Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Vegas, baby! (part 4 of the working holiday)

Vegas is always a bit of a misadventure. Neither of us is well suited for Vegas, but this is where Interbike is, so here we go again.

I was super excited to see Gregg again, after a week and a half of roaming around. And I have to admit I was a little sad to touch down in rainy, dreary Portland only to fly out again without ever leaving the airport. A little sad to leave home I guess, even when the cold gray weather.

Anyway, we had a pretty comfortable and uneventful flight to Vegas, easily and quickly got our luggage and caught a shuttle to the hotel. Too good to be true, right?! Totally!!! They booked us into a room on the strip, directly over an incredibly loud, open door dance club. I got so desperate to sleep that I was trying to hide out on the bathroom floor with the door shut. Still no good, and I was about 30 seconds from sleeping in the hall outside my door before the noise finally went out around 4 am! Grrrrr.

I really wanted to come to Interbike again this year, so that I could get out to Bootleg Canyon for the outdoor demo. I want a new bike. I love my current bike. I really do. In fact I attribute my new-found love of mountain biking to my lovely Niner ... but I'm ready for some squish. I was completely exhausted for Tuesday's outdoor demo day, but totally looking forward to trying out some FS bikes.

The first booth we hit was Salsa. I checked out a Dos Niner, and Gregg picked out a scandium frame Mamasita. I can't speak for Gregg, but I really liked the Dos Niner. I felt totally comfortable on it instantly. It took a little bit to warm up my legs, but the trails out there are great! Clearly designed to make you fall in love with whatever bike you're riding. And I did love the Salsa. But I didn't think it much (if any) of a step up from what I've already got (again, really love my Niner) ... If you're in the market though, I'd highly recommend a ride on a Salsa.

We realized we were going to run out of time if we tried to hit up everybody, so we went 'directly' to the Niner booth. I've been dying to try out the R.I.P. 9 for quite a while now. The guys at the Niner booth were incredibly nice, and I got a lot of sympathy while I waited for HOURS (I do think I was waiting for at least an hour and a half) for a RIP 9 in my size to roll back in. Apparently the shorties who'd already checked out the small RIP 9's were out there having a great time! And I can see why. What a blast! I'm not used to FS bikes, so the travel on the Niner was a little plush for me ... it felt a little weird. But it practically pedaled itself, and the fit was instantly near-perfect. And on those rolly, banked trails, the plushness was juuuust right. Since leaving the demo I've thought more about it, and I'm not convinced that I actually want that much travel and plushness for the more slow and technical stuff that I'd normally ride. Now I'm thinking I'll wait another year, save my money for New Zealand, and check out the J.E.T. 9 at next year's outdoor demo :)

I barely had any juice left, and it was getting pretty hot, but we both wanted to get out on another bike before we left the demo day. So we hit up Lenz for a couple of FS bikes. I really hated the geometry. Felt like I was perched up over the handlebars. I think it's pretty typical for a DH/Freeride position, which I think is their typical audience. But it makes me feel totally unstable on the bike. I really like my seat to be further from my bars. I was totally impressed though with the feel of the rear suspension. And Gregg totally loved the bike.

I'm really hoping to get out on a Titus, and maybe the Specialized and Gary Fisher. And next year, fingers crossed, I'll ride the JET 9 at the Bootleg Canyon demo day. So, all that effort and I still don't know what I want. But it was an awesome day, and I can't wait to do it even better next year.

The other major highlight of our trip was Wednesday night's Cross Vegas! (Check out this cool YouTube video) It was a great race for Oregon. The Kona duo of Ryan Trebon and Barry Wicks dominated the whole men's race, with Ryan taking first. And Molly Cameron was in great form. Not great cycling form, per se, but she put on a great show ... beer in one hand, bike in the other, hopping over barriers. We were ringing bells and shouting like crazy during the entire thing. We were also lucky to get a ride back to the strip with some friends of friends ... saving us about $25 in cab fare. It was a great night.

Other brief highlights of the Vegas trip
  • Meeting up with Chip and Andrea (friends from Denver) before their Cirque show (Ka) Thursday night. They taught us how to gamble :)
  • Seeing Cirque du Soleil's Zumanity at New York New York, Friday night
  • Hanging out with Chip & Andrea in their fantastic room at the Bellagio, overlooking the water show in the lake ... and then winning some $$ in the penny slots downstairs before heading back to our hotel. I actually won $15! Can you believe it?!

As usual, Vegas was a mixed bag. Noisy, smelly, and too many people. Good shows, overpriced bad food, great bikes to ride, bike events, huge amounts of cool bike stuff ... I still wish it weren't in Vegas, but I can't wait to go to Interbike again (wherever it is).

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