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2014 Sea Otter Classic – Tales From the Backside

Have you ever wondered how a gigantic bike expo comes together? How the vendors load their trucks, set up their booths and get ready for massive crowded? Well, I’m here to tell you all about it. Getting ready to attend the 2014 mt. bike race season opener has been quite the ordeal. To make a long story longer, read on…

Four Months to Prepare

Flash back four months ago when I submitted a vendor registration application to bring Planet X USA (plus Titus and On-One) from Portland to California for the gigantic Sea Otter Classic. Being full of excitement and optimism, I began a note book of items we’d need, which bikes were coming for the ride and who from the company would be making the 12 1/2 hour haul from rainy Portland to semi-cloudy (but DRY) Monterey, California. I scribbled away in the notebook, planning the adventure. The phone rang and my day went on like any other weekday at Planet X USA. “Planet X Bikes, this is Vince, How can I help you?”

Where Did The Time Go?

But somehow, those four months turned into six weeks in no time flat. Our UK affiliates had been working on new graphics for tents, or so I thought. New bikes??? Still in pre-production stages, not yet able to ship out. Current demo fleet?? Looking haggard and beat… New buzz around a recent acquisition, Viner Bicycles, and the sponsorship of a Pro team… Titus having some models reworked… On-One discontinuing some models, New versions of older models coming out. There was lots to keep up with and info was trickling in. Crap! Sea Otter is in 2 weeks! Aaauuuggghhh!!!!!

Things are Looking Up

I received an email with a list of bicycle frames, components, etc that is being shipped from “Mum and Dad” in the UK.
Sweet! They hand picked our exhibit models for the three day expo and were making my job easy. Excellent! I can build bikes in my sleep, so that’s not a problem. Things are starting to look up.

The Department of U.S. Customs.

Just when things I felt like I was back on track, wat should have been a 24 hour delay turned into a 72 hour delay. Our product was held up in customs for an extra few hours which equated to an additional day lost. Standard delivery got rescheduled to a Saturday delivery, but I’ll take what I can get.

Or, rather, can’t get.

My cell phone rang as I was heading to my sons’ Saturday morning soccer match. “Hello, Vince? Yeah, that truck that was supposed to arrive at your warehouse in half an hour… Well… It’s still sitting in Seattle. In a warehouse. Without a driver. And…the warehouse doors are locked until Monday morning.”

Remember way up at the top of this little rant… When I marveled at how much I could do in four months? That massive chunk of time had now been whittled down to 36 very nerve-wracking hours. At the very least I would have had a full weekend to arrange for various employees to come in as they were able and knock out a bike here and there and have time to methodically load our truck and trailer for the 12-1/2 hour drive south.

Tuhn, Tuhn, Tuuuuuhnnnnnnnn!

As I type this, I’m waiting for that delivery truck to arrive. Salivating. Anxious to jump into a flurry of carbon, aluminum, steel, cartridge bearings, derailleurs, cables, grease and rubber.

The bike industry can be quite exciting!

And Now

All I can say for now is … TO BE CONTINUED….


Vince Rodarte is a bicycle industry expert with experience in retail sales and technical service. When not busy working for Titus / On-One / Planet X, you can find Vince grinning from ear to ear on his mt. bike.

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9 Responses to “2014 Sea Otter Classic – Tales From the Backside”
  1. Ayleen Crotty says:

    Update from Vince:
    So, we’re in Seaside, just outside of Monterey. 2 all nighters and 1.5 days of building and a 1/2 day of packing.

    Plus 12+ hours of driving…

    Still have to dial in some bikes. Expo booth set up tomorrow morning.

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