Driving on fumes.

Giro stage 5
Since Paulo was caught behind a crash near the end of the stage he lost about 30 seconds to the top guys on General classification. This plummeted us from car # 3 to car # 13. Superstition abound and no one wants the unlucky number 13 on their car. So we put the number on upside down to “ward off the bad luck,” but to me it really does not bother me at all.
Luck was not on Ryders side though and he was involved in a small pile up with about 40 to 50K to go. After picking himself up off the ground and having Geoff check his bike he was back on and chasing but now he had a solid minute gap if not a minute and a half to close. So, I checked his brake on the fly (leaning out the window AND holding onto his seat post AND checked his rear brake) as Lorenzo happened to gas it. Funny coincidence. I fiddled with his brake for a while as we hit 90 KPH. It just so happened that I finished working on his brake just as we were coming up on the back of the peloton.
I might have to turn in my mechanics license because I took longer to check his brake than a normal mechanic could. The commissaries in US races would never go for that. But in Europe they turn the other way when riders are in situations they have no control of and loose time because of it.
A 200k transfer to the next hotel after the finish. Ouch! I was supposed to follow Elvio but Geoff wanted to put one more bike on the roof and Elvio sped away. Damm, I have to figure the way to the hotel myself and driving Antonio Cruz. I got on the Autostrada and proceeded to find the way only to see the team bus go the opposite direction. Or more accurately I was going the wrong way. I found an off ramp and flipped it. I easily caught the team bus as I knew they were headed the right way. But I then looked and saw I had little gas. What to do. I actually gassed it, passed the team bus and tried to find a gas station. It took forever and I was certainly on fumes. I tried to get as much gas as possible AND looked for the team bus to see when it went by. I stopped pumping gas about 1/2 to 1/3 shy of full. Because I knew I could make it to the hotel on that much gas for sure AND catch back up to the bus and follow them in as I was still wary of the real way to the hotel. I’m sure Antonio was a bit nervous on the inside but he looked very calm on the outside.


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