Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Interbike - Day One

Day One for the indoors Interbike.

We started out the day pretty casually - the late night yesterday really didn't help out, and with three long days ahead of us, we decided to pace ourselves and sacrifice a few moments of show time to make it through Friday without having a melt down of sorts.

Since it's almost 11 PM local, that plan went right out the window. But at least I'm about to fall asleep, not stranded on the Strip like last night (took over an hour to catch a Deuce back to Downtown).

I have to admit I didn't see everything. I also admit to not taking brochures and such, so I have very little in technical specs, other than what I saw or read. But I did take a few pictures. I was surprised by a few things:

- Fuji has a really radical TT bike. I can't believe it's legal but it's on display.

Rad ride.

Some features:
1. Reverse mount front brake
2. Proprietary front brake

Front brake hiding from the wind.

3. Bulbed head tube
4. The funkiest rear stay arrangement. Let me illustrate:

Funky funky baby.

The rear brake sits inside its own little trench, protected from the nasty, swirling air. The sides of the trench serve to fair in a lot of the seat stay to seat tube junction. This is the bit I'd think would set the UCI on its ear.

The frame in all its glory.

- Scott also had a radical TT bike, with some very funky tube shapes and formats. This I have an easier time believing as far as legality goes, but it's certainly pushing the limits.

Scott TT bike.

The rear stays look particularly twisted from this angle.

I won't go into as many picture details but the cool/odd/unusual things include, from the rear, the chainstay bend (right side is hollow for the cable), a P4 like downtube-seattube reinforcement piece, aero bottle cage bolts (the bolt reinforcements run parallel to the ground), faired downtube/tire area. No reverse front brake but otherwise you can check off all the "aero" checklist boxes.

- Cervelo had their P4 (TT bike) on display. This seemed much more plausible with legality, but man, what a crazy format bike.

The P4.

The rear brake in detail.

From the side.

- Pinarello, who I consider to be a company that emphasizes looks more than performance, seems to have a BB30 on their frame.

Pinarello copying Cannondale again. BB30? I didn't check the specs but it certainly looks like it to me.

- Giant, to my surprise, didn't display any earth shaking frames or bikes.

Giant did have the squarest downtube I've ever seen though.

In other news, thoughts I had and the products that inspired them.

After paying $175 one way for flying my bike, I think folding bikes will be a huge thing in the near future. Ritchey's Breakaway Bike format is proven and gives you a full size bike, a full size ride, and a regular size suitcase. A home run.

The future is now. Electric shifting is here to stay, and Shimano has it down.

That's Wayne Stetina emphasizing the front derailleur's performance - "I've ridden the system for almost three years and have never dropped the chain." He later added, for good measure, that he power washes his bike to try and wreck the electronics. No success - the system works flawlessly.

FSA has raised letters on their rims. Does that count as dimpling?

I think these brakes are new. Very cool. SpeedRacer-esque.

Specialized was interesting. Extremely protective of their booth (only dealers and media allowed, i.e. no exhibitors), the folks at Specialized were extremely accomodating for us, assigning a woman to follow us around, answer questions, make suggestions, and clear the way.

It's Interbike so I also got some star's bikes on virtual film.

Valverde's TdF Stage One winning bike. The yellow was a bit much but I liked these details.

Specialized showed Tom Boonen's Paris Roubaix bike, complete with 46T inner ring (outer was a normal 53T). Long, low, flat position. The gold "floor" is a whole lotta Hershey Kisses.

The woman assigned to keep an eye out for me (she aggressively moved people out of the way in the small booth area so I could take pictures) grabbed one while we were in there. "Feel free", she told us. A great way to keep your people energized. All they needed was a soda fountain with Coke (or Diet).

Contador's Giro bike.

Tyler's bike in the Fuji booth.

Tyler's bike in the Rock Racing booth.

Highlights of the day include a meet and greet with Phil Liggett. The missus and I are on a mission to get permission to share a "greetings" clip with all of you, and one of the folks we had to check on was Mr. Liggett. He's as nice a guy as you'd ever meet, willing to talk and say hi and joke around with perfect strangers.

When we asked about the clip, his eyes lit up. He remembered (vaguely, perhaps) doing it, and he asked us what we were doing on our anniversary. The missus and I looked at each other. Actually, we'd figured on just taking it easy, this trip was the big thing for our fall season. So, in all honesty, we told him we had no idea what we were doing. Then the missus piped up.

"What do you do for your anniversary?"

Without missing a beat he fired back.

"Well, I usually take someone else out. It'll be 36 years coming up."

We both laughed, but we also both congratulated him. 36 years. Wow.

We also met one Greg Lemond. He also came across as a completely open guy, intent, friendly, and always smiling and making cracks. I decided that I'd re-buy his three Tour wins as well as his 89 Worlds win on DVD so he'd have something to sign, and he dutifully signed it, generous with his time, open to a fault. A really, really nice guy.

The missus had a special request, so we trekked over to the Felt booth to hit up Christian Vandevelde for his John Hancock. She also made what has to be the strangest request ever made to him. It's a long story, but, hey, I like writing.

The missus recently took up knitting, taking to it like I did cycling. She joined a group of knitters who happen to have cycling spouses. During July, in order to keep themselves occupied while their spouses live, breathe, and eat the Tour, one knitter started a Tour de France "knit along".

The participants are knitters, assigned to teams, and aim for a particular jersey. A new knitter would aim for the White Jersey as a neo-knitter, creating something like a sock, for example. A more seasoned knitter might knit a sweater in the quest for Yellow. Each knitter is assigned a team, with each team having various Jersey contenders.

The missus was assigned the Garmin Chipotle team (which has previously been the Slipstream), and so the team followed the GC candidate Christian Vandevelde carefully. He had an excellent Tour, of course, and the team were happy for him. The missus managed to knit a pair of socks, finishing literally as the real racers were sprinting down the real Champs Elysee.

So, with such sweat equity in the Garmin team, an American GC rider in Christian Vandevelde, when we saw that he'd be signing autographs she decided she had to introduce Vandevelde to his hidden team of knitters.

A properly baffled and bemused Vandevelde good-naturedly held a spool of yarn with a hugely happy Missus SDC while I took a picture for our album. Before we got a few feet away I could hear Vandevelde commenting to someone, "That has got to be the strangest thing I've been asked to do."

Mission accomplished.


Anonymous said...

Mrs SDC exhibits the true spirit of the TDF KAL -- going the extra mile in pursuit of the jersey. Wow!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm disappointed in the Fuji TT bike. Kim Kirchen's prototype looked so clean and minimal. Is that the prototype for this model or for a bike not yet made?

Anonymous said...

I was thinking of the Giant one.

Giles said...

I hate/love Hamilton, Ball, and the R&R crew.. but the bike is cool. I think they are definitely good for the sport.

Aki said...

debby - yes, the missus has been a huge support this whole trip.

anon - I desperately wanted to see the Giant TT bike Hincapie et al used but it isn't here. I would guess it's a pro-only thing for now.

giles - I too have a love/hate thing. Some things seem really cool, then suddenly someone says something weird and I think, that wasn't good. But they are good for the sport I think.