by Tom Breen
Ogden PD (UT)
2002 IPMBA Conference Chairman
O.K., O.K., it took a few days, but I finally realized everyone was gone and I didn't have to be here or there or making sure people were taken care of. Well....almost! We did have to ship T.J. Richardson's bike back to San Antonio, seeing how - as he put it - his "crew" forgot to load his bike with all their other stuff. Oops.
As I found time to sit back and look at what had just taken place over the ten days of the IPMBA conference, I realized that we had pulled it off. What a conference! Believe it or not, OPD and the crew who worked this really had a great time. From the rides to the hospitality rooms, it was a lot of fun, and I hope all of you who were able to attend feel the same.
As the local coordinator, my view of the conference was pretty unique. I got to see - or at least hear about - it all. Here are a few of the highlights from my perspective.
I knew it was going to be an interesting week when the LAPD Bicycle Rapid Reponse Team Instructors rolled in. These guys looked sharp - all decked out in matching uniforms - hats, shorts, shirts, jackets, the works. Only one problem: a couple of them had left their front wheels back in L.A. First stop: the bike shop.
Things got even more interesting during the Cinco de Mayo celebration. The members of the Advanced Course were in the bike check when a man ran by, followed by a woman yelling "stop thief!" Leave it to Lou Ann Hamblin - she outran everyone else, caught the guy, knocked him into a brick wall, cuffed him, and waited for OPD to come take the report. That put IPMBA, Ogden, and Lou Ann into the media spotlight and earned Lou Ann OPD's "top award" - a wooden Model T Ford, complete with an IPMBA license tag.
Next was watching the flatlanders' jaws hitting the ground when they were told the trails were along the mountains. "Yes," I said many times, "that trail you see up there is where you'll be riding." Many a deep breath (as deep as the thin air would allow) was taken, and then I'd hear, "O.K., if you say so!"
Then came all the swearing when they got back from their first day of rides. Even from some of the instructors! "The trail was great, Tom, but the ride to the trail was pure HELL!" "Ya," I said, "those switchbacks can be a little hard on the lungs." "Not the switchbacks, the hills to get to the switchbacks!" "Oh, those hills!" But everyone survived with only a few minor scrapes and bruises.
The members of the Advanced Class had their troubles also. Silly me, assuming that everyone rides with heavy duty tubes, slime and liners. There are a lot of goatheads in this desert area. Well, the Advanced Class figured that out after the second day. While riding one of the north side trails, they managed to have somewhere around thirty flats (and there were only 15 students in the class). One rider mentioned in his own polite words that he had fixed four flats before getting down the mountain. When I arrived at the Timbermine Restaurant to assist them, I believe everyone had suffered at least one flat, except, of course, Darren Goff from Ogden PD.
And then there was the obstacle course competition! I hope you stayed around and watched it. T.J. and company did a great job putting this one together. I was amazed at how well the riders did! What a race, down to the hundredths of a second to determine the winner of the Police Cyclist competition. Good job to all those that participated!
Of course, not all of the adventures were on bike. Utah doesn't have any casinos, but that did not stop two determined gamblers. I told them it is is a two hour drive west to Wendover (or as we call it, Bendover), Nevada, where they have full service casinos and all-night action. I wasn't sure if they went until almost everyone had shipped out. I was roaming the hotel when they flagged me down and told me of their adventure. They said they had had a good time in Wendover and didn't lose all their money. Then the swearing started, "we didn't know that there is about a hundred *#@% ^%$@# miles at one point where there are no gas stations!" You guessed it - these high rollers spent some downtime on a pretty lonely stretch of highway in the Utah desert. Lucky for them, a sheriff came by and arranged for some late night fuel to get them to the casino. Probably saved them a few bucks!
Brewski's! Does that say enough? I know some people won't remember it and some will never forget it. I'm still wondering if the crew from Ohio ever got the bellybutton piercing done. And was it one of the gals or one of the guys that was looking to get it done? Speaking of souvenirs, though, at least one person went home to California with a brand-new tattoo. I know who that was, but the identity of the two officers who got themselves stuck in the elevator is still a mystery.
The true highlights, though, were the great classes, the attendees and the instructors! It was a fantastic time and quite the experience for all. We're looking forward to next year's conference in Charleston, West Virginia. I am sure it will be a great one for lots of reason but most of all because we get to attend and watch! See ya in 2003 - but now, I'm going to go play some golf!
(c) 2002 IPMBA. This article appeared in the Summer 2002 issue of IPMBA News.