Monday, 4 November 2013

Crazy season over, sort of.

While my season has being officially over since beginning of October, I have now just found the time (getting motivated to write is more the point) to sit and put together a post. It was for sure a crazy season and I’m glad to see it finished, but looking at my post status of 2 for this year I wish I could have posted more. I have to give a big thanks to Nigel and Graham though, besides my mum you two are without a doubt my most loyal readers that always leave a comment despite my huge lack of effort to post more. So I've had a few post ideas on the back burner along with some more recent things I have being working on which I will punch out during this off season. I’m no writer but you two guys I know will at least enjoy the reading.

My last half of season was in some way busy but also a little quiet. The end of July put me in France for a 3 day tour, then home for just enough time to wash bikes and take a trip to Ridley before heading off again. This time it was back to Norway which was a little unusual as normally after July I don’t return until October. But two new major tours put me in Norway for almost all of August. This trip to Norway could have being a post all itself, but as it was now a while ago I will just say it was an epic trip which for me was a kilometer record to get to a race. A record of around 2500km, I took a nice easy 5 days to reach Bodo, in Norway’s far north within the Arctic Circle, an exhausting but breath taking drive. This trip was too good an opportunity for even Lindsay to pass up, so she joined me on the drive up and also helped out during the 4 day tour. I probably have some photos to put in the album. After this tour I had 3 days to travel down to the south of Norway for the next tour, Tour des Fjords, a tour organized by the teams ex rider and brother of Morten, Roy. Lindsay joined me for the 1200km trip down to Oslo where she then took a flight home while I travelled the last 300km to a small mountain top town in the middle of nowhere.
at the Arctic Circle.

Although I was not alone for that trip either, I picked up Kirkland in Oslo as he joined us for this tour. Kirkland is a freelance mechanic like me but has a regular job. We first had contact two seasons ago as he was the main mechanic for the federation (he also dose some races for Sky), so when we had riders go to a race with the federation I would deal with Kirkland regarding the equipment. Then of course that led us to working together at the Worlds in Valkenburg last year. Kirkland is a very good mechanic and an all round funny and fun guy to work with, which is rare in this trade. For the first stage I took a day out of the car letting Kirkland have the honor, I decided to do the hotel gig. This involved driving about 200k to the next hotel, then finding the right parking spot (and it’s all about a good parking spot), checking in to 5 rooms, carrying up all the luggage, setting up the massage tables, leaving food and water ready for the riders and then finally setting up my work area ready to wash and service bikes. All this must be done before the team arrives to the hotel, if you are organized and efficient you will even have time to relax on your bed for an hour. Although some like to just sit on their bed and have nothing ready, leaving it all until the team arrives. A renowned Belgium team did it this way and when I had almost finished washing bikes they were just connecting their water to start. After this tour it was back home with just over a week until the next races.

There was no Tour du L’Avenir for me this year, so I had some down time which I needed after the epic Norway trip. I did however have some bikes to service from private clients and then some team wheels to service. A race close to my home would be my next trip, a race we won last year. The short 40km drive was on the opposite end of the scale compared to my last trip. Then I had another working week at home washing bikes and servicing the two bikes that were off to the Worlds. For me a rider should go to the worlds with a next to new bike. I even had to put together a new frame for one rider. But normally it is just new cables, chain, bar tape, a good check of the bike and of course new tires fitted to the wheels being sent.

I also have a box of spare parts which I send with riders that go with the federation to other races, like the Worlds. In it is enough parts to build a bike plus small things like shoe cleats or derailleur hangers, you have to think of anything that can go wrong or break. After all it is the Worlds and I like it that my riders do not have to stress if the break something as there will be a spare part in the box. This is all the more important if I don’t go, like this year. After two successful years at the Worlds I did not get asked to go this year. You would think for the Worlds you would send your best and most experienced staff, but this is the world of professional cycling and sadly it does not always work that way, when the Worlds come around everyone and anyone has their hand up and it turns to politics and bullshit. For me I wasn’t fussed, but I know someone that was pissed with regards to their own situation.

Not going to the Worlds meant that I could quietly finish out the season with the team, a race in Holland and a race in Belgium would finish our euro program. Then it was back to Norway for one final race before going to Racing Depot to prep bikes for the end of season clear out, then get everything packed away for storage. I had to empty everything from the truck as we would sell it this season and search for a new one (post on that later). So when home I had to get the truck all cleaned up and deliver it back to the guy we purchased it from in hope he could sell it for us. In total for the season I worked 195 days and 2029 hours, not including the few hours I spend doing paperwork or planning.

So since the season ended at the beginning of October you may be thinking why this post is so late. Well a few days after returning from Norway I had my Sister and her family come visit for two weeks, so I was busy with that. For 5 days I took them on a trip through Germany, doing a 2300km trip taking in Legoland at Gunzburg, a concentration camp in Dachau, The Eagles Nest in Berchtesgaden (which was closed due to an icy road), Salzburg and Berlin. While the Germany trip was great it was nice just to sit at home with family and have a dinner as family, something Lindsay and I don’t get to experience too often in our house.
my nephew Nelson enjoys Legoland, his dream come true.

But now it is back to a quiet house and well into the off season, kind of. As I mentioned we search for a new truck so I will have some work dealing with that and I also have to start putting together numbers for all the equipment needed next season. So a little bit of work still to do in the off season. I'm also building up some more wheels and I'm just finishing off a new bike stand I have being working on, so along with regular house chores it's enough to keep me busy this winter. Speaking of winter, while we have this mild weather I've being getting out on the bike a bit, even some night rides. Between all this I will also put out some more posts’, see if I can hit 10 for the year.

Happy riding


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