Friday, July 13, 2007

Seattle Report

Emailer "eightzero" sends the following report...

Hiya TBV. I just got back from the Floyd book signing in Seattle. Thought I'd give you the quick rundown first, if for no other reason, as a small thank you for all the hard work you (collectively) have put in. I may blog a bit about this later, but here' the initial impression:

Floyd really is a very good, very likable speaker. He is affable, and you really feel that you're hearing from him. He looks good and smiles all the time. His speech tempo is measured, and he speaks in a way that makes me feel that there is deep thought to each phrase. He answers questions in a way that is genuine, and even though you know he's been asked the same question before, he answers like it was the first time he'd heard it.


There was about 5-600 people in attendance. Floyd offered to sign anything you brought. I got my copy of the book signed, as well as the "King Floyd" issue of Velonews. I decided against bringing my Smith&Nephew kit, simple because if he'd signed it, I could never wear it again. And I feel fast when I do. But I digress....

He got a standing ovation when he arrived. After his intro, one of the first things he did was to encourage others to continue to watch the tour. After all that has happened to him, he still refuses to dis the race itself. He acknowledged (several times) the doping stories, and the loss of credibility to the sport of cycling, but said that bike racing is worth watching.

His 2007 TdF prediction: Vinokourov, even after the stage 5 problems. "1:20 isn't that much at this point."

When asked "Campy or Shimano" he thought for a minute and said "I have to go with Shimano." After the applause from the Shimano crowd, he acknowledged the Campy boos: "Hey. I won the Tour de France on Campy..."

A devotee of the Etape de Tour asked him about the hardest stage of the tour, saying he had ridden Ventoux and Galibier. Floyd responded "let me ask you a question. Why the heck would you *do* that?" He talked a bit about Ventoux, but then said the hardest stage was actually the last one the -Champs. Paraphrasing "you haven't wanted to get on bike for a week, now comes a stage where there really isn't a race going on. It's slow. It's boring. And it's on cobbles. I've hated that ride for the last 5 years." It was damn hilarious. He was serious, but of course, with tongue firmly in cheek. he knows how important the ceremony and history is.

Long line for the book signing, but people were patient. Floyd got up to have his picture taken with each person that asked. Brooke was with him, and I overheard her explaining that they have no idea when the arbitration ruling will come, or even how it will come. "Could be by fax, by phone or by newspaper." I suggested it was possible the subscribers to L'Equipe would know before them. The knowing yet depressed reaction told me that maybe this wasn't a joke after all.

I met The Champ. It was thrilling. I asked him as I was leaving the line with my book and signed VN "I know you've got expenses, and you have to deal with that, but how will you spend your Tour prize money? Surely there's something you want for yourself." Again, he thought hard, like that hadn't occurred to him. He gave a great answer: "I'd have to get something for my wife." Dude has priorities.


Mike Solberg said...

Thanks 8-0, nice report. Glad you decided against the kit.


Cub said...

Hope it’s OK if I add a few comments.

Floyd was a little late, probably delayed in the tail end of rush hour traffic (rush hour lasts for 3 hours around here). I was getting impatient and decided to leave at 7:15, but as I got to the door I heard a roar of applause, cheering and whistling and headed back upstairs.

The crowd was large. 300 to 400 people I’m guessing. Floyd seemed surprised at the size of the turnout and made a joke about how people in Seattle either really like books or really like bikes.

Floyd talked for about 10 to 15 minutes then opened the floor for questions. The questions were pretty standard. At one point Floyd said he wants to win another Tour de France. He would have been happy with one win, but the way things have turned out he feels he has something to prove.

Floyd had some good ad-libs. Somebody asked if the proximity of the crowd on some of the stages was scary or dangerous for the riders. Floyd said you get used to it and it’s not as dangerous as it seems. He compared it to trying to pick up your baggage at SeaTac airport. Your bags are right there in plain sight waiting for you, but when you try to grab them you realize they are just out of your reach. He thinks we need to do something about that.

I’m pretty sure this was Floyd’s first trip to the Northwest in a long time - certainly his first since becoming famous and/or notorious. Apparently there are a lot of cycling fans and Floyd fans here, and they really seemed to appreciate the chance to see the 2006 Tour de France champion. Thanks to Third Place Books for hosting the signing.

nahual said...

The Seattle book signing was a fun event for all it seemed. All of eightzero's observations are echoed by me. When asked by some younger riders how to maximize their efforts Floyd was forthcoming with training tips and hoping for the kid's success.
I watched all of the hearings and read most of TBV's coverage and felt I had a flavor of Floyd. What my impression of him now is overwhelmed his intellegence, displayed by his wit and ability to hear, comprehend and answer, all in good cadence. I think all his synapses (& I ride one) are firmly linked, firing in order and rapidly. A sense more easily gained in the presence of the Champion than from reading transcripts, periodicals and books.

Stay tuned Seattle, Brooke mentioned they want to come back for another event. Cheers!

Please add my thanks to the tally board for all the good work TBV. It's the first site I look at in the morning, before email, and sometimes coffee. Will there be life after arbitration???

Ken ( said...

A big thank you to everyone who has been sharing their book signing experiences. My one big hope is that he comes to the Boston area so that maybe I could attend one myself.

strbuk said...

nahaul, thanks so much for your insights into Floyd's Seattle experience. It's folks like you that make updating TBV every morning worthwhile.


Glen said...

Thanks to TBV for the reporting throughout the ordeal. I have appreciated the news and etc.

My wife and I saw Floyd in San Pedro California right after Tour of California on the FFF tour and he was quite the way described by those above. Funny, smart, personable, and like he could be one of our friends come to the house for an evening of conversation (except he had powerpoint!)

We are looking forward to going to one of the LA area book signings with our nephew.

Just a question about protocol, should we feel obligated to purchase a copy of the book at Borders there, or can we just bring our copy we bought somewhere else.

("Eightzero") said...

As to the protocol, I think that is very much up to the bookstore itself. The bookstore in Seattle (Third Place Books) was *very* nice, and gave the quick brief 10 minutes before Floyd arrived to let everyone know he'd agreed to sign whatever you brought. I think this is generally between the author and the store. I overheard one of the bookstore employees say the sold something like 275-300 copies of Floyd's book that day, having only sold 10-15 copies up until then. That ratio (about 50:50 buyers to attendees) is apparently common for book signings.

I would have happily bought a second copy at the bookstore if they had asked we do so. As it is, I frequent the store a bit, so I'll be going there more because of how well the event went.

One more thing I forgot to pass along - Floyd was at a table set somewhat into the store. The line wound around inside the store, and perhaps it was coincidence, but the line actually took all the attendees right past the sports/cycling section - complete with an apparently untouched stack of Walsh's book.

One guy at the end of the line had his BMC/Phonak bike there to have Floyd sign. I gave him my email address and asked him to send me a picture of it. I also asked him if it was going to be a "wall trophy." "Nope. It's my every day rider."
Wow. How cool would that be?

Cheryl from Maryland said...

I was at the DC signing at Politics and Prose last week -- my compliments to the bookstores and the Spotlight advance teams for well run events.

The DC signing was well attended -- an employee standing next to me said that this was the biggest crowd she had seen -- "more people than for Kenneth Starr." The crowd was very sympathetic -- many cheers and applause when the gentleman who organized the event introduced Floyd with the list of his 2006 wins, many invites to ride in DC.

Some unusual questions -- one person asked how much the drunk crazies impede the riders up the mountain. Per Floyd, if you are in front, the cars stop them and you don't notice them, but after the front of the peleton passes, the domestiques who are tired and at the back have to go through all of the crazies who start walking back down the mountain.

And last but not least -- a young lady whom I saw arrive in a Tufts University jersey asked if Floyd shaved his own legs or had a soigneur do the task. After much laughter, Floyd admitted this question was a first and that he performed the task himself.

Thanks Floyd for the signed book and the signing of my Phonak jersey.