Wednesday, December 26, 2012

PR Memories - Bob Roll Revisited

I still really treasure my DOXA days!    This was back when the dinosaurs walked the earth, and Facebook was just getting rolling.  We were smaller, and had to try harder, and did not have LVMH style advertising budgets.

It was a great job!

I had the opportunity to meet the folks at PADI, get the Project AWARE watch made, and later helped negotiate the partnership with DOXA and Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Futures Society here in Santa Barbara.  Pretty fun stuff!  But perhaps my favorite was one that while not producing the "INK" we were hoping for, did give me a chance to meet one of my cycling heroes.  So as Boxing Day is a day for leftovers, I'd like to re-heat this one today -

Giving Stuff Away

Perhaps one of the best parts of working in Public Relations is that every now and then you get called upon to give stuff away.  In my first year with DOXA I got to meet one of my cycling idols - Bob Roll and present him with a DOXA SUB 1000T Divingstar - yellow of course! For those of you not up on cycling, that is Bob on the right ; )

While many people know about Bobke from his cycling commentary covering the Tour de France, Tour of California and other notable races - I urge all of you to check out his two cycling collections - Bobke and Bobke II.  There is particularly great story on his Tag Heuer.  For Bob, this was the definitive answer to the question - when is a watch more than just a watch?

In his own eloquent words Bobke answers that question -

The Watch
When I signed my first pro contract, I got two things: a passport and a wristwatch. I vowed to race until all the pages of my passport were filled with stamps (like Sidney Poitier's Virgil Tibbs in In the Heat of the Night) or it had expired. In a lame attempt to expedite border crossings, most European countries no longer stamp your passport, and since mine doesn't expire for a couple of years, my original vow will give me an even decade as a pro. The wristwatch came from one of the team's co-sponsors. Not just any watch, but a TAG-Heuer titanium-and-gold piece of exquisite Swiss art.

That wristwatch exploded off Tour de France prologue time trial ramps from Paris to Berlin. That watch saw my arms and legs turn blue and counted 12 beats of my heart for one sweep of the minute hand during blizzard Giro stages in the Dolomite mountains.

That watch's crystal face glistened with citric acid from the peels of blood oranges in desolate hilltop Sicilian towns, and mirrored the vision of my jagged teeth turned crimson from the juice of the orange. That watch shook hands with Eddy Merckx and Gino Bartali, and feasted from the floors of Rio Grande pueblo homes. It was splashed with holy water in Lourdes and measured out 1:57:00 by the second in absolute terror on a flight from Chicago to Denver, during a wicked thunder-and-lightning shower while Richard M. Nixon sipped Shirley Temples in the first-class section.

In cycling, sponsors come and go and the jerseys change colors and names. Over the years, that watch passed from normal team swag into a rare living heirloom of suffering and deliverance. So this winter, when I lost my watch, I felt a sadness that made my bones ache, a sadness that hurt to the core.

"The Watch" - reprinted by kind permission of the author - Bob Roll, and Velopress.
"The Watch" first appeared in BOBKE II, copyright 2003 Bob Roll

There is, of course, more to the story! To read it in its entirety, and his other cylcing exploits you can get a copy of Bob's book at:

Bob Roll's two cycling collections - BOBKE and BOBKE II are both published by Velopress

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