[CR]Le Cirque 2002 in depth report pt. II

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Date: Thu, 09 May 2002 18:46:38 -0700
From: "Brian Baylis" <rocklube@adnc.com>
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Subject: [CR]Le Cirque 2002 in depth report pt. II

Dear Gangmembers,

Sorry for the delay. I'll squeeze this part in before rehersal this evening. As long as the phone will shut up for a while I'll be able to get through this.

Two things I forgot to mention that fall into the time frame I've covered so far that I would like to "sweep up". The small band of us who were in town and functioning at Midnite Thurs. that went to the little bar accross from the hotel were treated to the aforementioned liquid refreshments by Mike Self. I forgot to thank him for his generous deed in the previous account. Thanks Mike! The other "sidebar" that I want to mention is how these yearly gatherings have a way of generating side relationships based on either something that was discovered on the list or at the previous Cirque that ends up blossoming into a sideinterest with the other person. Normally these things happen when the two discover a common interest outside of bicycles. In this case Wayne Bingham and I have a little "misic fetish" in common. I just like vintage rock; Wayne collects music and makes CD collections in a wide variety of musical catagories. Somewhere along the line I must have mentioned Cream and drummer Ginger Baker as one of my early influences and favorites. Wayne made me a compliation of Ginger Baker material that contains the best Baker drum solo I've ever heard. Jam packed with textbook Baker polyrhythms that took my head clean off! Dude, the stuff was recorded in 1970 (the same year as my Colnago) so it's vintage, right. BTW, to tie in to the celebrity bike thing it is Ginger Baker that explains how the Cream album got to be named "Desraili Gears". Apparently they were sitting around discussing what they were going to do with all of the money they were going to make (since the 1st platter "Fresh Creme" was a rousing success) and Clapton commented that he was going to "buy one of those bicycles with those "desraili gears" when he actually meant deraillier gears. They all fell obout the place laughing and the joke became the name of the second offering from Creme. Cool, huh? Anyway; I really enjoy these little side treats to the people one meets at these gatherings. To be perfectly honest I see plenty enough exoctic bikes to keep me happy; but you just can't put a price on these kinds of relationships. Every one of these gatherings you miss you're also probably missing several other really important bits, contacts, and historic happenings. I'll explain a HUGH one I discovered that one of my roommates casually has association with that may never have come up if we didn't spent until bloody 3am talking every night. Remind me to spill the beans later; no time now.

I left off just before dinner Fri. nite; our first full group size dinner which is always the time when necommers and returnees alike are busy asking one another "how many of these have you been to" and "where do you live", and so on and so forth. It's the "introductory dinner". I found this time especially amusing because this is when you are most likey to meet someone for the first time in person that you have carried on with through email. These are so much fun because we all form a minds-eye picture of what the other person looks like and how they might act. The name tags are often part of this first dinner and I amuse myself as usual by making up something stupid to put on it. It never fails to surprise people who have never met me in person before, that this vision they have formed in their mind as to what I look like and act like in person is so far from the truth. Based on my writing or my work, one might picture someone that would at least appear normal; possibly to the degree that if asked to pick me out of a crowd you would have not a clue as to my identity. Those who have attended the Cirque know otherwise. The horror and dissappointment on peoples' faces has they realize that the troll-like circus freek with the third arm growing out of his back is actually Brian Baylis is too much. It's priceless! And all this time they probably had something completely different in mind. Just one more reason to start making your plans for next year now; trust me, your imagination couldn't possibly do justice to the degree of my disfigurement.

The other thing that seems to happen often; and it happened to me again this year is you meet someones' wife who's never seen this kind of foolishness before and is along for the first time. Here we are at the "introductory" dinner and I'm sitting near a bunch of people I've never met before. This poor lady ends up sitting next to some dork who claims to be Rumplestilskin (if you were to believe his name tag). She can't quite figure out why the crowd hasen't taken to beating this foul beast with sticks and shooing it away; but rather they are treating it with some measure of respect and asking bike related questions of this pathetic creature. I can tell she is puzzled and think she has concluded that this odd person is some sort of oracle or something; therefore its' presence is tolerated. For her it is disturbing that a bunch of grown men (and a few women) are so immersed in their toy bicycles, and that so much discussion of minitia in one room at one time isn't fatal to humans. Remarkably, she survived the experience. I wish to hell I could remember what comment she made to me the following day. Something about my manner affected her and the result was one of those priceless lines and verbal exchanges that makes being crazy and eccentric all worth while. It was some sort of compliment delivered in just the right way to leave room for interpation. Again, priceless.

I don't remember exactly what happened after dinner but traditionally there will be a smaller "hardcore" group that will ending seeking brewski or coffee or whatever. As always I am part of this circle. I go for the people and the experience. The more time you spend with them and the more different people you spend it with the better. Chuck Schmidt, Steve Kinne, Mike Kone, John Pergolizzi,e-Richie, John Barron and Chris Kavale, Matt Gorski and Jay Van de Velde, Jan and Peter Johnson, Ray Etherton and Hilary Stone and several others were typically the late nighters. One just can't imagine how much bicycle experience and knowledge is contained in these groups. The stories are nonstop all night. I didn't hit the hay before 2am any time. Chuck could talk all night long if I could stay awake to listen. We also picked up a potential new convert to vintage bikes in the form of a nice woman who drove us around during the events and hung with the hardcore crowd who's name is Karen. I think she finally asked someone what we saw in these old bikes (being a racer and a person who rides modern technology) and a copy of the Rene Herse book was available to show her an example of a Rene Herse ladies mixte bike that was sufficient evidence to support our case. Next thing you know you can see the gears working inside her head; wow, something like that might be cool to have some day. As the story continues this character matures even more in her appreciation of something that was largely unknown to her. She also got a seriously strong dose of a "different" kind of cyclist than she is used to. To some degree that is how this infectious little interest of ours spreads around bit by bit. The time may be comming soon when the title "lunitic vintage bike guy" can be shortened to simply "vintage bike guy". Will we live to see the day? Thanks to Dale and people like him (like Chuck for example) I believe we will! We will be free to publicly declair our interest in crusty old pigiron without fear of persecution by modern bike racers, etc. Our suffering is nearly at an end.........

Start with Sat. morning in the next installment. We will open with my favorite time of each day. It's the period when you first come down to the hotel lobby and those staying in the hotel are converging there to make plans for breakfest. That's when Ray lets his best jokes fly, Krispy Kreme is in fashion, and coffee is plentiful. Amazingly, even after only a few hours sleep (thanks, Chuck) I'm all over that. Love my morning coffee; the only thing that tops my regular routine is spending it like this listening to the tall tales and getting to know everyone. We truely are a community. The internet has enabled one thing; the ability for strangers to come together from all over the place and feel as if we all already know each other. Duty calls.

Brian Baylis La Mesa, CA Just spent quite a while on the phone with the inimiatable Dave Tesch. How's thar for a phone call.