Aevolo Cycling mechanic and Unior Ambassador Vince Gee spent an open block in his team’s schedule to go work his 13th Tour of California with Katusha. Always a contemplative man, he sent in this short reflection on the friendships made while making a living on the road.
Working the Amgen Tour of California has been so many things to me. A dream come true to be able to work a big international race in my home state. Even more so proud to have an occasional stage in my birth city of Sacramento. To have so many friends and family able to see what it is I actually do as a team mechanic is very special. Working with some of the top athletes in the world regardless of the sport is amazing to watch, not to mention the joy I get from doing a job I love.
But of course, it isn’t always glamorous, the life of a team mechanic. Regardless, I love it. I love my job. The days are long and the work is demanding both in volume and quality. All races I work require dedication, hard work and attention to detail. But the Amgen Tour of California is a World Tour race (World Tour teams are required to attend) so one must bring their A game regardless if it is a Rider, Director, Soigneur, or Mechanic. Everyone must be polished.
This is the 13th edition of the AToC and I have been blessed to have worked every edition since it’s inception in 2006. This year I am working with the Katusha team. Its star rider here is Marel Kittel, one of the best sprinters in the world. There are two mechanics here including me. Juan Lujan is a full-time mechanic with Katusha and I have known him for two decades. Almost my entire career as a team mechanic. We got to work together from 1999 to 2007 on US Postal and Discovery Channel, thus the call-up to be here as a part-timer. My full-time trade team, Aevolo, does not qualify for this race since we’re a Continental team. This leaves my calendar open for this race to work part-time with other teams.
One of the great things about this race, in particular, is to see friends from European teams I have not seen in years. This year I was able to catch up with a soigneur who is here with Trek/Segafredo. I only worked with him once, at the 2004 Olympic games in Athens, Greece with the US National team. 13 years ago. So fun to catch up. With the job being very demanding, it is friends around the world that is one of the big rewards. Those are the special moments of being in the world of professional cycling.