For many reasons, I don’t think a cycling team can ask for a better mechanic than Win Allen. The fact that he owns and operates a successful service-only bike shop and has Pro Tour experience is one thing, but with a name like Win there’s a constant reminder of the objective of any cycling team: to win races.
For 2019 Win will be working with the Hagens Berman Axeon Cycling Team and sent in this missive from their recently concluded training camp in Fayetteville, Arkansas:
It’s late January and I am headed to training camp to meet my new team (Hagens Berman Axeon) in Fayetteville, AR.
I’ve been doing this for a long time but with a new team, riders, sponsors, staff, etc. you just never know how well you’ll fit in. A lot of the staff on this team have been together for a long time, it can be hard to break into that circle. Not the case with this team, I was welcomed with open arms! After spending 10 days with this team I feel that I’m a real part of the team.
Like with any business/team there is a hierarchy, and though I’m new to this program I felt all of my years of doing this for other teams had a real value. I was never told “well that how we do it here and that’s the way it is”. If I had a question or suggestion it was listened to and considered. I must say it was quite refreshing to be met with that kind of an attitude versus what I’ve experienced elsewhere.
The town of Fayetteville couldn’t have been a better host! We set up “camp” in the town center. We weren’t there for more than 10 minutes be for the businesses started coming out and introducing themselves and asking if we needed anything. There is a real sense of community in Fayetteville.
We were asked by pretty much every person that walked by “what are you doing here”? We stopped what we were doing and explained our reason for being there. The response from everybody was “thank you for being here”, “happy you’re here”, “this area really loves their bikes”, everyone was so positive! When you have the support of the community it makes your life much easier.
The weather ended up being a bit of a challenge. Our first day never got out of the 20s. It warmed up to the 60s midweek and then our last day was single digits to the teens. We had sunny days, cloudy days, windy days, rainy days, and rain/ice/snow days. A few of the days were a bit challenging since we were working outside.
All and all we got done what needed to get done. Got all of the riders set up on their new Pinarello Dogma F10 Disc with SRAM AXS E-Tap 12 speed, Zipp Wheels, Bars, Stems, Pirelli Tires, Speedplay Pedals. Glued up new Pirelli tubulars on all of the race wheels too. Organized the trailer and prepped everything that would be going to Tour of Colombia directly from this camp. The last day of camp we packed all of the riders bikes, some were headed home and others were headed to South America to begin racing.
My next event with the team will be Redlands Bicycle Classic in California. Look for another Unior Dispatch following that race.
Vince Gee and his Aevolo Cycling Team recently competed in the Tour of Colombia, a UCI 2.1 stage race, where they went up against some of the biggest names in road cycling. Not bad for a bunch of U-23 riders! Team mechanic Vince Gee compares the atmosphere to that of the Tour de France, and having worked prior for US Postal, Vince definitely knows what he’s talking about. He’s got this to say about the team’s time in Colombia:
Our Aevolo team was invited to the Tour of Colombia. A UCI 2.1 stage race in/around the city of Medellin that would feature 6 World Tour teams, 7 Pro Continental teams and FIFTEEN continental teams for a total of 28 teams of 6 riders each. A big field and a powerful field. Almost every team had at least 1 Colombian rider on it except ours and a few national teams such as the Italian national team and a few other trade teams without Colombian riders such as the Swiss IAM cycling team.
This would be my second ever trip to the country of Colombia and I was really excited. Mainly because on my last trip, I literally only saw the hotel and the indoor velodrome and of course the police escorted bus ride to and from the hotel and velodrome. So excited to get to see some Colombian countryside.
The race was very well organized with things such as delivery of 5 gallon jugs of bottled water and 25 lb bags of ice for the soigneurs. A permanent 9 passenger van driver (more on that later) and a 10 x 20 tent at the start/finish of each stage. The mechanics’ area for 6 of the teams plus ours was in the underground parking garage. All with 4 daily police to watch over/secure our equipment.
The hospitality was amazing, even from those who were really not directly involved in our invitation. The small Colombian Bet Play team loaned us rollers to warm up for the TTT stage for example. The Coldeportes mechanic loaned me a work stand when he saw me working without one (he did not know mine was still in Miami and on the next day’s flight). He also offered me soap and degreaser and a power washer to help wash bikes. Those were just a few of the super friendly acts of hospitality we were greeted with.
oing back a bit, we were picked up by a van driver and a box truck to take our equipment to our hotel. Our van driver was none other than Jose Patrocinio Jimenez who won the Coors International Bicycle Classic in 1984. A pretty popular cyclist from Colombia. And he was OUR driver. His enthusiasm was so great to see each day he helped our team. From loading bikes to driving to a host of other things that were not in his job description.
The racing was hard yet amazing with many of the Colombians at their “Columbian World Championships” trying to show what they have to the world. The Colombians rode with so much heart, it made for great racing. But for me, one of the coolest things we saw were the cheering Colombian crowds. They were lining the roads like one of the biggest races in the world. The Tour de France is arguably the biggest most popular race in the world. And the crowds in Colombia rivaled those at the Tour de France. With the exception of “Vamos” versus “Allez”, you would think you were in France in July.
The Unior 1693.1Q Pro Shop Clamp
We first showed this clamp a few months ago at Eurobike and we’re happy to say that the newest addition to Unior’s bike work stand collection is here. It fits our stationary Professional repair stands as well as our portable BikeGator stands and features a ratcheting clamp with a quick-release and a fine-tuning handle to dial in the perfect clamping pressure.
The clamp also comes with a shorter clamp than our traditional version measuring in at only 70mm tall, making it perfect for those of you that see a lot of bikes with dropper posts or smaller road & cyclocross bikes.
You’ve seen our workbenches in VeloNews, in the Trek Certified Service training center, at Commencal’s factory stores, and in the back of pro team mechanic’s trucks around the world. Now it’s time to add one to your workshop.
Send us photos of your shop and to be entered to win a Unior Pro Mechanic workbench. The only requirement is that at least 5 Unior tools are visible in the photo.
Send your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org by
See the full rules and regulations here.
Update: The original post neglected to mention that the votes would be counted the morning of March 8.
For those that weren’t aware, Win used to work with the Liquigas-Cannondale Pro Cycling Team, and while there he met and forged a strong relationship with Cameron (Cam) Wurf. Cam, now racing triathlons, was recently in California doing some aero testing at the Velo Sports Center Velodrome and asked Win to come help him for the day.
Cam and I go back to our days on the Liquigas/Cannondale team. We were both native English speakers on a predominantly Italian team, and as a result we gravitated towards each other. Since retiring from the World Tour after the 2014 season Cam has taken up triathlon and regularly looks to me for help anytime he’s doing something with a bike.
In mid-January of this year we went to the Velo Sports Center Velodrome in Carson, CA. to do some aero testing for the upcoming triathlon season. We started off the day at a comfortably early 8am, and my first task was to setup my work area so I could install a SRM Power Meter on Cam’s 2017 Pinarello Bolide TT bike. The same bike he set the Ironman World Championship Kona bike course record on in 2017.
After the power meter was installed it was time to install the first of the many different wheel combos we were testing with. One of the major considerations when doing this sort of testing is to eliminate variables so the benefits (or lack of) of a particular component can be properly identified. To keep the variables to a minimum we used the same tire, tube, cassette and rotors for each wheel test. That means that each time we used a different wheel all of those components need to be moved to the new wheel being tested. In total I installed and removed tires and tubes 17 times, cassettes 9 times, rotors 9 times and the power meter 2 times.
It was more than a wheel test, however, as we also tested the differences between a 2017 Pinarello Bolide TT (rim brake bike) and a 2019 Pinarello Bolide TR (disc brake bike). We also tested wheels from Swiss Side, Shimano, Princeton Carbon Works, with Continental tires being used on all the wheels.
Track time is expensive and time spent swapping parts is money wasted. I was glad to have my Unior Pro Kit with me to help make those changes as quickly as possible. Unfortunately I can’t give any more details of equipment we tested or the data that we got. This sort of testing doesn’t come cheap and there’s no sense in giving away all that information!
All and all it was a good day at the track with lots of data acquired that should help Cam go a lot faster at his next triathlons.
Contrary to popular opinion, it’s entirely possible to have too much of a good thing! Sometimes we got a little over zealous when bringing in stock from Europe, sometimes a spike was just that: a spike. Either way, a recent inventory count unearthed a few things that we think we have too many of, so now’s your chance to get your own Unior tools at even more of a bargain than normal.
Unior USA Ambassador Amber Pierce recently was a featured guest on the TrainerRoad “Ask a Cycling Coach” podcast sharing some of her experiences as a professional bicycle racer, some coaching & nutrition tips, and some insight into her favorite tools.
Give it a listen here and get some great insight into becoming a faster cyclist!
The “off season” for a team mechanic is pretty short, even for smaller Continental teams like Aevolo. While the riders may get a break from racing, mechanics often are kept busy dealing with last season’s bikes, building bikes for the upcoming season, gluing tires, and a host of other tasks that there isn’t necessarily time for once the season begins in earnest.
With that said, any good mechanic can’t keep their hands idle, and our man Vince Gee is a prime example of that. He’s been keeping his tools busy by tackling some work around the house as well as doing some bike repair for a couple VIPs.
Winter time is traditionally off season for most of the smaller teams. The big World Tour teams have camps as early as mid-November of the same year and they are building some of their fleet of bikes during this winter camp period.
Our Aevolo team has its first camp in early January so not too much late winter work for me. There is SOME work/prep to do but only a few days worth this year. But being home means getting some home projects done that my wife asks me to tackle while I have some free time. This winter was winterizing our windows for the cold New England winter, hanging some curtains and changing some light switches to timer switches so we can have things like porch lights come on automatically when my wife gets home from work.
Like many winter holiday seasons, we went to my in-laws for 10 days. During that time, I do some annual bike maintenance on two of my MOST IMPORTANT athletes: my 6 and 8 year old nieces’ bikes!!!! My nieces have traditional hurdles with their small bikes so I am happy to make sure their bikes are safe and running smoothly. And then of course the big smiles they have as they ride their tuned-up bikes is my reward.
I have a very small break and then off to Aevolo Team Camp in January.
As the only manufacturer in the bike tool market that can supply complete service department solutions, from workbenches to spoke wrenches, Unior is in a unique position to help take some of the stress away from an already demanding task: designing your service department.
It’s our strong belief that the future of the brick-and-mortar bike shop lies in service rather than sales, finding ways to make the most of your service department will pay dividends down the road. Our workbench and tool organization solutions lead to faster, better work.
We’re currently working with a shop in the midwest to develop and outfit a service department in a new location opening this coming spring. Check the first rendering below and check back to see how things change over time, and ultimately what the finished product looks like.