This weekend, Alex Howes lined up in his first gravel race of the 2020 season, taking on Old Man Winter Rally, a 100km off-road winter epic based in Colorado.
Further blurring the lines in the cyclo-cross vs gravel debate, Howes took to the start line of the snow-covered gravel race aboard Cannondale's race-ready cyclo-cross bike, the SuperX, which features a carbon fibre frame specced with FSA AGX gravel wheels and Vittoria Terreno Dry gravel tyres - although, given the expected weather at the time of shooting, Howes stated he "might be switching to the Terreno Mix, depending on how the roads look".
The weather was the big talking point of the day, and it soon put an end to Howes' prospects, with the Old Man Winter Rally being abandoned due to heavy snow a mere 30 minutes after it began, with US Road Race champion Howes taking to Instagram to jokingly request an Uber, before his compatriot - and off-road rival - Peter Stetina added "old man winter won this one".
Howes' bike is specced largely with FSA components, by virtue of EF Education First's sponsorship agreement with the brand.
Howes told Cyclingnews: "FSA supplies the rings up front paired to a set of 172.5 Cannondale Si cranks. It says 46/36 but there’s really a 34 hidden in there. With the larger tires, a 34/46 measures out like a 36/48. Having the smaller gears is pretty crucial up here at altitude where the engine room is always strapped for power."
The Cycling computer of choice is the Garmin Edge 830, about which Howes added: "I love the Garmin Edge 830. It has full maps and navigational capabilities crucial for the gravel races. Yet it’s compact and relatively lightweight."
Like EF-Education First's road bikes, such as Lachlan Morton's Cannondale SuperSix Evo that we recently photographed, Howes' gears come courtesy of Shimano's Dura-Ace Di2 shifters paired with an Ultegra Di2 rear derailleur, and Dura-Ace up-front. However when it comes to braking, Howes' has opted for Shimano Ultegra calipers paired with SRAM rotors.
As part of the EF Education First alternative calendar, Howes (and newly bald Lachlan Morton) are expected to continue racing off-road throughout 2020, and while this week's race saw Howes on a SuperX, both riders have been known to use the Cannondale Topstone gravel bike, as well as the brand's range of mountain bikes - we'll do our best to get galleries of them all.
Click through the gallery above for a closer look at Alex Howes' Cannondale SuperX
Alex Howes' Cannondale SuperX full bike specifications
Frameset: Cannondale SuperX
Front brake: Shimano Ultegra R8070 Hydraulic Disc caliper
Rear brake: Shimano Ultegra R8070 Hydraulic Disc caliper
Brake/shift levers: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9170 Hydraulic Disc Brake Dual Control Lever
Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9150
Rear derailleur: Shimano Ultegra Di2 R8050
Cassette: Shimano Ultegra R8000 11-34T
Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace
Crankset: Cannondale SI aluminium crankset (172.5mm) with 46/34 FSA chainrings
Bottom bracket: Shimano Dura-Ace
Wheelset: FSA AGX
Bar Tape: Prologo
Tyres: Vittoria Terreno Dry / Vittoria Terreno Mix, 38mm
Handlebars: FSA Energy
Stem: FSA 3D Forged Aluminium
Saddle: Prologo Dimension Tri
Seat post: FSA K-Force Carbon
Bottle cages: Tacx Ciro
Rider height: 1.8m
Bike Weight: 19.2lbs / 8.71kg
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Josh has been with us as Senior Tech Writer since the summer of 2019 and throughout that time he's covered everything from buyer's guides and deals to the latest tech news and reviews. On the bike, Josh has been riding and racing for over 15 years. He started out racing cross country in his teens back when 26-inch wheels and triple chainsets were still mainstream, but he found favour in road racing in his early 20s, racing at a local and national level for Team Tor 2000. He's always keen to get his hands on the newest tech, and while he enjoys a good long road race, he's much more at home in a local criterium.
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