Bell continues their coverage of the Spring Classics with E3 Harelbeke, a race often described as a warm up for Flanders. Don’t be mistaken, this is far from a walk in the park. See more information at Bell!
After a few, um, hiccups, we’ve re-posted the Crash Nationals I and Crash Nationals II photosets. I know a few of you were looking for these, so they’re back, in all their bandit glory:
Thanks for understanding!
Monster Track is arguably the most intense and highly regarded annual street race in the world. Throughout its history, racers have been inspired to travel from all over the globe to compete for the title. In it’s 16 year history, no out of town racer has come out with a first place finish.
It can be difficult for someone to appreciate Monster Track and understand what makes it such a special race for its participants without actually being there. This year, Monster Track is told through the experience of its past champions, native citizens of a city that allows for a race of this caliber, and its visitors.
For Boulder, Colorado’s Mosaic Cycles, the Rouge Roubaix Builder Challenge was the perfect epilogue for the 2015 North American Handmade Bicycle Show. Many of the bikes featured at NAHBS found their way to the RRBC and rightfully so. Why build something if it’s not meant to be ridden… Into. The. Ground.
The Mosaic line is divided into a number of specific uses. There’s a binomial nomenclature of sorts, or a key, to deciphering what bike is made for what and out of what material. Each member from Team Mosaic chose a bike that best fit their riding style. Be it steel or titanium, disc or rim brake, each of these bikes were built specifically to reflect their own preference.
As for the application process and the overall team, Aaron selected Boulder shredmeister Brandon Newcomer on an RS-1 (road steel), Velo Magazine correspondent Spencer Powlison on an RS-1 and finally, Derek Yarra, the RRBC winner on an RT-1d (road titanium disc), which matches Aaron’s own bike selection.
Derek and Aaron’s bikes will fit a fat, plump tire and because titanium is a naturally forgiving material, they offered a bit of compliance during the 100 mile race. If you’d like a further break down on each of these riders and their bikes, head to Mosaic to read up.
… there’s more coming soon on what else Mosaic brought with them: a wild card group of ladies…
As for Derek’s RT-1d, it’s built with Shimano Ultegra Di2, R685 hydraulic road disc brakes, Shimano Pro Vibe cockpit, and Shimano RX80 tubeless-ready wheels. My personal favorite detail: the Shimano mtb pedals!
Breadwinner Cycles was one of the brands that took up the torch, or tig welder rather, for the Rouge Roubaix Builder Challenge. Ira Ryan came out to St. Francisville with a stacked team, including Bicycling Magazine’s head editor Bill Strickland and a loyal customer Jake Rosenbloum from Asheville. Their selection was pretty much a shoe-in. When Ira began sifting through the applicants, he selected Hurl Everstone from Minneapolis.
With the Rouge Roubaix’s 40-ish miles of gravel and horrible road conditions, Ira and Hurl began discussing which bike would make the most sense for the race. Truthfully, both the Lolo and the B-Road would be ideal steeds for such an undertaking with their bigger tire clearances and geometries dialed in for all-road terrain.
Hurl selected a disc B-Road with Shimano Ultegra, Mavic Ksyrium Pro disc wheels, Pasela 28mm tires and Thomson bits.
… and as demonstrated, the bike shreds just fine.
The guys had an exceptional placement in the 3/4s, with Jake finishing 6th on his Lolo and Ira Ryan coming in 20th on his Lolo.
Part of my job during the Rouge Roubaix was to document the Rouge Roubaix Builder Challenge, or #RRBC2015 as the internet likes to catalog things. Last year, in a late night hot tub session, somewhere in SoCal, Ben from Argonaut, Billy from Echos, Aaron from Mosaic and myself were discussing NAHBS. Part of the frustration Ben was voicing was that he had infinitely more fun riding bikes with people, than sitting in a tradeshow booth for three days.
The idea expanded, phone calls were made and soon, the RRBC was born. Sort of. You see, it couldn’t be just one team, so a few were invited. Out of 5 teams, three committed: Argonaut, Breadwinner and Mosaic. Each team would send out a call for entries and select a team mate from the applicants, build them a bike and race the Rouge Roubaix with them.
For Argonaut, they chose Stephan Kincaid, a power house from Pennsylvania.
Since Ben had never met Stephan, who goes by the nickname Geronimo, the RRBC was just as much about the bike as it was new-found camaraderie. We arrived in Baton Rouge on Thursday and had two days to gather course intel, shoot photos, drink and prepare for the race on Sunday. This gallery represents those days in St. Francisville, Louisiana.
Stephan’s bike is an Argonaut disc road with Shimano Dura Ace, Chris King, Reynolds Wheels and ENVE cockpit.
Last year, Argonaut Cycles, Brian Vernor and myself traveled from our cushy locales to the Deep South for one of the United States’ most unique races. Since 1999, the Rouge Roubaix has been a classic tough man’s race. Coming in around 100 miles, with approximately 3,000′ of elevation and 40 miles of loose, unforgiving dirt, this course challenges even the most experienced of cyclists.
Fast forward a year and we’re back. This time with three framebuilder teams and a women’s team from Boulder, Colorado. The course stayed mostly the same and the stage was set, with a new cast of characters. In the time since the last race, the event itself has grown. Larger sponsors came on board and yet, the roots of the race remain the same. I noticed an increase in internet chatter as everyone’s anticipation grew.
While this is hardly the last you’ll hear of this year’s race, or the builders and their teams, this gallery offers a unique vignette into a truly unique race. You’ll see true back-country roads, lots of dirt and dust, with all the pain and anguish of a truly difficult race. Expect coverage of each of the Rouge Roubaix Builders Challenge teams, as well as galleries of the bikes.
For now, enjoy this selection of photos…
It’s been an incredibly busy, but very productive few days here in Louisiana with the Rouge Roubaix Builder Challenge and the Rouge Roubaix itself. I’ll have a race report up shortly, as well as a few posts showcasing each of the builder’s teams. For now, I’d like to thank Breadwinner, Argonaut, Mosaic, everyone who raced or helped out and Will Jones from the Rouge Roubaix.
Last year’s Rouge Roubaix coverage was a huge success, so this year, we’re heading back with even bigger plans. A group of American framebuilders have assembled teams to compete in the event and to make things interesting, each company chose one lucky individual to be on their team via an application process.
These wild cards each have a custom bike waiting for them in Baton Rouge where they will compete alongside their new teammates. The teams are: Team Argonaut, Team Breadwinner, and Team Mosaic. This has been aptly dubbed the Rouge Roubaix Builder Challenge. Last but not least, we’re all lucky enough to have Chris Diminno from Chris King Gourmet Century on hand to provide nutrition. We’re gonna need it!
The Radavist will be on hand, documenting the bikes, the teams, the main event and some of the vernacular found in this truly unique part of the United States. If you’re going to be at the Rouge Roubaix, say hello and if you’re racing this weekend, best of luck!