Interbike Report Day 3: Indoor Show

It’s out of the sun’s intense rays and into the dark (and sometimes dank) caverns of the Sands Convention Center for the next phase of the Interbike adventure.

We walked the halls and took a lot of photos of interesting stuff, we met old friends we haven’t seen since – well, last year’s show, and we did a little Interbike TV show taping (look for that to appear here soon). But it was two experiences after business hours were over that left the biggest impression on this reporter, at least right now, at this late hour.

First, at 6pm, when they started turning the lights off on our annual wine & cheese party at our booth, we headed downstairs to the induction ceremony for the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. Our own Philip Keyes, Access Editor, was being inducted this year. Earlier in the day he was all keyed up (sorry, blame that one on Amanda) and it was great to see him being honored. It happens to be the twentieth anniversary of NEMBA, the advocacy group he heads, and his co-advocates thought that nominating Philip would be a fitting tribute. Yes, indeed it was.

Among the other inductees was John Finley Scott, the personable Ph.D. who was cobbling together mountain bikes twenty years before anyone else. Billy Savage, the filmmaker behind the awesome movie Klunkerz, had made a short tribute film about Mr. Scott that was shown to close the ceremonies, and it was a fascinating and poignant introduction to the man (as his HOF induction comes posthumously).

Next it was time to make a quick change out of dress-up clothes and back into everyday superhero riding-around garb for the trip to the CrossVegas races on our mini-test bikes (no, they’re not all folders with 12″-16″ wheels, it’s the test that’s small). There was no way we were missing this, and it lived up to expectations – this race was one of the best sporting events I’ve ever attended (and I was there for Superbowl XL). The way the course was laid out, it looked like a snake in a bowl, winding back and forth and across and around the shallow valley that contained it. At any moment we could see at least six different stretches of the race laid out one after the other, from our perch right up against the tape all the way back to where the riders were black specks against the fluorescent-lit grass. In the middle of it all, the pit area was a seething mass of beer-fueled fans yelling for their favorites to run up the mid-course stairs faster.

As we rode up, Richard Fries was calling the final race, the Men’s Elite. I’d heard a rumor in the women’s bathroom back at the show that some guy named Lance was going to show up. Chalked it up to clever marketing (of which there was plenty in the bathrooms), but lo and behold, one of the names being called was Armstrong’s. Not near the front though. Kona tallcrosser Ryan “Treefarm” Trebon made it 2-for-2 on CrossVegas with his win, Giant’s Adam Craig was right up in there (which was kind of amazing as we didn’t hear his name much at all, he came out of nowhere), and the venerable Thomas Frishknecht of Scott-Swisspower, in his official retirement race, came in fifth. Sorry, I didn’t catch the other two names in the top five.

It was a grand spectacle though, big and exciting enough to draw in a couple walking their dogs down the street. Robert from TwoFish gave them an explanation of the race, complete with helpful motorcycle noises to indicate the riders’ efforts in motoring up the short hills, and by the end, half of the couple was yelling along with the rest of us.

This is just my version of one small part of the immense whirlwind that is Interbike. Go over to our Galleries to see lots and lots of photos, check out the Blog postings, and come back for our Interbike TV talk show videos (the show so huge it only airs three times per year).