|Tech Features Road MTB Cyclocross Track News Images Feedback|
Billy Cornelius HP Women's Challenge diary
Billy Cornelius is an employee of HP, working at the company's Boise, Idaho printer plant. At the 2002 HP Women's Challenge he has volunteered for the job of working as a gopher for the Italian-based Itera team.
Index to all Billy Cornelius diary entries
Hot and thirsty work
Stage 1 - June 15: Boise (Birds of Prey) to Idaho City: 69.5 miles, ~2000 feet of climbing
Today was a long, hot day. I was up early preparing for the nine day trip, then met the team at the hotel at 8am so we could leave for the starting line at 9am, with the race starting at 11. I chatted with Sylvia, Kim and Vera while they read the latest cycle magazines. Today's high was 90 something, and it was well into the 80's when I arrived at the hotel. We loaded the luggage, bikes, and supplies into both vehicles. My wagon held two girls, our masseuse (Ryan Dorris), a spare bike, and my bike. Walter drove the rental van with six bikes, four more girls, and the rest of the supplies. Luckily, we were a bit early and nabbed a shady spot to prepare for the race.
When my work was finished I went out among the teams and hounded autographs. This is my favorite part of the race, and considering how long I've been coming to the HPWC as a spectator, I have a large collection of hats, bottles, posters, and jerseys signed by a lot of incredible cyclists. All the girls are very approachable and open to autographs and brief discussions about the weather, the route, or the scenery here in Idaho. I'm always surprised at how few people are seeking autographs.
About 10 minutes before the race Ryan and I headed out to set up the feed zone. Just outside of Boise is a 1000 foot climb above Lucky Peak reservoir. The support vehicles parked in a turnout and settled in for a long wait. By now it was easily 90 with little wind and no shade, accept for inside the van. We had many cold bottles of water and Gatorade, which Walter always refers to as 'electrolyte'. Both Ryan and I would be handing them out to the cyclists. We only have the opportunity to give one bottle to each rider, and we have to figure out which riders are ours, and they have to figure out who is their support person. So Ryan positioned himself down the course from me and wore an Itera. We also had to figure out what they want - water or Gatorade. Because most of the team is Italian or Russian I was a bit worried about communication, and I was more worried when I saw that the peloton had pretty much stayed together on the climb. This meant everyone would be trying to get to the side of the road and get their bottle, then get out of the mess. Luckily, the girls made it easy. They seemed to appear out of nowhere and grab a bottle. Since it was hot, they wanted water, not Gatorade.
One support person missed his hand off and had to race uphill to try again. He didn't make it. That cyclist would have to request water from the caravan a bit later in the ride.
Once the stragglers went by and then the race caravan, Ryan and I got back in our car and headed up the road. Now the caravan was much larger, with probably twice as many cars. We slowly made our way up the hill toward Idaho City for the finish. We had no idea what was happening, and didn't find out till we located our team after the finish. We begin recuperative operations, doling out fresh clothes, fuel, and liquids. Coke is very popular with out team. As we'd heard, Petra Rossner won the bunch sprint, with Jolanta Polikeviciute, Anna Millward, and Diana Ziliute rounding out the rest. Our team did well, with Svetlana Samokhvalova placing eighth and Vera Carrara tenth. Before the awards ceremony was over, we quickly packed up and headed to Stanley, about a 2.5 hour drive north-east of Idaho City.
In Stanley (next to the Sawtooth mountains) we found our hotels and I finally got to do something significant - wash the bikes. We were staying at a nice cabin next to the Saturn team. One of their mechanics, Ian Sherburne let me borrow a chain keeper. I enjoyed eaves-dropping on the Saturn team as they talked about today's race, tonight's dinner plans, and tomorrow's route.
It took me about two hours to wash two bikes. First, remove the wheels. Then degrease and rinse the rear wheel cassette. Then wash all 12 wheels in soapy water. Next, mount each bike in the repair stand and degrease and rinse the drive train. We used my bike stand because Walter is unable to bring everything he needs to the US when the team races here. I'm glad to see it used so much. After degreasing, the entire bike is washed in soapy water and rinsed. I set up all these frames and wheels in the sun to dry. Walter came back later to re-assemble and tune.
Next I ran into town to refill my car and to run some errands for Walter. By 8pm I had some free time to go for a ride. I brought my urban bike so I could ride whatever was available, roads or trail. By 10pm I was back and showered. I brought most of my food for the trip so while I had my first real meal of the day and sorted out the pictures I'd taken, and wrote this journal. I've also brought an HP DeskJet 970 photo quality printer with me, so I printed out several 8x10s gave them to the athletes. Shameless plug for HP there. I hit the sack at midnight.