* names have been changed to protect the innocent
I went down to beautiful Boulder, CO last week for yet another fantastic Media Rendezvous organized by Kristan Clarke of Rendezvous Event Management. Opedix, Asics, Specialized, Oakley and IMBA sponsored 15 A-list media, mostly from Boulder, but also from NYC, LA and Iowa to learn about and test the latest and greatest in cycling and running products. The weather cooperated, all the samples arrived on time, the food was great, pregnant ladies conquered large boulders, little deer ran next to the trail, and the presentations were all well-done, with interesting nuggets of information for all.
And then the best-laid plans went awry.
After hearing about the amazingly light, smart and responsive Specialized bikes that we were about to ride, we piled our large group into about 7 cars and promptly got lost. Three of us managed to miss the turn, but no big deal. 10 minutes late. Minor inconvenience.
Once on the bikes, we headed to the skills park. We took pictures. We talked shit. Then we went for a ride. It started out innocuously enough with a short ride down a road, and then we headed up this amazing single track trail that wound, sometimes very tightly, up around corners, up over rocks and up over roots… and then back down. SO FUN.
When Joe* and I caught up with some of our group at the bottom, they were walking their bikes… Jeanine* had apparently attempted her first “superman”, gap jumping one of the sharp corners, but she didn’t stick the landing and ended up unable to lift her right arm. She was very brave, considering how hard it is to find a sling to match any outfit, especially in LA in the summer. And she only shed a couple tears when she realized it had been raining, they were cutting her shirt off from the back, and she was wearing a white jog bra. She ended up with a broken collarbone, but a solid reputation for toughness.
Jeanine wasn’t the only one to come away with injuries from the unavoidable stoke-overconfidence of an incredibly sweet, brand new bike. Natalie*, a relative beginner, was riding wheelie over a root cluster when her rear tire gave way to the rain-slicked surface and she was forced to dive onto a cactus to save the new bike from damage. Interestingly, had she just waited for Heather’s* demo on the right way to fall – next to the cactus, bike tangled in legs to prevent damage to sweet frame – she might not have had to spend as much time with the tweezers.
Luckily, the scars will eventually heal, but thankfully, the memories will live on for some time. These are the moments that build relationships between media, manufacturers and pr people, and make events like this so memorable. Someday, I hope to attend an injury-free event, where everything goes as planned. But if I do, I probably won’t remember it…