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Wrenchin' in the USA: The Chris Davidson diary 2007
Chris joins us again in 2007 to report on life on the road turning the wrench for a variety of teams both in dirt and on the road. Formerly with Ford Cycling in 2006, Chris has also worked for such teams as T-Mobile, Equipe Nurnberger, Quark and Mercury in the past, as well as neutral support programs with Shimano, Pedros and Trek.
As 2007 holds some new challenges for Chris, some things will stay the same. One of those will be his informative diary contributions on Cyclingnews, where you'll often receive the inside scoop on all things tech and a look at life behind the wrench.
Tour de Georgia: T-minus 12 hours and counting...
Good evening Cyclingnews readers. I am in Peachtree city, Georgia, 12 hours from the start of the 2007 Tour de Georgia. I got in Friday night we have spent the last two days preparing for the start of the Tour. I am fortunate to be in the service of the Professional Continental squad: Navigators Insurance Cycling Team for this race. Our riders for this tour represent the entire globe, we have a very diverse squad.
The last two days have gone rather quickly. The hotel parking was already mostly full when we pulled in late Friday night. There is plenty of space, but two key elements for the mechanics [water and electrical power] were in limited supply and required long runs of hose and cord. In fact, for the electrical access, I ended up running a line out of my third floor hotel room, off the balcony and directly to our truck.
Vehicles. This is a big part of a race mechanics life. Vehicles fill the hotel parking area up in a hurry: trucks, motor coaches, teams vans, caravan cars. For a race of this size, we have to go big to cover all the bases. The caravan will have two cars from each team, and then additionally we have a box truck, a fifteen passenger van, and a motor home. This means lots square footage of sponsorship logos to keep clean. Two caravan cars will mean complete spare bikes for all eight of our riders and plenty of spare wheels.
Staff. For this race eight riders will be supported by two mechanics, three soigners, two directeur sportifs and an administrative person. Lots of logistics, but the greater the support network, the less stress everyone feels and the deeper the riders can reach each day. At the staff meeting tonight we talked about digging deep as a staff to deliver the best race environment for our riders. It is all about the details.
The parking lot. We are surrounded in the hotel parking lot by Toyota-United, Colavita/Sutter Home, Discovery Channel and Tinkoff. For the foreign teams, like Tinkoff, the race organisation provides all the vehicles, so in the attached pictures you will see some large rental trucks. These teams fly with all their bikes and spare equipment, which limits what they can bring. Tinkoff only bought road bikes for this race, but with an ITT on the fourth day, Tyler Hamilton came over to our truck looking for a TT rig to borrow, as both Tinkoff and our team is on Colnago bikes.
You will hear more from me each day, as time and my camera opportunities permit. I look forward to bringing you the smaller details of this race from a mechanics perspective. I will be in the #1 team car tomorrow; we got spot #12 in the caravan [from the random draw at the manager's meeting tonight].
Wash, Lube, Tune, Repeat. I am ready for the race to begin. See you out there.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Chris Davidson