Vince Gee

The day(s) before

I arrived on Wednesday the 5th. A whopping 4 days before the soon to be leg crushing SFGP here in beautiful San Francisco, CA. Some of our riders were to arrive (from Europe) on Wednesday so I had to be there to get ready for them. A 4 day vacation (Uh, I mean work) schedule in the Pier area of SF is right up my alley!
Coaxed by Dylan Casey’s suggestion to one of our teams operations personnel we headed to Dylan’s Hood to train for two days instead of SF. Damm I wanted to stay in SF. Since we had 4 riders (Dylan, George, Eki and Stephan B), two mechanics and two soigneurs work was going to be easy for two days. I convinced Geoff (mechanic) and Serge (soigneur) that they could handle two easy rider so BJ (part time soigneur) and I headed back to SF Thursday, AM. Cool!!!! With Dave Bolch arrived Thursday so this meant 3 soigneurs and 2 mechanics for 7 riders. This should not be too tough.
Friday seemed to be another easy day but Saturday was the opposite. An early reconnaissance ride up the steepest part of the course (for cog selection by the riders and Frankie) followed by an easy fun ride with Thom Weisel and some sponsors followed by a lunch at Thom’s beautiful house. Good thing Geoff went (on the reconnaissance and fun ride) as I got to relax a bit and prepare things so we could pound out the bikes after lunch. Later that night we had a cocktail reception for our team to be presented to the sponsors before the race and then a team dinner (just riders and Frankie and staff). Unfortunately the new cog selection had us scrambling for equipment. We never use anything more than 23s the entire race schedule for the US races. NEVER, until now. Everyone called for and got 25s. I had a shop I worked at in Sac bring some to me (Thanks Bob and Corey at the Bicycle Business) and a local shop had some and then Andy Stone from Shimano was my other savior and set me up. I now had enough cogs. 7 riders required at least 13 (in total) of those big (25t) bad boys. Thirteen sets for our race bikes, wheels to jump out of the car with and some for spare bikes on top of the car. Whew!!! I was wasted just running around getting cogs. At least Corey delivered some so I only had to do two runs to get cogs.
Now the race bikes were dialed in. Spare bikes were done too and all the wheels I were to use to jump out of the car with had 25s. Geoff (who flew in earlier from Belgium) brought Lances light bike and George’s regular race bike. For you tech geeks who want to know who used what, everyone used normal ksyriums except Eki who used (heavy but aero) Cosmic Carbons (Was he on crack?) and Lance who had a special pair of super light (soon to be production) machined ksyriums.
Geoff and I worked hard and unfortunately missed the cocktail reception. No, I did not work into dark as it may seem. We finished at 7 and easily made it to the dinner after that. The restaurant was very fufu. Small portions and not super fast. Not ideal for a team of hungry bike riders wanting rest soon afterwards. There was a bonus at dinner though. Robin Williams was there. This guy is popping up everywhere it seems. He entertained us for a little till he was also off to eat at this place. Later we found out he was part owner of this place. He then picked up our tab. I guess you can do that if you are one of the owners. Lance said if Robin was picking up the tab we (the team) should leave the tip. So, Dave Bolch put a tip on his team card to the tune of $200 (for 13 people). That was proportionate to the bill so you do the math. This fufu dinner could have cost the team a pretty penny. Fortunately for us it didn’t. Thanks Mr. Williams. For now it’s a drink or two before bed to rest for an early rise (for an early race).


Owner of and long time professional race mechanic.