Jesse Carlsson's Curve Belgie Disc and Pack List for Trans Am Bike Race

 Zero mechanicals, Zero failures, Zero complaints (about the bike) - Many have enquired and many more are curious. What exactly did Jesse use for the Trans America Bike Race in 2015? Here is every detail regarding his build, his apparel and his equipment accompanied by a note about it.

Bike Build Specs

  • Frame - Curve Belgie Disc Ti size Large - The only modification was a third cage mount under the down tube.
  • Fork - ENVE Road disc 2.0 Tapered - Performed flawlessly as usual.
  • Drive Train - Shimano DA9070 DI2 - We ran external wiring with an internal battery mounted outboard. This allowed quick and easy replacement, repair or diagnosis of any faults that may have arisen.
  • Cranks - THM Carbones Clavicula M3 - 175mm, 30mm Spindle. Compact spider. Light, look amazing and are light
  • Chainrings - Praxis Works - Round Compact 50/34. Shift well (When installed correctly), wear well.
  • Cassette - Shimano Ultegra 6800 11sp, 11-28t. Wear well. Wide range. Reliable.
  • Chain - Shimano Ultegra 6800 11sp. See above
  • BB - THM Carbones - BSA 68mm threaded cups for 30mm Spindle. German made goodness. Developed a tiny bit of play, but still spin freely and smoothly.
  • Handle Bars - Haero Carbon H-380 - The lightest Tri-Bar we could find. More German made goodness.
  • Stem - Bontrager RXL - Was supposed to be a Thomson 4X but time ran out on us.
  • Brakes - Shimano R785 DI2 Road Disc Hydro Shifter/Brake system. Absolutely flawless!
  • Wheel Hub - Front - SP-Dynamo SD-8, 24H, 6-Bolt Disc. SP reliability. The best functioning, best value Dyno hubs on the market.
  • Wheel Hub - Rear - DT Swiss 240s, 28H, 6-Bolt Disc, 11sp. One of the most reliable hubs ever. That is all.
  • Wheel Rims - Curve 50mm x 23mm Full Carbon Disc adapted. Using the standard 50mm rim mould we remove excess material and treatments from the rim brake track.
  • Wheel Spokes - DT Swiss AeroLite, J-Bend - 2x all over. They are light and they work well.
  • Wheel Nipples - Sapim Secure Lock 14mm Alloy, Built with Sapim round brass nipple washers. Super reliable nipples. Love them!
  • Rotors - JetBlack 140mm 6-Bolt Super Light steel
  • Tyres - Continental Gran Prix 700 x 25 - Swapped out to Continental GP 4 Season 700 x 25 at Newton Bike Shop after over 2500 trouble free miles (4025km's) Incredibly never had a flat. Filled with SPEX sealant by OzRiders. Aussie made tyre sealant.
  • Tubes - Continental 60mm valve.
  • Rim Tape - Foss adhesive wrap on. Foss products are great.
  • Headset - Hope Type 2 Integral Top cup and Hope Type H External Bottom cup - Hope run a double seal design and is best for keeping bad things out.
  • Seat Post - Tune Schwarez Stuck 27.2 x 350mm - Light but totally usable on a daily bike.
  • Saddle - Tune Speedneedle Alcantara - Looks horrible for the backside but once settled in is comfy.
  • Pedals - Shimano DA9000 - Reliable, and the cleats and almost walking friendly.
  • Bartape - Lizard Skins - DSP 3.2mm tape. Aside from a tiny bit of wear on the right side it looks hardly worn.
  • Cages - Seat post - Arundel. Down tube - Lezyne with integrated pump holder. Seat tube - Zefal
  • Front Lights - Dyno Light from K-Lite mounted to side of head-tube. Exposure Diablo mounted to helmet
  • Rear Lights - Lezyne Femto Drive Rear LED Light, Skully on helmet and a third rechargeable rear light bought in Portland attached to bag strapped to seat post
  • Computer - Garmin E-Trex 30 with US Topo 100k maps on SD card
  • Bidons - Two SiS 1L bottles 

Riding Apparel

  • Shoes - Rapha Climber's Shoes
  • Jersey - Rapha Brevet
  • Base Layer - Rapha Merino Base Layer (sleeveless)
  • Knicks - Rapha Classic Bib Short
  • Shorts - Rapha Touring Short - Coz touring not aerobics
  • Socks - Rapha Brevet
  • Arm Warmers & Knee Warmers - Rapha merino
  • Gloves - Rapha Pro Team Mitts (short finger)
  • Glove liners - Rapha Merino
  • Rain Gloves - Gore Bike Wear Men's Road Cycling Gore-Tex Gloves
  • Wind / Spray Jacket - Ultra-light Pertex Montane jacket that packs down to nothing. No longer made.
  • Rain Jacket & Pants - Zpacks breathable Cuben Fiber (customised for better fit for cycling)
  • Helmet - Kask Mojito
  • Glasses - Oakley Jawbone (prescription). Transition lenses which work in all light conditions
  • Buff - Possibly Jesse's most loved piece of equipment. He lost his before the start and made a new one from the arm of a t-shirt the night before the race started 

Other Equipment

  • Safety - SPOT device, Fluoro ankle straps (helps with rain-pants too), high-vis tape stuck to seat-stays and other points on the bike, rear-vision mirror attached to glasses, marine safety whistle, chlorine tablets for emergency water treatment
  • Pump - Lezyne Road Drive. Wrapped with insulation tape and cloth tape (for emergency repair)
  • Sleeping mat - 5mm closed-cell foam mat, cut to size. Super light.
  • Insulation Layer -  HAGLOFS L.I.M Barrier Pro Hood Men's Jacket. Synthetic ultra-light hooded jacket
  • Beanie - Zpacks Micro-fleece
  • Bivvy - SOL emergency bivvy
  • Bike Bags - Revelate Designs mountain feed bags (x2) and gas tank bag. A Jannd saddle bag was added at the last minute in Portland to allow faster access to certain tools, tubes and vitamins
  • Dry Bags - SeaToSummit 4L and 2L dry bags. The larger bag attached to seat post with a stretched Arundel Stainless Steel Bottle Cage and some velcro straps. The smaller was attached to the aerobars with velcro straps. Smaller bags could have been used, but extra room allowed for storage of additional supplies if needed
  • Tools & Spares - Lezyne multi-tool, Leatherman Squirt PS4, separate loose 4 and 5mm Allen keys (to access difficult spots), Lezyne glueless patches, some cable ties of various lengths, spare chain ring bolt, a few spare bolts of various lengths (eg for seat collar, head stem), two tyre levers (sized to all tighten crank tensioning bolt), spare spoke of each length (nipples and nipple washers), bottle of Dri-Flo lube, cut-down toothbrush to clean chain / cassette, small rag to clean excess lube from chain, FibreFix emergency spoke replacement, valve extenders (x2), valve core remover, chain quick-link, presta valve converter
  • Electronics -  iPhone 5 (photos, videos, alarm clock, music and back-up navigation / route notes / elevation profiles), headphones, Sinewave Reactor for charging via USB from dynamo hub (died in the heat earlier on. Jesse needed to revert to using wall chargers), spare USB charge packs / batteries, Di2 wall charger, wall charger with two USB outputs, charging cables (USB to mini-USB, USB to micro-USB, USB to iPhone 5, Exposure Diablo charging cable), spare batteries (AAA for SPOT, AA for eTrex 30, 2032 batteries for Lezyne rear light)   
  • Rear Light - Cygolite Hotshot SL
  •  Personal Care - Sunscreen, lip balm, hand sanitiser, Neosporin antibiotic creme with anesthetic, Ibuprofen, Naproxen, Vitamins (multi-vitamin, iron, magnesium, ginseng), Caffeine + vitamin B tablets, toilet paper in zip-lock bag, tooth brush and tooth paste.
  • Other - credit cards (two of them), driver license, passport, cash in zip-lock bag (ensuring good supply of dollar bills and quarters for vending machine use), elevation profiles & route cues (printed)

Other interesting facts

  • Jesse has never owned road shoes / pedals before this race. His first ride on road pedals was only three weeks out while trying to break in a pair of Rapha Climbers shoes using borrowed pedals.
  • Not one flat tyre for 7,000kms - Thanks Continental.
  • One hiccup occurred early on just before the race. In the final rush before departure, the small chain-ring was installed backwards, affecting shifting. A last minute check-over from the guys at River City Cycles in Portland Oregon spotted the problem and they rectified it just in time.
  • Custom elbow pads were made out of closed-cell foam pads and velcro. These were shaped using woodworking tools from my home workshop.
  • Jesse is very particular with cleat positioning. The stock hole drillings on the soles of the Rapha Climbers shoes do not allow the cleats to be moved far enough back for Jesse's preferred position. After a quick consultation with Raoul Luescher of LuescherTeknik regarding carbon sole modification, then a bit of trial and error in house, Jesse called upon engineer friend Carl Maroney to fabricate some cleat hole plate adjusters from 3mm Titanium plate. As with all of Carl's work, the adapters worked perfectly

Bike Build Credits

Steve Varga - Curve Cycling

Mike Finlay - Bike Force Docklands

Shoe plate mods

Carl Maroney

Electrical work

Francis Iezzi - Electricity Works 




Steve Varga
Steve Varga

Author



11 Comments

Jesse Carlsson
Jesse Carlsson

July 06, 2015

Hi Rod,
I think the bike weighed about 8kg without bags, food or bottles (but with aerobars, cages, pedals and mounts).
The guys at Newton Bike Shop said it was about 28lb (12.7kg) all packed and loaded. That excluded bottles, I think, but would have included a few hundred grams of food.
Cheers,
Jesse

Rod
Rod

July 06, 2015

What did the bike weigh – with and without the gear bags?

Jesse Carlsson
Jesse Carlsson

July 06, 2015

Hi Dave,
I’ve used the eTrex 30 for a number of years now. I like that it runs from easily replaceable AA batteries (or from an external power source via a dynamo hub), doesn’t use a touch screen and is a lot more robust than the cycling specific Garmin models (well, everything to come out since the Edge 705 which was amazingly reliable). It has some nice functions compared with the eTrex 10 and 20. I like the elevation profile function – you can set up your map so that the top portion of the screen shows the upcoming elevation profile on the track that you’re following. Very handy when you want to see how much longer the pain is going to last on a climb!
Cheers,
Jesse

Dave Graham
Dave Graham

July 06, 2015

Hi Curvers, why did Jesse choose to use the Garmin E-Trex 30?

Jesse Carlsson
Jesse Carlsson

July 06, 2015

Hi UpDave,

Thanks for the queries!

The position on the bike was built around the aero bars. I like a pretty forward position as it is. With the bars I chose (which had integrated aero extensions) I needed a 100mm stem to get the right position on the aero bars. This meant that I had a pretty upright position when on the hoods, which was fine for touring. The stem would’ve been different had I used conventional bars that could have been independently adjusted – this would’ve been sensible but I opted for a much lighter solution.

The cage on the seat post was a stretched Arundel bidon cage attached to the post with seatpost collars which had threaded M5 holes. I got these from Fitzroy Revolution. They had a few of them in stock from when their riders took on the Crocodile Trophy and Tour of Mongolia and needed extra bottle cage attachment points. I made sure the lower clamping point was in the clamping zone of the super light post. The upper mount was lightly bolted on the thinner carbon. The dry bag was strapped to the post with cheap velcro straps.

To be honest the jersey didn’t smell all that bad at the finish. My Mrs and Steve (at Curve) can vouch for this. I know everyone says this about themselves, but I’m not a terribly smelly person. If you take care of the basics of personal hygiene in bathrooms along the way the smell really isn’t too bad. Merino really is magic stuff, the anti-smell qualities of the fabric is not just marketing crap, it’s real. The surprising thing is that even with merino blends with only 30 – 40% merino, the anti-smell property can still be maintained.

Regarding recovery – I think it’s the toughest part of the whole process. I had some sickness along the way which meant I started burning through muscle pretty early. This means you finish these things incredibly fit / efficient but very weak. It’ll take a while to regain my strength and while that’s happening the fitness will fade. About a week and a half after the race I had my first sleep longer than 4 hours and only now am I getting into the sore and lethargic phase. Mentally it’s pretty tough too – endorphins are charging through your body for a couple of weeks and suddenly it stops. I imagine it’s kind of like a drug comedown too! You really need to let yourself off the hook for a while after these things – I think that helps with the mental aspect of recovery.

UpDave
UpDave

July 06, 2015

Awesome build and set up. Just curious. Looks like you have a shortish stem, zero setback post and saddle all the way forward on the rails… could you ridden a smaller frame? Or do you have abnormally short femurs? Also, what is that “cage” on your post holding the dry bag?

On a personal note, how bad did that Rapha jersey smell at the end? As in, when approaching you, at what distance would the olfactory alarm go off?

Finally, how are you feeling now? Would you be on some banging form if you get back on the bike now and add some intensity? Or did it cost you way more than that?

Jesse Carlsson
Jesse Carlsson

July 06, 2015

Hey Rick,
I wanted to try a full road set-up. The Rapha Climber’s shoes are very light and allow for a very lightweight pedal + shoe combo. The light colour and ventilation appealed to me as well (I was expecting hot conditions). They performed well (and my feet seemed to like them) on the few test rides I did before the event so I went ahead with them. The fall-back was to revert to MTB shoes with SPD pedals which was a much, much heavier option but far more durable. The road cleats are definitely not built for touring – they get smashed up very quickly. I had to change cleats at Newton after about 4,000km.
Cheers,
Jesse

Rick Harker
Rick Harker

July 06, 2015

Shoes. Since road shoes were never used before, why choose to use them for a huge race?

Al bishop
Al bishop

July 06, 2015

That is one awesome, tricked out bike, that performed just as well. Thanks for sharing.

Alee Denham
Alee Denham

July 04, 2015

Such a dialled setup!

Grace
Grace

July 04, 2015

Utter awesomeness!

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