Thierry's Victoire Virage
Thierry's Victoire Virage
Each bike makes in our workshop is unique. It is the result of a long discussion between its future owner and us, to create a product that perfectly fits his needs. This step is crucial and it is always challenging for us to start a project from scratch to meet perfeclty our customer's demands. Each person has different needs, a different pratice and his own morphology. That's why we are convinced that a tailor-made bicycle is the most advanced tool for a cyclist.
An atypical cyclist
Thierry Saint-Léger illustrates perfectly these words. Maybe you already have heard about him. This ultra-distance specialist has achieved last summer a ride across the Alps on a fixed gear: 596 km, 12481m of elevation in 53h. A start from Evian and a finish in Nice, after having climbed 12 cols. The list is impressive: Janbaz, Colombière, Aravis, Saisies, Madeleine, Glandon, Croix de Fer, Télégraphe, Galibier, Izoard, Vars and Cîme de la Bonette.
It was not the first achievement by Thierry. He rides for 17 years on fixed gear, and 25 years on ultra-distance. It is John Spurgeon who inspired him. This American has achieved in 2007 the Race Across America (RAAM).
It would be too long to talk about every Thierry's achievment but we can mention his project in the footsteps of Charles Terront, the first winner of Paris - Brest - Paris in 1891 and one of the first reknown French cyclist : Marseille – Paris in 48h in 2011, Rome – Paris in 116h in 2012, many 24h trials and four Paris – Brest – Paris including two on fixed gear (42x17), achieved respectively in 80h and 78h, without support. He also plans to ride from St Petersbourg to Paris, a 3000 km trip achieved in 1893 by Terront after 14 days and 7 hours.
Why a Victoire?
The Victoire story has started in 2011 by fixed gear hubs. These products, the lightest on the market, are quickly become the references for fixie riders and Thierry has got some of them. He has then discovered that we build bespoke bikes and he has especially liked the Virage made for Luc Royer from Chilkoot. Convinced by the quality of our products, he wanted to highlight the French savoir-faire on the different 2016 trials.
You might get it, Thierry likes solo effort, and despite riding thousands of kilometers, he regards more his bike as a tool than an advanced race machine. We quickly get it when we start to talk about the specification, as Julien explains:
When I asked to Thierry how he imagined his future Victoire, the answer was simple: "Black". Like a paint does not define a bike, we had to go further. Thanks to the fitting, we realized that his saddle height was 4 cm too high than the theorical setting. When I asked to him if he did not have any pain, he answered me "having some affinities with pain". Our fitting bike enabled to show him that thanks to an improve position, he could ride further and faster. These new settings were then approved by Thierry on his previous bike.
Thierry wanted a reactive bike ,with a better comfort than his previous alumium one. The frame was designed with this objective. Thierry is very tall, so we chose a top tube and a down tube from the Columbus HSS range, to improve stiffness. The chainstays are from the Columbus Zona range whereas the seatstays come from the Life one. A little detail specific to a custom production, Thierry asked for additional water bottle bosses on the right seatstay to carry an extra tubular on a custom cage made by a friend of him.
Even if his bike is a fixed gear, the geometry is closer to a road bike, with smoother angle and longer chainstays than a track one, to improve the comfort during long rides.
To match the frame, we selected a Columbus FEL carbon fork, that enables to mount a front brake. Thierry rides most of the time on a 42x17 ratio, driven by a Sram Omnium crankset. For the wheels, he is loyal to Mavic for a long time. He is grateful to the French brand since they support him during the Traversée des Alpes (wheels, apparels and support car). He has a special configuraiton with Cosmic 40C wheels and Ellipse hubs. We also laced him an other wheelset with the same rims and Victoire Supersprint hubs. At last, he rides a Gilles Berthoud Galibier leather saddle.
The upcoming projects
Thierry's Virage is dedicated to ride thousands of kilometers. One of his objective this year is to total at the end of October 100 000 Km on a fixed gear for five years. There are 12 000 Km left to reach this goal.
For this he gets a busy schedule: 24h on Castellet track at the end on May, then the BTR2016 by Chilkoot to join Barcelona from Vézelay by the cathedrals, directly followed by the 180 Km route of the Ardéchoise the same week. After that will come in July the Tour du Mont-Blanc, 330 km for an elevation of 8000m, and the "1200" trial: a 1200 km round trip from Tours, by the Massif Central. For the last part of the season, Thierry will ride the 24h of Le Mans and two other Chilkoot events: Cuneo Monaco Classico and the Tour du Vaucluse Historique.
Thierry picked-up his bike last wednesday, and he had already ridden 800 Km at the beginning of the week. He probably has reach 1000 Km since. With an improved position, he climbs better on his Virage. He already loves the style of his bike and he says he is proud to ride a Victoire. Thierry, we are also proud and honored to follow you in your future adventures.