As the final Interbike trade show in Las Vegas has now come and gone, I’m left sitting in my skin, utterly shell shocked.
And then again, I don’t guess I should be surprised. After all, there was a lot to celebrate this year, of course not the least of which is that none of us ever have to go to Las Vegas again.
Before I get into anything, I’ll give you a brief run down.
1. Demonika and I arrived to the McCarran International airport on Wednesday, armed with fires in our belly and a pockets full of sunshine.
2. That’s where things get a little fuzzy.
Upon arrival at the convention center, as I always do, I stopped by immediately to see my friends at Sock Guy. No matter what stage of the show you catch them at, they are always on point, and happy to see you. Their smiling faces never fail to give me the gas to make it through the rest of my days.
The next stop was to see Lanolin at Ritte Van Vlaanderen;
The booth was surrounded by admirers, but I was able to sneak past and grab shots of a couple bikes, and I can say that they’re just as pretty in real life as they are in all of the photos I’ve seen of them;
Lanolin ducked out with us in an attempt to finish a burrito that he’d been working on for two hours and expressed just how overwhelming the whole process had been.
In fourteen years of trade shows, I’ve done all aspects of what his trip had entailed. I’ve driven and set up, I’ve manned various company’s booths, I’ve gone just exclusively to be social, and I’ve even done all of them for a single show, but I had the good fortune to have all of those years to transition to that level.
Lanolin wasn’t so lucky and literally jumped in with both feet, wearing all of the aforementioned hats, plus on top of everything he competed in the Cross Vegas cyclocross styled athletic pursuit. He spent a good portion of the show living in a whole different kind of pain cave, but being a pro, he never let his cracks be seen.
We bid him a good day and continued on to see what else was new when we happened upon the good people from Mission Workshop;
Of course they need no introduction. When you are the kings of the world, everybody kinda knows who you are. We left Bart to manage his empty stomach/ beer injestion tight rope act and made it no more than ten feet when we bumped into Hurl and Mark;
As you might recall last year, I ended up losing my camera, and along with it, all of my product shots. I was committed this year to not only not loose my camera, but to actually walk the show and get shots that might be worthy of my ‘media’ label. So in light of this, my best foot immediately went forward and I began documenting some of the finest finery that the bicycle industry has to offer;
‘Blind’ Bobby McMullen;
Squid and Jimbo;
With every person we came across, a little bit more time would melt away. Towards the end of day one we crossed paths with Brian Vernor and he bestowed upon me a very precious gift;
He explained to me how this movie is going to be distributed.. Or maybe how he hopes it will be distributed, but this was late in the day and my backpack which was at one point heavy with beer, was not so much anymore so I can’t remember. Ever the profhessianal however, I continued documenting that which my particular industry has worked so hard to produce in order to debut;
Santa Cruz Bicycles;
At this stage in the day, a Filipino security guard encouraged me to go away, which is what I did. Plans were laid, and dinner was eaten, which was followed by one final 1:00 am sweep through the bar to see who was out. I almost made it though the entire room without incident. I mean, I was literally 30 feet from the elevator when I heard my name called out.
Despite the little voice in my head telling me to run away as fast as my little legs could carry me, I fell head long back into conversation and camaraderie.
For example, these two didn’t know who Lee Majors was, nor had they ever heard of ‘The Fall Guy’ or ‘The Six Million Dollar Man';
That confused me. In an attempt to explain to them what a pivotal role Lee Majors played in my childhood, I began citing specific points and life lessons one could derive from both shows, and just what an impact having a fictional hero like either of these characters has on one’s long term existence. At least that’s what it sounded like in my head…
On the outside it was me shouting quotes from the Fall Guy like “HOLD ‘ER STEADY HOWIE. I’M GOING OUT ON THE HOOD!” and how Jodie Banks (Heather Thomas) had ruined me for all other women, forever.
Then I taught bicycle racing superstar Johnny Sundt the finer points of my ‘Portland High Five’, to which he responded with the quote of the week;
“You just date raped a hi 5 out of me.”
Finally, thanks to the efforts of Billy, Tim and Sally, three hours later I finally crawled into bed.
I have always known that no good could come of us all being in the same place at the same time, especially if the place in question was a bar. I was proven right with astonishing accuracy.
After three hours of sleep I tried with all of my might to keep it together, but during breakfast, an older gentleman with a cane walked by our table and Demonika solemnly pointed out to me that he had taken a shit down the back of his leg, and that kinda set the tone for the rest of the day.
I bailed from the show early to go sleep it off, at which time Tina B. arrived and we all prepared for the big Ritte/Soulcraft/AHTBM bash which was to occur later that night.
An abbreviated version of what took place was that we absolutely took over the bar. The bartender was a little put off that we didn’t call ahead of time and give them a heads up as we completely exhausted their beer supply. I suspect a good time was had by all, except for when Ballbreaker put Lanolin in a headlock and dragged him outside in an attempt to bounce him from his own party, but when you’re making an omelette, sometimes you gotta break some eggs.
The extended version is this;
As always, Bruce Gordon went against his better judgement and dug in deep to show that he’s still got the mettle of someone half his age;
We finally pulled the plug and thanked our hosts for a lovely evening. On our way back to our rooms, we engaged in the standard practice of having at least one more nightcap with the standard array of ne’er-do-wells in the black hole that is the hotel bar;
Once again returning to our rooms at 4:00 am, I slept for another three hours, finally trading out my drunk pants for my responsibly professional ones. I packed my bags and returned to the show to handle that which I was too annihilated to the day before. Immediately I ran into Brent and Ryan from Twin Six and they snuck me in with them, as media wasn’t allowed in for another hour. First thing at their booth I got shots of the new Handsome/Twin Six collaboration which goes by the name ‘Speedy Devil';
As well as the previously gushed over ‘XOXO';
From there I made my way over to Bianchi to slap hands with some homies and take a peek at what 2011 has in store for them, and vice versa;
You might have noticed that Binachi America is concentrating entirely on street bikes, road bikes, and cross bikes. As with anyone struggling against the waining economy, they had to make some changes, and due to the fact that the American mountain bike market is as fickle as it is, Bianchi opted to omit that aspect from this year’s line, and I can’t say that was such a bad decision. Their bikes looked amazing, and since Sky’s departure, seem to finally be finding their unique aesthetic again.
I also got a photo of Leroy vacuuming;
Leroy and I used to messenger and race together and was capable of feats on a bicycle that I never thought possible.
Moving on.. Despite the fact that Tim from Masi nearly single handedly killed me with beer a night earlier, I stopped by to see what tricks they had up their sleeve for the upcoming year;
I was excited to see that along side of their whizbangy new carboneium bicycles dripping with all of the latest technology, they had a line of classically designed and equipped bikes, right down to the original Masi graphics;
Of course their new ‘monster cross’ offering didn’t escape my attention either;
I really need to figure out where the line between bikes I want, and bikes I need lies.
Case in point?;
I stopped by Surly and got a load of their new mega trailer and superior mascot as well;
At this point in the morning, that boy’s skin color was just a shade darker than mine.
Something that John from VooDoo understood all too well;
Finally, I had to finish off my morning’s rounds with an actual, honest-to-god meeting with Kevin from Showers Pass. We have been discussing a collaborative project for some time and as winter is upon the horizon, I’m thinking now would be as good a time to launch it as any. Now, much like I initially did with the kits, I need to take a temperature, (as it were), to gauge what people’s responses would be.
So that being said, I have the opportunity to do a limited run of custom AHTBM Double Century jackets, which might look a little something like this;
The Showers Pass product line is amazing, and I was honored by the proposal. This jacket in particular is a light weight, fully water proof jacket made of ARTEX, that is both breathable, and because of its weight, easily packable in a jersey pocket. The retail for these will end up falling in around $120.00, which as I am well aware is pretty steep, but for what you get, is a small price to pay.
Anyway, if you would be interested in such an item, just shoot me and email and I can use that to put together some vague idea of how many I might end up needing to make.
Before Las Vegas finally expelled me from her system, I stopped by to see the good people from Portland Design Works and their new 6paxrax. (I just made that name up);
I also swung by to say a final hello and goodbye to Paul, Tamie and their whole spread of bling from Paul Components;
Now that I have returned home, I’m reasonably sure that both Lanolin and my liver have jointly decided that they would be better off without me in their lives, and I can’t say I blame either of them.
Regardless, the bike industry has survived their final year in Las Vegas and sights are set on other pastures. Anaheim? New Orleans? Dallas?
At this stage I don’t know, nor do I care. What matters to me now is that we all survived in spite of ourselves, I didn’t spend $24.00 on some scrambled eggs this morning, and I have a full 16 hours of sleep under my belt since my return.
Though my brain still doesn’t know if it’s coming or going.
Lastly, at the risk of wrecking my flow, Jacob sent me some info that is of the time sensitive sort. It seems as though those nasty bicyclists are up to their usual no goodery (baby eating, gang raping, fire setting, and so fourth) and it would appear as though there is a chance to take a stand against their brand of chaos Tuesday evening in Santa Rosa, California;
I’ve long felt that as we (cyclists) increase in numbers, (socially) we would experience a myriad growing pains. After all, we are up against three generations worth of belief that streets exist exclusively for motorized traffic. Eking out a small slice for ourselves would be a challenge, of that I had no doubt. Going toe to toe with hysteria that would make Joseph McCarthy blush is another matter entirely.
That’s enough to make anyone feel a little shell shock.