Our preliminary camp is over and all of the athletes are on flights home or already home as I type this. Most of you are familiar with the fact that almost all athletes will fly home unless they live close to the event. I get the joy of sightseeing while traversing my way across the country. I, like many mechanics, can tell you about places on I-80 or I-95 or I-10 (the road I’ll see most of on this trip).
On my way home, I took a bit of time and a bit of detour to visit our soigneur Dave B. He’s in Lubbock, TX only about 6 hours from camp. Although not on a direct line home (it added about 3 hours to my total driving) he was too close to not stop by. That and he had a few souvenirs I had him bring back from Europe in his rub table (so they wouldn’t get damaged). He did not work the camp because he had a family reunion that week (part of it at least). It was cool to see him, his wife and his house. Him and I are the ONLY American staff members on our (US) team so we got to stick together. I worked with Dave while on the Saturn team and we have been good friends since. We also work very well together because we both know the complex needs of the other and try to help each other when we can. A no-no in typical Euro ways. In Europe, we mechanics do our stuff and soigneurs do their stuff and no more.
I’m a mechanic and like making things/fixing bikes, but he makes me envious sometimes. He is good with wood building and is in the process of fixing up his house. A big project guy as his wife says. After visiting him, I want to go to the garage (that I don’t have) and build something.
The other thing I got to do is stop at the hotel we’ll use for our January camp. I wanted to scout out the land and ask about things we (mechanics) will have at our disposal. Last year at Avila Beach in Southern California, we had a 8×40 container to store things in and a huge tent to work (I call that shelter) under. Our team has 6 mechanics for 2001 and probably 5 (including me) will be at camp. Because of that, I want to make sure we can work in good conditions. I talked to our hotel coordinator and worked out almost all of the things we will need including where to put the container, where to put the tent, to have a water source (and hoses too) and a power source (and power cords too) and lighting. I’m psyched because when the other mechanics arrive, they will have a few less things to worry about and make camp that much less stressful. I’m feeling the ability to prop my feet up on my hotel bed that much longer because I was able to do a bit of scouting.
The drive from Austin to Sacramento is a bit more than 30 hours. Not a fun task driving team vehicles across the country but it must be done so I try not to think about it and just do the job. A driver would be cool though. I love to be able to just look at the scenery a bit more. I’d love to say “Home James” sometime.
OH well I must return to the reality of being a mechanic and finish my drive home.