The part I was looking forward to the most about Interbike was our post-show shredfest that we always do. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun meeting with everyone at I-bike, going to the cross race, and having a few beers. But, the fun afterwards, is always good!
We left Idyllwild super early Wednesday and took our scenic (yet faster) route through the Mojave. We stopped in at Water Canyon Coffee Co. in Yucca Valley for bagels and coffee (they roast it there, pretty tasty.)
This set us up for a great morning and beautiful drive. As we neared Vegas, we realized that we were cutting it close. Fortunately, I booked a hotel close to the convention center so we checked in and then walked toward the Sands – OOPS! It looked close on the map, but I didn’t actually map out the miles (turns out it was at least 2.5 miles!!!)
I made it to the convention center just in time for my first appointment (only, a little sweaty from running most of the way there.) The people at Gore Bike Wear were super nice. They gave me something to drink while I waited for Tom. This year I will be trying some of their cables (in addition to their clothes) and if we like them, possibly selling them on our bikes. Gore Ride On Cables are somewhat spendy ($50-65 msrp), but look very nice. They are a totally sealed system and should handle the dust of the desert as well as wet grime should I do more snowy races. I’m excited to give ’em a try.
After Gore, I headed over to World Bicycle Relief. I-bike can be an overwhelming event, so I tried not to overextend myself and cover the whole place. Last year, I tried to see everything and came away exhausted. I hung out a bit at the WBR booth and discussed some minor details of the team idea with Chris. Then, Brendan and I took turns ringing the Hammerschmidt bell and perusing the show.
Wednesday night was a great time watching the cyclocross race – Cross Vegas. All of the big names were there and I’ve never imagined cyclocross being so fast. It was like a crit on grass with obstacles. We saw a couple guys eat it on the obstacles, but other than that, it just looked grueling in a way that wasn’t appealing.
Thursday was a fun and educational day. First thing, we delivered Dingus to Craig. Dingus is a Hammerschmidtable Siren with slidgets (sliding widgets.) It is so rewarding to actually hand-deliver a bike and get to see their excitement.
After WBR, I ran into Cindy from NoTubes and ended up chatting with her for quite some time. She was excited about my stories from the Divide and we talked a lot about that then she invited me and Brendan to go with them to Dinner. We then ran into Jeff Boatman from Carousel Design Works (my bags from Tour Divide.) I’ve never met him in person, either so it was good to meet. He was pushing around his kitted out bike for interviews and meetings. Sounds like he got a little press exposure while he was there. We also ran into Todd, from Epic Rides who looked like he’d been working the streets of the convention center and still had more work to do – hard workin’ and super busy guy!
Then, we met up with our friend Brian, from the Path and also Leslie who races for Niner and is a hell of a racer. She’s taking a little time off for a new addition to the house – Congrats Leslie, you look beautiful!
After that, I headed off to a WBR info session where FK Day talked about WBR and I picked up some great info. It turns out that %70 of the bikes that they have taken to Zambia (in support of getting healthcare workers to their patients) are women. They offer men’s and women’s bikes, but most of the women choose the men’s ones as they seem stronger and they can carry a patient or kid on the top tube. WBR bikes support healthcare, education, and economical systems in Africa and in places where humanitarian relief efforts are underway. They work with local relief efforts already in place by making things more efficient with bicycles.We also ran into Bruce Glaser from The Wheel Thing in Chicago. This is the shop where Brendan pretty much fell in love with bikes. Bruce has always been a mentor to Brendan and inspiration to us and his shop is a very successful small business in La Grange.
For Dinner we met up with Stan, Mike and Cindy from Notubes and Mary McConneloug and Mike Broderick. I was really impressed with how humble and real Mary is. I mean, she’s a super amazing athlete – 2 time olympian – pretty much the fastest xc woman in the U.S. However, the entire dinner, we never made it to talk about the Olympics as she was so intrigued with the Tour Divide and asking me questions about it (I’m sure she thinks I’m crazy!) Cindy, Mary and I had some great conversation and I got to know them both better. I have to say that I felt pretty priveleged to hang out with them both – very strong women doing great things.
We forgot about the time difference, so we had to cut our ride pretty short, but at gooseberry, there’s a high fun per minute factor, so it was a blast. Mike and Jeff headed to Moab while Brendan and I set up camp at Gooseberry. Camping on the Mesa was absolutely beautiful and we got up with the sun for another great ride.After Gooseberry, we headed home and made it in time to have dinner with Brendan’s mom and sleep well.