Words by Eben Horacek
FLAGSTAFF — Day two of l’Abitibi camp had a fifteen minute test up snowbowl road which averages 6% in the morning, and simulations on moving through the caravan and what to do after a mechanical happens in the afternoon. The same as day one all the riders weighed in and grouped together before leaving.
The day started off fairly cool around 75 degrees, we had a forty minute ride out to the test and I did a short opener before the test to get ready. I was the second to last rider to go off as the start list was the reverse of GC. The test was certainly hard and the elevation made it hard, however I am happy with the results of my effort [2nd].
After the test we grouped together and made our way back to campus. On the way down we had three flats all at once. The road had numerous cracks and it made for a sketchy descent. We got back to our dorms and went to lunch. After lunch we had two more hours to rest before going out again.
Our second ride of the day was a simulation on what to do if we get a mechanical while racing and how to make it back to the peloton through the caravan. We numbered off and were put into pairs, these were our partners that would help bring each other back.
We rode out in lines of two, making sure to be a few riders between our partner. A coach sat about ten meters behind us and would yell out our numbers. If our number was yelled one of us would raise our hand as if we had a flat, left or right depending on which wheel had the flat, and moved to the right of the group and moved to the back. When we raised our hand we need to make sure the commissaire saw our hand raised so that they can radio our team car to come to the front and help us. We made sure to wait at the back of the peloton for our partner before we moved back to the “team car” (one of the coaches) then the coach would “honk” indicating that they were ready to change the rider’s wheels. We then quickly moved as far right to the road as possible and stopped quickly, to minimize the time we had to work to make it back to the peloton. We then waited for ten seconds, the average time of a good wheel change, then we worked together with our partner to make it back to the peloton.
One of the main points that they stressed was to not panic and to smoothly ride back, taking our time and not gassing ourselves. In a real race we would move from the bumper of one team car and wait for a minute before we recovered and moved up to the next team car’s bumper. Once we made it back to the peloton make sure to get to the belly of the pack, don’t sit at the back as you will probably end up in a crash and you were probably off the back in the first place because of something like this. We did this and afterwards previewed the 5k course for tomorrow. We came back after this, showered, ate, and rested for evening meetings. I took a nap.
Evening presentations included results from the morning TT as well as going further in depth on the caravan. I ended up second and maintained my second overall in GC. Not bad for being at elevation. We talked about the caravan and the order that everything goes in. It is really a large parade, there are police officers, guests, commissaires, motos, paparazzi, media, and all the team cars. We discussed how to come back to the car and get bottles for the team and how to move up through the caravan. We also talked about the specific flags, jerseys, and other things like road furniture that can pose a problem. We then went through the 75 page race bible which discusses everything that anyone could possibly want to know. We were then able to go to bed and rest for another hard day in Flagstaff.