Many people, including myself, learned to ride a bike during childhood. As I grew older, staying fit became more challenging and shifted from a natural activity to a constant battle to prevent injuries. However, I eventually reconnected with my love for cycling. Unfortunately, I was struck by a car during one of my rides.
Previously, I owned road bikes, but the experience of building a gravel bike revolutionized my approach to cycling and transformed my relationship with the sport.
My cycling mileage increased, and I started road riding again to cover even more distance. I soon realized that my gravel bike suited me better than my road race bike. I began dreaming of participating in events, both local ones and major ones like Unbound 200. To prepare, I trained harder and eventually got a Wahoo Kickr bike. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, I shifted to using Zwift to improve my fitness and MyVeloFit to monitor my position to maximize my chances of enduring the rigors of a 200 mile bike race.
My bike underwent several changes, including specific modifications for Unbound.
I added custom shift controls on the aerobars and a powerful lighting setup at the front. Before SRAM introduced wireless blips, I created my own modular system using TT blips, Deutsch style pins, and heat shrink tubing. I also internalized the 12v wires for the lights and added emergency USB power at the handlebars and under the saddle for recharging accessories. These modifications proved reliable in various weather conditions during 10,000 miles of training rides.
I eventually participated in and completed events like Unbound 200, SBT Black, the Belgian Waffle Ride in CA, and several local races.

Somewhere in the first 50 miles of the Unbound 200

I continued to build more bikes, learning how to de-anodize and paint in the process. I became skilled at using spray paint for primer, coats, splatter, and clear finishes on various bike parts. These skills would prove valuable later on.
I appreciate the geometry of my current bike, featuring a lower center of mass, sharper head angles, and a lower position than most off-the-shelf gravel designs for a 5'6" (169cm) rider like myself.
My focus on gravel events will continue, and I plan to have my "A" bike built and designed by Mike DeSalvo of DeSalvo Custom Cycles to ensure reliability and masterful craftsmanship.
However, I also enjoy drafting my own designs. In this documentation, you'll find unique designs for small bikes and details on customizations I've developed to improve the fit of my bikes and my overall riding experience.
The R40D bike
The R40D bike

You may also like

Back to Top