France and the Tour for Kika project are rapidly approaching while I'm reeling in my mammoth checklist as inexorably as the peloton tracks down the remnants of a doomed break. Just to keep things interesting I figure to make the catch a few hours before I step onto the plane for Rotterdam. My logistical challenge pales in comparison to the miles the team is logging in preparation for this epic but I've surely set a new personal record for emails in the last six weeks. The lack of activity on the blog is a direct result... apologies.
It's been worth it though. I'm happy to report that all that correspondence has resulted in inspiring industry support for the project and this is the first of many times I'll thank the companies and friends who stepped up to give the team a terrific leadout. Giro has outfitted the whole team with Atmos helmets (Titanium colorway) and killer Pearl-Orange Havik 2 glasses. The Havik 2s are a thoughtful mix of full and compact models for the team to organize best fit and the standard dark tint lenses are complemented with additional Orange Selectors.
Specialized generously organized black BG Comp gloves and white BG Comp shoes for the team. The BG gel pad equipped gloves will reduce hand and arm fatigue on those long stages while the great fit of the BG Comp shoes will transfer every last watt of power into the pedals. Selfishly I'm ecstatic that the whole team is wearing white shoes for photography, Now if I can only get them to shave their legs. Rumor has it we've got a few holdouts. I've suggested they raise a little extra money from friends and family who want to see smooth legs (whatever their motivation).
Twin Six have agreed to supply us with their sharp Motor socks - the only offering in their stylish lineup with a flash of Dutch orange. As an aside I love the look of the new Twin Six Team bibs and jersey. The blue/black graphic stripes on white just rock. Figure I need the slimming power of black for my hind quarters. Those of a more wiry persuasion should definitely check them out.
That's it for kit, but we're not done yet. We know that the final climbs in the Alps and Pyrenees will be mobbed, even 24 hours before the pros arrive. Worried that the police may close the road to cars, we've secured the loan of an electric bike from Ultramotor. The A2B Hybrid has four levels of assistance from it's direct drive motor. It can cruise at 17 mph on the flats and 12-14 mph in the hills. I demo'ed the bike here in California last week and Sunday gave it the litmus test on the 19-mile climb to Mt. Hamilton. If our photo car is blocked we'll deploy the ebike so I can stay ahead of the boys on the Tourmalet.
Finally, my pals at Phil Wood got a brief look at the Ultramotor during its stay so they could machine a special camera mount for the Hybrid's rear carrier. Am I lucky or what. I'll pick up the mount this week and mate it with the bike that's waiting in Amsterdam. The rest of the gear left for the Netherlands Thursday. Provided I managed to complete the custom's documentation correctly it should be in the team's hands Monday.