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NAHBS 2013 Post Show Musings

March 1st, 2013 by Don Walker

Well, its been a good, no, make that interesting year already and we just started March. Let me ‘splain;

NAHBS in Denver is now a memory and I went into it stressed about some personal crap going on in my life. To say I wasn’t on my “A Game” might be a bit of an understatement. I missed deadlines on bikes with my painter, but none-the-less, he bailed me out with a stunning DWC Team scheme on a MTB at the last minute. (Thanks mucho Jamie!)  I had help from the best team in the amateur ranks in my booth and at the show. A special thanks goes to JC Breslin, Scott “Scooter” Whitehair and of course, “Mr. Dependability”, Blaine Heppner. I couldn’t have functioned as well as I did without these guys. I owe them big time.  But probably the biggest difference this year, at least for me, was there was distractions all around me and I remained calm. Almost too calm, some would say. I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching lately and its taken me 46 years to figure out I can react or do the opposite. By doing the opposite, seems I have confused many people who know me pretty well and they kept asking questions trying to get me to react. Its ok. I have bigger fish to fry, or at least catch at the moment and once everything else settles down, I’ll be sure to thank them for sticking with me through all this stuff.

Speaking of “Thank You’s”, I need to get these out of the way before I forget. For those who don’t know or understand the true corporate hierarchy, NAHBS is a small family business made up of myself, my wife Lesley, who is the Exhibitor Services Manager, and we employ the talents of our friends; Robin does our contract negotiations and runs the show onsite, JC does our Sponsorship Management, Paul does PR/Media Services and Scott was in charge of NAHBS Awards this year. This year we added Mary (a friend of Robin’s) to handle the Volunteers and back Robin up when she need it.  Anyhow, if you know them or see them out somewhere, shake their hand, tell them a warm and heartfelt Thank You and let them know that you appreciate their hard work to make this years show a success. I know I certainly owe them a large debt of gratitude for all they have done and with that, I need to say Thank You! a million times over.

So, lets wrap up my ’13 show now.

When I got to town, I was lucky enough to be contacted by Caley and Matthew from Velonews. They wanted a pre-show interview.  I probably gave them way more than they were looking for, but hey, when have I ever kept my fat mouth shut? Anyhow, you can read my unfiltered thoughts here.

The show opened on Friday at 11 AM and right off the bat, a flood of attendee’s came through the door.  I had a couple of visits from some VIP’s throughout the day (See pics)

This is Lloyd Thomas, one of my Canadian National Team riders from the early 90s. Lloyd now lives in Germany and is one of the leading authorities on fitting for professional riders. You would not believe his client list!

This is Lloyd Thomas, one of my Canadian National Team riders from the early 90s. Lloyd now lives in Germany and is one of the leading authorities on fitting for professional riders. You would not believe his client list!

Georgia Gould gives Charles Xavier Chickenski a thrill! Its not every day that an Olympic medalist shows up in your booth and the only good pic has her blinking...

Georgia Gould gives Charles Xavier Chickenski a thrill! Its not every day that an Olympic medalist shows up in your booth and the only good pic has her blinking…

Katie Compton stopped by as well. Charles certainly knows that chicks can't keep their hands off of him... lucky clucker!

Katie Compton stopped by as well. Charles certainly knows that chicks can’t keep their hands off of him… lucky clucker!

Mr. Matsuda of Level Bicycles. He ended up winning Best Track bike and Presidents Choice!

Mr. Matsuda of Level Bicycles. He ended up winning Best Track bike and Presidents Choice!

My brother from another mother, Erik Noren of Peacock Groove and his lovely gal, Cali!

My brother from another mother, Erik Noren of Peacock Groove and his lovely gal, Cali!

Erik pushed the envelope again with a badass track bike with a Voltron theme. Wicked cool!

Erik pushed the envelope again with a badass track bike with a Voltron theme. Wicked cool!

Aaron Dykstra does a 3Rensho tribute bike. Well executed!

Aaron Dykstra of 611 Bicycle Company does a 3Rensho tribute bike. Well executed!

Anyhow, the show went pretty well except for the snow storm on Sunday that would ultimately be named Rocky. That seemed to keep many folks way on Sunday, but we still did pretty well attendance wise.

Now, the tough part of the story. I decided for some unknown reason that I wanted to get home on Wednesday, as we had planned, but in order to do so, we would have to leave while it was snowing because I was trying to beat what I thought was a larger system looming from the west. I should have listened to the omen of a flat tire on the trailer, but I didn’t and proceeded to head out of town anyhow after I got the tire fixed. The snow wasn’t too bad, but I should have stayed the extra day. About 80-100 miles east of Denver on I70, in the high hills ( I suppose you’d call them mountains, but they weren’t rocky or anything, and they didn’t seem all that steep…., but I digress) the wind was blowing pretty hard and the snow was coming down, but not as bad as I had seen before the trip started. I was in the right lane and coming up on a Semi when two Semi’s passed me like I was standing still. We were heading uphill and around a slight corner so I decided to pass the Semi in the right lane and moved over to the left lane. I had almost cleared him when I noticed that the wind and snow had created a large, long drift in the left lane.  As I drove into the drift, the trailer started pulling the truck to the left and then the front of the truck seemed to really head left to go down the embankment. I counter steered and gave it some gas and it finally grabbed. This was only good for half a second before I went shooting across both lanes. Thank God that the Semi driver saw what was happening and hit his brakes hard because he knew if I corrected the truck and trailer I would be heading back his direction. All the while this was going on in real time, I am yelling at Lesley “Where’s the Semi? Where’s the Semi?!!” because I feared he would plow into us. So, as I am now beyond the right lane and partially on the shoulder and partially on land,  I ease it back onto the shoulder and then roadway. Once my blood pressure was down to a more normal range, I got back up to speed and kept going. I think the cool part is that it took a couple miles for that Semi to pull even with us and when he did, I waved to the driver and he gave me a very firm “Thumbs Up!” and a big nod and then he left me in his dust.  I’ve never jacknifed a truck/trailer before, but looking at the possible outcomes, I know exactly how fortunate we are.  We could have gone over the embankment and rolled both truck and trailer, hit the semi and gone over the embankment and then rolled, been creamed by the semi as we came back across both lanes. Any way you slice it, I owe my life to God protecting us from major injuries if not death. I don’t think it was luck. Luck seems far too dismissive under the circumstances and all I can say is that I’ve had some time now to reflect the incident and wow, my eyes are open.

I’ve mentioned in the past that I wanted to make some changes in my life and this sure seems like the right time to do it.

Thanks for reading!

 

DW

 

PS  The best part of the story is that with all the bikes in the trailer, they only sustained minor, and I mean minor cosmetic damage even when all the boxes and display stands went all over the trailer from the wicked forces of the trailer whipping around. I figured you’d be wondering about the bikes…