Mike and Mary at MTB Nationals

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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

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

Trans Andes 2013 – Mike and Mary Win Again

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..

Midnight Ride of Cyclocross

Last night Jake and I left work a bit early and headed west to Lancaster to compete in the Midnight Ride of Cyclocross.  This fast and fun mid-week race is in its second season and after hearing the rave reviews from last year I put it on my calendar as “can’t miss.” The Midnight Ride follows a similar course to November’s MRC race, but in the reverse direction. Since it’s still September, the course was dry and fast and the reverse direction offers less climbing and off camber turning than it’s November counterpart. Announcer Richard Fries was on hand for the event, which always makes things more exciting, and as he repeated multiple times throughout the evening, this race is the kickoff to what is now known in New England cross as “Holy Week.”

Racing as a beginner amateur and working at Seven, I’m in a great position for success. I have friendly relationships with some top Pro racers who have raced on the very same courses that I now compete on and they willingly offer up advice on things like tire selection. I ran into Mike Broderick and Mary McConneloug at Cross-Vegas last week and Mike gave me some tips on what to run for the Holy Week races. I heeded his advice and it paid off in spades. The treads that I had chosen were fast on the gravel and pavement and hooked up just well enough in the grass and loose loamy corners that I was able to walk that fine line that exists between speed and control. Line selection, not tire selection, would be the only fault in my race.

I’ve raced enough at this point that I am starting to get first row call-up and for this race I lined up one spot from the outside with a clear view of the first turn a few hundred yards ahead. At the whistle I jumped out in front and my first four of five pedal strokes put me out in front with a fair gap on the field. I had taken the hole shot, and it was suddenly my race to lose.

Having never been in this position before in any sort of bike race, I did my best to stay calm and just rode my ass off.  From what I’ve been told I actually put a sizable gap on the field and held it until my worst case scenario presented itself – a crash in a hard 180 degree turn on loose gravel. I got up faster than imaginable and got back on the bike, but after a couple more turns I lost the lead.

As we wove through the course and over the barriers I held onto second position for dear life and started to hear Richard announcing that the 14-year-old in the group was gaining on the leaders. I held second place for about a lap until the leader missed a turn in the woodchips and slid out – I was back in front.  For the next two laps I led this group of men and boys through the twists and turns of the Midnight Ride course and listened to Richard’ words about what it might mean to our egos to lose to a 14 year old.

He also seemed to give Jake’s single-speed a shout out every time he passed through the start finish area. When I finally saw the lead slip away for good, it was a newbie to cross, not a kid whose brothers have been notorious for cleaning up in the men’s field as juniors, who took it away from me.  I kept fighting and rode most of the last three laps in the 5th position and watched another young and new-to-cross racer, who had fought from the back row past about 65 other riders to take the lead with two to go.

When he went by the leaders he rode off in front with ease at a pace that none of us could match. I was cooked, and hanging on by a thread, dry mouth, blurred vision, etc., when I heard a friend yell “Joe!  Hurt!” Oh, yeah, I thought, this is not supposed to be easy, you have to hurt to win, there are no two ways about it. I kicked it back in but unknowingly was making it easy for the rider behind me. He was drafting me around the course and saving energy for a move in the last grass section before the pavement to the finish.

I feared if I let him around me so that we could work together that I would not be able to hang on, so my best bet was to keep him behind. It seemed to work, but in the end he made a move and went around me just as we came up on that speedy young teen who had finally run out of gas with just a few turns to go.

The result of these place changes left me squarely in 5th place, another top 5 finish in what has been a great start to my season.  A few more like this and the heckles along the course, hopefully, will be encouraging me to “cat up” into the 3’s, a place where many a family man can spend the bulk of his bike racing career.

Post-race, Jake and I grabbed a beer and heckled some friends as they suffered much in the same way that we just had, and then cheered on Mo Bruno Roy as she rocketed around this drag strip with apparent ease.  I picked up some tire tips from her husband and pit crew, Matt Roy, and he showed me some new treads that they are trying out for this season. It’s good to be an amateur, it’s great to get the inside line on tech tips from the pros, and it’s amazing to have the opportunity to ride and race on a bike that is just like the pros race yet uniquely built for me.

– Joe W.

Image: Matt Pacocha, Bike Radar.

Mary McConneloug & Mike Broderick Visit Seven Cycles

Mary Racing in Europe on her 29er

Seven was thrilled to welcome multiple-time national champion mountain bike racers and two-time Olympian Mary McConneloug and Mike Broderick to our Watertown offices yesterday.  Mike and Mary are back from the Thirteenth Annual Alpentour Trophy and stopped by on their way to Mont Saint-Anne in Quebec for the second race in the 2011 UCI World Cup Series.

It was wonderful to see Mike and Mary, as always!  They are like family and whenever they visit it feels like a reunion.  Not only did we get a chance to catch up on their season so far, but we were able to have some productive discussions about Seven’s most recent offroad R&D endeavors; and it’s always helpful to get Mary’s and Mike’s astute insights.

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