“Everything is arranged so that the worst of tastes, the taste for the unconditional, should be cruelly fooled and abused until a man learns to put a little art into his feelings and rather to risk trying even what is artificial — as the real artists of life do.”
The North American Handmade Something or other was in town this weekend and if Bloggy had some sort of agenda, it would say something along the lines of “a town as vacuous and superficial as Charlotte, NC did what one expects from a place chiseled from shady bank dealings and Mc’mansion construction run amok: it sucked the life out of a vibrant and original event and turned in into a wake for originality and craftsmanship” But luckily, even though Charlotte tried it’s best (starting with the Nascar museum parking garage neatly dovetailed next to a mega-corporate St Patrick’s day “festival”) it couldn’t derail the enthusiasm of the custom frame builders and the thousands of admirers and curiosity seekers who came to look at their latest and sometimes greatest creations. In all seriousness, Charlotte is a nice town and most of the negativity stems from one hapless, wayward, most definitely local St Patrick’s reveler who did something horrible in front of Bloggy which in turn left a bad municipal taste in Bloggy’s mouth (but we wont get into that). I was lucky enough to chat with a few of our vendors like Columbus (ciao Giorgio!) and say hi to a few builders I’ve admired from afar (Mike Desalvo, Mr. Bilenky). I have a lot of respect for these booth warriors who stand there all day and field the questions of attendees, patiently explaining processes and ideas, over and over until their vocal chords are raw and severed. Their pain is for your gain. Enough of the rambling, let’s see some tangentially related photos!
Even QBP had a booth!
Campagnolo have a nice van but Magura’s is one step above it in the van classification pyramid: it’s got a bed! Even better, that bed is occupied by a man named Mike! Better than that? Mike works for Magura and is not some common van bed-troll we read about in the papers on a regular basis! Mike swung by the hallowed halls today to take Tony Stone and Matt for a bike ride and a nourishing luncheon afterwards. La dolce vita. Magura make great forks and brakes, all of which we have in our warehouse, ready to go on the bike build of your dreams. Have a frank and productive weekend and hopefully we’ll see you at NAHBS tomorrow. Say “hi” to Bloggy. I’m six foot six, skinny as rail with curly blonde hair. I also go by Clayton in addition to Bloggy. Just give me a rabbit punch to the kidneys to let me know you’re there! You can take my wallet too. My protests are for comic effect!
Mike plays what sounds like a ukele but it’s got six strings so it’s like a pygmy guitar. It is his only friend on the desolate road. He named it Cheryl and will make an honest woman of her some day. Some day.
The sprinter van is ubiquitous in the cycling industry. Working at the distribution level, we’ve gained an appreciation for these road warriors. Each one is crammed full of our vendors’ identities and when they roll into our parking lot, it always warms the cockles of our collective distribution heart. Having had experience with our own van (Storck/Vanderkitten), it’s interesting to see what customizations if any each vendor gives to their van. Campagnolo went subdued, classy and highly functional: a literal rolling refection of their product line. Tom (general manager) and Dan (technical service manager) showed off the noise canceling panels in the cargo hold, the custom flooring and lighting for safe working conditions and the clean and organized workspace for Dan when he’s touring the countryside spreading the Campy gospel. Thanks for the visit guys. A presto! Forse io vivo nel tuo furgone?
It’s still one of the best logos around. Splendido!
Today was 78 and sunny so we thought, “What better weather to chuck cinder blocks at cars?” After that, we thought, “What better weather to do a casual-paced lunch ride?” (couldn’t find an appropriate number of cinder blocks). Matt (SRAM buyer), Patrick (Campagnolo buyer) and Jose (grumpy guss supremo) let Bloggy ride along for the sake of decency. Kevin tagged along on Ole Blue at the last second… and attacked every chance he got. It was a vulgar display of power but good to see Kevin’s winter form has carried through to the first overtures of spring. He was riding my platform Gusset DH pedals so I can assume he’ll be in the hospital tomorrow waiting on results from various foot and ankle scans. Those pedals stink but it’s the only advantage we have over the boy.
This is a grumpy guss supremo:
This is a Red Bank debris field:
This is an attack emboldened by the desperation of a man riding a bike that could break in half at any time… AND a pair of Northwave Podium Shoes
Nothing brings people together like a bike build. The camaraderie, the enthusiasm, the joy of shared knowledge and experience… these are alien things to our purchasing department. The things that bring these sad sacks to a bike build are primal, baser, animalistic needs: needling, questioning, mocking, re-questioning, trolling and generally undermining the mechanical skills of whoever is unlucky enough to be building the bike and then setting upon him or her like a pack of hyenas on a wounded gazelle. Enter Patrick for round two of the EPS demo bike build! We’ve got the bloody thing wired and Tony Stone (service center) was nice enough to throw the crankset in and fix some issues with a chain stay. Brake cables, tires, tape and this thing should be ready to ride…
Here’s the heckling ringleader, feeding the hate
Back in the Service Center, Tony makes like Arsenio, and “gets busy”…
Have a great evening. Jose wants to make you uncomfortable, in your dreams.
At Sunday’s race, Bloggy found a nice spot on the first climb and snapped a few photos of various riders in various stages of suffering and/or pretending not to suffer. After several riders, I saw a gentleman from TotalCyclist in Charlotte sporting, lo and behold, a Catlike! My first Catlike sighting in the wild for the season. I made a tick mark on my list, chucked my camera into the pond and ran back home to dream of Spanish helmet intrigue. This is our first year distributing these lids and we couldn’t be more excited, like this dude!
Here are a few of the pallets remaining from this morning’s tidal wave-like arrival. Our receiving department are a sharp bunch. They demand your respect. They expect your love.
This rider’s helmet is obviously crushing his brain. His brain needs the gentle embrace of a Catlike. He will learn, but will it be too late? CATLIKE!!!
I woke up Sunday morning with the distinct taste of soil and Four Loko in my mouth. “Not again” I thought. Hands bound with a thick yellow cord, I kicked open the trunk of the anonymous looking sedan to be greeted by golden light, shimmering through Spanish moss. After I sawed my hands free with what remained of the passenger side mirror (still wet with Mendoza’s blood), destroyed the remnants of the attache case and the blueprints stashed inside, I stumbled into an equally confused park ranger who confirmed my darkest fears: I had ended up at Poinsett State Park… again.
A brief word of thanks followed by a ruthless karate chop to the neck sent him sprawling into a holly bush as I ran towards a grass clearing. Fiddlesticks; too late: Kevin’s cat 2 mountain bike race had started without me. As I stood by the slipshod course tape, without hope and/or pants, I remembered to snap a quick photo with a hastily constructed camera made from another camera that I smashed into bits and then re-assembled. Throat horse from an evening of screaming threats in Turkish through a megaphone on a sinister quay in an equally sinister dockyard, my shouts of encouragement came out like molasses through an eye dropper.
As Kevin disappeared into the woods, I walked into the cool, inviting pond teeming with tadpoles. I quickly introduced myself to them as their new lord and master and vowed to stay away from XC mountain bike racing forever. The end.
Local shop owner Tim of Summit Cycles was the only racer Bloggy saw on a single speed cross bike. One can only assume he lost a bet/angered a Mayan god to be given such a punishment
Bloggy’s chum Brian Hackathorne was sandbagging it up in the Expert 45+ class but had time to slow down so I could get a shot of his Piggly Wiggly kit with the pink/blue/black colors that are eerily reminiscent of a kit that has pummeled him at races in years past. Good to see you B!
Bloggy: (Shouted across spillway) What camera are you shooting with?
Stranger: Camera?! What camera?
We finally found Kevin roaming around the course with the Garmin VIRB perched upon his Catlike Mixino at a jaunty angle. He was in good spirits, and not just because of the poison tree frogs he’d been licking all over the course, but they didn’t hurt!
So in conclusion, this guy: