By Rich Dillen
Walking off the plane from 29 rows back, I witnessed carnage like I have never seen before in all my years of air travel. The other passengers bound for Las Vegas seemed to have little respect for their fellow man, and wrappers, cans, bottles, and crumbs were strewn about the cabin as if a delicatessen fueled hurricane had just blown through. I was getting off the plane with people bound for Vegas dreams who felt like it was not a problem to leave the world they left behind in shambles. Thank God I was going to Interbike to mingle with a slice of humanity that I hoped had little in common with my companions on Flight 2203.
I am an Interbike novice, and this is my first trip to “The Show”. The first 24 hours went by in a blur that overwhelmed my useful senses. The magnitude of its size is more than a bit overwhelming. Looking at the map, I thought I would easily see it all in the first six hours. Only one day in, I’ve seen no more than one third of what is here. It’s not like I spent a lot of time looking at every insignificant anodized and glossy detail, talking to exhibitors, or scooping up free stickers. I was doing little more than gawking and talking to friends, old and new.
There’s an amazing amount of business going on right in the open, and from what I understand clandestine meetings are going on all the time behind closed doors. Fortunately my agenda was much more simple, and I spend the better part of the day poking and fondling various components and bikes. The free beer starts to flow about two hours before the close of the show, and there seems to be an art to being in the right place at the right time in order to benefit from the graciousness of exhibitors who seem to have their priorities straight. A free Sierra Nevada certainly tastes a hundred times better than an $8 Corona (this is a confirmed fact now).
At the close of the show, the cosmic wave was headed to Cross Vegas. I had been looking forward to the spectacle of 160 pro riders blazing around the grassy course under the lights, and after plunking down $13 for my ticket and a beer, I can say it was sorta worth it. The pro field did not disappoint, and I have to say the crowd was even more entertaining than the riders. Cowbells, dollar bills, mayhem, and peeing in cups. ‘Nuff said.
I’m almost embarrassed to admit it, but my first night at Interbike ended around 11 p.m. After being awake for more than twenty-two hours, I felt I should save something for the days ahead. I had a good deed to do in the morning, and there was no way I was going to back out on it with a lame excuse.
Day two up next.
BAD IDEA RACING