Thursday, July 17, 2008

Astana Team Warehouse

We had a fun day today as we were able to go and visit the Astana Team Warehouse. Due to the long drive to the house we had to wake up farely early so that we could make it to the house by 9:00. When Tim came into our room at around 7:00 we all jumped out of our beds like little kids on Christmas morning and ran downstairs to get some food in our bodies before the trip. We left the house in the big blue USA Cycling van at around 7:30 with Yogi as our guide/GPS. As we pulled onto the street that the house was on we all started looking for a sign or something that would let us know which building it was. After driving for about a kilometer we saw the huge baby blue bus with ASTANA written on the side behind a fairly large building that was also used as a furniture store. We waited a few minutes till it was 9:00 then we walked over to the door and rung the doorbell. After a few seconds a lady answered a door and after a few words with Yogi in Flemish she invited us inside like she had known us her whole life. When we first walked inside my first impression was that it was just a small house where all the Astana people hung out at when there were no races going on. There was a small office and little kitchen. THEN.....a kinda oversized English man walked through a door in the kitchen and invited us to come see the rest of the house. We walked with him through the door and you could hear thumps on the ground as all of our jaws hit the ground. There had to be probably 150 bikes in the room that were all worth over 6,000$ and about 300 wheel sets that were 3,000 Euros a set. We also got to witness the bike that Alberto Contador would be riding the 2008 Olympics. The bike had been painted so that it resembled the Spain flag and where the bike usually says Trek it said Spain due to the rule that at the Olympics you can only have the bike manufacture's name on the bike twice. After wondering around the room, where we got to see the bikes that had been raced on by Levi, Kloden, Contador and everyone else on Astana, the English man walked us into the next room that had all the team cars and two of the team busses, and another billion bikes. As we were touring that room we got to see the new forks that are on the Trek bikes. Instead of having the speed sensor zip-tied to the fork they built the sensor on the inside of the fork. It was amazingly awesome. We also got to see the bike that Contador had won the Giro on. After examing the awesomeness of the bike we set off outside to witness the two other busses that drove the riders to and from the start/finish line. We then went back into the small kitchen and walked down a secret hidden stairway into the cellar where they kept all of the tubular tires. The tiny room might of smelt like rubber, but it sure was pretty awesome seeing about 1000 tires stacked all the way to the ceiling. We then walked back up to the kitchen where we were given some Cokes and Astana swag. After talking to the English man for about another hour we made our way back home and went for an easy one hour ride before we had some dinner and "hit the hay."

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