Niemiec has three bikes in his stable: a Gunnar cyclocross bike, an Independent Fabrication road bike and a 1967 Schwinn Paramount track bike. "That's my ﬁxie around town," he said. "I love that thing."
When a racer has a mechanical problem, Mavic is there to handle it in a ﬂash. When Mavic has a problem, well, Mavic has to handle that, too.
"We probably abuse equipment a little bit more than the standard shop. Like this pump, somebody drove over the back of the hose, so we replaced it with some [dishwasher] hose and a hose clamp. That's what we could ﬁnd at the hardware store that day. Not every place has a bike shop we can roll through. You have to come up with things."
At the national championships this year (2007), the steering joint on Niemiec's yellow car went out the night before the race, and he scrambled to borrow a vehicle from a local dealer. Again, hose clamps saved the day. "We bought a rack for the vehicle, then clamped our rack to their rack so we didn't bugger up the new car."
By the Numbers
Here's a sample of what Mavic brings to a big U.S. race:
70 wheels—20 per car, plus a few for motorcycles
12 radios (one Mavic radio, one race radio per vehicle)