Professional Team Support – A Very Hard Job

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Yesterday I went over to Breckenridge to see Trudi and the end of the 2nd stage of the Pro Challenge. The town was obviously crowded with tons of crazed cycling fans. But more than that, it was completely jammed with team support vehicles. So many that it nearly seemed silly. The team support at the bike races has turned into an arms race. Each team is trying to one up the next. Bigger team buses, more elaborate vehicles, cooking trucks with chefs.

With all these extra vehicles etc., there is a need for more and more team support. At a race like the Pro Challenge, I’d say that the bigger teams have a ratio of at least 2 support staff for each rider. At the Tour, it is over 5. It seems a little ridiculous, but it isn’t like each and every one of the support staff isn’t working their tails off every waking minute of the day.

Yesterday, Trudi got up before 6 am and worked pretty much nonstop until 10pm. And that will be the case the whole week of the race. She did the hotel yesterday in Breckenridge. So, she collected all the luggage in Aspen, loaded it into the van and drove it over to Breckenridge, then got all the rooms and assigned them. Then she had to haul all the luggage to each person’s room. The condos that they were at were on multiple levels and had a weird configuration. So, it was a luggage moving nightmare. Waking through the hallways, there were support staff from other team, RadioShack, Garmin, etc. and all were doing the same thing.

She usually doesn’t get to see any of the races. Yesterday, she did walk the 1/2 mile down the hill to the course and watched the leaders come through the first time. She then said that she sort of felt like a cat that had wandered too far from home and needed to head back up to the rooms. She was stressed.

It is sort of strange how the support of all these Pro teams seemed to make it sort of into a competition between themselves, thus there is stress involved. You’d think that the repetition of the process would streamline it and make it less stressful, but that isn’t the case.

Anyway, if you’re thinking that doing the team support for the Professional Teams is super glamorous, think again. You do get to travel and go to super nice places, but you work crazy long hours and work super hard.

Trudi and Bromont.  They hadn't seen each other in a couple weeks.

Trudi and Bromont. They hadn’t seen each other in a couple weeks.

This is Eric Heiden, one of the team doctors from BMC, waiting at drug control with yesterday's stage winner, Mathias Frank.

This is Eric Heiden, one of the team doctors from BMC, waiting at drug control with yesterday’s stage winner, Mathias Frank.

8 thoughts on “Professional Team Support – A Very Hard Job

  1. Ray

    Yes, I have done this work for Cervelo in France and on the Etapes later, it was great fun and yes hard work, especially with people who thought they knew better or just liked hearing their own voice. Driving across France is one of most amazing experiences and all the other stuff just becomes background against it all.

     
  2. Matt M

    Trudi is one of the most professional of anyone I’ve known….and has been for a very long time. Riders and other staff tend to appreciate the efforts the fans never see. Those long hours coupled with a personality that never gets ruffled or angry…those are the tenets of pro staff and mechanics! I learned a lot from both of you in the short time I was lucky enough to work with you – and try to embody those lessons eveyday…

    Say “Hi” for me and I hope there is some fun downtime in the offing soon!!

    Much repsect

    Matt

     
  3. Skippy

    On the Tuesday prior to the Start in Porto Vecchio , i was dockside in Nice awaiting loading onto the Corsica Ferry . As time passed i was able to greet many of the Media and the Team Support Staff .

    Awaiting loading were 5 Euskadi Estate cars , with roof racking , to be used during the Corsica Grand Depart ! Bear in mind that the Team Time Trial Equipment would not be needed in Corsica , so that vehicle and attendent cars would be extra . In Corsica there would have been a Pullman for the Racers and another for the mechanics , food & laundry . With Euskadi being one of the Budget teams , i doubt they had many PR Staff and may not have had tthe Camper Van other teams had available .

    With All these vehicles it is easy to see why you are assuming a ratio of 5 supporters per Racer !

    Euskadi according to current Media reports are a non starter for the 2014 season , what a shame that the ” Competition ” has proved so expensive for their ” Sponsors “?

    With my riding the routes of all the Grand Tours , until 2009 , i was carrying a 2-3kg sack on the handlebars from march to October , advocating for ” Physically Challenged Sport ! Most seasons i would hitch from one Tour to the other . In 2004 , i went from Olympic Athens to the Vuelta and return for the Paralympics across Italy , France & Spain by a variety of vehicles . Good for the environment and of course the pocket .

    Have been reading recently of the exploits of another Aussie , who together with a Camper Van , support Staff & separate camera crew is busy attempting to emulate my success . Using Strava and a guidance system , he is hoping to complete all 3 tours to TALK about the Environment ! Seems he has met a few of the people , that i rode with a decade and more ago . Not sure if claiming to be the first Amateur cyclist to ride all 3 Grand Tours will be successful ? Perhaps he should have some people from the ” Guinness Book of Records ” to make his claim worthwhile ?

    Because of health issues and other commitments i won’t be at this Vuelta , so if he gets to writing the ” Journal ” that he had promised during the ” Giro ” , i may get a few glimpses of the areas i have already visited in a bygone period .

    Seems even Amateur efforts , NOW need a Big Support Effort !

     
  4. Jim Woods

    Funny, I found myself taking pictures of all the team cars as they passed. It’s like a colorful high speed parade! Steve, my dad and I watched the race in Fairplay. Hey, we even got a free T shirt out of the deal!

     
  5. JP Shores

    Thanks for posting this! I have seen Trudi in action supporting you as well at events and her dedication and professionalism is outstanding! This is the kind of insight that people need to hear about from Pro’s like yourself. Great Pic of her and Bromont. My buddy Gary Mapes has moved to Topeka and has been doing your rides. Thanks to your group for letting him hang on! GO!

     
  6. Edna Bambrick

    So Trudi did all this work while you took photos, facebooked and blogged about it.

    I’ve got one thing to say about that.

     
  7. Michael

    First handedly my girlfriend and I experience Trudy’s kindness, hard work, and positive attitude during stage 5 (Vail) of this year’s US Pro Challenge. To take the time and effort, a moment out of her super hectic day, to go inside the bus, grab a mussette, 2 bottles, and 2 caps for my girlfriend and I (to match her new BMC bike!) speaks volumes about her character. The team’s very lucky to have someone like Trudy! Thanks, Trudy!
    -Michael, Hannah, and Rex (K9)

     

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