I went up early again for the outdoor demo. I miss riding out west: hadn't shredded rocky trails like that since last year. Got to try out a few of Litespeed's offerings, the new Santa Cruz Bronson, the Jamis Dragonslayer, and a couple Ritchey mountain bikes. I was taking the Ritchey P29 out to the trails and was passed by Tom himself. Definitely geeked out a little. I rode both days until my legs were too pooped to party.
The demeanor of the first day was a little grim. I think I was just around the wrong people all day. On the shuttle over I was sitting near guys talking about injuries, and at lunch I sat next to guys talking about their friends who had died in riding accidents. One of my buddies did lose a few teeth at the demo last year, so I promised myself I'd take it easy anyways. Trail conditions were fantastic the second day of the demo. Spirits were up too. New trails and new bikes, I really can't complain. I had a great time at the demo.
The expo itself went smoothly. As it was with the outdoor demo, it seemed that many of the usual vendors weren't there, but we socialized and saw all the shiny new bike stuff. Always good.
Now if you're reading this for the biased opinions, here they are! I'm personally not nuts about Las Vegas and I don't understand why they hold Interbike there. I think there are better options.
Physically, the city has the accommodations for the venue and lodging, not to mention nearby trails for the demo, and cheap flights. I'm aware of all of that, but the city is absolutely terrible for riding. I built up a Traveler's Check recently for future endeavors and figured I'd give it a trial run during this trip. Google maps depicts bike lanes all around the city. I'd been to Vegas a few times before, but never had the chance to explore. Not sure why I thought riding would be easy.
Besides the location and infrastructure, Vegas is still a pretty terrible place. It has the nightlife and all that, but it's super sleazy. Take that rather offensive sock in the goodie bags this year. I'm sure there's a certain crowd who thought the sock was cool and funny. I've overheard some conversations supporting this. I understand the whole shock value as a marketing tactic. I don't know if that's what they were aiming for, but it was appealing to some while alienating to others. As a whole, the bike industry is trying expand their market and target new audiences. I'm not suggesting the city is tainting the reputation of the bike industry with one event per year, but I would like to see Interbike held somewhere more appealing to a greater portion of the industry. Like the sock, Las Vegas is entertaining to some, but distasteful to others.
Las Vegas is great for the nightlife and venue accommodations, but why not have Interbike in a more bike-centric town? I'm sad to see so many vendors pulling out of Interbike, but hopefully this will lead to some improvement. Overall Pros: Outdoor demo, Cons: Las Vegas.
P.S. On a side note, we've got Rhodia notebooks back in stock and some cool new stuff as well.