Vince Gee

Day 7 — Day 1

I arrived here on Wednesday, January 14. I parked the team truck near the rented container which will be one of our main storage places and went straight to dinner. From Europe came 3 mechanics including Julien (head mechanic), Geoff and Chris. Juan came from his home in Mexico and had the easiest flight as he was only two time zones from California. They all flew into SF to get two team cars and drove down here to meet me. Our timing was great as we just about arrived at the hotel within about 40 minutes of each other.
Thursday morning we went straight to preparing the training wheels (clinchers) for this camp. Unfortunately we only got about 28 pairs of the wheels needed. The remanning sets of wheels would come later on but we will need all of the 35 pairs of wheels we ordered for camp plus the 5 pairs that I brought from last season. Just the task of setting up wheels took the better part of Thursday morning up to lunch time.
In Europe we have specific spare bikes for each rider. But that is too hard to do in the US as we have shifting rosters and small truck to hold equipment. Some riders only come over for one race or so. So we have generic spare bikes and we may tweak them for each race and who is the roster for that particular race while here in the US.
Prior to camp, Julien sent the frames and parts for the 4 spare bikes to be used for the US Program. I built those 4 just before Christmas for our team presentation in Washington, DC which was scheduled for the day or so before camp. Only a few days before the scheduled presentation, it was changed to date and venue here at camp. Since I built the US spare bikes before hand, it made it a bit easier on us mechanics as we had 4 less bikes to be built than this time at last years camp. But we still had the 25 race bikes (one for each rider) to build as our roster is the biggest it has ever been and now at the maximum roster size limit defined by the UCI (International Cycling Union). Between 5 mechanics it would be basically 5 bikes each to build. Not hard but not easy. These 25 race bikes will be the bikes used for the first half of the season. We usually build a second set of bikes about a month before the Tour to be races in the second half of the season. All of that took basically till Monday morning to complete.
Dave Bolch (US Soigneur) flew into Sacramento and got the third team car that I had stored and arrived Friday night. The other 4 soigneurs flew in Sunday night. They are Freddy (head Soigneur), Richard, Alejandro and Elvio. The bulk of the (Euro riders and some Euro staff) were to arrive late Monday night.
Today is the first official training ride. Scheduled for 3 hours. For me it, I’ve been here for a week and for the riders only one day.
Me — Day 7
Riders — Day 1


Owner of and long time professional race mechanic.