Sunday, January 21, 2007
MWRBC... The experience.
Well, the worst weekend of my life is over. Needless to say, I didn't perform my best for this years MWRBC. But that's not even what made the weekend so rough... It started out about an hour outside of the cities. A lovely white mini-van pulled up next to us on the road to let us know we had a flat tire... After pulling over and a few seconds of examination... yep, they were right. So, we spent an hour and a half getting that fixed. Six hours later we arrived in Kansas City. Our hotel was absolutely sweet. The Marriot President is a historic hotel that has a very grand entrance. I'm not going to lie... I was totally impressed.
Day two started out in the same direction as day one did. Half way to the venue, another white car pulled up next to us... to let us know we had a flat tire... again. In the same spot. So, while I went to the initial meetings at the competition, Andrew and Aaron took my car to get the tire fixed... and somewhere in there the power stearing got a leak... and stopped working. My perspective on this all wasn't too bad at the time. After all, the Altera kids were in town... they seem to make everything more fun. While they were out fixing my tire and exploring what my car is like without power stearing, I had my 10 MINUTES of practice time!!! This is where I made the initial mistake of thinking my signature drink cups were going to work out just fine. Next, Andrew, Aaron, and I all rolled out looking for a grocery store to buy things still needed. We drove a good 45 minutes looking for something, and barely found anything... finally we stumbled into a tiny local grocery store.
So, my round comes up... and I lost it. By lost it, I mean, I first left a puck in the third group head. Automaticly taking my clean work space points to an automatic 0. Then the timer got going and I forgot that I was on a 3 group GB5, not a 2 group Synesso. My milk was crap. And then the big duzzy came. My port sippers... as cool as they are, do not sit very balanced. One fell over while I was preheating them, spilling all the water it contiained onto my hand. Next, as I was brewing the first shot, one of the sippers fell over again... while the shot was still brewing. Finally, as I grabbed for my last portafilter to pull my last set of shots, I grabbed a portafilter with a puck in it... I got lost in the GB5. Not cool. Many other things went very wrong... including how I went a good 36 seconds over time. These though, are all things we can learn from... the rest just drained the life from me.
That night we went out to the BGA party at the Roasterie. Of course, this is where the real fun begins. On the way in I happened to pass somewhat of a diamond in the rough. Apparently the Roasterie owns a Mistral. Apparently the Roasterie couldn't care less about their Mistral. Danny... clean the damn thing. Seriously! Anyway, I told the Altera kids about it and it was only a matter of moments before we found ourselves knocking the dust off. Steam wand tips were caked with milk, portafilters hadn't been scrubbed, it was a mess, but we found what coffee we could and grabbed the milk we had and set out to do what we do best... pour the coolest lattes we could given the circumstances. We had so little milk we even ended up cutting it with water... redefining the ghetto latte. We tried to find a bar after that, but with little success we all called it a night.
The next morning I woke up with more tension in my shoulders than I've ever experience before. I was hurting, and my guess is that the lack of power stearing had something to do with it. Pain man, pain. We bounced to the finals and had a blast watching the last performances. Alex McCrackin... you are an awesome barista and I was pulling for you all the way. Pete Licata, you are a competitor to the core and it was awesome to see someone with such experience rocking it like a pro. Robin Seitz, the new MWRBC, congrats. Well done for a first time competitor. I look forward to seeing you all at the USBC. Oh, and if anyone hasn't heard. Alex pulled off second, Peter third, and Robin, first. The big improvement from round one to finals was the judging. I'm sorry to say, but the first couple rounds of judges were a little shaky at times. I noticed a lot of little technical things that they weren't looking for. Anyway, judging in the finals was WBC certified (head) judge, Mr. Tracy Allen, Technical judge Dan Jansen, WBC certified Lani Peterson, WBC certified Mr. Jeff Babcock, Tech judge Mr. Berry Jarret, Mr. Spencer Turner, and the seventh was some other dude... whatev.
After the finals, the Altera kids took off to book it home before the storms set in. It's always good to see Scott and Co. though. There is talk of a pre-Great Lakes throw down to happen right before Coffee Fest Chicago. We'll see. As soon as we left the venue we took my car to have the power stearing line fixed... and then we found out I need to replace the motor soon as well. Mo' money, mo' money, mo' money... That night we had our first really decent meal since we'd been in town. That was nice, and we ended the day by crashing early.
Aaron and I woke up early today to take my car to another car place to have the pump replaced for the stearing... and apparently, it's not necessarily the pump. It's the belt and some other parts... All in all, it's just more money. At the end of the day, we got back and now I am tired. There will be more stories to tell. but it'll take some time, for now... enjoy some of the great pics.