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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Wrenchin' in the USA: The Chris Davidson diary 2008

Chris joins us again in 2008 to report on life on the road turning the wrench both in the road and MTB scene. Chris signs on with the new Team Type 1 squad for 2008; Chris has also worked for such teams as Navigators Insurance, TEAm Lipton, T-Mobile, Equipe Nurnberger and Mercury in the past, as well as neutral support programs with Shimano, Pedros and Trek.

As 2008 holds some new challenges for Chris, but 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 as a professional mechanic.

May 1, 2008

Doubleheader

The first NMBS at Fontana
Photo : Chris Davidson
(Click for larger image)

Wow1 April 21st, where did the early season go? After training camp with Team Type 1 in Buellton, California, I did a couple of back to back weekends in Los Angeles (Fontana NMBS and the Redlands Stage Race), got really familiar with the Ontario airport, and breathing smoggy air.

The dirt scene was a good chance to see familiar faces and get back to tuning shocks, worrying about tire pressures and replacing cable and housing. Good MTB stuff. The early season MTB race was an interesting sample, in an Olympic year, at the wide range of current fitness levels. Georgia Gould was crushing the women like a top ten performer in the professional men's field. Ryan Trebon was only two weeks back into riding after an off-season of physical therapy for his ailing back.

Next weekend was the Redlands Stage Race, the traditional US road opener. Rock Racing came and brought the Escalades, the women, the trucker hats and the former world time trial champion, Santiago Botero. Team Type 1 brought a squad down one Matt Wilson (broken wrist) and had a 'challenging' weekend on the mechanic's side. I stopped counting the crashes at five, but we were there for the stage win with Shawn Milne in the criterium until two corners to go, when he went down and needed x-rays on his wrist. The total on the mechanical side looked like this: two broken frames, five broken Zipp wheels and, unfortunately, only two of our guys could finish the stage race. On the positive side, Chris Jones continued to prove that he is pure money, attacking the race late on the Sunset Loop and stressing the best on the day.

TT start times written on the hand
Photo : Chris Davidson
(Click for larger image)

Redlands memories were still fresh when I boarded the plane for Sea Otter/Tour de Georgia double-header. Every time I head to Sea Otter I pray for dry weather, some of the worst wrenching conditions I have every seen in bike racing include 'moist' Sea Otters past. Thankfully this year's four days were dry.

I ended up spending three hours in the San Francisco airport with Ryan Trebon on the way there. Catching up on his situation; he is a little short on training, but his back is now 100%, so give him some time and look out -- one powerful dude.

Sea Otter was the traditional race/expo/new parts preview that draws worldwide attention. The conflict with the MTB World Cup #1 weakened the field a little, but provided opportunities for other to step up. There were some long days for me on the wash/tune/lube cycle, but dry conditions made the daily grind manageable. Bonus for the weekend was the ride of our Andy Schultz (Kenda/Titus/Hayes) in the short track. He stepped on to his first of many podiums in the big time with a great ride. His younger brother (Sam) joined his on the podium for Schultz dominated affair.

Stan's sealant could not overcome this finishing nail on the Fontana XC course
Photo : Chris Davidson
(Click for larger image)

Four days in Monterey went quickly, and then I was on the Odyssey, the mythical redeye journey cross-country to Tour de Georgia. I had a XC race Sunday on the west coast, three overnight flights and a two and a half-hour road stage on Monday on the east coast, with views of the Pacific and the Atlantic in less than a 12-hour span. The 4/5/6mm wrench feels like it never left my hand.

Reloaded (almost) and ready for seven days of UCI 2.HC stage racing. Holler at the TT1 team car when you see it go by. Daily reports coming...

Chris Davidson

Photography

For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Chris Davidson