Wednesday, May 04, 2011

BMC launch, Switzerland

I just had a super busy 40hr trip to Switzerland and back, to visit BMC bikes in Biel for the launch of the new Trailfox TF01.
Press launches are a blessing and a curse in equal measure. There's always the pressure to squeeze as much in as possible which means early starts, late nights and economy airlines. They're nearly always fun, but the payoff is days of exhaustion when you get back home.
I left my house at 4.40am on Bank Holiday Monday, and had a pretty smooth journey to Switzerland with David Arthur from, and Albert and Matt from Evans (the UK distributor of BMC). From Zurich airport we hopped on a train to Biel, arriving in time for lunch.
From Biel we took the funicular railway up the mountain to the sports resort of Magglingen, 1000m or so above the main town. Magglingen is the Swiss government's Olympic training facility, so it's jam packed with athletes and athletic facilities; a bit like Crystal Palace, but infinitely better.
After presentations from BMC's marketing and engineering guys, it was back into town for dinner with 20 or so other journalists from all over Europe. The beer flowed — all courtesy of BMC — and so we didn't get back till midnight, verging on comatose.
In this situation, what you want is a lie-in — even being allowed to get up at 9am would be fine. But no, we had things to do, bikes to see and trails to ride, so we were up and in the breakfast room at 7.30am (6.30am UK time).
By 10.30 we were setting up bikes and getting ready to ride. The weather however wasn't playing ball — it was raining, it was cold, and we were up in the clouds. No one was prepared with enough clothes. Fortunately, riding keeps you warm. We finished riding by 3.30pm, and despite the tiredness and the kiss-of-death that was the call to arms for "one last run" on the downhill track (video to follow) we all made it back to the changing rooms safe and sound. That is unusual — tiredness, unfamiliar bikes/trails and journalistic one-up-manship do lead to a lot of press camp crashes.
Back into Biel, we hopped onto the legendarily punctual train back to Zurich where we discovered our legendarily un-punctual Easyjet flight was delayed by an hour.
MaglingenI eventually got home at midnight — the post-Osama queue at Gatwick passport control added an unnecessary 45mins after the flight — exhausted to point that I couldn't actually sleep. Marvellous.
So, I'm bunking off today — don't tell anyone — and making up for being so productive for the last two days. You can find out more about the BMC Trailfox TF01 next month in MBR and there will be some headcam video online soon.
Right, time for more coffee!

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