By Katie Macarelli
Ever since I knew that interbike existed, I've wanted to go. For several years I've pined while following all things shiny and fun over articles and twitter. Kind of like following last year's cx nat's tweet by tweet from Greg Keller. Just not the same as being there. I wanted to go. I needed to go, which is funny since Vegas is not one of my favorite places on earth. In fact, I sort of hate it. But bikes at Vegas? Completely different story. This was the year I finally got the invite. I think I let Kris Thompson say "Would you like to go to Inter..." over the phone before I screamed, "Yes! YES! YES! I'm GOING!", dropped my phone and started my mom dance on my front porch.
The Interbike experience is the gift that keeps on giving. One of the best things about it was meeting people face to face that I'd previously only corresponded with over email, social media, or on the bike at a race or in passing. Let’s start with Colorado...
Amy Thomas, director of Team Yeti Beti's and The Yeti Beti Race. I loved running into Amy in the Interbike maze. We’re excited to see what will come next for this spectacular all women's race and team in 2014. http://www.yetibeti.com/betis.html
Brett Richard, a.k.a. "Handlebar Mustache", Boulder, CO. I finally got to meet the mustache in person. That was one fun booth. Every day he had "Shots for Flood Relief" going on. This was a happy place to meet up with people from Colorado and beyond.
"At Handlebar Mustache we share a passion for these things. We love bicycles. We hate cancer. We believe it is our moral obligation to help others. We love life. We are either all in or all out. We have to bring passion to what we do or we won't do it more than once. We bring our travels, experiences and our passion to the drawing board when we design each one of our tees.”
Feedback Sports, Golden, CO. No matter where we were headed, we luckily ran into these guys about 46,000 times. Each time they smiled and each time I marveled over their awesome products. This is a top-notch local company. They race fast, worked hard to improve the Back to Basics cx course in Golden, sponsored the women's BRAC women's cx camp AND they are the meeting point for Bike and Walk to School events for the local elementary school located in their business park. Just wonderful people.
Boo Bikes, Ft Collins, CO. I'd longed to caress the bamboo-carbon and finally I got to. And the crew working the booth was very patient and didn't even ask me to leave. And they gave me a t-shirt which I proudly wear.
Nicole Duke, larger than life cx racer. First, Kris and I Strava segmented/raced the Interbike floor to the WD-40 booth for an interview. I won. [Editorial note, this is incorrect, on our way to meet Nicole and while on strava I told Katie to go right when right was wrong. Took the lead the finished 1st] Then I took notes for said interview on a WD-40 business card, ate her M&M's and asked for a photo of her tattoos. Quick story: Once upon a time at last year at Cx states, I had just Catted up to 3's. Nicole lapped me...she might have lapped me TWICE. She gracefully kicked my ass. But she was very kind and encouraging as she did it. It was neat to finally meet her out of cycling kits, sans the humiliation.
Then there was Cross Vegas. Oh, shut the door. I was in Heaven. HEAVEN. Thanks to Paul McCarthy, of CrossPropz for showing me around and giving me the tour that night. Unforgettable. Amazing to see so many familiar Colorado faces there racing, cheering, photographing. Just made my heart burst. Colorado is a special place. No matter where you go, you take it with you and it seeps from your pores.
This sort of brings me to the second half of the story... The out of state love.
I met so many new great people from OUT of Colorado. I know, I know, I know. This is the best state ever. I was born here, and most likely will die here. We are 303Cycling. BUT. Each of these people/companies took the time to reach out to Colorado and we were happy they did.
Brian Bonham and the Volagi team, Colati, CA.
We met the Volagi team (pronounced vol∙ah∙gee, is a Latin derivative meaning “the will to go”) while sitting on the floor of Interbike at lunch on Day 1. I randomly found them standing in the shuttle line post Cross Vegas that same night and we've been besties ever since . I will be demo-ing a Volagi for the Gravel Grinder on October 19th, courtesy of this connection and Big Ring Cycles in Golden. Volagi is moving its entire operation from California to Ogden, Utah this week. Interesting story, wonderful people.
Kebby Holden, Coeur Sports, Los Angeles, CA. Coeur is French for heart and it's the root of the word courage. Kebby showed both out at Interbike for her company's debut. Plus, Coeur threw one heck of a party before Cross Vegas...including quite a spirited fashion runway-walk-off.
"At Coeur, we bring you great design paired with solutions to all those little nagging problems you’ve previously with your gear. Yes, we spend more time in a bike saddle than most do at work. But ladies, that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little class and refinement in our gear! We like clean, sophisticated lines. Our aesthetic is East Coast Preppy meets West Coast chill."
Bill Schieken, a.k.a. In The Crosshairs (@cxhairs on Twitter), Washington, DC. Author of "Skills, Drills and Bellyaches", a cyclo-cross primer. I was so excited to finally meet Bill as I'd followed him on Twitter for a while. He kindly gave me copy of his brand-spanking new book that I'm slowly devouring chapter by chapter. It's amazing. Like going to a continuous cx camp. Great pictures, descriptions and DRILLS. All of it designed to "teach the techniques and skills that all racers, from beginner to elite, should learn and apply to become a better cyclo-cross racer. It covers basics, such as what to wear and how to get back on your bike after carrying it over an obstacle, as well as more nuanced starting techniques and how to mentally prepare for your race." Bill was much taller in person than I thought he'd be. Way taller than me. And he was very patient while I tried to find him amongst the Interbike Labyrinth. Not to mention that he's funny and has great t-shirts.
Benny Cruickshank, of Shinola Cycles, Detroit, MI. I have a WHOLE story on these guys that we'll post soon. Loved the style of this company and their products.
Boyd and Nicole Johnson, Boyd Cycling, Greenville, SC. Boyd found Kris and I at a Starbucks on our last morning of Interbike. I instantly liked him because he remarked that they were located by the Chrome Booth (a very loud booth), therefore he'd memorized every George Michael song in only 3 days. Then he actually snuck up later playing "Careless Whisper" on his phone while we were at the Nite-Ize booth next to them. Humor goes a long way with me. But they are more than just funny. Boyd's passion is building wheels. Boyd Cycling is a small operation. Hand built, in-house in Greenville, SC. The wheels are built with the same builder from start to finish. My favorite wheels from their line? The Black and Tan Tubulars, of course.
That’s a wrap.
And just as fast as it started, it was over. The people, the bikes, the products, the shiny lights. By the end, I was tired, yet blissful. Kind of like Christmas night as a kid. I tried to sleep on the flight home but this proved impossible since every 5 seconds Kris would ask, “Are you asleep yet?”. But he and Amy were giving me a ride home, so I couldn’t punch him in the shoulder like I wanted to. Thank you, 303Cycling for the trip. More importantly, thank you for putting up with me. Next year I hope to go again. This time with my bike and perhaps a mask for the cigarette smoke while walking through the hotels. Until then, Interbike, I'll miss you.