InterBike 2013 Day Three: Just Say Yes!
By Scotty Mac
“Hey Andrew? Sorry to bug you man, but I just wanted to tell you I’m a big fan of yours and I appreciate what you do for the sport,” I said, largely successful in not stumbling over my words. Not my first rodeo, you’ll remember. “Hey, I appreciate that. I noticed your badge, you’re out of the Springs? All that water man, that’s gotta be rough,” freeride legend Andrew Shandro replied. And just like that, Shandro, Clay, Lisa, and I settled into an easygoing convo, ranging from weather patterns, through riding, and ending on swapping stories about our kids and how they amaze us. Smiles all around, we shook hands and continued on our merry way.
The InterBike 2013 convention center in the Mandalay Bay hotel hits out at you like Carroll’s Wonderland, but without the Hatter or the Queen. It is a playground of bright lights, immaculate products, and the cycling industry’s best and brightest people. You will see everything from max-Gucci road and mountain bikes to bike trailer ambulances supporting medical efforts in Africa. Manufacturers and vendors from across the globe coalesce to form an almost impossible amount of status for the senses to cope with.
I’m not complaining. It. Is. Awesome.
We kicked off the morning with a presentation from Shimano, centering on advances in road bike technology. What struck me was the professionalism of the presentation, as the Shimano employee quantified and qualified improvements to the various gruppos, as well as articulated the differentiation in each set beyond the retail price.
Fortified with coffee and Salted Caramel Powergels, we moved on, stepping into our Wonderland. This is my fourth InterBike, and that first moment when I walk into the convention center still gets me. It’s amazing to see the collective whole of what our industry has to offer. It is varied and targeted, awesome and ingenious. We pressed into the crush of bodies, everyone in a hurry to not really go anywhere, drifting from booth to booth, scoring free swag and catching a moment’s respite on couches or chairs. This continued on for quite some time until we came up for air and realized we required lunch.
A productive business meeting and a slightly overpriced-yet-delicious steak quesadilla later, we resumed our stroll through the convention’s core. We ran into enduro racer Curtis Keene, and Kal and he conversed about riding at a different comprehension level than I currently possess. Like Shandro, Keene was super cool, seemingly in no rush while he talked with us for ten or fifteen minutes. Justin remarked that he had a similar experience with one of the other O.G. freeriders, Richie Schley. We agreed to a man (and woman) that having top pros that accessible and that chill was a high point of the InterBike experience.
In a never-ending quest to bring you, dear customer, the quality experience you expect and deserve from Ascent Cycling, some of us attended a bicycle service speech given by well-regarded Portland, OR wrench Brett Fleming. His enthusiasm for his topic and expertise as a mechanic was palpable, giving off a Billy Graham-meets-Lennard Zinn vibe. Many of his words rang true, and I am pleased to say that most of his key takeaways for improving service are already found in our shop approach. That said, there are always areas we can focus on to enhance our product, and some of Fleming’s helpful hints will take form in the coming months.
One more day to go in the Wonderland before we climb back up the rabbit hole and return to something resembling normalcy. I’ll hit you guys up from the household tomorrow to paint the finishing touches.