When he headed north from NorCal to Lakewood Nationals, George Smith had finished second at Nationals three times but never managed to stand on the top step.
That changed at Fort Steilacoom Park when he went back and forth with Paul Curley in the Masters 65-69 race at Lakewood Nationals before outsprinting the cyclocross legend to finally get that Stars-and-Stripes jersey. More impressive, due to injury, the race was just Smith's second of the season.
Smith's bike for his exciting sprint win was a Focus Mares, which we once saw experience quite a bit of Nationals success with Jeremy Powers. Although Powers rode a double with SRAM Red eTap, Smith opted for a bit older-school double with mechanical SRAM derailleurs and road gearing.
We took a look at his bike after his win.
Robert Smith's Masters 65-69 Focus Mares
When Jeremy Powers' Aspire Racing program ended after the 2018 Reno Cyclocross Nationals, it meant the departure of the Focus Mares from Elite North American cyclocross. Powers had ridden the bike with both the Rapha - Focus and then Aspire Racing teams. The carbon bike is Focus' dedicated cyclocross bike, and it was designed with input from the four-time cyclocross national champion.
With Powers on-site in Lakewood working for the Global Cycling Network, Smith's win brought the bike a new national championship.
Smith’s built his Mares with a SRAM drivetrain. However, unlike the majority of SRAM builds we have seen for cyclocross, Smith’s used a 2x mechanical setup with his Red crankset.
Smith interestingly ran a compact road 50/34t chain ring combo that paired with the Force 22 Yaw front derailleur. Also interesting was his use of a Shimano chain.
In the back, Smith paired a SRAM cassette with a Force WiFli mid-cage derailleur, allowing him to run an 11-32t cassette versus the 11-28t the short-cage version allows.
Stopping came by way of Force HRD calipers and 140mm TRP Centerlock rotors.
Smith used DT Swiss system wheels in Lakewood, choosing the RC38C DB carbon, disc brake tubeless-ready wheels. For Lakewood’s mud, he mounted Donnelly BOS tubeless tires, the company’s most aggressive mud tread.
Smith’s handlebar was an S-Works Shallow Bend compact bar which he mounted with a 3T ARX II stem and wrapped in black tape. In the back, a 3T Dorico carbon seatpost held his carbon-railed saddle.
Smith put down power using the top-end titanium Crankbrothers Eggbeaters 11 pedals.
Smith shared stats from his winning ride on Strava thanks to his Garmin Edge 520 Plus bike computer mounted to his stem.
For a closer look at Smith's bike, see the photo gallery and specs below.