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Going out in style
By Anthony Tan
At the U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross stop in Highland Park, New Jersey, Steve Medcroft caught up with legendary 'cross pro Marc Gullickson, who will end his season and career on a machine that befits a rider of Gully's reputation and caliber: Redline's Conquest Pro Ti.
Recently, Marc Gullickson said that immediately following this month's U.S. Cyclocross Nationals, he will end his cyclocross, mountain bike and road-racing careers and turn his attention to coaching. It is fitting that Gully's career will end with a cyclocross race. No discipline knows him better.. He's won a national championship, the old Super Cup series, been a member of the U.S. world's team six times and, at one point, was the highest-listed American in UCI world cyclocross rankings.
Even into his last season, he's remained competitive, coming second in the first U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross and finishing fifth on the overall series standings. It has been this kind of journeyman's approach to the sport that has earned Gully the respect of competitors, sponsors and fans alike.
We wanted to get a closer look at the bike Gully fought his final season with: a Redline Conquest Pro Ti that, in an ultimate show of loyalty and respect from Redline, carries Gullickson signature on the top tube.
"The Conquest Pro Ti is basically the same geometry Redline's had on the Conquest Pro aluminum for years," Gullickson says about his frame.
"I liked the geometry of the aluminum bike a lot so we didn't alter it for the Ti version. Except that the clearance is a little better - they're able to bend the Ti stays a little more than aluminum to give me better room under the bottom bracket. The bike's not quite as light as the Conquest Pro either, but it's such a nicer ride that it's worth the quarter pound or so of extra weight to me."
For his drivetrain, Gullickson sticks with Shimano Dura Ace 10-speed. "I run a 42 single front ring [unlike may other competitors who use dual front chainrings to maximize gear choices] because it seems like if I have a double front chainring, I end up with one chainring too big and one chainring too small," he says. "One is just simpler. It's cleaner."
As for non-drivetrain components, Gully picked up a sponsorship from carbon-fiber specialist, Full Speed Ahead (FSA) Components. "FSA makes great stuff all the way around." How does FSA's Team Issue carbon crankset hold up to the pounding of cyclocross? "No problems at all," Gullickson says.
Finally, Reynold's Cross Stratus DV wheels help him roll right along. "They're basically road wheels with a few extra spokes," Gullickson says. "They're super light and strong."
One difference in Gully's wheels to those of many of his competitors is that he runs only 30mm tires. "Hutchinson clinchers," he says. You'd think that running a narrower-than-standard tire would call for higher air pressures to stave off pinch flats but Gullickson says he's quite comfortable with "40 pounds of pressure in the rear and 35 in the front." And, "I just check it by feel most of the time," he assures us. I guess you learn a few things after 15 years' racing.
Images by Steve Medcroft
Frame: Redline Conquest Pro Ti
Cranks: FSA Carbon Team Issue
Wheels: Reynolds Cross Stratus DV
Stem: FSA OS-115
Pedals: Crank Brothers Eggbeaters Triple Ti
Total bike weight: 17.5 pounds (approx.)