I was not really looking forward to today. On the schedule was a 5 hour ride. It was supposed to start at 9:30 AM and end at 2:30 PM. Straight after it ended Juan and I were to drive the truck to Scottsdale. Alejandro and Elvio (soigneurs) were to drive the team van and a rental truck (for luggage). Johan did not want the riders to fly with their luggage because of the tighter security that was expected at the airport.
I asked Johan and Dirk if we could start the ride 30 minutes earlier because the drive would be about 11 hours in the truck. They agreed. Straight after the ride ended we packed the truck full of bikes. The truck holds 12 bikes on one wall and about 4 can hang in other areas of the truck. But, here we had 20 race bikes, 4 spare bikes and 2 sponsor bikes. That meant we had to pack 10 bikes on the floor. Add all the other things we had (received) at camp like boxes of tires, computers, saddles, tools, and it was gonna be tight. Juan was the master at packing the truck to fit it all. The rental, besides carrying the luggage, was also needed for bike bags and all the other soigneur supplies that did not fit in the van.
We were packed and out of the parking lot by 4:00 PM. Not bad but there was no way to avoid the dreaded LA traffic. The riders were to fly Friday morning to arrive in Scottsdale by 1:00 PM. They would eat lunch and scheduled to ride a 2 hour ride at 2:00PM. So we only had to make it before that. We did not need to do it all in one pull. We stopped for the night at the California/Arizona border, slept, and drove the rest the next morning. We got to Scottsdale by about 11:30 (after loosing 1 hour to the time zone change). We were pretty whipped from the 11 hours of driving. But we could not stop as there was a ride to prepare for. That was a hard two days.
Normally a transfer stage in a race is relatively short. I’ve had some transfers that were 3 or 4 hours though (in the women’s Giro d’Italia). That was tough back then, getting to the hotel at 9:00 or sometimes a little later. The transfer to Scottsdale was tougher by far. A long transfer day(s).