At the Coulee Challenge

Brad and Matt are at it again, this time taking on the 1200km Coulee Challenge in Minnesota and Wisconsin. We remixed their TransAt bikes for this new event. This ride differs from the TransAtlantic Way they took on last month in the quality of the road surfaces (thus the switch to 700c wheels) and the type of climbing they’re doing.

From the ride description:

Our RM 1200k route includes great roads and bike trails in Minnesota and Wisconsin with a focus on the challenging coulees of Southeast Minnesota and Southwest Wisconsin. The terrain will have some hilly sections, with multiple, occasionally steep, hills crossing ridge lines followed by pastoral valleys and quiet, bucolic roads. Along the way riders will enjoy passing through a number of small towns in the coulees and river towns on the Mississippi River.

A coulee is a deep ravine, one of the defining features of the terrain in Minnesota and Wisconsin. This is no flat, mid-Western romp,so we reconfigured Brad and Matt’s bikes for the occasion.

The Coulee Remix bike is a progressive gravel bike that features a number of innovations, special offers, and incentives. It’s also available for a very limited time. The Remix employs the SRAM Force 1 group set with mechanical shifting and hydraulic brakes, aiming for the lightest weight, simplest design, and purest performance.

Follow the Brad and Matt’s progress here.

Omar B at the Etape du Tour – Axiom SL

We had a nice note from Omar B, who has just been in France for the Etape du Tour, on his Axiom SL. This year’s route, based on Tour Stage 10, took the riders around Lake Annecy and packed in more than 4,000 meters of climbing. But, one thing we noticed in the photos Omar sent was the big smile on his face. Regardless of how fast you’re going (and he looks pretty fast), that’s the right look.

Omar said:

Just finished my first Etape du Tour ( de France) on 8 July on my Seven Axiom Sl. Bike did great. A big thanks for a great bike.

RAAM – Racing Blind

We build a lot of tandems. A custom builder is a natural fit for tandems, because the challenge of fitting a tandem is doubled. Both the captain and stoker need to be comfortable for the bike to work at all, and making two people comfortable is much harder than making one comfortable.

We’ve been building tandems for 20+ years, and we’re one of the few (if not the only) custom builder to offer road, gravel, and mountain bike tandems. That explains why so many pairs come to us for a new bike.

What we didn’t expect to happen is to be contacted by so many blind riders, looking for tandems they could stoke. And even though, over the years, we’ve built a fair few bikes for blind riders, we certainly didn’t expect Team Sea to See, the first visually impaired team to take on the Race Across America (RAAM).We built a tandem for Dan Berlin with our friend Rick at The Phoenix Cyclery in Fort Collins, CO back in 2013. This year, he and his captain raced RAAM with Team Sea to See.  These guys are demonstrating that visual impairment doesn’t mean life impairment. They are also, we would add, demonstrating that they’re amazing cyclists.

There was an excellent news story on them recently, and something from the Today Show, too. We’re proud to be involved, if only as a  (literal)  vehicle for the message.

TransAt Project Update – WE WIN!!!

They rolled out in the most perfect weather Ireland could offer, made it through a wild coastal storm that nearly blew them off their bikes, and finished in the middle of the night. We are super proud of Brad and Matt and what they’ve accomplished over the last week in Ireland. When you set out on a race/adventure like this one, you hope it all comes together, the training, the equipment, the performance, and it did.
Their winning team time was 7d16h19m over a total distance of 2251.6km.
We have already talked with a number of riders who have been following along and are interested in the special edition bikes we put together. The deadline to place a deposit for a TransAt bike was Monday, the 18th, but Brad and Matt’s big victory inspired us to extend it to the end of June.
These are incredible bikes for riders who want to take on any style of endurance event, from ultra-endurance races like the TransAt to local bikepacking and touring. It is the thoughtful details that make the ride. This win feels good for all of us here, not only because we’re happy for our friends, but also because it bears out our experience designing and building high-performance bikes for our distance-minded riders.

At the Races with Julie Wright

Seven Ambassador Julie Wright checks in with us after a challenging start to her cyclocross campaign that’s taken in both World Cup races and the other big US events.

We just added a Mudhoney SL to her race day equipment.

For those who don’t know me, here are some random and less random facts about me. I race on a small women’s elite team, Team Averica. We’re based out of Boston, though I live in Western MA. My day job is working in analytics in the health care industry. Chocolate and coffee are two of my favorite things. So are bikes, vegetables and swimming. And riding trails. When I decided to get my Mudhoney PRO, my goal was to have a bike that would elevate my level of racing, be fun to ride and be a source of inspiration to work harder. I found all of that and more! I’m beyond excited to have the Mudhoney SL now, which is proving to be another absolutely amazing bike.

I’m fresh off my first block of racing for this cyclocross season! As is expected, there were some ups and downs. The results weren’t what I hoped for, but I’ve learned a ton from the racing and the women in the UCI field.  Two years ago, during my first full season in the UCI field when I was coming up with my cyclocross goals, my ultimate goal in cross was to race in a world cup one day. At the time, I thought it was a long shot. This year, I got to start my season off with not one, but two World Cups, and both right here in the United States. It was an amazing way to start the season.

I made the trip in my little Honda Fit, packed with two bikes, five wheelsets, a trainer, clothes for racing in any imaginable weather and my work gear. I was gone for a solid three weeks, starting the season off in Rochester. I made my way west to Iowa, for the Jingle Cross WC, then on to Wisconsin for Trek CXC WC and then back again for KMC. I knew it would be a trip where the learning curve was steep, but I couldn’t have imagined how steep. I definitely lean toward the type A end of the spectrum and I really wanted a FAQ on traveling for bike racing, what to pack, how to budget, what to expect at a World Cup, and how to calm all the nerves that had been building up since wrapping up the cross season last year in Belgium. The funny thing about racing World Cups is that you don’t pick up your number at a reg table like you do at any other bike race. For those of us that don’t have a DS, we have to find the US representative who picks up our number for us either at the venue the day before the event, or if you don’t find them in time, at their hotel later that night. It’s kind of like Where’s Waldo, except for that you don’t know what Waldo looks like or what he’s going to be wearing. It was an adventure. It turns out Waldo was very nice and he had my numbers.

Lining up alongside some of the fastest women in the world is incredible and a bit terrifying. World champion stripes have the ability to be a little intimidating. We also had Annika Langvad, the 2016 XC MTB World Champion lining up. It took some practice reminding myself that I belonged there and that it was still pedaling around in circles like any other bike race.

Here’s my bike, post trip. It’s also a good metaphor for how I felt after the road trip back from the Midwest…

This past week, I’ve been camped out at home, enjoying some more of my favorite things: sleeping in my own bed, cooking in my kitchen, drinking coffee slowly, getting out on some long rides and mixing in rolling dirt roads, as well as beginning to work on the long list of things I learned I need to work on from the trip. Lots of turning practice!