Last weekend I did the Cyclocross World Cup in Denmark and with that I round off my cyclocross adventure for now.
For the past three years I’ve almost exclusively been riding a Specialized S-Works Era FSR World Cup. For this years UCI Marathon World Championship the course was fast and less technical. I knew I had to get back on a hardtail for that race. So after the World Cup race in Albstadt my mechanic Jumani build a Womens Epic Hardtail. The following three weeks I spend all my riding time on that bike. On the road, gravel, trails, you name it! We quickly got on with each other and the transition wasn’t hard at all. So when I toed the line on Sunday in Singen, Germany we had become best friends. Here’s our set-up:
Out of the box the bike doesn’t look very different (and isn’t) from a stock set-up. There are some subtle changes to the bike.
For this race I chose to keep the powermeter on the bike. I always train with a powermeter but often race without it to save weight. For this race the bike was more than light enough. And the value of having some actual race data outwieghted the weight penalty by far for this race. The powermeter was mounted with a 34 tooth XX1Eagle chainring.
The rear matched the front with a XX1Eagle derailleur and 10-50 casette. For racing the pulley wheels got changed to Ceramic Speed. That is one of the changes to our set-up this year. The Danish manufacturer of high-end bearings is a sponsor now and we use all their products when racing to save weight and watts!
Likewise, I had a Ceramic Speed UFO chain (XX1Eagle) to keep things running really smooth and minimize friction.
My feet is always clipped in Shimano spd’s. It aint broke and I’m not trying to fix it!
The saddle has become another one of those “if it ain’t broke…”. Ever since it entered the market the S-Works Power saddle has supported me. A happy bum is a fast bum! What a life saver! It’s not coming off any of my bikes.
For grip I used the new Gripton Renegade 2.1. I often race with a Fast Trak in the front so Renegade front and rear was new to me. Side knobs is not much different though and the course really demanded smooth rolling tires. The new and wider Roval wheels give the tires a bit more width and better corner grip I think.
Cockpit was the same as always. And exactly the same as at any World Cup. In this picture I have a bell on the left hand side. I didn’t race with it (although it would have been a good idea as hobby/Amateur riders got mixed up in the elite races a caused some very interesting situations (!) once in a while) but it’s always with me on training rides.
Up front I had the Rock Shox SID fork with brain. Some riders were racing with rigid forks. Even though it was a fast course I still think it was an advantage to have suspension in the front. It really didn’t cross my mind to give up the control in steering, which a suspension fork provides.
Carbon-Ti provides a finishing touch to those small things like a seat clamp and head set. They’re also light but you might have noticed that isn’t always a concern or main priority of mine.
Another new sponsor in 2017 is Magura. For this race I had the MT8 brakes mounted with a bit of a special detail. Instead of the ultra light carbon levers I chose an aluminum set. For me it’s a much more rugged and direct feel and the few grams it puts on extra was worth it I think.
I mounted two bottle cages and a SWAT box. With me I brought a spare tube and plugs for fixing flat tires as well as a CO2 cartridge and tire lever. In marathon racing there’s often a long way to the feed/tech zone if you have a technical issue. You learn that (sometimes the hard way) when racing the Cape Epic.
In full race mode for an XCO World Cup the beast weighs as little as 7,6 kg (well, really coming down to how much sealant you put in you tires). In this marathon setup the weight was 8,4 kg. Not bad at all considering I could have gotten myself out of the worst pinch I’ve ever experienced at any stage race.
By Thomas Bonne
I’ve long been wanting to do a piece on Annika’s physiology. My name is Thomas and Annika is my better half. I’ve been riding since the early 90’s but was never as successful as Annika. So I had to come up with something else to do. That something else turned out to be studying which led to a phd-position at the University of Copenhagen with Nikolai Nordsborg. The guy that got me into all this studying and research however is Carsten Lundby. A professor at the University of Zürich, my co-supervisor, a keen athlete and good friend. Today I work as a coach for some talented riders (Simon Andreassen, Sebastian Fini and Andreas Kron among others) and am very much influenced by the time I’ve spend with both Nikolai and Carsten. So what better way to spend some summer time than to persuade your world champion girlfriend to do some lab-testing! You have to remember I’m biased regarding Annika but her story and way into the world of cycling is rather unique.
When I crossed the finish line in La Bresse I was relieved and very exhausted as I looked up on the screen on the finish line arch I saw a “15” in front of my name. I was feeling spend, beaten up, weak, no way in harmony with my bike and mentally a bit broken. Had you asked me one week earlier, this was no way near the result I expected. Coming into La Bresse with already two world cup wins this season.