Thursday, October 05, 2006

Interbike 2006; Expo day three

Day three;
The day started off really slow for the first two hours, but as predicted kicked right back in to crazy busy around 11:00 and stayed that way for a few hours before tapering off again around 3:00- the traditional die off time. The last day of the show is traditionally a very slow and weird day. This year was no exception, though I have to admit that when it was busy, it was very busy. The last day of the show is also when lots of my friends pack up and get out of town and head home and I realize that I didn't get to spend nearly enough time with them.

Once the show was over at 6:00, it became a mad dash to tear down all of the booths and get things ready for the next morning, when we would be crating things up and sending them back to San Diego and then loading our rental trucks and heading back home.

(Tony D, our BMX Brand Manager, taking care of "bidnitz" during teardown.)
(Chris Raceles- our BMX Product Manager- in the midst of teardown.)
(The Masibestfriend checking his eyelids for holes during teardown.)

Loose ends and random pieces;
This year I saw lots of people I hadn't seen in too long and only really got to say "hello" before they left. I also met some folks who were friends that I had never met before in person. Karl Wiedemann, Meagan Polino (more on her later) and other cool new friends. It's impossible to name them all and I really stink with names in the first place. Needless to say, the community of people I know in and around the bike industry is pretty amazing. Here's a cool example; Gord Fraser is one of the very best road sprinters around. This was his last season of racing. He crashed in Bermuda (?) in his very last professional race. Gord swung by the Masi booth to talk to our Director of Sales- Doug Cerri, who used to be with Speedplay (who has been Gord's pedal sponsor for years). Anyway, I've met Gord once and done one race with him over the years and he greeted me with a big smile, a firm handshake and a genuinely cool attitude. Gord recognized the rider in one of our booth signs- another Canadian rider- Scott Goguen. Gord gave me a big handshake after our conversation and asked me to be sure to say hello to Scottie for him the next time I talked to him. I've never actually spoken to Scottie, though he rides for the Masi-Adobe pro team, but I thought it was really cool that Gord went out of his way like that. I saw Gord a few more times during the show and he always waved and said hello on his way by. THAT is one of the reasons why I love this stuff so much. Gord Fraser is just a damned good guy and this industry is full of them. (By the way Scottie- Gord says hello... if you happen to read this.)

One of the other highlights of the show for me, was the one and only Dario Pegoretti. Dario crafts some of the most incredible bikes I have ever seen. The man is such an amazing artist. His work is timeless as well- some of the bikes he was showing have been displayed for more than one or two years because they are so amazing. Anyway, one day as I was headed to the restroom, I walked by Dario. I was tempted to stop and say something to him, but my pressure warning light was on and glowing red. On the way out (yes I washed my hands thoroughly), I saw Dario still having a conversation. As I passed him I thought, "I should stop and say something"... but I kept going. I got about three steps and spun around and politely as possible interrupted the conversation to shake Dario's hand and tell him how much I loved his bikes. He looked at my exhibitor badge and smiled awkwardly. It wasn't a perfect moment, but it was really cool and genuine.

(Just gorgeous...)

(Check out the custom lugged stem.)

(Super clean lines...)

(Not only is the head tube lug gorgeous, but the fork crown is amazing. Check out the inscription; "Buonasera signorina"- Good night ladies. Amazing...)

Another really cool moment was when Patrick O'Grady came in to the booth and checked out the new CXR cross bike. I'm a big fan of O'Grady's cartoons and his editorials. He isn't for everybody, I know, and I don't always agree with him either... but I do feel that he is one of the very best writers in the cycling world. Seriously, I mean that. Patrick and I spent some time talking about cross bikes, which is kind of his thing, and bikes in general. It wasn't nearly a long enough conversation for me, so I offered to buy him a beer if he ever gets to San Diego. Anyway, it was great to speak to him and get to be a bike nerd with him.

The guys from A&F came around the booth several times over the course of the show and hung out. I got to see them at the Sinclair party too, but didn't get to really spend a lot of quality time with the guys. These guys have been a great team and have gotten some great results this year- and next year will be even better. They aren't just a team of riders though, as they've become very good friends and are becoming more like family all the time. I've been thrilled to work with them this year and am hoping to keep working with them for many years to come. If you see them at a race, scream loud for them and tell them the Masiguy says hello.

This year's show was a big deal for a number of reasons. Some of them good, some of them bad, some of them just taking up space in the line. Last year's show was good for me too, but overall was something of a down year for the tradeshow itself. This year the atmosphere seemed much better and the "feeling" was very positive. I haven't seen numbers yet, but I'd be willing to bet that attendance was up this year over last year. I'd also be willing to bet that most people would rate it better than last year. Between an awesome Dirt Demo and an incredible indoor Expo, it was a great year to be at Interbike. To all of the folks I got to talk to- thank you for your time and for hearing me out. For all of those folks who came by the booth and didn't get to talk to me because it was so busy- I'm sorry and I hope you'll try again next year or just get in touch with me on your own schedule.

I love our silly tradeshow and the opportunies it gives me each year to share my passion with all the other folks who have a simialr passion. I was worried that all of the doping scandals would leave a dark cloud over the show. Honestly, it doesn't seem like it made a mark at all. A few people mentioned it, but it was really just a passing thing and I didn't hear a single person blame slowing sales on the scandals. I remember in 1998, after the Festina Affair at the Tour, people were pretty worried. Heck, when things went sideways this year, I got pretty worried myself. Looks like I just might have gotten proven wrong. Time will tell.

I know there are other stories to tell and as I remember them, I will tell them. I have more photos too, so I know this Interbike stuff isn't done quite yet... but I'm going to bed now.



Bernie said...

That pegoretti brings tears to my eyes

iruntheteam said...

I would take a Masi over that Pegoretti heap any day of the week! A 3VC Volumetrice is a sure thing! Really, no joke.
My only other dream ride might be a fully custom single speed Independent Fabrication!


Queen of Couth said...

Why no pics of bk? For being hung over I looked HOT. Hell, for NOT being hung over I looked hot.