2011 USA Cycling Race Mechanic Clinic

Each year since 1987, I have taught at the Bill Woodul Race Mechanics Clinic, hosted by USA Cycling. Bill was a former USAC Equipment manager. We lost Bill to cancer in 1996, but it was this man who created the clinic as a place to share experience and knowledge with newer mechanics.

Teaching at these seminars is great fun. There is hardly anything better than being around mechanics. But it is not typical mechanics training. There is no discussion of setting limit screws. We do not discuss setting chain length, or adjusting hubs, or installing headsets. We hope they know this, and this is not the place to teach that material.


Nick DeLauder discusses suspension tuning and the race mechanic


Wheel theory and design is covered by Ric Hjertberg, and yes, that is a wooden rim on the left

The time at these clinics is split between small group session and large group presentations. The clinic size is limited so session size is manageable. Students come from all over the USA, and outside the USA. Personally, I love it when we get the SoCal mech’s and it snows.


Washing and talking, not the easiest thing, especially when the soap is freezing upon contact


Kind of fun when you discover real issues. Follow the chain, but notice it disappears behind the freewheel. What's the L-screw for again? We found a frame crack on a different bike.


There is some time to relax with the great food at the Olympic Training Center, but double points if you eat the race mechanic way... fast


Hands-on tubular tire glue lab, where we teach making "happy trees" with the brushes. Multiple coats are the key here.

The wheel change sessions are always fun, and sometimes we end up with a little bleeding. Like a tango, it takes two for this dance to work well, and we also teach how the rider should behave during the change.


Wheel changes in the blowing snow? Don't feel sorry for them, I was washing bikes in the snow.


The traditional push off after a change, but watch out here, it is possible to push a rider off the bike

Some footage of the wheel change action

These clinics are not for everyone and not even for every bike mechanic. There is an expectation of service, of going out and putting this knowledge to use, and to do some good in our racing community.


Someone has to be the heavy during the Ethics and the Race Mechanic session


The 2011 USAC Bill Woodul Race Mechanic Clinic grads, with some instructors thrown in the mix