On the Road Already...
Well, it's now mid-March and I haven't stopped since Endura Racing rode an impressive Tour of Britain in September - with Rob P claiming top British rider with a fine 8th on GC. As you can imagine, team mechanics spend the winter gathering team bikes, stripping them and arranging the kit for the new season ahead and that's what myself, Julian Winn, Ben Jenkins and Brian Smith were up to. In between I was working with Endura and their top class sales reps at Bike trade shows across Europe. This involved more miles in vans and trucks, new hotels and cities. All exciting and tiring!
As you know, we have changed our line-up for 2011 with riders to compliment our Euro racing calendar and the staff at Endura and Endura Racing were excited not only to meet each other, but for the race season to begin. Our first meeting at Endura HQ didn't really go to plan due to the serious dump of snow that hit the UK in November/December. However, we did get some of the European riders here and made the most of getting to know each other. We ended the day with a karting team event which was brilliant. I ended up with not only the fastest lap of the evening but THE fastest lap ever done on the track, much to Martin's disgust as he defaced my trophy which sat proud on my office desk! [just a wee reminder that it was a marathon, not a sprint - ed.]
With Christmas and New Year JUST out the way, I headed to Girona in the van for our first training camp which promised to be amazing! We stayed at Mas Pelegri and by heck that place was fab! The accommodation, the staff and the surrounding area were amazing. The team were based here for 10 days with each day on the bike and everyone loved it. We also had Jeremy Hunt, Xavier Tondo and Yanto Barker join us at times and got the most they could out of it! It was here we met Nyaki who was mechanic for Garmin for the last few years, who helped me keep the bikes rolling each day and also passing on some brilliant tips and advice. Part way through the camp we sent a team to Argentina for the Tour de San Louis where the lads pulled out a string of fine results against some top riders.
Next up is a three week tour to the south of France for Tour of the Med and Haut Var. These were races that the team had raced the season before, so we were all up for improving on last year and making a bigger impact. As with Girona, I needed to drive so this involves making sure all the equipment that we need is packed and I have to allow time to get there ahead of the riders. Both these races went brilliantly for the team - the organiser had even mentioned she was fed up mentioning Endura Racing over the radio as we had been so active everyday! For this trip I had trusty mechanic and long time friend Craig Hardie with me and on many days we had to work into the dark to ensure the team's awesome LOOK bikes were tip top for the next stage.
Next up we have the first of our split programme of Euro racing and I am teamed up with Alex Sans Vega at the Tour of Murcia in the south Of Spain. Apart from a seriously long drive, being Head Mechanic I have to ensure both teams have the equipment required to not only race but have enough equipment to maintain bikes etc. Now that task isn't easy at the best of time, but both these races have TTs stages in them, so our small fleet of LOOK TT bikes need to be packed also. With both teams kitted out with LOOK bikes, Zipp/SRAM wheels and Pedros bike care products we are all ready to rock!
When we rocked up at Murcia we were sharing hotel with Team Sky, Garmin and Saxo Bank and as they had Contador riding, it meant lots of press hanging around the front door. Murcia was shorter this year and unfortunately we didn’t pick up a jersey as we did last year. However, Alex Wetterhall rode a fabulous TT to place 7th. I rubbed shoulders with a few of my cycling heroes at this race which was great. Once I got home I checked the mileage for the trip and we had covered almost 4100 miles! Ouch!
That’s me home now chilling for a few days before the next race which is Tour de Normandie in France. I've worked out that I've been home for around 12 days since 2nd January. This has been tough (thankfully I have an understanding GF) and exciting. I love the bond we have in the team - we all want to help each other succeed and the new riders feel like they have been onboard for ages!!
Over and out…
Brendan AKA The Mechanic