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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

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 - Stage 1 - April 16: Peachtree City to Macon, 153km

We are rolling

Tyler Hamilton's Colnago C-50.
Photo ©: Chris Davidson
(Click for larger image)

Hi all, the tour is underway today with stage one and it was a good one for us. I am always nervous at the start of a multi-day race, so it is good to get things going and break the jitters. Today's stage rolled out of Peachtree City in warmer weather than yesterday, but with a howling wind, mostly as a tailwind.

The 1pm stage start made the morning seem like it took forever, as I got up at 6am and hit the parking lot by 7:15. The actual start location was only one kilometre from the hotel, so the riders could come down causally and roll over to sign-in with less that one hour before the stage start time. The first half of the morning was busy with all the small tasks, then the nervousness of awaiting the race. There were a few last-minute minor adjustments before the start, but most of the guys were happy with the bikes.

Then we got in the team car and the gun goes off. I spent the first few minutes of the race getting the back seat of the team car dialed in, then got out the rider list and followed the race radio. The first 20km of the race was pretty animated, even with the tailwind pushing the riders along. Then, after a few attacks were brought back, a lone rider from out team, Victor Rapinski (Navigators), reached a two minute lead. The field seemed pretty content to let one rider go and we were elated to hear that the next chase out of the field contained four riders, including another one of ours: Aussie Ben Day. Ben was eight overall at the Tour of California in February and now three other guys were towing him across to our lone leader. The group eventually bridged and now we had two in the leading five riders. The lead ballooned to almost seven minutes at one point, and I can't imagine a more positive time to be in the caravan car with a very happy team director.

George Hincapie's Discovery Channel Madone
Photo ©: Chris Davidson
(Click for larger image)

We had no mechanical issues or flats today, so my work included recording time splits, checking rider numbers, modulating the race radio, getting bottles out of the cooler and calculating distances and potential gaps at the finish. This is the type of mechanic work that you really want to be doing during the race, rather than jumping out of the car too often to fix stuff.

The stage finished with three Navigators in the top ten, second in the sprint competition, a third place podium spot for the day. Really awesome riding by the boys! Due to the hard work today, we move up to #3 car in the caravan tomorrow, as today we were back in 12th spot, which makes it harder to see the race or the riders, feed, etc.

The author gets a few adjustments done
Photo ©: Glenn Kalnins
(Click for larger image)

Post race was a flash of bike washing and tuning work, a quick bite to eat and prep for tomorrow. I was lucky today as a friend came to visit me at the race and took some race and post-race pictures of the action. Pictures often do a better job at describing what goes on than I could, and sometimes when things are hectic, I do not get my camera out.

Super long stage tomorrow with a transfer in the morning to the start. I am setting the alarm for 6am again. If you are near by, I hope that you get a change to come out and see the race. If you see me, stop and introduce yourself, it is always a pleasure to meet fellow Cyclingnews fans.

Look for the Navigators car up front in the caravan tomorrow, until then take a look at today's pictures.

Thanks,

Chris Davidson

Photography

For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Chris Davidson

Images by Glenn Kalnins