And that's a wrap! But not before one more run in the morning dodging the homeless along the riverbed. That got squeezed in before we checked out at Solarena and headed for Denny's on Main/Ellis for breakfast. 'All American slam' for me please with coffee. Philip had pancakes and a slam. Couldn't finish it, I couldn't help finish it either. $38 bucks later we hit the 405 North. It looked like we had enough time to go see Pete D over at Chase Bicycles and so we did. The Torrance area has some BMX history with BMX Action based there. We didn't actually go see the building or dive in the dumpster for photos.
Traffic wasn't too bad for a Monday morning. We stopped at a gas station to prepare the car for drop-off. Removed the Twin Air/FATBMX/Flame Trails stickers, cleaned the ironside, double checked all doors for phone cables etc. The return at Dollar rental was easy. No extra $urprise$ after that. Not coming back though, we'll choose a different option next time. We hopped on the bus to the LAX terminal. Got dropped off at the wrong one, but still had time to check in. We were able to check in the hand luggage suitcases too for free so we only had the backpacks to take through security. Easy peasy. Spent some time in the lounge, ate some more even though we weren't hungry but you never know what the airplane food looks like. We both had a window seat each and an empty seat next to us for the 11 hour direct flight home. Could have been (a lot) worse.
All this time we'd been staying just around the corner from Sheep Hills. With no big plans for Sunday, another morning run was decided on, to Sheep Hills. On the way there along the riverbed the cops had arrested a homeless man, I saw a Pelican, and one of the homeless people rode past me at full speed on an electric bike! I wondered how he charges that thing.
I got to Sheep through a back entrance. It was muddy but I knew where I needed to go. Made it there and saw the puddles in between the jumps. It wasn't rideable but it didn't look too bad. A few days later more rain made sure that a quick fix was out of the question. It's a bummer for all the workers and riders that they have to deal with this during the winter months. Free fitness/boot camp/workouts coming soon.
A2! Driving in California ain't bad when there is no traffic. Roughly 30 minutes it took from Newport Beach to the Anaheim Angels stadium. During rush hour you could add an easy 15 minutes. The highways are wide, but they're also full. Two in a car gets you in the carpool lane so that was a help for us while trying to dodge the jams. Anyway, a new day of Supercross racing ahead.
We made sure to go check out the oldskool BMX bikes that once again were on display during 'Fan Fest'. A Freestyle MX show also entertained the sold-out crowd that had shown up early to take it all in. We ran into BMX-er/filmer Oscar Mendoza from Spain, Tom Jacobs from Belgium, Big E, Alan Foster, and the Garcia brothers (Joey and Jimmy) who had made the trek down from San Jose that morning.
Friday morning and off to Anaheim in the morning for Supercross media day. We had passed by this Shepard Fairey mural all week and decided to stop for a minute to take a few pics. It wasn't as short as a Max Verstappen pitstop but we didn't waste much time adding the images to the camera. Picked up the media passes and left some stroopwafels that we had still left. The ladies at the welcome office were stoked. We strolled around the pits and saw the paddock being put up.
Red plate holder Aaron "the cowboy" Plessinger was seen walking around with a horse at the KTM rig. There's a first for everything. Honda HRC had called all the media for a brunch meeting as Dakar winner Ricky Brabac was on hand to talk about his 2024 Dakar rally experience.
Day 9. The usual morning rituals but this one included getting gas at Arco. Gas is cheaper when you pay cash. Never heard of that one before. 0.89c per gallon in 1990. Now $4bucks. Still half the price of what we pay in Europe so just fill 'er up! We'd been walking in and out companies hoping for the best. Philip had spotted Gunther Werks Porsche in HB so we passed by there. The sign said, no visitors/tours so we drove on.
Then just around the corner we spotted an ASV van. The driver looked like Bob Morales. I asked Philip to see where ASV is and it was just a few minutes away. Bob had his hands in, or was the starter of, many early BMX Freestyle projects. He toured with Bob Haro, started MF (Morales-Fiola), Dyno, the American Freestyle Association (AFA), Kore products and later on Morales flatland bikes. We had never met in person. Bob is running ASV inventions, a big player in the motocross world. Bob made time for us which was cool as it happened unexpectedly. We had just met one of the pioneers of BMX Freestyle by accident.
After their GT days Bob Hadley and Billy Griggs had moved over to Razor where the both of them had been working on cool toys. Billy's latest project is the fun Stage2 e-dirt bike. We were lucky to catch Billy in the office as he had planned to have a test riding session with Barry Nobles that day.
Day 8. Past halfway. But going strong. As mentioned, the YT MTB session with Mapstone, Van Schie, Zeiss, Philip and Maddog was rained out unfortunately. Albert Hammond was so wrong when he wrote this song: 'It Never rains in Southern California'. But it was a nice day out today as we jumped aboard the Ford Escape. On this 'extra day' we had a few things on the agenda starting off with a surprise visit to Keith Mulligan's pet shop in Laguna. You should have seen his face...haha. Foreigners walking in the door on a Wednesday morning. On Keith's advice we stopped by the Troy Lee Designs store in Laguna Beach. Half museum, half shop. TLD is a staple in BMX/MX and everything that has an engine or people who want to stand out from the pack. Many TLD painted helmets, paintings, and race suits were on display. If you're ever in the area, give it a visit.
While at home we connected with some people to see if they would be around when we were in Cali. One of them was the Godfather of BMX Freestyle; Bob Haro. We sent a message in the morning, but sending a message isn't as simple as it used to be. A message on X? email? DM on Instagram? At what account? Through Facebook messenger? Text message? WhatsApp? It's easy to get lost. Simply put, Bob had not received the message and wasn't at the office in Cardiff by the Sea. We checked at his local Mexican lunch place but it looked like we had to make our own lunch plans.
8am breakfast meeting at Eat Chow with BMX Sales guru Pete Garski. We always try to get together for a coffee, lunch, dinner or a breakfast. Pete used to do International sales for GT Bicycles and then moved on to Haro Bikes where he recently lost his position and is now in the hunt for something new. Whoever scoops him up is lucky. The plan was for our posse to go ride YT mountain bikes in San Clemente on Wednesday but because of the recent rain these kinds of activities are put on hold for a week or so. One of the crew members would be Dutchman Fred van Schie who runs the etnies BMX program. Fred was in the office on Tuesday morning and showed the new BMX/MTB shoes that are about to hit the market including some DIG magazine shoes, T's and hats. Stay tuned for that drop.
Being in the heart of the (B)MX industry gives you plenty of opportunity to visit multiple places in one day. Monday morning we pointed the Ford Escape rental to 3-Brothers racing first, a dealership in Costa Mesa. Philip had managed to spend two weeks of his HGS internship in the USA to do market research and collect content for their social media. Visiting MX shops and the two AMA Monster Energy Supercross was part of the program. After checking the parts shop and complete bike section we were off to FOX Racing, just 10 minutes down the road, to see what's new there. When the employees start talking moto for 30 minutes, you know they're at the right place and not just selling whatever product. Fox had their speed suit on display also and we got the ins and outs on that project.
We checked our Google Maps flags and drove to CultCrew right before lunch. We were welcomed by the one and only Rob-O (on his B-day) and sat down for some chatting. The current state of the BMX industry, SX season, Palace, and old BMX trips were brought up. The energy always flows with this man.
In 'n Out lunch? Why not?! It might feel weird to a few, but not to us, as we're on good grounds
There's no need to explain how nice California is. This Sunday we took some time to enjoy it. Started the day by going for a run. It had been a while but thinking I could make it to HB and back from Newport Beach was a mistake. I had to turn around halfway. The run turned into a walk several times but hey, the beach was right there, the sun was out and there was no rush. Life is good. After the shower (and the coffee) we got in touch with the one and only Grotbags. For those not in the know, Paul Roberts is a legendary BMXer from the UK who has been there and done that. After his riding career Paul got into announcing events such as the X-Games, rebeljam, Dew Tour, Metro Jams, Vans US Open of Surfing and many more. At one point in time, he did it all. One of the reasons for these trips is to meet up with friends in person. We don't get to hang out enough, especially not when we're so far apart. In the time we got to connect with Paul we covered many grounds, ate a killer burger and Paul played us some songs on the piano. Cheers for the good talk.
Huntington Beach on Sunday is good for watching cars. They're everywhere. It's the day to show off the oldies in pristine conditions. It didn't disappoint. While at the beach you need to hang out at the beach. I felt the leg muscles already from the morning run. The next day wasn't going to be an easy one to get out of bed. We worked on some photos a bit, checked mails, posted some things on social media
The coffee machine in the room didn't produce the best coffee ever, but the convenience and price (unlimited free supply) won it on Saturday morning as we set sail to San Diego again. We parked in the streets near the hotel to avoid the $22 per day parking that Solarena offered. We only had to take note of sweeping days, something that kicked our ass back in 2023. The vehicles in America are something else. Maybe 90% or more are owned by the bank still, but damn, the cars are nice. On so many occasions I would say, that's perfect, or give it a simple, wow, making the 90 minute drive to SD a breeze. I remember from years ago that traffic on the weekends to San Diego was really bad, but that might have been because it was summer time and a hot day or something. No problems this time.