Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Calling All Wrenches! (No, Not Wenches)

It's the Wrench Olympics.

The organizers of the Interbike bicycle trade show in Vegas next month (Sept. 21-23) are staging a friendly competition for bike mechanics to test their skills of bike jobs like fixing flats.

It's officially called the "Interbike Mechanics Challenge" and it even has its own presenting sponsor, Park Tool.

The wrench competitors will do their tasks at four stations on the show floor at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, which is hosting the Interbike show in September.

Participants with the lowest times in the qualifying rounds will advance to the finals round. Supporting Sponsors include Hutchinson Tires, Finish Line, the NBDA, the PBMA and Innovative Timing.

Interbike VP Pat Hus said the mechanics better bring their A game.

"We felt strongly that this was the year to finally elevate the status of the bicycle mechanic in our industry, These often unsung heroes are at the core of what separates bike shops from online competition. Its only right that we celebrate what it is they do each and every day with some fun and challenging competition," Hus said.

Eric Lepping, a team mechanic and race management veteran for more than 30 years, will run the competition. Staffing and judging each challenge station will be members of the newly formed Professional Bicycle Mechanics Association (PBMA). Each station will be timed by Innovative Timing Systems, who will keep track of individual times on leaderboard monitors throughout the event.

And check out the emcee -- none other than nine-time Tour de France racer and broadcast personality Frankie Andreu.

All Mechanics Challenge participants will receive commemorative swag upon completing the course from Interbike and the NBDA, while the top four will qualify for the finals.

Those Final Four will tackle a new course, in a head-to-head, non-timed heat, for the chance to win the grand prize that includes a PK-2 Professional Tool Kit from Park Tool, a 3-night hotel stay for Interbike 2017 and items from Finish Line Products, Hutchinson Tires and more. Not too shabby at all, my friends!

Mark the dates. Qualifying rounds will take place over two days on Wednesday, September 21 from 10-5pm and Thursday September 22, from 10-2pm. The finals will take place on Thursday from 3-5pm. Project Bike Tech will be hosting a Happy Hour upon the completion of the Finals on Thursday afternoon.

For you mechanics out there, a limited number of spots are available for wrenches who want to participate. More details on how to register can be found at http://www.interbike.com/events/mechanics-challenge/.

A limited number of sponsorship opportunities are available for the Mechanics Challenge. For more information, please contact andria.klinger@interbike.com or 949-226-5745.

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