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Chris Davidson HP Women's Challenge diary
Bontrager Racing Service mechanic Chris Davidson is looking after tech support for two teams at the HP: Boise squad Goldy's and the Richards team.
Brooke and the giant killers
HP Stage 1 - June 15: Boise - Idaho City: 69.5 miles
Game time. The alarm rang at 5:45 this morning, and was not too well received as I had hit the bed at 1:30am. The night before the race is usually an early evening for the team mechanic, but in this case, I have only had these two teams' bikes for about 48 hours. There are a number of small details that must be checked out and adjusted, decals applied, cassettes swapped, and so on to get the bikes ready for a race. All the team bikes spent the night in my room last night, as we don't have a van big enough for them all. Nothing like falling asleep to the smell of bike polish and chain lube.
Anyhow, on to today's first stage of this years HP Women's Challenge: Boise to Idaho City. This stage is a traditional sprint finish with a very long straight run-in to the finish that is complicated by a hard left turn on poor pavement with about 250m to go. It is usually 'first one to the corner'. The stage was a little windy, but the race was not single file for any significant amount of time. On the big climb of the day a split occurred and a group of about 50 were at the front and same small groups of about 25 riders total got together and chased.
Among the chasers was Petra Rossner, everyone's pick for the sprint victory. After about 10km of chasing this group of 25 rejoined the front runners and we hit 20km to go with 75 riders at the front. Saturn pulled it together and got Petra to the front, and 'bingo!', she wears the overall leader's jersey tomorrow. Well done team Saturn.
Others that made an imprint today included the rider carrying number 131 - Genevieve Jeanson of Rona. No doubt she will have more to say before this race is over. The climbing stages here have her name all over them. She will not go unchallenged, but I think that she came here with the intent to really push the pace on every climb.
A quiet day for me in the team car. We drew twelfth position out of 16 teams, so we were at the back, unable to see the front of the race for most of the day. The race played out on the radio for us. No service out of the car, only a couple of feeds from the car. I did get some pictures out of the car.
Longish transfer after the stage to tonight's hotel, but more on that later.
Back to the beginning of my day. 5:45am I started packing the van. By 8:00am the parking lot at the hotel was chaos. Our team left early and was the first to the staging area. By the finish of the stage I had already been awake for about nine hours and the last evening had contained only four hours sleep. After the transfer to the hotel for tonight, I was pooped. However, I was greeted by the most amazing view I have every seen from a hotel room at a bike race. And we are here for three nights. It made it easy, even in my run-down state, to pop the tent, get out the stand and wash buckets and got to work. Nothing like the sounds of a mountain stream and view of the sun setting over the mountains to brighten the outlook. Idaho is amazing. And not just the world class women's bike racing.
Finally, the title of today's entry. Brooke Babbit rides for the Goldy's team that I am wrenching for, and she is relatively new to UCI stage races with caravans, feed zones, moto officials, and so on. Because of this, she has a million questions about what to do and where to be in the race. She is often reluctant to ask me things about her bike, as she thinks her questions are silly. This morning she had to pee ten times before we staged to start. No kidding. Ten times. But for all this nervousness and enthusiasm, she rode hard today, made the front group and conquered all her doubt, finishing up there with the stars of women's cycling., something 'not possible' by her own estimation at the start today. In fact the whole Goldy's team rode very opportunistically today, and tonight we have two riders in the top seven of the GC and we will start the stage tomorrow with the sprint leader's jersey. I need to work harder tomorrow to make sure that they get the best mechanical support possible. I guess that I will have to put off that extra sleep for another night.
Thanks for reading