PBMA President James Stanfill is well respected on the race scene and this month he worked a couple of races... here's what he has to say.
Things always begin as a question. "Hey we are looking for a mechanic for X." It's a call, text or email I get on a weekly basis. The PBMA is keeping me pretty busy but I always enjoy supporting athletes.
As usual the call came in, this time for the Amy D. Foundation and instead of connecting them with a mechanic I said I would be honored to be a part of their team for the Redlands Bicycle Classic. The team was incredible, we had no expectations other than to give these athletes a professional experience in a Pro-Am race. Well by the end of the weekend they owned the top two spots in the best Amateur classification and the 15 year old wonderkid on junior gearing scored 2nd in the criterium, being bested only by a solo breakaway rider...
Redlands has been around for 33 years they say. Myself like a few others have been to this "small" Inland Empire town year after year for perhaps more years than we care to remember. What's familiar in Redlands is the local love for the Classic. Residents opening their homes to host teams, filling the sides of the streets to cheer the racers on.
The favorite spots to grab a bite like El Burrito and the usual "union" meeting on Friday at The Royal Falconer. Redlands is a race worth going to and well worth supporting with whatever resource you offer.
Lucky for the PBMA the team needed a vehicle moved back to Colorado. This offered me a couple days of windshield time. Between Redlands and Golden are a couple of important stops like Vegas, Moab and Grand Junction. Vegas perhaps not so much but a place to sleep... plenty of days yet to be spend there in September for Interbike. In Moab I was able to make the hour detour to visit PBMA member shop Poison Spider Bicycles, a shop I'd personally not been to in somewhere around 10 years.
Grand Junction was the next overnight with a morning visit to DT Swiss who are doing some amazing things in a small facility off the beaten path. Most don't know but this facility serves all of the Americas for aftermarket and warranty needs. They also handbuld somewhere around 30,000 wheels a year and produce much of the spoke product sold in their region... all right there in Colorado. One of the most interesting things for me about their facility is that for most assembly in the US bicycle companies that spec their wheels... DT Swiss is producing and delivering that product from this Colorado facility... think of brands like Pivot, Yeti and others.
Since as noted I am always asked for help or to assist in connecting teams to help... while at Redlands I was asked if I could go to a race in Gatineau (Ottawa). I said yes. So home for 4 days and on a plane again (60 airports now this year).
Gatineau is great if you like Poutine... going into Canada always offers some unique and interesting challenges. Think it's hard to get into the US... Well Canada is harder. Luckily this customs crossing was seamless unlike the 2 hour delay and questioning last year entering into Calgary Alberta.
Gatineau is distinctively French, the language, roads, menus and way of life. On my quest for things needed I popped into a little bicycle shop in Hull. I wanted tubular glue, the shop owner said "nobody is asking for this for like 10 years", he then proceeded to show me a collection of NOS never seen the light of day tubular rims. I want to buy them all when I go back at the end of June - please let me know if you want some!
The racing took place almost entirely in the Parc de la Gatineau which is just beautiful. I was working for the Sho-Air Twenty20 team and had 4 athletes. My function was all things as it was me as the entirety of the staff.
We had fun, three raced the TT with 5th, 7th and 10th places and all raced the road race. The Canadian National Team had a strong group and their play was almost derailed when their sprinters rear derailleur literally blew up.
There she stood on the left side of the road trying to cross a field of riders and a caravan of cars. Understanding how support works, I let her cross. Her car came about and made the bike change and her team waited. Nobody attacked when they probably could of changed the entire outcome of the race being this whole incident happened at the base of the climb.
Oh well, that stuff happens. For myself as a mechanic my goal is to never get out of the car. Mission success, driving and jumping is not for the faint of hear nor the untalented. I've had to change a bike in a TT while driving... like most things, when you're in the actual doing of it - you give it very little thought leaving you to reflect or watch it on TV.
Life on the road is fun... no doubt. That said, it's always good to be home!
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