By: Sean Sullivan
In my career I’ve ridden in quite a few teams, some big-ish ones where you would only see some of the guys at training camp then once or twice during the year, then there is a team like here at Elbowz we are more of a tight knit crew, usually just the 6-8 of us slugging it out most weekends.
There’s pros and cons in everything I guess, while everyone dreams of those big teams and big races, the great thing about a little team like ours is that everyone really gets to know everyone…. or hang on is that a con I forget? As Heath and I settled into our air beds the night before Joe Martin stage race started I realized I had made a huge error and let him get to sleep before me. Don’t get me wrong I am also renowned for my ability to snore, and I once had an Italian team mate drag his mattress off his bed and into the bathroom to try to escape the racket. But on this night Heath was in rare form. I then remembered when we lived together in LA and he once slept solidly thorough an hour-long fire alarm at 3am, so I knew the chances of waking him were slim.
Host housing is one of the great things about the way races are run here in the US. My first years here with Toyota-United we stayed in hotels everywhere we went. It sometimes felt like groundhog day, the same thing over and over, rotting in a hotel room. Host housing is not only a great way for a smaller budget team to be able to afford more races in a season, but it is also a great experience meeting people, learning a bit more about the town or area we are in and generally having a good time. It never ceases to amaze me the way people open up their houses to us, and even more amazing is that they offer to have us back again! The McCourts in Fayettville were no exception, really great people.
Anyway, on weighing up the situation I realised there was no other option but to tough out the snore-fest. Eric Marcotte was sound asleep on one couch while the cats kept him company on the couch opposite him. El Gato stretched out on the other couch and the rest of the boys had their mattresses poked in every corner of the house. Eventually it wasn’t that bad, I got off to sleep and made sure I was asleep each night before him! I think it was the unofficial snoring world championships going on between us in that room!
This is the 6th year that Heath and I have been team mates so we can be like an old married couple at times, but I honestly believe we have a great group of guys together here and everyone brings their own skills and experiences. We are a pretty self sufficient bunch on the road, this trip we had the huge help of Smathers and El Gato , but we still all roll up our sleaves, glue our tires, and keep our bikes reasonably clean although Matt does occasionally like to pull up a seat and just take in the pure comedy of me trying to fix most things on my bike. But in all seriousness I think the team harmony we have has been a big part in the success we’ve had so far this year.
As I was flying home from Joe Martin Stage race I rain into an old friend at the airport, he now manages one of the bigger US domestic teams. He congratulated us on our results so far this year and asked what other races we would be at. We talked a lot about Philly, the Philadelphia International Championship, probably one of my favourite all time races. I guess that’s a con that without a pro license we won’t be this year, but hopefully next year I said 😉