This is Part Two of Vaughn's excellent adventure at the T-Mobile Fall
Training Camp in Tucson, Arizona. Read Part One
T-Mobile Training Camp - Tucson, Arizona
21 - 24 November 2002
El Tour de Tucson
grief, why is it that mornings always come so soon! Up at five, the T-Mobile
group shuttles in team vans to the start area at the convention center in
downtown Tucson. The 108 mile Tour de Tucson is promoted by the PABA (Perimeter
Bicycling Association of America). The tour is one of four to "promote
cycling as a means of recreation, good health, transportation and competition."
Today's race is raising money for the Tu Nidito Foundation; which in Spanish is
"your little nest." The mission of the non-profit organisation is to provide
support for children and their families as they deal with serious illnesses and
death - a group certainly worthy of our support and cyclists have come from far
and wide over 6,000 to ride in support of the cause.
Start of Tour de Tucson. Courtesy of T-Mobile
is really something to see over 6000 cyclists start a race; the pro riders and
elites powered through at a fast pace and then thousands more followed on every
conceivable configuration of bike available: Tandems, mountain bikes, and
recumbents. Some of the riders had decorated their helmets with fruit, flowers,
Viking horns and champagne glasses - it was a twenty minute parade filled with
smiling faces. Some obviously had never ridden in a peloton; as they wove in and
out of their fellow riders pandemonium reigned, but somehow the pack was off
without an accident.
The race was won by Robbie Ventura of USPS in 4:24:46 in a sprint finish
against 2nd place Jame Carney, 3rd place Chris Beardsley, 4th Kent Bostick. Jean
Longo once again finishes the womens class in first place in 4:24: 58 within
seconds of the first placed men. The nearest women to Jeannie's finishing time
is Nicole Habay at 4:39:10 with Melanie Shon in third with the same time. Having
ridden a 70 mile training ride yesterday most of T-Mobile will use the ride
today as a training ride and either stop when the peloton passes the hotel at 35
miles, or meet at the 70 mile point. Some brave souls, like Bob Stapleton, Chris
Clinton (Mavic and www.promechanics.com) and Deborah Engen (USA Cycling) were
among others who rode the full course.
Later Bob would mention he was "stiff all over," which would have interesting
results at the awards dinner. Hitching a ride in the Mavic support car, we took
off to meet the riders at the 30 mile support point. It proved to be impossible
to pass even a slow moving peloton of six thousand, so we opted to go around to
the 70 mile point. It took an hour to get around and back on the course, where
we started to see riders spread out in small groups chasing the lead group.
At the 70 mile point the lead group passed quickly with one lone tandem in
close chase. One of three dirt sections of the course followed; a section of
road that was in a paving dispute by neighboring towns, the others were dry
river crossing with where the prevalent spectators were coyotes. Undaunted by
the sand and perhaps encouraged by the watching fans (the coyotes), the riders
on road bikes picked up their bikes and ran. Those riding mtn.bikes impressed
their road brethren by flying through the dry sandy washes like it was a well
worn single track.
Soon after I switched to the team car and returned to the hotel with Kirk,
team soigneur and Mari Holden. And by the way, this year Mari's goal is to be at
the Worlds in top condition, to podium as she has done before. Back at the
Westward look, I hated to admit it but I needed a shower and a nap.
The Awards Dinner
At seven that evening there was an awards dinner. I was lucky to sit near the
charming young Miss Sarah Hammer, a new addition to the team. Sarah is a 12 time
Junior National Champion in several disciplines: Track, Pursuit and Criterium,
and winner of the 2002 UCI Track World Cup #2 for Points race and 2nd for the
Scratch race. Sarah is in the first phase of her winter training in the gym -
she looks to be a powerhouse and a great addition to the T-Mobile roster. The
lovely Miss Hammer is our newest name on the Daily Peloton's "Young Guns" list
of riders to watch.
Deborah Engen, the new communications director for USA cycling, also shared
the table with us and was keenly interested in Sarah's weight training and the
phases leading up to her road and track training for the new year. Deborah
mentioned that she has some plans for some changes to the USA Cycling site which
will bring more info to the riders and fans this year.
Bob Stapleton, left, and Herwig Reus right.
Reus, our charming host, began the evening by thanking all the media and
sponsors for their participation in the camp. He then asked Bob Stapleton to
join him, in spite of the fact that Bob said earlier he was "stiff all over."
Double entendre be blessed, the house lit up in laughter. Good sports that they
are, Bob and Herwig weathered the laughter with the panache of James Bond, and
kept all of us laughing throughout the presentations.
Then came the awards - specially-designed certificates. "These certificates,"
Herwig explained, "are the result of exhausting research by my staff to find the
right words to express what we feel. I expect, if I drop by your office someday,
to see it displayed on your wall." He followed with a broad smile.
So on my wall as I write this tonight, Herwig, I see the special words on my
certificate: "Congratulations...You survived." I expected no less from a team
manager who has every intention to see he gives the best to his team and gets
the best from them; for as we know survival is not just barely getting by, it is
the criteria of success for surely those who survive best consider victory the
Scott Montgomery of Cannondale with his "certificate"
Here are links to the sponsors websites if you wish to learn more about the
sponsors products and support the folks who bring you Team T-Mobile:
The T-Mobile Team
The Pink & Black Rockets
Holden and Dotsie Cowden
Kim Bruckner, Sarah Hammer, Kim Anderson
Berger, Amber Neben, Stacey Peters
Kim Bruckner, Dede Demet Barry
Peters and Kristin Armstrong
Deirdre (Dede) Barry
Coaches and Staff:
Jim Miller, Directeur Sportif/Coach
Jean Paul Van Poppel, Coach
Michelle Jacques, Soigneur
Dave Pitts, Mechanic
USA Cycling Staff:
Steve Johnson, COO/ Director of Athletics
Jiri Mainus, International Competition Director
Sam Callan, Sport Science
Amy Zirneklis, Programs Manager
Alan Sekowski, Team Operations
The T-Mobile team will be starting its second year of racing with a full
Vuelta Castilla y Leon
Tour of Willamette
La Fleche Wallone
Tour de Berne
Tour of the Gila
Gracia Tour/Vuelta Mallorca
Tour de l'Aude
Montreal World Cup
Tour de Grand Montreal
World Championship Qualifier
Cascade Cycling Classic
Tour de Toona (The International)
Tour de Feminine (Grand Boucle)
Saturn Cycling Classic
National Crit Championships
National Track Championships
World Championships Time Trial
World Championships Road Race