Right in the centre of Cabrils, a small village on the Catalan coast just over 30 kilometres north of Barcelona, there is a small paradise for mountain bike lovers. Sergi Álvarez is one of the three owners of TRIBIKE FACTORY, a major specialist mountain bike workshop with a large showroom area. Below, he describes details of the shop's services for competitors.
This year, TRIBIKE FACTORY will be giving Nissan Titan Desert MTB Marathon competitors the opportunity to contract their race breakdown service. They are offering a broad package of services that includes much more than race breakdown and repair service in Morocco. If you haven't organised your breakdown and repair service yet, don't delay and get in touch with them.
How and why was TRIBIKE FACTORY born?
It was born out of three friends' passion for mountain biking; one day we decided to turn our hobby into a way of life and a business. And here we are; we've been here for three years and we hope to carry on for a lot longer. We have very close links with mountain biking, first through our love of the sport and then through the business. We do a lot of sport; Albert is a mountain bike rider, he races in the Catalan MTB Cup, he takes part in duathlons and he's currently in training for an Ironman.
What experience does TRIBIKE have of the Nissan Titan Desert MTB Marathon?
We've been connected with the race for the last two years. In 2007 we followed the race from here, working with Rafa Bosch and helping him with preparing and fine tuning his bike. The second year we had a team of 18 competitors and we went over to Morocco, saw the race circuit for ourselves and learnt a great deal about the event. We realised we'd made a lot of mistakes which we've subsequently put right.
What do you think a race like the Nissan Titan Desert MTB Marathon can do for TRIBIKE?
It gives us a lot of race experience as it's completely unlike the kind of terrain we have here in Catalonia. You leave Morocco with a lot of information that can be used in preparation for the next edition. When I left in 2008, I set out already thinking about the 2009 edition and how to improve the service we provide to our customers.
What recommendations in terms of mechanics would you make to competitors who know very little about the conditions they'll come across during the race?
The main issue is tyres; it's very important to choose the right tyre set. It's difficult to choose one as there are so many brands but we usually go for a lightweight option. However, you have to bear in mind that if you pick the lightest tyres, they are not always the best, because the ideal weight for that kind of terrain is around 700-900 grams. You have to find the best balance between weight and safety.
To what extent do you think mechanical preparation affects success in the race?
Its very important indeed. If a leading competitor has a mechanical problem it means they miss out on being placed. It can rule you out as a contender for the top places altogether. I think it's really important to choose your breakdown service carefully. Experience in fine-tuning and preparation accounts for almost 50% of your chances of success.
What is TRIBIKE FACTORY'S project for the NISSAN TITAN DESERT MTB MARATHON 2009?
We have devised a competitors' breakdown and repair service in which all those who want a professional service provided by people with experience in this type of terrain can contract a complete package that includes a variety of items.
For the total package price of €200 per competitor, we provide a breakdown and repair service during the trials, configuration assessment and mechanical support on race days. We also offer a 15% discount on everything competitors may need: materials, clothing, tyres, specialist food; all the products we sell for the Nissan Titan Desert MTB Marathon.
We plan to do training sessions, physical training plans; last year we even organised a mock stage on the beach that attempted to reproduce the same terrain and similar uphill and downhill stretches as you might find in the race. Our experience of the race allows us to simulate the race conditions that the Titans will encounter.
Another service we offer to those who want it, is to organise and manage shipping and collection of their racing bikes. A few days before shipping, we dismantle the bike, pack it up and take it to the departure point. This means competitors don't have to waste a day's work to take care of all this. After the race, we collect the bike, clean and service it and put it back together again. When the customer gets it back, it's as good as new.