Race day tips from a pro mechanic

Uplace - BMC Mechanic Tom / photo © Bert Stephani

Whilst on a training camp in Lanzarote with the Uplace-BMC team, we caught up with the man who quite literally keeps the wheels turning for the team, their mechanic Tom. Here are some race day tips for any aspiring long course triathletes out there - 

  1. OK, first thing, don’t change ANYTHING the day before the race! So many people do it, but don't change anything; not a new chain, tyres, anything. You need to make any changes at least a week before the race to have enough time to try everything out.
  2. Always take some tape and some straps for you numbers or food, or whatever you want to put on the bike. They’re always handy to have around.
  3. The chain is very important, you need a good chain and it needs to be clean. Not sticky and dirty, just lubricated. Not slick with lube so that dirt sticks to it, but just nicely covered. Just put a bit on in the middle of the chain, run it through the gears a few times and then wipe off any excess.
  4. Always check that you have a pump or C02 cartridges. For long course races, take two tubes – it’s not that much weight and you never know what might happen (on race day, most of the team ride tubeless so they don’t take anything and just take a pitstop if they flat).
  5. Then of course when riding Di2, the battery is very important! Firstly, make sure it’s charged; not 50% but 100%. Having said that, make sure to have it with you too! Sometimes you charge it at home before the race and then you forget it and you have no shifting, and that’s a problem.
  6. Check the tyres before the race, especially if you’re flying to the race. Leave the air out when the bike’s on the plane.
  7. If you’ve got two pairs of wheels, make sure your last ride or last two rides before race day are on the wheels you race on to make sure they’re working properly, the gears are all synced up, all those key things.
  8. It's alway worth having some tools with you, but a really good investment for working on the bike, especially if you have carbon things on the bike, is a little torque wrench. Otherwise, sooner or later you’ll break something or it won’t be done up tight enough and your saddle will fall down! Most parts these days have the torque setting written on them, I always do a little more, maybe 10% or so, it’s no problem.