MANY ATHLETES INVEST a lot of time preparing for a goal event. Hours upon hours are spent on your bike, in the pool and running getting ready for this all-important event. It would be such a shame if a mechanical issue with your bike took away your well-earned result. There are ways, though, to prevent these mishaps come race day.
If you are flying to your event, get in a few days early to build your bike and work out any kinks. Sometimes airport officials will open bike boxes and, most of the time, do not take the same care packing things back up as you did before you left. The most common thing that happens is a rear derailleur hanger misalignment. If this happens, shifting will be compromised and, in extreme cases, the derailleur might shift into the rear wheel and cause a world of trouble.
Once you get the rear derailleur bolted back on the hanger and the wheel on, have a look at it from behind. The hanger should appear straight and the rear derailleur cage parallel to the cassette cogs. If it looks askew in any way, it will have to be realigned or even replaced if it’s cracked. This job is usually best left to professional mechanics who will use a special tool.
This brings us to my next tip: Bring your bike to a mechanic if you are worried about anything. Large events will usually have on-the-ground technical support people working on bikes. If in doubt, always let a pro have a look. On the other hand, do not expect a last-minute overhaul at an event. Be prepared and get major work done before the race.
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