Gravel Pioneers on Rene Herse

Racers and Adventurers

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. And they are just great people to be around. Here are the stories of just a few of them.

Ted King

The ‘King of Gravel’ has stood on the podium in gravel races more often than almost anybody. He isn’t just one of the fastest and most skilled cyclists, he’s also one of the nicest and most thoughtful humans you’ll ever meet. When Ted and his wife Lauren aren’t ripping across the world’s gravel courses, they are raising their young kids in the green mountains of Vermont.

  • 2022 Rattlesnake Gravel Grinder: 1st (700×44 Snoqualmie P. End.)
  • 2021 Unbound Gravel: 4th (700×44 Snoqualmie Pass End. Plus)
  • 2021 Last Best Ride: 1st (700×42 Hurricane Ridge Endurance Plus)
  • 2020 AR High Country Race: 1st & FKT (700×44 Snoq. Pass End.)
  • 2019 SBT GRVL: 1st (700×35 Bon Jon Pass)

Lael Wilcox

Lael is one of the fastest and most fun humans on (and off) a bike in this world. She’s ridden every single road in her home state of Alaska, and she’s raced on many continents. Lael mentors young girls and aspiring female bikepackers through her GRIT program and the Lael Rides Alaska Scholarship.

  • 2022 Westfjords Challenge: 1st (700×48 Oracle Ridge Endurance)
  • 2022 Trans-Balkan Race: 1st (700×55 Fleecer Ridge Endurance)
  • 2022 Migration Gravel Race (Kenya): 2nd (700×48 Oracle R. End.)
  • 2021 Unbound XL: 1st (700×48 Oracle / 700×55 Fleecer Ridge End.)
  • 2021 Alaska Pipeline Trail FKT (700×48 Oracle Ridge Endurance)
  • 2021 Hope 1000: 1st (29″ x 2.2″ Fleecer Ridge Endurance)


International DJ & world-traveling bike tourer JaBig is one of the funniest, most positive people you could imagine. His observations are always inspiring and thought-provoking. In 2022, he went on a 6-month, 10,000-mile ride around the perimeter of the United States to raise funds for World Bicycle Relief. (700×38 Steilacoom & Barlow Pass Endurance)

Lauren de Crescenzo

Lauren’s story is truly inspirational: She overcame a life-threatening accident to go back to college and get her dream job at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Then she put her career on hold to pursue her other dream: gravel racing. Lauren and her Cinch Racing team tested many tires before discovering the speed and durability of Rene Herse.

  • 2023 Mid-South: 1st (700×44 Snoqualmie Pass Endurance)
  • 2022 SBT GRVL: 1st (700×44 Snoqualmie Pass Endurance)
  • 2022 Gravel Worlds: 1st (700×44 Snoqualmie Pass Endurance)
  • 2022 Unbound: 2nd (700×44 Snoqualmie Pass Endurance Plus)
  • 2022 U.S. Pro Championships: 2nd (700×28 Chinook Pass Xlight)
  • 2022 Tour of the Gila: 1st (700×28 Chinook Pass Extralight)

Holly Mathews

The beauty and challenge of the Rift Iceland enticed Holly to return to racing. Since winning on her comeback, she’s joined the Cinch Racing team to ride with her friend Lauren de Crescenzo – and she’s rarely far behind!

  • 2023 Mid-South: 9th (700×44 Snoqualmie Pass Endurance)
  • 2022 Boulder-Roubaix: 2nd (700×44 Snoqualmie Pass Extralight)
  • 2022 Mid-South: 4th (700×44 Snoqualmie Pass Endurance)
  • 2021 Gravel Worlds: 7th (700×44 Snoqualmie Pass Endurance)
  • 2021 Rift Iceland: 1st (700×42 Hurricane Ridge Endurance)

Sofiane Sehili

Formerly a bike messenger in Paris (France), Sofiane has become a specialist of ultra-long distances and ultra-tough courses. Sofiane’s methodical approach to racing extends to his tire choices. He’s one of the most likable racers we’ve met: Who else would admit to singing during the long solitary hours on road and trail?

  • 2022 Silk Road Mountain Race: 1st (29” x 2.2” Fleecer R. Endurance)
  • 2022 Tour Divide: 1st (29” x 2.2” Fleecer Ridge Endurance)
  • 2022 Bootleggers Ultra-CX: 1st (700×32 Hurricane Ridge End.)
  • 2021 Silk Road Mountain Race: 1st (29” x 2.2” Fleecer R. Extralight)
  • 2021 Two Volcano Sprint (with Adrien Liechti): 1st (700×28 Xlight)
  • 2020 French Divide: 1st (29” x 2.2” Fleecer Ridge Endurance)

Francesca Selva

Francesca is a professional athlete racing for the T°Red Factory Racing Team. Her specialty are fixed-gear races, where she explores the limits of traction at incredible speeds and lean angles. “Grip like Moto GP,” she enthused about her Rene Herse tires.

  • 2022 Italian Fixed Championship: 1st (700×28 Chinook Pass Xlight)
  • 2022 Italian Fixed Cup, Stage 3: 1st (700×28 Chinook Pass Xlight)
  • 2022 Italian Fixed Cup, Stage 2: 1st (700×28 Chinook Pass Xlight)
  • 2022 Zuricrit: 1st (700×28 Chinook Pass Xlight)
  • 2022 La Look Crit (France): 2nd (700×28 Chinook Pass Extralight)
  • 2021 Italian Fixed Championship: 1st (700×38 Barlow Pass front / 700×44 Snoqualmie Pass rear)

Anton Krupicka

Anton is a climber and ultra-runner who loves pushing the limits of what is possible. His 2021 Sagebrush & Summits tour took him on a 21-day, 2,300-mile adventure that included climbing some of the highest peaks in Utah, Wyoming, Montana, and Colorado. Incredible! (29” x 2.3” Fleecer Ridge Endurance Plus)

Hailey M. Moore

Hailey enjoys racing and touring in equal parts. She’s discovered bikepacking races as a way to challenge herself and experience what she likes most: cycling in the mountains. Her stories from races and outings are full of fascinating observations about cycling, life and the world.

  • 2022 Ozark Gravel Doom: FKT (700×55 Fleecer Ridge Enduracne / 700×48 Oracle Ridge Endurance)
  • 2021 NorthSouthCO Bikepacking Race: 1st (700×48 Oracle End.)

Brennan Wertz

After transitioning from the U.S. National Rowing Team to cycling, Brennan has mixed up the pro peloton in the biggest gravel races, finishing in the top 10 in most races during his first full season. He’s definitely one to watch for the future!

  • 2023 Shasta Gravel Hugger: 1st (700×42 Hurricane Ridge End.)
  • 2022 Mid South: 4th (700×44 Snoqualmie Pass Endurance)
  • 2022 King Ridge Hopper: 1st (700×32 Stampede Pass)
  • 2022 Shasta Gravel Hugger: 1st (700×44 Snoq. Pass Endurance)
  • 2022 Huffmaster Hopper: 1st (700×35 Bon Jon Pass Endurance)
  • 2022 Gravel Miami: 1st (700×44 Snoqualmie Pass Endurance)
  • 2021 Belgian Waffle Ride NC: 3rd (700×44 Snoqualmie Pass End.)

Annie Davis

Annie burst onto the scene by winning the big race in her home state, the Arkansas High Country Race (Short Course), and setting the Fastest Known Time (FKT) in the process. We’ll probably hear more from her in the future!

  • 2022 Unbound XL: 14th (700×42 Hurricane Ridge Endurance Plus)
  • 2022 Rule of 3 100-mile team ride (with Mariah White, Allie Corlett): 2nd (700×38 Steilacoom Endurance)
  • 2021 AR High Country Race Short Course: 1st & FKT (700×48 Oracle Ridge Endurance)

Amanda Naumann

Amanda raced (and won) on gravel long before it became popular. An engineer in her day job, she chooses her equipment based on careful testing. And then she rides with abandon – and a smile. Together with her partner David Sheek, she organizes the Mammoth Tuff gravel race in the incredibly scenic hills of the Eastern Sierra Nevada.

  • 2021 Unbound XL: 2nd (700×48 Oracle Ridge Endurance)
  • 2020 Sugarcane 200: 1st (700×44 Snoqualmie Pass Extralight)

Josh Ibbett

The past winner of the Transcontinental Race (2015) and GBDuro (2020) is one of Britain’s fastest ultra-distance cyclists. He’s equally interested in exploring the world on his bike. He seeks out adventures in the far corners of the earth, preferably those that include teamwork with local racers.

  • 2022 Race Around Rwanda: 4th (700×44 Snoqualmie Pass End.)
  • 2022 Rwandan Epic (with Jean Ruberwa): 4th (29″ x 2.2″ Fleecer Ridge Endurance)

Sarah Swallow

Sarah views cycling as a positive tool for well-being, community connection, and relating to the natural landscapes she rides in. She likes a challenge as well, having ridden across the U.S. from east to west and from north to south, all on dirt roads. Every spring, Sarah organizes Ruta Del Jefe, a weekend of adventure riding, education, community, and fundraising in the Sky Islands regions of southern Arizona.

  • 2021 Rift Iceland: 6th (700×48 Oracle Ridge Extralight)

Jess Cerra

Jess Cerra was a top-flight road racer before moving to gravel – a logical choice since she lives in Whitefish, Montana, where gravel roads extend for hundreds of miles in every direction. She organizes The Last Best Ride every year to showcase the amazing riding of her home region.

  • 2022 Unbound 100: 3rd (700×42 Hurricane Ridge Endurance)
  • 2021 Unbound: 10th (700×42 Hurricane Ridge Endurance)

Cinch Rise Development Team

The Cinch Rise Development Team of young riders is mixing it up with the best U.S. riders on road and gravel. Whether it’s Ethan Overson (shown) winning the 100-mile Unbound, placing in the top-5 in almost every stage of the Valley of the Sun race, or teaming up with Kieran Haug to finish 2nd and 3rd in the Old Man Winter Rally, their spirit and joy on the bike is infectious.

  • Road Races: 700×28 Chinook Pass Extralight
  • Time Trials: 700×26 Cayuse Pass Extralight
  • Gravel: 700×42 Hurricane Ridge or 700×44 Snoqualmie Pass