Editor’s Note: This article is from our mud-loving friends at Cyclocross Magazine and originally appeared on cxmagazine.com. This article was written by Kevin White. Visit them for your daily cyclocross fix.
Paul Haley (Red Zone Cycling took the gold in the 9-10 race. ©Brian Nelson
With four years of bike racing already under his belt, Paul Haley (Red Zone Cycling) seized the moment, matching experience with drive to take the National Championship title in his age group in Boulder.
Did we mention that title was in the Junior Men’s 9-10 category in Boulder? That’s the first time this age group has been held, because in 2013 and earlier, the category was Junior 10-12, but now it’s split into two categories with 11-12 and 9-10, making it the first time nine-year-olds (racing age) can compete.
Haley, who is just nine (but with a racing age of 10), one of the youngest competitors at the 2014 Cyclocross National Championships, along with more than a hundred other junior competitors of all age groups, showed some true grit and skill, giving a promising glimpse into the future of cyclocross here in the US.
So what does one of the youngest National Champions in the sport ride? Haley’s race winning rig is built around a Redline Bicycles’ Conquest Team Scandium frame.
Seattle-based Redline Bicycles has traditionally offered a wide range of frame sizes to accommodate racers of all age groups, and Haley’s build takes advantage of the sizing options that Redline offered on its 2008-2009 Conquest Team. Production sizes ranged from 60cm all the way down to 44cm.
Paul Haley’s Redline Conquest Team Scanduim cyclocross bike. © Cyclocross Magazine
Not that long ago, most cyclocross bikes didn’t come turn-key, but were cobbled together with elbow grease and take-off road parts that tricked their way down to cyclocross machines. Many of the pros still hand select parts to suit their tastes and needs. Haley’s Redline is no exception. While Redline did offer the Conquest Team as a complete bike, Haley’s build boasts some carefully thought-out, albeit “mixed” componentry, likely gathered from Dad or friends.
Redline’s stock fork has been swapped out in favor of a Ritchey WCS Carbon cyclocross fork with full carbon steerer. Another critical upgrade comes from the classic Mavic Helium Wheelset. First introduced in 1996, this was Mavic’s first complete ultralight tubular wheelset coming in at around 1550g, which set the benchmark for pre-built tubular race wheels and arguably started the high-end, pre-built wheel market. There was a time when most of the top cyclocross pros were using Helium wheels, and nearly twenty years later these wheels still show up time to time on the race course, as is evident here.
Mavic’s Helium wheels set the bench mark for pre-built lightweight tubulars when they came out in 1996. © Cyclocross Magazine
Tire choice is one of the hottest debated topics among ’crossers, with many running different front and rear treads. Haley is no different. Haley’s front tire is an ever popular Challenge Grifo while a Schwalbe Racing Ralph tubular gives some extra bite in the rear. Ultegra 6600 shifters provide the controls, but with a single chainring setup, the left side shift cable and housing isn’t necessary. A long cage Ultegra 6700 rear derailleur takes up the chain slack when shifting across the 10-speed cassette.
SRAM has been making news lately with its 1×11 cyclocross-specific setup that was used by Ryan Trebon and Elle Anderson at Nationals, but the single front ring and wide range cassette combo has been around for quite a while. Haley’s bike uses a tried-and-true way to ensure the chain won’t jump the front ring, with the 34 tooth FSA Pro Road chainring sandwiched snugly between two BBG bashguards.
Left: With a single front ring setup there was no need to run a cable from the left shifter. © Cyclocross Magazine Right: Bashguards sandwich the single chainring to ensure it stays in place. © Cyclocross Magazine
Haley (or his support crew) knows the value of correct tire pressure. When we felt his tubular tires, they felt nearly flat. But at nine-years-old, Haley doesn’t weigh much and could ride tubulars (Challenge Grifo front, Schwalbe Racing Ralph rear) at what felt like 13 psi to our calibrated fingers.
Braking is done by Tektro CR720 cantilever brakes. Haley also has top mounted Tektro brake levers for additional hand positioning and control, while a Thompson Elite x4 mountain stem brings the handlebars in a bit. A Bontrager seatpost and Cannondale racing saddle finish off the ride.
Haley’s winning ride is a prime example of what many cyclocross racers already know. You don’t have to break the bank to build up a race-worthy bike, especially for young racers starting out in the sport. For more about options for kid’s cyclocross bikes, check out our article, Kid-Friendly in Issue 23 where we look at what goes in to making a mini-bike for your toddler all the way up through your intrepid Junior racer.
Could Haley be the next Redline-riding junior after Logan Owen to dominate the the Junior ranks for nearly a decade? That’s a lot of pressure, but his future looks bright, and he has the potential to one-up Owen because he started his National Championship career with a win (Owen finished second in his debut in 2004).
- Frame: Redline Conquest Team Scandium
- Fork: Ritchey WCS full carbon cyclocross fork
- Tires: Challenge Grifo (front), Schwalbe Racing Ralph (rear)
- Wheels: Mavic Helium
- Crankset: FSA
- Chainrings: FSA Pro Road 34 tooth
- Shifters / Brake Levers: Shimano Ultegra 6600 with Tektro RL781 inline levers
- Rear Derailleur: Shimano Ultegra 6700 (long cage)
- Cassette: Shimano 12-27
- Brakes: Tektro 720
- Stem: Thompson Elite x4
- Pedals: Time ATAC
- Saddle: Cannondale Synapse
- Seatpost: Bontrager zero offset
For more information visit http://redlinebicycles.com/bike/cyclocross/.