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AS: Hi Nick! Can you tell us what type of rider you are?

NL: I ride road, gravel, and MTB, but concentrate on gravel events and races. The first gravel event I signed up for was Unbound in 2020. Unfortunately, the 2020 edition was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic but I think it was a blessing in disguise. It gave me another year to build my engine and I placed 64th overall in 2021. After that I’ve been hooked. The events have a nice festival-esque atmosphere, take you to interesting locations, and I like the mass start aspect. I want to lineup to test myself against the fastest riders.

AS: When did you start riding bikes?

NL: Like many I started riding bikes around 3 or 4 years old. I still have a vivid image of my red Schwinn Gremlin in my head and remember wearing my brothers hockey pads as protection the first time I rode without training wheels. Bikes offered me my first bit of freedom as I got older. Many of our friends lived 7+ miles away and parents weren’t always available to drive us so bikes were our mode of summer transportation. We would ride MTB on ATV trails, build dirt jumps (I was never very good), and just ride bikes for fun. We didn’t have races or organized programs available to us. I first started to join group rides when I moved to CT in 2013, started my first CRCA race in 2017, and first gravel event in 2021.

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AS: Where do you ride?

NL: I live in Fairfield so my favorite road routes head north towards Bethel and I’ll do some longer rides over to Titicus. For gravel I like to drive 30-50 minutes and start in Roxbury, Kent, or Bedford. We really have some fantastic riding in CT and NY.

AS: You recently built an ENVE Melee with us, why did you choose this bike?

NL: While I focus on gravel events most of my training is solo on the road bike. I want to travel quick, be comfortable, and have a bike that handles well. The ENVE Melee ticks all the boxes: great geometry, builds up light, nice tire clearance, with aero features. It looks fantastic to boot.

Check out Nick's ENVE Melee here

AS: How was your experience with Signature when building your ENVE?

NL: The build process with Signature Cycles was very thorough. We started with a 2-hour fitting session where Abraham checked body mechanics, strength, flexibility, and looked for imbalances. We started with my existing fit, tested a couple saddles, different bar widths, and made fine tuning adjustments. I then rode this fit on an existing bike to let my body adapt and guarantee I would be comfortable.

Once the fit was locked we started the build process. I spent time with Juan going through each component and then Andres and Santiago did a wonderful job assembling this rocket ship. I’m very grateful to be working with Abraham, Ruedi, and the Signature Cycles team in 2023 and am looking forward to logging many miles on my Melee.

AS: What was your favorite ride of 2022?

NL: My favorite ride of 2022 was Unbound Gravel. I went into the race with great fitness, confidence in my strategy, and big expectations. I lined up just outside the Pro staging area and found friendly wheels for the first 16 miles of racing until I had a near catastrophic mechanical. A rock kicked up into my front wheel, hit and broke the hub flange, so I had 2 loose spokes. It took me five minutes to sort out how I was going to get going again (I simply wrapped the loose spokes around the nearest working spoke). At this points I was probably 2 miles from the front of the race that was barreling down the road at 23+ mph and I was getting passed by many groups.

I thought I would jump in a group, work with them, and try to make our way forward. But at this time the groups were already settling in and going backwards so I quickly made the decision I had to do the work to go forwards.

I set out on my own, bridging from group to group, never sitting in, just going straight through them. For 2 hours after my mechanical I normalized 325 watts until I hit the front of a group and I couldn’t see anyone else up the road. We had a solid 5 riders and we traded pulls all the way into aid station 1 where I stopped for less than 2 minutes.

My quick stop paid off as I caught a larger group that stayed together for the next 82 miles to aid station 2. I rolled out with a group of 5 and we quickly hit the mud section with 33 miles to go. I was second out of that sector and spent the next hour chasing my compatriot but finally caught him 10 minutes before we were stopped at a train crossing. We rode the rest of the race together and I won the sprint for 50th overall and 4th amateur. I was blown away with my effort, I was still racing at mile 195, not just surviving. To place 50th in that field was an amazing feeling and perfect culmination of all the work, the time, the pain, the planning. It just felt great.

AS: What are your cycling plans for 2023?

NL: In 2023 I am looking to lineup at a number of gravel races and podium “the best of the rest”. I have Natchaug Epic, BWR SD, Rasputitsa, Unbound, and Vermont Overland on the calendar. Locally I want to keep growing our group rides on the road, gravel, and mountain bikes trails with RAD Cycling Collective.

AS: Can you tell us about the RAD Cycling Collective

NL: I started to develop the idea of RAD during the summer of 2021 as I was focusing on long gravel races. I was loosely associated with an NYC road focused team but I wanted a team that fit my interests. At the same time I realized I had a lot of bike friends but they were split into separate groups (e.g. experienced road, beginner road, gravel, and mountain biking) without much overlap or cross pollination. It was a shame to have so many people that liked riding but that didn't know each other.

With both of these issues looking for a solution, RAD Cycling Collective was born. RAD stands for Ride All Day which is what many of these gravel races are. My first Unbound was around 13 hours. The RAD name is also a bit silly and playful which is what riding should be. Some groups and recurring rides can seem very serious or intimidating to newer or unconfident riders but we want to be an inviting collective of riders.

I raced under the RAD name and had some great finishes. 50th at Unbound, 26th at Gravel Locos, 23rd in LeadBoat (racing Leadville 100 and SBTGRVL Black Course back-to-back), and 11th at Vermont Overland. We had others represent RAD at events like BWR SD and Vermont Overland. I think we will have some organic growth and see more RAD kits at other events this year. I lead training rides to help others prep for their big events and I'll keep that going this year. I am going to put together an informal endurance camp as prep for BWR SD and invite others on the training journey.

Here is RAD's mission statement:
RAD Cycling Collective is here to have fun and share the stoke of riding bikes. Whether you live to Ride, Race, or Rip All Day, or you are just starting your bike journey, you belong here. All riders, all disciplines.

Our goal is to build a greater cycling community by hosting social and training group rides throughout the season. We want to bring new riders into the fold and get current riders to try new disciplines. Rides will include road, gravel, and mountain biking. we're a try-surface group and encourage riding bikes of all kinds, as our community grows, so will our variety.

AS: We're lucky to have Nick in our ever growing community, make sure you say hi on our next group ride!

Unbound 2022


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