As posted to www.triathletemag.com :
Mel McQuaid’s weekend with the BMC Pro Cycling Team
By Melanie McQuaid
Jan. 29, 2008 — I have a very strong passion for the sport of cycling despite my new excitement about triathlon. I guess once you are a cyclist, you are always a cyclist at heart. This past weekend I had the opportunity to travel down to Santa Rosa, Calif., as part of the BMC “World of Sponsoring”. I was there to pose down with the new BMC women’s specific “Shiver” dual suspension mountain bike. During the trip I had the chance to hit the road with the BMC boys on two occasions. They are a great team, both the riders and the staff, and they truly made my weekend special and really kick started my enthusiasm for the 2008 season.
Our first night was in Palo Alto after which we moved to Santa Rosa. When we arrived I had the chance to swim in a pool adjacent to our hotel (dubbed the “Flaming O” by the guys but really it was called the "Flamingo"). I was late to join a masters group but found the locals were very friendly in helping me get oriented on their local pool etiquette. Triathlon is reinvigorating the masters swim clubs across the country! My hair and swim cap were heavy clues for a number of the swimmers that I was a particular pro on the XTERRA circuit and the fact I was recognized just goes to show that triathletes are taking over!
The team was creating some noise in the California area. Santa Rosa is a little hotbed for cycling and is home to none other than America’s favorite cycling son, Levi Leipheimer. In fact, the Tour superstar actually dropped in on a dinner we were having one night just to say hello to the team and say "happy birthday" to Mike Sayers, who was celebrating that night. A few of the guys on the team actually live in the area and train with Levi so it was pretty cool to have him coming by to hang out for a while. We also rode to the “Service Course” where all the BMC team gear is warehoused and met with Team Swift, a junior team that is sponsored by BMC and mentored by the pro team. It was great to see all the young teenagers rubbing elbows with their cycling inspirations.