Willis was cool enough to invite me to the grand opening party for the new Specialized concept store run by Toga that happened last night. I had no clue what to expect but he promised that there would be some drinks and a little food, so I thought I would at least stop by after a few laps in the park.
The park ride got sort of weird quick with dark setting in not too long after 7. At a couple of points I could not even see the road as there were no overhead lights and the park had become devoid of people. I saw two raccoons. They were big.
The ride itself was really nice. My bike feels so smooth with nary a sound from the drive train (other than the BB clicking a little when I stand) and the tires perfectly topped off to give a plush, smooth but pretty fast ride. Vittoria All Weather tires are my favorite but so slow. I am looking forward to new tires that dont feel like they super under inflated.
I did 3 laps steady and cut out even though I really wanted one more. The park was way dark and empty, so sort of dangerous, and besides I wanted to stop in to say hi to the boys at Toga.
As I got about a block away from the shop I could see these huge red Specialized bike banners and a team Specialized Truck and a Team SRAM Volvo. All of the sudden I realized that this was the big deal, and that they had even rolled out the red carpet for the event. I felt a little under dressed in bike gear as there were a lot of folks decked out in their west coast party garb: specialized was very well represented including their top end tri guy Peter Reid.
The place was packed with happy faces, new product from Specialized and SRAM and booze and food. Stayed a little longer than I really wanted (10 minutes is all I wanted to stay) but ended up seeing some people I have not seen in awhile, checked out an 18 pound tt bike that was way slippery and a 9 grand 14.5 pound road bike. The road bike was the new S-Work Tarmac SL-2 and it could have lost another pound by changing the brakes and crankest and bars. It was a sick bike and it really made have some bike lust. But it is hard to argue with a bike with soul (hand built in Boston...) vs. a technological wonder that weighed nothing. Bayer to entry on the S-Works 14.5 pound wonder bike is roughly 8,500 bucks.
I got to hear the spiel on the new SRAM Red top end road group-o and I have to say I am in intrigued. I love the ergo of Campy, and the SRAM stuff is not too different and is so well engineered, I may have to make the switch for the next rig.
The only thing missing from the product portion of the party was that there was no high end mountain bike stuff: I wanted to see the new StumpJumper FSR S-Works in person. But then again I understand that the market is all about the tri folks so they have to cater to them.
Then I ended up talking to a few tri-peeps and then I went on to watch them froth at the mouth while watching the big screen of some epic Kona race...Ironman? all I know is one of those Ironmen threw a tantrum in the video because he could change a flat. What attracts people to the idea of doing 3 sports on the same day in some grueling experience that universally makes people wish the experience was over?
Left after 2 beers and a handful of celery (that was dinner) and some good smiles after hearing the latest from a few random folks. All in all a nice time.