Charlie raced and won the A Race at Guts, Gravel & Glory a few weeks back. His winning performance came down to a number of factors and his bike played a huge part. We caught up with Charlie and asked him what made this bike ideal for the course at Pocahontas State Park.
CBC: Tell us what you're riding?
Charlie: For this 50 mile race I knew I wanted a mountain bike. I started with a Cannondale Flash 29er Ultimate frame set and added a Specialized Chisel Carbon fork. Magura brakes provided great control on the corners. My drive train featured a lightweight 1 x 10 set up.
CBC: How did the nature of this race guide your decisions for building out the bike?
Charlie: Considering the distance, the mixed terrain and aggressive cornering I knew equipment would be important. Big tires, a flat bar, and hydraulic disc brakes were a must. I rode 2.3 Specialized Renegade tires mounted to Stan's Crest wheels. These tires roll incredibly fast and the large volume helped decrease rolling resistance over the rough surfaces.
CBC: How did you feel your particular build gave you an advantage over the builds of the other riders in your group?
Charlie: I have raced several similar races on traditional hardtail mountain bikes with front suspension and have been happy with their performance. During these races I always looked to the cross bikes as having an advantage in their weight and rigidity. This build was intended to neutralize this advantage and in my opinion give me an edge on the competition.
CBC: Anything you would change to improve the bike and the performance during this type of ride?
Charlie: I would have swapped my 36 tooth chainring for a 38 tooth. I think it would have allowed me to win by more. Thanks to Braden and all my people at Carytown Bicycle Co. for helping me put together an 18.5 pound, murdered out race machine!