Interbike 2011: Parbo’s Pre-CrossVegas Scramble

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Parbo, without his typical red-and-white Danish-themed attire.

Parbo, without his typical red-and-white Danish-themed attire.

by Josh Liberles

I stopped by the Leopard Cycles booth at Interbike’s Outdoor Demo today, and talk inevitably turned to five-time Danish national champ Joachim Parbo, who has ridden Leopard’s flagship CX1 for the past several seasons. Parbo has raced extensively in the US in that time, and I reached out to him as we put together the “Euro Invasion” article coming to a newsstand near you in the upcoming Issue #14 of our print magazine. Parbo couldn’t confirm his season plans at that time or whether he’d make a stateside appearance, as they were very much in limbo just a few weeks ago.

No sooner had we spoken his name than the lanky Dane arrived on the scene in a flurry. As he revealed to me, he’s been struggling to get all of his equipment sorted and lined up for the race season, and just getting over to the States in time for CrossVegas posed a challenge. He finally had a frame in hand – he landed a disc-brake-compatible rig by German company OCCP – and when I saw it at the TRP booth, it had a seat post, saddle, and the rest of the components were still “in progress” at this very late date. Later in the day, handlebars and levers had been added to the build.

Parbo's 2011 disc-ready OCCP ride, phase two of the slow build process.

Parbo's 2011 disc-ready OCCP ride, phase two of the slow build process.

Turns out we lowly amateurs aren’t the only ones who struggle to get everything put together, and a recurring undercurrent of several conversations was that some equipment manufacturers have had difficulty sourcing materials, and that has had a ripple effect on companies and individuals trying to build up complete bikes. But Parbo’s scramble wasn’t limited to the bike – he was running around in a borrowed black Hawaii t-shirt and shorts. We didn’t get the full scoop on that, but it added to his harried look.

The other trait that Parbo shares with us working stiffs is that he has a day job – Parbo is the bike path inspector for the Danish town of Aarhus and a cycling advocate. If you know about Denmark and the prevalence of cycling there, you may have a sense of how big a job that is – he oversees 350 miles of path – and the work stress has gotten in the way of the biking. most of us can relate, I’m sure. “I could make a lot more money if I just gave up on racing. But I can’t – I just love it! he told me today.

Our first look at the TRP Parabox in white.

Our first look at the TRP Parabox in white.

Parbo’s alloy OCCP frame will feature TRP’s Parabox hydraulic disc adaptor for cable pull levers (just reviewed for Issue 14!). He confidently predicts he’ll be the only one racing disc brakes in European World Cups this season, and he’s super excited about it.

Parbo will spend five weeks in the US, followed by a World Cup swing in Europe. He anticipates what he describes as a relatively light season of about 25 races, with the American events including CrossVegas, the Catamount and Nor’Easter races in Vermont, Gran Prix of Gloucester, Providence Cyclocross Festival and Spooky Cross in Los Angeles.

Want to see more of Interbike’s cyclocross offerings? We have a full list of some of the best new products we saw at Interbike, with more being added every day.

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