I went west from Pittsburgh through Ohio, now flatter, but colder (wind off the Great Lakes). But, on a bicycle you're never too cold, as you build up heat from the exertion. The trick is to balance your clothing with the temperature. Mountains offer the most challenge.
Going up your toes tend to get cold, as the blood is 'cut off' from the pressure you have to keep on the pedals. But, the worst is when gliding down from a mountain Pass. Having perspired going up, you have to be careful not to get cold, as your inner clothing wet. Also, the wind-chill factor. Going down on a bicycle from a mountain pass it's all hands gripping the brakes. Thus, if you don't have very good gloves, your hands, unable to move, get very cold. I remember several times being so happy to reach the bottom, stopping, and taking my hands off the brakes to rub together to get warm.
They've have tried to invent clothing that 'wicks' (the word they use) the moisture away from your skin. The high-tech stuff from 'Patagonia,' 'The North Face,' or 'Mountain Gear,' is very expensive, and I've never been able to afford. So, I wear layers, and am careful to constantly 'balance' the situation depending on the weather. If too warm, take off, or unzip. If too cold, put on, or zip up (or get out of the wind)!
With me, it's my feet, hands, and head, I have to careful about. Not my legs. I sometimes wear shorts even when cold in winter. This truly amazes Chinese people, as they have this thing about legs... Rarely ever will you see a Chinese man wearing shorts (only the young have taken to). So, when I walk or cycle in shorts in China, Chinese people stare at me (they just can't believe you might be different). The ones I know ask, pointing at my legs, 'Aren't you cold?' I've developed a response to this by saying (pointing to their uncovered heads), 'Aren't you cold?' Chinese men, in particular, hardly wear caps or hats in rain or cold (winter). But, their legs... Always covered!
I made my way to Akron, as a place I'd been many times for ABC Sports (mainly for golf, at the Firestone C.C.).
I'll never forget the first time I went there as a new P.A. ('production assistant). This was my introduction of ABC Sports, my first event. One of my tasks, in New York, was to get Chris Schenkel (one of the announcers) an airline ticket. But, for some reason everything was booked. I tried and tried. I finally got him a seat in 'coach' (second class). When I informed him of such, I'll never forget the tirade! If he had to ride 'in the back of the plane,' he wouldn't go! I was shocked. That's how spoiled we were back then. We flew 'First Class,' and there better be a 'limo' (long and black) to drive us wherever, or we wouldn't go!
When I arrived in Akron (having flown 'coach'), I was laden with the usual things we alway had to bring, as this was one of the P.A.'s job. I was also very excited. The first thing I did, after checking into the hotel, was to go out to Firestone C.C. Maybe this was a Wednesday (golf tournaments cover four days of competiton, beginning on Thursday). I deposited whatever in the 'Graphics Trailer.' I expected to find some of my colleagues working away, but it was empty. I went into the 'Control Room' ('A Unit' we called it.), but didn't find anyone I knew. I walked to the clubhouse, but again no ABC people. Back where the 'trucks' (mobile units) were parked, I asked one of the NABET workers. He said knowingly, 'Check the bar at the hotel.' I wondered to myself, in the bar, at 2P.M., in the afternoon?
Back in the hotel, sure enough there was a group sitting at the bar. One was a P.A. named Joe Aceti. I started telling him all about what I'd done, what what should I be doing? He smiled and said, 'Sit down, kid, and have a drink!' Chuck isn't here yet, relax!' So, I did just that, and it wasn't long before we were 'having a good time!' This was my introduction to ABC Sports, 1966!
Joe was also helpful after we returned to N.Y.C. One day I was filling out my expense report. You got expense money (cash) in advance before departing, but upon return you had to account for such. So there I was filling out my first expense report, when I noticed Joe examining it over my shoulder. 'You're going to ruin it for all of us!' He lamented. 'Come into my office, kid!' So, within a few minutes the total on my expense account had gone from (actually what I spent), $103.56 to $297.50. I ended up making money on the deal! I also learned the word 'gratuities,' which is a fancy one for a 'tip.' Seems we always gave people 'gratuities' for things they didn't do.
While we were in Akron, the P.R. department at Firestone Tires (company) treated the ABC crew like royalty. Just about anything we might want, they supplied, solving all of our problems in the process. I don't think this was ever duplicated by any other company or event (in all the next seven years with ABC). They would even take us out at night for dinner and entertainment.
I don't know why I remember this one night, but Jim McKay (McManus, real name) of 'Wide World of Sports,' fame got up on stage and sang a song. I was duly impressed. I didn't know that before he joined ABC Jim was with CBS, and had an entertainment program called, 'The Real McKay!' His son Sean, who now runs CBS Sports, would know. As an aside, I remember Sean when he was just a little boy. Margaret, Jim's wife, would bring him along on some sporting events. One in particular I remember, 'The World Figure Skating Championships,' in Vienna, Austria (Peggy Fleming won the 'Women's Singles' event.). I also remember the Sacre Tort (Vienna's famous pastry)! I also remember McKay's parsimonious nature, a joke between Roone and Chuck Howard (my immediate boss). Jim would never pay for anything!
Anyway, Akron, way back when (circa. 1960s)... I got to know it well, as we were there every year for the golf tournament.
One year it was my turn to hold the annual 'Wrecking Crew' party (four original members rotated hosting once a year). The rules were, you had to attend no matter where on earth you were. If you didn't show up, you had to 'cough up' ($100U.S.) as a penalty. I chose Akron that year, as I was producing the golf tournament.
I rented the only limozine (now I can't even spell the word) in Akron, a hearst (not Patty) from a local funeral home. I had rented the penthouse suite in the Akron Towers Motor Inn (I think the name?). I reserved Red's Bar, a place we revered, for the party. I had the other members picked up from the airport in our 'limo' (I can spell that).
The party started with 'horses duvores,' we jokingly malaprop-ed back then, this in my suite (some 12 floors up). I had a bar and bartender. We were getting drunk before dinner. We had dinner at Reds, and then stayed for the entertainment. This was a live band for dancing. In those days when I got drunk, which was often, I would throw money at anything that moved. I think the waiters got rich that night. If they brought me a drink (I think it was screwdrivers that night) they would get $10U.S. cash. Needless to say, I was never with an empty glass.
Back in my suite at the hotel the party continued, now with many women groupies. But, this was a 'slow fade to black,' for me as now very drunk. I do remember, the 'piece de resistance' of the night, however. This when Geoff Mason, opened my window, and began throwing all the furniture out and down into the pool (directly below). It was lucky the TV was bolted to the wall. And I thank God, even to this day, that no one had decided to take a midnight swim (they would have been killed). We thought it all very funny at the time, the room becoming emptier and emptier (of anything Geoff could get his hands on). I remember at one point looking out the window and down at the pool (12 floors below), now full of things, some floating, some on the bottom.
People disappeared... I went to bed (alone), probably around 0200. The next thing I remember was some man shaking me violently (to wake me up). I came out of a fog as this man was obviously angry for some reason I didn't yet understand! In fact, he was seething! He yelled at me! 'What have you done?' (pointing and gesturing toward the living room and the window (still open), 'What have you done?' He literally pulled me out of bed and into the living room, now bereft of furniture. Then to the window, gesturing down. I and tried to act surprised. I feigned little knowledge of such shenanigans. But, when he said he was calling the police, I tried to calm him down. I immediately called John Martin (an associate), known for his suave and persuasive manner. I told John, the man now having departed, to take $100U.S., bride the man (turned out he was the general manager of the hotel). We wouldn't survive the bad publicity, as when the police get involved it always ends up in the media.
It worked. I gave another $100U.S. to John, and promoted him! From now on he was 'Sargeant of Arms' for the 'Wrecking Crew.' We ended up paying for all the furniture (other damage). Of course, this was the deal John had made. I think it came to something like $1,000U.S., a lot of money back in the 1960s! But, at least I didn't go to jail!
Such was the nature of the 'Wrecking Crew' infamous for our partying! If you know the history of the Rock Group, 'Led Zeppelin,' we were worse! Me, Don Ohlmeryer, Geoff Mason, and John Martin, the founding members. Jack Fitzgerald was our first invitee (member), Mac Hemion and others followed. Where are they all now...?
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