Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tour of America's Dairyland

Back in 1992 I met my friend John when he hired me to be a mechanic at his bicycle shop. I worked there about a year, and then went back the CG full time. We kept in touch and in 2002 he came to Virginia for a visit. He told me then that he might be moving to the Chicago area. Unfortunately, I lost track of him. I didn't know if he had moved or if he had stayed in the Appleton, Wisconsin, area. Facebook was no help.

Fast forward to present time. The Kenda Pro Cycling team is competing in the Tour of America's Dairyland, and I'm bringing the team van and trailer from Minnesota. We're going to be staying in host housing but the trailer is too big to park at the homes so it's been arranged to park it at a local bicycle shop, Wheel and Sprocket. The first morning there, I'm in the trailer working on bikes when the manager comes out to say hello. We chat a bit and I tell him I used to know a guy who worked for Wheel and Sprocket in Appleton. "What's his name?" I tell him and he says "he works here now. He's inside." What are the odds of that?
From a day in the life

Later John got to meet some of the members of the team and they got to hear the story...

Team Director: "So, with no experience, you convinced him to give you a job as a mechanic and just learned on the go?"
Me: "Yep."
Team Director: "So pretty much the same situation as now..."

So it's been a busy couple days/weeks. The Nature Vally Grand Prix was a fun race and the people I met were great. But on Monday it was time to move on. Part of the team had been competing in the Tour of America's Dairyland and were doing very good. The support staff was to swoop in and provide, uhm, support.

Here's a picture from my workshop. It was pouring rain, but inside the trailer it was merely dark and stuffy.
From a day in the life

Johnny Sundt eats a doughnut on the starting line.
From a day in the life

The race continued to go well for us, and at the end, Kenda riders finished first and second overall. Hours of hard work and effort, lots of blood, sweat, and gears... it all payed off in the end. But I don't wan to take too much away from the riders. They put in up to 90 minutes of work per day. Ha! I put in 90 minutes of work 6 or 7 times a day! And do I get a 20lb wheel of cheese? No. But I got to hold one! Hey, no one becomes the mechanic because they want to win races. You can't win the race in the pits, you can only lose the race in the pits. But not this time.
From a day in the life

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