For every athlete gracing the world stage, there is a team of people behind them making sure everything is as it should be. Of those people one person in particular has a very important job, the mechanic. Often overlooked and under appreciated by the public at large, a factory mechanic is responsible for making sure the bike is in the best possible shape so their athletes can perform at their best. Not a bolt under torqued or a derailleur out of tune. We pulled aside 5 mechanics to shed some light on the unsung heroes of the industry.
Peter Schenk is a suspension tech for Fox Suspension. He hails from Squamish, British Columbia just down the Sea to Sky highway from Whistler. He is responsible for athletes such as Richie Rude (who just won the EWS Whistler stop), Eddie Masters, and Brett Rheeder just to name a few. Before working on cutting edge suspension technology Peter got his start, like most, in a bike shop. From there he worked in the automotive industry before coming back to his roots in the bike world. Now he follows the Fox Factory trailer around North America supporting his athletes.
Larry Hartwich is with the Canyon factory race team lives in Germany. Larry is responsible for the man currently leading the EWS series, Florian Nicolai. He got his start as a privateer racer, with no support behind him he had to maintain his own bikes by himself. A tail as old as time in any race scene. From there he got to know his local bike shop and eventually was offered a job as a tech. A full decade later Larry finds himself following the EWS circuit wrenching for Canyon's best, and clearly loving life.
Jessica Brousseau supports the Liv factory racing, the sister company to Giant factory racing. Her main athlete is Isabella Naughton. Originally from Quebec, she moved across Canada to the west coast. Jessica now calls Vancouver home, living in her RV and travelling with the Giant/Liv trailer. 7 years ago one of her best friends, an owner of a bike shop in Quebec, offered to take her under his wing and teach her everything there is to know about wrenching. Well, it's clearly paid off as now she has her dream job that allows her to travel and do what she loves. On top of that in her off season, she teaches bike mechanics, passing on her trade to other would-be pro bike techs.
Darren Burns has been working for the Norco Factory Race Team for the past 5 seasons as Sam Blenkinsop's mechanic. As I met Darren he was putting the final touches on Sam's Aurum HSP. Adjusting shock and tire pressures down to the half PSI. He's originally from Invermere, British Columbia. A small town with a great riding community. Darren approached a local bike shop in town looking for a job and upon being turned down he said he'd work for free until he was worth paying. 15 years later Darren finds his year filled to the brim making sure the trailer is fully stocked with parts for the season and traveling the UCI DH circuit with Sam as well as overseeing the second team mechanic.
J.T. Evans wrenches for SRAM/TLD Racing Team and is out of Colorado Springs, Colorado. He wrenches for Lucas Cruz, a UCI Junior racer out of Pemberton, British Columbia and is currently pulling double duty for Vali Holl (current woman's junior world champ). J.T. has been on the UCI scene since 1999 when he worked for the Tomac Racing Team. Between now and then he has bounced around various industry jobs and in the last 2 years got the chance to get back into the scene. He got his start by, in his own words "running his mouth that I could fix bikes at a local road race". Once the word got out that he was willing to travel he was picked up as a team mechanic and all these years later he is still wrenching. J.T. helps SRAM across the globe and thanks his family for being very supportive with his time spent away.