Normally, when packing for a race, especially one that requires some travel, I have to think of a million different things to take with me. Wheels, kit, food, water, bottles, wind trainer, pump, helmet, shoes, bike and anything else I could possibly need. Then there is the tedious task of squeezing it all into the car as well as another person’s gear as I am usually car-pooling. Quite often, I will get to the race without an essential item and have to make do without it.
Most local races require that you bring an extra person as well so that they can drive your car and wait around at feed zones to hand out water bottles and feed bags. Not only do you have to find someone that is willing to stand around in the sun all day waiting but you have to find someone that knows about cycling but isn’t racing in the event themselves. On top of all this, Cycling QLD will require that you supply a volunteer for the day to help run the event that, ironically, you also have to pay to enter! If you don’t have a volunteer, you don’t get to race!
This ends up being a lot of organization and hassle. At the start line, there is normally someone running around desperately trying to find someone to hand out their water bottles or be their volunteer. I have found myself in this situation on many occasions.
At Team Novo Nordisk, they are prepared for ANYTHING. Transport and equipment is not an issue with a team truck, bus and 4 team cars at the ready.
The truck has anything that the mechanics could possibly need including a full workshop and laundry for washing kit after the race! There are enough wind trainers on board for the entire team to warm up and enough nutrition products to feed a small army.
The team bus allows us to travel in comfort and style and could also double as a luxury camper if needed. It has a kitchen, shower, toilet and laundry so it can be a house on wheels. As well as these essentials, it also comes with a few luxuries including wi-fi, televisions, a drinks fridge and my favourite, a coffee machine. It puts the jam-packed rental van that we normally get back home to shame.
Each team car is fitted with a roof rack designed to hold an entire bike shop. There are hooks for endless wheels and quick release holders for easy access to spare bikes. A car follows us around during each ride so that you don't have to have your jersey pockets filled with everything you could possibly need.
There is a downside for all of these support vehicles…. As they are predominantly white and drive huge distances to get to races, they always need to be washed. The mechanics are constantly having to keep them clean and looking pristine and there has not been a day where I have not seen them washing a vehicle. Personally, I think that they should save it for riders wanting a favour from them. ‘You want your bike cleaned and a new tire?.. I’ll do it once you have washed the bus.’