Sunday, November 20, 2011

Finally, Racing!

After what seems like weeks of washing bikes, the racing finally got under way. While the weather threatened all day, it never more than lightly sprinkled. The Rwandans came out en masse, to watch the big show.

This was my first experience at Rwandan congregations. They smile and wave, and are genuinely curious about these big white men, and blonde, white women. They want to be nearby, in case you do something interesting, or more likely, want you to give them chocolate, water bottles, or money. The kids have learned to hang out at the team cars. There are so many, though, that we could never satisfy that demand. The kids found my tattoos today, and were so enthralled. They would go get there friends and bring them to see, too. They liked to touch it, to see if they could feel the image. I watched as a couple kicked around some empty water bottles, and when the bottle came near, I returned it with a kick of my own. They went crazy! Kids poured out of the woodwork, to play with the crazy, inked, mizunga.

Rwandan cycling fans, are much more reserved. They never clapped or cheered, just watched. Us, however, well, let's just say we were "us". Eveytime I hooted one of our boys, the adults around would twitch, and the kids would giggle. They are so reserved, up until the hometown favorite launched last. For the first time, a huge cheer went up, and they all ran for the finish.

All of the announcing was in French, but I kept hearing our boy, Ty's name in the mix. When all was said and done, TT1 swept the top three spots! The team is amped, and the game is on. Tomorrow we must defend, and I think we can. Wednesday and Thursday will be deciding factors, when they hit some pretty vicious climbs. I have a feeling that on those days, I'll have quite a few of my pre-riders, hanging onto brushgaurds!

Brush gaurds on what, you may ask. Why, on this most ridiculous, 9 seater, Land Rover, complete with snorkel, I'd answer! My ride for this gig is so over the top! Phil's gonna look over his shoulder to ask for a bottle, and I'm gonna be gone, off on safari,somewhere.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Check it out for up to date TT1 dealings over here.

I had a few minutes, so I thought I'd share some of the experience. At night I hear drums playing in the distance, but now, I sit in a hotel lobby, listening to Don Williams on the hotel sound system. They were playing Michael Jackson and Kenny Rogers, this morning. Just bizarre!

Keeping bikes clean after daily rains, and my newfound, soigneur-like responsibilities(minus the massage), take up most of my time. It's tough to determine how much food and water to buy for myself, and 7 riders. Luckily I have a little guidance from the team's professional soigneur. She's been in the business for 15+/- years, and is a well of knowledge.

We picked up the team car today, and got quick lessons in African driving. No real rules, just guidelines. It really feels like riding in a pack, just put your bumper in, and take the spot. Own it, or lose it!

Prologue is tomorrow. The guys are ready to ride, and I think we have a guy who can contend for the overall.

By Tuesday, we leave our comfortable hotel, for the road. My understanding is that our accommodations range from resorts, to last resorts, once the race leaves Kigali. I'm psyched to see the country, but nervous about the unexpected.

We have good people with us, so as long as sanity can be maintained, we'll be good. I can already see that my shepherding skills are going to come in handy. Each morning, I suppose I'll wake and share Don's chorus, Lord, I hope this day is good....

Monday, November 14, 2011

Weekend in Pictures

I'm still behind the 8 ball, getting everything done before I go wheels up for Rwanda, so, you folks will have to settle for pics from the weekend, for now. The trip was awesome! The weather really could not have been much better. We caught the middle GA woods in the midst of beautiful fall colors. Well worth the hoops we jumped through, to make it happen.