Posts Tagged ‘service-course’

Now that the season is well under way, we have all seen Radio Shack’s, Team Sky’s, Team Quick Step’s and Garmin Transition’s Service Course; heck you might have even seen The Service Course, but now it is time to journey into WV Cycling’s very own Service Course!

Exclusive images of wvcycling’s home base.

In a totally behind the scenes trip to wvcycling’s Service Course in Buckhannon, West Virginia, we were shown around the site’s Appalachian base.

With wvcycling focusing on group rides in five different counties, the Service Course was described by the site as “standard”, yet we still discovered plenty of equipment and history when we were given a sneak-peek to the local Service Course of wvcycling. The well-established base also displays a modest contrast to the comparatively less PRO Service Course of Team Sky, that Cycling News posted an article about earlier this month.

When we arrived on Monday, wvcycling was busy swapping a nine-speed chain for Andrew Dasilva before going on a trail ride. Carbon fiber race wheels were nonexistent but clinchers were being prepared with UST tires, ready to be fitted.

service course

With the Service Course being split into three areas over 600 sq. ft, it’s one of the biggest West Virginian Service Course in the sport, while also being home to wvcycling’s transportation and mechanic’s trucks. The huge space is dominated by residential storage space for the multitude of bikes for wvcycling’s site.

service course

“It’s very central within West Virginia” Andrew Dasilva, the service course owner told us. “It’s close to the highway, the airport and is central in very cycling friendly areas.”

“We have about five bikes here now, and four pair of wheels,” said Dasilva. “We hold them here for when the site wants to review bikes. The riders just tell us what they need. What you’re seeing now is probably worth around six thousand Dollars. At full capacity we can probably store up to ten bikes and necessary equipment.”

Each rider has his own station where up to five bikes can be stored. At present Andrew Dasilva’s station is full, with all of his bikes in storage. The pit stops aren’t just for bikes though; the riders also have their own storage area in which all their personal effects are dished out before being taken to events or sent to the riders directly.

service course

Riders are responsible for the transportation and organization of their riding garments and helmets; here Andrew Dasilva has his supply well covered:

service course

service course

Shoes, Gloves, Winter Gear, and Recovery Sandals~

service course

The storage containers in the warehouse are dominated by riding products and food. Along with typical crates of drinks and bars the team also has its own cereal, chocolate spread, recovery drinks, and snack goods to last at least three days on the road.

Service Course

WV Cycling is fortunate enough to have sponsorship from leading companies in the industry such as SRAM and Ritchey Components**. What would a service course be without spare parts?

service course ritchey wcs sram rival

service course

service course

The sponsors keep the site well stocked with spare tubes and other supplies!

service course

service course

service course ritchey wcs sram rival

These 'to go' boxes are filled with spare parts that mechanics may need when away from home base.

Of course, no Service Course would be complete without a workshop area, in which each bike is checked and serviced before it’s either shipped to a ride or stored.

service course

Note, the spots on the concrete are not grease, but water. It was rainy when I set up this photo.

After receiving le Grand Tour of wvcycling’s Service Course, we were optimistic for the proliferation of cycling, and cycling friendly cities in the Appalachian regions of America.

**Note – not actually sponsored by Ritchey or SRAM 😦

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There has been the West Virginia University sponsored Mini-Series/Stage Race every August in Philippi since I moved to this state. Two days of fun consisting of a TT, Criterium, and Road Race. Even if I am not competing, I like to go there and scope things out; you know, see who is participating and make verbal bets with friends on who is going to place podium.

Last year, decided to drive up to Philippi from Buckhannon with a few pals to do some recon a few days before the races were planned. A well placed convenience store was placed a few hundred feet from our pre-planned Le Depart, so we staked our claim in the Sheetz parking lot and tried to be as PRO as it is possible in West Virginia. There we were. Full road kits, Radars upside down in our helmet vents, Back pocket wadded with credit card, drivers key, spare tube, CO2, single tire lever, and maybe a Clif Bar of some sort that we purchased with our Sheetz MTO Espresso-like-beverage. I’m not saying they pull a bad shot, but it does feel less genuine sipping it out of a bleach-white paper cup, handed to you by someone who possibly can’t spell espresso. (sorry for the crack shot there)

Ken was kept outside, guarding our steeds while we ordered for him. He peered at us the whole time like a dog similar to when you leave them inside the car while you run in the grocery store to grab a gallon of milk. He made us promise to never do that to him again.

Poor Ken 😦

About ten or so minutes after our quasi-cafe stop, we hit the road. I grabbed the recon map since none of us ever pedaled in Philippi before. Thirty-Two miles was expected to take about 1:45-2:00 depending on the pace we set for ourselves but this was a reconnaissance ride. We decided to pay attention to the locations, scenery, terrain, elevation, road condition and places where we could try to do a sprint to gain a few places. You know… the tricky stuff that is PRO in theory but never really works well in application. I can recall being at least half-way completed when Greg falling off the back. He really seemed to be having a hard time staying with the group. Never more than a few hundred feet behind us, but enough that we knew if it kept happening it would be demoralizing and disheartening for him. We stopped at the turn onto Carrolton Road to let him catch up and for us to hydrate/scarf.

If you've been to Phillippi, you've seen this bridge.

After some highly scrutinized wheel rotations by hand, he determined the rear brake was rubbing on the wheel. “Ohhhhhhhh, so that was the problem was…” The whole time, he  felt like he wasn’t putting out the watts while he was still putting out the same amount of effort. We all chuckled at the mechanical and his inclinations about it and went on. Two or so miles later he stops again. The bolt holding the brake screw tight was loose. This was an odd thing, since he claimed it wasn’t like this earlier. Even funnier was that no one was carrying a mini multi tool… Eventually, we all made it back to the vehicle safe with Greg following behind, but with less enjoyment than expected.

Another story similar to this was when a bunch of MTB buddies I befriended last year took a trip to a local state park for some shredding around on the newly fallen leaves. My friend… Let’s just call him Rider-X (to protect his identity), slipped on a slick pile of leaves. His rear derailleur had seen better days and this was not one. Everyone regrouped to evaluate whether he was fine. His bike was repairable enough to allow him to hobble down the mountain back to the vehicle. We all retired early and went home. It was a bummer.

These nostalgic tales of the peloton ending early due to mechanicals involving friends have spurred me to take action to save future rides. Those adventures are stories that may benefit your upcoming travels also.

Everyone carries or should at least carry a saddle bag with multi tool, spare tube, and pump of some sort while riding, and some more serious tools in their home-base vehicle on a ride trip that is going to be away from a LBS or Big-Box Store. Think of your car as a stationary Mechanic’s Car/Broom Wagon sans Danila Di Luca’s wonder mechanic.

But what about those simple but critical items? Shifter/Brake cable? Brake Lever? Pedal? Saddle? Bolts/Screws? Stems???

These sound like components involved in a pretty serious mechanical, but when you and three or four other buddies out on the road/trail… there is a possibility for something serious to happen, no? Will there always be a LBS open or even available? I mean really now… This is West Virginia… Why not just arrive prepared for the unexpected?

I have come up with a small toolbox with my discarded/used/old/spare parts for such an event. These items are not of Shimano XT/Ultegra caliber, but they will allow you to enjoy the rest of your anticipated ride. For me, it just makes sense to carry spare parts like this. Hypothetically, if I were out for a weekend, I would bring more than my little toolbox full. Something with a little more oomph, like a whole bike or a second set of wheels.

This isn’t paranoia, just preparedness. I also want to make it clear I do not purchase items for the sole use of being spares for those ‘just in case’ moments… but the thought has crossed my mind.

How many times have you heard of freak accidents where a rider isn’t hurt but their pedal or cleat is needs replaced during the ride?

Broken seatpost?

Loose bolt or two falling out?

Shifter cable freak accident?

Broken spoke?

Freewheel/hub bearings having a catastrophe? <—- happened to me 😦

I read a lot of cycling sites and I see stories like this a lot. Doesn’t mean it will or will not happen to me, but at least I have the means to be prepared. when driving off to distant lands away from the service-course.

What do you bring along with you when you drive to a ride? Have you ever had a minor failure that could have been fixed if you had the spare part in your vehicle?  What do you do with rest of your day when you are at a special place and the bike is borked?

Neat poll of things people have broken on a ?brevet? type tour.

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