The Role of the Mechanic
Head Mechanic, Patrick Bertsch, entered the hotel lobby during a recent training camp. He arrived at the hotel late at night after a 500 km journey, ensuring the team equipment got to the next race in great condition.
One of the new riders on the team saw Bertsch and asked how he could still be happy and smiling after such a long day of work. The moment encapsulates the tireless work ethic the staff have to ensure the riders have everything they need to perform.
We spoke to Bertsch about his role as the mechanic.
What do you do to prepare before leaving for a race?
Usually, preparation always starts 1-2 days before a race in our Service Course in Immensee. I load my team vehicle, complete with everything we need and do a checklist before we head off.
After arriving at the race hotel, I install water and electricity to the truck so I can start working on the bikes. On the day of the race, I again check all the bikes and make sure everything works after preparing them the previous day.
This includes race bikes and spare bikes. I then place the spare bikes on top of the roof on the car that will be following in the race. Then I drive the race bikes to the start.
In the following vehicle I also put spare wheels, tools, bike stands and a pump. I also clean all cars before we leave. It´s very important go to the start with clean cars.
What do you do while at the race?
After arriving at the race, I check again all air pressures on the race bikes and place it on the bike stands. I then make sure I have a start list for the race because I will be in the car with the sports director and help him with information during the race. During the race I write everything that is communicated on race radio.
In the event of a crash, I grab a front and a rear wheel and run to the crash. If any of our riders are involved, I either change the wheel or change the whole bike.
What is the most stressful situation of your job?
One of the most challenging for me is to travel from race to race. You are in the car for many hours with all the equipment while the riders fly to the race.
They say stress is always brought on by yourself. Which means if the bikes are in great condition, I don’t have so much to do. If my work not 100%, I have more to do.
I also find the start of the season more challenging because all riders get the new bikes. Each bike has to be individually adapted and adjusted.
Apart from that, the most stressful part is when I need run out during the race and have to fix a puncture or attend to a crash.
What do you think of the equipment the Cervélo Bigla team has?
Starting with the bikes, for me Cervélo is one of the best and most exciting brands on the market. Our wheel partner is ENVE which is very stiff and fast, and also gives us options for different race scenarios. They are very beautiful on the eyes.
Vittoria Corsa tyres are very fast and has the graphene technology for very good grip. CeramicSpeed are the best bearings I’ve worked with so far. Incredibly robust, and efficient. Very low friction. One Word: BRILLIANT!
We are very lucky to work with the best material at the highest level.