Slowtwitch: Light weight was obviously a primary focus on the bike, can you explain why you felt weight would be a major factor during this race?
I thought that weight would be a major factor in the Olympics because we had to climb a substantial hill six times during the bike portion. Knowing how World Cup style racing works, most of the attacks would come from the climb, and it would be very important to be able to respond to these attacks and get to the top of the hill with spending the least amount of energy. At the race in Athens, the climb on that course played a big role in the outcome of the race, so I wanted to be prepared for people trying to do the same thing in Beijing.
Slowtwitch: You had several lighter weight options for certain parts, yet you went with a more aerodynamic selection. Can you explain why, for example, you chose Zipp 404s instead of Zipp 202s or a similar wheel? And why did you choose the Soloist frameset instead of an R3 frameset?
Because you told me too! [Ed note: Colin and I were roommates for the past four months.] And because Cervelo gave me the frame! Cervelo really made the decision for us, but Simon did some testing on his own with Coach Joel that really showed how much of advantage the Soloist offers. Getting the SLC-SL was a nice upgrade, since I'd been racing on a regular Soloist Carbon. Josh Poertner and Jordan spent a long time on the phone talking about wheels. They decided on the 404 tubulars, so that's what I went with. [Ed note: Many, many thanks to Josh Poertner, who gave me a lot of his time and insight, both of which were invaluable in deciding which wheels to put on Colin's bike.]
I knew that I had a few things to consider for the race. It was important to be able to cover breaks as quickly as possible. I was expected to be on the front for most of the bike. And I know that aerodynamics has a greater advantage in the long run than saving a couple grams, so I tried to save grams only in areas where aerodynamics were equal, like with my brakes or with cable housing.
Slowtwitch: For readers who may not be familiar with ITU racing, how does your bike differ from a standard road racers bike, like we might have seen during the Olympic road race?
I am allowed to go lighter, as the ITU has no weight restrictions. We are also allowed shorty aerobars, which can make a big difference when you are chasing down a breakaway, so even though it added weight, I knew I needed them.
Slowtwitch: The ITU does not enforce all of the same rules that the UCI does. One of the differences specifically is that there is no 6.8kg weight limit for ITU bikes. Has anyone ever tried to build an ultralight bike for a specific race before?
Not that I know of. I took this project on because I thought that it would be a determining factor for me on the bike since I am a big guy climbing a big hill six times. If I needed to chase down a break away, I know I can make the biggest impact on the flats, but I had to make sure I wasn't exhausted from climbing the hill. Staying as fresh as possible on the climb could have made a big difference if the race had turned out differently.
Slowtwitch: There are several noticeable differences between this bike and the bike you raced on this year. Why are your running tubulars instead of your normal clinchers? And what made you decide to race without your SRM powermeter?
Is this a test? I think that you are testing me to make sure I was listening to you! Is it because they are lighter? :) Really, the SRM was just going to be extra weight. My power was going to be as high as it needed to be to shut down any break aways that threatened the race unfolding the way we wanted. Also, I wanted to race on the Zipp cranks, LIGHT AND STIFF!
Slowtwitch: We understand that you received a lot of support in your effort to put together this special bike for what is obviously a special race. Is there anyone in particular you'd like to thank?
Everyone at Cervelo
Greg Kopecky, Dave Ripley, and Josh Poertner at Zipp
Morgan Nichol at Oval Concepts
Fairwheel Bikes in Arizona
Gabor Herner (my super mechanic who built the bike; I'm sorry for the Nokon cables!).
Slowtwitch: After the race, will you keep riding this bike or do you have something special planned for it?
I'm probably never riding it again and putting it in a glass case! Or on a wall.
- frame: Cervelo, SLC-SL Olympic Special Edition
- size: 58cm
- fork: 3T Funda
- seat post: Cervelo integrated
- saddle: Fizik Arione CX carbon braided
- stem: Oval Concepts R900 carbon 12cm/-6deg
- aerobars: Oval Concepts A710 UnderOnly SCCS clip-on stem faceplate with single-bend carbon extensions
- bars: Zipp Contour SL 44cm
- cranks: Zipp VumaQuad 175mm 50/34 with ceramic bottom-bracket
- rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace 2008 with KCNC ceramic jockey wheels
- front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace 2008
- shifters/brake-levers: Shimano Dura-Ace 2008
- cassette: KCNC 11/23
- chain: KMC X10SL gold
- brakes: KCNC c-brake
- wheels: Zipp 404 tubular
- skewers: KCNC titanium
- tires: Zipp Tangente tubular
- bottle cages: Zipp Carbon
- pedals: Shimano Dura-Ace 2008
- cables: Nokon red
- bar tape: Fizik microtex
- grips: Hudz white