Welcome to the January 1st, Mid-Week Report!
BIKE OF THE WEEK: HALEY ROAD DISC
The Haley Race Disc is a frame with road race geometry. Oversized Ti tube set makes it feel right under power and torque matched to an Enve Carbon road fork. Internal routing, flat mount disc brakes, and room for 32’s ensure its a modern ti offering. For $4000 you get a fully painted frameset with masked logos and a painted to match fork, Mavic Speed Release front thru-axle, Shimano or DT rear thru-axle, and a Thomson seat clamp. Custom geometry available at no upcharge.
WHAT IS BOB ROLL
I’ve known Bob Roll since 1992. It all started when the home phone rang on an otherwise forgettable night while I was sitting at the computer. On the other end was Yeti Cycles founder John Parker and he was calling from a bar in Durango. Colorado. “Hey, Zippy, I got someone who wants to talk to you.”
“Hello?” came a deep, gravely voice that I didn’t recognize. “Is this Zap? This is Bob Roll.”
To say that I was struck by a moment of silence would be an understatement. While I of course knew who Bob was from his notoriety as a road man on the 7-Eleven team, it came as an utterly odd moment to be on a cold call with an American cycling icon who was a total stranger. At the time, I was also aware that he had recently made the jump to mountain biking as the one man team to facilitate one of Greg LeMond’s earlier attempts at starting a bike company.
For about ten minutes “Bobke” and I stammered along making akward small talk as if it was a blind date. Soon enough, he handed the phone back to Parker who I balled out for setting me up with the former 7-Eleven star.
Eventually, when the season’s NORBA National series kicked-off I finally met Bob and we became fast friends. I’ve been smitten ever since. From finding ourselves lost trying to navigate the streets of Berlin trying to find the World Cup course (a highlight coming that night when we watched Bobke try to chase down some German street walkers so as to introduce pro rider (and Colorado native) Tammy Jacques to a world she knew nothing of, to the night at his dinner table in Durango when I tried to look like I was enjoying a heaping portion of pasta a funghi (even though I hated mushrooms), we’ve been spirit brothers ever since.
In the many years to come, Bobke spent close to a decade racing mountain bikes on the NORBA National circuit with largely abysmal results. Built large with a larger than life personality, Bobke had as much finesse in the dirt as Hulk Hogan in a china shop. Compared to XC beanpoles like Ned Overend and Thomas Frischknecht, Bobke was big and bullish on the bike, but fiercely competitive. When LeMond lost interest in owning a bike brand, Bob would go on to snag rides with Pro-Flex, SoftRide and Litespeed. Thankfully, what he may have lacked in podium results, the one thing that Bob Roll didn’t lack was a personality.
Over the years we’ve shared many adventures…I still remember the time we went for a ride when he was in town for business and had a free afternoon. We borrowed a bike from a local shop and, sans any proper bike gear – he rode with a pair of high-end Bruno Maglia shoes – he tooled me up some climbs and dropped me on the descent – in short, he still had it!
Little did any of us know then just how well his outspoken character would come to serve not just him, but also the millions of cycling fans around the world who would flock to their TV screens each July. A wordsmith like few others, Bob’s penchant for anecdote and prose keeps me glued to the set.
BEST 2020 ROAD AND GRAVEL BIKES
Of all the things we can properly boast about at Road Bike Action it’s that no one else rides and reviews as many road and gravel bikes as we do. From the odd birds to the team replicas, the number and variety of drop bar bikes that pass through the vaunted halls of the RBA office is at times overwhelming…but oh so awesome!
As such, each year for the last decade we’ve rolled into each new year by first heralding the best bikes we tested from the previous year. Below you’ll find the contenders that ranked highest with RBA editors and test riders. As we sit here just hours from beginning a new decade, we are already looking at a stable of new bikes that we think you will want to know about. Stay tuned for more to come!
GRAN FONDO HINCAPIE 2020: MARCH 28 AND MAY 2
After two successful fondos earlier this year in Greenville South Carolina and Boise, Idaho Gran Fondo Hicapie has two more events lined up for 2020. Join a host of current and former pro riders on the roads of Fort Worth, Texas and Chattanooga, Tennessee on March 28 and May 2 2020.
2020 DIRTY KANZA REGISTRATION DETAILS
2020, here we come! Mark you calendars for the 15th annual Garmin Dirty Kanza on May 30, 2020. Thank you for making this year’s race one of the best ever.
The random selection process for the 2020 race will open on January 6 through January 19. Selections will then be made on or before January 27.
THE RIFT ICELAND JULY 25, 2020
The Rift is a gravel race through the dark lava fields in the highlands of Iceland – taking place on the tectonic split between North America and Eurasia. An ever-growing battlefield that grows an inch every year.
The battlefield sculpted by volcanic eruptions is vast, rugged and unpredictable – making the Rift a challenge of endurance, mental fortitude and most likely the bare elements. And in the end – a gravel battle between the continents!
The course starts out of a small town along the southern coast called Hvolsvöllur. This incredible shoreline stretches from the greater Reykjavík area in the west to the magnificent Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon in the east. It is lined with countless natural wonders such as cascading waterfalls, black sand beaches, glaciers and volcanos – circumnavigating one of the most active volcanos on the island, Hekla.