When you have the title “world champion” before your name, it affords you special license. Such is the case for Leanda Cave. The Briton is in Kona ready to take on her competitors and the course in the 2013 Hawaii Ironman in her title defense, but was at the last minute sent her new Canyon SpeedMax CF for race day—something we alluded to in Cave’s ProFile bike spread feature in the current issue of LAVA Magazine. This new bike features a Mavic Cosmic Carbone CXR 80 rear tubular, a Cosmic CXR 60 front tubular, a complete Shimano 9070 Di2 electronic shifting groupset, and an ISM Podium saddle. The only items left for install would be LOOK Keo Blade Aero pedals, Xlab Gorilla and Chimp frame bottle cages, and her Xlab Delta behind-saddle hydration setup. With that, Cave is Kona race ready.
While Cave currently resides in Boulder, Colo., the new bike is emblazoned with Y Ddrag Goch, or the red dragon passant, backed by the red, white and green colors seen on the flag of Cave’s homeland of Wales. It’s finished with a subtle sweep of world champion stripes on the seat tube.
The bike was sent from Canyon in Germany to her technical support sponsor, TriSports.com in Tucson, Arizona. Do you think they’d just forward it on to Cave’s address in Kona? Not a chance. TriSports.com wants to take zero chances on a mechanical failure on race day. So they broke it down, and rebuilt it to Trisports.com standards.
From here on, we let TriSports.com mechanic Mark Lee (the 2008 Service Course Mechanic for USA Cycling at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. as well as a Bill Woodall Race Mechanic Clinic Certification recipient and team mechanic to the 2008 U.S. National Team at Pan Am Continental Championship) take you on a walk-through of the process of prepping the world champ’s bike for her title defense, along with a few snapshots during his breakdown and build-up. The process also provides a few nice detail cues for your own bike builds and care. -Ed
Its always a fun day when I see Leanda walk into Trisports.com with a bike box. I was unfamiliar with Canyon at the start of the season but I’ve become a fan. As “superbikes” go, the SpeedMax is not a nightmare to service if its set up properly from the start. Her Kona bike arrived pre-assembled with brakes, derailleurs, etc. already mounted. From a functional standpoint, all that’s left is attaching the cockpit, applying Leanda’s measurements, and dialing in the shifting and brakes. But, there’s just one thing that bothers me about that.
I don’t know who did the pre-assembly. If it was Jack or Kurt, I could probably roll with it. It takes a long time for a mechanic to trust the skills of another mechanic. So when I look at this pre-assembled bike, (which will probably see few test miles before race day), all I see is a giant question mark of quality control.
I take it apart, down to the frameset. I’ll check the derailleur hanger bolts and align the hanger. I take off the front derailleur tab, Loctite the bolts and re-tighten. The brakes are removed, pivot points lubed and put back on with Loctite (no affiliation, honestly). Basically, every bolt is removed and reinstalled with loctite or grease, as needed. I also make sure the connectors at the B junction box are secure and that the cables are not pinched by the brake cable. At this point, I have a clean slate for the rest of the build.
This year, one of Leanda’s sponsors is CeramicSpeed. They sent bearings for her Mavic wheels, the bottom bracket and the derailleur pulleys. The term “ceramic bearings” often promises more than it delivers. But, everyone who spun the cranks or watched the wheels spin effortlessly was impressed with these.
Before installing the bottom bracket, I put a reference mark on each bottom bracket cup so I know the branding is right side up when I press them in. Its one of those things that doesn’t make any difference whatsoever, but it looks professional and some people still appreciate that.
One thing I’ve noticed on many of the newer TT/Tri bikes with “Delta” style brakes is that people trim the cables down to little stubs, which then blossom into a nice bouquet of wire strands. A simple end cap keeps things neat and lets you adjust the “wedge” for wider rims.
While Mavic skewers are one of my favorites because their positive cam action, the skewer nut was hitting the rear derailleur just enough to keep the wheel from going in smoothly. Grinding down the circumference of the skewer nut is an easy fix.
The tubular tires are stretched on a clean rim overnight. Then, one coat of Vittoria Mastik 1 is applied to the tire and set aside to dry. The rim gets 2-3 coats, with at least 8-12 hours of dry time between coats. A final wet coat, and the tire is mounted. This is the method that resulted in the highest adhesion in tests by C. Howatt and USA Cycling. I know Kona only has one big descent, but as a mechanic, I don’t know where a given set of wheels will end up; in the offseason, Leanda just might carve down Mt. Lemmon on those wheels. Thats the reason for the “overkill” method of gluing tubulars. Attached is a link if you want to read up on it http://www.engr.ku.edu/~kuktl/
Then it’s on to the small details. Bar tape should be evenly wrapped and finished with 3M electrical tape. Cheaper electrical tape use adhesives that “slime” and slide across the bar. Also, I cut the tape on the bottom, so the end won’t peel up while riding.
This isn’t everything, but hopefully it gives you an idea of my process. We’ve done many one-off and custom builds at Trisports.com but I think its safe to say that this is the coolest. We wish the best of luck to Leanda, and all the other competitors in Kona.
Bicycle Mechanic, Trisports.com, Tucson, Arizona