Team Seven Cycles

For the past three years, I have been affiliated with Team Seven Cycles, which is really cool. The group is made up of some great cycling ambassadors who get support from Seven Cycles, the iconic Watertown, Massachusetts manufacturer of custom bicycles.

It’s great being on the team because it compliments my involvement with Team Horst Sports and the Horst Engineering Cycling Team. Also, Seven Cycles is a well-run organization with wonderful employees and a unique culture. I am fortunate to be the owner of several Seven bikes, including two new ones. During my first year on the team, my focus was on Ironman Brazil and the Ironman World Championships. Seven built me an incredibly versatile Kameha SLX that I have used in 30 diverse triathlons to date, and I’ll be racing it again on Sunday morning. I wanted a bike that would last many years and not just look like the latest fast bike fad.

The bike is super comfortable at any distance and on any type of road. For the past two years, the bike has been featured on Seven’s home page, which is pretty cool. It proves that even the builders, who have seen some nice bikes over the years, consider it a special one. Last year, I didn’t get a bike, but in 2012, I’ve made up for it. Seven expanded the team and I was fortunate to again work with them on a bike project. Dan Vaillancourt managed the project for Seven with support from their engineering team. One bike turned into two!

In 2012, my focus remains on triathlon, but half of those tri’s are off-road and I’m also doing a couple of long distance mountain bike races. I’ve always wanted a single speed mountain bike, and Seven helped make that wish come true. They worked with me to build a Sola SL 29er singlespeed. The complete bike weighs in at a lightweight 18.9 pounds.

The titanium frame is coupled with a Niner RDO carbon fork. Not only is it singlespeed, but it is rigid.  I’ve got a Shimano Deore XT crankset with a Gates Carbon Belt Drive system, which should become a popular trend. The frame was split on the right seat stay so that the belt could be assembled. The frame is held together with a couple of bolts and has rocker style dropouts to adjust belt tension. The front sprocket is a 46 and the rear is a 26, which is a 1.769 gear ratio, equivalent to gearing is equivalent to a 32 x 18 on a chain style single speed. I’m using Shimano SPD pedals.

I’ve got a Chris King headset in the oversized 44mm head tube. It has a Seven titanium handlebar and a Seven aluminum stem. I’m running Shimano Deore XT hydraulic disc brakes mounted on Stan’s ZTR Crest stock wheels. I’m holding my water bottle with a stainless steel King Cage. The seat post is a Thompson aluminum mated to a Fizik Gobi saddle.

Bike parts have come a long way since I was riding my 1987 Specialized Stumpjumper, which had Shimano Deore parts on it. I miss that classic bike.

Seven wrote about the new Sola SL in their blog.

It turns out that the most amount of time that I spend on a bike is commuting to and from work. My commutes are a mix of road and trail. It is the best way for me to build and maintain fitness, and I feel great about the carbon free riding. I dreamt up the perfect bicycle to fit this need and Seven built it. I call it my “super commuter,” but it is much more than that. The bike is suitable for fast road riding, dirt roads, rail trail, randonee, light touring, and brevets. I haven’t raced it yet, but I will. I wanted to make the perfect bike for every day riding in New England whether I’m at home in Connecticut or on the dirt roads of Vermont.

My commute is 13.4 miles to work in East Hartford on the direct, all road route. Horst Engineering  is only 1,000 feet from the Connecticut River, so the ride is downhill to the valley. The ride home is uphill most of the way to my home in Bolton at 590 feet above sea level. The direct route home is slightly longer (avoiding a few intersections) and I often extend the ride to get a little more time in the saddle. The main route is primarily on a major road, Route 44 which goes down Middle Turnpike and then Burnside Avenue, a couple of crazy urban thoroughfares with bad reputations.

I have to deal with lots of rough roads, potholes, railroad tracks, and road debris. I often ride in the dark, so in fall/winter I’ll outfit the bike with lights. When I have the time, I often take the Hop River Linear Trail, which goes right in front of our house. I can take the cinder rail trail for the first (or last) eight miles of the trip when I take the longer 17 mile route. Occasionally, I ride the bike paths along Interstate 84 and at other times, I ride the Hockanum River trails in East Hartford which have a series of wooden bridges, a little bit of singletrack, and some fairly rough sections of trail. I enjoy the various options, and I wanted a bicycle that could handle it all.

So, my new Axiom SL was designed to meet those needs. It is a titanium frame/Seven carbon fork combo with extra clearance to fit 28cm tires and full fenders. I’m running an 11 speed Campagnolo Chorus group set with a 34 x 50 compact crankset and 12 x 25 cassette mounted on custom-built wheels. The wheels are Mavic Open Pro rims mated to Chris King R45 hubs with DT Swiss spokes and alloy nipples. My Horst Engineering colleague and Team Seven Cycles teammate, Arthur Roti, did the wheel build. I have 28cm Panaracer t serv PTtires fit to the wheels, which are fantastic. I’m using Velo Orange Grand Cru brake calipers to reach around the fenders.

The cockpit of the bike has a Chris King headset with the understated Sotto Voce logo, 3T handlebars, and a Seven aluminum stem. The seatpost is a Seven carbon model painted black mated to a San Marco Concor saddle. The frame and fork were custom painted, as were the Velo Orange fenders. The paint scheme includes the same colors that are on my Kameha SLX. I didn’t see Seven’s post-paint blog post and photo until after the bike was built. The stout stainless steel rear rack was designed and built by one of Seven’s welders. I should be able to fit a good-sized trunk bag and load it up with up to 30 pounds worth of gear. I’m using Speedplay Zero pedals.

Last month, I took the two bikes out on separate mornings to visit the Bolton Heritage Farm (Rose Farm). I’ll report back in the coming weeks as I get more time on these incredible bicycles. Thanks to Seven Cycles and Team Seven Cycles for the velo-inspiration! I consider myself quite fortunate to ride bikes like these. Now I have to honor them by going fast.

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So that little injury caused by my @renocxnats crash on Saturday afternoon wasn’t so little after all. It’s a broken leg (fibula). Prognosis is good, but it hurts like heck. My blog post report with blow by blow details is linked in my profile. #cxnats #teamhorstsports @horsteng #crossspikes #crossisboss - - -

This #lifedeathcyclocross stuff is true!!!! I crashed out of the Singlespeed Championship @renocxnats (on the dreaded off-camber) but not before having more fun. @artroti43 raced on the frosty course ❄️ at day break. 🚴🏽 We met a lot more @horsteng #crossspikes customers. I hung with little bunny hopper 🐰 Miles, the Junior 11-12 year old Silver Medalist.🥈I cheered for Nic, who represented @the_ccap in the Junior 15-16 age group. @sportstert and Iva came down from Tahoe to cheer LOUDLY for me. 🎺 I got my badly sprained ankle taped and iced. I had a beer. 🍺 I’m even looking forward to my red eye flight home ✈️ . Best of all, I’ll see @trailrunningmom and the kids on Sunday. I can’t explain the sensation, but despite the pain, I’m ready for next #Cyclocross season to begin... after some rest. #teamhorstsports #cxnats #horstengineering @parkavebikeshop #crossisboss #lifedeathcyclocross #crossiscoming You could say that at least for this week, I’m married to my #bicycle - - -

@renocxnats #cxnats @seven_cycles #sevencycles #teamhorstsports #horstengineering #crossspikes @horsteng #chapelofthebells #Cyclocross #lifedeathcyclocross Good day representing @horsteng at @renocxnats in the 45-49 age group. It’s a great course. The wind was blowing hard, but the sun finally came out. I’m happy with 37th place but should have made a move to get to 29th, which was 30 seconds ahead. That’s a long way when you are going flat out and cramping. 4,500 foot elevation was a factor. I’m disappointed that they cut one lap of my race when I wasn’t close to getting lapped by the leaders. You train this hard and come all this way; and you want to get the most racing for the $ and time invested. They only let 25 riders do the full six laps. The only positive to come out of that was that I watched fellow New Englander @adammyerson execute a perfect final sprint to win the Stars and Stripes again. Teammate @artroti43 had a good ride too. 
@seven_cycles #sevencycles #horstengineering #teamhorstsports @bicycleseastct #crossspikes #cxnats #renocxnats #Cyclocross #crossisboss @therichardsachs didn’t have the race he hoped for but it was still great to see him @renocxnats and “pit” for him. He said he officially started his second off season, but first of 2018. @artroti43 and I played soigneur/mechanic for 90 minutes, but minus the massage! atmo #renocxnats #richardsachs #teamhorstsports @horsteng #crossspikes #hauteframebuilding #Cyclocross #crossisboss #lifedeathcyclocross I previously hadn’t published this image, but it recently received an Honorable Mention in the 2017 @appalachianmountainclub Photo Contest for the People Outdoors category. Check out my blog (link in profile) for the interesting story of his photo (shot with this iPhone 6s), a trip report from this amazing Maine adventure, and past contest history. I love this image of two of my favorite women. I’m barred from submitting images to the 2018 contest, but I’ll be back in 2019. #appalachianmountainclub #baxterstatepark #katahdin Congratulations to Master Park, the Park Family, and the entire team at Park’s U.S. #Taekwondo at the Grand Opening of the new facility in the former VFW building. Our kids love it! So much better than being next door to the pawn shop and liquor store.😊#tkd 🇺🇸🇰🇷 This morning, the @trinitycollege Main Quad was bathed in beautiful sunshine ☀️but it was frigid and the wind was blowing! ❄️ The chapel was packed with an overflow crowd to celebrate the (shortened) life of a lovely friend. She will be missed. #circleoflife 🌏 #Repost @horsteng
We just launched the #cxnats edition of #crossspikes News and it is chock full of great information. Click our profile for a link to the newsletter and info regarding @renocxnats pre-orders and on-site sales. See you at the Race Expo! #crossisboss 🚴🏽🏆

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