Thursday, September 30, 2010

Interbike 2010 - Part 4


The last day.

Kevin had lined up only a few spots for me, three hours worth, and let me go free once lunchtime rolled around.

I hit some pretty interesting booths that day. By then he'd had some time to walk around, I'd had time, and I was particularly impressed at one booth's product. Every year there's the genius in a small booth with a great product that no one's heard of before, and I can honestly say only one product I saw fits this description.

Well, even skipping the "small booth" part, I think there's only one product that fits the "Best New Product of Interbike 2011".

I'll let you know later what this is, with some foreshadowing in this post.

I squeezed in an interview sideways in there somewhere, Javier and I working well together. He'd catch some things, I'd catch others, and he felt comfortable giving me direction to get a better shot.

Javier, my second cameraman, with part of Mister Ant+, i.e. one of the co-developers of Ant+

A good team, the two of us. With the cameras set to shut down at noon, we only had a few interviews before our jobs were done.

We sat down for lunch, chatted a bit with the other crew (David and Gabe), and then, with the camera guys supposed to do some "camera guy stuff", I hit out on my own.

Unlike other years, I really had no "goals", no signatures to collect, no books to get signed. I decided that if I came here for InterbikeTV, I'd focus on that. I'd brought just one postcard, one that always makes me grin when I look at it. If I saw a certain someone, I'd ask him to sign it, but other than that, nothing. And since the certain someone's booth was packed up next door, I figured I missed out on my signature opportunity.

My phone's shutter had annoyingly stopped working on the drive down from Colorado, specifically dying when I wanted to take pictures of the smoke jumpers jumping out of the slow, low flying plane. Therefore I was without my camera phone.

Instead, I had my helmet cam and Kevin's older digital camera. The latter, too, died, and I was left just with my helmet cam. Since it has no viewer, all my shots would be blind. I just hoped that things would come out.

(Some did - the shot of Javier above is a still from the ContourHD's footage. Others, due to lack of light, didn't come out quite so nicely.)

I thought of some video I could shoot for a future clip so hurried around, trying to find different vendors, shooting booth shots, and scurrying off to another booth.

At some point I checked my phone.

Kevin, it seemed, had texted me repeatedly. He needed me at the NOW booth, right now.


The name triggered something but I couldn't grasp it.

I rushed over. Apparently David, scheduled for this, couldn't make it, so I had to fill in.

I got there... and there was Phil Keoghan.

NOW (No Opportunity Wasted) was his lifestyle brand name.

I had to interview him.

I felt totally unprepared, with no mental "psyching up", no check of teeth for pieces of broccoli (okay, I admit it, I didn't eat broccoli in Vegas), no nothing.

But with Javier, Kevin, and maybe one or two other people there, waiting, I had to make a go of it.

OMG! HUGE piece of broccoli hanging out of my mouth!
Okay, it's me, Phil, Javier to the left, and a Phil person to the right.
And no broccoli.

We finished up the interview, Phil helping me along. Once again I felt... you know, it was like he was the star even though I was the leader. He was the one that was pulling into the headwind, I was the one sitting on. He did the work. I could see thoughts flitting across his eyes, and I'd hear him change tack slightly. He's smart on his feet, could direct himself, and knew the stuff he wanted to cover.

Released again, I did an end run to see if I couldn't finish up my "short clip gathering" mission. I thought I'd seen a Thomson banner even though they didn't have a booth, so I went around looking for it. I wandered for most of the floor, desperately looking for this one banner.

I rounded yet another bend and stopped.

No, it wasn't the banner. Instead, standing kind of on their own, I found my "off chance" signer (signor?).

Greg Lemond.

I walked up to the three there, him and two others. The one closest to me turned once I intruded in their "group space".

Scott Lemond.

Well now.

I asked Greg if he could sign this card I had.

Let me tell you the story. I had this card a long, long time. I bought it because it reminded me of the La Vie Claire helmets (really just aero shells with thin felt pads inside) in the 1985-1986 Tours.

The reality: Lemond and the helmet, 1985, from here.

Hinault, shortly into this clip, wearing that helmet.

Surprisingly I can't find a picture online of Lemond in 1985 in the absolutely killer La Vie Claire Time Trial kit, with the dual disk wheel bike.

Lemond actually remembered the slight difference between the 1985 and 1986 helmet. The 1985 helmet, the one that I was thinking of, and was sort of on the postcard, had a little cutout just over the eyes. The 1986 helmet didn't have that cut out.

But I didn't remember that when I presented him the card.

I said to him, "This postcard reminded me of the 1986 Tour". Lemond, without even thinking of it, murmured a correction while his eyes focused on the card.

"1985, yeah, but wow, that's great! I've never seen this before!"

I guess when you lived each Tour, you remember the slight details, but his casual but accurate observation surprised me, especially since I had to do some research to see exactly what he meant by it.

He really liked the card, to the point that I think he didn't want to desecrate it by signing it. He did the only thing he could to preserve it - take a digital image of it.

He actually took about 10 pictures of it, trying to get the light just right.

Greg and his son Scott, capturing the virgin card for posterity

I'd put a picture of the card, signed, with the details, but, embarrassingly enough, I put it away as soon as I got home and it's in such a safe place that I can't find it. Naturally, when I find it, I'll take a picture of it. It's a really cool card, from 1985 no less, from the Netherlands. Or Holland, as I normally say.

And now it has Greg Lemond's signature on it.

After he signed it I asked if he would take a picture. And, lo and behold, my camera was busted. His son Scott came to the rescue.

How embarrassing! The fan has to borrow a camera from the star's son to get the picture.

Greg Lemond and me. Greg's son Scott took the picture.
Greg, I'm glad to say, still has that cheeky grin, even after 2+ days of Interbike exhaustion.

And yes, Greg made me feel important too.

With that, my Interbike was over. The lights were going out, and by the time we'd vacated the Media Center, most of the chairs and tables and stuff were already getting pulled out.

It always amazes me how quickly this little world springs up and melts away. Only a few hours earlier, the show still glowed brightly, folks dashing around trying to get last minute shots or ideas or information.

Now plastic wrap and packing tape dominated the scene. Sticky double sided tape, having lost their carpet, snagged your shoes. I watched as a bike I walked by countless times turned into a huge bubble wrapped frame, two guys carefully wrapping yet another layer of protection over their pride and joy.

Even though the show wasn't technically done (none of the interviews I'd done had made it up yet), I felt relieved. I'd managed to meet a few people, folks that had a passion for their product, for their ideas, for our sport, passion that matched or even exceeded mine. I could feel their enthusiasm, their belief in their ideas. I got to share some of that, let the world know exactly how they felt. I hoped I got some of that passion on tape.

The stress eased away. What was done was done - nothing more to do here, nothing of interest here. Just concrete now, no rugs, no cases, no eye candy, no free beer, no girls, no bling bling.

Move along now, just move along.

We walked the show floor for the last time, bags and papers and everything slung over our shoulders. We grabbed a couple souvenirs, kind of like the road signs used to mark pro races (I have a couple of those too).

Prolonging the end, we took the long way out, walking out the main doors, not the side ones. I think we all felt reluctant to leave because we didn't say a word, we just walked past the side doors. But we had to leave, before the magic wore off, before Interbike became just another empty concrete hall.

My mind whirled from one thought to another. I started getting anxious about how I did. I regretted not being able to do some stuff. I started thinking of strategies for next year. What if I'd done this? What if I'd done that?

And then, I realized.

I'd grabbed life by the horns and made what I could make of it.

So be it.

Carpe Diem.


Anonymous said...

You did a great job and thanks for including me in your adventure. It was an honor and I look forward to the next.

Jake said...

I'm definitely a Greg Lemond fan.

But I have to admit, you've taken it to the next level--going so far as to dress up just like him!

Aki said...

K - it was fun regardless of the stress I felt. Next year!

Jake - I didn't realize until you pointed it out. Must have been the current "IB style guide" that I read :). I did skip the belts with the holes in them and got the infinitely adjustable one instead.