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Road Trip!

Vaughn’s Excellent Adventure at the Volvo-Cannondale Training Camp



Saturday morning I had a short breakfast and met behind the hotel again for a ride with the team.  The mechanics set up a Cannondale Jekyll 900SL for me and tuned it for my weight and degree of out-of-shapeness (actually they probably didn’t know how out of shape I was – had a car accident at Christmas time, and was ordered off the bike until I could finish a course of back treatments). So I threw on my shorts, strapped on my back brace and set off at 9:30 am.


Scott Montgomery held himself back in order to ride with me for a bit, and to caution me that he wouldn’t feel right about my riding the full ride without a helmet; Good advice for all of us, but especially for a green horn to Mtn biking. What a compliment – he thought I could finish the whole ride (damn, I must look really good on this new bike - HA!!).


I was dropped in the first mile. Now I can say I have eaten the dust of the best mtn. riders in the world.....not my usual boast. I had a bit of trouble getting used to the mountain bike frame as I am not used to a bike flexing under me, I am used to the stiff steel frame of my Gitane (circa 1974).


Soon I adapted to the Jekyl frame and found myself enjoying the ride, the incredible desert vistas, the rocks and ruts (photos). I was immediately struck, as I saw these guys riding away from me, what incredible skill they have in riding over rocks and gravel in the single track through the desert.


At first for me I was saying to myself, "Oh no! Rocks! Gravel!!! Rut! Oh, Lord have mercy!!!" My first instinct as a road rider was to try to avoid all these obstacles that would normally toss you to the asphalt. I am afraid this tactic was useless as there was not a meter of asphalt to be found. I soon learned that the fine steed I was riding could handle each obstacle with grace, without tossing me off into the nearest cactus or boulder. It’s definitely something I want to do again, and I liked that Jekyll so much that it might just be my mtn bike of choice.


It’s great to be out on a trail, where your only worry is a rock, boulder or dropoff, rather than automobiles. Once I got the hang of it, I had a really great time, and plan sometime in the future to do it again. Confidence is a dangerous mistress; soon I was trying to race up a hill. My foot left the pedal as I stood up and the pedal turned my shin into hamburger. . . I am baptised into the sport having drawn first blood. After that I calmed down and had a great ride without incident; that is, no more blood other than that running down my shin and soaking into my socks.


It wasn’t all peachy, though. About 4 miles into the ride, I realized I was having trouble with my legs. . . as in, they didn’t feel like cooperating with my desire to continue. I stopped for a bit, gave my wife a call on the cell phone (in California) and asked her to send an ambulance. I told her I was trying to figure out how I had gotten this out of shape in just a few months.


I stopped to take some pictures of the "Ghost" Jekyll and some of the vistas. Then I realized that the Bike and Bean was only about a half mile away, and that a double or triple latte would probably help. I mustered my will, and made it to the shop where I got another excellent latte from Dave. Visit the Bike and Bean website at: http://www.bike-bean.com/ 

Thus reinforced, I proceeded back to the hotel.


The "Ghost Rider" on a Cannondale Jekyll


Portrait of the Jekyll and the Sedona Buttes


In between I ran into Tinker Juarez, and he was doing some videos for the new VC website. He had a few moments to chat with me while the cameras were being set up. I watched Tinker do in a few seconds what it had taken me many minutes to do, which was fly across rocks, sand and gravel coming down a hill, then blasting up another hill. I am assuming when the new V-C site is up you will be able to see this footage. We will have to arrange to let all the readers know when the site goes live.


Tinker flashes by


Tinker and I chatted for a bit. I asked him how he eats on these 24 hour races so he doesn’t bonk. Tinker said pasta during the day, a protein drink or two along the way, bananas, a protein bar, occasionally, fig bars, and for breakfast eggs or his other favorite – pancakes. Sounds good to me. Tinker said it is important to eat enough to stay ahead of the bonk and watch that you are eating enough so you don’t run down on energy as it takes a long time to recover in a race if you do bonk.

I asked Tinker if I could help as part of his crew when he does a 24 hour race.....now that would be exciting to report on....I hope I get the opportunity to do it someday soon.

I asked him if he ever considered doing the Paris-Brest-Paris race, the 1200 km test which will next be run in 2003...he said he would check it out. I believe Tinker would be in the top runners in the race....when I got home I checked the PBP site and remembered it is an amateur race only. Shame, Tinker would surely do well.


We met the team at 2pm at the Bike & Bean for the afternoon ride. I asked the team if they would sign a few posters for the Daily Peloton readers, and they graciously did so. (photo) The manager and soigneur also added their names, and we will pass them onto to you readers in a random drawing in the near future.

The team autographs posters at the Bike and Bean


Lance Trappe was playing around doing some fantastic stunts and shows of bike riding skill. One was climbing up a fence and then reversing back to the ground. The fence resembled a Western wood corral, the two trials guys were doing things that looked impossible to me.


When I came back from the ride, I hung with the mechanics and the soigneur, Stephanie, for a bit and chatted. I learned that Stephanie coordinates all the Logistics for the team – the hotel reservation, travel arrangements, food, etc. Stephanie is also the Assistant Team Manager. And I thought the soigneur only was around to provide massages after races. I also learned what the mechanics do at a race, and the soigneur’s responsibilities.


Later, after a brief nap, we drove to Scott and Georgie Montgomery’s home for dinner. Georgie made us feel very welcome and we enjoyed and excellent meal, including a delicious assortment of desserts Georgie made. The team was there and all the journalists. Jason from Velonews rode over with me. Also present were Bruce Watson from ridedirt.com, Jude and the Magura team, Maurice Tierney and Tanita from dirtragmag.com, (plus a number others whose names and/or cards I didn’t get. I apologize to you all. If you send me an email I will update the report with your names), all the Cannondale team and the Volvo folks.


During dinner I had a chat with Mike Napieralski who explained to me the duties of a head mechanic. Mike is responsible for not only the maintenance of all the team's bikes but also the travel arrangements for the trucks (which can be complicated by crossing many borders in Europe). This can be a headache when you might have to deal with three national border crossing in one day, which must be accomplished to have the bikes at the race location; complicated by passing through three sets of Customs inspections, each in a different foriegn language.

He also has to make sure to see that the shipping and receiving of parts is coordinated for each race. . . which is quite a trick when you are changing your location daily as you move from one race location to another. A big job, but Mike looks every bit the guy to pull it off.


Towards the end of the evening Eric Wallace, Cedric Gracia, Mike Napieralski and another mechanic tossed each other in the pool. . . As Eric told me earlier when I commented what a fun bunch the team was, "They are a fun group but when they hit the dirt they are all business, totally professional."

A few more hours hanging around the fireplace and it was off to the Hilton hotel for a good nights sleep and a long drive to Los Angeles. A good time was had by all, and I really appreciate the Montgomery’s hospitality.


A personal note to Chad and Dave at the Bike and Bean:  I meant to drop by for a parting latte, but I woke up early and decided I better get on the road. Sorry I missed saying good bye.

Watch for the next report, Sedona the new Mtn Biking Mecca, in which I will try to give you all the websites and details to plan a vacation in Sedona to enjoy the over 220 miles of mtn. bike trails.


My next excellent adventure: the Sea Otter Classic, so I can keep you up to date on the latest major Mtn. Bike competitions and the Volvo Cannondale Team.

So stay plugged in and I will see you on the road, at the races or maybe on some single track in the wilderness of California. Just remember if you see me on a mountain trail to give me some room; I’m new at this mountain biking and my instincts are still telling me to avoid the gravel.

Vaughn Trevisanut


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