Now, some of you may be wondering: What the h*** actually happened to yours truly during his journey to Las Vegas? To tell you in no simpler terms, it is tough work (now nod your heads!). Some of the more interesting anecdotes at Interbike go somewhere along the lines of the following (details are not explicitly accurate owing to a debilitating jet-lag that never really went away the whole time):
– Marathon flight schedule. Flight time consisted of alternately sleeping in cramped positions, doing exercises near the toilet area to keep the circulation up, and hunting around for extra baggies of mini-pretzels (which i have since fallen in love with). When reasonably awake, i sat with pen and notepad poised, thinking of witty lines and captions to include in the event reports, aka taking preventative measures against the writer’s block which i knew would eventually hit. And hit it did (why do you think this report came in so late?).
– Checking into the hotel room after all those flights, dropping the bags, and immediately pulling on the chamois baggies and cleated shoes to hit the Outdoor Demo. Oh, and i brought my own pedals too. – At the Outdoor Demo, coughing and spewing snot the colour of the desert dust even as i climbed the asphalt road to the trailhead. Breathing at Bootleg Canyon gives the throat a burned-by-acid sensation due to the exceedingly low humidity and the fine particles that get stirred up in the air.
– You know how American cycling magazines are priced S$11 on average? Imagine having stacks of latest-issue magazines (25 different publications) lined up against two walls, and droves of bike people are taking them free-of-charge, slotting them into their bags one-by-one, like they are picking up Streats at the MRT on Wednesday morning. Makes you wonder how much the publishing houses, bookstores and retailers are earning out of each copy sold….
– That slightly lost feeling when one stands at the entrance of the expo hall on the start of the first day of the the International Bike Expo cannot be put into words. Where does one even start to explore?
– Getting electric shocks from touching various objects back at Sin City. If one wears rubber soled shoes and does not touch a grounded object (sat, a street lamp, window pane, display stand or a door knob) for, say, fifteen minutes, a substantial charge builds up in the body. When an object is eventually touched… ZAP!… and electrons are discharged, usually accompanied by an audible buzz. Involuntary limb and finger contractions usually follow. Once i got a big one and thought my heart had skipped a beat. I got zapped on nigh everything at Interbike, from bike frames to tentages and even rubber tires. A good way to get high for those with sado-masochistic leanings. Solution: touch things often to disperse the charge.
– I had to patiently explain to some of the trade reps that Singapore was not part of China, or Taiwan.
– Seing dudes ride their bikes on the carpeted floors, between the rows of slot machines with casual abandon, while management staff look on haplessly.
– Meeting an elderly couple from Idaho that told me that they sell bikes and marbles at their shop. They were so kind as to pass on their Livestrong bracelets, telling me that they still had a whole bag in the hotel room.
– Staying up all night sorting out the stacks of brochures, catalogs, magazines and freebies collected, then referring to them as i typed my report drafts.
– I realised that if you place a phone call to hire a taxi while in the Vegas suburbs, expect it to arrive in one hour’s time.
– Rubbing shoulders with some real journalists in the official Interbike 2004 Press Room. While everyone had their own laptops, with Wi-Fi capability no less, yours truly skulked away into an obscure corner where the provided desktops with 56.6K connections were to do my pieces.
– Getting autograped posters from riding inspirations: Chris Carmichael, Geoff Kabush, April Lawyer, and the Luna Chix.
– Engaging in a battle with boozed biker dudes in the mosh pit area at a rock gig just to pick up freebies being thrown from the stage.
– Chatting with a Cannondale-sponsored rider from Ohio, Garth. He was lamenting the 300-meters above sea level highest hills of his state until i told him about Bukit Timah.
– Lunch on-the-go? Clif Bars, Powerbar Harvest, Honey Stingers, and Extran.