120 to 4 ratio

Today was pretty smooth for myself and Juan (our other mechanic for this race). Dave Bolch is our full time soigneur for the US program and BJ and Paula rounded out the staff. I don’t want to leave out Frankie because he is so helpful in making all of our staff jobs easier anytime he can.
An early race meant an early rise. Up at 5:45 and then a short walk to Starbucks for coffee and a muffin. I cant get much food down that early so this was perfect. By 6:15 Juan and I were at the truck to get ready and change the last few cogs, pump the tires and rack the car with the spare bikes. The race was at 8:45 and we were to drive the short distance at about 8:15. We were 1 block from the start/finish line (in a direct line) but actually needed to drive three blocks to get there. No big deal.
As we were working this morning, a crowd started to mingle. By no later than 6:30 there were no less than 200 people surrounding the truck and van watching. Watching us pump tires. Watching us change a few cogs. Watching the soigneurs fill water bottles. Watching them fill musetts. Were we that interesting? I guess so. By 7 or 7:30 the crowd of 200 doubled in size. And not one rider had showed up yet.
Yesterday we had the crazy fans out. One woman watched as Juan changed George’s handlebar tape. She asked what he was going to do with it (the old tape) and Juan said (wondering about her question) that he was going to throw it away. She asked if he could give it to her. A little girl in her teens asked if she could have part of it too (one side of the bar tape). The first woman exclaimed that she was getting it ALL. They were fighting over George’s OLD ratty used handlebar tape. One guy asked if he could touch Lances top tube. Many were trying to maneuver so their friends could take their picture and get Lances or George’s (or who ever) bike in the back ground of the picture.
The race for Juan and I was pretty uneventful. That is a good thing for me. If nothing goes wrong the I had a combination of two things. A combination of doing a good job to prevent problems and a little good luck. I only got out of the car once when there was a crash on the Taylor climb. By the time I ran the 100 feet while weaving through the stopped vehicles, I arrived and was relieved to see none of my riders had been involved. I was totally out of breath from that hard (uphill) run though. I went in the caravan car for the first half of the race and was replaced by Juan who did the last half. That was nice to get that break. I like going in the car but sometimes it is hard and makes for a long day. I sat down and had a relaxed lunch while Juan took my place. A rare treat to have a relaxed lunch on race day.
My week started Tuesday as I arrived about noonish. Two riders were to arrive Tuesday late afternoon so BJ and I were to be there to pick them up and be there if they needed things. All in all from the time I got there Tuesday until the end of the race Sunday afternoon I spent 5 days there. That was 120 hours in total for a grand total of about 5 hours of racing. That is probably the most lopsided ratio I have ever experienced.


Owner of Promechanics.com and long time professional race mechanic.