Cyclo-cross may be booming in the US but even the biggest domestic teams are still a far cry from the professional outfits found in Belgium. A case in point are Rapha-Focus who, while far from unassuming, run their service course out of their field manager Brian Dallas's two-car garage.
Dallas graciously gave us a tour of the garage and the team's Mercedes Sprinter van, which between them hold all of the squad's race equipment, from their 10 Focus Mares Race Series bikes to their 64 Easton EC90SL Dugast-wrapped tubular wheels, along with plenty of spare parts, tools and equipment to keep everything running smooth and fast.
Rapha-Focus's team field manager, Brian Dallas
The garage is heated, for working in the winter, and built out with two workstations and dedicated storage for the team's wheels and bikes. On race weekends, the squad load their seven pop-up tents and eight race bikes into the van. This is equipped with a full workstation, a wheel wall to hold 32 wheels, a pressure washer and 50 gallons of water, so as to be self sufficient at the race venue.
As you read this, the team should have just returned from Europe where they raced the first two rounds of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in the Czech Republic. It was the first international test for the young US-based outfit. Each rider took two bikes, with wheels. Jeremy Powers and team mechanic Tom Hopper took six sets of wheels; three with Dugast Typhoon tires and three with Rhino mud tires.
Each wheel is numbered, as is each hook—everything has its place and it's apparent what's missing
"There's a team that's sponsored by Focus in Germany called MIG, or Made in Germany, and they're helping us out with infrastructure: trainers, tents and moving stuff around while we're over there for the first two races," said Dallas. "The idea is to get some World Cups behind us, see if we can grab some [UCI] points, and season out some of the riders."
Though the first overseas test for the young team, it'll surely be considered a success after Powers took 10th at the opening World Cup round in Plzen. "Our program is really young, we're only two years into it," said Dallas. "This is a big trip, it's a big deal."
For lots more photos of the Rapha-Focus service course, check out our massive image gallery.