Some photos from past clinics. A major shout out to Chip, Calvin, Ric, Matt, Butch, Dave, Than, Jeff, Brian, Nick, Marty, Chris, Andy, Mark, Steve and all the others who made the previous 7 years so successful. I have 1,000's of photos The chosen few here fully encompass what the vision of this project was all about.
Over the past few months I've had a lot of correspondence from folks interested to know what is happening with the USAC race mechanics clinic for this year, so I'd like to catch everyone up on where we stand.
Since our previous clinic, in November of 2015, the instructional team and I have held ongoing discussions about the future and we've passed some important questions on to USA Cycling regarding the clinic.
Specifically, we wanted to know what the future of the clinic looks like from the USAC perspective. We also asked what they see as the current value of a USAC license and what the overall goal for the mechanic clinic is intended to be.
While we've repeatedly asked USA Cycling these questions, we have yet to get any significant answers, clarifications or even a simple response of any kind dealing with these questions.
In trying to move things along, I also made a suggestion to have the PBMA take on some oversight to manage and run the clinic and to give it some ongoing purpose and direction, making the clinic significant part of the continuing education efforts of the PBMA. I made this recommendation in the hopes of elevating the clinic's mission and assuring its future by connecting the clinic to an organization which exists purely to support professionalism in cycle mechanics.
While the team's questions went unanswered, my personal recommendations were met with immediate resistance. I was told "we own the clinic", "it has to be USAC" and similar possessive comments with regards to the race mechanics clinic.
I worked at USA Cycling for almost 3 years as the Director of Operations in Athletics. As a professional mechanic by avocation, I had a passion for the clinic and worked from within to promote it, encouraging and pushing for racing programs (USAC as well as others) to primarily utilize our licensed mechanics. Since that time, I've volunteered my time to manage, promote and run the clinic itself.
When Bill Woodul first started hosting the RMC, his vision was to identify, train and insure a steady supply of quality mechanics to work in support of the team programs at the USCF, as well as to advance professional standards and standardize practices among racing mechanics. He devoted the last years of his life to building a clinic staff and curriculum that would be second to none.
Speaking of our volunteer staff, Chip Howat, who has been involved on the clinic leadership team (like many others) for many, many years, was a huge piece of the leadership puzzle. Chip literally "wrote the book", creating and continually editing the very manual that we use to teach the clinic. Chip was also instrumental in building up our content and coaching our staff to become well rounded and effective instructors.
Now, even devoted RMC stalwarts like Chip have decided to abandon their positions on the leadership team because of the lack of vision and direction within USAC. Sadly, he's not the only staff member that is leaving the team...there are many more.
To cut to the chase, the current working model of USA Cycling is to typically employ and use staff who haven't been though the RMC program and don't hold USAC licenses. How ludicrous is it that the very sanctioning body that issues the licenses doesn’t compel it’s own teams to require them as part of employment?
I can't recall a single time in my 20-plus years of working at races when I have been asked for, much like required, to produce a USAC mechanics license. Making things worse, I know for a fact anyone, mechanic or not, can order and receive a UCI Support License with a "mechanic endorsement".
I suppose both this message and my blog are specifically written with those who work at events and races in mind, so I'm going to simply share what information I know as of today.
I personally won't be part of the USA Cycling licensing program any longer. Volunteering my time for something that has really strayed from it's original intention is no longer something I can personally devote my efforts towards. A number of the RMC instructional team are leaving as well. It is going to be interesting to see what happens next.
What does this mean for the future? It means I will work within the PBMA to create a program to teach the values and core competencies as well as professional development topics.
Will there be a USA Cycling Race Mechanics Clinic in 2016? I simply do not know at this point, nor would it be wise to even speculate . I'm hopeful that there will be a change of heart on the part of USAC, but I am not optimistic.
What I do know is that the value and purpose of the RMC will diminish as myself and the long-serving professional staff of the clinic discontinue our support of a program without a rudder.
See you on the road!
Besides all the events and just general work that has been happening. I launched an association for professional bicycle mechanics. This has been occupying a lot of my "spare time". You can check it out here.
Tour of California was great. I was tasked with managing the support for the women's stage race. The crew (Chris, Adam, Rawny, Jon, Hector, Mark and Petar) did a fantastic job - no riders left behind! Surprisingly we had to do some work... bike change and a crash on stage one. A wheel change for the TTT, multiple crashes on stage 3 and a major crash in the circuit race for stage 4 kept us plenty busy. We didn't have it as bad off as the men's teams - they has some epic transfers the whole week. We just has a handful for our abbreviated time on the tour.
USA Cycling National Championships - Professionals - you can read about that here. No need to write it all again. Carmen Small won which was huge!
We cut back on the rest of our events for the remainder of the year. Too many last minute requests make it difficult for us to schedule properly to help everyone who is asking. If you've committed to one of our services we will be there. If you haven't you'll have to check us out next year.
We added 3 Half Distance events to the schedule. Choose your adventure now! We will add more events soon. We are working on logistical details as I type this update. We look forward to seeing many of you at multiple events. We hope you will enjoy those generous discounts you received by registering for more than one event at a time. Check back soon for our first event report.
We've seen a lot of activity lately. Tons of web traffic and clicks. Some minor media attention. A few questions and many positive comments. We'd like to take a moment to really explain what we are doing. Our event services are genuinely a value service if your an athlete who wants to maximize their performance come race day. Our team of technicians have worked with Olympic and World Champions. Their abilities, attention to detail and dedication to what they do is unquestionable. Put your faith in us and let us show you through results. Bike failure for us is not an option nor should it be for you. When you arrive at an event we want you to be relaxed about your bike. We will build it, clean it and go through it. When we are done we'll go over what we found (if anything) and explain our recommendations. We aren't just going to tell you that you must do something, we want you to understand why we made the recommendation and how it could affect your results. Once that's done come back and visit us as much as you'd like. If we are in town and you've purchased a service package we are literally here for you. Need a quick adjust - no problem, want to get your bike cleaned the day before the big event, swing in.
Our goal is to utilize private housing at most events. We'll have a dedicated workspace and then also a living area to serve as a lounge if you choose to wait (with refreshments of course!). When the events over, bring your bike in and we will be up late and early to pack it for you, but not before it's cleaned. Consider the time, energy and stress that revolve around your bike, dealing with getting into or out of the expo and how much simpler life can be when you choose us.
Maybe not a serious subject to some but did you know that a properly tuned bike can save you 10 to 20 watts (in a 100 mile event this can add up to 15 minutes)? We are talking chain lube or lack of, build up of gunk (road grim, drink mix) in your drivetrain or bearings.. tire pressure and more.
A well tuned bike can make the difference between a personal best and sometimes even a podium placing. Come race day we all want to be our best, we rest and we prepare. At Azonie we want to help you leave one less thing to chance. Placing your bike in our hands and you'll compete in your next event worry free. Your bike will be running like a well rested, well oiled and proper running machine.
Stop one on this years tour is in Austin. You can count on it that we will be there.
We will be providing tech support. The ride will be a mix of paved and unpaved roads in some wonderful countryside.
Come out and have some fun. Be sure to reserve your bike ASAP!
We've been hustling behind the scenes to map out, plan and execute on some new initiatives. We have put together some awesome packages for some of North America's biggest events. Now is the time to check them out and reserve your spot. Our Professional Services at two USA Cycling National Championship events will help you on your way to gold. Our Triathlon event services at 6 of the nations top events will guarantee your bike is ready for all 112 miles! Spread the word and take advantage of referral discounts. We are working on some special pricing for USAT members as well as Juniors competing at any of our featured events.
We have sorted it out, but if you emailed or filled out our contact form in the last two days we didn't get your message.
We did our homework, double checked the math. We are making our services available to individuals competing in some of America's biggest events. Check out our new page where we've outlined how the new services work. We will be at Masters Nationals in Winston Salem, Tulsa Tough in Oklahoma and Tour of America's Dairyland up in Wisco! We can't wait to help the masses in truly professional style.