With the Tour of California in the rear view now, I figured I'd start wrapping up the past two weeks if I can only begin to recall them. Right off the bat, the most exciting thing upon my arrival to Sacramento was to see how the Sheriff bike turned out. I had worked with Lara to frantically get her the design elements she needed in order to get it done in time. It was so last-minute (call it procrastination since I knew since the '09 Tour of Missouri that I would do this) that nobody had seen it until it was unwrapped in Cali! The results were nothing short of fantastic!
This bike quickly became THE most photographed bike at the ToC. Once Chicchi won stage 4 to Modesto, the payoff was truly felt. I think that the best part of it though was that Francesco absolutely loved the bike and all the attention it brought to him.
Here's the back story to this bike... During last year's Tour of Missouri, Chicchi bet me that he'd win the morning of the stage into St. Joseph. We wagered a cowboy-themed bike, since his wins in St. Louis (Gateway to the West) and St. Joseph (Birthplace of the Pony Express), combined with his love for western movies would make for an interesting project and be a fitting reward. With that win in hand, I began thinking about the design. Of course, previously mentioned procrastination set in, and the short timeline I left myself, along with 5 minutes of Adobe Illustrator hackery, left me with a good idea and the following communication to the artist...
How she turns this garbage into such a beautiful bike, I'll never know!
The bike has been talked about all over the place. Most people love it, although there are a few haters as well! For all the photos, more western-themed puns and coverage written by far more creative writers than I, click through to...
The best satisfaction for me came while I was waiting for the Modesto finish in the parking lot. I heard that Chicchi had won and immediately my PR duties took over. I sprinted slightly slower than Cav to the finish area in order to help translate at the podium, the interviews and then the press conference. After arriving to the tent, Chicchi asked me if I saw the finish (I hadn't). With a big smile on his face, he told me that he shot six-shooter style on the finish line! I used this as ammo of my own when responding to an online hater who said that Chicchi must have been embarrassed to race such a bike.
Watch him 'bite' the microphone at 2:19... This guy is my favorite!
Why the 'maybe'? The bike is currently being sent to Philly, where the Sheriff will race it again. Now, 10 laps up the Wall might be too much for Chicchi... but we have a Sagan up our sleeve too!