MILLS RIVER, N.C.—History was made on the expansive grounds of Sierra Nevada’s East Coast brewery. Aspire Racing’s Tom Hopper was crowned the inaugural Mechanic’s National Champion.
In a test of his mechanical mettle, Hopper deftly navigated through three rounds of tasks that tested his ability to work quickly and perform under the pressure of what we estimate to be 100-plus spectators in the Western North Carolina Night.
Round one had mechanics remove a rear wheel from a bike mounted in a stand, remove and replace the tube, inflate and re-install the wheel. Hopper made quick work of his opponent and moved onto the second round—the mixed cassette.
Round two had mechanics removing the bike’s rear wheel, removing a mixed-up cassette, putting the cassette in the proper order, reinstalling and finally reinstalling the wheel
As showcased in the video, Hopper faced some early difficulty, but no stranger to pressure, he overcame the early hiccup and come out on top.
Going into the third and final round, four mechanics were left—Hopper, Tim Anderson, Josh McKinney and Brady Kappius. The winner would be determined by whichever mechanic could mount FMB tubular onto a Kappius Components carbon rim.
In a night full of surprises, the event promoters through a wrench into the plans—mechanics would be forced to drink a 16-ounce of Sierra Nevada pale ale before mounting the tubular.
When the dust settled, Hopper’s tubular mounting (and drinking) abilities were second-to-none, and he was crowned the inaugural Mechanic’s National Champion. Kappius came in second, McKinney third.
While the event was attended by USA Cycling’s President and CEO Derek Bouchard-Hall, he was on hand as a podium presenter more so than in an official capacity for this unsanctioned event.
In one final twist, Bouchard-Hall faced off with Hopper and Tim Johnson in a bonus round in which they wrapped a set of bars. Let’s just say that Bouchard-Hall may not want to quit his day job.
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