I arrived in South Lake Tahoe, NV almost a full 72 hours before the start of the 2011 “Amen” Tour of California. It took me 2 days to drive from my new home in Colorado. I had the team’s trailer parked in my front yard after the SRAM Tour of Gila, where I was prepping equipment for the upcoming 8 day stage race. The trailer was completely full, with just about all of the team’s race bikes and race wheels, so after the halfway point in between Denver to South Lake Tahoe I pulled over at a truck stop.

I made the decision to spend the night in the trailer. I did not want to risk the possibility of theft only a few days before a major race. So, I opened up one of the massage tables and rolled out a sleeping bag for a mildly uncomfortable nights sleep.

Once at the race hotel, I scoped out the best parking spot that was still available. Most of the international teams have already arrived and claimed the prime real-estate. When looking for a good parking spot for the Kelly Benefits rig, there are a few key things to look for; access to water and power are probably number one, distance from hotel rooms are a close second and figuring out an escape route once we move on is also important.

I’ll be working this race with Bob Gregorio and Chris Davidson, both guys have loads of experience and they are just good people to be around. All the riders were picked up by the teams soigneurs down in Reno, NV and driven up. After a quick bike ride to spin the legs out after a long travel day they where rushed to the team media presentation and us mechanics went to find some dinner. We needed to rest up because the next day is tough.

The day before the race is almost always the longest for the mechanics. There are about a hundred small items that need attention outside of even basic race bike preparation. Race number installation, bike sensor installation, spare bike set ups and generally washing of anything that gets seen by the public are just a few things on the list. Once the race gets going and if we don’t experience and serious mechanical issues, the other days seems short in comparison. Wish us luck in the upcoming 8 stages, even though it seems like the mechanics race has already been going on for the past week.

Eric J