Tour of Southland
I've been thinking it's high time the unsung heroes of the tour got a mention. Every good team has a good support crew. If you've ever watched a Formula One race you'll see all the support crew in the pits tuning the cars and looking after the drivers.
It's exactly the same in cycling.
Barry Stewart Builders/GMC Coaching has a great support crew and the riders couldn't get through the tour without their help.
In no particular order they are the following:
Red – He's the manager. He's actually a local Invercargill rider that's coached by GMC Coaching and the team is his brain child.
Red organises everything, from riders to meals and everything in between.
He also follows the race in one of the team vans and changes our wheels should we puncture, hands out water bottles and keeps us up to date on the racing as it happens.
Kurt – Kurt takes a week off work (as do all the other supporters and some riders) to be on the Tour to look after us.
He's ridden the tour a couple of times so knows what riders need.
He drives the second Barry Stewart Builders/GMC Coaching van ahead of the race and meets us at the finish each day with our jackets, food and anything else a tired cyclist needs.
He's also our team mechanic and spends hours in the evening out in the cold cleaning bikes, changing punctures and oiling chains. "That man deserves a beer."
Vaughn – He drives the van that Red manages from, he also assists Kurt with washing the bikes. He washes the race clothing every night (don't tell his wife he's handy in the laundry) and he's the general gofer.
"Vaughn, can you get me this? Vaughn, can you get me that?" Vaughn is a man who knows how to find things.
Susan – She's the team physio. At the start of the tour a massage was 30 minutes, as the days progress it's now an hour, so not only does Susan massage cyclists for six hours a day she also listens to all their complaints about different things in the race, so she doubles as the physio/psychologist.
This column hasn't been as light-hearted as usual, but these are the unsung heroes of the tour. Every team has its support crew and they all deserve a bit of the spotlight.
What will be in the column tomorrow? I'm not sure, but I have 160km between Gore and Invercargill to think about it.
- © Fairfax NZ News