A lot of work goes into the success of the Aaron's Corporate Furnishings Pro Women's Cycling Team. Mostly, my responsibility as a rider is to come prepared to race and then give it all I've got when I get there. Carmen, our director, orchestrates a symphony of logistics, staff, riders and more, much of which I probably don't even know about. I CAN tell you a few things: things generally go smoothly so Carmen ROCKS and we couldn't do it without the unbelievably generosity and hospitality of the families we call host housing.
It's this second factor that I can tell you the most about. Instead of the team staying in a hotel, eating out at restaurants for every meal and mechanics setting up shop in the parking lot, Carmen works with each race management team to secure us a family willing to host us in their home. An BOY did we get hooked up at Redlands. Last year we stayed with Carol and Dick Gentile and thank goodness we behaved ourselves because they opened up their house to us again this year. Carol and Dick are unbelievable host family, so much so that by the end of the week we were calling Carol "MOM"!!! We literally took over their house:
-Bunking in every spare bedroom and office in their house
-Setting up massage in their living room
-Cooking all sorts of strange concoctions in their kitchen
-Turning the dining room into our pantry
-Putting their laundry room to the test
-Taking over the garage for our a bike shop
-Conferencing at their dinner table well into the night
Carol and Dick are true PRO- they knew what to expect and they couldn't wait to have us back! Crazy, right? And there's more...most nights Carol prepared enough food to feed an army (and we did our best to eat it all!), they made signs for us (see the one on their garage behind us in the photo above) and put them all over their neighborhood and Dick drove them both all over every single course we raced to cheer us on at what seemed like every turn.
They were out of this world hosts and I want to thank them from the bottom of all our Aaron's hearts!!!!! Carol and Dick Gentile ROCK!