By Lennard Zinn
Well, the 2009 Interbike show is now over, and I’m glad to be back in Boulder. It was a great trip, all in all, thanks to diluting Las Vegas with lots of bike riding.
With my brother, Kai, who drove out from Pasadena to meet me in Las Vegas, I did some awesome mountain bike rides in southwest Utah the weekend prior to Interbike. On Saturday (9/19), we rode trails around Brian Head for five hours, at elevations up to 11,500 feet, including Lowder Creek, Sidney Peak, and both the left and right forks of Bunker Creek http://www.utahmountainbiking.com/trails/bunker.htm. And talk about prayers being answered, after all of that hard riding, Oktoberfest was being celebrated at the main lodge at Brian Head ski area. After a long day of mountain biking, there’s nothing like slaking your thirst with good beer and your hunger with bratwurst, sauerkraut, potato salad, and potato dumplings!
On Sunday, we rode Gooseberry Mesa http://www.utahmountainbiking.com/trails/goose.htm. This is spectacular, circuitous slickrock riding with an amazing view of Zion National Park to the north. Unfortunately, Kai threw his rear derailleur into his spokes out in the middle of the slickrock maze, and it mangled the derailleur as well as the derailleur hanger. Fortunately, both of us had spare derailleur hangers with us. (You do carry one with you, don’t you? Wheels Mfg. carries most types http://wheelsmfg.com/content/section/4/27/ except ours, which you can get from us.) I had to do a lot of bending on the derailleur, and I was glad I had the Pedro’s Trixie tool http://www.pedros.com/trixie.html with me. I used the 5mm hex part as a hammer to bend back the tab that keeps the derailleur from flipping back past its stop, and I used the hook end to pry down the leading corner of his rear derailleur cage, which had been pried outward and was poised to catch more spokes with little provocation. Note to self: mention the Trixie in my Emergency Repairs chapter of the fifth edition of Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance http://zinncycles.pinnaclecart.com/index.php?p=product&id=34&parent=12.
Once Kai dropped me off at the Palazzo hotel and headed back to LA with both of the Zinn Megabikes he had brought for us to ride, I put my coupled titanium road bike http://www.zinncycles.com/road-custom_travel_bikes.php together on the marble floor of the palatial suite I was sharing with fellow VeloNews tech writer Matt Pacocha. I love traveling with that bike. It’s easy and free to fly with; it’s quick to put together and later take apart and put back in the case, and then I have a full-on racing bike at my hotel!
Monday and Tuesday were the Interbike’s Outdoor Demo days at Bootleg Canyon above Lake Mead. I rode from my hotel on The Strip to Bootleg Canyon and back both days (80km round trip), thus avoiding the lines for the shuttle buses and getting to ride in the cool parts of the day as well as the hot parts. As you can see from my VeloNews column http://www.velonews.com/article/98140, there now are incredible, paved bike trails connecting Bootleg Canyon with Vegas and with Lake Mead, which made the riding much more enjoyable. I caught a Campagnolo ride from the venue to the lake first thing Monday, and then the hammerfest ride, called the Tour of Lake Mead, first thing Tuesday. Every year, that becomes a full-on race for bike-industry domination by the time we reach the big climb back up to Bootleg Canyon from the lake.
There are great mountain bike trails in Bootleg Canyon itself, and I spent the rest of Tuesday riding mountain bikes on them http://www.velonews.com/article/98217. I got in 160km of riding on Monday and 130km on Tuesday, which would serve to boost my mood the following three days of the show, when I’m cooped up inside. The Palazzo is connected to the Venetian hotel, which is connected to the Sands Convention Center, so there is no need to even go outside for those three days. I work late each night writing and filing stories online, get up early for VeloNews breakfast editorial meetings in one of the hotel restaurants, then walk through fake Venetian architecture to the Sands, spend the whole day in the show geeking out on bike stuff, often having lunch and dinner also within the complex, and heading back to my room to write and continue the cycle.
Fortunately, Matt was racing in ’Cross Vegas http://www.crossvegas.com/wp2/, so I headed out there on Wednesday night. My friend Wen Hsieh, owner of KHS, took me out to dinner another night, and I ate at Chipotle on the other nights (thank god for that place!), else I really would never have gotten outside for three days.
You can see all of my Vegas tech stories here: http://www.velonews.com/lennard-zinn. I’m really glad to be back here with my family and riding my new cyclocross bike(s), among other things!