Thursday, October 09, 2008

Interbike - Rock Racing

When the missus and I first landed in Vegas, it wasn't a totally unfamiliar place. We've been here a couple times before, usually right after Bethel ends. So things seemed sort of normal.

As usual I took in the incredible amount of development, vast expanses of concrete and asphalt, and made the comments I always make when I arrive in Nevada or Southern California.

"Why doesn't every building have an array of solar panels on top of it?"

And other ones like, "I feel kind of guilty being a human being here." Stuff like that. I'm no extreme green type person, but I have fought to, say, save metal for the metal pile at the dump, or to keep a very unsightly (leaf and twig) compost pile going. The latter lost its battle when the house went up for sale, but until then it was adamantly a part of the house.

Anyway, I quickly tire of such things (or not, the missus would be the one to ask) and looked out at the various not-so-nice buildings off the strip. As the shuttle rolled up Paradise Road, I glanced a bit tiredly out the window to the east.

Terrible's Casino.

What a tough name to work with, I thought, sympathizing with its marketing crew.

Then I jumped.

"Look, look, it's the Rock Racing truck!"

The missus clamped a hand on my thigh to keep me from jumping out of my seat like a little boy. Or a big boy. Whatever.

That familiar green and black of Rock Racing. We were at Interbike.

When we got a chance to get to one of the Rock Racing signing sessions, I practically dragged the missus over there. We wandered past the amazon woman posing so dramatically at the tent entrance (I didn't take a picture of her, but I probably should have - she really needed a whip in her hand to complete the image).

There were bikes of course, but in the close quarters it was hard to take a shot that captured the whole thing. I got what I could:

Used. And not immaculately clean. At Interbike, to be not totally pro is to be, well, pro.

Werd. I don't know the history of this one. Meaning the bike, not the link.

The Werd Bike. Fork.

I'm pretty sure the Sex Pistols were playing (Anarchy in the UK), and I wanted to see who they had doing the tunes. Ended up a serious looking record playing thing, not just an iPod, so I snapped a pic of it. Since it was a bit shadowy I used the flash.

The flash reveals something I didn't know was there.

I checked the camera to make sure the picture came out okay. This former Cat 2 and current bike wrench guy I know named Hans would be interested in seeing what they had - he'd probably be able to tell me exactly how to set one up too.

I looked up and "Presto!" a girl had appeared. She was just as surprised as we were, and we both exchanged, "Holy smokes you scared me I didn't see you there!"

A professional, she quickly returned to queuing up whatever she had just picked up.

So I snapped a pic.

Hey DJ.

Anyway, a bit flustered from having a girl pop up from behind a fancy DJ machine, we went back out to stand in line for autographs.

Apparently we got there early - I think we were third in line - but I spent the time well, trying to get shots of Michael Ball and his very tall hair, Tyler, Fred, and, Rahsaan. And whoever else.

Whoever else - Rahsaan, Fred, Michael (he has white sneaks on). Note the woman to the left - dark hair. She comes up later.

We got wind that Tyler was eating or something and was working his way over to the booth, but obviously he wasn't there.

They finally decided to sign, Tyler or no Tyler.

Rahsaan and Fred were very gracious, very pro, and signed posters for us. You can see the stack of them in the picture above - very nice, slick prints, not cheap at all.

Then we all got in a parallel line, in front of the vacant seat. After all we wanted Tyler's autograph too.

A few minutes later, hey, he shows up.

The Three Musketeers.

He signed things but was incredibly distracted. He'd sign, then talk to someone off to his left (is that stage left or stage right?). Then he'd sign again, then talk again.

Since this was the second time I've seen him in person (in the Rock Racing era), and first time all dressed up, I took a snap of his shoe.

One bad azz shoe. Or is it a boot?

Of course this got me curious. What are the other guys wearing, right? Black alligator boots? Snakeskin?

I could see how women could end up with more than a few pairs of shoes. Heck, I have three sneakers, a winter pull on, a summer pull on, steel toe boots, and water shoes. And that's not even thinking about all my cycling shoes.

Anyway I asked Rahsaan if I could take a picture of his shoe. Ever the professional, he told me it was fine only if I got the sock with it. He carefully posed for me.

RR sock. The beauty is in the details.

Fred signed not only the RR poster but also my US Pro jersey. And when Tyler showed up, he signed the US Pro jersey too. Very cool.

Was this the end?

No. We didn't go back into the booth, although I liked the tunes. I only remember the Sex Pistols for sure, and I want to imagine they played Midnight Oil, but I think someone somewhere has a much better playlist than I, probably someone at SRAM (they were next to RR) or Bicycling (ditto).

We didn't stalk anyone, didn't follow the girls around, nothing. But, a couple days later, in the waning hours of Interbike, we got to see a very curious sight.

The gentleman behind the blurred guy is one Johan Museeuw. And that's Tyler. And the dark haired RR woman from that picture with Michael Ball.

The blurred guy is gone.

I figure if they didn't want it to be public they wouldn't have made it so obvious. RR basically marched about 10 people over to Museeuw's booth, including some definite attention getting guys like Tyler. Okay, so I only know him in the entourage, but talk about attention getting.

Anyway, they settled down to talk and I started feeling a bit slimy taking pics so we left.

Wouldn't it be the schnizzle if Museeuw became the race director of the European arm of RR? Okay, fine, they wouldn't be getting into the big races just yet, because I think everyone would be up in arms about all these formerly suspended confessed-or-not racers being on the team (or staff), but still.

Museeuw knows the Classics like no one else and I have to imagine he'd be one heck of a resource when putting together a virgin team on the Continent. Heck, he could be an on-the-road captain. He's alluded to riding again, like so many others, but I just can't see it, not at the top level.

But I see him in the team car, radio in hand, TV on the dash.

1 comment:

Charles Cushman said...

The DJ setup is not that crazy. What makes it look more intimidating is the serato box (the black box leaning against the mixer). That box takes a time code from the vinyl and uses it to control MP3s on the computer. It also is an external sound card and plays those files back through the mixer.