Yet another perspective. (fwd)
mtbiker at u.washington.edu
Tue Jun 23 12:25:54 PDT 1998
now here's a great story of summer adventure.
Hope all ayalz is havin a great summer wherever ya are. Keep me updated
on your own personal adventures as well.
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Subject: Yet another perspective.
The following is a story from Christophe Essayan. Sorry if I butchered the
spelling of your name Christophe. If any of you don't know Christophe, He is
one of us Washingtonians. And my friend. He just happens to be a damm good
mechanic too. I ran into him wrenching his backside off at Seven springs PA.
He had much to tell. SO I lent him the Laptop for an evening. And here is
what he gave us. Please forward it to anyone you think wants to read it.
Where am I? Oh, yeah....... Seven Springs outside of pittsburgh, stop number
two on the NORBA circut, but race number twelve for me this year. Hello to
all my friends back home, greetings from the international racing circut! I
am with the Volvo/Cannondale team this year, a pinnacle point in my carrer as
a professional race mechanic. This is my sixth year on the road, and by far
my busiest. I am covering both the World cup XC and DH races as well as the
Norba races. My schedule spans from the early season openers at Catus cup and
Sea Otter all the way through the worlds in Mt. Ste. Anne, this september.
Crazy. But unforgettable. The team this year comprises all the familiar
names: Myles, Missy, Alison. It also includes new faces: Cadel, Alla,
Andreas, Oscar, David.
WE, the mechanics, have a big job this year and so we divide the work and
focus on the team effort. For DH, each of us covers a particular job:
drivetrain, suspension, cartridge rebuilding, wheels and tyres. Much like an
F1 team. On the XC side, we divvy up riders and see them through the race.
There have been five WC XC so far, four on the European continent at Portugal,
Budapest, St wendel and Plymouth. I have found myself working with Cadel, Alla
and Alessio the most this year. Cadel, so far has two WC wins, in Portugal and
Plymouth, England. I cannot convey what It feels like to see a rider win on a
bike you have built and prepped.. at first it is a feeling of business like
relief, ok hes accross, I need to fight my way through the crowd of
spectators, then past the officials guarding the press/finish tent, through
the phalanx of photoghraphersand reporters... exchange his fresh spare bike
for his race rig, so he can spin down afterward, then back to the truck, wash
and check it over.. The crowds here are amazing, the press is very ambitious:
in Portugal the national TV network filmed me working, then asked me a few
questions, at St Wendel the German BIKE magazine sent a reporter and
photoghapher to cover the backstage work behind the racers, I was amazed at
the intrest as being in the publiceye is rare in the U.S. The knowledge and
fervor of the fans is really amazing. Back to my main story:
Next comes the feeling of elation, realizing that the bike I am washing has
just won and my handiwork played a significant role....Cadel soon returns to
the truck, with the biggest smile on his face, thanks me and I know I am not
dreaming... That moment is perhaps my strongest memory of this spings
European Campaign, and It happemed twice...
That is the crux of my work, the single moment of accomplishment, the reward
for ten, twelve, fourteen hour days, weeks on end. Thousands of kilometers of
driving, both in Europe and North America, I could go on but instead let me
give you my personal experience behind the DH races:
Nevegal. The name is mythical amongst those on the race circut: It is a
benchmark by which you are judged: have you done it? Do you really know? A
high hill facing the Dolomites north of Venice, it is known for its bad
weather, steep nearly inpassible decent and brutality upon equipment. I
washed bikes for half a day and built suspension cartridges for the other
half. Missy and David were flying that week, which was incredible to see,
ballet smoothnes upon a bike bucking its way down a sick course.
Les Gets: a storm blows in an hour before start time. I must rush up top to
the start to change tyres and Missys brake pades before the run.. I am caught
on an open lift in an electrical storm, hail beating at me sideways, arcs of
electricity shooting through the fog, causing the lift to stop, leaving me
hanging, exposed for a minuite or two and wondering about the insulative
ability of IRC tyres... The start tent, usually reserved for riders privacy,
is packed with everyone, seeking shelter. Riders on trainers, their buzz forms
a background for anxious conversation in five languages. Mechanics are busy
changing tyres and equipment, the stress of time is omnipresent. While Lari,
our Swiss mechanic changes tyres, I change Missys Brake pads. Rock Shox
Disc... I have seen this done but never done it myself, I supose that there is
a first time for everything.....
That done, next arrives Oscar and David, our Spanish armada. Oscars front
Hope has unexplicably lost its function on the way up the lift.... Lari and I
scranble to fix this problem minuites before his start... we end up opening
the system, filling the resivoir with water and it works...when you dont have
brake fluid at the top of a French mountain, you get pretty inventive. I am
blown after that afternoons activity, missy ends up taking the overall WC
lead and Oscar make it safely down the hill.. I still have to pack for our
trip stateside, and clean up our work area, but at least all the staff pitches
in to get the job done fast.
Two days later am in Pittsburgh, tool box and siutcase in hand ready to begin
Hope to see you all at the WC in Snoqualmie! Thanks to Dale for lending me
his computer and encouraging me to write a bit.. Thanks to all my friends for
supporting me on my way to this place.. I hope you are welll.. See you soon.
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