Last year, when we interviewed our Sales Director, John Ebsen after the Taiwan KOM Challenge, he was adamant that he would not be returning in 2020, having already competed in the event eight times, podiumed at five of those and won three.
Competitiveness and perhaps a little ‘fear of missing out’ got the better of him, however and last week he lined up on a mission to claim his fourth title, this time with some fresh updates to his weapon of choice – the O2 VAM, ensuring every advantage was on his side before the games even began.
The 105km event is arguably the toughest one day race in cycling, starting at sea level in Hualien City on the east coast of Taiwan, then consistently climbing for its entirety – cruelly reaching gradients of up to 27% in the closing 10km. The eventual finish line lies at 3,275 metres, atop the highest road pass in Taiwan.
On October 23rd, John took to the start line in grim, cold and wet conditions. The climbing specialist seemed unphased by the weather, finding himself in a comfortable position at the head of the race from the get-go. Confident in his experience and ability, he went on to take his competitors by surprise with an early attack that saw him impressively ride clear of the elite group of eleven riders, quickly establishing an advantage of over two minutes.
He continued his unstoppable momentum to put in a phenomenal ride, defeating the mountain on a dismal day to cross the line almost 19 minutes ahead of second place, stealing his fourth victory in the process.
Chapeau! What a ride.
What is the secret to success?
Great form, hard work, experience, a bit of grit and determination, and of course – his equipment.
Each year John works with Factor, Black Inc and Ceramic Speed to push the barriers and build an ultra light version of the O2 VAM. This year, he had the added advantage of riding the revised O2 VAM, released in August 2020. The newly improved version features fully integrated internal cabling and updated componentry, perfectly paired with Black Inc TWENTY ultra-lightweight tubular wheels, specifically designed for climbing, weighing in sub 1kg.
The total weight of John’s bike on race day, including pedals and bottle cages was 6.03kg.
It’s all in the details…
Frame: Factor O2 VAM Disc – Gloss/Chrome Edition
Wheelset: Black Inc Twenty – Tubular Wheelset
Tyres: Continental Tubular Tyres Special Edition
Groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace Disc Di2: 52/36, 11/30
Drivetrain: CeramicSpeed UFO Chain & CeramicSpeed OSPW
Power Meter: SRM Power Meter
Pedals: Speed Play Ultra Light
Saddle: Berk Carbon Saddle
Seatpost: Black Inc Zero-Offset Seatpost
Bar/stem: Black Inc Integrated Barstem – Size 38/110
Bar Tape: Factor Bar Tape
Cages: Black Inc Bottle Cages
Extras: Black Inc Computer Mount
Total weight: 6.03kg
Build your own custom specification and our team will work with you to build your dream bike, or shop our standard specifications below.
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