Well I did not think that I was going to make it on the plane this week. From being totally organised in my mind, reality was I was far from the truth. Having to leave a house that I had been in for almost seven years was traumatic to say the least as I realised that the bikes and parts that I had collected over the years was greater than I first had thought. Selling some of the bikes in my collection was like a child leaving home for the first time, it was not easy for me. Thank god that they were all going to good homes, I could not bear to think of my babies being abused. As for the good stuff that I had rescued over the years, some of it just looked like a pile of junk now that it had to go.
The flights were pretty sweet, long and pretty boring, I even managed to get some sleep for the first time flying that I can remember. A few hours stopover in Thailand, almost felt like home, in the heat, but the humidity was not as great. The summer in Auckland was getting too much for me, hot and sticky, it certainly makes working and sleeping difficult when it’s 30’c, sleeping in that heat can almost make you more tired. High humidity has got to be the worst kind of weather to deal with, even just sitting around you are sweating, feeling tired for no reason. Bring on the winter, at least you can put more clothes on if you are cold, instead of trying to remove your skin trying to cool down. Europe was having a pretty cold winter form what the team was telling me. Just hope that it has started to warm a little by the time that I get there, and I hope I packed enough warm stuff to wear.
Flying from a perfectly clear sky in London, with a nice 5’c outside, flying to Amsterdam the weather had deteriorated to snow and sleet, and a nice 1’c. I had arrived to what I was dreading, cold, cold and more cold. The Netherlands looked a lot different since I had left it in October last year. Almost a little washed out and everything look squashed from the snow they had over the winter. One thing I have come to realise about this country is that everyone talks about the weather, always it’s never been this bad, cold, wet, windy etc, I seemed to have missed the three weeks of summer they had last year as well. Maybe with a full season here I might get to see what its like for my self, instead of some misinformed hearsay.
I was picked up by one of my housemates, Linda our Danish rider. The team has supplied a house for a few of us that are from out of town. It’s a great idea, as most of the team will be staying here at some time or another throughout the year, and it’s nice giving them a place of their own after all the hotels we stay in during racing. The house is in a small village about 7km from the team base that I work out of most of the year. With a cool forest between them both, riddled with trails perfect for a mountainbike (which I brought with me) or a cyclocross which the team has a few of. There is two churches, three supermarkets and two bike shops that I have found so far, and that’s just riding through it twice.
The Boss has been busy during his winter, adding a few more things to the Service Course (name they use for the base, bike storage, workshop etc). He has also just been to pick up our first shipment of bikes for the girls, and they are looking good. Full carbon for us this year, Dura-ace 10 speed of course, and a nice selection of Bontrager wheels and ‘Pro’ (local brand) of bars, stems, seatposts cages etc. The bikes are all black, which won’t show the dirt up as much as last years white bikes, sweet as it makes my job a little easier as the bikes get a little bit used.
All that nice carbon...
Now the work starts for me, 14 bikes to build from scratch in the next few days. A few tubulars to glue, and a truck to finish off all before we head to Portugal at the end of the week. I will be leaving a day or two before the rest of the team, as they get the luxury of flying there in a couple of hours. Whereas the director and I get the fun of driving 2560km ASAP, with a full load of sweet new unridden (except the odd skid test I have to perform) carbon Stevens bikes all the way through most of Europe.
All that nice Dura-ace
Better get building…. Oh and it’s freaking cold. I rode to work this morning and when I arrived it was a whole 1.5’c, my toes still have not thawed out. But more about that later.