How do you take an epic mountain bike race like the Leadville Trail 100 and make completing it something truly amazing? Do it on a beautiful wood cyclocross bike made by Connor Wood Bicycles. That’s exactly what endurance athlete Robert Brudenell just did. He did it with undeniable style while defying perceptions and demonstrating the incredible resilience of wood bicycles in the harshest of racing conditions.
2015 Leadville 100 Wood Cyclocross Bike Triumph
The epic Leadville Trail 100 is seen as one of the world’s most prestigious and grueling endurance mountain bike races. It covers 100 miles starting at over 10,000 feet of elevation and has a combined vertical gain of approximately 13,000 feet. Completing this race is a testament to grit and dedication to the sport of cycling. However, some people like to turn up the dial a little more and add new challenges. One of those people is Robert Brudenell, a Colorado endurance athlete who completed this year’s mountain bike race on a wood *cyclocross* bike.
Robert Brudenell, who raced the Leadville 100 in 2013 on a Connor wood mountain bike is no stranger to riding wood bicycles. This year he wanted to attempt something no one else has ever done before and was eager to ride the race on his new wooden Connor Axehandle cyclocross bike. Cyclocross and gravel bikes are like a road bike only meant to be tough enough for both on- and off-road riding and racing. Typically they are not run in true mountain biking conditions, but this wood bike built by Denver’s Chris Connor is a little special.
The Axehandle Cyclocros bike ridden by Robert is an amazing creation which is as strong as it is beautiful. Made of urban reclaimed black walnut and ash wood trees from Denver, it is hollow, reinforced with Kevlar and carbon fiber. This makes it lightweight but incredibly strong. Best of all though, the wood has a natural ability to absorb bumps and vibrations making for a super smooth and non-fatiguing ride. These qualities, coupled with super lightweight carbon fiber wheels, fat 40mm knobby tires, carbon fiber fork, front and rear through axles, disc brakes and a wide-range gear system make it well suited for a race such as Leadville where even dedicated mountain bikes are put to the ultimate test.
Once again, Robert ground out the race and rode the bike though the finish. This is seen as an incredible achievement both of the rider and the steed. Often people don’t believe that a wood bicycle can be ridden at all, that they are fragile or meant to be treated with kid gloves, however this race is yet another example of how a well designed wood bicycle can endure the toughest of conditions and provide an amazing riding experience. Well done Robert, who can now celebrate another world’s first and the satisfaction of doing something truly amazing.