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LegendRider
03-26-2012, 05:28 PM
Is being a WorldTour mechanic technically easy? I recognize it's a hard job - long hours, lots of time away from family on the road, etc - but I'm talking about the technical requirements of the job. A pro team mechanic is focused on a single bike brand and component group, and generally wheels from a single manufacturer. Put another way, the job of an LBS mechanic seems more difficult. They have to deal with any bike that rolls in the door no matter the condition, problem, etc.

1centaur
03-26-2012, 05:44 PM
I bet the pressure to be perfect makes the job seem harder. Get something wrong and maybe you're unemployable in the pro ranks thereafter. Mess up the chances of someone you like and respect to win the only GC stage he ever would have. Cater to the whims of a very demanding pro without a boss to tell the jerk to kiss off. But for a fast perfectionist of strong character, it would be preferable to building kids bikes at an LBS.

rwsaunders
03-26-2012, 05:48 PM
Ask Andy Schleck's wrench...:cool:

Bob Loblaw
03-26-2012, 08:17 PM
I imagine it's not the skills as much as keeping a laser focus under stress that makes it hard.

BL

oldpotatoe
03-27-2012, 07:35 AM
Is being a WorldTour mechanic technically easy? I recognize it's a hard job - long hours, lots of time away from family on the road, etc - but I'm talking about the technical requirements of the job. A pro team mechanic is focused on a single bike brand and component group, and generally wheels from a single manufacturer. Put another way, the job of an LBS mechanic seems more difficult. They have to deal with any bike that rolls in the door no matter the condition, problem, etc.

Long hours but you deal with new stuff almost everyday. Relatively small number of bicycles you have seen many times. kinda like a group of customers regularly come in for tuneups, but nobody else does.

It should be mentioned that a lot of these guys do lots more than just wrench, like wash the cars/trucks/vans and haul bags up to rooms and make sure rider X has his tea at the proper time in the morning, with 1 lump, not 2, type stuff. A lot of pro riders are great, some are real pieces of work(from my conversations with pros like Hampsten, Keifel, Phinney, Gragas, Baldwin(my neighbor)...others. The mentioned guys are great to work with.

I'd like to do it for a while just to be a 'fly on the wall', and hear the truth about these riders and some of the 'stuff' they are forced to use because of $.

I'd also like to be around some of the really good wrenches, who use reality when they wrench rather than the BS you sometimes hear(like how it takes 3 DAYS to glue on a tubualr, no pro wrench has 3 days to do this.

jpw
03-27-2012, 08:00 AM
Races and stages start under neutral conditions and for various reasons, and one of them is to make sure the bike is right. Mechanics are human and also make mistakes like we all do, and 'neutral' gives the rider the time to check everything over before the real action starts. A mechanical failure is something else. Those are not normally written about in the cycling press. There are many of them in races (not punctures or crash damage), but little is said about what the problems were. Manufacturers don't want their products to be under the microscope, and they effectively own the cycling press through their advertising spend.

54ny77
03-27-2012, 08:06 AM
Sounds like a job with minimal upside and unlimited downside. Swell!

oldpotatoe
03-27-2012, 08:07 AM
Races and stages start under neutral conditions and for various reasons, and one of them is to make sure the bike is right. Mechanics are human and also make mistakes like we all do, and 'neutral' gives the rider the time to check everything over before the real action starts. A mechanical failure is something else. Those are not normally written about in the cycling press. There are many of them in races (not punctures or crash damage), but little is said about what the problems were. Manufacturers don't want their products to be under the microscope, and they effectively own the cycling press through their advertising spend.

PLUS manufacturer's reps are like flies at big races. There are there to lend support but to also 'politic'. Yep, many favors handed out by these same reps. Access, info, for a price, of course. It's all about business. I giggle when I read about Boonan 'wanting' the new red...righto Tommy.

bart998
03-27-2012, 08:12 AM
Long hours but you deal with new stuff almost everyday. Relatively small number of bicycles you have seen many times. kinda like a group of customers regularly come in for tuneups, but nobody else does.

It should be mentioned that a lot of these guys do lots more than just wrench, like wash the cars/trucks/vans and haul bags up to rooms and make sure rider X has his tea at the proper time in the morning, with 1 lump, not 2, type stuff. A lot of pro riders are great, some are real pieces of work(from my conversations with pros like Hampsten, Keifel, Phinney, Gragas, Baldwin(my neighbor)...others. The mentioned guys are great to work with.

I'd like to do it for a while just to be a 'fly on the wall', and hear the truth about these riders and some of the 'stuff' they are forced to use because of $.

I'd also like to be around some of the really good wrenches, who use reality when they wrench rather than the BS you sometimes hear(like how it takes 3 DAYS to glue on a tubualr, no pro wrench has 3 days to do this.

What OldPotatoe said. The wrenches work hard. Drive a box truck full of bikes around the country. Get to the hotel a day before the race. Wrestle the other teams mechanics for the best set-up spots and use of the facilities. Prep all the bikes or build new ones from boxes of parts. Work the event, drive team cars, etc. General Go-Fer. Wash all the bikes, and move on to the next one... often 24/7. A friend of mine is a team mechanic. It's a difficult life.

ultraman6970
03-27-2012, 08:14 AM
You have to consider something too, pro riders ride whatever the sponsor is giving them (as potato said), and IMO that makes the rider less propense to whining like some guys i have seen in some LBS and local races around here.

It is a race and they are pro's, sure they have some degree to blame the mechanic but at the same time if the equipment simply sucks and they are sponsors pretty much they have to just shut up and do their jobs, just race.

As for mechanics, if the guy is good the bike should not have much of problems unless something fails big time.

The other thing is that if something doesnt work right the mechanic will swap it for a new part and end of the story, in our case just buy a new part is not a luxury many of us can afford so we have to live with some stuff until we can afford the swap.

Been helping as jack of all trades in like 3 two weeks tours in my country and the work is 24x7, even one day in one stage in a massive accident one of the guys bent his bike so bad that the front wheel was touching his pedals, the car with the extra bikes was long gone... the official team mechanic was with the front group... what to do... u have to think fast because the guy needs to finish the stage, get a new bike for next day was just a detail. Put the bike in the floor and with my feet just pulled the bike darn fork to shape.. "ok, you can steer now, pray it doesnt give up u have 50 km to go," he had no choice, to ride to finish or end the race right there... that night what to do with the frame, the fork was fine no cracks but the frame was not too straight, we had to straighten the frame in a church forged fence that night... lucky the frame never gave up.

Fixed
03-27-2012, 08:24 AM
Long hours but you deal with new stuff almost everyday. Relatively small number of bicycles you have seen many times. kinda like a group of customers regularly come in for tuneups, but nobody else does.

It should be mentioned that a lot of these guys do lots more than just wrench, like wash the cars/trucks/vans and haul bags up to rooms and make sure rider X has his tea at the proper time in the morning, with 1 lump, not 2, type stuff. A lot of pro riders are great, some are real pieces of work(from my conversations with pros like Hampsten, Keifel, Phinney, Gragas, Baldwin(my neighbor)...others. The mentioned guys are great to work with.

I'd like to do it for a while just to be a 'fly on the wall', and hear the truth about these riders and some of the 'stuff' they are forced to use because of $.

I'd also like to be around some of the really good wrenches, who use reality when they wrench rather than the BS you sometimes hear(like how it takes 3 DAYS to glue on a tubualr, no pro wrench has 3 days to do this.

you are the pro wrench for the forum we would be in a much worse place without you
cheers

oldpotatoe
03-27-2012, 09:38 AM
you are the pro wrench for the forum we would be in a much worse place without you
cheers

Very nice, grazie.

jr59
03-27-2012, 09:48 AM
Sounds like being on the road crew of a big time rock band on a world tour!

Sounds great, until you do it for a bit!

Then, it really sucks!


I also second about Peter being this forums pro wrench!

Gummee
03-27-2012, 09:53 AM
There was a 'behind the scenes' video I saw that had the riders bitching up a storm about the wrenches. My bike skips, etc. IDK where it was, but IIRC it had Julich in it so mebbe a D-Telekom vid??

I find it really hard to believe that new cassettes and new chains would skip, but who knows?! I wasn't there riding em.

M

christian
03-27-2012, 09:55 AM
What OldPotatoe said. The wrenches work hard. Drive a box truck full of bikes around the country. Get to the hotel a day before the race. Wrestle the other teams mechanics for the best set-up spots and use of the facilities. Prep all the bikes or build new ones from boxes of parts. Work the event, drive team cars, etc. General Go-Fer. Wash all the bikes, and move on to the next one... often 24/7. A friend of mine is a team mechanic. It's a difficult life.

Judging from my motorsports experience, it's all the above, plus managing the intricacies of the rider's mental state and ensuring he has to think of absolutely nothing but pedaling his bicycle as quickly as he can.

Not an easy job, though some drivers/riders will make it easier than others!

Joachim
03-27-2012, 10:05 AM
There was a 'behind the scenes' video I saw that had the riders bitching up a storm about the wrenches. My bike skips, etc. IDK where it was, but IIRC it had Julich in it so mebbe a D-Telekom vid??

I find it really hard to believe that new cassettes and new chains would skip, but who knows?! I wasn't there riding em.

M

My bike always "skipped" when I had a bad ride (dropped on the Koppenberg downhill) in the U23 classics... :)

Jaq
03-27-2012, 10:20 AM
As others have said... you're under the gun. Some thrive on the pressure, others not so much. And it's a job in which perfection is the minimum standard and garners scant praise; sorta like working for the CIA. You don't hear about the successes - just the failures. And when there is a failure... oh, boy.

tiretrax
03-27-2012, 11:09 AM
you are the pro wrench for the forum we would be in a much worse place without you
cheers

Let's show our appreciation for Old Potatoe - everyone call and order a shop jersey. I got a blue one recently - very nice retrostyle.