As many of you know, Interbike ended over a week ago. Interbike is the largest bicycle industry trade show in the US and it’s held in Las Vegas. It plays host to CrossVegas, the official start of cyclocross season, and does a fair job consolidating a small ton of bicycle goodies under one roof. The first two days are the “dirt demo”, a tangible, tactile, low-speed orgy of everything bicycle. You can ride most of the new rigs, demo sunglasses, helmets, check out new wheels, hubs, forks, etc… If its new, chances are good you can play with it at the dirt demo. After the dirt demo, the the show opens up for three overwhelming days of bicycle everything. Seminars, meetings, mingling, fondling new product, meetings, and product ordering. At the end of day three, everyone is exhausted, the beer flows like water, and things start to shut down.
Keith and I made it into Vegas late on Monday night. We checked into Treasure Island, deposited our bags, and headed out to find food. Being exhausted and not very crafty, we settled on overpriced burgers and fries, totally unaware that we were mere blocks from $1.99 steak and eggs. Food in belly, a quick stop in Walgreens to get sunscreen for the morning, and no energy, we headed back to the room to call it a night.
7am Tuesday morning we were up and at ‘em. We packed our stuff, checked out of TI and headed over to Harrah’s where we would be staying the week. We checked our bags with the bell desk and headed over the the Harrah’s buffet. Overpriced and not very good, we left feeling a little sore about the $20 breakfast buffet. (to it’s credit, neither of us got hungry again until much later in the day) A quick hike through a labyrinth of casinos and we found ourselves on the shuttle bus to Bootleg Canyon, home of the dirt demo. Oh, I should mention, we left TI dressed in our full race kits. Helmets, shoes, and a Skinsuit. We arrived at the Demo to find it full of people just as excited as we were. We went straight to the Felt Racing tent to demo some bikes, but the line was long and the sizes we wanted were out so we put it on hold and went over to Salsa. They had LaCruiz Ti cross bikes ready to go, so we signed them out and took them up to the XC trails. I loved it. (as a side note, we are getting our 55.5cm frame in any day now…) The bike climbs well and rolls smooth. I am a fan of both the frame and the Sram Apex groupo that it was built with. After the LaCruiz Ti, I managed to get my hands on a Felt B2 with Shimano DI2 electronic shifting… I couldn’t get the hang of it and managed to accidentally shift on both of my out of the saddle, uphill sprint attempts. It shifts quickly, but I would need a few rides to get it down.
Keith and I split off, he went to ride some of the new Raleigh bikes and I went off to poke my face in random tents and see what new items were being brought to market. I found lots of energy chews, electrolyte drinks, and protein bars. I still think Cliff Bloks are my favorite chew, Nuun my favorite drink, and I prefer protein shakes to bars all day long (monster milk and muscle milk). I spent the afternoon catching up with friends from all over the place and had a really good time. As I was sitting on the shuttle bus, waiting to go back to the hotel, I saw Keith riding another demo bike, the Salsa Spearfish, up the the demo trails.
I got checked in at Harrah’s, took a shower, got some pool time in, met up with Keith, played some Craps, met up with Marilyn (my mom, and the shop bookkeeper) and we went out for food.
Day one of Interbike played out as expected. I was immediately overwhelmed, had several sales meetings, made orders with Sidi and Camelback, and walked until my feet hurt. I cut out sometime around 3pm and headed back to the hotel. Food, shower, nap, a few hours of Craps, and time to meet up with everyone for CrossVegas.
We took a shuttle bus for a 10 minute ride to go literally across the street. I didn’t know where we were going so it didn’t seem so ridiculous at the time, but in retrospect, it seems kinda silly. Our shuttle bus dropped us off at another shuttle bus that took us out to CrossVegas. CrossVegas is one big party. Taco stands, giant fire spewing Mantis, singing Elvis, and pro cyclists from all over the world! The race was fast paced and epic. The sprint for the finish was amazing and it was eye opening to see CX being raced at that level!
Day 2 of Interbike brought more meetings, revisits of products that required a second look, and trips to several of our vendors, most notably, Bianchi. Keith and I were able to make a solid plan for what products would be showing up for 2011 and we started to put that plan into action. We became the Gainesville dealer for Mission Workshop and we are eagerly awaiting our shipment of bags. Keith and I each took home a bag from their display and couldn’t be happier with the quality. Mission Workshop was founded by the same guy that started Chrome and hes upped his game with this line of bags. I will post some photos when they show up. The end of day two took us to the Blue Man Group and good food.
Day 3 of the trade show. Keith has flown back to Gainesville, and Marilyn and I are back to the trade show to tie up loose ends and look at any last minute products that got missed the first two days. Around noon we took a taxi to the airport and picked up our rental car. We took our new wheels downtown to Freemont street and dug into a $5 prime rib. (budget prime rib is a bad idea.) We played around in old Vegas and Marilyn learned to play Craps at the Golden Nugget. She actually won some money, it was really fun. We headed off to find the “World Famous Gold and Silver Pawn Shop” that is featured in the show Pawn Stars. When we drove buy earlier, it had a line of a hundred people waiting outside and we drove right by it, but on the return trip, the line was gone and the shop was fairly slow, so we went in. It’s a neat little pawn shop, but it’s nothing super special.
The last day in Vegas was fairly slow. We shipped back all my paperwork and info (it still has not arrived) as well as my clothes and shoes so I only had to carry on a backpack. We went out for breakfast and then I dropped Mairlyn off at the Airport. I still had another 8 hours to kill in Vegas so I did it in the casinos. I had great luck at the Craps tables so I decided to do that for all 8 hours. If there is one thing that will make you glad to leave Vegas, it’s getting sucked in and playing Craps for 8 hours. I felt like a zombie and was glad to be going home.