Back from Interbike

Posted by SuperClydesdale on September 26, 2010 under Commentary | 2 Comments to Read

Had a fantastic week, driving from NorCal to Las Vegas for the 2010 Interbike, as well as some adventures along the way, logged 1800 miles.

This week and next, I’ll be providing photos and summaries of the Interbike experience, including:

  • Some rides I did along the way – “quick hits” as I call them.  Short rides to break up long drives.  I drove, so I could bring my road bike.
  • My encounter with Eddy Merckx.
  • My summary of the “wheels for heavy riders” investigation that I conducted at Interbike.
  • Other equipment of interest to Clydesdales, including:
    • Chains
    • Other equipment, non-Clydesdale specific:
      • Remote adjustable seat posts
      • Training aids
  • And, a few other bits that I hope I can recall.  It was Vegas. There was a lot of free beer.

One of the things that I wish I could forget, but I know is burned into my memory is the sad affair to be forever known by me as the “Timex watt challenge.”  This was a defining experience for me that threw me into a deep depression and brought me to the brink of suicide.

Thursday at the Timex booth

The new Timex Iron Man Global Trainer GPS watch that lured me into a self-destructive, ego deflating, little-guy-skewed watt challenge on a clown bike.

Timex was showing off their new line of GPS sports computers that masquerade as watches.  Very cool stuff, although they would be a whole lot cooler if I had won one.   And I could have.

At the Timex booth, they had two bikes.  One for men, one for women.  I don’t know why they had two, actually, because the one for “men” had a 54cm.   What sort of a man rides a 54cm frame?  My wife rides a 54cm frame.  It was more like a scale model of a man’s bike.

Anyway, these bikes were on trainers with power meters.  The Timex watch thingy has a power meter interface, and they had a contest to see what man and woman could generate the most watts.  As a prize, you could win the new high-end Timex watch/sports computer thingy.  They were giving away one of these thingies to the highest wattage man and the highest wattage woman, one for each day of Interbike.

The rules were:  you get on the bike, you have one minute to warm up, and then one minute to attain your peak measurement.

I saw that, and I thought, “perfect!  I am a big dude!  I am a watt machine.  I have a shot.”   This was Thursday.  They had a whiteboard announcing that on Wednesday, Christopher had won the watch with 1187 watts.  I saw that and thought “geez!  That Christopher is pathetic.  1187 watts?  I can easily beat that.”  This day, Thursday, a more manly number was produced by someone named David.   David had produced 1511 watts.  That’s more respectable, but still not spectacular.

I signed up.  I was going to win that thingy!

My turn came up, and I climbed on to the bike.  I towered over this bike.  Its like a clown bike – or one of those things you’d see a Shriner riding in a parade.  What sort of a shemale rides this size bike?!

First thing I noticed was that the seat was pretty low.  They moved it up as far as it would go, but it was still probably about 2 inches lower than my normal seat.  No big deal – I’ll be up out of the saddle when I try to crank up to my max watts anyway.  The handlebars we pretty close compared to my bike, and they had aero  bars on the bike with bar-end shifters.  Not sure why, since most people don’t ride those bikes — nor should they.  The worst part of the whole setup was that my size 13 shoes were hitting the trainer on the back of the rotation.  I had to point my toes somewhat to get it to clear.

I thought, “no big deal, I’m a watt machine!  I will crush this David guy with a mere 1511 watts.”

I get up, do my minute warm-up and the Timex guy is very serious, very formal. “5, 4, 3, 2, 1…” my minute to prove myself had begun.

This thing was freakin’ hard!   I was grabbing the bar ends and just cranking away.   They had two guys holding the bike upright.  The whole thing was convulsing under my weight, and a third Timex guy was shouting out numbers, stoking you to get a little more.

After about 20 seconds of all-out effort, you’re gassed.   You think of another attempt for the remaining 40 seconds but you know you’re cooked.  You can’t recover and retry in 40 seconds.

1247 watts.

What?  Is that thing broken?  What the hell does that mean?  What’s the sample rate on that thing?  I want a recount!  Can I do it again?  No – one attempt per day.

I was a broken man.  I spent most of the rest of the day wondering aloud to my buddies how I could have only produced a 1247 watt measurement.   They got pretty tired of that.

While I was there, some short-ish little pudgy guy from Ellsworth Cycles came by to check how his score was standing up – this guy is 1511-watt David.  It was as if someone had just thrown bleach in my face.  Note:  never buy an Ellsworth bicycle.  They are made by chubby little cheaters.

1247 watts was enough to win the damn watch on Wednesday, and now I don’t even get a short run on the whiteboard as the “current leader.”  Sad.  Pathetic.  My friends were hiding sharp objects and buying me drinks (I guess I did win in a way).

Friday at the Timex booth

So, Friday is a new day, and I stop by the Timex booth in the morning.  Some loser was on the leaderboard with 1100 or so watts.  Pathetic.  I signed up again.

Jump on the bike.  Bike shakes, me grunting.   1220 watts.

Even more pathetic!  What the hell is going on?   27 watts less than my Thursday score!

At least I get the glory of putting my name on the whiteboard as the leader.  The Timex guy assures me that this is a great score, and it will hold.  1511 was a freak – they’ve never seen it.  Nobody was going to beat that score, so I should be happy with 1220 watts, and I’ll probably win the watch.

Throughout the day, I come and check the Timex whiteboard.  The guy was right – that’s a good score.  It’s holding.

Friday is the last day of Interbike, and so in the afternoon, I am ready to leave the hall.  Timex has my info (for telemarketers, or potential identity theft – but presumably to send me my watch).  Just as I’m leaving, this physical specimen shows up with a small entourage.  This guy is about 6’1”, probably 220 pounds, and is just ripped.  His legs are literally like tree trunks, and he’s got shaved legs, so it really amplifies his leg muscles.    He’s got this big deep voice like Michael Clark Duncan (the big black dude from the Green Mile).  His voice is 6’5” even though he’s 6’1”.

I know at that moment that my time on the whiteboard is now in danger.  This guy is a stud.

A couple of the people he was with were videotaping his attempt.  The Timex guys were even commenting on the guy’s legs as he’s climbing on the bike — they were rooting for the guy!

He calmly and slowly goes through the warm-up, and then about 45 seconds into his minute, he stands up and lets it rip.  The Timex guy is shouting numbers, trying to get the guy to his max.  Its over in about 15 seconds, and the guy climbs down.

1240 watts.

The physical specimen beats my 1220.  I knew it when he showed up.  My only consolation is that (a) he just barely beat me, and (b) I got 1247 the day before.

But, that’s academic.  I suck.  No watch for me.

  • Merry New Year » Super Clydesdale said,

    [...] I want to beat the lying, cheating troll from Ellsworth on the Interbike watt challenge at Interbike 2011.  If they don’t have one, then I’ll arm wrestle him, or better yet, [...]

  • Merry New Year » Super Clydesdale said,

    [...] I want to beat the lying, cheating troll from Ellsworth on the Interbike watt challenge at Interbike 2011.  If they don’t have one, then I’ll arm wrestle him, or better yet, [...]

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