UPS….. I mean VPS
April 12 -15, 2007
Tour of Georgia — Before
Thursday the 12th:
I’ve arrived in Peachtree City, GA. A full 5 day drive from my home in
Sacramento to Georgia. On the way I had a small detour that added a few
hours to my drive. I had to make a delivery. Going back a few weeks, I
was asked if I could get something and bring it to Austin. What is it? A
surfboard that was hand made for Lance. Not just an ordinary foam core
laminate surfboard. But one made completely out of Agave plants. No foam
and no other product except agave plants.
My friend from Oakley had it commissioned by a So Cal surf guru. And
Oakley presented it to Lance. But he had too much stuff to take with him
that he did not take it home. And with it being so valuable and sort of
delicate, shipping would be costly. Mainly because a cardboard box would
not suffice and it would have to be put in a custom crate to ship
(truck) across county.
I wanted to go to Redlands to race a categorized criterium held at the
same time as the Redlands stage race. I asked my friend at Oakley if she
could meet me there with the surfboard and I would get it and bring it
back home to Sacramento. Then on my way (in the team truck) to Tour of
Georgia, I could stop by Austin and drop it off. So I went to Redlands,
raced, picked up this surfboard and drove home.
I dropped off the surfboard with one of Lance’s right hand men (Dave
Bolch). Dave was a former soigneur with our team up until a few years
ago. He lives sort of near Lances ranch house just outside of Austin.
Bonus was my annual trip to the Salt Lick for the worlds BEST BBQ. OK, I
was pretty much going to detour to visit Dave and stop at the Salt Lick
anyway. But now I had a real legitimate reason to stop in Austin.
I think I’m going to call myself VPS. Sort of like UPS but Vincent’s
parcel service. UPS………I mean VPS at your service.
Fast forward to today and I get to the first hotel and park the truck.
Not just anywhere though as the hotel has a map of where each team
vehicle will park. I do so and get power and water and proceed to wash
the truck. I actually have three days to wash the truck. But I chose
today to do so. I’m pretty tired from the 5 day drive. And if I go to my
hotel room I will just pass out. I really don’t want to sleep at 7:00 or
8:00 so If I wash the truck I can easily make an hour disappear.
This area is some sort of Golf resort/golf cart community. There are 50
MILES of golf cart paths. Most cruise around in golf carts to get where
they need to go. I really did not want to eat at the hotel. And besides
that, the hotel restaurant was closed for some reason. So I took a hotel
shuttle to a local restaurant, ate, and called the shuttle for a ride
back. It’s now 9:30 and a reasonable hour to pass out.
Friday the 13th.
Our team was to arrive tonight. At least most of them. But apparently
luck (Friday the 13th) would have it that there was a fireman strike at
the Brussels airport which meant that ALL flights in and out of Brussels
were grounded. We have a logistics person in Belgium and she immediately
got our guys on a flight the next morning but out of Amsterdam. Worried
that Brussels would be/could be shut down again tomorrow by the pesky
firemen. There were 3 other teams that were supposed to be on the same
flight (Quickstep, Predictor/Lotto and CSC). With the unknown, Quickstep
joined us on our bus to go to Amsterdam. But a bit premature. Half way
there they were told that they had flights from Brussels the next
morning. Predictor/Lotto and CSC decided to stay in Brussels for the
night to get on the next flight in the morning that the organizer had
planned. Quickstep wanted us to turn the bus around and go back to
Brussels but it was our bus so we carried on and our guys got to
Amsterdam, had dinner slept in a hotel and would get on the next (Direct
to Atlanta) flight Saturday morning. The bus took the Quickstep guys
back to Brussels and they got to the hotel at something like 1:00 am to
sleep and catch the next AM flight.
Saturday the 14th.
Our guys finally arrived and some went for a training ride and the rest
passed out due to jet lag. A few hours later CSC, Quickstep and
Predictor/Lotto showed up at the hotel. Not quite as early as we did as
they had to go Brussels – Dulles – Atlanta and our guys had the direct
Amsterdam – Atlanta flight. The only three staff (Johan, PJ and Dr Dag)
would arrive Monday after Paris Roubaix. So, for now Eki is in charge.
With little work to do, a few staff when to the hotel bar for some
coffee so they could try and stay awake for a little while longer. A bit
of pool table action also passed some more time before dinner.
Sunday the 15th.
With a big storm coming in (massive winds — some at 50 mph in near by
Birmingham Alabama) the organizer canceled the team presentation. I was
trying to tell all the other mechanics that I could find that they
should try and work quickly because it was going to get nasty. But it
never really did. Some wind and some rain but nothing too bad as the
bulk of the storm passed south of us. Thanks because I washed the truck
Thursday. Don’t want to have to hose a million leaves off my truck after
a storm like that.