Report from Interbike

Interbike was a great success this year. For those of you who aren’t aware of the event, Interbike is the largest bicycle trade event in North America. It is one of the most important events of the year for retailers, manufacturers, and and other industry folks. Over 1,000 brands are represented and 85% of all business within the cycling industry happens over these three days.

We were there for a couple of reasons. Our first objective was to personally thank all of those who took a risk and supported us last year. We’ve built great relationships with each of our sponsors, and it was great to see them for the first time since returning from Europe.

Special thanks to:

Our second objective was to foster new relationships for the future. We met some great people this year, and we’re really excited about the future. Stay tuned for new sponsor news.

Day 23 – Channel Day Moments

We swam the channel yesterday.  Today is a planned day to rest, recoop and reenergize. We still have 200 more miles to bike to get to Paris — which will start day after tomorrow.

Some stats about our swim:

  • Dover, UK to Calais, France
  • 14 hours 23 minutes
  • 21 miles
  • Water temp 60F
  • In terms of nutrition… We each fed once every 30 minutes in the water on GU Roctane and GU20 using the Gu-Bot bottle. The bottle held 2 GU packets in a separate chamber from the warmed GU hydration. We ate 2 packets and 12 ounces of warm water during each feeding.
  • Seas were pretty rough at times
  • Our pilot on channel day was David Whyte. Seriously folks, he’s the best in the business and has piloted over 350 successful channel swims. 350!!! His support was phenomenal. His thoughts we only on the swimmers — and his hand-picked crew helped our crew huge. His boat is one of the largest in the fleet. I remember late during the swim when he turned around and shouted encouragement to me in the water at the top of his lungs, flinging his arms in celebration. He was wonderful. It’s a pity he’s retiring this year — but we hear he’s trained an awesome successor in Chris Osmond.

Check out these videos and photographs:


Predator goggleA shout-out to Skyline Goggles, especially our friend Rick Runckel, President. Neal used the Predator goggles (pictured) during his crossing. These goggles are built for open water swimming — they have a huge viewing angle and don’t hurt eye sockets during swims, whether those swims are 1 hour or 14 hours.

Adding transparency to the travel industry

I just spent $2,282 for 2 coach tickets to Europe for our bike/swim/bike adventure. Dude, talk about price inflation! Buying tickets in advance is always scary, because sometimes the prices go down after you buy. When that happens there is Yapta.com. These guys aren’t a sponsor of ours, I just think they are awesome.

Yapta monitors your flights and emails you if the prices drop.

Most airlines have clauses that entitle you to a credit if the prices fall. Bet you didn’t know that, did ya? I didn’t either. And I didn’t believe it until (in Jan 2008) I was alerted by Yapta of a price drop, which promoted me to call Usair and request my refund. Usair sent the voucher to me a few weeks later. Yapta is just one of those free internet companies that is adding transparency to the travel industry.


Try it out for yourself. I’m a fan.

  • Step1: signup for account on Yapta.com
  • Step2: forward your preexisting flight confirmation emails to flightsatyaptadotcom
  • Step3: wait for email from Yapta telling you to claim your refund
  • Step4: call airline and request price drop refund
  • Step5: spend flight credit on future travel

Here’s a screenshot of my Yapta screen for this trip.

yapta2.jpg

If You Build It, They Will Come

380.pngWe announced a while back that Interbike was a booming success for us. We wrote about all of the solid relationships that we developed during the trade show, and we haven’t really talked much about it since. Well, as amatuers in the arena of garnering support, we must tell you, these things take time. Interbike was just the kickoff of a busy season for most of the industry. The trade show was followed very closely by the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii and a whole slew of stuff between then and now. Most companies are just getting around to their decision-making for the coming year. The good news for us is that we did in fact build solid relationships with many of the right people within these companies. The first road block in this process for most athletes is getting the right people to take your call. For the most part, we have crossed this hurdle.

Grass Roots Appeal: Our idea from the outset was to build a business plan around this event that would leverage our backgrounds and the unique and exciting nature of the endeavor to garner interest from multi-sport enthusiasts. Our ability to effectively reach a specific demographic in a new and interesting way was the key to opening the door with many  companies. The most common feedback has been that big sponsorship does not sell bikes/equipment. They sell equipment when the “regular athlete” sees other “regular athletes” riding their bikes or using their equipment. When they met us face-to-face, we were able to demonstrate our ability/appeal to sell their product to their target market. Companies see thousands of similar proposals each year. What set us apart to the point where they were willing to commit? We were not just another team of pro athletes, looking for a handout. We talked with them about their companies and engaged them in business conversations. We talked about how to add value to their company.

We’ve got a lot in the cooker right now, and we’re hoping to have some great news in the coming days and weeks.  We’ll keep you posted.  Now I have to get off my butt and get to the pool again to try and clear all the sludge from my muscles.

Success at the Interbike Conference

las_vegas_welcome_sign-717272.jpgInterbike is the largest bicycle trade show in the world. Over 22,000 people come each year. Some people come to buy (retailers). And some people come to sell (manufacturers and distributors).  80% of wholesale bike merchandise is sold during the 3 days of Interbike. They hold the event at the huge Vegas Conference Center in the Venetian each year.

Want to raise money for an expedition? You have to visit your sport’s trade show!

If you want to raise money for an expedition I suggest attending trade shows like this for four reasons:

  1. Face to face meetings with your prospective sponsors inspires huge trust. Makes getting sponsorship more likely.
  2. Seeing the gear first hand lets you know which gear you want most
  3. Giving your pitch in-person is great practice for giving it on the phone later 
  4. Trade shows are fun

We came to raise money and get gear sponsors for 10 Degrees Latitude Europe (July 2008). We made business cards (see contact page) and printed a one-page double-sided flyer. The business cards do a good job of establishing credibility and showing that we aren’t just a couple of schmucks. The flyer summarized our goals, needs and value proposition.

Adam and I spent 14 hours in Vegas. 4 hours at the airport, 2 hours in transit, 2 hours eating, and 6 hours at the conference. It was a PACKED 6 hours. We visited with over 40 companies, most of them together. And it was totally worth it. People responded very well to our goals, had positive things to say, and we already have many verbal commits from the best brands in biking.

As is always the case, we couldn’t have done it without our friends… My cousin Reghan gave us entrance passes (care of our friends at Specialized). Our friend Matt from Cadence Cycles advocated for us with amazing introductions to his favorite manufacturers. Even the people at the concessions counter were on our side (2 for 1 hotdogs).

More to come about our favorite gear from Interbike 2007!