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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Wrenchin' in the USA: The Chris Davidson diary 2008

Chris joins us again in 2008 to report on life on the road turning the wrench both in the road and MTB scene. Chris signs on with the new Team Type 1 squad for 2008; Chris has also worked for such teams as Navigators Insurance, TEAm Lipton, T-Mobile, Equipe Nurnberger and Mercury in the past, as well as neutral support programs with Shimano, Pedros and Trek.

As 2008 holds some new challenges for Chris, but some things will stay the same. One of those will be his informative diary contributions on Cyclingnews, where you'll often receive the inside scoop on all things tech and a look at life as a professional mechanic.

Tour of Georgia Stage 2 - April 22: Statesboro - Augusta, 116.9mi/188.1km

Special mods for special circumstances

Matt Wilson’s Orbea Orca modified
Photo ©: Chris Davidson
(Click for larger image)
We added a ‘retro cool’ bar end shifter to the left
Photo ©: Chris Davidson
(Click for larger image)

Today was the first day in the car for me, as I got in to Georgia on Monday morning from Sea Otter. Stage two was almost 190k from Statesboro to Augusta, less than five hours in the car. The stage was dominated by a break of three, that was brought back in the finale for a field sprint won by JJ Haedo (Team CSC). I had to do a little work hanging out of the car today, and in the end it cost me about 250 Swiss francs. Sometimes you have to do things that require you to lean a little farther out of the car than the officials would like. So be it; all my guys finished, so the fine doesn't sit too badly tonight.

I wanted to highlight some modifications that we performed to one of riders bikes. Matt Wilson of Team Type 1 broke his wrist shortly after training camp this spring. Tour de Georgia is his first race back, and he still has his wrist immobilized in a soft cast. With our SRAM shifters, the up-shift is more than Matt can accomplish with the wrist immobilized, so after the stage today we made some changes to his bike to facilitate shifting with his good left hand.

For this one we went old school, taking a TT shift lever off one of the TT bikes in the truck and installed it on his left handlebar end. Now he has access to the front brake, front shifter and rear shifter with his left hand.

Talking about this setup with my mechanic colleagues in the parking lot, the memories of the pre-integrated shifter era came up. Bar end shifters were some of the attempts to move shifters on to the handle bar before the advent of Dura Ace STI in 1988. So tomorrow Matt will really be going 'old school' to better manage the tasks of shifting and braking with his still-healing wrist.

Imagine tackling 1000 kilometres in seven days versus some of the best pro teams on the planet. Now imagine the same scenario minus the full function of your dominate hand. Just another day in the office for a true professional like Matt. And retro cool to boot!

More tomorrow,
Chris Davidson


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Chris Davidson