Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Home again, home again...

Got back into San Diego this afternoon after a series of flights from Taipei to Tokyo to Los Angeles to San Diego. There were no problems with any of the flights, even the last leg from LA to SD where I had to nearly run from the Customs and Immigration security to my gate. I boarded the plane just 5 minutes before taking off, but I made it!

The three of us- Wayne Doran (my Product Manager), Pat Crosby (Haro MTB/ Adult Product Manager) and myself- managed to all make it back home safe and sound. After being away for 15 days, it will be nice to sleep in my own bed and see my daughter- though I do already miss my girlfriend.

As always, my camera was with me all the time and I have tons of great pictures to share. The first week of my two week stay in Taiwan was for a bit of a vacation with my girlfriend and going to a wedding for her best friend. Getting a chance to see more of Taiwan than just bike factories in Taichung and Taipei was long overdue and much enjoyed. I'll share some of those pictures as well as all of the usual bike-related ones too.

Yes I know- she's much better looking than me.

The second week of my stay was devoted to working with Wayne to see key vendors before finalizing the spec of the bikes you will get to see (and fall in love with) in 2010. We're working on some really incredible bikes and I am so proud of how the Masi line is growing and shaping up. We visited with many different vendor partners- either at their factories/ offices, or in ours- and are much closer to having all of our homework done to deliver some incredible products to you.

Part of that second week was spent at RideOn/ Taichung Bike Week. It's a mini-"tradeshow" for the OEM market only. It's a valuable chance for us manufacturers to meet with our various suppliers and vendors to finalize our spec and see anything that might get a last second add to one of our bikes. It has grown very organically over the past 4 years or so and is now something that is actually quite important to the industry. It has become important to the city and county of Taichung as well. On Monday, many of us who attended the RideOn/ Taichung Bike Week had a private meeting with the Mayor of Taichung and some of his representatives. Several of us sat in a "round table" discussion panel to talk about the pros and cons of the current event and listen to the city explain how they want to help facilitate what we are already doing. Honestly, it was very exciting for me personally to sit in a room of my peers and industry kin and talk about how we can all work together to make the little un-tradeshow work for us all. It was also very exciting to see how much the city of Taichung wants to help us do our jobs. After all, much of the Taiwan bike industry is centered in the city and county of Taichung and is a major economic force in the Taiwan economy. But, sincerely, the best part was the feeling of being a part of something that was about the greater good of the industry itself. Those who cared to attend clearly represent those brands and people who actually care about the health of the cycling industry and not just the bottom line of their respective brands. To me, that's the best part of the industry I care so much about- the people in it who also care.

The Mayor of Taichung and his liaison to the bike industry, Anna Wang.

Last Sunday I also took part in a 75km "race" in the mountains surrounding the city of Taipei. I say "race" because it wasn't an officially sanctioned event, per se, and was more like many of the "fun rides" we have here in the US. The riders ranged from the elite to the novice... and everywhere in between and on every conceivable type of bike you can imagine. Of the 75km, 50km were uphill... some parts of the climbs were steep enough that scooters were being pushed up the hills! Needless to say, with the total lack of fitness I have, it was beyond painful. I am not too proud to admit that in the last 5km, I had to walk my bike up the climbs 3 or 4 times. I was blown to pieces by the end, but considering that I have ridden 3-4 times over the past 2.5 months... I'm happy to have even finished at all. I am also happy to report that the bike I shipped over for the event rode flawlessly- aside from not making me not have to pedal uphill. The new Scandium frame I have been testing rode perfectly- it accelerates like a dream and corners flawlessly. The road feel is everything Scandium is supposed to be and has very stiff power transfer to the pedals. The updated SRAM Rival group worked perfectly but I was totally over-geared and needed a compact crank for the amount of steep climbing we did, but I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Also, the new Shimano RS80 wheelset rode awesome! These new carbon/ alloy clincher wheels are sweet and I can't wait to get the bike back from Taiwan so I can start putting more miles on it.

It's time for me to try and get some sleep, even though my internal clock is all out of whack. I'll have more to report soon and will have plenty more cool pictures now that I have reliable internet able to handle the images.



The Donut Guy said...

Wow.....exactly how *tall* are you?

Al said...

Welcome back! We missed you.

How was the airplane trip on the legs?