Sorry I haven’t been on-line, it has been a very intense and busy two weeks. I have had the pleasure of being part of the Specialized Bicycles 09 demo at Copper Mountain Resort in Colorado. Yes, I got to see all of the new 09 bikes and two bikes not available in the USA. I got to meet lots of super cool people and a few assholes. We worked our asses off and are dog tired because of it.
I am going to attempt to squeeze two weeks worth of info into a relatively easy to digest post.
During our stay there, Specialized Bikes took very good care of us and I thank them for it all. They paid for our flights, housing, food(3 meals a day), lift passes(on select days), some clothing, and a few other things. In return we worked our asses off, with some 12 hour days.
We arrived in Denver and then waited for two hours for our shuttle to arrive. When the time finally came to load the bus/shuttle, we became part of a diverse group from reps, dealers, VIPs, and grunts (we were grunts). One the ride to Copper Mountain we were shown the newest DVD in the Collective family, Seasons. Pretty cool, but my fave is still The Collective, the first in the series. Seasons still has all of the awesome camera work of the previous, but something about the original strikes a chord with me. We arrived at Copper, and were quickly whisked away to meetings, orientations, and over view of what we would be doing. By the time we finally got to our condo it was well after 11PM, and we needed to be at breakfast between 6:30 & 8:30am and be to our demo by 7:30am to prep for the rides at 9:45.
My wife and I worked the Road Demo, so we were responsible for retrieving and readying bikes for the dealers, reps, and anyone else that was invited to the event. We had never attended one of these events, and had no idea what to expect. Week one was the international dealers/reps. That first day of getting our feet wet and figuring out how things were going to run and working with people from all over the USA, was fun and interesting to say the least. The first day went fairly well, but the second was tops. We all figured out what was going on and helped each other accordingly. The international dealers were super cool and some of the nicest guys and gals. We had people from The Czech Republic, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Australia, and all over Europe. The bikes we handled were Tarmac Pro, Tarmac Expert , Tarmac S-Works , Roubaix Pro, Roubaix Expert, Roubaix Comp, Roubaix S-Works, Tri-Cross Expert, Tri-Cross S-Works, Transition S-Works(including the Quick Step team bikes), Dolce Pro, Ruby Pro, Ruby S-Works. We handled pretty much all sizes from 49mm to 61mm, groups sets from Shimano (both 08 & 09), Sram Red, and the new 09 Campy, which was only on like three bikes, and they were very hard for the riders to acquire.
The second week was the US dealers and reps, and they a bit more difficult. We even had a special meeting to address how to deal with them. Where the international dealers/reps were laid back, the US ones were picky and to some degree impatient. They drove the mechanics crazy with all of little changes they wanted done to the demo bikes, but nothing drove the mechanics crazier than having to flip the bike stems.
We were actually able to ride several times in the first week. We had our own bikes shipped, so riding the mountain on our own steeds was tops. We were able to take the lift up and then rip down the side of the mountain about 5 times over a few days. What a blast! I had never ridden like that before. There were two different courses one called Red Tail which was a pure cross country style trail with tight switchbacks. The second was Elk Alley and it was a technical course with rocks, roots, climbing, and assorted obsticals. Elk Alley eventually meet up with Red Tail towards the bottom, so the last part of your ride was rippin’ fast. Too much fun. There was even one day we took out a couple of 08 bikes. I rode an S-Works Epic (which climbed like a mountain goat) and my wife rode a Stumpjumper 29’er. On this day we decided to climb up to the top of the lift, taking the fire road all the way. Good God, was that brutal. I have never done that much climbing in my life, it took us about an hour to climb 2,000+ft with an average 4% grade. There were times I didn’t think that I was going to make it, but we had really good support in our demo leader JP. He actually rode back down to us when he saw we were having trouble and stayed with us, talking us through it, and just being way damn cool. THANKS, JP!!! We finally reached the top, and he took off with a few other downhill folks to bomb down the mountain. My wife and I took a few minutes to rest, then we bombed down the mountain, in time for lunch, then work. We were whipped, but it was so worth it. The ride down took about 30+ minutes, which made the ride up all worth while.
All of the 09 mountain bikes were cool, mostly slight design changes. The biggest change I saw though was on the bikes with the Brain shock, seems they finally figured out how to invert it so that it is totally contained behind the chainstays and rearstays. A small, but brilliant design change, that I figure will keep it well protected from rocks and trees. The S-Works Stumpjumper was a fav of mine. Two bikes that we saw that are not going to be available here in the USA were the Langster Monaco, and the Globe Vienna. I wish that I would have had my camera to take pics of these two, especially the Langster Monaco, because it was beauty and simplicity. I would have traded my Langster Chicago for it in a heart beat. Maybe it’ll show up online after they release it in Europe. Keep your eyes peeled for it. The Globe Vienna was just a beautiful commuter with all the bells and whistles, again, I didn’t have my camera. I wanted to go back to take pics, but the Monaco had taken flight to Australia…damn!
It was a very busy two weeks and I can’t wait to do it again next year, if they’ll have me.
Thanks for reading, Patrick – SSD Crew