Today was the men’s Road Race. All told they rode 224k or 140 miles. It had been sort of hot the days leading up to the RR but today was especially hot. It seemed like the Greek gods wanted to test the riders at their maximum (heat) today. The Olympic organizers gave our team 200 official Olympic water bottles and were told to NOT use the ones we had brought (USA Team bottle). Actually all teams were to use the official bottle and not team bottles. Primarily because they do not want ANY other Sponsors to show their logo’s. The 200 bottles were for men road, women road, men TT, and women TT. With 5 men for the RR, 2 men for the TT, 3 women for the Road and 2 women for the TT, 200 bottles seemed reasonable. NOT!!!! I think the soigneurs said they almost used all 200 bottles in the men’s RR. So, good thing they brought our own USA bottles. We needed them especially for the women’s race the next day and the TT in a few days.
The day went something like this. I was up at 6:00 AM, leaving the Hotel by 6:15, arriving at the village (security gate) by 6:30, got through security by 6:45, eating a quick (Mickey D’s) breakfast by 7:10, pumping all bikes, spare bikes, spare wheels by 7:40, double checking that I had all I needed and ready to pack by 8:00, shlepp all of our shit to the parking lot (1k and change away) by 8:00 racking the race car w/spare bikes/wheels, racking race bikes on the van and helping the soigneurs load their shit and visa versa by 9:15, driving the 1K or so to the ready to depart area by 9:30, actually departing for the race at 10:00, arriving at the race at 10:30, unloading race bikes and getting guys ready (soigneurs getting them radios, water, food etc.) by 11:30 or 11:45, a bit of relax time until the 12:45 PM start, finishing the race at about 6:30, cleaning up the guys (soigneurs) and rider doing their interviews and racking bikes by 7:30, back to the Village by 8:00, Through security by 8:30, schlep shit back to Apartment by 9:00/9:15 and finally finishing dinner by 10:00 PM. What a day!
Even though the race started at 12:45 PM (in the hottest part of the day) we had to leave at 10:00 AM. The Olympic security required teams to travel with them in groups of 10 teams at a time. So we lined up at 9:30 ready to depart in the first wave of teams to get a good spot AT the race. A 12:45 start I guess was to make for a good prime time TV (local TV) finish.
Both the world championships and Olympics are really the only races that the riders will do as National/Federation team events as opposed to their normal trade team events. Our US men’s team is a mix of trade teams such as USPS (George), Rabobank (Levi), Phonak (Tyler), CSC (Bobby) and last but not least HealthNet (Jason). All of these guys trade their normal sponsored jerseys for the red, white and blue USA jersey.
Before I even left the US, I knew that the Olympics were tough on logo’s. And the logo Nazi’s were out in force. The last (Sidney) Olympics, Trek had made (for the Postal riders) a (sort of) big name sticker to cover the US Postal decal on our bikes. I knew the only logo they would accept was that of the actual manufacturer of the bike, wheel, stem, or what ever product it was. But I did not expect them to ask us to cover up as much as we did. Basically they would accept ONLY TWO logos per bike (manufacturer) TOTAL. On our Postal bikes for example there are 11 Trek logos, 1 Shimano logo, 1 Hutchinson logo and 1 Berry Floor logo. But they would accept only two so I chose the two on the down tube (one per side). Every other logo had to be covered up. On Tyler’s bikes I even had to cover the words “We race for better hearing” on his Phonak sponsored BMC brand bike. Plus I had to cover up the big Phonak logo on the top tube. On Bobby’s Cervello, I had to cover up the P3 (or what ever it was) that was the bike MODEL. Wacky. Jason helped me heaps unknowingly as Giant made a special bike for him with a sort of US Flag motif. It came with ONLY two logo’s from the Manufacturer (Giant). So, on his bike I did not have to cover any odd decals. Plus his bike looked the nicest because it did not have black duct tape all over it. All bikes (any team) looked sort of ugly with so much tape covering them. Probably the oddest requirement from the Logo Police was that they even asked us (mechanics) to cover up the NAME! Why? I don’t really know but they told us to do it and we had to.
On side note, yesterday Ken helped me by washing my bikes and then today he went with us to the race as my second mechanic. He was to be the pit mechanic in the cabana’s that were set up primarily for the feed zone. Because of his enormous help, I wanted to return the favor and help him. He was at the race with me while his women’s team did their daily training ride(s). So, because he was here at the race with us, he could attend to his bikes for the next days women’s race. After dinner I repaid Ken and washed all of his women’s bikes for the next day. Fortunately he only had three riders and thus I only had to wash three bikes but still a tough task after a long day at the men’s race. I think I finished washing his bikes at about 11:00 PM and then drove to my hotel to sleep.
Since the women’s race starts at 3:30, Ken had the morning to do any final preparation of the women’s bikes. Not a real rush for him. Especially since he did a lot of prep work leading up to the weekend. Things like gluing tires, wrapping bars, checking cables, etc., during the week days, so on Sunday, AM, he had literally not so much to do.