Wednesday, August 21, 2013

2014 Cannondale Product Camp

Over the last few days I was extremely fortunate to be invited by the crew at Cannondale Australia up to Twin Waters on the Sunshine Coast for their 2014 product launch. My wingman, Andrew Hall, also made the way up there with me as did the lovely Kylie and Robyn. It wasn't much of an imposition as the weather in Canberra had turned to blustery snow, and the alternative on the coast was 25 degrees. Not too shabby.

Day 1 - getting there...
The early morning Sunday flight was preceded by the obligatory stop at the Qantas club Lounge in Canberra to smash some espressos. This enables Andrew and I to function, and it gives more energy to Kylie so that she can talk! A few hours later we were at Maroochydore and headed to the Novotel Twin Waters resort where Cannondale had booked the entire joint. However, it was a massive joint, situated both on the beach and the river\inlet and was fully self contained with restaurants and shops. In a word it was a #pro setup.

Of course, we brought the bikes. Road bikes to be exact as I had been given the 411 on the best routes to take by Ryan Quade who lives up in that neck of the woods. We got there, booked in, built the bikes and went for a cruise up the road. Our destination was Noosa, which was about 33km up the road along the coast. I always feel pretty crappy on the bike after travelling so it took me a short while to feel square (ish) as we headed up the David Low Way.

Trev on the Scooter, Andrew on an Evo

When we started to get to the rolling section of road, I noticed Andrew looking at his stem. I think he was channelling his inner Chris Froome ( and keeping an eye on his power output. The other thing that is the dead give away is the seemingly random surges and apparent half wheeling that starts to occur. This is fairly typical and we started to up the pace just a little. At one point I yelled out ' Stop looking at your fscking stem!!!' and attacked up a rise. Keeping the pressure on down the descent I kept on attacking up every rise, and this continued in an absolute childish, unnecessary manner for the next 20 minutes! Then we hit Noosa and we chilled a bit as we went though town and out the other side pretending that neither of us had put out any effort at all.

When we headed back we came across Kylie and once again it turned into an impromptu TTT as we sped back to Twin Waters at an average up at about 40km/hr. Back at base, we hooked up with some of the crew out at the demo bike ride area, and took the opportunity to take a Cannondale Trigger out for a spin around the MTB track that was on site. I haven't ridden a dual suspension bike since 2008 so it was pretty fun bouncing around the trails. The Trigger is the 'OverMountain' bike in the range. Ridable up to the top of the mountain so that you can keep it wide open on the descents. Pretty much spot on for the sort of riding that you would do for the pure love of the sport. Check it out if you can.

That evening we had an amazing banquet dinner on the beach at the resort. We had the Canberra Cyclery crew on our table and we were talking about a million things. I have known Janie, Trev, Jayson and Matt for over 20 years and it is always great catching up with these guys. Most importantly we made plans for the riding the next day. As a bonus they had pavlova for dessert!

Kylie rode for 3 hours in the sun and enjoyed a high quality recovery drink

Day 2 - 2014 product launch presentation ---- this one is ideal for dot points.

  • New business model approach for Cannondale Sports Unlimited (CSU)
  • Presentations of Global and local racing teams
  • Overview of 2014 product range
  • Brand marketing strategy overview
  • --- super exciting concept coming soon - book your demo bike online, have it delivered to your dealer and 'keep' it for 3 days for a realistic riding experience - this will allow you to 'really' demo a bike properly - ie on your own trails/roads so you can see what it is all about
  • Sneak preview of the Cameron Wurf 'Castaway' video

The afternoon was about taking the crew out for demo rides on the Cannondale Evo road bike and the Caad10 road bike. The first run was up to Noosa and back with The Cyclery crew. As it was a group ride, it was nice and easy. NOT. The boys were loving the Evo and were finding out why Sagan is able to ride fast. A lot of it is in the bike!! Seriously.

Highlights of the ride included Trev and Andrew half-wheeling each other at 400 watts. After 70km of road riding in a shade under 2 hours, the boys were really impressed with the capabilities of the bikes. Someone was heard to say "as soon as I get the coin, I'm getting one!'

Round two was scheduled for 4pm with the afternoon crowd. Numbers had swelled by this time and we had quite a good crew with us including Tim from GT, CSG Dean the CFO, and Super Mario - Asia Pacific kingpin. Trev was also up for round two, needing the extra miles, having got himself an entry to the National Capital round of the NRS series. For Andrew and I, this was out 3rd ride of the day, and we were loving it, already having 120km in the legs after our ride with the Cyclery crew.

The Northerly was blowing a gentle headwind as we headed up the road. The plan was to head up for 40 minutes or so, then smash back to base before the sun went down. Andrew and I rolled out of Twin Waters, made sure everyone got onto the David Low Way, then we were off and rolling. Soon enough we were getting sledged by Dean asking us to raise the pace a bit. Not wanting to be intimidated by an accountant, we raised the pace a bit and were soon motoring along at 40km/hr. This speed always feels good on a road bike, and we were hoping that the industry guys were getting a good feel for what the bikes were capable of. 
Off to Dinner

After the mandatory 10km turn on the front, Andrew and I peeled off to give Trev and Dean some time in the wind (at their insistence). This gave us the opportunity to talk to some of the other guys and see what bikes they were into and talk some crap. I love talking about bikes, and it is always great to talk to people with the same passion. 

At the turnaround, which conveniently was a roundabout, the hammer was put down. Everyone was keen to raise the pace and roll some turns back into base. We had a strong unit rolling past the airport and we were easily keeping it above 45km/hr. No matter if it is Saturday morning standard bunch, or a bunch of guys I have met for the first time, it is always an amazing feeling going fast on a bike in a bunch. Finally we got back to the resort, with everyone on an adrenalin high from the 'hour of power'. Awesome to demonstrate what the bikes can do.

Day 3 - Mountains, and packing up
Trev, Andrew and I decided to hit up the early morning training session and head west to Nambour and beyond. We rolled pretty chilled in the balmy 11 degrees and spun up heading into the wind in a pure westerly direction. The direction was 'up' and Trev was driving the bus. We hit up some pretty good rollers before being greeted by some awesome gradients. These were of the 10%+ type. Good for the soul. At the top of the range, we regrouped, took some photos and hit the descent - I'm pretty sure I nudged 90km/hr going down the first one, and we took advantage of the tailwind and drilled it home.

The afternoon was spent hanging out at the demo area, taking some of the dealers out for a spin and explaining the subtle complexities of the bikes to those wanting some unique perspective on the bikes. At 3pm, we started the pack up to help the crew out. At 7:30 we were just about done. It is really humbling to see how much work the guys did to set up such a slick affair for the entire display and I have a greater appreciation for the sort of logistics involved in this sort of thing.

Sleep that night was easy, as I was hammered from the lifting and moving stuff! You get good at what you do, and if you don't do it, then it is tough!! 

Right now, I am home, there is snow on the mountains just outside of Canberra and I have the heater cranked up to 24 degrees! There's no place like home!! 

This weekend, it is off to Parkes NSW to my favorite race of all. The Back Yamma Bigfoot 100km. I am really looking forward to this event once again. Bring on the weekend!!

Trev's drink on Monday night

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