|Vegas Interbike||Apr 25, ’07 5:57 AM
Interbike Dreaming: Action and Fitness Goes To Vegas
Day 1: September 24, 2006
Fellow Vellum Sponsored Athlete Arland Macasieb and I get flown into the Casino Capital of the World. Groggy from taking the earliest flight from the East Coast but immediately get energized upon catching a glimpse of the vast desert landscape from the plane.
House with Vellum Cycles CEO Chris Aldeguer and Design and Marketing Associates Michael Flores and Frank Gatdula and their families. Spent the rest of the afternoon in the garage setting up the 8 bikes we were going to put on display at the show. Feeling proud to be part of a successful Pinoy Bike Company.
Day 2: Working It at the Outdoor Demo
Our partners from Rotor, makers of the highly intriguing crankset and chain rings, ask for our help in setting up and running their booth at the Outdoor Demo. The first two days of Interbike Week are held outside before the main event, which is the Indoor Expo. It is set up in a way wherein people can basically try all the bikes/ bike accouterments they want for free. For example: you can go to the Cervelo booth and grab a Soloist Carbon, ride it for three hours, and it’s all good. Being a roadie with dreams of owning a mountain bike I borrowed a Gary Fisher and set out on a trail ride in the wilderness after staying at the Rotor booth for the majority of the day. My turn to play! I remember that I need to write an article and take some pics for Andy.
Day 3: Hangover Ride
Even though our main objective for the week was work, we couldn’t resist joining one of the side events: The Hangover Ride. Aptly named since most of the cyclists participating were pissed drunk the night before. It’s a friendly, pedal-at-your-own-pace kind of thing, where you can start with some pros and finish with the most leisurely of bikers, and the wonderful thing is, day 1 rule still applies and you can grab the bike of your dreams and get to use it for this ride. But of course we were loyal to our sponsors and paraded the Vellum bikes and spoke about it to the other cyclists—best way to promote it is to use it, right! The Gu (energy gel brand) people were cool and had colorful purple jerseys and I ended up riding with them and maybe sampling a new flavor or two.
Today the rest of the Vellum Sponsored athletes and teams from around the US like Areté and EMC² fly in and we all finally get to meet each other. Judging from these guys’ legs, combined power output in the room soars up to the thousands. In the evening we host a dinner for the CarboTech people, the big-time Carbon company from Taiwan who manufactures our bikes, along with other brands like Pinarello, Bianchi, etc.
Day 4: Cycling Fan + Indoor Bike Expo = Kid in a Giant Amusement Park
Ah, the day I will not forget anytime soon: Let’s just call it The Day Peter Reid Hung Out at the Vellum Booth to Chat. No, wait—we could call it The Day I saw Eddy Merckx. Or The Day I Partied with Mario Cipollini, and George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Phil Ligget, Frankie Andreu Joe Friel, Bob Babbit….and so on. Yes, starsucker, that’s me. SO WHAT. Like I told my friend, hey, I don’t get all worked up when I see actors, but super athletes? I adore them. I respect what they have accomplished and how hard they worked to achieve it.
Backtrack to this morning: Team Vellum headed out early towards the direction of the Strip for the Sands Expo by the Venetian, where the whole bike extravaganza was taking place. As I walk in the HUMONGOUS trade center, I immediately go GAGA. It may have been only one of the few times in my life that I was overwhelmed and did not know what to do and where to go first. After a while I realize I have indeed reached Bike Heaven. Oh Dear Lord, I do not know exactly what I have done to deserve to be in this place but I Thank You!
We are determined to make a splash in the New Products Section, and our booth is an instant hit with the expo participants. Just an hour into the show, Arland and Chris spot Ironman World Champion Peter Reid strolling casually by us and they shout frantically at me—“Ani get the camera!!!” One look and I knew what they meant and what I had to do. We ended up entertaining him enough for him to hang out for twenty minutes or so. We like Peter.
The rest of the day was a joyous blur, and ended with a blast at the rooftop of the Rio Hotel. Philippine Cycling icon Jazy Garcia and wife Mylene generously handed us their extra tickets to the Sinclair party where we saw the Lion King Mario and basically anyone who was anyone. Shared a drink with Phil Ligget and he said he has fond memories of the Philippines from commentating in the Marlboro Tour twice. We like Phil. We WORSHIP Mario. VIVA LAS VEGAS.
Day 5: The Strip
Our boss gives us a free pass for the morning and we go on a free swag expedition. I taste all the energy bars I can taste and by lunch time I cannot eat anymore. We run to the Reynolds booth because we hear that they are giving away stems. Other booths don’t think their products are attractive enough and place scantily-clad-hot-bodied athletes on bike trainers. I believe the passers-by ended up sweating more than they did though.
We walk a bit outside on the famous Strip and have lunch at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago at the Forum. We are pretty much tired from gallivanting the whole week and finish off the night watching the Cirque de Soleil show, “O,” at the Bellagio.
Day 6: Time To Bring Out The Booze
I didn’t think it would be possible, but by the last day of the show I was so used to seeing the cycling stars and all the bike booty that I was content to just sit still and relax. All over the expo you could see that everyone felt the same way, and instead of scrounging over to the Powerbar Station for bars and gels people were lining up for the free beer. It was a very productive week for the crew and the bosses were quite pleased. I made one last round to collect freebies then we finally packed up and headed home.
As I sat in the plane, I looked over the Strip and smiled to myself. It’s official: Interbike Rules.