Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Specialized HQ

One of my housemate's brothers oversees the opening of new branches of IN-N-OUT Burger, a fast food chain. Tonight, we were invited to a private party at branch #198, Morgan Hill, CA 95037. Free food!

25 miles later, we were there :) We were even treated to a behind-the-counter tour of the facilities. It was an eye-opener for me to observe soft drinks like Coca-Cola, Sprite, 7-UP, not in bottles and cans, but in 5 gallon bags of concentrated goo, which are then reconstituted with filtered tap water, sweetened by a 10 galloon boxed-bag of corn syrup, and carbonated by a huge CO2 tank. And then, there were those large machines which peel and shred 50 lb (24 kg) sacks of potatoes at once, into french fries. The 10 gallon containers of cottonseed oil, 5 gallon tubs of ketchup and mustard, etc. Unclaimed cadavers from the local hospital to be ground up for 99 cent burger specials... JOKING! JOKING! Just make sure you are paying attention. :D

Anyways, after we were done gorging ourselves expressed our gratitude, gave our best wishes to the new crew, and waddled to the car, I remembered that the headquarters for Specialized Bicycles is located in Morgan Hill. Just 3.8 miles south, in fact. Off we go!

Specialized HQ, 15130 Concord Circle, Morgan Hill, CA 95037.

Reception area. Ned "The Lung" Overend (how many of you kids know who he is?) is on one of the posters.

Lobby area.

Another shot of the lobby area. It looked as though there were bikes of every year's model in there.

Specialized parking lot.

Instead of a solid white line, they have...

We drove around the building, peering inside, every room had a bicycle or bicycle frame in it. Every desk hutch has a helmet on it. I guess about every employee is a cyclist there.

File picture.

The rear of the building even has an obstacle / ramp course. Sorry, no more pictures as the batteries in my camera died. For serious testing, the factory riders go across Highway 101 to Henry W. Coe State Park (HWCSP). HWCSP is a huge park, with killer uphills and downhills, deep canyons, rivers to ford, etc. In the words of another rider, "Henry Coe is not 'get lost and miss dinner' big, Henry Coe is 'get lost and die' big." Map. HWCSP (348 km. sq.) is 55% the size of Singapore's total land area (632 km. sq.).

The visitor advisory by the California State Park Service says it all:

On long hikes, be sure to take plenty of water and food. Some of the trails and roads on the more strenuous hikes are incredibly steep, which can make for slow going and trips that turn out to take longer than you thought they might. On warm days, take more water than you think you'll need, and don't forget to carry a map with you. Coe Park is a huge wilderness, and it's not that hard to take a wrong turn and get lost.

Mountain Biking
The park has 100 miles of roads and trails that are open to mountain bikes. The rugged terrain offers a variety of riding options ranging from moderately difficult to extremely difficult. There are practically no easy trails for bikes.

Horseback Riding
With over 80,000 acres of ridges and canyons and gorgeous views, Coe Park is a wilderness paradise for equestrians. If you plan to venture more than a few miles into the park, you and your horse should be in excellent physical shape and you should be prepared for steep, rugged terrain.

Oh, boy, that's like waving a red flag before a bull.
I guess Henry Coe is on my agenda now :)

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