Just in time delivery.
Like last year, we had the main training camp in Solvang. This camp was just for riders and staff. The riders did the daily training rides and the mechanics took care of the bikes and soigneurs gave daily rubs. This is also where the riders meet with the directors (Johan, Dirk and Lorenzo) and got their individual race schedules for the first third of the season. With the exception of the team presentation (which was sort of big) there was only a small handful of media present each day. Sometimes none at all.
From Solvang, Ca. we traveled to Scottsdale, AZ for our sponsor weekend. Last year I had asked Johan if we could do Thursday’s ride a bit earlier so we could finish earlier and pack and drive to AZ. This year we did the same transfer to AZ so Johan was prepared and scheduled the daily ride to end about 1:00. They actually finished at about 12:30. Bonus as it was a haul to get to AZ in time. Geoff and Chris were to drive two cars back to SF (offices) and fly back to Belgium to prep one truck for the first assault of races scheduled in Europe. So, we would go from 5 mechanics here in Solvang to 3 in AZ.
The team truck was full of bikes. There were 25 race bikes, 4 spare bikes and a couple of management bikes too. All told we had jammed 33 bikes inside. The truck holds 12 bikes on one wall. Two additional bikes hung near the rear door and the rest (19 bikes) were stacked on the floor of the truck. We rented a U-Haul to deal with luggage (massive to say the least). Dave and Richard drove this and finally Elvio drove the team car. I was not looking forward to this drive. Lucky I found a better route than last year and the drive was sure to be a bit smoother.
We left Solvang on Thursday about 1:30 or 2:00 PM and made a dash for AZ. The riders and the remainder of the staff were to fly there on Friday morning to arrive by 1:30 PM. We caravaned and got to the border of CA/AZ by 10:00 PM or so. We got up early and drove the remainder (about 175 miles) to get there by noon. But I forgot the hour difference and got there by about almost 1:00 PM. Juan and I rushed to get some lunch. As we were just finishing lunch the team arrived at the lunch area. Probably 10 or 15 minutes earlier than expected. WHEW! We just made it. The team/riders/staff that flew and just arrived did not know that we had just arrived also. Little did they know. But we were not going to tell them. Just pretend we were there with a comfortable time gap.
In retail this would be called “Just in time delivery.”
Julien had also flown with the riders and most of the staff, so he needed to get some lunch. So, Juan and I quickly pulled out the bikes. We were also lucky because Johan said they would ride 30 minutes later than scheduled. Thanks Johan!