Tell me about cassette and gearing selection. Do riders get to choose what they prefer, or do they trust you to do that as well?
Gregorio: Riders give input as to what they like, but the decision is usually arrived at by reviewing course profiles or by pre-riding the course. We normally use our Sram Red cassettes with 11-26 gearing. They cover almost all of our needs and alleviate the need to change often. Normal chainring sizes are 39-53, however at times we’ll use a larger chainring if the course requires it.
What is the most common repair or maintenance item you guys make?
Gregorio: During a race, the most common repair would be for a flat tire. Between races, we wash the bikes, and lube the chains. We also do more detailed internal maintenance on a regular schedule, such as replacing bearings, cables, brake pads, worn drive trains, etc.
What’s the worst gear failure you’ve experienced in your career?
Gregorio: I could write an entire article on this one, having worked as a mountain bike mechanic for many years. Also, I’ve worked extensively in Central America, where replacement parts are not always available. I once had to epoxy a fork dropout into my racer’s aluminum fork blade, as we had no other options. He went on to finish third in the Tour of Costa Rica, a very mountainous stage race. For a modern road racing team anything can break in a crash. We are normally ready with a spare bike to save the day, however, sometimes we need to get creative.
Any chance one of you would like to live in my garage and keep my bikes ready at all times?
[no responses, interview ends. . .]