Oh yeah, when last we were together, I’d repeatedly wondered where my cold came from, that I had just logged another year of age and was on my way to dinner with Paul Components and friends. I must have gotten lost in my fish and chips, as the only photo from dinner which was worth a damn was one of Cheever’s mullet;
-Which by itself is worth many damns.
After breaking bread and talking about the state of the world, the industry, politics, pool tiling, and the difficulty some restaurants have in making a simple BLT, we adjourned to meet up with the crew for another night of sidewalk drinking;
And The Beaver got a new shirt;
Shortly after, someone either lit a cigar, or wrapped a homeless person in feces and plastic sheeting and set them on fire. Whatever the case, I got a face full of the smoke from it which immediately drained the will to live out of my body.
At that point, opting to say my goodnights seemed like the best call in order to survive the following day which promised to be a long one.
Upon waking up the following morning the first thing on my agenda was to go see this man at the Deda Elementi booth;
His name is Tom, and he knows a whole lot of stuff about a whole lot of things. He showed me some new items which the Italians are quite proud of. A couple of which being the Superleggera;
and the Superleggera 35;
Tom explained just why these were remarkable and of all the information he imparted upon me, the little bit that I recall is that they are absolutely seamless, which puts my fears of catastrophic failure somewhat to rest. That, coupled with the short and shallow design actually make them the first carbon bar which has struck my fancy.
Then I sauntered by the SE Racing booth and got a ten ton boner for their 24″ Floval Flyer;
Which of course is about five tons lighter than the one I have for this Quadangle;
That company will forever have a spot in the softest part of my heart, and I sure am glad that in recent years they have come back swinging.
It should come as no surprise that as I was lurking and drooling over the SE bikes, I would cross paths with El Cap-Ee-Tan Pants, who himself has a long and sordid history with the BMX bikes as well;
From there, we turned and fell headlong into the Velo Orange booth where they had a classically styled Dirtbombesque adventure finder;
I may have been rode hard and hung out wet for two nights prior, but I’m a douchebag bike blogger (same diff) and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let any moss grow on my “journalistic” “credibility”.
Daylight was burning and I had other matters to attend, but before I headed out, I stopped by to see The Brothers Banjo, and their wide array or wares;
(I seem to have only caught one of the Bros. in action however.)
At that point I bounced to see Paul to say hello and thank him for the dinner the previous evening. While he was busy being a superstar, I shared a can with friends in preparation of the evening’s festivities;
The next couple of hours were a blur of phone calls with the Underbike Industry Mixer’s® entertainment, dinner with Pete from Swobo and a few slapped hands at the Mission Workshop, Handsome Bicycles, PDW cocktail hour;
Having a party of my own to host, I then had to get cracking to the Double Down, and naturally I did it in style in a van with like, twenty other people packed inside;
From this point, the wheels came off;
At first the crowd inside was dense but comfortable. People asked me if they needed ear plugs. I pointed to the Orange Crate on stage and said ‘what do you think?’, as if the rack of pedals wasn’t indication enough;
Before the main act took the stage, El Cap-ee-tan grabbed the mic and introduced Velo Shitstorm, his soon-to-be bride, BWS and the officiant of their ceremony, Reverend Souphorse. Arm in arm I led the soon-to-be-Mrs. to the stage in order to give her away. Before the ceremony even started, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room;
Shortly after the conclusion of the ceremony, I returned to the stage and offered the observation to the crowd that this wasn’t the VIP SRAM party, nor was it the Sinclair Imports dog and pony show. This was a party exclusively for the rest of us. After concluding with a slurred round of thanks to those who were in attendance, my co-conspirators in the party- Ritte Van Vlaanderen, Swobo, and Soulcraft, as well as Jason, Dan and Bill who together comprise O Zorn!, I stumbled off, and then this happened;
By now it’s pretty clear what the salute of the evening was.
Four months ago when I was in the final stages of putting this shitshow together, and was exchanging emails with the booking agent/bartender about my plans, I warned him that we had cashed the Peppermill out of all of their beer during the year’s parties previous to this, as well as the party we had for NAHBBS, in which we not only extinguished the bar’s beer supply, but all of their hard alcohol as well.
He assured me that they would have enough.
As it turns out, he was wrong. “The drunkest bar in America” as it’s been called, got broken by the Underbike Industry Mixer®, and I couldn’t have been prouder.
With two arrests in the parking lot and only a couple of people getting kicked out of the bar, I’d say all in all it was a success. In the wee hours of the morning, a bunch of us piled into a limo, and took a trip around the block because the driver thought we wanted to go to ‘Treasures’ the strip club, and not ‘Treasure Island’ the place where my bed was. Demonika took charge because the rest of us were useless and as the blackout settled in, we got a cab and she dragged me back to the room where I fell asleep at a million miles an hour.
So all told, Interbike took three days, ten thousand cans of beer, billions of brain cells, seven hours of sleep and a few hundred dollars.
Despite all of this, the lot of us emerged relatively intact, and a few hours after hitting the pillow I was back on an airplane getting out of Dodge trying to figure out what the hell just happened.