I'm actually not that much of a party girl.
Notwithstanding the complete lack of rack that is required to look good in backless club wear, a glass of beer can make the room spin for me. Chimay will absolutely floor me. Dancing in heels all night is a skill I never bothered to perfect. I'd just really rather stay in and lube my chains.
But when something's been talked about for weeks - yup, that's right, weeks - in advance, I'll promise myself that I won't "accidentally" fall asleep or "get sick" that night [okay, I did fall asleep after dinner but I was working on 4 hours of sleep!].
Of course, I'm talking about the "Celebration of Sport a.k.a. Tastemaker's Party." Sponsored by Rapha, Ridley, Fizik, Embrocation Cycling Journal, IF, and Knog, I had received an invite long enough ago that I couldn't remember if I'd actually been invited [M1 informed me that I had been]. Which is a good thing, because I had promised Jason [a.k.a. DJ Mayhem for the night] that I would be attending. And when Jason spins, well, it's a guaranteed fun time.
So I was looking forward to it as soon as I landed in Vegas, groggy and gimpy from a broken IT band. I then proceeded to promptly forget about any stabbing pain in my knee in the excitement of Interbike; and any complaints of being completely exhausted vanished when James produced, from his magical pocket full of goodies, yet another party invite in the form of a pin [plus an Embrocation Cycling Journal pin!].
When I was finally roused from my death-like post-dinner nap, we squeezed into a taxi and headed to the Artisan Hotel. Dimly lit, with faux masterpieces plastered on the walls and ceilings, the Artisan is to the rest of Vegas what a chilled-out jazz lounge is to a warehouse rave. And in the center of the bar, lit up by bright Knog lights, was the new IF grass track bike. You could almost imagine it cooing great jazz.
Until, of course, Jason took the wheels and turned up the happy notch, mixing 80s hits in a suit [with suspenders!]. People flowed in and out, casually chatting, somehow forgetting that the male:female ratio would have been considered downright pathetic in any regular bar.
Still, they were all tastemakers. Scanning the room, I saw a tall redhead and attempted to wave to get his attention, then squeezed past some people to say hi. It was Tyler, and next to him, Abe, of Outlier. As I excitedly said hi, picking up the conversation from the first time we met a month or so ago, a man turned to me:
"Excuse me, are you Kaiko?"
It was none other than Velodramatic! It was my first time speaking to him face-to-face, and he is as awesome as I imagined. With Velodramatic to my left, Outlier on my right, Jason DJing, Marty at the bar, M1 representing cassette and Gage & Desoto...all surrounded by Rapha...When you add up the names of everyone I knew there - a small minority - you get a sense of how many heavy-hitters were in attendance.
We escaped to the hotel lobby as the temperature in the bar started to noticeably rise, and after talking about the next day's planned events, the ridiculousness of Vegas, and whether we should go to a strip club, we found ourselves completely cracked. Saying our goodbyes, we left the quirky Artisan and headed back to the glitz of the Strip.
My legs weren't wobbly, but I felt as if I had spent the night dancing my feet off at overpriced clubs in downtown Tokyo. I passed out as soon as my head hit the pillow, dreaming of custom invites in the form of pins, an awesome 80s soundtrack, high-end cycling apparel, and, of course, bicycles.
[More tomorrow on some hot pants, new addictions, and cell phone sound systems...]