Laura Van Gilder has won more races than most of us have entered, but heading to Louisville Nationals, she had only won one cyclocross national championship. It was not for lack of effort, Van Gilder raced Elite Nationals into her 40s and then raced her first Masters Nationals in Hartford in 2017, where she won the Masters 50-54 title.
This year at Louisville, Van Gilder wore the rainbow stripes of a Masters World Champion to the start line of the Masters 55-59 race, which added a little weight on her shoulders.
"There was a lot of pressure, of course, representing the World Champion’s jersey," Van Gilder said after her race. "I felt a little more pressure than usual and of course everyone was gunning for me."
Van Gilder delivered, winning her second Masters National Championship and putting on a master class of cyclocross racing for those in attendance at Thursday's races at Joe Creason Park.
Today, we have a profile of Van Gilder's title-winning Van Dessel Full Tilt Boogie
Laura Van Gilder's Full Tilt Boogie
Van Gilder is a Van Dessel-sponsored rider and raced the American brand’s Full Tilt Boogie, the same frame piloted to second in the Elite race later that week by Sunny Gilbert and by Caroline Mani to her fifth French title early in 2019.
The bike features thoroughly modern fitments with disc brakes, internal cable routing, a tapered head tube and thru-axles.
While Van Dessel has shipped the Full Tilt Boogie with flat mount brake attachments and Mavic Speed Release dropouts since the 2018 model year, Van Gilder’s bike uses conventional thru-axle mounts, post mount brakes and a 15mm front axle.
Van Gilder's bike was built with a mix of components, including some we do not see very frequently at the sport's highest level. She ran Shimano Dura-Ace R9100 mechanical shift/brake levers and Dura-Ace R9100 front and rear derailleurs. The Dura-Ace rear derailleur has the low profile of Shimano's Shadow technology, which helps lessen the risk of breaking it during drive-side crashes.
Hydraulic disc brakes are seemingly de rigueur for Elite racers these days, but Van Gilder proved that it is not as much what you ride, but how you ride it. She used the cable-actuated TRP Spyre calipers paired with the Dura-Ace mechanical brake levers. The Spyre is a two-piston mechanical caliper compatible with most brands of brake levers, which allowed Van Gilder to pair it with her Dura-Ace shifters.
Van Gilder applied power with a Dura-Ace R9100 crankset equipped with WickWerks 42/34t chain rings, the same ones Katie Compton would use to defend her jersey a few days later. An FSA chain connected the crank to a Shimano 11-32t cassette, and a well-worn set of Shimano XTR M970 pedals, the first generation of XTR-labeled SPD pedals renowned for mud shedding capacity, helped Van Gilder put power through the crankarms.
Van Gilder rolled on PSIMET Race 38W Disc SL carbon tubulars, which were equipped with an older Clement-branded set of PDX tires. Save for the sands of Mol, the World Champion uses the PDX exclusively, and at Lousiville, she mounted her rear tire backward for more driving traction. Thursday had arguably the best conditions of the Nationals week, and Van Gilder ran her tires at 17 psi front, 18 psi rear for the fast conditions.
Van Gilder’s Psimet hubs accept 6-bolt rotors, and she mounted Tektro MD-C500 rotors front and rear.
Cockpit components were a grab bag of parts. Van Gilder ran a +/- 20-degree Giant SL stem pointed down paired with a 40cm Bontrager VR-S handlebar up front, while in the back she mounted a Bontrager Inform RXL saddle to an FSA K-Force carbon setback seatpost. Interestingly, she ran the saddle slightly nose up.
For a closer look at Van Gilder's bike, see the photo gallery and specs below.
For more Nationals bikes, see our bike profile archives.