Sea Otter 2009: SRAM Press Conference

One of the highlights of coming to Sea Otter is going to SRAM’s press conference. Since a lot of folks don’t get that experience, I thought I’d share a bit of what I saw there this time.

The Zip Wheels guys give the low down on the new 303 model

The Zip Wheels guys give the low down on the new 303 model

You start out by showing up at the appointed time, and find a seat under the tent behind the SRAM Team truck, if you are a U.K. media wonk, (where I’m told they are afraid of the sun), or you can choose a seat in the sun and bask in the glorious California spring sunshine. (Beats turning wrenches back at my shop gig!)

Then SRAM takes the mics and brings in the product designers and marketing guys to unveil the latest in road components. They always do road stuff first. Not sure why that is. Hmm……….

Anyway, that lasts for an hour. It isn’t at all boring, as you get concise presentations on all things roadie, and even a surprise or two….

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p1000457

Special guests are always a part of SRAM’s press conferences. We got to see and hear from eventual Pro Men’s race winner, Levi Leipheimer as he spoke about the new ollaboration between Gore and SRAM called “SRAM Professional System by Gore”, which is a sealed cable system improvement over the old Gore Ride On cable system.

I am always amazed at how gossamer small the really great road riders are these days. Levi is a small man. No offense, but he is what he is. It makes me realize how special it is when someone with a motor like his comes around.

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Monster burritoes at the SRAM press conference.

Monster burritoes at the SRAM press conference.

Then there is a break for lunch. In all three years I have attended the SRAM press conference at Sea Otter, they have handed out these crazy huge burritos for free along with beverages. This thing had to weigh almost three pounds! And yes…….they are delicious!

Then you have a little time to “hob-nob” with your fellow media wonks. Since I am a relative unknown, I get fairly ignored, which is totally understandable. I just take it in stride and sit quietly waiting for the mtb side of the conference to get under way.

During this time, I like to try to take note of all the editors and media folks I am aware of from my old magazine reading days. There’s Zap Espinoza, former MBA and Mountain Bike editor, now with Road Bike Action. There is Jimmy Mac, the ever present MBA editor/photog. Then you have the U.K. folks, and all the other mainstream publications represesnted. James Huang, from cyclingnews.com, who is working hard. (Really, he does!) Bicycling mag guys, Bike mags editor, and on and on. About the only folks that will speak much with me these days are the Dirt Rag crew, which I appreciate a bunch, being a huge DR fan myself!

The HB doing his thing

The HB doing his thing

To my mind, Greg Herbold is a living mtb legend and all around cool guy. Most “younginz” haven’t a clue, but “HB” as he is known as, is more fun at a  press conference than anyone has a right to enjoy. (My opinion) The thing is, no one in the media can have fun. It must be, because no one laughs, giggles, or even suppresses laughter when “HairBall” goes into monologue mode. I get a kick out of the guy,but maybe I’m breaking some cardinal inner media rule or something. Whatever. The HB is funny, I get it, and I’m laughing out loud.

Plus, the guy loves anodized stuff. How can you go wrong here?

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The SRAM Select Program: Five colors of Ano!

The SRAM Select Program: Five colors of Ano!

So we get some info interspersed with “HB” comments and it is all good. Afterwards SRAM plays a fun game of “give away some anodized gruppos” and I lose, but it is a great time. SRAM by far puts on the greatest press conferences I’ve been too, but the other media guys seem “ho-hum” about it. Oh well, maybe I am easily amused!

So this stuff all comes with a media press kit which you take home and hopefully refer to for your write up on the press conference and the products shown at it. Not me! I just wanted to share an experience few others get to see.

Oh, don’t worry! The gear geek stuff will come later!

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