Yep, I had not ever seen the spectacle of cyclo cross in person before. It isn't that big of a deal around where I live unless I travel a couple of hours somewhere to witness it where it is a big deal. I just never had the inclination to make that effort. Cross Vegas just may have made me change my mind on that note.
My chance came when an industry contact offered me two tickets to get in the venue. I had already discussed going with my friend and co-conspirator, Grannygear, and he was amenable to the idea. Once I stated that I had the tickets, he was all in.
There was a lot to tell, but here are my impressions of the event in bullet point form....
- The venue was HUGE. I had no idea cross courses were that long and covered that much ground. The undertaking to put on an event of this magnitude can not be underestimated.
- The amount of participants in the field was impressive. Over 150 riders alone in the Industry Class.
- The Pro Women's field was FAST!!
- The Pro Men's field was BLAZING FAST!!
- Sven Nys is World Champion for a good reason. He simply outclassed the entire field.
On Interbike's New Venue: Interbike moved to the Mandalay and the convention hall located there, in specific. I liked a lot of things about this. The Mandalay is located almost at the very end of The Strip, so you can really avoid most of that nonsense further north up Las Vegas Boulevard. The "in and out" of driving there and walking in was streamlined, shorter, and with less cigarette smoke and casino exposure. Almost none, in fact.
I didn't like the layout of the show. There were no real easy routes through the booths and by the look of the map, it could have been made a lot easier to navigate. (The Interbike phone ap was a Godsend for me, but some folks had trouble with the functionality of that as as well.) If it hadn't been for my phone, I would have continually spent my time running in circles inside a bewildering puzzle of booths and befuddled conventioneers. My friend Brent, of Twin Six said, "It's like a corn maze without the corn and whiskey!" I would have to concur on that point!
As it was, the Squirrel Cage that was Interbike did not defeat me, but it was mildly frustrating. The show floor plan was obviously far more compact than when we were in the Sands Convention Center, so it seemed busy, but I think it was a trick of the venue. No matter. Interbike will say more folks were there and more vendors were there, yada,yada,yada.... Why wouldn't they say that?
Okay, I am on my way back to the MidWest, but I will have far more to share about Interbike, so stay tuned.....