The most unsung heroes of #TeamAbsa and #AbsaPride are certainly the miracle mechanics! As an Absa initiative Eben Venter from West Rand Cycles was asked to put together a team to look after all the 74 bikes used by #TeamAbsa and #AbsaPride. This team of guys have been worked to the absolute extreme to get the all the bikes ready on the start line after yesterday’s mud bath of stage two.
After a normal day’s riding you would expect a mechanic to take about an hour to check and fix up one of the bikes but with the excessive amounts of mud on these bikes that time was increased to as much as three hours per bike. That is a vast amount of work for this dedicated team.
Firstly all of the bikes had to be properly washed down so that all the mud was removed and it was actually possible to see the bikes again rather than the dirt!
Then instead of trying to clean and fix components in some cases it was easier just to change them – cassettes, chains, brake pads, bottom brackets and cables even the little derailleur wheels got replaced. Then it was onto the wheel bearings and headsets that needed to be cleaned and replaced.
Some of the bikes’ tyres were also replaced because of cuts and tears.
What must be remembered that after all the components were replaced all the bikes had to be fully set up and tested to make sure that they were 100% for the start of stage three and so the riders would have a trouble free ride.
It was a very long night for the team.
The Absa initiative includes the two young men from the Diepsloot Mountain Bike Academy (DMBA) who were chosen to form part of #TeamAbsa’s mechanic support team. Tebogo Mokwatlo, 22, and Clement Mabula, 21, have had a baptism of fire but they both displayed a great willingness to learn and gained invaluable experience.
Eben Venter noted “These are not the kind of conditions mechanics find themselves involved in on a regular basis and so it has been an even better learning opportunity for the two guys”.
With today’s longest stage and some serious rain in the Swellendam area, over night reports are that there is more mud ahead and surely another long night for the mechanics.