Race mechanics hone their skills at 2010 Bill Woodul Clinic
Colorado Springs, Colo. (Dec. 8, 2010) — Sixty-one of the nation's most talented bicycle mechanics gathered in Colorado Springs from December 1 through 5 for a four-day clinic on race mechanic procedures and practices. The famed Bill Woodul Mechanics' Clinic was held at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, and all participants successfully passed the course and are now fully licensed USA Cycling mechanics.
Participants came from all over the country representing a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. Some attended to learn the techniques required to start their own neutral support businesses or get jobs with professional teams as race mechanics, while others just hoped to bolster their talents in their bike shops back home.
While the clinic is aimed toward the skill set and routines of servicing bicycles in high-pressure race situations, many of the topics were applicable to the service managers and mechanics in a typical shop environment, and will help these individuals grow their businesses and become more efficient with their work. Topics covered included:
- Technical support for competition in all disciplines, as well as Gran Fondo and non-competitive event support
- Inventory, travel logistics, and packing
- Bike wash and inspection
- Tubular tire maintenance and gluing techniques
- Fundamentals of bicycle design and building materials
- Design and maintenance fundamentals of wheels and suspension
- USA Cycling rules and officials' certification
- DOT rules and regulations
- Rider positioning and measurement
- Developing your own neutral support program
- Ethics for race mechanics
- The mechanic's relationship with coach and soigneur
- Dave Arnauckas — Shimano
- Matt Bracken — Pedro's
- Chris Clinton — Bontrager
- Nick DeLauder — Fox Racing Shox
- T.J. Grove — Biketek
- Andrew Hawkes — USA Cycling
- Ric Hjertberg — Mad Fiber
- Chip Howat — C.S. Howat & Associates
- James Huang — Cyclingnews.com and Bikeradar.com
- Bernard Kocis — SRAM NRS
- Calvin Jones — Park Tool
- Daniel Large — Campagnolo
The clinic culminated in a challenging test with 100 purposely vague questions; black and white answers were tough to come by, as most questions were based on real-world race situations without a perfect solution. The questions that did have clear-cut answers were layered and complex. To get a taste of what was taught, learned, discussed, and yes, argued over this past weekend, here are a few sample questions:
1. You are a team mechanic. One of your riders is in the break of four riders. You are in the van following the break. The last 6k is a very steep uphill. Your rider hits a pothole and bends a rear wheel. He opens the brake quick release and the rim still strikes the brake pads, slowing his progress. He calls your support car up to the group, and you decide to:
a. Change the wheel
b. Change the bike
c. Don't worry, he will get the group finish time anyway
d. Cut the brake cable
2. You are arriving at the site for a day of criterium racing. The promoter and USA Cycling official ask for your advice for pit placement. You select:
a. The site at the outside entrance to a corner noting the riders will be at their slowest speed.
b. At the inside exit of the corner giving the riders the most room to speed up after service.
c. Close to the concessions noting that the day will be very hot and the mechanic's health is paramount.
d. Inside of a course but nearly a block away from the actual corner and far from the next corner.
3. Cyclo-cross brake cantilever levers typically have a lever radius of 25mm, from lever pivot to cable pivot. MTB "linear pull" brake levers typically have a lever radius of 40mm. This means that for the same distance pulled at the lever on each:
a. The linear pull brake lever will pull more cable with more force.
b. The old type cantilever lever will pull less cable with less force.
c. The linear pull brake lever will pull more cable with less force.
d. The old type cantilever lever will pull more cable with less force.
USA Cycling wishes to congratulate all of the graduates of this year's Bill Woodul Mechanics' Clinic:
La Seur Stearns
This Article Published December 8, 2010 For more information contact: