All the aimless wandering we did around the swamps of Florida actually had a destination. The whole trip really started because of the Santos Fat Tire Festival. I’d always heard that it was a good time, but I’ve never been able to go for one reason or another. That changed this year when Little Miss Sunshine and her friend Alice (who needs a nickname by the way) decided to setup a booth down there. They both do crafty bike art stuff, so those two teaming up for the festival seemed like a great idea. Another great idea was the fact that I would get to ride the trails at Santos for three days straight while they worked.
Plans changed though.
Something came up, and my friends at DeFeet asked if I could help them out. They had a booth down there, but no one to run it. Of course, I said yes (after talking it over with the little lady.) I’ve helped with the booth before at several events (including Interbike), but this would be the first time I’d get to do it all by myself. I was honored that they asked, but a little nervous. We got to the Santos trailhead bright and early Friday morning so I could set up.
The atmosphere felt sorta like a race to me, mostly because I had the jitters. I knew the product, had plenty of it, and most importantly, I am pretty comfortable talking to strangers about the awesome stuff that DeFeet makes. Plus, I had a pretty cool neighbor.
We had a prime spot up front, and the event was pretty big. My camera could only capture half of it.
Day one only lasted from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., and the time really flew by. I was selling socks left and right (no pun intended.) In fact, I didn’t realize how much business I’d been doing in that five hour span. I was busy talking to everyone and explaining the differences for each sock, and selling became automatic. I was relieved that it was so easy (probably because I sorta know what I’m doing.)
Once the expo closed for the day, we packed up and headed to the bike shop across the street for the afterparty.
It was full of good people, great beer, and even awesome food. What a day.
The next morning we had an earlier start, so we grabbed breakfast at the hotel before we left. That’s when I spotted some socks that I’d sold the day before.
I knew it was gonna be a good day. Because Pizza.
Day two was on a Saturday, so I knew it would be a busy day. People came rolling in, but they left quickly to go on a fifty mile (organized) ride. I was a little sad that I couldn’t go ride with them (even the Dirty Party Cycle came down from NC to ride), but I took my sock-selling duties seriously. I didn't need to ride.
The day started out slow due to the ride, so we kept busy between customers. Someone took a photo of the little lady and Alice during their down time, and you can see me “working” hard in the background.
Once the riders started rolling in, business picked up. I barely had enough time to do anything but talk about (and sell) socks. Some folks couldn’t wait to try them out…
And then there’s my favorite story from the weekend. I talked to a guy for a while about how comfortable the Trail Levitator socks were, how they are engineered specifically for mountain biking, and why he should have some. He bought a pair, put them on, and took off on a twenty five mile ride. I saw him a short while later…
He couldn’t stop talking about how good his feet felt and how much he loved his new socks. Then he bought two more pairs. Awesome.
I also got to meet some really cool people throughout the weekend. One in particular that stands out it a guy named Falco, who was a pretty rad dude. He lost his legs in a work accident a while back, but that didn’t stop him from riding. He now rides a custom hand cycle and on the trails. He’s from South Florida, and from what I hear tears up the trails down there better than most guys on two wheels.
It was an honor to make such a cool new friend. Check out his story here:
It was a long weekend (after a long week.) When Sunday rolled around, I tore everything down and reflected on it all.
I worked hard for DeFeet, and made lots of new friends (for me and the folks out there in the hills.) It was such a pleasure to get to represent a top notch cycling company at an awesome event. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to do this again. It was a small taste of being in the bike industry, but I really enjoyed it. It’s a lot of work no doubt, but the reward was great because I came away feeling like I actually had a purpose.
It’s enough to make me want to give up what I do for a living now, that’s for sure.