As the weekend of the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic approaches, local mechanics are working tirelessly to prepare riders’ equipment.
Some of the high-end bikes being sold today cost more than a used car. They require a specialized mechanic – someone who can fine-tune suspension, hydraulic brakes and sealed bearings; it requires more than an Allen wrench.
Tuning a bike for the race can take anywhere from 20 minutes to a few hours, said Alec Mayes, a mechanic for Velorution Cycles.
At 2nd Ave. Sports, which sees a good amount of service business ahead of the race, it takes about two hours for a full tune-up, said Matt Wayman, a bicycle mechanic.
Tuning bikes for the 50-mile ride includes checking all components that have the potential to wear down over time, such as the drivetrain and brake pads.
Mayes also makes sure nothing is rubbing and that the wheels are “true,” meaning they don’t have any lateral wobble.
Ethan Cranmer, a bicycle mechanic with 2nd Ave. Sports, said the shop is prepared to be busy through the weekend. He expects walk-ins Friday and Saturday as people come in to buy last-minute equipment.
Zach Myers, owner of Velorution Cycles, said his shop has worked on about a half dozen bicycles as riders prepare for this weekend’s ride from Durango to Silverton.
About 10 bikes were shipped to 2nd Ave. Sports from riders across the country who need them rebuilt in time for the race.
The bikes receive average wear and tear compared with other races. If anything, it’s more wear on the riders, especially those who are not used to the elevation, Cranmer said.
Wayman said with the engineering that goes into high-end road bikes, diagnostics can be more tricky. The bikes can have electronic drivetrains and internally routed cable systems that can be difficult to service.
Iron Horse riders, in general, are more focused on having a good time and less worried about cutting milliseconds off their time, Wayman said.
“We prepped them to have a great time,” Wayman said.