Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Rarified Air

Here's a story from my Interbike trip a few weeks ago that I thought you mountain bikers, especially you old skool guy's and gals, would find interesting. It's about the night that I attended the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame induction ceremonies for Travis Brown, Robert Gregorio (aka Bicycle Bob), and Chris King. (Yes, that Chris King!)

The whole Interbike thing for me was about working for Twenty Nine Inches, covering the 29"er scene for Blue Collar Mountain Bike guy Tim Grahl, who runs a network of sites under the Crooked Cog banner. Along with Tim and I was his partner Mike, who was also there to cover Interbike. We all decided to crash the MBHoF induction ceremonies after the close of the show on the first day of Interbike. Well, crashing the party, really isn't what we did, since we had "working media" passes and all!

We arrived a bit late, so we scurried into the room, and took our places in the back, standing against the wall. The room was dimly lit and seemed to be pretty full. I'd guess that there were well over a hundred people in there. Anyway, I look to my right, and lo and behold! A little bar was set up and they were pouring free beer! Uh-huh.....I'm on that like white on rice. And it wasn't just any ol beer either, but special Kona Beer in two different flavors. (Yes.....I tried both!) So, I have my plastic cup-o-beer in hand and I slide back to the rear of the room to "hold up the wall", just like I used to back in my college daze. (Yes.....I truly mean "daze") I look to my left, and holding up the wall with me is Maurice Tierney, the Dirt Rag founder and MBHoF member, wearing a bright orange pair of pants and a purple shirt and neck tie. Okay, this is pretty cool! I complimented him on his shirt, which I'm sure impressed him deeply!

Anyway, the room is stuffed with people like this. Mountain bike pioneers, racers, promoters, company heads, you name it. While I'm standing there, former Trek factory Gnome, Zapata Espinoza is giving his introduction to Travis Brown, Greg Herbold is chuckling in the front of the room, and Ned Overend is walking back for another drink. What is this? Mountain Bike Action come to life circa 1993?

So, John Tomac gets up to give his account of Bicycle Bob, his former race mechanic, and he starts dropping these 80's mountain biking gems like, "yard sale" and "harsh my shred" and such. I look at Tim and Mike and they have their eyebrows all furrowed up and they are shrugging their shoulders as if they were listening to a foriegn language. Then I nudge Mike, and I say, "What's up?". To which he says, "What's a yard sale got to do with this? I laugh and tell him I'd explain it all later. Then I nudge Mike again to point out Ned Overend to him. He shrugs. He freekin' shrugs?!! He didn't have a clue who Ned was. Amazing!

The thing of it was, Mike and Tim are new to mountain biking. They only started four years ago, which is great. The more the merrier. However, it's inconcievable to me that you wouldn't know your mtb history. (Check out the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame for your lessons) But there it is. A whole new generation that hasn't a clue to where this whole thing came from is out there ridin' in the dirt.

Sometime if you're hangin' out with some riding buddies, and your telling stories, bust out a vintage mountain bike yarn or two. And don't forget your mountain bike slang. Some folks out there need to know. It makes what we do have a sense of history and importance. Gives the sport some weight, ya know?

Anyway.........I thought that was a funny story!

No comments: