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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.

September 12, 2007

Fast Forward: Univest to the Tour of Missouri

I am on the road again with the Navigators Insurance Cycling Team, now at the Tour of Missouri. Here is the short version of the last two weeks since US Pro Road Championships.

US Pro Road in South Carolina on Sunday, road race finishes at 6:00PM. I get back to the hotel, showered, got in the truck and started driving for the Navigators home base in New Jersey. 17 hours later, and one highway rest stop, I get on a plane for home. Three days later, I fly back to New Jersey, prep bikes for the one day Univest GP on Friday, and we head to the race on Saturday morning.

The race is a whack job. Early break goes way out, the traffic control on the long course starts to break down as some of the field is coming through intersections 10+ minutes after the break, and by the time we get to the circuits, they pull every one but 15 riders, because the race is so strung out. The problem on the circuits was that there were single and small groups of riders all the way around the five-kilometre loop and it was chaos. I bet the fans could not understand what was going on, as the eventual second place rider un-lapped himself and rode back through the early break. Talk about confusing.

Less than 30 minutes after the race, I am in the truck driving for Missouri. The GPS box says 17 hours, but the driving took more like 21.

Now I am here in Missouri for the inaugural Tour of Missouri, or more correctly the first annual Tour de Huff. Brad Huff rides for the burrito sponsored Team Slipstream, and he is the biggest thing to come out of Missouri since Doug Greek, or so I am told. On top of being a super cool guy, Brad is a world class track rider (bronze in ominum a 2007 Worlds), super fast road sprinter, and notorious eater. His motto is 'A fat kid has to eat!' Brad is anything but fat. He takes no off-season; he goes straight from a long road season right into track racing. He needs to eat 5000 calories a day every day of the year just to keep from floating away.

Brad is going to win a stage this week, and then we will be able to officially call this race the Tour de Huff. The whole state will go bananas. 'Hometown boy wins race,' I can see the headlines now. If you are out on the road this week watching, cheer for Brad, he is number 85, in the argyle kit. With the power of Missouri behind him, I know he can win a stage.

Speaking of support, the crowds here on day one have been 1. Large (lining the roads everywhere, no joke), 2. Knowledgeable (it seems the local press has done a good job publicizing the race), 3. Really enthusiastic (I cannot tell you how many people today told me, "thanks for coming to Missouri to do this race."). This has been a really pleasant surprise at a time of year when the teams are tired after a long season. It really does make a difference to the riders and staff. Nice job Missouri!

It will be a super long day tomorrow: 5:00 wake up, two hour transfer including a police escort to get us through rush hour traffic and a 200-kilometre stage. More soon.

Thanks,
Chris Davidson

PS. If you live in Missouri and are coming to the race, come find me and introduce yourself. I a really digging Missouri.