On day two I had paddock duty, which meant I would become a part of the end-of-day bike maintenance rush for the Trophy and Club teams in the US's paddock pit area. The real action starts up at about 4 p.m., but before that I oiled a few air filters and helped the team dispose of waste oil at the paddock hazardous waste tank. The experienced paddock crewmembers set up the tool sets and laid out the tires (with mousses already lubed and inserted) and other supplies the riders would need; the Trophy Team and Club riders all share the same pit, so once the lead-minute riders start showing up, it is pretty much nonstop work for a few hours. The ISDE is a timed event, so the team knows exactly when each rider will arrive (unless they drop trail minutes on the last transfer section). As we closed in on our first arrival, I started to get excited. There was a heightened energy, like the feeling before a race starts. Once the riders began arriving that energy unspooled into activity. There was very little scrambling, just organized movement—and lots of it—as each rider rushed through their 15 allotted minutes of bike maintenance. In that short time most riders changed both tires, swapped out the air filter, and fixed any issues the bike was having during the day. My role was to grab dismounted tires, write the rider's name on the tire (so the mousse would stay with that rider for the next day), and get the tires out of the way. The job is very entry level, and I even had to work under the sexist title, "Tire Babe" (lawsuit pending), but it was exciting and fun. I'd describe the feeling of jumping into the Team USA machine as like being a bug character in a cartoon where you have to run through a clock and avoid all the spinning gears and swinging levers. Heightening the sense of urgency, volunteer Michele Gutish "ran the board." That means she walked the line calling out to each rider how much time they had left to get their work done. I was close enough that when Stew Baylor's arm separated from his shoulder with a "Pop!" during his tire change, I felt the sound. You can't buy tickets to get that close. I got my hands a little dirty and my official team T-shirt a little sweaty; this was what I consider my only true session of doing some honest work for the team.