I'm trying to stay away from all of the cheesy Aussie stereotypes, but the jetlag is still playing with my head.
I was supposed to have a nice ride along the coast this morning, since it is Saturday here (evening as I type this), but the weather has fallen apart. It is cold, rainy and very, very windy. So we skipped the ride this morning and will likely ride tomorrow morning instead. After that, we're off to the Melbourne Formula 1 auto race! THAT should be fun. The city is going nuts over the race and there are thousands of fans here for the race. My hotel is very close to the event, so I see lots of the folks walking around with team hats and shirts and all that stuff. The bars are covered in promotional gear. I have to say, it's pretty cool. A lot of Ferrari red stuff around town today...
I've done very little site seeing and touristy stuff, since this has been a business trip and I've actually been quite busy. I have ridden once around the city and really enjoyed myself, even though I got lost as usual. I've been doing a lot of walking around the city though and really enjoy that. I like to wander around in new cities and get a nice close-up view.
I have to say that the architecture here is simply amazing. Everything from stuff that is several hundred years old to very ultra-modern designs. This is an amazing city to walk around in. Just around the corner is the China Town of Melbourne. It's really cool. I would never have guessed that Melbourne has such a large and diverse Asian community. It's really cool.
Today, instead of riding, we had lunch and coffee and then walked around and saw the Imax movie Wired to Win. It was really damned cool and the camera work was insanely good. The racing footage was awesome and I was itchy and twitchy watching the sprints. I was really aching to ride afterwards, but we had coffee and desert instead. Our distributor here is a sponsor of the movie showing in Melbourne and set up this cool display right by the ticket counter;
They did another display by the concession area, but that one was covered with people because they were raffling off a Masi bike and a one week trip to the Tour de France! I tried to enter, but I'm not eligible... dang it!
This trip seems to be going well for our distributor and should mean a lot more Masi bikes being sold in the country. The shops who attended the mini show we did on Thursday bought a lot of bikes that day and a few more are about to. I visited a few more key dealers in the city yesterday, traveling with the local rep, and I think the visits were fruitful. I'm very happy...
We did a mini tradeshow/ presentation to a handful of key Melbourne area shops. This was done in a really nice Italian restaurant and the food and atmosphere both were incredible. The launch went really well, I thought, and PacBrands did a great job as well. They are having custom Masi stands made and I may have to copy the design for the US market;
The dealers loved the stands and get one free with the right size order. Very, very cool.
Monday morning I fly to Sydney and then visit with a few shops there. Tuesday is the Sydney area launch. I'm hoping to meet up with Sydney bike biz blogger Phil while there. His blog site really kicks ass, so I hope you'll check it out from time to time. Wednesday morning I get to go to the Dunc Grey velodrome, site of the track events at the 2000 Olympics. This will be my first ride on an indoor wooden track and I am beside myself with excitement. Unfortunately, I couldn't bring my Masi track bike, so I am stuck riding on a BT carbon track bike- winner of more world and Olympic medals than any other brand. It isn't as cool as my Masi, but it'll have to do I guess... yippee! Thursday I fly into Brisbane and meet even more shops and Friday is the launch there. Then Saturday I drag my tired carcass onto another plane and fly back to San Diego. Get this; I left for Australia on a Monday night and arrived in Melbourne on Wednesday afternoon. I leave Brisbane (via Sydney) on Saturday afternoon and arrive in San Diego (via Los Angeles) 20 minutes before I left Australia... it makes my head hurt thinking about it.
I think it is probably time to head out and have a pint of local brew, maybe another Toohey's, and get some food in my belly. I've actually eaten well, but fairly light while here. The food has been superb so far; prawns that take two hands to eat.
I'll get pics at the race tomorrow for all you car fans.