Enter The Dragon

Next week marks the 30th Interbike I've attended since the bicycle trade show's inception in 1982. In three decades the cities of Anaheim, Long Beach, Las Vegas, Reno, New York, Philadelphia and Atlantic City have hosted this event, and I have attended every one. Sometimes as a dealer and one time as a journalist, but always with each year's version of a DayPlanner in my hand and a smile on my face.

This Monday I am driving to Las Vegas with my iCal loaded to the brim with breakfasts, bro downs and boozy dinners. It wouldn't be a business junket if I didn't get drunk with friends at least once, and this year's Interbike in Sin City—the event's last hurrah in the Nevada desert, we're told—promises to be a humdinger. I bitch about attending this schmoozing and losing marathon every year, but I can't honestly think of any place I'd rather be. To go out in style, I've reserved next Tuesday evening for dinner with friends from the worlds of BMX distribution and media. The venue for our night of high-class debauchery is this:

Bob Stupak's Stratosphere Hotel and Casino features a bar and restaurant on the 107th floor of its space needle, and my friend Gaby is its manager. Gaby and her husband Brent are friends from the chopper side of my double life, and I appreciate their efforts to make my business trip to their home a fun and memorable one.

On Wednesday I'm taking the riders on SNAFU's pro team to dinner. I've done something similarly uninspired and low-key with my riders in the past, but this year I'm trying to do something special. Nothing so outlandish as the time team SNAFU and I burned down the town in a disco bus with hookers on a stripper pole, but that was a different time in a different sport. Today's BMXers are young, media-savvy and hyper-sensitive to trends and fashion, so I don't want to do anything that might compromise their values or integrity in the modern game.

Speaking of the modern game, Thursday night is Ride magazine's famed NORA Cup Party. I've been to every other one of these soirees since their inception in the late '90s, and each glitzy, high-production event makes me feel less involved with today's game. Ten years ago I knew every double-A racer by name, and enjoyed a good working relationship with 50% of the sport's top freestyle pros. Today I only recognize one rider on the list of semifinalists for Number One Racer, and I haven't screened one of the over 40 videos that were in contention for Best DVD. Consequently, I'm going to skip NORA Cup and have a quiet dinner with my friends from the product-development and manufacturing sides of the bike business. That's where I've played for most of the last 25 years, and it's where my passions lie today. Thanks for the invitation Keith, but in the words of Beachboy Brian Wilson, I just wasn't made for these times.


1 comment:

Fashion Serial Killer said...

30th? holy shit! so that means you were like 3 when you first started attending-right? ;oP