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Mike and Mary’s (Continuing) Awesome Adventure

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

MIke+racing+MSA+2013When last we checked in on our erstwhile heroes, they were at MTB nationals in Pennsylvania. Since then they’ve been to race the World Cup at Mont Ste. Anne in Quebec on their custom IMX 29 SLs and are now, briefly, at home for a week of rest before heading to South Africa for more World Cup at Pietermaritzburg. Part of really appreciating the effort these guys put in to compete at the elite level is understanding that most of their exploits are based from an RV. They rarely sleep in their own beds, and have elevated mobile mechanic/office/home living to an art form.

Mike and Mary have also been selected to the US National Team for XC World Championships again, so we can look forward to more amazing stories from Team Kenda/Seven/NoTubes. We are proud, as always, to be represented by such amazing athletes (and people).

Read their full report here.

Mary+McC+rarin'+to+go

 

Mike and Mary at MTB Nationals

Monday, July 29th, 2013

MnM+at+nats+2013

Great pictures and stories from Mike and Mary’s recent exploits at MTB Nationals, where they made us all really proud, Mary with a podium finish and Mike with a top 10, as well as the full catch up on their RV-based, race-chasing exploits.

Just a sample:

I got a great start from my front row call up and settled into a 3rd place position that I was able to maintain for the entirety of the race.   I really had to measure my output in the heat but actually felt kind of great a few times while taking a few calculated but extreme lines and really enjoying the challenge of  this “real” mountain bike course – something that is less and less typical in this newer era of XC racing.

- Mary McConneloug

Seven on the World Cup Circuit

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Proper test ride 27

We recently built new Sola 650b SLX race bikes for Mike Broderick and Mary McConneloug and had them delivered to Germany where the pro mountain biking power couple are working their way around the World Cup circuit.

Mary said:

The frames turned out beautifully!  

The care you all take with your work, the attention to detail and finesse is second to NONE!  Rob – your design, is again, masterful!  We know so many hands played a part in this project!  Thank you guys for your artful work in planning, crafting and shipping these incredible frames to Mike and I over here in Europe!!  Mike spent the majority of this past week carefully building the frames up at the SRAM headquarters in central Germany.  Having access to a real shop (and not some outdoor RV camp spot) to build the bikes up was very much appreciated.  Thanks to our awesome crew of supporting sponsors who helped with the various components – everything came together perfectly.

We feel so lucky to be backed by the best in the industry and we are honored to represent you all out in the field!

Continuing the evolution!

We got out on our first ride in the forests of Schweinfurt yesterday and instantly were both SMILING! The fit and balance of the frames are impeccable. My first impression of riding the 27.5 wheel size was the ease of acceleration.  I could feel the relation of the pedal stroke efficiently translate my power to the smaller wheel size and it seemed easier overall to push and maintain a smooth cadence. The complete bike is also a little lighter and easier to maneuver through the tight turns of the trails…

We can hardly wait to RACE our new 27.5 Solas at the World Cup in Italy this weekend!!!

Thank you all again!!!

We are truly honored to represent Seven Cycles and ever grateful for your continued support of our team.

Yours truly,

Mary and Mike

Seven’s McConneloug Wins Pan American Championship

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Team+work!!!Last week, Seven-sponsored mountain bike racer Mary McConneloug took the overall title in the elite women’s field at the  2013 Pan American Continental Championships. The race was held in the high mountain valley basin in the small town of Tafi de Valle, Argentina.  Both Mary and teammate/husband Michael Broderick, who also competed, arrived 10 days early to acclimate to the higher altitude and prepare for the challenge as best as they could.

This is Mary’s 4th Continental Champion Title in the past 10 years riding a custom Seven.

Mary reported to us after her win saying:

“My IMX 29er was incredible once again… and especially fast as she lost a bit of weight (over a pound) when we installed SRAMs XX1 components…  It was surely a team effort!  THANK YOU all at Seven Cycles for your commitment to building the best bikes on the market!  We are honored to represent!”

For pictures check out their blog.

Congratulations to Mike and Mary for another amazing win. We are proud to have you as representatives of the Seven Cycles team.

Trans Andes 2013 – Mike and Mary Win Again

Monday, January 28th, 2013

You only ever want your bikes to be carrying people to awesome adventures. It doesn’t matter whether those adventures are happening in their neighborhood or across the sprawling landscapes of Chilean Patagonia, as happened last week as Seven sponsored riders Mike Broderick and Mary McConneloug (Kenda-Seven-NoTubes) won the Trans Andes mountain bike race again.

The Trans-Andes is both a physical and mental challenge. The stunning scenery will not always distract racers from the punishing topography of this section of Patagonia.

Stage 1 stretched from Puerto Pirihueico to Huilo-Huilo threading its way between lakes and volcanoes. Stage 2 went on from Huilo-Huilo to Termas de Coñaripe, before Stage 3 took up the network of technical jeep track, gravel road and single track to Termas de Menetúe. Stage 4 then threaded an out-and-back loop from Menetúe out around Lake Hualalafquén and back to Menetúe with 2250 meters of climbing in between. Stage 5 left Menetúe again and looped East before heading due West for Lake Caburgua and then Pucon, which hosted the start and finish of Stage 6 south to the Villarrica volcano and back.

Mike and Mary managed to win each stage on their way to the overall in the mixed, open category.

Gran Prix of Gloucester CX II – Photos by Matt O’Keefe

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

 

Gran Prix of Gloucester CX – Photos by Matt O’Keefe

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Seven founder and production manager Matt O’Keefe has a long history behind the camera. Here are some recent black-and-white film shots he took at the Great Brewers Gran Prix of Cyclocross at Stage Fort Park in Gloucester. Stay tuned for the color shots. Find more here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team Kenda Seven No Tubes at 2012 USA Cycling MTB CC National Championships!

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Mary McConneloug and Mike Broderick took the 2012 USA Cycling Mountain Bike Cross-Country National Championships in Sun Valley, Idaho by storm last weekend!

On Saturday, July 7, Mary raced to a podium finish taking the 5th position in the Women’s Pro Cross Country race.  Later in the afternoon Mike put in a solid performance finishing 17thoverall in the Men’s Pro Cross Country field.  On Sunday morning, Mike raced to a 12th place finish in the Pro Men’s Super D and returned in the afternoon to take 19th place in the Pro Men’s Short Track Cross Country race.  Mary raced in Sunday afternoon’s Women’s Pro Short Track Cross Country field and took a podium spot and bronze medal in her race!

Here is what Mary had to say about the races in sunny, parched Idaho:

It is high and super dry out here with little chance of badly needed precipitation.  The XC course consists of a single steep fire road climb that sorts everything out before dropping us into a no passing single track descent.  It makes for some hard racing at this altitude but it was a good weekend and we are both stoked to be healthy and fit!

At Nationals, Cycling Dirt interviewed Mike about his IMX SL 29er.  Mike raced all of three races on this bike, and we are happy to hear he’s satisfied  with its performance.  Check out the video here.

Mike Broderick and Mary McConneloug Proto IMX 29ers, Part Two of Two: The Feedback

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Mike and Mary Take The Podium At The Trans Andes Challenge

It’s hard to transition from Chile to Northern California to South Africa with a stable of race bikes, enough tools to build them up and break them down, all the other clothing and gear you need, and a shred of remaining sanity to carry you through the first mountain bike World Cup race of the season.

But that’s exactly what Seven riders Michael Broderick and Mary McConneloug did over the last 6 weeks, and their brand new Seven IMX SLX race bikes went along for a maiden voyage on some of the most challenging dirt in the world.

Mike reported back to us from the post-race wind down in South Africa:

Mary and I literally turned hundreds of heads as we spent the weekend on our new IMX bikes at the World Cup in Pietermaritzburg. The bikes stand apart visually from our previous frames and the majority of the bikes being used by our competitors. The carbon Ti lugged IMX frame design is visually stunning and we were able to build these bikes up to the limit. They really look fantastic!”

If looks could kill, they wouldn’t have the race though.  Mike added, “Those capable of looking beyond the initial bling (including all our on-site sponsors) were impressed especially by the inclusion of the 44mm head tubes as these (or alternative oversize head tubes) are fast becoming an industry standard.”

We built these bikes specifically to give Mike and Mary critical advantages in the toughest race conditions and according to Mike, performance improvements were obvious straight away.  “The bikes ride with a lighter touch. Changing directions requires less effort in tight, low-speed situations, and they exhibit an overall greater level of confidence, inspiring control throughout the majority of demanding off-road situations.”

Mike and Mary are particularly agile riders, so we aimed for a more lively ride, an overall more manageable bike for all trail purposes, which meant shortening the chain stays for maximum obstacle clearance capability.  Mike said, “Mary and I both feel an increased ease when we lift up and over obstacles. Mary was especially tuned in to the ease of being able to manual her bike over trail obstacles without pedal input. This allows for a quicker trail read as last minute input and corrections are more significant and accurate. This, along with the stiffer front end, translates into greater confidence when hanging it out at high speed.”

He also said,

The bikes absolutely track quicker around corners when traditionally steered (cutting through the apex)  as well as with our preferred hairpin corner attack (hugging the inside of the corner before the apex,  steering the front wheel through while initiating a rear brake skid to slide the rear).  We  both  have a good  stable feeling on these bikes enabling us to keep our feet clipped in while performing this move all the way through to letting off the brake, regaining traction and pedaling out for a quick exit.

How’s that for a pro maneuver?

Shorter chain stays and subsequently shorter overall wheelbase make the bike more agile, but the oversized head tubes give them maximum stiffness and stability.  Mike and Mary appreciated that stability as well.

Mike said,

The increased front end stability is probably most apparent when muscling the bike through low speed trail obstacles that take maximum strength and input on the bars and pedals at the same time.  A good example would be when out of the saddle splitting a large trail feature (between the tires) and torquing the pedals and the bars simultaneously to try and move forward.  I can feel that there is far less flex and a better power transfer in these cases.   The increased stiffness at this point also really helps with the confidence when in a rough spot and looking to commit to a feature that is at the limits of our confidence levels.

As you can imagine we’re anxious to see how the bikes perform at the next round of the World Cup in Houffalize, Belgium next month.  As we type, Mike and Mary are getting their gear together, breaking everything down again for shipping and trying to keep their bodies  on track for what promises to be a grueling and exciting MTB season.

Mike Broderick and Mary McConneloug’s Proto IMX 29ers, Part One of Two

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

When we sat down to design new bikes for Mike Broderick and Mary McConneloug to race in the upcoming World Cup mountain bike season and possibly the Olympics, the big question was how to improve on the bikes they’d been riding for the two previous seasons.

Their all Ti Sola SLXs have been race winners.  When most other riders on the circuit were trying to pack more carbon onto their bikes, Mike and Mary persisted, quite successfully, with titanium.  We went to the absolute limit of our building experience to make those bikes light for them.  We shaved down their cable guides. We drilled holes in their bottom brackets.  But they were all metal bikes. And they were fast.

So, the biggest change they made from past seasons was to go to a Ti/carbon mix frame, our IMX SLX, but without the integrated seat post (ISP) that distinguishes that model. Instead Mike and Mary opted for an adjustable 30.9mm post that is fatter, stiffer and has a thinner-walled carbon than standard seat posts.  The weight savings and added stiffness were big bonuses, and we ultra-butted all the frame tubing to save every last gram for them.

Mike knew he wanted to experiment with shorter chain stays to optimize front end maneuverability.  A shorter overall wheelbase lets you make tighter turns on technical courses, and the agility he hoped to gain suits both Mike’s and Mary’s aggressive riding style.

To dial in the chain stay length we built multiple rear end modules to test the interaction and spacing of wheels, tires and components.  It’s a game of millimeters, but over time we settled on the right set up for them, and then built their bikes based around that rear triangle.

Mike and Mary also knew they wanted to add over-sized head tubes and tapered forks for extra front end stiffness, and they wanted an opportunity to experiment with Cane Creek’s new angled headset.   As an inveterate tinkerer, Mike thought he and Mary could both dial in the handling response they liked for each course.  Being able to adjust that responsiveness might be a huge advantage in the variable weather conditions they see while racing in Europe, Africa and South America.

The final act was getting the bikes in their hands.  We shipped them out to coincide with a short stopover in California, between their pre-season training in Chile, where they won the Mixed Open category of the Trans-Andes Challenge, and the first World Cup race of the year in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.