Screaming at the top of my lungs
We have been here at this hotel in Vouliagmeni near the TT course for three days. It is a great area and low key. No on really knows we are here and that means low stress for the guys and gals doing the TT.
The TT course is so close to our hotel (150 m) that our riders warmed on trainers in the lower part of the lobby but still hidden from anyone who walked in. It is also air-conditioned as opposed as the teams at the official start area that is outside in the open air. There they still have huge tented cabanas that are fenced in so no spectators can interrupt them but not air-conditioned like our hotel. That area also does not keep out credentialed photographers or reporters or camera men though. That is also a plus for our guys. Few if any reporters, photographers or passers by will see us.
With the two women went in the single wave of riders. The two men went in the last of three waves for the two lap men’s affair. It was to be impossible to follow both groups (women and men) with the same car. So for the women’s race Jim Miller (women’s director) and Ken (women’s mechanic) followed Dede and Och (normally men’s director) and myself (normally men’s mechanic) followed Christine. For the men’s TT Och and I followed Tyler and Jim and Ken followed Bobby.
The women’s TT went fantastic as Dede earned the silver and I got to see Christine earn a very respectable 4th. She beat a number of veterans and also some awesome TT specialists. She was excited to be there and get 4th but also a bit sad that she did not medal. But we all constantly reminded her that she has had little international experience and also that she had done only 5 or 6 TTs in her LIFE! That fact alone is amazing to me.
Normally I’m pretty relaxed at races as I’ve done a fair number of races. But TTs always get me a bit. And this is the Olympics to boot. So today I was a bit nervous. Not too much but not as calm as I usually can be. Ken was of unbelievable help to me. Just 40 or 50 min before Tyler’s TT time, I left to go put his spare bike on the car and get ready. Ken was going to do the same for Bobby as he was actually going off a few minutes BEFORE Tyler. Just as Ken was about to leave to prepare the car, Tyler asked him to stay to “stay” and “help” him. No specific job to help with but more to be there “just in case.” So Ken did so and stayed till the moment Tyler got off the trainer finishing his warm up. So Ken waited just in case. But, that made it tight for Ken to get to the start for Bobby in a reasonable time. Someone brought Bobby’s spare bike and wheels and I racked it but no Ken yet. Ken jumped in the car as Bobby was on the start tamp with ONLY 10 seconds to go. Wow how he cut it so close. But it was not because Ken was slacking off. Just the fact that he was waiting for Tyler to get off the trainer and that went almost up to the time Bobby was going off on his start.
As many already know, Tyler had radio problems and eventually took it off and threw it on the ground. It was barely 8 k into the 48 k event. And Tyler wanted some info and someone to just talk to him to help keep his mind strong. Och handed me a spare radio just in case Tyler had problems with his. And he did indeed have problems with it so I replaced it with less than 5 minutes to his start time. Because of that, I felt bummed that the second radio also did not work and he had to spend precious time removing it not to mention the lack of information he wanted to hear.ÃŸAnd now as many already know, Tyler did indeed have radio problems. He took it off and threw it on the ground. I paused a bit wondering if we were going to stop and pick it up. We did not stop for it and now there is a $200 radio sitting somewhere in Vouliagmeni.
So, for the remainder of the first lap we sort of sat there (following Tyler) in s state of almost silence. Crossing the finish line to start his second lap, I looked up at the timing board. It had Tyler in 3rd place. Since it was really close (a few seconds) we all started cheering to ourselves in the car. I then had to lean out the window and cheer Tyler myself since he could not get any info otherwise. I was screaming at the top of my lungs. I almost lost my voice that day yelling so loud. And when he crossed the line to actually finish with the Gold medal our car erupted in a loud roar of gratification for Tyler’s hard work and great effort.
What a great ending to my Olympic trip than to have one of our riders earn a Gold medal. And to have Bobby earn a Bronze just puts a final cap to a great Olympics. It was also special to be the guy following Tyler for his historical effort. But I’m not one to take the credit. Tyler had to actually pedal the bike. I just made sure with all my might that it would not fail him.