After a successfull campaign of racing the bike in the Navada State Championship series, I drove east a few days ago to Reno (that's in Nevada) to see how the general population would except their new "mountain bike racing king" while doing a little shopping.
Megan (my girlfriend) and I headed east on hwy 80 towards the state line. Upon crossing the California/Nevada state line, I noticed that the sign you see upon entering "the silver state" hadn't been changed. I was expecting something like "Gregg Stone... the fastest mountain biker in the whole state of Nevada welcomes you". But, no dice. When we got to the state line, I noticed the same sign that's been there for years with the "welcome to Nevada" slogan below the wooden cutout of a shadowed cowboy that suggests it'd best be spoken by the likes of Sam Elliot. No worries. With the economy being what it is, I guess it's probably not on Nevadas "top 10" list of things to do. We didn't drive through the downtown area, but I'm guessing that the "biggest little city in the world" sign probably hadn't been replaced by something more suggestive of my mountain bike racing prowess.
Instead, we drove into the heart of Reno and headed towards where most of the anti WalMart shoppers end up.... Target. Upon entering the store, I looked for "my cart". I was sure that the fastestest mountain biker in all of Nevada would have his own cart. I was kind of hoping for something with lightweight aluminum frame tubing, a basket made of high modules carbon fiber, ceramic bearings in the wheels and adorned with lock-on grips and bottle cages on either side. I didn't look behind the "employees only" door, but an otherwise thorough search of the premises turned up only stock carts with steel frames (non Reynolds), plastic (non carbon) baskets and wheels with anything but high performance bearings in them. Bottle cages.... forget about it. It kinda left me with a feeling like Milton must've had. Nonetheless, I made my rounds through the store, some toothpaste, band aids, misc food storage containers some toilet paper... you know the drill. Upon checking off all the items on my list, we headed towards the checkout counter. The lady behind the counter asked me if I wanted to put the total on my Target charge card. I stated that I had something much better and pulled out my USA Cycling liscense and explained that if she ran my licence number and cross referenced it with the Nevada State Championship website she would see that I was indeed the fastest mountainbiker in the state of Nevada. I was sure that we would receive a hefty discount on our selected merchandise and maybe even get a couple of our items at no charge. After quick examination of my license, I was met with the reality that they probably hadn't yet received word of my triumphant domination of being the fastest mountain biker in all of Nevada. (yes Hodi... even you) I pulled out my other card (something emblazoned w/ the VISA logo) which seemed to have better results with our ability to keep our purchases... that and being allowed to leave the building.
This trend would continue throughout the day as we went on with the rest of our stops. At Trader Joes the denial of any kind of discount, freebie or "atta boy" recognition was quickly shot down. The lady at Whole Foods was somewhat nicer and actually humored me with a closed eye look up at the ceiling as if to search her memory trying to remember if such an in-store promotion actually existed. By the time we got to the gas station my expectations of a discount for being the fastest mountian biker in all of Nevada were low. Nonetheless, I made sure I got in the row of gas pumps closest to the building thinking that since I was driving the title sponsoring van (Mighty Mobile Bike Repair) it may be enough to invoke some sort of "above and beyond" service from the folks at the AM-PM. Still... nothing. Nobody came out to pump our gas, wash the windshield, check the oil... nothing. I paid full retail for my fuel and headed for the highway in a westward direction back towards Truckee.
I had plenty of time to reflect back on my day in Nevada while on highway 80 westbound.... in the construction zone.... traffic totally stopped.... with perishable groceries in the back. Yep.... welcome to Nevada.