Consider the following numbers: 386km (240mi) and 6,630m (21,760ft). That's how far Trek Racing Co-Op team rider Kelly Magelky rode and how much climbing he did during this past weekend's 24 Hours of Moab, which also served double duty as the 24-Hour US National title race. Though Magelky ultimately wasn't able to catch eventual winner Josh Tostado (Bach Builders), he did push Tostado to his physical – and mental – limits, finishing barely one lap behind and with the confidence moving forward that he can one day win.
Like most elite 24-hour solo riders, Magelky's bike is a decidedly standard machine with none of the fancy ultralight bits typically found on dedicated short-course cross country bikes – durability and reliability are more important over the long haul here, not shaving a few grams. In fact, everyday riders will be comforted to see that the bike is a nearly 100 percent stock Trek Top Fuel 9.8, not the top-end 9.9 SSL.
Though the 9.8 shares all of the 9.9's features and suspension technology – including 100mm of travel, the one-piece magnesium Evo upper link, Active Braking Pivot rear end and carefully tuned Full Floater dynamic shock mounts – the OCLV Black carbon fiber blend (instead of the 9.9's Red series mix) and workhorse Shimano Deore XT componentry (instead of the 9.9's XTR and custom FSA two-ring carbon crankset) obviously add some weight.
Substitutions and upgrades from stock are also few and far between, including a matching Deore XT cassette and Shimano chain, ESI Racer's Edge silicone foam rubber grips, and a faster-rolling Bontrager Revolt Super X rear tire. Magelky has even retained the bigger – and heavier – 180mm-diameter front rotor in spite of his wispy 65.7kg (145lb) weight, if only because he couldn't be bothered to make the switch.
Total weight is a reasonable – but far from superlight – 11.44kg (25.1lb) complete with his requisite spare tube, CO2 canister, rear light, and bottle cages.
But don't think the extra weight slowed him down much: Magelky's 1:03 first lap was the fourth-fastest of all participants – multi-person pro teams included (Tostado was just four hundredths behind) – and the conservative parts pick netted a mechanical-free run throughout the race. And don't forget that that first lap also included Moab's traditional Lemans-style start.
So no, kids, while super tricked out bikes are undoubtedly nice to have, they're clearly not an absolute necessity to go fast.
In addition to the short-course cross-country speed, Magelky's laid-out short-course cross-country position stands in distinct contrast to the more relaxed setups preferred by some of his competition. Though he stands only a moderately tall 1.83m (6' 0"), Magelky rides Trek's largest XL frame size and runs a 120mm-long stem – flipped down.
"I've lengthened out a lot more and my bars are a little lower. I feel like any time my bars are higher I have a lot more pressure on my hands," he said. "My bike is pretty much set up the same way if I did a two-hour cross-country race or a 24-hour race and I've had no issues with my back or anything like that."
According to Magelky, that efficient position is only possible through lots of off-season core work in the gym – a key pointer he picked up from long-time 24-hour veteran Mary Grigson. "She was always an advocate of a lot of core strength," he said. "I would see the difference going to the gym all winter long and then staying on top of the fit ball, especially before 24-hour races. I would realize that I was very comfortable, even 18 hours in."
Magelky's training regime is fairly classic but his race day nutrition is anything but, including virtually everything but typical energy foods. According to the self-employed video producer (whose high-powered clientele includes National Geographic and musical group The Fray), 'normal' grub ruled the day.
"Corn chips, tomato soup, oatmeal – anything that's warm in the middle of the night that can keep your morale up and has good calories and good salt," he admitted. "I drank an Ensure pretty much every other lap, Snickers bars, Kit Kats, gummy bears… you name it. If it was sweet and had sugar and had calories, I was going to eat it. Quick calories but my stomach was 100 percent fine at the end of the race."
Magelky's stomach wasn't the only thing that was fine at the end of the race as he looked surprisingly fresh when he came into the finishing tent for the last time and also maintained fairly consistent lap times to the bitter end. Indeed, Magelky says he's never felt fitter or faster than this year's event and save for two separate instances of light failures during his night laps and a lapse in concentration, one can only wonder what might have been.
Next year, next year. And in the meantime, any lighting companies out there looking to sponsor a promising 24-hour rider? We might know someone.
Complete bike specifications
Frame: Trek Top Fuel 9.8, size XL
Rear shock: Fox Racing Shox RP23
Fork: RockShox SID Race w/ Pushloc remote
Headset: Cane Creek integrated
Stem: Bontrager Race X Lite, 120mm x -7°
Handlebars: Bontrager Race X Lite flat, 620mm
Tape/grips: ESI Racer's Edge
Front brake: Shimano Deore XT hydraulic disc BR-M775 w/ titanium-backed pads and 180mm XTR Center Lock rotor
Rear brake: Shimano Deore XT hydraulic disc BR-M775 w/ titanium-backed pads and 160mm XTR Center Lock rotor
Brake levers: Shimano Deore XT BL-M775
Front derailleur: Shimano Deore XT FD-M771
Rear derailleur: Shimano Deore XT Shadow RD-M772-SGS
Shift levers: Shimano Deore XT Rapidfire Plus SL-M770
Cassette: Shimano Deore XT CS-M770, 11-32T
Chain: Shimano CN-HG73
Crankset: Shimano Deore XT Hollowtech II FC-M770, 175mm, 22/32/44T
Bottom bracket: Shimano Deore XT Hollowtech II FC-M770
Pedals: Shimano XTR PD-M970
Wheelset: Bontrager Race X Lite TLR Disc CL
Front tire: Bontrager Jones XR Tubeless Ready, 26x2.25", 30psi
Rear tire: Bontrager Revolt Super X Tubeless Ready, 26x2.2", 30psi
Saddle: Bontrager Race Lite
Seat post: Bontrager Race XXX Lite
Bottle cages: Bontrager Race X Lite, King Cage stainless
Rider's height: 1.83m (6' 0")
Rider's weight: 65.7kg (145lb)
Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 770mm
Saddle setback (ask mechanic):
Seat tube length, c-t: 375mm
Seat tube length, c-c: 360mm
Tip of saddle nose to C of bars (next to stem): 612mm
Handlebar drop: 35mm
Head tube length: 172mm
Top tube length: 641mm (horizontal)
Total bicycle weight: 11.44kg (25.1lb) w/ tube, CO2 canister, rear light, bottle cages
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