Vince Gee

A (very) long championship day

Today is our most important race day on American soil. The US Professional Road championships in beautiful Philadelphia, PA. To start with, I got up at 5:00 am to eat a little breakfast. I like to sit around a little before eating breakfast but that was not going to happen today. I tried to power down some food because it was going to be a long day in the car. I was chosen to go in the caravan car today so I also tried not to drink too much the past 24 hours so I would not have to stop to pee during the race. Normally races have some slower parts combined with areas that are uninhabited so we don’t get anyone up set if we (in the car) stop on the side of the road to pee. Today’s race was completely in a city so it is tougher to stop to pee and not have complaints from the city folk.
My only blemish in a good day of work was Julien Deans flat. Not a blemish in terms of a poor wheel change but just the fact that I had a mechanical (flat). Actually I felt I had a great wheel change and got him back on the bike quick. If he did not flat I would have sat in the car the entire day without getting out. I rate good days based on how few times I have to get out of the car.
The hardest part of the wheel change was getting him back to the group. At this point in the race Levi (after the race) told me they were going 60 Kilometers per hour (about 36 mph). So as normal Julien was trying to use the caravan to get him back. There are two common tricks that every team uses to get people back on to the group. This time we use the bottle trick. As Julien was passing us and leap frogging from car to car I held a bottle out of the window to pretend to feed him from the car. He knows this and grabbed it with a firm grip. I too had a firm grip and as soon as he grabbed it I told Frankie to punch it. Frankie did indeed and we were flying. He accelerated so fast that my arm was pulled back and was now leveraging on the back part of the open window frame of the car. My arm was screaming in pain but I knew I had to hold the bottle a little longer. I finally got control and did my best to sling him forward with the bottle. I don’t know how fast we got him up to but he flew past the other cars (5 in all) instantly and was on the commissar car (first car behind the Peloton) within seconds. He made it and I now realized the pain in my arm from it being slammed backwards against the window frame. No biggie as I was not seriously hurt. I have had that happen before.
The race ended at about 3:30 PM and got back to the hotel to help Julien Devriese and Juan was and pack bikes. We finished about 5:15 for a 12 hour plus work day. I was tired but could not rest because my day was to continue.
In less than two hours I was to get a special treat. A great friend of mind offered to take me (and a few others) to see Game 3 of the Lakers/76ers championships. How could I say no to that? My friend had 8 tickets. They were spread around but I did not care because it was too cool to pass up. The worst seat my friend had were row 24 (from the bottom). I sat there to start. They were great seats. I was psyched. After the 1st quarter ended my friend came to trade seats and I could go down to the other seat. That seat was an incredible ROW 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was 10 feet to the right of the 76ers bench and a few feet behind. Too cool. We continued to rotate seats so everyone could sit low and have toe opportunity to get a little sweat sprayed on them from the players as they ran across the court. BTW Go Lakers!
So a (very) long championship day. Some of it on bikes and some of it on a basketball court.


Owner of and long time professional race mechanic.