The Laundry Wench

ToC stage 1 started today in Nevada City, up in the foothills of the Sierras, and ended in Sacramento, right next to the state capitol building. I did not go to the start, instead stayed in town to do laundry and relax with a bit of down time before the racers arrived.

Ah, laundering racer kits, nothing I like better on a Sunday morning. The guys have mesh bags in which they stuff their dirty kits, I am supposed to just toss the bag in the washer and in the dryer, no need to sort out anything. But it’s not quite that simple. Some of the guys have big bags and others have small bags, some have more laundry, some have less. When more laundry meets small bag, the bag gets jammed pretty tightly. My well honed laundering instincts tell me that the kits in the jammed bags won’t get washed or dried as well as the loose bags. I have eight bags total, so I pick the four most jammed bags, open them and dump the kits into four separate washing machines, then add the intact looser bags. When washed, I just move it all to a dryer. This way the kits for each racer still remain separated, but get adequately cleaned and dried. When done, I just stuff the unbagged kits back into their respective bags. As long as I don’t mix up the bags…

All that laundry got done in 1.5 hours, so I had some down time before the ToC racers arrived. I wandered around the downtown portion of the course and checked out the vendors. My team badge got me into the UHC VIP tent where I had lunch and met the wife of UHC racer Brad White, Jenny White. She actually thought I was somebody else when she greeted me. I get that a lot. Put a cycling helmet and glasses on me, and with my gray goatee I look like several other OTH racers in my cycling club. People can only tell us apart by our bikes and riding styles. I got to talking with Jenny and then met her mom Deb, her 7 month old son Mason, and Brad’s parents Kay and Dan. Turns out that Kay and Dan live in one of my fave vacation spots – Leland, Michigan, so we were able to go on and on about the area. A few years ago they even opened a coffee shop near Leland named “Pedaling Beans Coffeehouse”, check it out at

Finally the Toc racers arrived and rocketed around the downtown circuit. Unfortunately, three UHC racers went down in two separate crashes on this circuit. Andrew Pinfold got the worst of it. When he rolled up to the team RV after the finish, his whole left side, shoulder down to calf, was shredded, major road rash. His riding shorts were so torn up they were just hanging like a loincloth. Doc San Jose took him over to the medical tent and I picked them up a bit later in a team car and drove us back to the hotel. Pinner’s left arm and leg were swathed in bandages, but he plans to keep riding.

Back at the hotel I went on bottle duty again, topping off the coolers. Mike’s wife Lauren, also a professional bike racer, showed up with a teammate by name of Olivia. Lauren just recently set a world record in the team pursuit at the new indoor velodrome in Aguascalientes, Mexico, riding with Dotsie Bausch and Sarah Hammer. Today, she and Olivia were racing on the downtown circuit before the ToC racers arrived. Lauren led out teammate Coryn Rivera  for the win and got fourth herself.

That’s it for today. tomorrow we’re up early and I am driving the big van to Santa Rosa, pulling the equipment trailer. Oh boy, this ought to be fun. I was driving the van by itself this evening to get some groceries, and it’s pretty unwieldy. Towing an equipment trailer that is bigger than the van will be a real experience! I just hope I don’t have to backup anywhere…

Here are my pix for today: ToC 20100516

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