Michael Barry Interview
Discovery Channel rider Michael Barry chats with Roadcycling.com about the Giro and his new book Inside the Postal Bus.
guy Lance Johnson rides for? You know, the guy that won the race in France?? the manager asked, as he got up from his seat in front of the TV to play with the air conditioner that was rigged precariously in the window with duct tape. After playing with the dials and switches for a few minutes, he left and opened the door to cool off the restaurant and then rejoined the conversation and the game.
?Yeah, that?s us, U.S. Postal,? responded Vince.
Julien loves coming to America for the races; they are, in fact, the only races where he works as a mechanic. Julien has been to more bike races than most of the riders combined, knows more about cycling than most of us, and has worked for Merckx, LeMond, and Lance as a mechanic. He is stubborn. The first year I raced with the team, I, along with most of the other riders, was scared of Julien. He would roll his eyes when I asked for a part to be changed or checked on the bike, making me feel as though I had asked for a new gold watch.
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 America because he loves America, the Lakers, and an afternoon ice cream.
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.
?What you want?? he barked as I rolled up beside the car.
?The feed zone is coming up. Go back to the peloton.?
I looked at him like he was kidding, and then realized he wasn?t when he rolled up the window. ?Prick!? I thought to myself. Why make me go all the way back to the peloton without bottles when they are right there, I am right there, and there are hours of racing to go?
That evening Laurenzo Lapage, our director in Georgia and the team?s third director, came to my room. Laurenzo and Julien have known each other for ages and Laurenzo has a good understanding of Julien. He explained to me that Julien is a good guy, but he has ways of ?playing with our balls,? and that Julien got a kick out of it. Laurenzo told me that he would joke with Julien in the car all day, playing tricks on him and nagging at him, but that Julien could also tell everything about a rider as soon as he saw him pedal?he could call a race from the backseat with one eye open while trying to sleep.
Julien apologized that night for not giving me water bottles, but only because the feed zone was much farther away than had been announced in the race manual, and we had to