The feed zone. What is it and why have one?
The feed zone is a designated point at about midway through the race. Normally two soigneurs wear a team long sleeve jersey or a vest so the riders recognize us. We hand off a mussette to each one with the following inside:
2 bottles of Clif electrolyte mix or one water and one mix on hot days
1 Clif bar
1 Mojo/Luna/Z bar
1 Clif block
1 Clif gel with and one without caffeine,
1 little sandwich made with ham and Philadelphia cream cheese, for example
1 special rice cake made with egg and rice!
1 tiny can of Coke.
We also prepare extra bottles for the directors’ cars on hot days and have extra ice on the ready to keep bottles cool.
During the Tour we leave before the riders to get to the feed station called the ‘ravitaillement’. It’s nice as all the roads are closed…no stress! After the riders have all taken their feed bags, then it gets stressful. We are behind the race and the roads are no longer closed for us so we have to find an alternative route to the finish. But we still have to follow all the traffic rules and enter in the same route as the riders but at a designated point. With so many roads blocked with barriers and so many fans it’s nice to know that once we arrive near the finish, we can reach the bus before the riders. Again, it’s well organized.
Yesterday we had 9 riders so I took 5 mussettes and walked 100m behind Josep who carried 4 mussettes. The director announces over the radio 5 km from the feed where we are located – e.g start or finish of feed zone – so the riders have time to move over to the right hand side and grab their bag! We stand apart so riders who miss the first one of us have have an opportunity to do so. Or if all 9 riders are in a long line, it’s not easy for us to hand them all off that quickly if it’s at a high speed!
Stay tuned for more, Sandra
Pictured above in the older team apparel is soigneur Alyssa at a feed zone during the Giro d’Italia.