The Campy Toy Ride

The Campy Toy Ride

None other than Nelson Vails, with Julie Kelly of SOAR Communications

I’m a person of enormous good fortune. And here, I’m not talking about the fact that I work in the bike industry, though I’m grateful for that. I’m not talking about the fact that I was born into a middle-class family (when we still had those) and was sent to excellent schools that taught me a great deal about nouns and verbs and ways to fit them together like so many Lego bricks—but again, I’m grateful. Nor am I talking about the fact despite my best efforts to peel my face from my head, I’m in good health.

ToysSome of the donated toys (image courtesy Steve Driscoll)

No, here’s the thing: my kids are healthy. Though His Tininess The Deuce spent more time in the NICU than I’d thought I could stand, he’s home and growing. We brought him home on Easter Sunday, and in that miraculous sense of rebirth, it was as if we got him for the first time that day. We didn’t have to celebrate Easter surrounding his isolette. We aren’t forced to consider mortality during these holidays.

IMG_0973Lift CS marketing visionary (and formerly known as “Masi Guy”) not to mention sometime RKP contributor, Tim Jackson

For the last eight years, Campagnolo North America has been hosting a ride from their headquarters in Carlsbad, Calif. As we like to call it, North County. The ride itself is simple. We ride south on Pacific Coast Highway, climb up Torrey Pines, pause to collect everyone, and then turn around and head back to Campy, where we share coffee, muffins, bagels, and tall tales of how fast we used to be. Though that said, there was a kid from Hincapie there this year, and his best tales are still to come.

IMG_0979Rich Kelly of the Spokesmen Podcast

It’s effectively the Southern California bike industry’s Christmas party. It’s a great chance to catch up with friends you may not have seen since Interbike. But the ride’s real purpose is a toy drive for kids up to 17 years old who are patients at Children’s Hospital of San Diego. When I think about what life would have been like had we been forced to celebrate the holidays at the hospital and had strangers shown up with a gift for The Deuce, well I get pretty choked up.

IMG_0985Richard Wittenberg, North American boss-man for Ridley (no he doesn’t wear the antlers all year)

RKP editor Michael Hotten (Hottie to those of us just quick enough to suffer on his wheel) joined me for the ride this year. While I tried to make the rounds and say hi to as many friends as possible, conversations trumped chit-chat, and I was forced to settle for waves more often than I would have liked.

IMG_0978Bicycle Retailer and Industry News Publisher Megan Tompkins

Among the many faces I didn’t document, but was happy to see, were Brad Roe, publisher at Peloton; Hans Bergman, sales and marketing manager for Assos, N.A.; Marc Sani, senior editor at Bicycle Retailer and Industry News; Lance Camisasca of Lifeboat Events, which puts on PressCamp; Sean Kneale with Catlike, which is now bringing shoes to the U.S.; Alex Jarman, ad sales for Bicycling; Aaron Brougher, a rep for Assos, Felt and Pioneer; Pat Hus and Justin Gottlieb from Interbike; Jack Nosco of the Mike Nosco Ride, Hannibal Hector Castillo who runs the San Diego-area elite women’s team Skyflash Racing; plus a great many others. Yeah, it’s such a great event I drove down from Sonoma County for it.

IMG_0981Steve Driscoll of Lift CS, after trading his camera for his bike; homes has been fast longer than I’ve been a cyclist

It was a typically pretty day for San Diego, which is to say that temperatures quickly rose into the 60s and the sun shone through a bright blue sky. The one surprise for the day was exceptionally high tide that was washing over the rode where PCH passed near the beach. It’s been a while since I’ve needed to dodge a wave.

TomKattusCampagnolo’s Tom Kattus (image courtesy Steve Driscoll)

The acts of kindness that filled the giant shipping boxes are easy to lose in the shuffle, but what stays with me is how Campagnolo, a brand whose identity is synonymous with cycling culture has taken that position to bring together a great bunch of people for a larger purpose. Cheers to Campy manager Tom Kattus for having the vision.

 

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