I needed a day of rest after Interbike. Though I am already excited about next year, I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of attendees. I was told that 18,000 people were there to buy, sell, and meet each other. That’s a lot of people.
Here goes my recap, with some photos to help jog my memory.
I flew in on the Tuesday the 22nd. Vegas being a fairly short flight from Seattle, around 2 hours, it wasn’t bad at all. I flew US Airways, which had the cheapest flights, but did not have the most reasonable baggage policies. I didn’t bring a bike. I was going back and forth as to what to do about that. The thought of being in Vegas for Interbike without a bike was crappy to think about. After doing a little research, the size requirements for bringing a bike, or any luggage for that matter turned out to be crap. If the luggage was over 62″ large (that number is found by adding L+W+H) then it’s $100 each way. That means $200 round trip, for those not really good with that new math. What?!? My frame alone is larger than that. When proposed with the $200 fee, I decided that a bus ticket would be a much better way to go. I kick my self a little for not making it work, but the reality is, I wouldn’t have ridden it too much there anyway. Maybe next year I can borrow a bike from a company that wants to have one of their bikes out riding around, or ship it down early, or, as one attendee did- go to Walmart and buy a beach cruiser, then return it before you go. Brilliant!
I arrived early, about 8am, and caught the shuttle to my hotel. I forgot that you can’t check in till afternoon at hotels, so I checked my bag at the front desk, and hopped on the ol’ Duece to go to the Sands. The Duece is the double decker bus line that runs up and down the strip 24/7. I got to the Sands, and registered, picking up my Exhibitor guest pass that Brian over at Raleigh so graciously hooked me up with (Thanks again Sally!) Nothing to see inside, except the construction of displays and exhibits for the Indoor show, which opened Wednesday. Free shuttles were being provided out to Bootleg Canyon and the Outdoor Demo. So off I went.
Bootleg Canyon and the Interbike Outdoor Demo is something that all mountain bikers would get a little hot for. All the players are there. You go up, put your name on the list next to what bike you want to ride, the mechanics put pedals on (yours if you brought them), you can ride around the lot, or get on the truck that brings you to the top of the hill and you descend. Pretty awesome. I rode a Ventana Single Speed Mountain bike. What I was really testing was this Gates Carbon Belt Drive that has been so interesting to me. I must say that from the fairly short test I took it on, I’m excited to see more builders use this technology. It doesn’t stretch, lasts longer than chains, is lighter, and feels really tight. At the Gates booth, they had various builders with their designs, all tackling the issue of the break away rear triangle differently. I really think that these have so much potential when it comes to urban bikes. One is of course limited to internal gearing, but as a single speed or fixed gear, the weight advantage is huge. The Trek (carbon) single speed that was on display at the Gates booth weighed 11.5 pounds!
Lots of energy drinks from suppliers kept the people hydrated, and at about 4pm, the beer started flowing. My most memorable beer was handed to me by a pair of women that were fairly well endowed, wearing shirts that read: “Check out our racks”. OK. Maybe sex does sell, because their booth, which actually was a car rack company, had many people circling, checking out their racks. Oddly enough, I don’t recall the name of the company, but I will never forget their shirts. About 6pm I hopped on the shuttle back to the Sands, and went back to my hotel to wash off the dust.
Wednesday morning brought the opening of the Indoor exhibition. Three words: Total mad house. It was so full of people just wandering around, myself included. Since the booths were not all the same size, and also because I didn’t sit down and make a plan of attack, my pattern was that of a hurricane, just walking around in circles, in predominately one direction. By the end of the day, my Chevrolegs were running a little slow. The highlight of the show was definitely getting Eddie Merckx’s autograph.
I also got George Hincapie’s autograph, as well as a beer while waiting in line. He thought it funny that I had a beer in hand. But it was handed to me by the guy at PowerBar, so I just told him it was a PowerBeer.
I went back to my hotel to shower and put my feet up. My collection of autographs, posters, catalogs, business cards, and schwag was growing. In my room, one bed was devoted to schwag collection, the other for sleeping. I felt like a kid coming back after Halloween, spreading my candy out over the bed to see what my winnings were.
After a shower and some fine reality television, I hopped on the Duece back to the strip, and met up with Nora and her pals at the Pepper Mill. Nora is the super fantastic lady at the NY office of the Bicycle Film Fest. Through her guidance and support (as well as the other team members) Seattle hosted it’s first BFF in the festival’s 9 years. It was great to meet her, and even better that she is as awesome as she is. She introduced me to her pals, the San Diego producers of the BFF. Great people all around, and though I have forgotten their names, they were fantastic to meet and hang out with. I hope to run into them again soon!
We took a cab to the Artisian Hotel, which was home to the Rapha Roller Races, as well as the final stage of the Drag Vegas Race. By the end of it, people were in the pool with their clothes on, and we had picked up some of the lights that Knog had placed around the hotel as decoration. We went back to the Peppermill for some much needed food, and of course, more drinks. Nothing like a big greasy burger and a bloody mary at 3:30 in the morning. That of course, after a gin and tonic. One might come to think that in Vegas, the only choice is a poor life choice. The fact that there was another 2 days of Interbike didn’t seem to stop anybody from pulling out the stops.
Thursday morning came too soon. Back to the Sands, snapping photos like these:
Thursday night was an alleycat, Noah, the winner of last year’s race put on this years poker race. I worked a checkpoint. The checkpoint in front of the Bellagio. Racers rode up, got a snapshot in front of the fountain, and then pulled a card from the deck.
After the race, it was down to the Mandalay Bay for the NORA (not Nora)bmx awards and the premiere of the the Fit Bike Co. movie: STAY FIT
The awards were mayhem, thanks in part to the open bar serving whisky for two hours. Nora and I met up with Chris Fonseca, who smartly set aside approximately 15 whisky cokes, and Tony Fast. It was nice to meet them both.
The awards given can be seen HERE
We finished up Thursday night, which was at this point, Friday (and my birthday) at the Double Down Saloon. We did a shot of “Ass Juice” for my birthday, thanks to Noah, Chris, Ritchie Ditta, Nora, Eric, and Mareesha for supplying me with drinks, as my ATM card was lost that day. Awesome timing.
Yes, Friday was another day in the madhouse. Holy smokes. The final day of Interbike. The rounds were made, as those that were in the booths were exhausted, and done with the whole affair. Those that had extra dough were purchasing floor models, and giveaways were everywhere. I shot the breeze with Traitor’s Joe and Kevin, and saw their prototypes for the 650bmx, their Luggernaut, as well as their SS cross bike. Impressive all around. I hung out a bit with Jacopo and Katie over at Dodici. You should go over and check out Jacopo’s offerings. They are producing beautiful frames, and now rims are available. Handmade in Italy. Super nice.
Friday night was spent at the Sahara Casino. To be more accurate, at the bar. The bar adjacent to the NASCAR cafe. What brought me there by chance? Well- $1 shots (and you could keep the shotglass), $1 High Life beer, $1 hotdogs to soak it up, and $1 BJ. Oh, though advertised as $1 BJ- they were saving space by not writing Black Jack. I continued my birthday celebration, and hung out with Nora the Explorer, Noah, Lucas Brunelle, Dan Leeb, and Austin Horse. People were more friendly at this bar than anywhere else I’d come across in Vegas, and drinks were bought for me throughout the night. Whether I needed them or not.
I made it through. Many great people were met, and many GO MEANS GO stickers were passed out. Got some people in some of the GMG shirts available too. People were stoked on the stickers, which is totally awesome.
Saturday morning, after a late checkout, I had a great lunch date with Elta (my ladie’s mom), and got to see some of the southern end of the strip. The flight home was uneventful, though the bastards at TSA took my toothpaste, and had to run my shoes a few times, as the shoe goo that held them together made them nervous. My good pal Karlito picked me up from the airport, and brought my ragged ass home. It was great to be in my own bed, after enjoying the meatloaf and mashed potatoes that were waiting for me in the fridge.
What a lucky guy I am. My lady flew me to Vegas so I could geek out on bikes, then I come home to the best meal I’d had all week, and a home grown, home cooked pumpkin pie that said happy birthday on it. Now if that isn’t a recap, I don’t know what is. Now to plan for next year. GO MEANS GO will be there with bells on.