Rolf Prima announces multi-year partnership with Race Across America (RAAM), naming Rolf Prima the Official Wheel for The World’s Toughest Bicycle Race. Now in its 37th year, RAAM will once again bring riders from across the globe to compete in the coast-to-coast World Championship of Ultra-Cycling. Rolf Prima, industry leader in innovation and performance, has been on the cutting edge of bicycle wheel systems for the last 20 years. The partnership will highlight Rolf Prima’s road wheels, several of which were used by the Rolf Prima team in 2016 RAAM, including the Ares6, Eos3, and Vigor models.
“The diversity in product lines and handmade craftsmanship that goes into each wheelset are just a couple of the things that we found really attractive about working with Rolf Prima,” said Fred Boethling, CEO/President of RAAM. “Also, the fact that the Rolf Prima Team raced RAAM and the products have been tested and proven to be star performers during the race. We are excited to help Rolf Prima bring their superior products to the ultra-cycling market.”
Brian Roddy, owner and president of Rolf Prima, saw the demands firsthand in 2016 when he led a team on the iconic 3,000-mile race. His team ran a variety of Rolf Prima’s wheels charging hills, bombing descents and rallying through the gravel strewn gutters dodging traffic.
“It was clear that RAAM is a race where everything must work, and work well. There is no down time to fix your bike. I love this type of event — you bring your A-game and the best gear and you get after it. That’s what makes RAAM such a great fit for us because it highlights the strength of our wheels. They have to be light, fast, and reliable — that’s us.” -Brian Roddy, Rolf Prima Owner
Having brought rim production to our Oregon facility in 2014, Astral expands into traditionally laced rims making the quality, craftsmanship, and ingenuity that Rolf Prima has long been known for available for all types of builds.
“When we made the investment to bring rim production to Oregon, we got immediate inquiries if we could make rims for other companies, but we were too busy building for the Rolf Prima line. Now that we have our feet under us, we are at the point where we can expand beyond making rims just for our own wheel systems.” said Brian Roddy, owner of Rolf Prima and Astral Cycling. “Over the last 20 years building Rolf Prima wheel systems we’ve found there to be a lot of inherent benefits with paired spokes, but we know not everyone wants a pre-built wheel system and some prefer to build it their own way. We’ve already done the engineering to make great rims and now we can share those rims for all wheel builds."
Astral is powered by the same team from Rolf Prima in Eugene, Oregon. Benefiting from years of knowledge, Astral’s rims are derived from the engineering and testing used by Rolf Prima. Rims will be available in traditional lacing patterns and will come in a variety of spoke hole configurations. Astral's line of rims include those for road, road plus, tandem, touring, cyclocross, gravel, adventure riding, cross-country, and all-mountain conditions.
Visit AstralCycling.com for more!
Since breaking into the triathlon scene in 2015, Nikki Bartlett has quickly made a name for herself as a rising star in the sport. Just two years after going Pro, Bartlett already had her eyes on the Ironman World Championship and after a hard fought summer of races, she gained enough points to earn her to ticket to Kona.
We recently caught up with Nikki and talked about her training routine, life as a full-time triathlete, and why she rides Rolf Prima wheels.
Rolf Prima: Most triathletes tend have a background in running, cycling, or swimming - but I read that you initially had a rowing background. How did your transition to triathlon come about?
Nikki Bartlett: You're right - I came initially from a rowing background into the sport. However I didn't start rowing until I went to University. I used to do a bit of track running. But by no means was I 'talented' at it. I mainly did it to socialize and be around a fab bunch of people. I loved all sports at school, pretty good to county level but nothing beyond that. Jack of all trades, master of none so to speak ;)
However during my rowing career I went through a couple of years suffering from rib stress fractures, and a friend said she had signed up for a Half Ironman. I thought it was mental, so I tried it out - then I was hooked. I still rowed, did a full Ironman for charity, but eventually the rib stress fractures won, and I chose to start doing some Age Group Triathlon in 2012.
RP: Having done particularly well this season, is there anything you've done differently this year as far as training or other race-preparations go?
NB: I would say the mileage and intensity has gone up somewhat, as we only trained for 70.3 [races] in 2016. But really we've focused on consistency in training. And making sure we don't go over that very fine line. Luckily I have a very good coach to monitor that. We had a very good winter training period, which given that I've had a really interrupted season of niggles and illness, we've got a great base to fall back on.
We've done a lot of specific work on the bike to wattage created from my FTP scores. It's been the first full season I've done training to power, and I've noticed a massive difference with my performance on the bike. Going into Ironman is completely different - 70.3 I feel like it's full gas mode the whole time. But Ironman requires more careful planning.
RP: As someone who is a full time athlete, what does your typical day look like? Is it all training all the time? Whats does a "leisure day" look like for you (if that exists at all)?
NB: I'm not going to lie, when I'm in big blocks of training, training does take all day. If you're full time you really do need to master the recovery part. That's the biggest difference being full time - being able to maximize recovery between sessions. If I don't, I can feel the effects on the next session for sure. I have a little dog too, she's more like a human dog if I'm honest. She loves to sleep (in a human bed) more than walking, so she makes me sit and chill.
There's never a 'typical' training day. But if I took tomorrow for instance - I have a hard turbo session, some heat chamber prep, short sharp swim set and treadmill set. So once you've added In walking Titch (my dog), your day is pretty much over!
RP: What is your go-to wheel choice for race day? Why ride Rolf Prima in general?
My choice is Ares 6, and Rolf Prima Disc. They run so smoothly and it's been a pleasure riding the wheels this year. My first ever Disc wheel and the sound is beautiful. Once it's up and running full speed, it's fast!
The spoke design on the Rolfs are beautiful and oh they're fast. Fastest wheels I've been on. My coach (Rob Cheetham) is specific on the gear I ride. And I can tell why Rolf is up there on one of the fastest wheel sets on the market. Few spokes and super lightweight they feel a lot faster than any other wheel I've ridden on. Plus, the few spokes help make these wheels look absolutely beautiful. I'm looking forward to more fastest bike splits next season on them.
RP: What does next year / the future look like for you?
NB: I really do feel like I'm at he beginning of my career in the sport. Which is extremely exciting, and feel like we are only just tapping into my potential. I do have high aspirations within the sport. But I do feel it's extremely important to appreciate your path / journey and always celebrate the small baby steps in your progression as an athlete. It's so easy to finish a race and always want more. But you have to really be proud of your achievements and steps in the right direction. It's been a great two years as a Pro, and I'm thrilled beyond words to have qualified for Kona (in my first year attempting to qualify). But I'm very aware there's no quick fix or shortcuts to the top. So I'm fully committed to being a full time athlete for many years to come, progressing slowly towards my long term goals. I'm extremely lucky to be supported by a fast, beautiful set of Rolf Primas. Wheels are one of the best investments you can make and I highly recommend the Ares 6 and Disc wheel, it will certainly boost your bike split in the right direction. They're also an eye turner, people are always fascinated by the look of the spokes. They're handmade and you can custom make your own design. From the rim and hubs to decals, which is hot on the eye but also easy to spot whilst your bike is in transition too!
There's no arguing that balanced nutrition and being in tune with your body is key when it comes to racing (or even casual riding). Here are some helpful Pro Tips on keeping yourself in top shape so you too can end up on top of the podium!
Gina Crawford - Pro Triathlete
"Help prevent injuries by getting a muscle balance assessment done. This helps assess your weaknesses and pin point areas to work on. Then you can have a gym program put together which will strengthen those weaknesses. In my case I found I had particularly weak glutes and hips, this was leading to niggles in the ankles and lower legs. Now I continually work on these areas and have not had any niggles since!"
"If you do get an injury or niggle don't just patch it up. Work out what has caused it, there is always a reason. If you have lower leg problems the problem most likely comes from weak hips/glutes so if you just rest and wait for it to come right it will continue to happen unless you find the root of the issue."
Emily Cocks - Pro Triathlete
"Plan your meals and don’t delay eating (real food!) after a workout. Pack your breakfast, lunch, etc. Organization and planning is key. Sports nutrition is meant for training. Don’t eat it when you are not training. Consume real food!“
"Hydration is one of the biggest contributors to feeling fatigued. Drink! Practice this! You need more than you think you do. And hydration begins the day before the race!"
Kate Bevilaqua - Pro Triathlete
"Yes....Swim with your race kit under your wet suit! Lycra doesn't hold water, it will dry quickly once you are on the run and save you lots of time in transition! However well you dry your feet after the swim, they will still be damp, which makes putting socks and shoes on difficult. To help get your feet into your footwear, sprinkle talcum powder into your socks and shoes and you’ll save time struggling in the triathlon transitions."
"Avoid using new equipment on race day (unless it is an emergency!!)“
Gina Crawford - Pro Triathlete
"I think the run is where you can lose or gain the most time. It is also the last discipline and how you are likely to remember your race. If you are doing your first Ironman then make sure you get to the start of the run in the best possible shape. I see the bike as just a means from getting from the swim exit to the run start. This is the place where you hydrate and eat so that you can get to the run without being hungry, weak and dehydrated. There are many that go far too fast on the bike and pay for it later on the run. If many people are going by you on the bike and you are feeling inadequate then try to stick to your own pace, it is likely that you will see these people again on the run most likely walking. If you get caught up in going a pace too fast for you, often you will forget your nutrition and hydration plan and once you get onto the run it is very hard to re-hydrate."
Donald Reeb - Elite Cyclocross / Triathlete
"Spray and Wash, and I can't emphasize this enough. Cyclocross is rough enough on your clothes, but add to it the fact that for some twisted and misunderstood reason white has become a popular color recently. Without Spray and Wash you're doomed to a brown, stained mess."
Gina Crawford - Pro Triathlete
"I only recently had a really good bike setup done and it took minutes off my bike time. I highly recommend spending the time to professionally put yourself in the ideal position for comfort and aerodynamics. What I found from doing this is that I could get through the bike in less time with less effort and in better condition to do a faster run."
Emily Cocks - Pro Triathlete
"Carry a multi-tool. They make ones that are very light in terms of weight. Keep it with your flat changing gear.“
"A dollar bill makes a great boot if you have a sidewall blowout."
Over the years, we've worked with a variety of athletes from across the world and from all cycling disciplines. For most of these race junkies, being a professional athlete is a full-time job, so who better to lend us some helpful tips than the pros themselves. Each installment of "Pro Tips" will focus on something new. On the docket today - Training and Racing.
Chris Boudreaux - Coach & Former Pro Triathlete
"Be very focused in training...cover all your bases, analyze, try to be perfect. But when you get to the race, you have to let it all go and just accept the day. It's a very tough balance, but the best advice I have."
"Warm-up! Run, sprint, use stretch cords, etc...so many people do zero warm-up, then jump in the water and go. Leads to panic, anxiety, plus you just won't perform as well."
"No matter what level, take your wife/spouse/SO's events or activities as serious as yours. Watch the kids, schedule massages, etc... If your family gets support from you for their interests, you'll get more support for your racing."
Tristan Schouten - Pro Mountain / Cyclocross / Road
"Stay consistent with training and focus on efforts more than volume. I train a lot through the winter months and do not worry about the volume of my training, since it's nearly impossible to do 15+ hr weeks consistently. I focus on intensity and consistency to keep the training stress score high and then work on some endurance when it allows if it's even needed. For most of us, if you are doing consistent rides of 1.5hrs -2hrs with some sort of interval workout inside that time frame 2-3 days a week, unless you are doing 5hr road races on the weekend, you will have more than enough fitness for most types of events and this type of training can easily be done inside during the fall/winter months for cross on a trainer."
Guy Crawford - Pro Triathlete
"The day before a race I close my eyes and for 60-secs "I go through my entire race." So I pretend I'm on the start line and I mental note everything I need. Swim cap, goggles, wetsuit, tri suit, anti-chaft, race belt, and timing band.
Then I go through this into T1... Bike, Helmet, glasses, water bottles, salt tablets, gels, cycling shoes, rubber band for shoes.
Then once again for T2... Running shoes, hat , salt and small flask filled with gels. Once I get to the end, I check that's what I laid out in front of me, pack it and put it at the front door ready for race morning when the brain is functionalist sub optimally."
Kate Bevilaqua - Pro Triathlete
"Study the course....it is to your advantage to know exactly where you are going! Don't use the excuse "oh..but there will be lots of people in front of me to follow!"
"Try and get a good quality sleep 2 nights before the race. This is the one that counts! I never sleep much the night before a race, maybe 2 - 3 hours if I am lucky! But if I have had a good 8+ hours 2 nights before then I know I am still good to go!“
"HAVE FUN!!! That is why we do it in the first place!“
Abby Geurink - Pro Triathlete
"Recovery is just as important as the training. When you are newer to the sport-this statement can often become "over-looked". I have learned recovery is extremely critical! Learning the hard way is no fun either. One thing that has been helpful for me to ward off injuries and to be sure I am getting proper recovery has been to do weekly "check-ins" with myself. I look back through the week and note the intensity of training, other outside stress (work, family-life), and how I have done with recovery tasks such as rolling out with a foam roller. Then, I also realize what demands might be coming up in the next week with training and life to help me know if I am in need of any adjustments. It is a balancing act and learning to listen to the body to know when to make adjustments. You want to always be pushing that "red-line", but that push will only come if recovery is part of your plan.“
After months of design, prototypes, and testing we've finally unveiled our newest addition to the Rolf Prima wheels family: The Black Rock. Built with more aggresive and hard-hitting trail riding in mind, the Black Rock pairs a wider (33.5mm) profile carbon rim with our proven paired spoke design to bring you a truly rugged wheel set, without sacrificing weight.
With a name inspired by one of our local world-class mountain biking trail systems, we had no choice but to bring these new wheels out get acquainted with their namesake dirt jumps. So we enlisted the help of Vaughn Cash, local trail ripper and friend of Rolf Prima, to "model" our shiny new wheels for us.
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