I'm completely blown away by how the show went. There were more attendees, more builders, more bikes, more awards and more beer than last year. I'm not sure where to start.
Saturday was non-stop. I only left the booth once--just long enough to get to the bathroom and back. Luckily fellow Portland pal Matt Cardinal went and got burritos, so I was able to eat lunch--I would not be so fortunate on Sunday. I guess adrenaline can get you through. We rolled into the show Saturday morning just in time for the doors to open. I quickly set up and began to talk to all the great enthusiasts that kept on coming. My booth neighbors were just as busy, but we had a little time to chat. I had Drew, Andy and Montana from Engin cycles next to me and Dave Bohm from Bohemian behind me. Drew just started building a year ago and is building some great stuff--I was impressed. Bohm had a crazy over-the-top-built-for-the-show tandem that ended up winning best tandem and people's choice--more about awards later. His lugged bikes were gorgeous--I thought they said more about his style than the tandem, but I'm just sayin'... Anyway, busy. I got interviewed and photographed by Dirt Rag and Mountain Bike Action's Richard Cunningham told me my cruiser was one of his favorites at the show. Mountain Bike magazine also did a photo shoot with me posing like Zoolander. I'm going to be so embarrassed when those pictures show up.
After the show we got a few beers with Sacha, Jonathan, Ira and some other Portland friends, then some of us went to Japantown for sushi. Great stuff. It was fun to mellow out the pace a bit and enjoy a good meal. Spent some more time with Drew and Andrea at the bar. Also got to chat it up a bit with the Don Ferris.
Sunday was much more mellow than Saturday, but still lots of folks. I chatted with the legendary Ross Schafer founder of Salsa Cycles and pioneer of all things mountain bike. He loved my bikes! How cool is that? My head is pretty swollen, can you tell?
Two other incredible things happened on Sunday. First, I turned around and bumped into an old friend, Matt Dambrov, from the first bike shop I worked at in Connecticut. We hadn't seen each other in 15 years and there he is checking out my bikes. We got to catch up and reminisce. So cool to see him.
Then the awards.
Ok, so I was really hoping to win some awards. I worked non-stop from New Year's until March 28th to be ready and I was gunning for some glory. The first award that I really wanted was "Best Fillet Brazed" bike--when they called my name I was stoked. I jumped on my bike (the cruiser) and rode up to the stage. As I got pretty close, I popped a wheelie, rode it for about 20 feet and then looped onto my back in front of about 300 people! Dramatic entrance complete, I took the stage (unhurt, bike unscratched) and did the fake-handshake-photo-pose with Don Walker. I was pretty damn proud! I left the stage and got lots of pats on the back. Super cool stuff. So, I was also hoping to win best off-road bike, so I hung around for that one. Best road bike came first and I almost fell over when I heard my name. I handed my cruiser to a friend and ran back to get the Randonneuse. Another trip to the stage and I'm stacking trophies on the floor. The best off-road prize came up pretty quickly and I won again! So, here they are, my Texas-sized trophies.
The show finally came to an end, more partying ensued. Chris DiStefano and Jeff Manand from Chris King took Ira and I out for dinner (thanks guys!). I was pretty shot and just about to head to bed when Ira suggested that we get one more beer. Still rolling on the adrenaline, I thought why not and we headed to the hotel bar. We were met with a cheer by many of the friends we'd made over the weekend. What an incredible feeling. We sat down with a crew from Seven Cycles, along with Mike Flanigan and Jeff from Sputnik. After a long weekend of working really hard everyone was pretty loose. One of the Seven guys, Mike, decided that he was going to try to break me and just started shoveling a ton of shit. Ah...it felt just like being home at The Wild Rose. I loved it. No one would let us buy a beer, but they insisted on us drinking plenty. The bartender practically had to throw us out, but we probably left becuase all the kegs were empty.
Somehow Monday came without a hangover and we shot home, only stopping twice in 10 hours. Tuesday I finally got to ride my new bike. I think it looks even better with dirt on it. Don't you?
The orders are flooding in. If you want a bike by the end of the summer you'd better get your deposit in...