The season with Team Mechanic Alex Gidley
Written by Velo Staff on 27th July 2016
Tell us about your experience on VELO as team mechanic this season….
”This season has been a great experience for me. It has been pretty full on since March with a race pretty much every weekend since then but has been a thoroughly enjoyable year. I can honestly say ive enjoyed every minute of it. We have a great set of riders, and from a mechanics point of view they have all been great to work with.”
What has been your most memorable experience?
”Without doubt The Ras in Ireland. It was my 1st experience of a Stage Race and also my 1st visit to Ireland. Can honestly say it was one of the best weeks away I’ve done. The Country, the support of the local people, the camaraderie between the team itself was one that I will remember for a long time. It was also great to interact with other teams from all over the World which doesn’t happen so much on the one day races in the UK. I’m already looking forward to next year. It was hard work adjusting to the routine especially after the 1st day when I had a bike re build to do after a crash. I was dreading what the week had in store. But I soon adjusted and the rest of the week went relatively smoothly from my point of view.”
”Any race where the bikes behave themselves really!!!! But apart from the Ras I would have to say The Nationals up in Stockton was a great event. Its always good to be involved at the highest level of the sport in this country and from a Team perspective we had Elliott Porter as the last non UCI rider left in the race and achieving a great result. This was even more impressive after a huge crash in the Ras which hospitalised him only a few weeks before.”
Any funny moments…
”To be honest there has been plenty; too many to mention. As mentioned before the camaraderie between the team is really good and this is fed down from our DS Gabby. Yeah we are here to race and we want to be successful but we are also supposed to all enjoy being together. Without banging on about the Ras again all you have to do is watch some of the videos on the team Facebook page and you will see how the atmosphere is within the team.
Although I have to say I’m glad our lads race bikes rather than mobility scooters!!!!!!!! (Inside joke)”
Anything you have learnt….
”Every weekend I have learnt something. Whether it be picking up on a particular riders needs or wants. A specific technical issue that I know how to resolve quickly or just getting things in order a little quicker to make race days run a bit smoother… There is always something to learn.”
”Also to get my haircut before I hang out of car windows so I don’t look like I should be in a shampoo advert!!” (See the Ras video for the hair shampoo advert!)
A typical race day…
”So typically we arrive at the hotel for the race the night before. The riders each bring their bikes from home and then notify me of any issues they have encountered over the week. I will then rectify these faults the night before around dinner with the team.
We then make our way to Race HQ in the morning. As well as attaching race numbers and transponders I will give the bikes a quick run through to make sure everything is running as it should. Liaising with the riders I also ensure all the race wheels have the riders preferred pressure in them, this includes the spare wheels that I will have in the car with me for the race. Then it is time to load the car up with spares, tools and race food and drink.
Once the riders are happy myself and Gabby roll out in the car to the race start to take our place in the convoy. Once the race is underway it is a busy time in the car. We have race radio giving us updates on the race which I pay particular attention to. I will then assist the DS with ensuring we are on top of the race situation and where our riders are currently within the race. Driving a car in the convoy is a particularly stressful environment so I try and keep on top of everything so the DS can concentrate on the driving. This includes paying particular attention to any riders moving through the convoy ensuring Gabby is aware where riders are around the car.
Obviously I am listening out for race radio to notify us if any of our riders require attention. This could be for a mechanical such as a wheel change or they may require bottles or feeding which I will do from the car once the rider has dropped back to us.
Once the race is over its time to pack everything away, ensuring the riders have all they need before making the long journey South again as is often the case. I then return to my day job before carrying out the same routine again the following weekend.”
Alex has been a great addition to the Neon Velo team and we have been very happy having him working along side us. He is a great mechanic and is very thorough. The mechanics job is a tough one and Alex is one of the unsung heroes of the team! The last team race for the team is August 14th- Leicester Kermesse. If you are around Please Say Hi to the team and Alex.