Snowbeard: The Legend of CX Nationals

Brad smiles a lot. He’s a good natured guy. So the snow and bitter cold that visited Cyclocross Nationals in Hartford last weekend didn’t dampen his spirit. It only excited him.

“On race day,” he says, “I got to the course around 10:45am. It was 20 degrees out, with clear skies. By 11 am, it had dropped to 18 degrees with snow flying, but it was so cold that the flakes just fell and didn’t stick to anything.”

“I got three pre-ride laps in,” he continues, “with each one being 100% different than the last time I’d been through. It was a variable I had no control over, but nobody else did either, so I was getting stoked! I pretty much had a smile on my face from 11am until…well, I still have it.”

“At 2pm, it’s still 18 degrees. It’s still snowing. I kept warm and loose until the call ups. I didn’t know where I’d be in a national field, but I landed in the 4th row out of 146 starters. Looking around me I could see maybe four people I have raced against all season. Everyone else was new to me.”

“The excitement kept me warm until the race was on, and then it was basically mayhem for the first part of lap one. The snow covered up the frozen icy ruts that had formed throughout the week. Any line you wanted to take, you couldn’t get to.  The snow never got worse nor let up, so each lap you’d search for the lines everyone else was taking, but they were covered by fresh snow.”

“Everything was a gamble and a scramble. “Every time you had to turn or ride an off camber, you wouldn’t know where you were entering or where you’d exit,” he laughs.

It’s hard to explain what keeps a racer’s mind off the pain in his or her legs, what keeps them going when they’re exhausted, but cyclocrosses heckling tradition might be part of it.

“After a few laps I honed in on people yelling something about my beard,” Brad says, “but I was moving just fast enough not to really understand it. It just kept resonating in my head that something was getting people talking.”

At the line, he finally put it all together, saying, “After 45 minutes of slip sliding and scrambling I crossed the finish line in 21st with my eyelids frozen open, eyebrows caked with ice, and my beard as white as Santa’s. The smile was frozen too.”

Bradford Smith is a full-time bike builder at Seven, and erstwhile leader of the Drifters.

CG’s Mudhoney PRO

Another beautiful build from our friends at Cascade Bicycle Studio, this is CG’s Mudhoney PRO.

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Zac at CBS says:

CG wanted a disc platform that could be raced during the cross season, and used for gravel events in the spring.   He went all in with a power meter, Enve M50 wheels, and Campagnolo Super Record. 

More photos on the CBS website.

Spring’s Promise/Summer’s Heat/Fall’s Hope

IMAG2108It’s overwhelming, Spring in New England. The flood of riding possibilities that come with better weather leave you wondering what to do first, how much to do, which direction to ride. It’s like a starving person confronted with a Vegas buffet.

And in a minute, it’s summer. The riding becomes regular, more regimented. You know where you’re riding, when, and who you’ll ride with. You start to feel fit, maybe you even are. It’s hard to tell. Everyone else is getting fit, too.

IMG_1035Then the heat sets in. You pay more attention to your water bottles, spend more time, off the bike, making yourself drink water. If you set goals, you begin to know whether you achieved any of them, even if they only amount to riding more with friends.

Although it’s still warm here, the factory’s big tilting windows channeling in whatever air is available, we can feel the change to Fall coming. Conversations leave the road, turn to cyclocross, mixed-terrain, Fall mountain biking. Someone says the words “fat bike.”

310778d1448294377-seven-treeline-sl-drop-bars-=-fun-road-ish-bike-tl4If Spring is a beginning, then Fall is one, too. We start to dream about cool temperatures, wondering how much faster and farther we might go. There is an urgency, too, in Fall. Winter is coming. We will ride straight through it, but certain places and certain ways of riding will be less possible. Fall is the time to cram in the good stuff, the things we missed during the Summer’s high heat.

Mo Bruno Roy – Prototype Evergreen PRO

IMG_3380MMRacing is the team of Matt and Mo Bruno Roy, Matt the record-setting randonneur, and Mo the elite cyclocross racer. We have worked with them on bikes and parts for years, a good relationship that has led us through many cool bike builds.

When Mo retired from racing last year, we were anxious to see what she would do next, how she would stay involved in cycling. It didn’t take long to find out. With much of the late summer/fall race calendar free, Mo decided to have some fun, to ride her bike less for the podium and more for simple fun.

We all knew where that was headed, our Evergreen PRO, built for adventure with wide tire clearance, rack braze-ons, and a geometry she could stay comfortable on hour-after-hour over any surface. There were a series of design meetings, one of which focused exclusively on aesthetics. We also resolved to use our new Seven thru-axle fork prototype and matching Seven thru-axle dropouts, both projects we’ve been working on for a year or more. Matt and Mo wanted to run the latest SRAM hydraulic eTap 1x system, another advanced release product not yet in the market. IMG_3105On the paint side, Mo likes black. It goes with everything, and she also wanted to bring in some of the color palette from our New England woods, where this bike would see most of its miles logged. We opted for a rich, dark green over the frame’s carbon tubing, with black on the upper Ti lugs, and bare titanium for the chain stays. Staci, our paint design manager, suggested some reflective decaling along the back of the seat tube, so we added evergreen cut outs there in thick white, high-viz vinyl.

IMG_3375Here is the finished build, and we feel comfortable saying this is close to as cutting-edge a mixed-terrain, adventure bike as you can build today, with our best Ti/carbon frame, wireless shifting coupled to hydraulic disc brakes, a 1x wide range drive train for simplicity and versatility.IMG_3378

You’ll be seeing a lot more of this bike through the Fall. Count on it.