Monday, October 08, 2007

Danny's Vegas Road Trip

As the hours passed along on Interstate 70, my legs started to cramp and the only light at the end of the tunnel I see is the fact that for this entire 740 mile trip to Vegas, we were using a more sustainable fuel than petroleum diesel!

This was possible by driving Ben’s ‘96 Volkswagon TDI with B100 biodiesel in place of normal diesel (which incase you don’t know is 100% vegetable oil that has been chemically converted to a burnable, usable fuel substance.

Because the U.S. is not all that hip to the fact that biodiesel works in every diesel engine, finding a place to fill up with this earth-friendly fuel between Boulder and Las Vegas proved to be totally impossible so to compensate for this little problem Ben filled up four extra 5 gallon jugs with B100 to help get us all the way there.

Finally after about 14 hours in the car we rolled into sight of the VERY bright lights of Las Vegas, and we quickly bypassed The Strip and went straight to the Red Rock Canyon campground, only about 14 miles outside of the city but it seemed like we were in the middle of nowhere. At just about midnight we started to assemble our tents while trying not to wake up our campsite partner Daimeon Shanks (Slipstream mechanic and my mechanic for Cross Vegas).

The next morning when we woke up we went for a sweet ride along the scenic drive in Red Rock Canyon, and then drove back into town, which only took about an hour and a half to go about 15 miles because the traffic was so bad. Thankfully after finally making it to the Sands Convention Center we unloaded the 2 show bikes that we brought for Salsa and Alpha Q to display and I went in to get my pass from CLIF BAR. It was as if I walked through the doors of heaven…bike heaven I guess. The building was absolutely massive, with more booths then I could count with bikes, parts, and people lining the walkways in every direction.

Ben and I headed for the CLIF BAR booth to meet up with Team CLIF BAR’s Dylan Seguin, who helps Ben organize our ‘cross team. I checked out their shiny old-school biodiesel tour bus promoting the Two Mile Challenge – getting people to ride their bike for all the daily activities they do within a 2 mile radius of home. I also got to meet Gary Erickson the owner and founder which I thought was a lot of fun because I got to finally put a face to the name I had been hearing about and reading about for so long!

After that we moved along to catch up with other sponsors – some old friends like Crank Brothers, Pearl Izumi and fi’zi:k, and others great to meet for the first time in person, like Salsa, Alpha Q and Kinetic Trainers.

Crank Brothers has been behind the team since 2004 and we’ve got some exciting plans in the mix for this year, so it was fun to hang out with them as always. Pearl Izumi, being one of our local Colorado sponsors, was fun to see in action at the show with all of their new clothes and shoes. Suzette from fi’zi:k was so busy we never got to talk! Everyone loves those saddles!

Meeting the Salsa crew was awesome. Everyone at Salsa had their own unique, fun personalities that I could tell they bring to work every day and to the bikes they make too. It was a lot of fun getting to know them and getting to give them some early input because as a rider it is great to have sponsors who like to take feedback into consideration for product development.

Alpha Q is the company behind the amazing forks we have been riding the last 3 years of the TIAA-CREF/CLIF BAR team. The team and I are psyched to be working with Kinetic Trainers this year for warming up at the races, and I am going to test out a new model at home once the weather gets nasty.

Later that night was the Cross Vegas race. With a 9pm start time, luckily I was able to grab a quick nap in Dylan’s hotel room, but with traffic I still got over to the race just in time to check out the course and get a pasta dinner off the Coleman stove. It was sweet to hang out in the stylin’ Luna Chix setup before the race, thanks!!

The race its self was a bit of a crapshoot and we don’t really need to go into much detail about it other than I went really hard on lap one and then the thick grass just started to feel like wet cement and I was suffering pretty good. On a lighter note I thought Chris Grealish and his crew of Boulder Couriers put on one heck of an awesome event as far as giving the people at Interbike an eye-opening experience of what a true European cyclo-cross atmosphere is like…a huge beer drinking crowd going nuts along every inch of the course!!! Not to mention it was under the lights which made the event about 10 times cooler!

Bloks first thing in the morning for a little Cross Vegas recovery...

By: Daniel Summerhill

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