Bear with me. The final serving of coverage is all gonna be over in just a little bit.
Hello and welcome back to the conclusion of my reportage regarding The eOtter- A Celebration Of The Broken Spirited Bike Blogger Douchebag (Same Diff)™.
Finally, right? Christ, that took forever.
So as I moved on through my final day at the Chaos on The Coast, and with time running short, I caught up with a few remaining, and mostly smiling faces, like for example the always beaming bicycle racing super star, Meredith Miller;
And of course the one in attendance who was blowing everyone’s mind being the one and only Missy Giove;
(Caught here with her homie whose name I’ve already forgotten, and the very esteemed Angi Weston).
I’d detailed our initial exchange on the Instagrams but for those who might have missed it, I’ll retell it in some capacity here.
Missy and I hadn’t seen one another since 2000, so when we crossed paths, it was all high fives until within the first 30 seconds when she asked about a mutual friend who’d died some time ago. Considering the insanity of her last decade, I didn’t blame her for not knowing, but being the one to break the news, simultaneously broke my heart.
She was gutted, and I was gutted, and it put an indescribably awkward spin on our reunion.
Fortunately the following day (my final day in town and what I’m covering in this here post) we crossed paths again, and I was able to apologize for having to be the one to tell her. Very thoughtfully, she turned, put her arms around me, told me that she loved me and that after dwelling on it for a bit realized something. She said whereas before, going through her day to day unaware of what had become of our friend, now that she knows the details, he’s always with her.
Who knew a grown man could cry at a bike race for reasons besides having a thousand pounds of sand constantly whipping into his eyes?
Moreover, who would have guessed that two people could have a meaningful connection at a bike race?
We said our ‘until next times’, and I moved on.
And though we’ve been focusing primarily on people, there was still an abundance of stuff, kinda like this ridiculously over the top Colnago speed cycle;
And then I ran into an old acquaintance I came to know in my Santa Cruz days named Kyle who’s now working for a company called Tepui which for obvious reasons immediately became, and remains my current obsession;
It was maybe seventeen years ago at the Mammoth NORBA race when I came across a company who made 4WD suitable pop up campers and from that point forward, I had dreams of adventures, and a little fold down interior drawing table, and sleeping wherever I got tired, and vagabonding around the country to ride my bike and see friends.
Obviously that plan never took shape, but I’ll be damned if this little mobile tree fort didn’t rekindle a whole lot of those fantasies.
Finally, the time was upon me to skip out, and though it happened earlier than my scheduled time of departure (the chronology of any set of posts like these should be considered suspect, simply because I’m retelling a whirlwind for most of which I was half in the bag), the exchange I’m about to describe most likely deserves a post all unto itself.
And for a number of those years, I along with a number of my one speed bike racing associates were huge, painful, and infected thorns in his side.
Here he is trying to make a living organizing and promoting bicycle races, and here we were, damned if we were gonna pay to enter any of them, and basically existing for that season of the year during which we could be big gross flies stuck squarely in his ointment;
If you’re gonna poach a race, you’re gonna need proper camouflage.
As a mater of fact, during one year’s one speed race, so many of us poached it that the top three finishers were unregistered. This meant that whoever got fourth place officially won. Very graciously Rick went so far as to tell us for the following year that he didn’t care if we poached his race, but just to get in late and get out early so as to not screw up the results.
Having been given permission meant that we (‘we’ being the orange jump suited Amigos) blew the following year off, but the monkey was already off the leash, and I heard word of a number of people blatantly just standing on the starting line with paper plates or no official numbers whatsoever. A few security people were alerted, who then attempted to remove the offenders from their bikes, though when the starting shot was fired, may possibly have been knocked down/run over in the process of the mass start.
Then there was a matter of heckling the pro men’s race at the Napa Valley World Cup with Pringles, beer, and pornography, but that as they say is another story entirely;
(That is God fearing and reputed square Steve Larsen (RIP) smiling as he passed by me, who was presenting (if memory serves) that month’s issue of Barely Legal.)
Suffice (it) to say, all of our hi-jinx started a battle between Rick, we the bike derelicts, and other various promoters that lasted at least a decade.
However, as we got older, we got a tiny bit wiser, and perhaps even a little softer, and I believe it was Robert Ives who reached out to him after we’d organized the 2002 SSWC in Downieville and said that if he liked, he was free to poach it. It was a bit of an olive branch, but I don’t blame him if he wasn’t ready to accept our apology.
Whatever the case, as I was making my way away from the venue, he stopped me in my tracks to say hello, and I immediately felt compelled to apologize, for basically everything.
We had a nice chat, and he then invited me to his house for a barbecue. I’m still not entirely sure that he wasn’t just trying to get me there to murder me, but assuming that’s not the case, it was both a nice way to make amends after all this time, as well as to conclude my time there.
In conclusion, at this juncture of the retelling of all I can recall from this last week, it seems as though folders are empty, my notes are exhausted, and I’m both.
I’d like to offer my most sincere thanks to Kona Bicycles for hosting, feeding, and sheltering me. All in all it was an amazing way to celebrate my twenty year relationship and history with both the event as well as the people who populate it.
I suppose all that’s left to do is boing the floor spring, and wait until next year when we can do it all over again.