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Cannondale, Heather Jackson’s bike sponsor, has a new aero frame named the Slice RS, but Jackson is still racing the original Slice at the Wildflower Long Course Triathlon. She just received her new frame and hasn’t had enough time to acclimate before this event. As a result, she is on the frame Chrissie Wellington rode to multiple IM world titles, the original Slice covered with a unique paint scheme.
A Zipp VukaBull basebar with a 40mm drop from stem clamp to the brake grip is paired with the Vuka Alumina clip-ons and Zipp’s up-turned carbon extensions. Jackson has her extensions configured in the lowest possible position, with the extensions clamped below the basebar.
There isn’t a single bottle cage on Jackson’s bike. Instead, she has a Speedfil Standard mounted to her frame. A hose runs from the 40-ounce refillable tank up and around her aerobars and sits directly in front of Jackson’s face while she rides. It’s zip-tied to her rear brake housing for stability. A bite valve allows her to suck off the straw without lifting her hands from the bars. With just 40oz on her bike, Jackson will be fairly dependent on aid stations during the ride to stay hydrated.
Wildflower is famous for one long, steady climb called Nasty Grade, but’s its unrelenting terrain is really what makes the classic course so difficult. Easy climbing gears are a necessity. Jackson is riding with a very large 55/40 chainring combination and a much more uphill-friendly RAM Red 11-28 cassette.
Wheels and tires
In addition to the unrelenting slopes, Wildflower’s pavement is extremely rough. Almost none of the road is smooth and it’s littered with potholes and small ledges. Tire selection and pressure is key to navigating the ride. Pump them up too high or select tires that are too narrow and they will bounce roughly across the road. Run them without enough pressure and pinch flats are likely. Jackson rides a Zipp Firecrest 404/808 Carbon Clincher wheelset with 23c Zipp Tangente Tires. While the tires are average in width, her Zipp Firecrest rims are quite broad, which effectively makes the tire bigger by spreading the bead hooks wider than most wheels.
SRAM Red 10-speed components are spec’d on Jackson’s Slice. The Chicago-based component manufacturer just released 11-speed parts last month, and Jackson hasn’t yet made the switch. She is riding Look Keo Blade Aero pedals, which have a little carbon fairing covering the pedal body.
She wisely has an in-line barrel adjuster between her left shifter and front derailleur to help dial her chainring shift performance. The rear derailleur has one built in, but the front requires this often overlooked widget.
Jackson relies on a SRM power meter paired to a SRM Power Control VII computer.
The defending Wildflower champ sits on an ISM Adamo Podium with a custom covering featuring the motto of Vermont, her home state.
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