The story starts last August when Eric and I were at the Kona Bike Co. 2012 product launch in their hometown of Ferndale, WA. Every year Kona has their favorite dealers come up for a few days of riding the local trails and learning the new line. This past year was especially eventful since, while at a party at the Kona warehouse, we acquired a 1965 Lincoln Continental convertible!
The car was sitting in the warehouse and folks were gathering around it. When Cory, of Kona Bikes, mentioned that Dan, the Kona owner, wanted to sell it we went straight to the man to ask how much. Dan cryptically asked us, “What is your purpose?” Eric explained that our race team had long been in search of the perfect team vehicle and that we thought this old car was just perfect. Dan said that if that was the case, “You can have it!” This seemed a little too easy. So the car was to be a gift and a challenge- as long as we would drive it all the way back to Knoxville, a 2,700 mile journey. This sounded like a rather fantastic challenge and a chance to have a truly great time. At TVB, we love an adventure!
Our minds began whirling and planning a trip we’d never forget, in order to get this land yacht back to East Tennessee. How could we make this trip even better and more memorable? The answer lay in driving a few extra thousand miles, seeing friends, racing mountain bikes and generally getting in touch with the West. So it was settled that we would take the car down the Pacific coast and hit up the Kona 24 Hours of Old Pueblo race in Tucson, Arizona and then head back home to our bike shop in East Tennessee by whatever route keeps us having the most fun.
The shop and race team are rather new. The team was started by a group of people who had little experience racing bikes but were out drinking late and agreed there was no reason why we couldn’t race bikes and if we were going to do that we might as well make a team about it. Our favorite local eatery, the Tomato Head, was up for co-sponsoring the team and so there we were, two sponsors and some matching jerseys. We are just a great group of friends that love to ride bikes and be a little competitive at the same time. So in 4 years TVB Race has grown from a group of about eight friends to a membership of nearly 50. Several folks on the team have even won state championships.
We are going to be fielding three, five person co-ed teams in the 24 Hours of Old Pueblo this year. Four of the Five “Lincoln Continental Team” members are coming in the car and the final member will be traveling back to East Tennessee with us. Another team is coming in an older model VW van with about 10 bikes on the roof. They’re going by the name “Yohimbe Tribe of East Tennessee”. The final team is called “The Wrestling Hillbillies” and you don’t want to mess with them.
In addition to the wonderful and very fun Kona Bicycle Co. so graciously giving us a car, the Michelin tire company has also sponsored our team with new tires. They are launching new 29er tires this season and we couldn’t be more excited. Kona has been making 29ers for 9 years and pretty much everyone I know in East Tennessee is running the big wheels. We are excited to be some of the first to try out the new Michelin Wild Racer tires.
So, this story is going to be about a bunch of mountain bikers and hooligans from Knoxville, TN, crossing the country to get an old car, race bikes, sight see, and create memories for the rest of our lives! Stay tuned…