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Pro bikes, November 27, 2008

Heather Irmiger's Subaru-Gary Fisher Gary Fisher Presidio

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Photo ©: James Huang

Extending the season

By James Huang

Fisher builds the frame with True Temper OX Platinum tubing.
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Bontrager's Race Lite VR bar
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SRAM's Rival group is one of the best around for 'cross.
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Irmiger's Rival crankset is fitted with just a single 39T chainring.
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A Third Eye Chain Watcher
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Familiar Crankbrothers Eggbeater 4Ti pedals
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Subaru-Gary Fisher pro cross-country rider Heather Irmiger typically doesn't have much energy remaining after the long season to seriously tackle 'cross but this year's early finish - she skipped the last UCI World Cup round in Schladming, Austria - left the 29-year-old Boulder, Colorado resident with a little more fitness and determination than usual.

"I almost always do the local Boulder cyclo-cross workouts and a few local events in November," said Irmiger, "but I mostly hide out to protect my pride."

Team sponsor Gary Fisher has supplied Irmiger with a new race rig this season, the Presidio, to replace her now-defunct Lemond Poprad. However, keen eyes will notice a strong resemblance between the two beneath the paint and, indeed, they are practially carbon copies of each other with the same TIG-welded True Temper OX Platinum steel construction, identical dropouts and cable routing, and apparently even the same geometry as before.

Even so, Irmiger's bike is markedly lighter than her old steed thanks to a higher-end spec. Last season's aluminum fork has been upgraded to a carbon unit, and the aging Shimano bits have been traded in for SRAM Rival - technically the entry-level road group from the Chicago company but still nearly on-par performance-wise with the top-end Red package.

Like many 'cross racers, Irmiger prefers a single chainring up front for its lighter weight and generally greater reliability, especially in bad weather. "In general, anything in a 'cross race that might require an easier gear is a run-up anyway," she said.

Rolling stock is provided by Bontrager Race X Lite aluminum tubulars and Tufo Flexus tires which provide a little extra bite for the region's typically hardpacked course conditions. The rest of the rig is filled out with an assortment of other Bontrager gear, Cane Creek cantilever brakes and top-mount levers, and Irmiger's tried-and-true Crankbrothers Eggbeater 4Ti pedals. Total weight is a reasonable - though not particularly feathery - 8.19kg (18.06lb).

Some of Irmiger's setup is decidedly more unusual though the differences should perhaps come as no surprise given her mountain bike roots. Irmiger runs a gargantuan 46cm-wide (c-c) handlebar despite her petite build and runs sizeable washers behind the pedal spindles to increase the stance width.

"I've had some issues with a shoulder/elbow injury and narrow bars seem to really irritate the problem," said Irmiger. "It's a bit ridiculous looking but I find the wider my handlebars, the less pain I get in my elbow.

"I use the long spindle Crankbrothers pedals on my mountain bike which is already wider than [how] most people run their pedal stance. I had a knee injury in the past and find the wider stance is better for my knee and hips for pedaling. [It's] just a personal fit thing. Overall, I like to have all my bikes set up similarly to my mountain bike position. Since road/'cross bottom brackets are a bit narrower than my mountain bike set up, I like to put the washer in there to get all my bikes as close to my race bike as possible."

That pride has been pretty well protected this year but it hasn't exactly been through hiding. True, Irmiger has shied away from the bigger national series races such as the USGP but given the unusually high level of base fitness in the Colorado area, they're still not exactly easy. Over five weekends of competition, Irmiger has finished no worse than fifth in ten races and has posted two wins.

Tired or not, it seems that Irmiger's competitive tendencies still shine through regardless of what kind of bike she's on.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com

Full specification

Frame: Gary Fisher Presidio, 49cm
Fork: Bontrager Satellite Plus Cantilever

Critical measurements
Rider's height: 1.63m (5 '4") ; Weight: 52kg (115lb)
Seat tube length, c-c: 492mm
Seat tube length, c-t: 520mm
Top tube length: 525mm
Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 666mm
Saddle nose tip to C of bars: 470mm
C of front hub to top of bars: 583mm

Front brake: Cane Creek SCX-5
Rear brake: Cane Creek SCX-5
Brake levers: SRAM Rival DoubleTap with Cane Creek Crosstop top-mounts
Shift levers: SRAM Rival DoubleTap
Front derailleur: n/a
Rear derailleur: SRAM Rival
Cassette: SRAM OG-1070, 11-26T
Chain: SRAM PC-1050
Crankset: SRAM Rival OCT, 170mm, 39T w/ Salsa Crossing Guard
Bottom bracket: SRAM GXP


Wheelset: Bontrager Race X Lite tubular
Tyres: Tufo Flexus tubular, 32mm

Bars: Bontrager Race Lite VR, 46cm (c-c)
Stem: Bontrager Race X Lite, 80mm x -7°
Headset: Cane Creek 110
Tape/grip: Bontrager cork

Pedals: Crankbrothers Eggbeater 4Ti
Seat post: Bontrager Race XXX Lite
Saddle: Bontrager Inform RL
Bottle cages: n/a
Computer: n/a
Other accessories: Third Eye Chain Watcher

Total bike weight: 8.19kg (18.06lb)