All done and all gone

Monday we prepared the last few things for the Tour de France. We finished building the last bike and glued the last few wheels. Almost all of the spare bikes were built last week but we had one more to finish yesterday.
Also we got our cars from the Society du Tour de France. They provide every team with 4 cars. Two to use in the caravan and two for the soigneurs for the feed zone. We left two in France and brought two here to get them ready. We wired these two with our own equipment. So much is needed in the cars. The main caravan car comes with a TV facing the rear seat. A big 9 inch TV just between the two front seats. In both cars we put a TV in the front for the directors to see. That is two TVs in the first caravan car and one in the second car. Information’s is key and as soon as possible. Even if it is from the live TV coverage. We then put in our own radio system for communication between the director and the riders. It is also used to communicate between the two caravan cars and to our soigneurs.
Then we also use different radio for communicating between us and the commissar. We then get a frequency to program into this radio from the organizer. For those who don’t know, we never talk to the commissar over this radio. Only the commissar is to talk on this radio. We just listen and take the information he gives us. If you want to talk to commissar, you have to drive up next to him to talk to him or ask him your question. Now the commissar can tell us if there is a flat or someone wants a bottle.
After all of that was done, we are now ready to go to the tour. Most of the staff had left today. A day early so we could go to do some Team Time Trial tune up. An important stage that may not win you the tour but can certainly lose lots of time if your team is not smooth. So we will to do that exact course once or twice.
I’m now able to relax (really relax) since everyone is gone. I’m here at the Nazareth hotel and everyone else is at the tour. The Tour start is 400 miles away. Kinda weird being so close to the tour (for a Californian who has never seen the tour). So close yet so far away. I fly home this Saturday just as the tour will kick off.


Owner of and long time professional race mechanic.