by Greg Evans
There’s an old adage that says “rules are made to be broken,” and when you’re an uncontested competitor in the Masters 75-79 category, racing for a championship title, well, let’s say there’s really no one who can tell you otherwise.
What mattered to title-winner Marshall Gordon was not the politically correct nature of his bike, or having a full carbon expensive race machine like Jeremy Powers, but rather to get out and prove that you’re never too old to race your bike. Although Gordon’s full suspension Giant Anthem 3 violated both the flat bar and tire width regulations, the lack of any competitors in his field allowed him to take to the course and bring truth to the saying “run what you brung.”
“I’m a pavement man. I do road, crits, time trials and track,” Gordon told Cyclocross Magazine after his win. He last raced cyclocross over twenty years ago, and had to dust off his only off-road bike to line up at the 2016 Cyclocross National Championships.
It doesn’t take an expert to determine that Gordon’s Giant is not a cyclocross bike. It’s a 2006 Giant Anthem 3, hailing from the days when mountain bikes were mostly aluminum and wheel size was still dominated by the 26er. In other words, this bike isn’t light.
The frame is made from Aluxx SL aluminum, and features 80mm of travel up front and 90mm in the rear. A Manitou R7 Comp fork and a Manitou S-type shock provide these travel numbers—seemingly minuscule when compared to today’s standards. To further emphasize what 10 years has done to the mountain bike industry, the bike features a 11/8” straight-steerer tube, quick releases on both wheels and not one but three chainrings.
The drivetrain features a Raceface Ride XC ISIS triple crankset, Shimano Deore front and rear derailleurs and a 9-speed cassette. A set of Shimano Deore shifter pods control the derailleurs, while a totally separate unit—a set of Shimano Deore LX hydraulic brake levers—controls the braking
The bike’s first infraction comes with its Easton EA30 flat bars. The bars hold a set of Ergon GP1 lock-on grips to offer Gordon some wrist support. The bars are mounted to the bike by way of an Easton EA30 stem. In addition to the grips, a WTB Shadow V saddle also provides rider comfort.
The bike rolls on a set of Mavic XM 317 wheels that are wrapped in a pair of Hutchinson Python tires. The tires result in the second infraction based upon their two-inch width. Gordon certainly wasn’t short on traction for the hilly course in Asheville.
USA Cycling didn’t measure a single tire for the age group races, despite the 35mm maximum tire width rule passed a few years ago, allowing racers to compete despite wider rims and more voluminous tires. The governing body also looked the other way when it came to some of the younger age groups in terms of handlebars as well, and a flat bar racer was also seen in the singlespeed race.
Gordon showed that at any age, it’s not about the bike. He also emphasized emphatically in our interview that he wants to make it clear that despite his title win, the bigger story isn’t about him. “I had a lot of fun. It’s not about me, it’s about the guys I had the privilege of racing with,” Gordon maintained. “The seventy plus guys are just phenomenal…just to be among these guys is a privilege.”
Gordon is among those guys, and the privilege was ours.
Photo gallery below the bike specs. See the growing list of 2016 Nationals-winning bike profiles here.
Marshall Gordon’s Masters 75-79 Title-Winning Giant Anthem 3 Spec Highlights:
Frame: 2006 Giant Anthem 3
Fork: Manitou R7 Comp, quick-release
Brake Levers: Shimano Deore LX
Shifters: Shimano Deore 9-speed
Brake Calipers: Shimano Deore LX
Rear Derailleur: Shimano Deore 9-speed
Front Derailleur: Shimano Deore triple
Crankset: Raceface Ride XC ISIS triple
Stem: Easton EA30
Handlebar: Easton EA30
Grips: Ergon GP1, lock-on
Seatpost: Truvativ Team Double Clamp
Saddle: WTB Shadow V
Wheels: Mavic XM 317 disc
Tires: Hutchinson Python Air Light 26×2.0″
More info, albeit much more modern: www.giant-bicycles.com