Coming up for air

Each year at this camp we have a weekend set aside for sponsors. This year we are doing it in Ojai, CA instead of Phoenix, AZ. I’m especially excited because it eliminated a 14 hour drive from Solvang to Phoenix. Normally a not so hard task/drive but last year we had to beat the riders there. A morning ride, then pack the truck to drive late into the night. Up early the next day to make it there in time (riders would fly there) to have bikes ready for an afternoon ride. Ouch!!
At this weekend we do a sponsor ride in the morning and a casual lunch with them after that. In the evening we have a full blown official dinner with them. All of them!! There were about 150 or more people at this dinner including the team and staff. We have 28 riders, 4 team managers, 6 mechanics, 8 full time Soigneurs, 2 part time soigneurs, 1 bus driver, 1 chef, 3 physicians, 1 physical trainer, and a host of others (media relations, director of logistics, creative director not to mention the Chairman, CEO, president, etc.). Total staff is 41 people. Of the total staff there are 18 still here in Ojai. So if you do the math that’s about 130 or more sponsors. Amazing!!

The morning ride is always lots to do for the mechanics and soigneurs. Not all of the 130 plus sponsors do the ride. But lots of them do. I’d guess there are easily half of the sponsors on this ride. Since it is only Dave here for the soigneurs I’m sure it’s was really hard for him. Hard to “fill” all the requests by sponsors for water, bars, gels etc. AND take care of our riders at the same time. For the mechanics we are just Julien and myself. With two mechanics it was also tough for us. We had two local bike shop mechanics to help the sponsors while Julien and I took care of our riders. Well, it is inevitable that sponsors will ask us to help them with their requests. Tighten a bolt here. Lower a saddle there. Pump a host of tires EVERYWHERE!! Mainly because it is Julien and I who they know. I deal with at least a few times each year at various events so they know me and ask me (or Julien) to tighten XYZ or pump their tires or what ever they need instead of asking the two helper mechanics.
Whew!! I need to come up for air. Can’t wait for the open bar cocktail reception before dinner!!!!


Owner of and long time professional race mechanic.