Monday, October 29, 2007

Bob Roll's Interbike Experience, 2007

by Bob Roll

As expected, the 2007 Interbike extravaganza lived up to its pre-event hype and was a great event, thoroughly enjoyable to all. For me, step #1 is extracting myself from the airport and arriving at the hotel without incident. Coming from a small town in the mountains to the megalopolous that is Las Vegas is always a shock to the system. The melee at the airport never ceases to amaze me. Las Vegas, for some reason, remains a powerful attraction to zombies from all over the world.

Consequently, getting from the airport to the room is one of the most substantial challenges of Interbike. Thanks to Donna Tocci my journeys have been smooth and without incident. The place of habitation is the Venetian Hotel and Casino. The casino part is what makes it more difficult than it needs to be. Although at the Venetian, at least, you can check in without wading through an ocean of slot machines. Not the case, however, when you navigate to your room. Everybody has to pass through the casino in an effort, I presume, to pry peoples’ hard earned cash out of their wallet. For religious reasons I do not gamble and consequently my trips to Vegas have been much more enjoyable. The room, as always, was fantastic.

The first order of business at the trade show was to serve coffee to the thirsty masses at the Kryptonite booth. Then, it was time to be the judge at a video contest sponsored by Shimano and presided over by such luminaries as Phil Liggett, Kozo Shimano and, of course, Donna Tocci.

From there I had a signing at the Hi-Torque booth and after that was a reunion with my teammates from my racing days on 7-Eleven at the Tourneau Watch store sponsored by Bicycling Magazine. All of which was a fundraiser for the Davis Phinney Foundation. What a fantastic honor and great pleasure to be reunited with some real legends of American cycling. On the panel was Tom Schuler, Chris Carmichael, Alex Stieda, Ron Kiefel and, of course, Davis Phinney. The assembled throng were regaled with the tales of our efforts in Europe. A lovely time was had by all. Thereafter was, just like the old days, a team dinner where much wine was drank at Spago.

Day 1 was supposed to include the annual Sinclair extravaganza, where I have imbibed dramatically in years past. But this year I was too exhausted to attend - so much for Day 1!

Day 2 began early again at the Kryptonite booth with coffee for an even larger assemblage of attendees. Repositioning myself at the front of the booth rather than the storage unit in the middle inexplicably seemed to draw more people. The rest of the day included, but was not limited to, a speaking engagement at the Wounded Warrior Project press conference and a book signing at Velonews.

Directly after the book signing was six hours of live TV courtesy of the World Criterium Championships held at the Mandalay Bay parking lot. The professional men’s race was an exciting and very competitive high stakes, great race. It was a real pleasure to commentate on.

The women’s race was won by Laura Van Gilder but it was the Industry Cup race that provided the most crashes and thrills. Such luminaries participated as Steve Bauer and Mario Cipollini. The rest of the field was made up of supposed employees of the cycling industry, which is a pretty broad requirement. There were so many crashes it was difficult to know the beginning and the end of field. Also, the variety in fitness levels made the pack impossible to differentiate from the stragglers. Add oil on the streets and two days, at least, of heavy drinking and you have a recipe for hilarity.

I am sure the next day at the show there were many employees nursing their wounds. Six hours of live television is not easy but having a crash to commentate on about every half a minute makes the time fly. Generally, my job is as a commentator on cycling events and it was nice to be able to apply my trade at the bike show. However, being able to meet the people at the Kryptonite booth is the main attraction for me going and remains an event that I look forward to throughout the racing season.

I’m looking forward to next year’s races and have enjoyed a fantastic relationship with Kryptonite and look forward to all of our promotions in the future. So, everybody go out and buy some locks!

The trip home was uneventful, which is my favorite kind of trip. My liver has shrunk back down to normal size and I’m looking forward to ’08.

1 comment:

Fritz said...

Thanks for that Interbike report, Bobke!