Mavic planted its yellow flag in the heart of road racing when the wheel company began doing neutral mechanical support for the Tour de France; this year Skratch Labs is hoping to do the same at the Amgen Tour of California, providing "neutral human support" in the form of hydration drinks and food to all riders.
Operating with a motorcycle and a car in the race caravan, Skratch will offer riders on any team drinks and snacks through the eight stages of the American race from Sacramento to Thousand Oaks, May 11-18.
Skratch's in-caravan neutral human support is an extension of what founder Allen Lim has already done for the race in years past, providing food and menu consultation for the race organization as it hosts and feeds 100+ riders and staff throughout the race.
"We are doing three things," Lim told BikeRadar. "We are providing the racers with sports drink. We are doing all the menus for breakfast and dinner. And we are doing all portable foods during the race as well as recovery foods during transfers."
The menus are still being arranged, but the portable foods will likely consist of sweet and savory rice cakes, plus cookies.
"The car is going to be loaded up every day like a team car," Lim said. "We will be making 1,000 rice cakes every morning. Some will be given to team soigneurs before the stage; some will be handed to riders during the race."
Like neutral mechanical support, a Skratch vehicle will be able to move within the caravan, even dropping in behind the break.
Lim, with his business partner and chef Biju Thomas, has written two cookbooks for athletes: Feed Zone Cookbook and Feed Zone Portables. Lim also has a long history working with racers, whether helping Floyd Landis with training or working with Garmin on nutrition.
And what will that portable recovery food for the riders be? "Probably a burrito," Lim said. "Overwhelmingly, when we talked to riders, that’s what they want. If they are American, they have been in Europe and that’s what they miss. If they are European, then that’s something that they want to try. Plus, it’s burrito — you can't get much more portable than that!"
For complete coverage of the Amgen Tour of California, be sure to check out Cyclingnews.