10 January 2008

The Great Cover Up

With the change of sponsors, all I seem to be doing is De-pinking the bikes and helmets and wheels. Every single wheel I pull out of their bags, seems to be covered in the stuff. Lucky every hotel we are in has a hair dryer for me to try and soften the stickers and rip them off. I had some pretty simple instructions for the bikes and wheels, get rid of all the pink, but it all takes time. Every spare minute at night, I had my fingernails working overtime, getting rid of all sponsors we are no longer associated with. The TT helmets almost melted under the heat, but I managed to keep their shape ok. All the Continental branding had to go, as this year we have a new tyre sponsor Schwalbe, so out with the black marker.

The T-Mobile cover up, looking great from a distance, but it's only temporary.

All the pink stripes on the bike were covered with black pin stripping. The SRM cranks had the pink bits covered with tape. And all the T-Mobile branding on all the road and TT bikes (covering most of the main tubes and forks) had to get covered with white tape. Then a makeshift set of stickers with ‘High Road’ over the top of these. The disc wheels were a mission, huge stickers over the whole wheel, took damn near hours to get rid off. But the whole time, the metamorphosis was a good one, from gaudy pink, to stealth black, all in one move. I just love changes like these.

The Pink and the de-pinked wheel on the left.

The helmets and clothing was still in the air, flying over, so I had to do a bit of running around the riders, gathering all the helmets, cover them in white tape to hide the pink. This was a mission, about two hours each helmet, but they looked presentable, and clean, at least until the real ones turn up. We were confident the clothes were going to turn up before the road race, so we had to find some pretty non-descript skin suits for the TT’s. This was a real mission. Anna (lasts years Director of the Women’s team) and I called around a few shops and managed to find nothing. It was getting serious, with the race looming only a few days away, the team was getting a bit nervous. And all I could think of was having to tape up all the sponsors on the suits we could find, knowing full well that it would look like shit when I had finished. But we had a stroke of luck, and one of the wholesalers put us on to a very small company who happened to have some plain samples we could buy. With a few mods on a couple of the suits, and about 500km of driving to and fro from the manufacturer, we could rest easy. The two girls, Oneone and Alexis (wearing her state team SASI skinsuit) were sorted, and also the only elite man, Adam Hansen, had a nice blue and black suit to ride. A little bit of black marker on a few of the brands, and we looked very unbranded for the day.

Ohh nice, Alexis very stealthy looking, custom made TT bike, ready to race.

By the morning of the Women’s TT (next report), we had got delivery of the road helmets, now just to get the clothes out of customs, and we would be sorted for the road races. Paying a huge fee, 17.5% duty, and the Aussie GST 10%, the clothes were ours. Paying was the only way, even though the boxes are marked ‘no cost, sponsorship product’, we still had to pay to get them released. Suppose it’s a good way to cheat the system if you are a dodgy importer, oh well, at least we had the right kit now.

The close up of Oneone's stem, still trying to get a low as possible.

And what a change, from Magenta (a fancy word for pink), to black and grey, it almost brought tears to my eyes when I saw it for the first time. A nice bold colour, so we can spot our riders in the distance, almost as good as the colour we had before for spotting miles away when the attacks go down. It’s still a bit close to the Raleigh/Univega team (but think they have a new kit as well), and of course don’t forget the Kiwi teams kit (mostly black, with white fern over the back/front). But I am sure I will be able to spot it at 3km away from the team car. And from what I hear the Kiwi Women won’t arrive in Europe till after July, so plenty of time to dial the new colours in to the system.

The best present you can get, a box full of custom made cycling kit, Oneone can't wait.

We won’t get the new team bikes until after the Team presentation, being held in California (same time as we race the Tout Down Under), in a few weeks time, but there is one new bike kicking around this week. Michael Rodgers, (an Australian icon, more on him later) who is racing on Sunday happens to be on the new bike, so I will make sure I post some spy shots of that when I get my hands on it in a few days. It looks sweet, very much a great change from the mostly white bikes we have now, even better for my greasy hand prints I will be putting all over them in the coming months.

And here we have Alexis, modeling the very latest in Team High Road riding kit, so glad we got rid of the pink stuff. Black is more my colour.

Next up, Australian National Timetrails.


ames said...

congrats on your new position benny. that's ace!

benny said...

Yeah thanks, it was time for a bit of a change anyway.