Bart came to us through Heidi’s connections in Europe. A few weeks before leaving for our adventure, we all had a moment of panic that we wouldn’t have the support out here that we really needed. The communication about exactly what would be going on out here was lacking so we decided to take control and bring in our own support. And thanks goodness we did. Despite all of the animosity and negativity (talked about in previous posts) we received about this decision, I have to say it was the best one we made during the entire trip.
Bart is a superstar. He absolutely embodies the meaning of the world Soigneur; Caregiver. From day one, he was on our side. He wanted nothing more than to see us succeed and make it to Paris. He didn’t care about photos, videos, or what was going on with everyone else, he just wanted to make sure we were taken care of. When you’re out here riding yourself mindless, it really makes a difference having someone you can truly trust in and go to with any issues or problems.
Bart works with a lot of the big pro cycling teams and is Thor Hushovd’s personal soigneur so we knew we were in very good and experienced hands. That’s why it was so easy for me to trust in every piece of advice he offered. Nick even mentioned that he knew Bart from his days out here working with pro teams as a mechanic. That’s right, we had the famous Bart Brackez for support.
When our lunches were lacking or when our ride food was limited, Bart would step up and get us some fresh vegetables or fruits or pastries to help fuel ourselves better for those big mountain stages. He insisted on us taking extra vitamins and drinking lots of water. We were so lucky to have him out here for the first half of the ride so we could learn what to do and what not to do and carry that forward into the second half of the Tour.
Bart even tried to talk Kate and myself into coming back out to Belgium to do some racing out there in the future. Might have to take him up on that, but for now, let’s just focus on the goal immediately in front of us.
So thank you Bart, for being such a key to our success. I feel pretty confident in saying that without you, finishing this thing may not have been a possibility. I’m hoping we’ll get to see him in Paris because finishing without our honorary 7th team member just doesn’t seem right! Super Seven, onward!