After a good night’s sleep, Jordy and I headed to the event to begin getting set up. We were happy to see that we would be set up inside the convention center in the athlete village. It was going to be a hot weekend in Augusta, and to be able to spend the first day and a half in air conditioning was a godsend!
The event opened at noon, and we needed to be ready to distribute bikes when it opened. It took us three hours to carry in and set up the racks, tables, tents, and bikes, but when we were done, it looked great.
One thing I quickly learned was how little time we actually get to spend with each customer – even when you include the time it takes to install pedals and pump up tires. We spend so much time and energy making sure that you have your bike for race day, and yet each exchange really only happens in the course of a couple of minutes, unless there are issues.
While issues are rare, despite our best efforts, they do sometimes happen – and this is actually where I was most proud of TBT. While in Augusta, we had a customer bring a concern to us. As the new guy, I sat back and watched and learned as Jordy worked with the customer to immediately come to a solution. In this day and age where everyone wants you to file 10 claims, have before and after pictures and then make it the customers job to take care of it – it was an amazing thing to watch this experienced company member streamline through all of that and simply do everything in his power to make it right and ensure that the customer had a successful race experience. It made me proud to part of a company that did not try to evade responsibility but instead worked to solve the problem.
Over the next 7 hours, Jordy and I worked to make sure that the athletes had their bikes and that they were prepped and ready to go for the race.
Side Note: One great thing about traveling is finding amazing restaurants in new cities. In Augusta, I was able to find an amazing BBQ place within walking distance of the Athlete Village. They also had a quaint bar in the back that looked like a good place to hang out. One bite into my lunch I knew we needed to head back to get more ribs and enjoy the town.
With a majority of the bikes handed out, and Athlete’s Village closing for the day, the next 4 hours were by far the highlight of this adventure. Jordy and I had brought bikes with us, so we headed out on a ride, and ended up back at the BBQ place and had a truly spectacular experience. We listened to an awesome local singer-songwriter, met some lively locals, and enjoyed some great food. As the evening drew to a close, we got on our bicycles and rode the 6 miles back to our hotel through the abandoned streets of Augusta, Georgia, with Google chiming the directions from the phone in my pocket. It was truly a spectacular night.
The next morning we got up and rode our bikes back to the convention center to distribute the last of the bikes and move our set up to an outdoor location just outside transition. It was clear the real work was about to begin.