Racing a World Cup in the USA brings out the animal in Chris Blevins (Specialized Factory Racing). Last year the short track World champion rocketed to a beyond-convincing win in the Men’s Elite Olympic Cross County.
The race and key moves
Blevins was similarly calm but aggressive for the short track at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Snowshoe. The World Champ played it cool and stayed with the lead group most of the race, avoiding a crash by current XCO World Champion Nino Schurter.
In the final lap, Belvins tactically moved from the fourth wheel to the third and used a heavy muddy sector of the trail to attack the group and move to the second wheel.
Cool, collected, and explosive, Blevins popped out from the draft of Vlad Dascalu and secured the second win for the USA of the short track weekend. The crowd erupted similarly to his win last year, but this time Blevins was adorned with the unmistakable rainbow stripes of the World Champion.
An Epic ride and Epic conditions
The course was muddy but tacking up by the time men toed the start line. Blevins opted for the S-Works Epic he claimed victory on last season but with some slight changes in tires and saddle.
We saw some Specilided riders on course riding prototype Specialized Storm tires that look like a wider version of the Dugast Ernest but with broader side coverage.
The 29 x 2.1 tire looked a good option for the women’s race but slightly overkill for the men’s conditions.
Belvins opted for the newer, more aggressive version of the Specialized Fast Track 2.3. The tires looked to have cleared mud and had enough bite to keep him slip-free on the attack through the heavier mud sectors.
His Specialized S-Works Epic is pretty much stock — we watched the mechanics build it for the race. The only difference is a custom-tuned Rock Shox Brain cartridge that the team gets with a slightly firmer lockout.
The tires, seat, and wheels (bearings included) are all stock you can purchase, with nothing super-secret behind-the-scenes tuning. Though, the custom World Champion “Champ” paint scheme might add a few hundred watts…
Tech Specs: Chris Blevins World Champion S-Work Epic:
- Frame: Specialized S-Works Epic FACT 12m Carbon
- Fork: RockShox SID SL Ultimate Brain (Custom Tune)
- Shock: RockShox-Specialized Brain
- Handlebar: S-Works Carbon XC
- Stem: S-Works SL
- Grips: Specialized Trail Grips
- Drivetrain: SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS, CeramicSpeed Pulley Wheels
- Brakes: SRAM Level Ultimate
- Pedals: HT
- Post: Specialized Carbon
- Wheels: Roval Control SL,
- Tires: Specialized Fast Track Control
Stay tuned for more UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Bike Checks and behind-the-scenes content.