I had never been to Vegas before, let alone Interbike, so it took a little while to get adjusted to the high levels of oxygen mixed with cigarette smoke in the casinos. It was really cool to get to go to the show and see all the new cycling goodies, but that was not the reason I made the trip to Las Vegas. Wednesday night after the show closed its' doors the masses migrated to the Desert Breeze soccer complex on the outskirts of town to witness the madness that is this sport we all love so much.
The start was blistering fast and the pace did not let up. I rode the first few laps in pretty good position. Besting Lance at the start, I hung in his group in the high twenties for a couple laps before fading back to the low thirties. I could hear the announcers excitedly accounting how aggressive the lead riders were being and started wondering how long it would be before they started pulling riders, so that there were not any conflicts with the leaders.
So with four or five laps to go, you get what the picture shows you. I was in a group of seven or eight riders and the front few were able to separate themselves from the rest of us. I figured it was not long before they were going to pull our plug and the fun was going to be over so I decided to make the most of this time with so many spectators. There were tons of people along the fence at the finish line and near the barriers. I started riding by them with my hand out stretched, giving high fives to anyone who would take them. This was about the same time I realized I could make some good money ($8) if I took the singles people were holding out.
What I did not expect was to stay strong and keep the pace high enough that I would not get pulled. It was so much fun. The crowd was so intense and energetic that it became hard to slow down. Definitely one of the most fun races I have been in yet! And I might add that the bikes look pretty hot under those lights too.
Photo by: Kurt Jambretz