Sunday night, ahhhhhhhhhhh........
After a great night's sleep last night (with an extra hour thrown in for good measure), I awoke to brilliant sunshine on Sunday morning. Ready to take on the world, and the roadways, with our fearless troupe of classic riders. The ride was a lot of fun - a good pace and plenty of 'action' - and the weather was fabulous. We stopped at Robert's Store of Woodside for water and regrouping. Several other riders had the same idea, including San Francisco Wheelmen legend Peter Bohl, a 60-something year old icon of Northern California cycling and track racing. Peter still does motor pacing for track riders at the Hellyer Park velodrome and also serves many other functions at the track. He was riding his 1962 Cinelli track bike, which was gorgeous.
The lunch stop at Plantation Cafe was well-deserved, and we were all relieved to see Felix roll in after a mechanical problem. After food and drink, Peter J. and I rolled on home while the rest of the posse headed back to Los Altos, to their cars. Thanks Felix, for your effort on coordinating this enjoyable ride.
- - - Saturday was the 15th Annual Denver VeloSwap, held at the National Western Complex, where the livestock shows take place. VeloNews had me fly out to observe this insane spectacle, and take notes to prepare for the first San Francisco VeloSwap on Nov. 15th. Seeing the National Western Complex main hall for the first time was impressive. It is a massive concrete structure that was built in 1903 and is well over 100,000 sq. ft. in area.
I spent the entire day Friday laying out booth areas, chalking numbers on the floor, helping vendors and exhibitors move into their spaces, and answering a lot of questions. It was an exhausting day after walking atleast 10 miles and working non-stop from 10:00 am until 8:30 pm.
Saturday morning started for me at 3:05am! My deep sleep was interrupted by what appeared to be a spaceship landing in my hotel room! Flashing strobe lights, shrill beeping sound, the whole deal. It took me a minute, but once I came to my senses, I realized that it was the fire alarm. Some idiot had pulled the fire alarm in a drunken stupor, thinking it would be amusing. I tried to ignore it and go back to sleep, and after 10 minutes it finally silenced. At 5am, I got up and headed over to the Complex. People were already lined up, waiting to check in and start setting up their booths.
My job was to help people find their booths, set up two tables with 1,000s of free VeloNews issues and VeloSwap programs, and make dozens of signs for throughout the building. At 9:00am, the doors opened and the mad rush was incredible. Over 10,000 people filed into the building and it was soon was at maximum capacity. You couldn't walk in a straight line without bumping into several people. It lives up to its name as the World's Largest Bicycle Swap Meet! I saw several CR listees, and I'm sorry I didn't remember your names!
Once the swap began, my job was pretty much finished. Nothing else to do but circulate and check out the goodies. Not a lot of vintage stuff, but I did see one guy selling a classic Schwinn Paramount, circa 1980, with all Campy NR, in great shape, for $450. Too small for me though. I saw Mike Kone and his assorted posters for sale. Great seeing him again.
I took 13 wool jerseys and 19 pairs of Woolistic socks with me to sell and I only had to carry home 5 jerseys! Not bad at all. The Merckx MOLTENI jerseys were the biggest hits, and at only $95.00 each, a bargain.
The highlight for me occured while I was standing in a friend's booth when a fellow came up and said "JAN!" to me. He told me his name and I immediately recognized him as one of my high school buddies from 1976!! He was an avid cyclist back then and I remember watching him win a couple of races in my hometown. He now lives in Boulder and still races. Amazing guy.
I also bumped into a guy that I'd met at the Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City last February. We met on one of the shuttle buses that took spectators from SLC to the venue for downhill skiing at Snowbasin. He and I ended up spending the following two days together, watching the Men's and Women's Downhill events and surviving the throngs of admiring Picabo Street fans who mistook me for the Olympic champ. I posed for photos with spectators, signed autographs, and shook a lot of hands and he witnessed the whole thing. Brett Horton and his wife Shelly were also there to witness the insanity. My 15 minutes of fame posing as a celebrity passed by way too fast!
I'm now super-charged for VeloSwap in San Francisco in three weeks. I hope
some of you CR folks can make it. Friday night will be the "Evening with
Graham Watson and Bob Roll" at the Metreon in downtown San Francisco:
The official hotel for these events is the Radisson Hotel in Brisbane, just
minutes from San Francisco International Airport and the Cow Palace, with a
free shuttle to both locations. It is a beautifully-appointed new hotel, and
there is a special VeloSwap price which is quite reasonable.
We'll try to put together a dinner on Saturday night in San Francisco and a ride on Sunday morning, leaving from the Radisson Hotel, winding through the City, across the Golden Gate bridge to Sausalito, maybe around the Paradise Drive loop and back to the City.
For more information or to secure booth space, call 800-811-4210 x222 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Rumor has it that Dale Brown and Peter Gilbert (Cane Creek) might fly out from North Carolina for the event, so plan to 'rendezvous' in San Francisco, November 14th - 16th, if you can.
Portola Valley, CA