If you were hoping for a complete Interbike new product review, this is not
the article you are looking for. But if think you'd be wide-eyed by the sights
and the personalities at North America's bike industry show, the Bike
Retailer and Industry News' Interbike International Bike Expo in Las Vegas,
Nevada - this is the place...
On Saturday evening Jaime Nichols, Dave Towle, Vaughn Trevi and I set out
driving to Las Vegas from Los Angeles. We decided to grab some dinner after we
had gotten some miles behind us, and after about an hour we stopped at a Mexican
restaurant. The only place we could be seated without a long wait was in the
bar, which was fine with us. We were ushered to the one remaining, tall table
with tall stools, smack in the middle of the bar area, having no idea what was
in store. The other bar-goers seemed to be waiting, and peering at each other...
Music was blaring while what became the long wait for our food began.
A few minutes after the waitress came by to apologize for the delay in our food orders, the TV
monitors mounted to the ceiling transformed into lyrics prompters, the crowd got
restless and we realized...we had stepped into The Karoake Twilight Zone!
Out came the karoake host, Gary, and after setting things off with a rousing
rendition of Margaritaville, he consulted his "reservation" list and began
calling up the brave souls sitting nervously in the bar, ready to make their
We were treated to such classics as Daddy's Home, I Got You Babe (by a
husband and wife duet), Blueberry Hill, Spirit in the Sky, My Way, Smoke Gets in
Your Eyes, Lucille (the Kenny Rogers song, not Little Richard's) and Machinehead
(complete with air guitar). I can't quite remember when our dinners arrived, but
unable to hear each other, even shouting, we ate, applauded each of the
performers (and we sang a little bit, too). While we really hated to leave, we
still had four hours of driving through the barren San Bernardino desert. But we
figured stumbling into karaoke world had to be a good omen for the weekend.
"The" landmark in the California desert on the way to Las Vegas is the
world's biggest thermometer in Baker. Baker is usually hotter than hell (it also
has the distinction of being "the gateway to Death Valley") and the town
is situated between two very long and steep grades, basically in the middle of
nowhere. At night you can see the illuminated thermometer from at least five
miles away, though you cannot read the temperature from that far. So, getting
into the "Vegas" mood, the four of us bet on the temperature (the closest to the
temperature without going over would be the winner). We stopped in Baker to
shake out our legs but the temperature reading was partially obstructed from
where we were. Just as we got back on our way and were approaching the
thermometer, it shut off for the night and we were denied. Luckily, Jaime had
spied a thermometer where we had stopped - Dave Towle's guess was the closest.
Here is a 360 degree view of daytime
Baker in case you wanted to see it.
We arrived in Las Vegas after midnight, but it pretty much still looked like
daylight there (did you know that the laser that shoots straight up from the top
of the Luxor pyramid can be seen from the space station?). A short night's sleep
and we were ready to go.
Interbike - Interactive!
The Daily Peloton teamed up with Glenn Stilwell and Dave Towle of
AdventureSports Radio for Interbike Interactive, three hours of
interviews live from Interbike daily, and we were off to a running start after
our pre-production breakfast meeting Sunday.
We had great guests and visitors over the three days - retired pro
Jamie Paolinetti of
The Hard Road
fame, two time US road champion Marty
Jemison, Patrick Brady of
Asphalt Magazine, Gork from
Redline Bikes, Threshold Sports,
John Dixon of SRAM, Jacob Fetty of the Bon
Jovi Team, Massimo Fregonese of Fi'z:ik,
Adventure Sports magazine,
Shimano, Micah Rice and Cesar Grajales (Mr.
KOM) of Jittery Joe's, and
more. Here are shots of some of our other guests. (Click for larger images.)
Team Dirty Girls
Gary Fisher and Jeff Corbett,
7-Up Team Director
Team Saturn, Team Sports
(Read more about Giana
Mr. Mountain Bike himself
(2002 and 2003 US Pro Crit Champ)
Saturn's Nathan O'Neill (who is happily back on his bike)
and Karen Ewing of The Kokomotion Group
Mike Reinhardt of the Nicole Reinhardt Developmental Team
(formerly the Saturn Development Team) and Brett Meinke (Saturn
Development Team Director) talking to Dave Towle, with Mike Aisner, Giana
Roberge and John Wordin standing nearby
Garrett Lai and John Peters of
Glenn Stilwell runs the show
Dave Towle zeroes in
The show "floor" - and notice the helpful "You are here" on the
show legend kiosk...
First off, this place is huge. How huge? Check this
link - 535,000 square
feet (almost 50,000 square meters) of exhibit hall. It is almost impossible to
describe the displays and design ingenuity of some of the exhibitors' displays,
so a few pictures will have to suffice. (Click for larger images.)
Putting Faces to Names
It's funny to think that you can develop friendships over email
- but never meeting someone in person. Interbike was the place to remedy that,
and I had folks I wanted to meet. I tracked down "Chairman Bill" McGann of
Torelli.com in the Italian Pavilion - if you have not been to his website, go
there right now. Bill and Carol were just
as great in person as Bill has been via email.
Another of my "objectives" was to meet Alessandro (Alex) Colnago, with whom I
have been corresponding the past year. I was delighted when he introduced me to
his uncle, Mr. Ernesto Colnago. Mr. Colnago shook my hand and had one question:
Why is the Daily Peloton so interested in Yaroslav Popovych? Alex told me some
team secrets (well, maybe) and he was surprised to learn that US cycling fans
were interested in the Landbouwkrediet team. I insisted that they are and so we
made some plans for the coming months.
This was Colnago's 50th anniversary, and their 50th anniversary bike was on
display. They gave a formal presentation on their company, which included an
incredible book on the history of Colnago, packed with color photographs of all
the great riders who have graced their bikes (and vice versa) and the enormous
number of luminaries who are Colnago fans. Colnago's history is indeed
illustrious - 100 pro teams, 2000 pro racers and 5000 victories over thirty
years. The book is an absolute treasure.
The Colnago 50th Anniversary
The Colnago 50th Anniversary
I was also looking forward to meeting
director sportif of the Colavita Bolla
team, and I also met his bike sponsor, Edwin Bull of
Van Dessel Sports. Bull's mother, Yoka
Van Dessel, after whom his company is named, spoke to us on Interbike
Interactive and is a very lovely woman. Colavita Bolla had bread, wine and
olive oil samples at the Van Dessel booth (all good, by the way!) and Van Dessel
has some beautiful bikes, including the
there I also chatted with triathlete Ray Campeau of
Team Excel and hope to find out
more about that team in the near future.
GITA pavilion (Merckx/Pinarello/Pegoretti) definitely needed some photos -
Robert Poage of GITA pointed out a great Merckx, and told me to make sure to get
a shot of the Pegoretti Luigino.
And then there was the "baby" Pinarello - definitely a photo of that. As I
was kneeled down, ready to take my shot, a pair of legs crossed in front of my
viewfinder - the person was holding some packages of pink jerseys that were
obstructing my view. Not looking up, I reached out my hand and said, "Could you
move, please?" He did, I took my shot, and then stood up. A woman standing next
to me said, "Do you know who just told to move???" Since I hadn't seen more than
his legs, I said no, and she said, "That was Fausto Pinarello!!"
Wanting to make things right, I approached him and asked if I could take his
picture near one of his displays. He said jokingly, "Oh no, that would break the
camera!" I told him it was the least I could do since I had told him to get out
of the way, and he graciously posed for me. Click on the images below for the
full size picture.
A trick Eddy Merckx
The trick Pegoretti Luigino
The Pinarello Chrono
The Pinarello Dogma
The "baby" Pinarello
Mr. Fausto Pinarello
Here are a few more shots from the exhibit hall. Click for
Part of our Interbike Interactive daily show called for one of us to
be in the Daily Peloton chatroom to take questions the chatters had for those
being interviewed on the radio show. One of the chatters (who likes to tease me
- mercilessly - and who will remain nameless) said he did not believe that we
were in Las Vegas. So I told him I would get a poster signed for him.
I knew just where to go - the Maxxis booth where Gina Montoya was
autographing posters. I told her I had an overseas reader who did not believe I
was at Interbike, and would she be so kind as to personalize an autograph for
him. She said of course, and while she was writing I joked that he would
probably think I had forged the signature. She said, "Well then, you should take
a picture of me signing it!" I did, and if you look closely, you will see whose
name she wrote...
I like the look on that guy's face...Click for larger image
Stay tuned for Part Two...more sights, the pros, the Sinclair
Imports party, and very sore feet...