by Don Shipman, Western Regional Manager
At the Interbike trade show in September, Bob Roll worked in the Kryptonite booth with us each morning. In the booth, Kryptonite retailers could enter to win a personal store visit by Bob himself, and on the last day of the show we drew from the fishbowl to see who the lucky winner was.
This year's winner was Hrach Gevrikyan at Velo Pasadena in Pasadena, California. Hrach and his wife Nevrik have run their high end Pro Shop since 1988 and were thrilled at winning. Hrach selected Sunday, November 4th and organized a "ride with Bob" VIP ride for his best customers, invited some vendors like Time & Specialized to demo their bikes, hired a DJ and a guy to BBQ and the party was on!
The sun rose Sunday on a perfect day. I was to pick Bob up at the hotel and arrived early - but Bob was ready to go! As we drove to the shop he asked how many people were expected and I said well.............we though there would be about 30 on the ride but that there were already about 80 when I left a half hour ago. Bob seemed worried, "80?" he asked. "80, but that was a half our ago".
We snuck in the back of the store where Hrach had full use of a large parking lot - the lot was jammed full of bikes and people - it was a sea of color. We wasted no time and made our way though the crowd to get fitted on a couple of spankin new Time bikes.
Back outside, a ride leader announced the route - were going to do about a 20 mile loop out around the Rose Bowl. Bob "clicks in" and were off through the quiet streets of Pasadena. I dropped back to count and was astonished - there were about 150 people on this ride! The peloton was about the same size as what you see in the "Tour Day France" - and the amazing part was that wile the pace was brisk the pack stayed together, mostly because as we snaked our way through the tree canopied streets of Pasadena Hrach was working the peloton to keep it together - he dropped back and pulled some back to the peloton, was calling out to others and checking on people, going to the front, dropping to the back and just working hard at 20MPH! Some wanted to go faster, some slower but Hrach just wanted everyone to ride together and have fun.
As we rounded the Rose Bowl and started the mild descent back to the shop the pace relaxed some. People were going to the front to ride with Bob and chat with him a bit. The fun and relaxed pace slowed as we rounded the final turn onto Colorado Blvd. (yep, the same one as the Tournament of Roses Parade) and arrived back at the shop. The BBQ was smokin, the DJ was spinning and the demo bikes were ready to go.
Bob changed and worked the crowd some before settling under the tent to sign Kryptonite posters, shake hands and take pictures.
As the crowd of roughly 300 finally subsided Hrach, brought out an old program from the 1982 Coors Classic and Bob and Hrach shared war stories about racing together back in the day. When Bob left I heard him invite Hrach to come hang out with him at the "Tour of Cali" in February.
A special thanks to Hrach and his wife Nevrik for their warm, welcoming hospitality. We only get Bob to the store - the rest is up to the retailer and Velo Pasadena know how to throw a party!