Saturday, September 17, 2011

Interbike in Las Vegas, and now in Syracuse, NY

It seems that I simply can't keep the blog updated fast enough to keep pace with my schedule. Just yesterday, it seems, I was hanging out at that pool at the Marriott in San Jose, waiting for my flight to Miami after by Dallas flight had been cancelled. Check the calendar: It's Saturday night, five full days later!

So here's what I've been up to: I took the late flight to MIA, where AA put me into a Sofitel for a few hours before I had to catch the early-morning flight to DFW on Tuesday. That flight, as a matter of fact, was one of the very, very few this year for which I was not upgraded—the entire First Class cabin was full of full-fare customers. Now, I can't argue with that. My upgrade percentage is still over 90%...
Arriving in rain-starved West Texas, once again
Once in DFW I connected to LBB, where I arrived around noon. By 12:30 p.m. I had unpacked my bags and had the washing machine going. (No, it's not that I have that few wearable items—heaven, you know how much crap lies around the house!—but I just don't like to have dirty laundry sitting around.) Between returning accumulated phone messages, talking to the neighbor, trying to hunt down the UPS guy who had a red-label package that I had to take with me to Vegas, and packing for the tradeshow and the immediately following 70.3 in Syracuse I somehow found a few minutes to Skype with Sabine, who had re-entered the real world in Munich over the weekend. At 7:30 p.m. I checked in for my flight to Vegas. Ufff.
Nobody was around to personally welcome me. Unbelievable!
The tradeshow—I think my 21st or 22nd since 1988—was good. Not spectacular, but good. I had a chance to renew quite a few industry contacts after last year's hiatus, I connected with a few people face-to-face whom I only knew through our telephone contacts, and I had a chance to spend quality time with my old buddy Lee, who goes to Interbike as one of Tandem Pro's, ahem, employees. (Incidentally, the current amateur road champion from Luxembourg, Christian Helmig, is also on my "payroll," and while we are at it, his lovely girlfriend Christine rounded out the staff—all are seasoned cycling industry veterans who were working the show to strengthen the sponsorship ties for their Dallas-based team.)
Lee, Christian, and Christine—Tandem Pro's world-class employees
It's good to have folks like Lee and Christian around, because they know the industry just as well as I do and are helpful in spotting new product, introducing me to new contacts, and being wing men when it comes to Happy Hour, which starts around 3 p.m. at Interbike. In other words, we had a great time.
The Venetian, where Tandem Pro's staff stayed (on their own dime!)
At 12:50 a.m. Friday morning, my flight to Chicago left Vegas' McCarran. Thanks goodness for the upgrade and the little bit of shut-eye after a fairly strenuous 48 hours in Sin City. Three more hours in the Admirals Club in Chicago and another two hours in an Eagle to Syracuse, and I had arrived at the location of my penultimate triathlon of the year. Should you ever watch "Up in the Air" with my look-alike, George Clooney, well, just think: There are really some people who are pulling the portrayed kind of schedule.Still, I still think that the movie is a bit unrealistic since Clooney stays handsomely trim throughout the flick while I continue to prove that the principle of entropy is, indeed, verifiable. Yes, I am the poster child of the expanding universe. But I find it impossible to turn down a flight attendant who is proffering a G&T. I simply can't be rude. Seriously!

I worked on the entropy thing one more time last night when Dave Ragsdale, the best triathlon announcer in the Delta Quadrant—if not the known universe—and I went downtown to have dinner. We hit Syracuse Suds Factory for, duh!, suds and food, managed to force down a pint at PJ's (don't go there—worst beer ever!!!), and finished the night off at the Empire, where the beer was better but not on par with the finest that NM, WA, or CA have to offer. But the company was great: Dave and I have been working races together for four or five years, and we'd never had a chance to sit together and exchange notes on life while yelling over the roaring ding of pre-pubescent shrieking nubiles who were on a fraternity-sponsored pub-crawl in downtown Syracuse. I love the races.
...sans mots...
Today was more of a workday, with the usual Saturday prep: Take a water temp reading (64° F, most definitely wetsuit legal), check the course, attend the Pro meeting, train the volunteer marshals and Penalty Tent personnel, go back out to the race site to de-clusterf**k the mandatory bike check-in, etc. Hey, they pay me the BIG bucks, in case you didn't know.

And now it's a bit after 10 p.m. Eastern, I just had a Caged Alpha Monkey IPA (bought at Wegman's—a heckuva grocery chain in these parts where my moto driver, Charlie, works in the produce department), and now it's time to add a few pics to the blog before I turn in for the night and an early, 4 a.m. start of the day. New Monsoon is playing on the little JBL sound system, there's the promise of a good-night beer (Southern Tier IPA), and I think that I lead the damn coolest life of anybody I (or you) know. Let's hope that last night's freeze warning is not going to be repeated tonight ... yes, it's nipp(l)y here!
Is this what one calls a quiver of beer?

G'night, and thanks for reading.


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