29 July 2005

Not a good start

Monday 18-06-05

Hey all, finally got a chance to get to a computer, the secret plan of taking my own laptop away failed when the stupid thing crapped out after a few days. I almost sent it swimming in a canal, but after writing profusely for days, I could not bear the thought of losing all my stories.

Well you have probably heard the news and if you have not, stop watching the rugby and get some cycling news going. Arrived in Germany two days ago and were thrown into a serious tragedy. I missed seeing it unfold by a matter of minutes…bit scary really. While out for a training ride, the whole AIS (Australian Institute of Sport team) all eight of them were involved in a serious head on. We had just arrived in a small town in the South of Germany, to see the team heading out for a small training ride in team formation, they were sussing out the time trail couse as this was the first stage. A few minutes after we saw them, a car being driven by an 18yr old Girl managed to loose control in perfect conditions on a straight piece of road. She had been driving for a month, had a car for a week, speeding, moved over as she saw a few cars slowing for the cyclists. She went off the road slightly, then managed to skid at speed sideways in to the whole team. The complete team was hit head on, three were not moving, one was severely bleeding and the rest were pretty messed up. One of the girls died later that night, one is on a respirator waiting for her parents to arrive so they can turn the machine off. One might have a leg taken off, and one lies in critical care with a pretty messed up torso.
This has really shaken things up as everyone is in the same hotel, sharing meals, bike pits, and café. Most of the girls knew her well, the one that died, but worse is there is still more to come. It's a pretty big race, over 200 girls starting hopefully tomorrow.Went out to the course today, said some words at the accident site and all the girls laid flowers on the site. Petty bad as there was still all the marks from the cops on the road, were the girls landed there was pictures of the position their bodies lay. Not very PC form the local guys.
I had just made contact with the Aussie mechanic as we parked next to him, good old Tasman cousins in a strange land. It was hard to find out what was going on for a while as they took the girls to many different hospitals. He was pretty cut up, I gave him as much support as I could, helping him pack up etc, not a good start to things here,but you get that sometimes.

Life must go on, but most of the girls don't want to race, so tomorrow they have planed to ride the race and stop at the finish line for two minutes of silence, then let last Aussie girl go over the finish. Pretty cool I thought. They are also giving all the prize money for thetour to the team as well.

I have been pretty busy other than that, sorting out the team, they were pretty organized with everything except the mechanical side of things, which kind of sucked. I thought I was going to walk into a sweet wicket, all organized, with a vehicle and the tools to dream of. But alas, thank god they got a kiwi that can adapt to the worst conditions and still smile and give people shit.. Working with a Swedish guy, whose girl races in the team. He's prettycool, the Swedish version of me, and my director, he's the Dutch version of me and together we make a wicked team. Watch out world, no one is sacred.The other mechanic, a Swede, he never stops, I thought sarcasm was going to be lost on these guys, man they rock. I have already reorganized everything in order for them to find things in the vehicles, how did they ever do with out me, every time someone is
looking for anything, they ask me… I'm the new guy, what gives.
They pretty much look after you at the race, got the hell hotel, three meals a day, free clothing (got grease all over my baby blue shirt on the first day).

Some of the girls have three bikes here, I thought I was bad, they love the spanky stuff as well, carbon everywhere. They sit there and dribble over carbon wheels, wanting to know how much they weigh, what sort of bearings etc, this can only get better.
Got my first bottle ofVodka from a couple of the girls today for sorting their bikes out,it's a lot better than German beer (this I know from last year).

More on this later, as there is lots to tell.Try to get onto another computer in the next few days and downloadsome photos of some stuff, the Italian bikes for a start, plus some of the older mechanics, they rule, the young guys watch in awe (that's me of course).

Got to find a computer so I can download some good pictures as the cafe's here don't like you walking in with a disc asking to put it in to their system.

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