Vince Gee

Only the wheels?

Today was our first day of work of training camp. The Soigneurs (who wish to be called Massage Therapists) will come Monday and the riders will arrive Tuesday. From now till then we have 5 mechanics to build 26 bikes and also prepare about 40 pairs of wheels.
Sometimes I think we are pathetic when it comes to what we have to show for our days work. Julien and Geoff did inventory of our stuff to build bikes. What frames we had received, how many bars, how many stems, how many saddles, how many tools we had and so on. Chris, Juan and I prepared 29 pairs of the 40 pairs of wheels we’ll need for camp. The other wheels are not so important (just yet) as they are test wheels. We will need the 29 pairs of wheels (plus the 5 I had brought that were prepped before hand — In Austin) for a total of 34 wheels just to operate the camp. We will use 20 pairs for the riders to ride on, 4 pair to go on the spare bikes on top of the car we use to follow the ride and 10 pairs just to use if they flat during the ride.
So, Chris, Juan and I prepped 29 pairs of wheels. All we did was pull wheels out of boxes, take them out of their individual bags, put tires and tubes on them, put cogs on them, put QR skewers on them and that was it. That sounds pathetic. A task that sounds like it should have gone so fast took the three of us about 3 1/2 to about 4 hours. Technically we only worked a half day. We decided to stop for the day at about noon/1 ish. On the plus side we had a special task (that no normal consumer would have to do) to do to our wheels before we put tires on. I can’t tell you. It’s top secret. Don’t even try to ask me. But again it still sounds pathetic. We only did the wheels today. Saturday, Sunday and part of Monday we 5 mechanics will have to build the 26 bikes. Tough but not impossible.
On a side note, the Saturn team is down the street at their camp. Three miles to be exact. Timing camp and getting product in time (frames, wheels, tires, bars, stems, groups, etc.) is stressing sometimes. On my way in, I stopped by the Saturn Camp and talked to Dave A. about building bikes in time and at the same time waiting for something’s to arrive to finish the job. One product that just made it was our Shimano (groups) shipment. About 30 Dura Ace Groups (of our total of some astronomical total) came for us today. It felt like Santa Clause came. I felt a sigh of relief. The freight company had the Saturn/Shimano shipment in the same truck. I told him they were just down the street. As he pulled out of our parking lot, I called Dave A. and told him Santa had just visited us and he was heading his way. Was it coincidence he came and dropped off our stuff first? Was it because we are the Division 1 team and Saturn is a Division 3 team? We (Postal mechanics) joked about that but I doubt it was planed that way. But it was a little funny. Just a little Ian and Dave.


Owner of and long time professional race mechanic.