Working alone can be difficult. People and phone calls NEVER trickle in, they come all at once. When not accustomed to this it can be pretty overwhelming. So you would think that I would have been overjoyed when a middle aged guy named Darren started showing up to just "hang out." But the thing about Darren was that he didn't ride bikes. He also almost didn't talk at all and when he did it was in a sloooow drawl. He mostly would just stare at me and smile. It was a little creepy. He didn't help me with the shop unless I asked him to "just watch the place" while I went to the bathroom. He would answer my questions, but in short sentences and with no detail. Once I managed to get out of him that he had been in the military during the Gulf War, had been in an accident and that he was now a volunteer EMT/Firefighter. As time passed I began to dread my Saturday's with Darren. It was just so weird that he didn't have anything better to do, but sit on the stool and watch me work.
I finally talked to Craig about him and he said "Oh he's harmless, just let him hang out." So I did, but I began to simply loathe the sight of him. He would be there in the mornings as I was un-locking the shop, just waiting to come in and sit...and stare... and smile...
The next Saturday Darren was there as usual, but to my surprise he was really jazzed and talkative and all he seemed to think about was BIKES! He was suddenly interested in all that had surrounded him for months. He asked me questions about bikes and he told me he was ready to get his first real mountain bike. He also had me order him several flavors of GU, and bought all that we had on the shelf. Sometime in the middle of that week I sold him a decent entry level hardtail mountain bike. That next Saturday, on our morning ride, Darren generously offered me any flavor of GU that I might want and I was shocked to notice that he had at least a box of GU in his back pack. I said "Dang Darren, you're like a freakin GU King!" Little did I know what I had created!
As the months went by Darren became head over heals in love with cycling. He bought a road bike too and was proud to only wear Fox Racing moto cross gear on all his rides, including road rides. He had his new nickname stenciled on the back. The name read in huge letters.... "GU KI G" I asked him where the "N" was in KING? He said "They were out of N's"
Sometime in late Fall 2001 Craig and I traveled down into Arkansas to ride the new Syallmo Trail system. Darren had really progressed as a cyclist and so we invited him along, although we were a bit worried about his fitness for such a long ride. That day the trail was rough, the trail was soggy and the conditions were tough. Darren slipped further and further behind, until we were waiting for long stretches of time. At one stop Darren finally came toward us pushing his bike. He stopped and threw his large Fox backpack on the ground with a thud. Craig said, "What do you have in that thing?" Darren said, "Oh ya know, just some GU." Craig investigated and we found 5 BOXES of GU! Every flavor and many many POUNDS worth of GU! Enough was enough, we confiscated the GU KING's bounty and split it up between us for the rest of the ride. From that point on we checked his back pack before every long ride.
|From December, 2012|