Book Excerpt: Michael Barry's Inside the Postal Bus - Part 2
Part 2 ? USA racing.
Then we go out on the town, no?? he said with a smile, only half joking.
Max and I walked out of baggage claim and into the muggy, polluted airport parking. The smell of jet fuel and car exhaust, combined with the honks of drivers and the blast of the jets taking off, woke us out of our travel hangover.
Arriving at the hotel in Philly half an hour after the flight, we threw our gear in a room and walked to a local pizzeria down the block. The Lakers were on TV, the semifinals, and Julien DeVriese, our head mechanic, was entranced with the game as he cut into his pizza with a flexing plastic knife. The orange laminate tables, the lettered Pepsi menus above the cash register, it all felt like a place I knew. It felt good. Surreal though, as I was surrounded by a Flemish cycling crew that was glancing up at a Lakers game between bites of thick, cheesy pizza.
?Where yous guys from? Are yous here for that bike race?? asked the pizza parlor manager, hat turned backward, dressed in baggy jeans and basketball shoes.
?We?re here for the race,? responded Vince Gee, another mechanic.
?You like the Lakers??
?I do,? responded Julien, ?and those bastards better win tonight.?
?Are yous guys part of the team that that guy Lance Johnson rides for? You know, the guy that won the race in
?Yeah, that?s us, U.S. Postal,? responded Vince.
Julien loves coming to
Julien rarely makes trips to the European races because he has done them all and because he keeps the team equipment in order at the warehouse and makes sure everything is running smoothly from the Belgian base. Julien comes to races in
Thirsty, and with no bottles, I went back to the team car during the 2003 Tour de Georgia for some water. Julien sat in the backseat, spare wheels beside him and a full cooler right behind the seat.