2 weekends ago was my first race of the 2014 season and also for my first race as part of team Raceforce.
The weekend before the race, my bike and bike kit was collected by Kate and Grant. I had arranged for collection to be from my friend Claire’s house as we had booked the service together and agreed to have one collection point. The bikes are mounted into a rack system in the van by the front forks meaning the only thing that needs doing to the bike is removal of the front wheel. As I had experienced some issues with the brakes and wheels compatibility which I wasn’t entirely certain had been resolved by my local bike shop, I was also taking a spare pair of wheels with me, which Kate kindly allowed as extra luggage without charging me. At the collection point I had a chat with Grant (the mechanic) and he agreed to look over the brakes / wheels as I was not happy with the setup since it has come back from its ‘service’ at the shop the day before. The gears also needed re-indexing as again my local bike shop didn’t seem to have done this properly even though it was one of the things I had booked it in for (I won’t be using them again it has to be said!).
So a full week before the race I had handed my bike and bike kit over and it was one less thing to worry about in the days before flying out to Majorca. This was a huge weight of my mind after the stress I had breaking down the rather complex front end of my TT bike for a flight to Lanza a couple months previously.
On the Tuesday before my race I got a text message from Grant telling me my bike was all sorted and the gears had been re-indexed and it was at their Villa in Alcudia ready and waiting. This put my mind at rest and meant I could concentrate on race prep, packing and the final weeks training.
I was very lucky to have two close friends racing this with me. Claire (also a member of Team Race force) and Anna are two of a group of close friends I have made from my local Triathlon club. We decided to make this race a bit of a girls holiday too as we were setting of on Thursday with return flights on the Monday. Unfortunately due to Claire’s son having an accident shortly before the holiday, she didn’t fly out with us as originally planed and had to join us on the Friday instead. Luckily though her little boy is well on the mend and she was still able to join us, her family had agreed she couldn’t miss out on this race so convinced her it was the right thing to come out and meet us, just a day later than originally planned.
When myself and Anna landed in Majorca, we were met by Louise and Kate’s dad, who were collecting Anna’s bike as part of the airport collect Raceforce service. They kindly gave us both a lift to the hotel before taking Anna’s bike back to base to be built. Once myself and Anna had unpacked and had a quick reccie of the area we went to register for the race and then made our way over to the Raceforce stand on the expo.
My bike was already for collection and Anna’s bike was just being finished off. We took all the bikes (including Claire’s) back to the hotel and then went back to meet Kate for a gentle little ride to test our bikes and have a little explore.
Needless to say, the lead up to race day went past in a blur…… race day itself was amazing and I have a separate blog on that. After the race, I went home to shower and eat then had a walk (more of a hobble) over the the expo with my bike and luggage to drop off with Kate and the Race force team. Thats was it – no more worries about bikes – we were free to party and celebrate, and party we did!!
The day after our flight home, the bikes were delivered back to us. The whole shipping concept to me is so much easier than worrying about the time / effort / and technical worries of dismantling, packing and re-building a bike when you only have a few days total in the country your racing in.
I am using the ams service again for IM Austria next month and cant wait to get back out there racing (and socialising) with Team Raceforce!!
Thanks to Kate and Grant and the rest of the Raceforce team.