Friday, September 26, 2008

Interbike - Day Three

A good friend calls this the "Exhibitors' Day". With the end of the show in sight, and a lot of retailers completely burnt out after two long days at the show, the vendors start to wind down. They finally get a chance to wander around, to look at the stuff out there that they've only heard of, yet never seen, just because they haven't had the chance to get out of their booth. Hence it's the Exhibitors' Day.

Too, with the light "retail" load, many vendors have extra time, they are looking to dump their extra goods, and they'll start packing up a couple hours before the end of the show. It's prime time for schwag pickin's.

After the very long day yesterday, the dismal race, and long ride afterwards, we woke up pretty late, still bleary-eyed. I started to write the preliminary stuff for the prior post, then remembered, that, oh, hey, I don't have any digital media here - it's all in my laptop, all at my friend's at the Palazzo. So although I have two laptops, I can't lug the second one around just to move a few dozen bytes of data.

We did have our cameras though, so I used the card from one of those to save my prelim post. Luckily I didn't corrupt any image data so the show pictures and videos were safe.

The missus and I got ready to go, but I padded around in my socks for a bit before finishing up the rest of the post. I sat on the bed, looked down at my socks, and said, more to myself than anything else, "Shoes would be good." I looked around.


My stomach sank a bit. My shoes were in my backpack. In the Palazzo.

So, like any other guy in Vegas, I left the hotel room in my socks, carrying my Sidis in case I had to put them on. You know, "No shoes, no shirt, no service", stuff like that. As we waited for the Deuce I snapped the following picture.

Walkin' in LV, walkin' in LV. This is a block from Fremont Street.

I didn't do as many miles in my Sidis at this guy did.

Nor this guy. Very cool little display at Sidi.

Red is the new yellow.

Since red doesn't do TV very well (a Winning Magazine photog guy told me this, but that was before HD and stuff), I figure we'll see a new color soon. I say Green, like Liquigas green, or Orange, like Euskatel. Blue is out, pink will be too hard to sell, but bright colors will work as Crocs have proven.

Anyway, back to our trip... I made it to the bus before someone (the driver) asked me to put my shoes on. I took them off after I clopped up the stairs and sat down in the upper deck. The missus and I shared stories of our separate trips home last night, and when we got to Treasure Island, we hopped off the bus.

A few minutes later, after flashing the "Get in free" card to the guard, we got to our "storage room" in the Palazzo. I felt like one of the Irish brothers in Boondock Saints, one of the 'bestest' movies in the world, but one that all my friends ridicule. Feeling like soldiers going into battle, we carefully picked and chose what we'd bring. Cameras, yes. Laptop, with internet wireless broadband modem, yes. IB badges, yes. Poster tube, yes.

And, of course, shoes. The rubber soled kind, not the cleated ones.

We left behind all our schwag, books, DVDs, helmet cam stuff, my clothes from yesterday. Back downstairs at IB, we hung out in the media center for a while. I finished up the post and posted it, and the missus started talking with the guy Butch. He asked if I'd done the Industry Cup, showed me a clip of a crash there, then lamented that his batteries died right after that crash. I couldn't tell him much, my extremely short race not worth too many tales.

I went to a Campy seminar, which warrants a long post for a later date. The missus kept networking on my behalf, getting a bunch of guys hyped up on my helmet cam clips and such - she was showing them my YouTube clips, this blog, stuff like that. Actually Butch talked up the clips and got them hyped up, I guess he really liked them, especially the text commentary.

At some point we decided to gut out the rest of IB, to call it a day at 5 PM. I made some more travels around the floor, spotted some stuff, ignored others, took pictures of various folks and things, miscellaneous stuff like that.

At the beginning of the show we guessed how many Dahons fit in a Prius.

A lot.

A surprisingly low key Mark Cavendish autograph session netted me a nice picture and a nice autographed little card. If he couldn't draw a big crowd, then IB was really over for the year. 3:15 PM on the third day of IB is not the ideal time for an autograph session.

One booth that really caught my eye was that of the Ridley bike folks. They had this very tough, very flahute kind of booth. Simple, straightforward, and to the point. We're Belgian and we're tough mofos.

Tough flahute mofos.

Talk about a tough mofo in a tough mofo picture. I wish I had a mural of this in the bike room.

Or of this. I thought it weird to have the Helium (a climbing bike) in front of an obviously flat Spring Classic kind of road.

I love those background pictures. I can imagine something like this in my bike room, maybe a surround-type mural, riders coming at me from one end of the room, riding past me in the middle, and riding away from me at the end. Who's up for making this stuff up - I'm sure you could sell bunches of this wall paper to college students, single bike racers, and attached bike racers with their own little indoor training area. Heck, just sell pictures you print out on a printer on 8.5x11 paper. I may just have to borrow a projector for my laptop and trace the pictures on the wall.

Extremely narrow seatstays in an up-down direction, surprisingly wide in a lateral way. Comfy until you stomp on the pedals, then really stiff. Or so it seems anyway.

Along the Belgian theme, the missus and I traveled over to the Museeuw booth for some pictures. His was a more simple booth, one that a fledgling company would have. He was there, talking with his clients, so we left him along. We drooled over some of the bikes appropriately and I took pictures of a bunch of them.

The sports utility bike.

I have two friends that ride such a bike, and one did quite well in one of those race/events that follows a Tour stage (brev-something). Both have problems with their neck, back, or hips, and both cannot ride dropped bars. I don't think Museeuw built this bike for them, but I guess it's the Euro version of a hipster bike.

Interestingly enough, the clamp is made by Ritchey.

I like that the frame comes in a bag. I also like the track bike in the background.

The bag was crumpled up so I straighted it out for this picture. White doesn't seem quite Belgian to me, but covered in mud in a rainstorm, no one would know what color it was anyway. I suppose that was the point.

The frames, as I mentioned before, lack the aero high tech appeal that I'd been searching for during the whole show, but they had something else. They longed to go bashing over cobblestones, to be ridden hour after hour under dingy grey skies in the Belgian countryside.

I like the lugged look. Part of it is the fact that it implies "I can be customized". One piece molds scream, "You have to be Boonen to get a custom frame."

A close up of the floor bike reveals the flax tint (brownish color) deep in the tubes, a contrast to the all grey, all carbon lugs. Can you make a 50 x 56 for me? Lugs mean custom, right?

Aero wheels wouldn't be appropriate, and a semi-aero wheel would be pushing the limits. Box section would be more like it, with big, squared off bars more like narrow mountain bike bars than the delicate sprinter bars the smooth-road roadies like.

Although Museeuw seemed to be engrossed in business talks, the missus piped up that he was just talking with his buddies. So, after we gathered the courage to tap him on the shoulder (our friend did, we didn't), he gladly posed with his pride and joy bike for a picture.

The man with his machine. And his piece of flax cloth.

Then, to my happy astonishment, he also included me in the shot, putting his hand around my waist like we were long time buds. Okay, I admit we asked him if it was okay, and he agreed. But he agreed happily, so that's got to count for something.

I, being extremely "sponsor" conscious, carefully held up the flax-carbon fabric sample they'd been showing everyone, and that Museeuw himself had been holding in the picture. He laughed when he saw that, pleased, I'm sure, that this blogger guy was doing his part in return for the picture with the star.

And when the first picture didn't come out, he made us take a second, so that counts for something double.

And that was that. We ran into some friends and aquaintances from back home, including the official from Bethel. His advice - "Next year come here in shape!" I couldn't explain my feverish illness since I didn't feel that way today, but let me give you a tip.

Never, ever, ever eat the buffet food. Ever.

We had a nice meal (again) in the Grand Lux Cafe, collected our stuff from upstairs, and headed back to the hotel.

IB 2008, for us, was over.

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