Under clear blue Malibu skies, the Optum Pro Cycling men and women led media, sponsors and partners on a 2 hour coffee ride. The new team intro was not only a showcase of America’s top men’s and women’s cycling teams, but also of their new Diamondback bikes.
For many cyclists, Diamonback has not been the front of mind brand since the early 90s when Susan Demattei and Dave Wiens were racing Diamondback mountain bikes. As of late, Diamondback has reentered the world of racing and is now offering top of the line road bikes, most notably the $10,000 Super Record Podium Equipe.
I had the chance to ride a 50cm Podium Optum spec’d with SRAM Force. The ride was comfortable and the frame felt stiff enough, and it was certainly light enough. I did not have the chance to put the bike through the paces, so to speak, but I would definitely give it a chance.
The women’s team rides the universal fit bike. The unofficial feeling of the women’s team was that the universal frame was a fine fit for women. The 50cm fit me well and with a shorter than normal top tube without the funky raking in the fork, I felt like I was on a pure racing machine built for me.
I had the opportunity to chat with Jade Wilcoxson, Janel Holcomb and Bri (Brianna Walle) during the ride. The thing that struck me the most about this team is their complete humility and down to earth aura. These are real women who have great genetics and happen to be at the top of the road cycling food chain. They even have a desire to try Enduro racing someday, when they “retire”. As a mountain bike Pro, and having been one for what seems like an eternity, I have always found the mountain bike women more approachable, but this team blows that idea out of the water.
When at home in Portland, Bri works at Yakima racks. She commutes by bike daily, and still manages to be a top Pro. It’s inspiring to hear this, as I also commute by bike (most days), and encourage all women to try it. Cycling is a lifestyle, truly.
I came away with total respect for the team, and commend team General Manager Jake Erker on his choice of riders and his well-run team.
Finally, Jade’s custom painted National Champion bike was the most beautiful bike in the pack.
I wish the best of luck to the ladies in 2014 in the spring classics and beyond- and hope to spend more time on the Diamondback Equipe some day.