Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Man, The Myth, The Legend

Talk about a great weekend, it started with the Gary Fisher in store at Mellow Johnny's on Friday. I had the pleasure of shooting the event on Friday but my actual weekend started on Thursday. Thursday night was the benefit for Mariel Mentink at Shangri'la bar. If you're not familiar with Mariel's story please visit her site and donate if you can. I must say I'm quite proud of our biking community here in Austin. There were hundreds of people that showed up for the event including the one and only Gary Fisher. When I left there was a line around the block and this was from the 200 hundred people that showed up from the usual Thursday Night Social Ride. Friday nights event started at 7pm and Mellow Johnny's spared no expense when it came to the food and drinks (2 kegs of beer). The event started with an introduction of Gary Fisher followed by a Q&A with the University of Texas Cycling team. Gary shook each team members hand and greeted them as they walked up on stage. You could see the joy and excitement from the members from meeting this living legend. The team captains talked about what it meant to them for riding Gary Fisher bikes and how grateful they all were. Next up was Team San Jose and they offered the same sentiments when it came to riding such a beautiful piece of biking equipment. You could tell Gary was humbled by this. Next up was the man of the hour Gary Fisher. The next hour was a Q&A with the man himself and it was amazing hearing him tell life stories about cycling. Some of the topics included how he started his company from 2 people to becoming part of the Trek family. He talked about how he was banned from racing for having long hair in the 70's and how he quit the sport because he refused to cut his long hair. You could just hear the passion from each of his stories and how he truly loves cycling and how he wants to change the way people commute around the world. After the Q&A Gary proceeded to take pictures and sign autographs for everyone that was in line.

Saturday was the group ride with Gary that lead out of Mellow Johnny's at 9am. It just so happened that
it's the same South East route that I normally do so I knew the route like the back of my hand. I decided that I would ride out early to get to certain spots to take pictures of the riders. I picked a nice spot just after McKinney Falls just as the riders would be approaching an "S" turn. After I snapped pictures of the riders I took off again and skipped the rest stop and went straight back to town and waited for the riders on the Congress bridge. Once the riders passed by we all met back at the shop where Gary continued to sign autographs and take pictures with his fans. If you ever have the pleasure of meeting him or hearing him speak be sure to soak it in. He's a living legend and a genuine human being. His passion for bikes and the biking community goes above and beyond. Gary it was a pleasure meeting you and talking to you this weekend. You're a class act and I look forward to hanging out with you again in the future.

"I want to shower the earth with bikes and I think we're getting there" - Gary Fisher

Pictures from the events can be found on my website:
Chris Gomez Photography

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