A View from the Pit – Swamp Cross 2012 (Gainesville, FL)
Not at all surprising that the 2012 Swamp Cross course proved to be one of the most challenging thus far in the season. This was also made evident by the volume and varying nature of mechanicals and other issues we witnessed in the pit. Once again, with some of the largest attendance numbers of the season, we are thrilled to find our pit management and neutral race support efforts are proving valuable to the overall success and enjoyment of the race.
We were thrilled to see the Swamp Cross organizers had a well-planned course, with the pit area being properly sized and centrally located. However, to our surprise the pit had three (3) entrance/exit points. This made for a super-accessible pit and plenty of room for the growing number of pit bikes and wheel-sets. The size and accessibility of the pit even provided a certain racer the opportunity of cutting the course during Sunday’s SS race… he will remain nameless to avoid further shaming and ridicule prior to his move out of FL.
The most significant mechanicals we dealt with during the Swamp Cross weekend were related to sand/mud/gainesville grime getting packed into shift levers. Most noticeable were rear SRAM shift levers getting jammed towards the lower gearing positions. With sand packed into the shift levers from crashes, sand-pit gymnastics and berm shredding, the shifters would lose any gear return spring tension. This issue was witnessed all weekend on at least 10-15 bikes. In fact, several race leaders all weekend experienced this wonderfully frustrating problem. Ideally, this issue is addressed in the shop and the lever disassembled and cleaned. None-the-less we managed to take care of these issues in the pit all weekend.
The other note-worthy mechanical from the weekend was constant pinch flats. Most issues were seen with clincher tires/tubes where tire pressure appeared low. Once again, keep that tire pressure up. Especially those running clinchers. There were only a few tubular tire issues, and this included a handful of rolled tubular. Infinity Bikes’ Michael King wins the award for best rolled tubular at Swamp Cross 2012. After rolling his rear tire, he went ahead and removed the tire entirely, carried the tire and rode into the pit on his bare rim. Hey, it beats running the bike into the pit!
We’re still seeing a fare amount of cleat/shoe issues coming into the pit. Loose/missing cleat bolts and broken buckles were dealt with all weekend.
Most memorable mechanical came into the pit on Saturday during the Cat 1/2 race. Keep in mind, our neutral race support brings several common brand/model of spare pedals as part of our comprehensive spare component/parts inventory. This proved valuable when one super cool team member came into the pit with a pedal issue. A lap on a spare bike, along with some karate bike mechanics, and the rider was back in the race.
Finally, here a few recommendations for race participants, teammates, family members, and race promoters:
• Communication; clear, intelligent communication with the pit is paramount. If you need something from the pit, make sure you are clear with what you want/need.
• Spares; if you bring a spares into the pit, and would like our help during the race, be sure to introduce yourself. If we know who you are, we can better help you in the event of an issue. It also helps us better identify which spares are yours.
• Borrowing tools; if you ask to borrow a tool, we will assume you do not need our help. Also, it is not a problem to borrow a tools as long as they stay IN THE PIT.
• Attitude; don’t be a jerk. During the race, we expect riders to be a bit frustrated coming into the pit, and even curt in their exchanges. However, being a complete jerk will not get you very far.
We’ll see you in Clermont!