by Greg Evans
As the second day of the 2016 USA Cyclocross National Championships came to an end, new and repeat champions adorned the coveted stars-and-stripes jerseys.
Wednesday saw the contest of numerous Masters categories for racers ranging in age from 30 to over 80. When the 50-54 category lined up at the start gate, Victor Sheldon, a racer from Vista, CA, found himself way back in the fifth row. That wasn’t enough to dampen Sheldon’s spirits, however, as he maneuvered through the field aboard his 2014 Giant TCX Advanced until there were no more riders to pass. He crossed the line to claim the jersey and the title of 2016 Masters 50-54 National Champion.
While the title is Sheldon’s first Cyclocross Nationals title, it’s just one of many championships for him. He’s an eight-time Jet Ski champion (World and National titles), and credited the motorized racing to preparing him well for cyclocross, stating in our interview that both sports require pinning your heart rate for the duration of the race.
Races are won by legs, not bikes, obviously, but readers always enjoy looking at National Champion’s equipment choices. Today we take a closer look at the bike that brought Sheldon success on the race course, and in the coming days and weeks, we’ll profile nearly every winning bike here at the 2016 Cyclocross National Championships.
The bike began its life as a 2014 Giant TCX Advanced Frameset. The carbon frame runs a 135mm dropout in the rear, while the carbon fork is supplied with a 15x100mm through-axle. It’s a similar frame, albeit stock geometry, to the frames raced by Lars van der Haar and Marianne Vos.
The build features a Shimano Ultegra 6870 Di2 electronic drivetrain, something we’re seeing more and more on professional bikes, including that of the Raleigh Clement team. Two Shimano R785 STI levers control shifting and braking. The levers are hooked up to Shimano hydraulic RS785 calipers that bite down onto RT99 Ice Tech rotors. The levers are clamped to an aluminum FSA Omega Compact bar which is mated to a Giant SLR stem.
On the other end of the bike, we find the Giant composite seat post topped off by a PRO Components Turnix saddle. Sheldon chose to race with a water bottle, giving hydration precedence over weight. He was one of several winners on Wednesday to choose this option.
The build is pretty straightforward up until the wheels. Sheldon chose to roll upon carbon Shimano XTR tubular wheels. The mountain bike wheel set is quite uncommon in the mountain bike world, let alone cyclocross bikes, and Shimano has even told Cyclocross Magazine that they are a very limited production (think European mountain bike professionals racing Dugast tubulars), yet they proved to be a winning choice when all was said and done.
Sheldon had to the have the freehub modified by a company to accept a 11-speed cassette, making these wheels even more unique.
The wheels are glued up with a set of Clement MXP 33c tubulars that featured a fresh coat of mud by the end of the race. See the full photo gallery below the spec list.
More info: giant-bicycles.com
Victor Sheldon’s Masters Masters 50-54 Winning Giant TCX Spec Highlights:
Frame: 2014 Giant TCX Advanced
Fork: Giant carbon through-axle disc
Headset: Giant integrated OverDrive2
Shifter/Brake Levers: Shimano R785 Hydraulic
Brake Calipers: Shimano R785 Hydraulic
Rotors: Shimano RT-99
Rear Derailleur: Shimano Ultegra 6870 Di2
Front Derailleur: Shimano Ultegra 6870 Di2
Crankset: Shimano Ultegra 6870 with 46/36t chainrings
Stem: Giant SLR
Handlebar: FSA Omega Compact
Seatpost: Giant composite
Saddle: Pro Components Turnix
Wheels: Shimano XTR tubular, carbon
Tires: Clement MXP 700x33c
Victor Sheldon’s Masters Masters 50-54 Winning Giant TCX Photo Gallery: