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Olympic Blog: Joe Santos
The owner of Davis Wheelworks in California, Joe Santos has served as the primary bike mechanic and fit specialist for the USA Triathlon National Team for the past four years. He is attending his first Olympic Games. Throughout the course of the Olympic Games, you'll hear from the athletes and staff of the U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team here at usatriathlon.org.
LONDON — It’s been a whole lot of fun being able to work with this group of athletes for the last few years and see them progress toward what this event is — their ultimate goal for this Olympic cycle. It’s really rewarding to work with them.
We own a high-end road and tri shop in California between San Francisco and Sacramento, a little college town called Davis. A client of ours Steve Sexton, who is on the USA Triathlon Board of Directors, knew they needed help at some race. There might have been some begging involved, but we helped out with the race and here we are a few hundred races later.
I’ve been the National Team mechanic for USA Triathlon at ITU events for a couple of years now. Basically, I just make sure the bikes are in nice working fashion and moving as fast as we can get them and making sure we don’t have any problems on race day. Thus far we’ve been pretty lucky, so I’m hoping to continue that over the next few days here.
At this level all the bike equipment is pretty good. You don’t really tend to have problems too often. If there are problems, they are usually not from them riding too much. It’s from shipping or something weird occurring. It’s pretty rare when we have problems pop up. We’ve got enough spare parts with us these days that even if we do have a problem it’s nothing major. We’ve got about 70 pounds of tools and 80-90 pounds of spare parts. It’s a decent amount of stuff.
A few years ago when we first started doing it, it was more major stuff but we’ve gotten that under control. We see these bikes and these people so often that it’s usually just minor maintenance.
We can slap a bike together pretty quickly, but to make sure that every single thing in it is dialed in and is really optimized so that we can get the optimal performance out of that bike on race day, then it takes a lot longer. We’ll spend a good 4-6 hours per bike typically, just kind of going through it and making sure everything on it is good. We pull every single bearing set apart, lube them, and take out whatever seals aren’t necessary for that day.