The last day of the week long journey dawned hot and bright as only the desert can do. When we had rolled into Vegas the night before, it was still over 90*, quite the change from when we had left where the evenings were very pleasant. But hey, the halls of the convention center were air conditioned and so was Steve M's Honda, so we were good to go.
I still was walking like the Tim Conway character, the old man, remember him? Maybe Festus on the Gunsmoke program? Yeah, I know, the age is showing, ain't it? I had the challenge of walking for hours through the show, so I popped way more Ibuprofen than normal and headed out with the gang. I figured I could always find a place on the floor or some abandoned hallway to lie down in if I had to.
It is funny how these type of events go, usually I just hit the top 6 or so booths that I really want to see and then the rest of the show fades into a blur of stuff, none of which I need and little of which I want. Inevitably I forget something or walk right by the 'gem of the show' only to read about it later on some other persons report. "Hey, did you guys see the Zero G cycles booth? They had the new Sputnik XC bike there with super secret declassified Russian mystery metal that actually weighed LESS than nothing. It leaves black holes whereever you ride it!". Nah...must have missed that one.
However, this show was a bit different. You see, I was being educated by a member of our group, who's name will be kept confidential so I don't embarrass Cliff by talking about him. He is a super shopper. If there is a deal within 200 square miles, hectares, kilometers, or light years, he will find it. The boy has talent, he does. SO he revealed to me that I-Bike can be a shoppers dream. Really? I had no idea. I had never even thought of actually buying anything there, but I had not been to the show in years, so maybe it happened while I was away or I just was clueless.
Now, I am not talking schwag or free stuff, or even scamming. I mean, "Hey, are those for sale, and if so, how much?" I won't even touch on his ability to get free stuff. The man's an artist, but I will leave that be. So now, with the thought of being able to buy some cool stuff at a good price in my mind, I was in another mindset altogether. I still had the living dead/zombie shuffle going on and my left hamstring was all messed up from the nerves getting zinged, but I still managed to do pretty well.
I already posted up the Deuter hydration pack. Sweet deal. More to come on that once I have used it for a while, but I also picked up the new DVD 'Seasons', a couple of insulated water bottles, a sweet pair of Serfas glasses with 4 lenses, and the usual samples and catalogs, magazines, etc.
Now, we were there on the last day. And in the last hour of the show, on the last day, things in the swapmeet heat up to fever pitch. Bikes, wheels, tires, etc, hit the chopping block. Shimano was selling the high zoot shoes which included a custom fit (done right on the spot) for silly prices. I heard of all kinds of stuff bought for cheap. I wanted to come home with some amount of money in my pocket, so I sat, rested my back and watched the whole thing wind down.
God was gracious and I was able to get through the day with a lot of discomfort and some pain, but hey, I ride mtn bikes. That is SOP for me. Felt like normal!
Some highlights of the show other than shopping:
Talking to Jason at Salsa about his Fargo adventures and touring plans he has for next year, then turning around and meeting Guitar Ted standing right next to me. VERY COOL. Heck, I would rather meet these guys than Lance Whatever His Name Is.
The booth that had those energy food bites that looked like malted milk balls...was it Clif Bar? Can't remember. Cookie Dough flavor....mmmmmmMM!
The entire Salsa line-up. I may need to blog just about that all by itself. How can they get so much, so right?
Watching Jeff Jones of Jones bikes, yes the swoopy $$$$ Ti ones, take his bike and stand it sideways on the front wheel, then jump on the center of the wheel to show how strong the set up is. I guess so!
Meeting the owner of Rawland cycles and training myself to look at him sign (apparently he is deaf and mute) his words while I listened to the interpreter off to the side. Now I only mention this as a point of self realization. At first I was looking AND listening to the interpreter. Then it occurred to me that that was a bit rude, so I focused on the owner, Sean (more about him here) and I could see the passion in his eyes for what he does. Very cool stuff, definately out of the box.
One negative thing. Specialized thinks I don't rate. Hey, they may be right, but how come I don't get into the inner sanctum of their bike display? Dealers and media only, I miss on both accounts. I guess this is nothing new for them, but it ticked me off. Makes me glad I don't own a Specialized bike and I doubt I will again. Salsa liked me. I buy stuff from folks that like me.
Anything else? A few things I will blog about all on their own, but the rest is all fuzzy, just one big mash of lights, banners, and shiny, expensive things.
Now a couple of pics just cuz. Salsa goodness, The Santana bike-as-fence-rail booth, The Lenz 6.0 and a quiet statement of faith, and Rawland steel, not in any particular order.