The Choice of Racers

Posted by: Jan Heine Category: Uncategorized

The Choice of Racers

We are excited to work with some of the world’s best racers. All of them could ride any tires they want. That they choose Rene Herse tires is a vote of confidence, and their results speak for themselves. They’ve stood on the podiums of all the big gravel races: Unbound, Mid-South, SBT GRVL, Gravel Worlds… They’ve won bikepacking races from the Tour Divide to the Silk Road Race. They’ve excelled in road races, too.

Our relationships with these racers are essential for our research and development. They test our tires all over the world under the toughest conditions. We consult them when we develop new products or improve existing ones. They inspire us to think outside the box and push the envelope. Most of all, they are just great people to be around. Here are the stories of just a few of them, some of their results, and their tire choices for various events.

Ted King

The ‘King of Gravel’ has stood on the podium in gravel races more often than almost anybody. He is one of the fastest and most skilled cyclists, and 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 Pass Endurance)
  • 2021 Unbound Gravel: 4th (700×44 Snoqualmie Pass Endurance Plus)
  • 2021 Last Best Ride: 1st (700×42 Hurricane Ridge Endurance Plus)
  • 2020 Arkansas High Country Race: 1st & FKT (700×44 Snoqualmie Pass Endurance)
  • 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 Ridge Endurance)
  • 2021 Unbound XL: 1st (700×48 Oracle / 700×55 Fleecer Ridge Endurance)
  • 2021 Alaska Pipeline Trail FKT (700×48 Oracle Ridge Endurance)
  • 2021 Hope 1000: 1st (29″ x 2.2″ Fleecer Ridge 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 Extralight)
  • 2022 Tour of the Gila: 1st (700×28 Chinook Pass Extralight)

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. He’s probably the most consistent racer in today’s gravel peloton: He rarely misses out on the podium. Brennan is definitely one to watch for the future!

  • 2023 Shasta Gravel Hugger: 1st (700×42 Hurricane Ridge Endurance)
  • 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 Snoqualmie 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 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 humble 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 Ridge Endurance)
  • 2022 Tour Divide: 1st (29” x 2.2” Fleecer Ridge Endurance)
  • 2022 Bootleggers Ultra-CX: 1st (700×32 Hurricane Ridge Endurance)
  • 2021 Silk Road Mountain Race: 1st (29” x 2.2” Fleecer Ridge Extralight)
  • 2021 Two Volcano Sprint (with Adrien Liechti): 1st (700×28 Chinook Pass Extralight)
  • 2020 French Divide: 1st (29” x 2.2” Fleecer Ridge Endurance)

Mazda Lauf Factory Team

The biggest gravel team has a roster of likable young racers: Ian Lopez, Innokenty (Inno) Zavyalov (above), Marisa Boaz, Katherine Sheridan, Leah Van der Linden, Chase Wark, Nick Gould and Jonathon Cavner. You’ll find them at the front of the pack in every race they enter.

  • 2023 Mid-South: 4th (Inno Zavyalov; 700×44 Snoqualmie Pass Endurance)
  • 2023 Mid-South: 6th (Marisa Boaz; 700×44 Snoqualmie Pass Endurance)
  • 2023 Belgian Waffle Ride Arizona: 8th (Ian Lopez; 700×42 Hurricane Ridge Endurance)

Abdullah Zeinab

Abdullah was persuaded by a friend to enter the Rhino Run, a 2700-km bikepacking race from South Africa to Namibia. Neither of them expected what came next: Abdullah and local racer Kevin Benkenstein set a blistering pace that left the world’s fastest racers in their dusty wake. After more than a week on the road, after traversing two deserts, and after enduring many mishaps, Abdullah prevailed to win the race by just 18 minutes. Epic!

  • 2022 The Rhino Run: 1st (700×48 Oracle Ridge Endurance)

Francesca Selva

Francesca races professionally 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 Extralight)
  • 2022 Italian Fixed Cup, Stage 3: 1st (700×28 Chinook Pass Extralight)
  • 2022 Italian Fixed Cup, Stage 2: 1st (700×28 Chinook Pass Extralight)
  • 2022 Zuricrit: 1st (700×28 Chinook Pass Extralight)
  • 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)

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

Anton Krupicka

Anton is a climber and ultra-runner who loves pushing the limits of what is possible. His 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)

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 Endurance / 700×48 Oracle Ridge Endurance)
  • 2021 NorthSouthCO Bikepacking Race: 1st (700×48 Oracle 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 mountains of the Eastern Sierra Nevada.

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

Sophie Jail

Sophie is embarking on adventures the world over when she’s not at home in France fixing old cars and mopeds. After racing the 2,700 km Rhino Run in South Africa and Namibia, she continued riding northward all the way to the equator in Kenya!

  • 2023 Bootleggers UltraCX: 2nd (700×48 Oracle Ridge Endurance front, 700×42 Hurricane Ridge Endurance rear)
  • 2022 The Rhino Run: 2nd (700×48 Oracle Ridge Endurance front, 700×42 Hurricane Ridge Endurance rear)

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 Three 100-mile team ride (with Mariah White, Allie Corlett): 2nd (700×38 Steilacoom Endurance)
  • 2021 Arkansas High Country Race, Short Course: 1st & FKT (700×48 Oracle Ridge Endurance)

Josh Ibbett

Winner of the Transcontinental Race (2015) and GBDuro (2020), Josh 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 Endurance)
  • 2022 Rwandan Epic (with Jean Ruberwa): 4th (29″ x 2.2″ Fleecer Ridge Endurance)

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. Every autumn, she organizes The Last Best Ride 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)

“Racing improves the breed,” is an old saying for horses. It also applies to bicycles and especially tires: You don’t have to race in order to appreciate the low rolling resistance, superior durability and amazing comfort that are the result of our collaboration with these amazing riders.

Photo credits: Rugile Kaladyte, Kai Caddy, Alex Roszko, Jacey Rae Sikes Photography, Sean Bagshaw, Adrien Liechti, Andy Chasteen and others.

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