More like Interbike, two thousand wow. It was a fantastic time. How can you tell? I've got a huge grin in almost every photo I'm in.
First off was the Outdoor Dirt Demo. I tried a 26" carbon hardtail Stevens (it was hard to get used to the sound of rocks hitting the carbon) and talked to the Stevens guys. I mentioned that Cale had gotten a pair of cross bikes, and they immediately said "Oh, the guy who painted them pink?" They saw my kit and guessed. Apparently Cale's photos have been making the rounds. They sent them on to their European office, too.
Then I switched to a 26" dual suspension Specialized Safire. No lines for Women's Specific bikes, what-what. The Safire was like cruising around on a couch, and it was incredibly hard to steer. Like runaway-stagecoach hard to steer. The fork was raked out (for better performance on descents), and I wasn't used to it. The guys at the Specialized tent did a great job setting up the shocks, though, and eventually I got used to the handling.
After that, I grabbed a Trek Gary Fisher Collection Women's Specific HiFi. Mouthful, eh? Not much to report, because it's similar to what I'm used to riding, and I'm still no good at feeling out the subtle nuances.
Yay, bikes! Aprés Dirt Demo:
That night, we ate $7 steak dinners with old friends who have been scattered across the country, then went to check out the Lazer party at the Hard Rock Hotel. It was super swanky, they had rented out the whole pool area and flown in a DJ from Belgium, word has it.
Wednesday brought the first day of the show, and of course Cross Vegas! The team order from Champion Systems was due to be delivered, so Cale called them up and had them delivered to our hotel instead of back home. Since I was working the booth, it was up to him to wrangle the delivery, pick out my skinsuit, put my bike together and then pick me up to catch a cab to the race. It was then I found myself being wrangled. We got there early and I changed to get ready.
Sometimes you design something and it comes out looking differently than you had planned. Luckily, that was not the case here! I was so excited to find it was all I had hoped and dreamed it could be.
At the start line, I was so very, very nervous. It was pretty well publicized (what, you didn't hear?) that I was a returning champ, and there seemed to be an awful lot of women signed up. I was getting nervous. And I swing between supreme confidence and crippling anxiety when I get stressed (which was the whole day)... a real treat.
The race started out with a snappy pace. I saw several women pass me, but didn't get too upset. I always start slowly and then pick it up. A lap or two in, I was still in third or so. Over the next lap, I worked hard to get up to second, but then it seemed I was out of luck. I was fading. It was then that my coworker, Luke Musselman (yeah, pronounced muscle man!), dropped back to find me. He verbally abused me into keeping up the pace. I would whine/wheeze/slaver, "I can't! I'm done!" and he would reply "No you're not, she's right there, you can get her. Come on!"
In this fashion, I crawled my way to the front of the women's field just before the beginning of the last lap, and managed to keep the lead by four seconds. Relief, relief.
That makes three in a row. I think I'll retire now. (p.s. I love these cowbells. They're beautiful and spectacularly noisy.)
The next couple of days were a repeat of the first day at the tradeshow, getting up early, working the booth, then running around. Thursday, I ran into a guy I had met a few years ago at Superweek. We didn't even recognize each other at first! We spent an hour or so walking around- I was on a mission to find and photograph the coolest booths while I was out and about. We did happen across a pretty cool booth... a PHOTO BOOTH! Believe it or not, this was the first time I'd ever been in one.
Thursday night we hit the Peppermill to hang out with Ritte and the gen-i-us behind All Hail the Black Market. The moment I stepped out of the cab, this very same handsome man hailed me over. It's been a long time since high school, but I finally understand what it's like to be a popular kid! VIP, man. The Peppermill was really cool- it reminded Cale and I of At Random... stuck in the past, and awesome for it. While we were there we got a complimentary postcard. Aw, yeah. First time on a postcard photo, too.
Friday it was some more fun and games...
...and then packing up the booth, packing in some dinner, and heading home. I caught an 11:30PM plane back and Cale picked me up at the airport around 4... or 5. I'm not sure, it was all a little foggy. We got home and started unpacking and repacking... Vegas vacation morphed into USGP weekend right before our very eyes. We headed out the same morning to Madison, but that's another story for another post.