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Calvin's Corner

Discovery Cycling Team Training Camp

The Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team holds their winter training camp in Solvang, California. As always, our kind of people, the mechanics, arrive early to get the work done. There will be 30 riders, with road bikes for everyone, plus time trial bikes, reserve bikes and spare wheels, so there is plenty of work to be done. The mechanics Discovery are "team mechanics" in the best sense of the word. These guys work together like, well, like a well-tuned bike. They trust one another, and while each one has a different style, the results are a fore gone conclusion---well built machines ready for a season of hard campaigning.


The seven mechanics of the Discovery Cycling Team, from left to right: Craig Geater, Nick Mondelaers. Jeanick Verstraete, Julien DeVries, Chris Van Roosbroeck, Alan Buttler, and Vincent Gee.

For a motel room, this is one nicely stocked bike shop. Vincent Gee and Craig Geater have everything under control and cannot wait of the work to begin.


Wheels are the first order of business. Alan Buttler sorts out a huge pile of tires for mounting.


Vincent Gee installs the cassette cogs using the SR-1 and FR-5G.


The PFP-2 stands guard over stacks of blue rubber, all pumped and ready to roll.


There is no doubt who is in charge, and who will cut the forks. Julien DeVries uses smooth even strokes, applying pressure during the forward push, as the SG-6 holds the blade square to the fork columns.


Julien presses headsets with an interesting technique. The headset press mounted in the vise to holds the frame. Bottom bracket cups are installed after the cups are pressed.


Julien allows me to lend a hand. The TNS-4 makes quick work of getting in the star fangled nut, which is good as I am worried about the eagle eye of Julien in the truck above.


Getting the riders' position just right is a big part of the work. The mechanics took measurements at the end of the 2006 season, and these numbers will be used to set saddle height, stem length and height, and all other aspects of their bikes before the riders even sit on their machines.


Craig Geater gets close to the work. Notice the view he prefers when adjusting front derailleur height.


Here again, Craig shows that it matters how you look at your work. He is setting rotation of the front cage while viewing it from above.


Nick double checks the rear derailleur alignment with the DAG. The team bikes feature a nice solid non-replaceable derailleur hanger.


Chris installs the fork crown race with the CRS-1. It then goes to Julien to be cut.

Like all professionals, these mechanics come to develop their own personal preferences in styles of tools.


Jeanick will do the build for US Champion George Hincapie.


These pedals use an 8mm hex wrench on the back of the pedal spindle. Note while tightening the pedal, the opposite crank is used as an extra lever.


Craig Geater sets the rotation of the bars. He is measuring axle center to tip of brake lever.


It is always a pleasure to watch professionals at work. A special thanks goes out to photographer Greg Parks (how's that for a lucky name) for his help and pictures.