Every year at the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships, we take a look at a lot of the bikes of the winning racers. There’s plenty of top-shelf components on the bikes of Elite and sponsored Masters racers, but sometimes you’ll see a bike that’s really unique and not or off-the-shelf.
We’re revisiting some of the more unique bikes we’ve seen over the years at Nats, starting with 2010 (and 2014) National Champion Martha Iverson’s Ridley X-Fire.
Winning sometimes requires thinking outside the box, and in Bend at the 2010 Nationals, Durango’s Iverson raced to victory in the Masters 60-64 category on what looked like an off-the-shelf carbon Ridley X-Fire cyclocross bike, with Ultegra 6700 components.
Only upon close inspection, we noticed she did her winning ride with two completely different pedals: A Shimano M959 SPD pedal on the left, and a Crankbrothers Eggbeater on the right. When asked her why she used the two different systems, Iverson explained that she relies on the Shimano SPD pedal with the SM-SH56 multi-release cleats to make it easier to unclip while dismounting.
The rest of her 2010 bike was pretty standard, with 10-speed Shimano 6700 components, Mavic Ksyrium SL tubular wheels, and Tufo Flexus Cubus tubular tires. Avid Short 6 brakes handled stopping in the icy conditions that year, and Ritchey Logic WCS bar and stem kept things under control.
Flash forward over three years and we were anxious to see what other unique mods would be on Iverson’s bike, and much to our surprise, she had replaced the left pedal with a matching Eggbeater pedal. “The Shimano pedal was getting kinda clogged with mud,” Iverson explained, and so just one month ago made the switch to an Eggbeater left pedal in hopes of alleviating mud issues. Because the change was relatively recent, she wasn’t too confident heading into the race whether she made the decision.
But the new, matching pedals didn’t mean Iverson was back to a plain vanilla bike. Over the last year, Iverson has been focusing her efforts in upgrading her bike to a disc brake on the front, transitioning her bike to a “mullet” style.
She swapped out her front Ridley fork for a generic carbon cantilever and disc brake-compatible fork, adding a TRP Hy-Rd brake on the front, and rebuilding her front wheel to accommodate a disc-compatible hub. “It’s a lot cheaper than a new set of wheels or a new bike,” Iverson said.
Her switch to a disc brake in the front paid off on the technical, snowy course, as Iverson would take another title in the 65-69 age group at the 2014 National Championships.
Iverson was first introduced to cycling after a knee injury forced an end to her running years. Racing since 1974, she has collected an impressive palmarès for any cyclist. As of Nationals in 2010, Iverson had two national titles each in road races, time trials and cyclocross, only overshadowed by her three MTB titles—and maybe also by her 2006 Masters World Road Race Championship.
This year in Boulder she added to this list, with another Masters National Championship, this time in the 65-69 age group.
We’re already looking forward to seeing Iverson’s bike in Austin, TX in 2015. Surely she’ll have a new modification that we didn’t expect.