to the absolute shit show that my time at the airport was- (scanning my phone for numbers, looking over day planners, getting through security, while simultaneously engaging in a conference call, and then volleying a number of texts with one of the participants of said call afterwords), I had no idea if somebody just walked by and lifted my computer, or if I just absentmindedly walked away from it assuming that it was secure within the confines of my backpack.

Whatever the case, I was in such a severe panic, that I was actually calm. I thought back on every briefcase/wallet/purse/paycheck/drivers license/I.D./etc. I’ve found over the years, and how without exception, every single time, I’ve tracked the person down, or at the very least, a representative at their bank who could, and returned the property immediately. I hoped that all of those good deeds might somehow culminate in my computer being returned to me.

But as the adage goes, hoping in one hand and shitting in the other will garner you two entirely different results, and sitting in the cramped confines of my seat, I reflected on how my entire identity, business, and financial existence could be wiped completely clean, my brain was very literally screaming itself hoarse.

Long story short, which mostly just has to do with me spending multiple hours on the phone with the airport, the TSA, the airline, and various coffee shops near the gate from where I departed, I finally tracked it down and alls well that ends well.

Lesson here is, don’t multitask, and unless you’ve racked up a lifetime of good karma points, never, ever, ever, loose your laptop.

And speaking of karma points, I think it’s safe to assume my cache has been decimated, and it’s time to start from square one.

While we’re on the topic of that particular square, let’s get to that part of today’s post.

As I have for three, or possibly four previous years, I was on the aforementioned flight making the trek northward to visit with friends at Kona Bikes and to take part in the launch of all their new technology. It’s always a great time and I get to hobnob with folks from not only all across the country, but Canada as well, (though I generally can’t understand their accents). Plus, second to that, I get a front row seat to all of that year’s latest and greatest that Kona Bicycle Corp. has to offer, which on this year as it turns out, was a lot.

The person always responsible for my presence at the Kona launch is an individual I’ve grown to both know and love over the years named Cory;
Who as it turned out, was the first one I came across upon my arrival to the hotel where everyone was staying. He promptly took me upstairs where we drank some beer-style drinks, and I meandered around the room and shot a few photos of all of the prettiness, sitting atop the bad acid trip the hotel calls their carpeting;
We shot the breeze for a spell, and after hanging out with a few friends from Portland’s Sellwood Cyclery, I opted to beat feet to the bar to hook up with Opie and Suzy, where I took two photos over the course of the night;
My camera didn’t come out too much that evening because both of my hands were full of beers, but the short version is I got drunk, the crank arm fell off my bike, and then I crashed in front of my parent’s house.

Kona was hosting some sort of meet and greet the following night, but I instead opted to rally with Opie, JD and Max on my spanking new loaner Humuhumunukunukuapua’a;
-to head downtown to eat some food things, drink some booze things and see a band playing 80’s metal hits;
The singer’s pants were very alluring. They made me want put my hands all over them, which I suspect was their intended purpose, but probably not for a fourty-something dude.

But then again, maybe.

Anyhow, we posted up in a bar Opie’s been 86ed from for lighting off fireworks, because sometimes rules are made to be broken;
Again, I didn’t have a camera out too often, because if you have one photo of three guys drinking beer, you have a million.

Eventually I parted ways with those folks, because the priority was waking up at 7:00 the following morning so that I could get to the official start of the beginning, where we all got big, thick spec books, or if you will specalogs, and listen to Mitch the Master of Ceremonies break down all of the details of what 2015 had to offer.

Bright eyed and bushy tailed, I was.

Jimbo however was not so much;
Don’t let his slightly pissed off/vacant gaze fool you. His mind was steel trapping every last utterance.

While the masses were being educated and entertained;
I lurked around, snapping off a couple more photos of details that while may be small, made the greatest impression on me.

The first being the removable eyelets that can be found on their speedery-styled bikecycles;
And the second being their new graphics;
Considering that I’m an almost art school dropout, my eyeballs have an affinity for visually appealing things, which their new downtube panel has in spades.

Eventually the first day’s meeting wrapped up, and I figured since people were going to be eating lunch and doing salesie things, I’d just skedaddle to the demo area, get my pick of bikes, and rip around for a couple hours. That way when shop people arrived, (the people who would be placing orders) they’d be able to ride whichever bike they actually wanted to, and not have to ride something they didn’t because the super important web logger (the person who would not be placing orders) had vanished with the hot ticket and nobody could find him.

So the first bike I opted to ride was the Process 111;
In Canada you called it the ‘prohcess’, while in America, we’d call it the ‘prahcess’, and the 111 stands for the one hundred and eleven ways it will make you piss your pantaloons when riding upon the top of it. Granted, my wrists are still not psyched, so my air time was limited, but with ample pain killers destroying what little of my liver is left intact, I gave this bike my all, and enjoyed every minute of our time together.

As a side note, while I was riding it, I noticed something peculiar about the trail;
At first I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but eventually I realized that these trails looked strange because they weren’t littered with bags of dog crap.

California? Can you hear me? Please, if you do, take note.

Anyway, I feel the need to mention that Kona didn’t pay for my trip there, and now that my folks live nearby, they weren’t responsible for my accommodations. I’m saying these things about the bikes with sheer honesty. I really did like this bike very much, and for the first time in my life could see exchanging one of my current stable for one.

Then, before my compatriots came to join me in the woods, I took out my previous favorite of the bunch, being the Honzo;
Just as anyone who’s ever thrown a leg over one of these knows, the Honzo rules, and those who have not, now you do. It’s as stable and no-nonsense a mountain bikecycle as one could hope for, and is a gas to ride with or without pissed off wrists.

That said, I had to cut my time with her off a bit short, because she needed to get into the hands of somebody who mattered, and then skedaddle off into the trees with a backpack full of beer in order to get some action shots of the great, unwashed masses;
While running about in the forest, I came across a slug who it appeared to me wished perhaps that he was a fly, or a moth, so I opted to give the little fellow an assist;
slug in a mothsuit
All in all, it was a lovely day had by all.

Especially Cory, Becca, and Joe;
Or Becca, anyway.

Though as a matter of fact, the conclusion of the week was none too shabby.

Truth be told, at that point I mostly parted ways with my very gracious Kona hosts, and focused on rehab, as well as familial obligations. In closing though, I will reiterate an observation I’ve made before regarding Kona, and that is simply in all of the years I’ve worked in the bike industry, and with as many companies as I’ve been in some form or fashion immersed, I’ve never been around a group of people who so throughly enjoy one another. The bosses, and engineers, and marketing folk, and sales people… All of them really like each other, and that is refreshing beyond description.

Look at it like this- If every time you went into a bike shop, (a restaurant, a shoe store, whatever), and there is a whole new group of people working there, how much trust do you have that it’s a good place to work? And when a place is a bummer to work at, how committed to you think the staff is to their job?

The answer to all of that is ‘not much‘.

I genuinely love how much the people who work for Kona love to work for Kona. It almost makes up for every crappy job I’ve ever had just by association, and I think that love they have for their company, as well as for each other truly does show up in the product that they make.

And with that double dose of mush, it’s no longer my brain that feels like it’s going to pop, but rather my heart.

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5 Responses to “I seriously thought my brain was gonna pop.”

  1. knuckler August 11, 2014 at 12:17 pm #

    That carpet makes it hard to see the bikes.

  2. Double D All-Time August 11, 2014 at 1:43 pm #

    Top notch dudes making top notch bikes. Three to date for me and will probably go four at some point…

    Googly metal eyes: http://metalalbumswithgooglyeyes.tumblr.com/

  3. Watts August 12, 2014 at 4:03 am #

    Looks like it was the day of hope and shit adages. And that picture of Jimbo is fucking solid gold. Happiest I’ve seen him in a long time.

  4. Benjamin Bunny August 12, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

    In my experience, if you escape any Kona event without bodily injury, you are a lucky bastard.

    Nice work Stevil. I hope the good folks at Kona extend the invitation again, it’s nice to have a truly objective review (of anything).

  5. dJ August 12, 2014 at 6:24 pm #

    Whats the deal with that guitar player. Looks like he is doing a Peter Criss impersonation