Vince Gee

Lunch on the go

Each day a soigneur will prepare lunch for who ever goes in the car that day. Director, mechanic and guest (if there is a guest). This is done before we leave for the race. Everyday it is almost exactly the same thing. I can usually count on having a ham and cheese sandwich and a piece of fruit. Sometimes it is turkey and cheese, but almost always ham and cheese. I am not complaining about the repetition. It is a good thing when I have a lunch EVERY day. When we are in the car for a minimum of 5 hours and upwards of 7 hours, lunch is a necessity. No, Paula, I’m not implying (or complaining) that I was left without lunch with my previous team (Saturn). It was just not necessary every day when races in the US were much shorter. For example In Redlands, there are no stages longer than 100 miles. So we (on Saturn) were not in the car all day long. On the short days, sometimes we would get a small snack. Now though, I always get a solid lunch.
Once though, in Pittsburgh (Thrift Drug Classic), we got a special treat for lunch. During the race, Paula, who was our soigneur, asked what we wanted on our pizza while she was standing in the feed zone. I thought she was joking and was just going to get a sandwich for us. So, I just blurted out Pepperoni. The next lap (each lap was about a 11 or 12 miles I think it) she said that she had lunch for us. As we stopped in the feed zone, she handed Rene and I a huge Pizza. She said later, over the radio, that there was a pizza place near/in sight of the feed zone. We passed out some to some to other cars. I remember handing a plate with some pizza to Dave Leterri and Matt Taini (from the now defunct LA Sherif) team. They had a good laugh and a good lunch that day too. The very next year at the same race, I knew that was gonna be our lunch and told Paula to get us pizza again. Stephanie Graham was also working for us. Her then boyfriend Cristophe (I call him Binda) was wrenching for the Plymouth team and she got him a pizza too. Rene and I were especially hungry that day and set out to (without thinking) devour the whole Pizza in one lap. We came around the next lap and handed Paula an empty pizza box and she was amazed at the speed of which we ate it. That was nice! Thanks Paula!
Lately we (Dirk and I) have gotten an extra treat. Each day for the past few sages, Bart, who is one of three of our soigneurs here, has gone to the bakery and got different cakes, pastries or small pies (called tarts). Something different each day but something really nice to make up for the repetitive nature of our ham and cheese sandwich. Wow! Thanks Bart!
return and I have to do the bikes afterwards.


Owner of and long time professional race mechanic.