Not only is Chris Lieto the fastest cyclist in triathlon, he’s also one of the most detail-oriented when it comes to his bike setup. His Trek Speed Concept 9-Series is full of modifications and, unlike most pros who shudder at the thought of tuning their bike before a big race, Lieto finished gluing a new tubular tire to the disc in his hotel room just before these photos were shot. After gluing the Bontrager Race X Lite Pro to his disc, Lieto proceeded to swap his standard training hydration and nutrition equipment—round bottles on the frame—for his race setup.
Lieto is racing his 2011 Kona bike, painted in honor of his charity More Than Sport. It is still equipped with the SRAM Red components he raced last year, but those will be stripped off after this race in favor of parts from Campagnolo, Lieto’s new sponsor for 2012. Those new parts will be installed to a new all-black frame.
Lieto rides a Fizik Arione road saddle, not the Arione Tri 2 triathlon-specific version. Although he uses a rear offset saddle clamp, the saddle is actually further forward than he used to ride. He moved it forward last summer and elected to keep this new position. The frame was spotlessly clean, but Lieto was a bit perturbed by the sticker remnants left on the seatpost from Ironman Hawaii. Not sufficiently bothered, however, to spend an hour cleaning the post rather than surfing, he said.
After calculating his fluid and caloric needs for this unique race distance, Lieto attached his home-cooked hydration systems. He replaced his round frame bottle cages with a Bontrager aero bottle on the seat tube and installed another aero bottle between his aerobar extensions. Using two rivet nuts mounted to his integrated aluminum stem, Lieto, who designed the modifications himself, attached the vertical bottle between his extensions. The bottle comes with a standard nipple to drink from, but Lieto leaves this bottle fixed to his bike so he created a straw system. He drilled several holes in the lid so he can drink from it without removing the bottle from the stem-mounted cage. One hole is used for refills. Lieto uses a sink drain plug to keep this opening sealed between fill-ups. The second hole is for the straw he drinks from. A zip tie used to leash the sink plug to the bottle threads through the final hole. A small FuelBelt gel flask is also mounted above the stem.
His other unique hydration piece is attached to the Arione saddle. Lieto drilled two holes in the saddle’s plastic underside. A zip tie passes through each hole and through the arms of the Bontrager carbon bottle cage. Two more ties fix the bottom of the cage to his saddle. Lieto found that the cage itself didn’t secure the bottle sufficiently, so he created a bridge connecting both sides of the cage to keep the bottle firmly in place.
Bontrager’s new Aeolus D3 5 tubular front wheel is on Lieto’s bike, but Bontrager didn’t create a disc as part of their new race wheel line. Instead, Lieto is racing a disc that is a collaboration between Hed Cycling and Bontrager. Hed has produced disc wheels for years by bonding a cover to a standard spoked wheel instead of creating a solid foam-core disc, and this wheel follows that model. Hed’s Stinger disc uses a cover bonded to a deep-rim Stinger 9, but Lieto’s disc uses a cover from the brake tracks mimicking that shape—bulbous below the rim then lenticular to the hub. The structural wheel under the cover is a Bontrager Race XXX Lite tubular. Hed designed a special cover for this wheel that Lieto says is thinner than the ones used on Hed wheels.
Instead of racing in Bontrager’s Hilo triathlon shoes, Lieto opts for the RXXXL Limited Edition Road shoes. These shoes have a three-strap Velcro closure system.