Michael Barry Interview
Discovery Channel rider Michael Barry chats with Roadcycling.com about the Giro and his new book Inside the Postal Bus.
the Tour de Georgia, the three Wachovia races in and around Philadelphia, the New York City race, Downer?s Grove criterium national championships in Illinois, and the T-Mobile Grand Prix in San Francisco .
For us it is nice to come back to the United States and race in an environment we know. As North American cyclists racing in Europe on U.S. Postal, we have a great advantage in the that we can come back home during the season, whereas those North Americans racing on foreign teams have less opportunity to return home, if at all, during the racing season.
In 2004 we had more American riders than in past years as the team makes a concerted effort to hire young Americans. When new riders are selected for the team, they are looked at carefully. Not only is it important that they have good results in bike races but also in physical laboratory testing. It is also necessary for a new rider to be able to fit into the team environment. There have been a few riders that have not fit the qualifications and they lasted on the team for short periods. The success of the team is a direct result of the riders that are hired. Individuals are not wanted but team members are desired.
?The air feels good, polluted but good. We have been indoors or in planes for a day. Or how long has it been?? I asked, as Max [van Heeswijk] and I stepped out of the terminal to meet the staff that was picking us up at the airport. ?I don?t know, but I stink and feel sweaty all over,? Max replied. ?I have been looking forward to a good shower. 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 you guys part of the team that that