Rene Herse Tires on Podiums the World OverJan Heine
We are excited to work with some of the world’s fastest racers and most intrepid adventurers. They test our tires all over the world, from the Flint Hills of Kansas to the forgotten mountain passes of the Silk Road Mountain Race. They provide feedback and ideas for product development. They are just great people to be around. And lately they’ve been on podiums so often that we hardly can keep up.
Last weekend saw the first riders finish the Tour Divide, the incredible 2,666-mile race along the crest of the American Rockies. Sofiane Sehili won the race in an incredible 14 days 16 hours 36 minutes. That’s not far off the record, despite conditions this year being very, very difficult, with snow up north, mud in the south, and headwinds in between.
Sofiane rode Rene Herse 29″ x 2.2″ Fleecer Ridge Endurance tires. After the finish, he reported: “I’ve had zero problems with the tires. They were truly perfect. Very good off-road and extremely fast-rolling on pavement. Not a single flat, and very little wear considering how many miles they’ve been ridden.”
This year saw a lot of riders in the Tour Divide on Rene Herse tires. One of them was fourth-place finisher Abe Kaufmann, who rode the ride of his life to finish less than a day after the winner. About half-way through the race, we discovered that Abe was running our 29″ x 2.2″ Fleecer Ridge Endurance tires. After finishing the race, he wrote: “Those tires were freaking bomber. Mud, snow, dry—they hooked up on everything and rolled fast on the pavement. I even nailed the front rim more than once on a rock and didn’t flat; was totally shocked they survived that.”
We’ve offered both Sofiane and Abe a new set of tires in exchange of the ones they rode—we like to look at our tires after these incredibly harsh tests to see how we can improve them further.
Also last weekend were the U.S. Pro Road Race Championships in Knoxville, TN. Clear favorites were the five riders of EF Education, a strong team that’s in top form ahead of the Tour de France. Team Cinch Rise played a great tactical game to get Lauren de Crescenzo into a two-rider break with EF’s Emma Langley. With four teammates behind, Emma wasn’t going to contribute to the effort, so Lauren faced a choice: Do all the work, or get caught and outsprinted by the might of Emma’s team. She chose the obvious, and pulled the break along until Emma jumped past her at the end. Lauren got the silver medal as the reward for her efforts. She raced on 700C x 28 Chinook Pass Extralights.
Earlier this month, Unbound was a tactical race in a different way. The rough roads and muddy conditions played to the strengths of pro mountain biker and eventual winner Sofia Gomez Villafañe. Lauren de Crescenzo (at the front, above) chased for much of the race after losing contact during the muddy sections, before finishing second. She ran 700C x 44 Snoqualmie Pass Endurance Plus tires at Unbound.
Lauren’s teammate Ethan Overson, on the same tires as Lauren, won Unbound’s 100-mile event. It was a hard-fought victory—who else can say to have beaten World Tour winner Peter Sagan?
In fact, Jess Cerra can. She came third among the women in the Unbound 100, and also finished ahead of Peter Sagan, with an incredible average speed of 19.19 mph (30.88 km/h) over 100 miles of rutted gravel roads, through mud, rain and thunder. How she managed to clean up so quickly after the finish is just as big a mystery as how she could ride so fast. Jess raced on 700C x 42 Hurricane Ridge Endurance tires.
Last weekend were the Italian Fixed Championships. And once again, Francesca Selva took the top podium step, winning the race—this year held outdoors—on 700C x 28 Chinook Pass Extralights. Her T°Red teammate Alessandro Mariani won the men’s race, riding FMB tubulars.
This photo of Francesca with her second tricolore jersey is too good not to share.
Lael Wilcox raced in Kenya’s Migration Gravel Race to a superb 2nd place. We should probably offer Lachlan Morton (above, right) some tires, too, but we simply don’t have the budget to sponsor professional race teams. Instead, we put our resources into R&D and superior materials to make the best tires we can. Lael raced on 700C x 48 Oracle Ridge Endurance tires. And she’s promised us to write a story about racing in Kenya for a future edition of Bicycle Quarterly!
Ted King missed Unbound this year, as his second little one, Hayden, was born just a few days after the race. He made up for it by winning the Rattlesnake Gravel Grinder in Texas in inimitable style. He race on 700C x 44 Snoqualmie Pass Endurance Plus tires.
Not all riders we work with are top-level racers. International DJ & world-traveling bike tourer JaBig is on a 6-month, 10,000-mile ride around the perimeter of the United States to raise funds for World Bicycle Relief. He’s riding 700C × 38 Barlow Pass Endurance tires.
All these riders have many choices for tires. They select Rene Herse tires because they think our tires are best for their riding. We’re very honored by that, and we’re working hard to make sure these riders aren’t disappointed when they put their trust in our products. And as Natsuko explained in a recent Journal entry, the lessons we learn from working with these exceptional riders improve all of our cycling experiences, no matter how fast or slow we choose to ride.
Photo credits: Rugile Kaladyte (Photos 1, 10); Bikes or Death @bikesordeath (Photos 2, 3); Life Time (Photo 5); Marathon (Photo 6); Marc Arjol Rodriguez (Photo 11)