Not only is Le Tour over, but so is our International Sales Meeting/Line Launch... and not a moment too soon.
There's Joe Hawk, our Fearless Leader, saying a few words after my Line Presentation- most likely saying, "thank God that's over..." I do tend to ramble a bit. On the stage is the entire product line. The picture is just bad enough that you can't really make anything out, so you'll just have to stick around and hope that I start releasing spy shots or something.
We had our entire US sales force at the meeting as well as many of our International Distributors- who I will name later when I can get all their names because I know I will forget somebody- and one of our biggest retailers. This meeting is kind of like the Superbowl and World Cup rolled into one three day event for us. This is where we launch all of the new products and sales programs for the year to our sales force so that they can go out into the world and try to sell it to the retailers... who will in turn sell the product to the consumers. All in all, it's a very important function for us- probably even more important (from a business standpoint) than going to Vegas for Interbike. Interbike is the greatest show on earth, but we do very little selling there, as most of our customers will have seen the product (via catalogs at least) before the show. Very little new sales are made in Vegas- but the relationship building is much greater there... but I digress.
Anyway, the meeting is very important for us and we put a lot into making it a special event. This year was no exception and the energy was incredible. I was personally on fire because this line of bikes is the first where I had major involvement with the graphics and overall development, as well as the creation of the new catalog. I worked very closely with people much smarter than me who made the line and catalog possible. I owe each of them a big debt of gratitude- Mike Varley, Rick Ortiz, Wayne Doran, Pete Demos, Kevin Conners among others. The new bikes and catalog are phenomenal. I am already excited about the next product cycle.
The meeting was a big success and the reps and other guests left charged-up by what they saw and heard. Needless to say, I was my normal over-animated self and gave multiple presentations with arms flailing and spit flying. I'm such a dork... but it is pretty hard to doubt my passion. Dave McGinty, a new rep of ours in the Florida area came up to me right after one of my presentations and said, with a big smile, "boy, you really are passionate aren't you!" Thanks Dave for getting the point! Yes, I am very passionate about my job, the products and what I get to do for a living. Plus, I love to get the chance to preach that gospel to anybody who will listen. Granted, the reps are paid to listen to me, but I still enjoyed my little captive audience of about 100+ people this year. Several weeks of very hard work went in to making the meeting happen and it is all worth it to me when I get to "do my thing". Next up is Montreal Canada for their big trade show and then it is off to Vegas!
During all of this activity, lots of other projects have gone uncompleted and the blogging certainly came to a standstill. Lots of other great things happened too, like more team wins and other cool things. I will have more posts in the coming days and will really try to get back into a much more regular pattern of posting again. The hardest work is done now, so I can get back to this fun stuff...
Besides, I just finished building up my new carbon bike and I'll need to post pictures and give ride stories... but I'll leave you with this note;
61cm bike, complete, nothing goofy- DA shifting and drivetrain, DA wheels, Ritchey carbon fork and seatpost, Easton EC90 bar, Arione saddle and new Thomson road stem ... 17.09lbs! Not too danged bad for a bike that has no silly-light parts and is the biggest frame size we make. It'll be at least a half pound lighter when I put my new Cane Creek carbon sew-up wheels on for racing.