Bike profiles from the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships are a long-held CXM tradition. In years past, we grabbed a few winners' bikes, and for a few years, attempted to photograph every single winning bike. In Louisville, at the 2018 V2 Cyclocross Nationals, we mixed it up and captured some winners' bikes and some unique bikes that caught our eye, even if they didn't help bring home a title. We're just starting to unearth these profiles.
In Louisville, young Miller Reardon's mud-packed Redline Conquest 24 cyclocross bike certainly was unique in several ways. First, his discontinued kid's model competes for the title of one of the most mud-clogged bikes we saw at the finish line. Second, it might have been the only bike at Nationals sporting a Priority Pedal Strap on platform pedals. Lastly, it was one of a few bikes to carry its rider to the finish with just one shoe.
Reardon and all the other U11 (ten years and younger) racers had just a one-lap race that used the upper part of the normal course, but they faced some of the toughest, stickiest conditions of the weekend.
Most racers had rim brakes and of course came without spare bikes or pit crews. As a result, bikes quickly got clogged and the short lap pushed finishing times for some past twenty minutes.
Reardon's Conquest 24 is a symbol from Redline's past dedication to cyclocross, partially due to the passion of Tim Rutledge. The company released one of the earliest mass-produced cyclocross bikes in the mid-1990s with its aluminum Conquest, and then expanded its offering into disc brake models in the early 2000s, and later added the Conquest 24 and Conquest 20 kids' models.
After Redline's acquisition by the Accel Group, the consolidation of products and cost-cutting measures trimmed Redline's line to just BMX bikes, but the Redline cyclocross legacy lives on beyond the cyclocross titles of Logan Owen and Katie Compton.
Miller's bike was mostly stock, including its hard-to-find Odyssey Overbite 24 x 1-3/8″ 540mm ETRTO tires and wheels. The tire size, one of three different 24″ tire sizes we've seen on kids' cyclocross bikes, is the same size as found on the also-discontinued Raleigh RX24 disc brake cyclocross bike we've reviewed. Cyclocross tires in this size are now hard to find. Owners may have to resort to wheelchair sites to find good knobbies, but at least Reardon's tires looked to have plenty of knob left.
A stock Shimano Claris 8-speed drivetrain paired with a Sugino 48/38t double crankset and a Shimano 13-26t cassette provided Reardon more gearing options than 1x systems, although the relatively narrow range-cassette and big chainrings equate to a proportionately taller gear than most adults use.
Fortunately, the kid's course was relatively flat, but unfortunately, many racers didn't get to pedal much and had to push their clogged bikes.
One modification Reardon and his dad made to his bike? They bolted on Priority Pedal Straps from Priority Bicycles.
The straps are a kid-friendly option to provide a more secure footing for little feet without cleats or toe clips and offer riders an ability to pull up on the upstroke. They also kept Reardon going when the mud offered some extra, unexpected resistance...
One Step at a Time, with or without a Shoe
The youngest Junior races have historically offered up some of most inspiring stories of perseverance. In Austin, we saw young Gretchen Wayman and Mckenna Wilkins form a bond as they pushed their way through the slimy, Austin course when there was a Junior 9-10 title race.
Even after USA Cycling controversially canceled the 9-10 age group, the young ones have still faced plenty of challenges in their non-title races. In Reno, they faced tall barriers and altitude, and in Louisville, it was the thick, peanut butter mud.
Mud grabbed a hold of wheels and chains and locked them in place. And for the unlucky Reardon, it also grabbed his shoe and didn't let go.
"I was riding and I then had to step down, and when I pulled my foot up, I realized my shoe wasn't there," Reardon recalled after his finish. He didn't let that deter him however. He slipped it back on and kept pushing to the finish. That is, until the mud at the barriers swallowed his shoe again.
Reardon, with the finish line in sight, carried on, while USA Cycling's Chuck Hodge dug the shoe out and passed it over the fencing to Reardon's dad. Have a watch in the video below:
After crossing the line without a shoe and with a bike that barely rolled, Reardon was all positive, saying, "Well, it was really hard, and pretty fun."
He also had some prudent advice for the pros who would go later in the day. "Stick to the grass, and it's really hard so try to, if you can, ride as much as you can, and keep on the bike as much as you can," Reardon advised.
Reardon estimated his race at Nationals was his sixth cyclocross race, and crossresults revealed that he was both accurate and had a winning debut in 2017. With his sixth race, he now has a bit of Cyclocross Magazine fame.
Specs and photo gallery are below. Photos of the kids' race from the 2018 Louisville Cyclocross Nationals are available here.
Miller Reardon's Conquest 24 Bike Specs:
Frameset: Redline 6061-T6 aluminum, double butted front triangle, alloy fork
Wheels: 24" alloy clincher, 540mm ETRTO
Tires: Odyssey Overbite, 24x1-3/8", 540mm ETRTO
Crankset: Sugino XD2000D double, 38/48
Pedals: Platform, with Priority Pedal Straps
Rear Cogs: Shimano CS-HG50, 8-speed: 13-26
Saddle: Redline Junior Cross
Shifter/Brake Levers: Shimano Claris 8-speed STI, Tektro RL71 in-line levers
Front Derailleur: Shimano Claris
Rear Derailleur: Shimano Claris
Brakes: Promax mini V-brake