The Frozen Flatlands will hold many stories this morning. Triumph, tragedy, endurance, perseverance, determination, resignation and hopefully no word of Uncle Larry crashing into another dog. But in order to get to the start line, a racer has to have a few things, and most specifically, a bike and helmet.
There is rumor floating around of Two Wheel Transit's amazing mechanic, Tom McFadden, of helping one racer being sure to get to the course with a bike intact and it is undoubtedly a story of triumph and remarkable customer (and even non-regular customer) service.
So the story I got wind of went something like this . . .
A Seattle racer came into town at least a day early to have time to ride the course. During this ride her right-side Campagnolo shifter blew up. Well, maybe not literally blew up, but I did hear that it was literally ejecting parts. Anyone with even a small amount of mechanical knowledge will know immediately that this is not a good sign and apparently this racer recognized it as such.
Not sure what to do, and not knowing of any of the bike shops around town, she got a hold of a former Two Wheel Transit mechanic named Willie. Anyone familiar with the shop will know who Willie is and will join me in being sorry that he decided that this side of the state was too dry and headed to Seattle. If he had known about the rainfall coming this year, maybe we could have kept him over here, but in any case I digress. So said Seattle racer gets in touch with Willie late Friday night to seek assistance after all the local shops are closed.
As a last ditch attempt to get help, Willie sends an urgent email to Tom to see if he can help. Tom, being Tom, is heading to bed about about midnight after a long week at work and training and decides to check email before going to sleep. Maybe not so good for Tom, but excellent for the shifter-less Seattle racer. Seeing Willie's e-mail and being the kind of guy Tom is, he responds and gets an e-mail contact for the Seattle racer. Betwixt and between, Tom get enough information via email to diagnose the issue (side note - Is there a current Campy service release for exploding shifters?) and agrees to meet the racer at Two Wheel Transit. Tom, being Tom and not having a car, rides his bike across town at 12:30 am and proceeds to rebuild the shifter at the shop.
This alone is extraordinary for approximately nine reasons, but then in what has to be the best deal ever received on emergency midnight bike mechanicing, Tom charges her the normal shop rate and gives her a bill for $37. Having done his work and having sent the slightly less distressed but undoubtedly tired racer on her way, Tom closed up the shop, rode his bike back across town and went back to bed.
The next morning, however, shop owner Geoff shows up at work to find a transaction on the cash register after he closed up the shop the night before, which was puzzling until he then also received an e-mail of thanks from the previously frantic racer explaining the situation and expressing her gratitude for the midnight mechanic.
I, personally, don't know who the woman was, or how her race turned out. What I do know is that we are lucky to have a guy like Tom hanging around the basement of Two Wheel Transit doing highly competent and thoughtful work and also being the kind of guy who meets someone at the shop at midnight to save her weekend of racing. Having had Tom save one race for me literally in the middle of the race, I know this isn't a one-off deal for the guy. And while he dislikes recognition as much as I dislike seeing my picture on the internet, once in a while you just have to accept the well-deserved accolades.
Tom - All of us salute you!