Monday, April 7, 2008

2006 PR - April 9th, 2006 - Inside Sean Yates' Car, Part One

104th Edition of PR
Sunday April 9th, 2006
Paris (Compiègne) > Roubaix
Total Length: 259 km

In 2006, BKW friend and Marathon MTB man JS was lucky enough to witness Paris Roubaix from the backseat of Yates' Disco team car. But don't think it was all fun and games back there. JS was pounding away on the Crackberry, firing minute-by-minute reports detailing the action as it unfolded with the help of race radio and Yates' inside commentary. It was from his transcript and insane behind-the-scenes photos that BKW was born. I've seen this edition of the race countless times and, even two seasons later, my palms get sweaty as I read them. Enjoy.

Graham Watson collects images from the start in Compiengne, France

In car with Yates... we left start early, guys will be leaving in 8 minutes.
While rolling about start area, Museeuw rocks by me, Joe doesn't recog w/ his jelled curls and sans helmet... Sean says, ‘So you're a mt biker?, yeah, endurance, 100s... ‘ah, yeah, I may do that crocodile race - fuck yeah! I agree, wicked... He stops to take a piss.

We program the radio to team freq. on the way to pave section #24. We will try to hit 5 sections, then to the velodrome. I love euro pop techno- the radio labels it "FUN"...We rock on the car tele (Joe is rocking a whack 15" monitor with Hincapie's dad.)...We watch on french TV right? says Sean but not live all day yeah?, so we watch a marathon to euro trash muzak... Now futbol. Ronaldo goaallllll!...

Muzak off.

We roll the A1... 3 T-Mobile cars pass, Sean, nice cars this year (Audis)... I ask about Skoda and the Pro Tour, nah, just hard to get a car company to give you 15 cars a year, but Skoda is generous so a lot of teams have them. I see.

11:11... Race radio: Still a bunch pack at km 11...

Team nav next to me asleep - he and Sean got in at 2am from Pays Basque. Ouch... Sean: those Liberty guys are probably just using standard tires? We agree... (he laughs) hard man... We all grimace... He continues: Sean Kelly use to use 23s as well...

Ah... Hardcore.

Rhonaldino smiles on screen.

Race radio: 104th edition of Paris-Roubaix... By the way, the disco boys are all on elastomer rear sus bikes - but George is riding deep section carbons - as his dad told Joe in the car, Roubaix is not all pave... True, 200K of road... Good thought.

Speaking of, Joe mails me that a friend just mailed him saying George is on 23s, maybe with the dry weather and the deep sections he is, I didn't check those wheels this morning to be honest - the other guys' wide box section bonnies were def 25s...

Race radio: George has crashed in the pack, #11 has now return to the rear of the peloton... No one even flinches... Young guy co-pilot asked Sean how many times he's done the race, 10 times I think, George must be on his 12th (correctoment)...

Since we have bikes on our car I will stay with it at the pave sections and Sean and the boys will hike in with wheels... Cool by me since I did that during RTP... And I'm on holiday. Race radio: 41K done; Sean asks if they are on schedule, fast medium or slow...yes we figure they are a few minutes ahead of fast actually - and seeing Joe and I had a tailwind yesterday, makes sense.

Race radio: 47.1 kph for first hour.
We arrive at pave section #24. I recog...

Snack time. Apple, baggett with turkey, lettuce, tiny smidge of mustard - perfect and tiny .15 litres...

Click for part II

Photo courtesy JS


josh said...

keep 'em coming

this all happened in the pre-josh was hup era, so i missed out on all the goodness. i know the basic story, but not the detaisl

pompier said...

awesome post! I am headed to the paris roubaix this coming year with velo classic tours! cant wait!

solobreak said...

Congrats on being named VN site of the day! You're in good company - nega-coach was one of the first. Does wonders for your traffic. Keep it in the big ring!

Anonymous said...

I drove under the red kite at this race, 30 minutes in front of Stuey. Watching the the riders after him come in and jsut collaspe on the far straight, right below us was very telling. At one of the pave sections we sat with an ex Renault-Elf rider, a teammate of a famous American and Vincent Barteau. We asked about many of the demands being PRO makes on you. He told us a very sad tale, and his regrets abotu his years of competition. To be at this event, to see the cafe at L'Arbre, to hear the riders pass you an arms length away is one of the most exciting, scary and beautiful moments in racing. I always promised myself I'd see the 100th edition of P-R, and was at the first turn in the stadium when JM rode across the line. If you are a fan, and want to see the greatest one day race in the world, be in Roubaix on an afternoon in April.

Anonymous said...

awesome post. I can't wait for april!

Anonymous said...

...what an amazingly daunting task it must be to race something as extreme as paris-roubaix...