From Dave Arnauckas, team mechanic for Volvo/Cannondale
The position of team mechanic requires that the individual be able to work in a group setting. Many times this setting may be long periods of time with the same people. The mechanic must be multifaceted since the job demands more than just fixing the bicycles.
Each organization has many different individuals with different responsibilities that the mechanic must be familiar with. Here are some typical positions:
Team Manager/Director, Soigneur, and Riders.
The Manager may be know as the Director or Coach. They are responsible for the general operations of the team. The day-to-day activities will be coordinated the Manager. Some of their duties many include, but are not limited to: Arranging lodging, race registration and manager meetings, driving support vehicles in caravan, interacting with race directors, officials and sponsors.
The Trainer, or Soigneur is in charge of caring for the riders. They provide medical treatment, if no team doctor is available and massage. Also they arrange rooming assignments and the proper nutritional meals. Many times they will “feed” during the race and provide bottles to be handed up from the team car.
Every team has a group of individuals based at a “headquarters” who support the team while traveling. These individuals may include a head mechanic/soigneur, travel agent, and general team manager.
Your primary responsibility as team mechanic is to provide a safe, properly running, and sponsor correct equipment. The amount of equipment involved in running a well-equipped team can be overwhelming. It is important to divide the equipment into categories to make the work manageable.
- Bicycles and equipment
- Race bikes with race wheels.
- Spare equipment
1. Spare bicycles
2. Spare wheels
–All sizes/types: 700c, 650c, 24″, time trial.
3. Spare parts
–Enough parts to replace worn components on a regular basis and broken components.
4. Training equipment: wind trainers and rollers.
1. Remember to keep all personal tools marked so they are not mistaken for team property.
2. Update your tools as new components come out that require special tools.
3. When flying remember to keep your tool box separate from your caravan fanny pack..
- Vehicles: cars, vans, trailers, motorcycles, and box vans.
- clean, organized vehicle is the most efficient for everyone and looks professional.
- Develop a maintenance program for each vehicle, i.e., oil changes, tire rotation, registration and insurance.
- Be sure that each vehicle has the appropriate equipment that may be required in their duties: spare wheels/bicycles, pumps, tools, and most important, a full tank of fuel.
- Keep all vehicles clean on the inside and outside. Car sponsors want clean vehicles. A clean vehicle will help keep the clothes clean of those who work around the car, such as mechanics and soigneurs.
–There are items the mechanic should be familiar with that other staff members will be working with. They may include: Food items (drink mixes and energy bars), clothing, health products (vitamins, supplements) and promotional material.
Besides the responsibilities of having clean, sponsor-correct, safe equipment there are many other duties that fall under the umbrella of team mechanic. Here is a brief list and description of some:
- Transport equipment. This may be loading team vehicles, packing for the airlines, or parcel shipping.
- Inventory control. It is important to know how much of what you have and where it is located.
- Security. It is the mechanic’s job to insure that all equipment is stored in a safe manner. Teams have had ALL their bikes stolen at races. Also do not disclose any confidential information of your team’s or sponsor’s.
- Driving. More than you care to know about. Plus be prepared to start working after a day of driving. Being able to read a map and find unknown places will make life easier.