Last time we checked in with Tobin Ortenblad, he had just been taken out of the running for Louisville Nationals by a broken collarbone. Six months later, Ortenblad returned to the Lost and Found Gravel Grinder with another freshly broken collarbone. Some guys get all the breaks, even if Rod Stewart probably didn’t mean it that way.
Ortenblad has attended the California gravel race every year since it began in 2014, and this year, he was looking to defend his 2018 title after getting cleared to race despite his injury.
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Last year, Ortenblad got his win on his trusty Santa Cruz Stigmata, and since then, the company has released a redesigned Stigmata and Ortenblad has changed some of his equipment.
We caught up with him after his sprint finish—and record-setting third victory—over Carl Decker to see his new bike and ask him what’s new for his upcoming cyclocross season. Take a closer look in this gravel bike profile.
Tobin Ortenblad’s Lost and Found Santa Cruz Stigmata
For 2019, Ortenblad will continue to race with his own program supported by Santa Cruz and Donkey Label. Earlier this year a new, more gravelly Stigmata made its debut, and Ortenblad will be using the new platform for the coming cyclocross season.
The frame has undergone a drastic redesign since we looked at the previous design at Lost and Found, becoming slacker, lower and gaining clearance for oversize tires such as the 42mm Gravel Grinders Ortenblad was sporting.
“It seems like they managed to make it fit massive tires without manipulating the geometry too much,” Ortenblad told Cyclocross Magazine, “I’m really excited about that.”
Along with a new Stigmata frame, Ortenblad unveiled his new tire sponsor. “Two weeks ago I switched to Challenge, and I’m really stoked,” he said. For gravel, Ortenblad is using the new Gravel Grinder TLR 42mm tubeless tires on Zipp 303 wheels, which appeared to measure wider than the claimed 42mm.
Despite initial concerns about mud with what amounts to an oversize file tread, he was ultimately pleased with the tire’s performance. “It was actually surprising how well they gripped.”
Also relatively new for Ortenblad are Time ATAC pedals, a switch from his old Crankbrothers Candy pedals he made before last cyclocross season. “They feel a bit more positive, like once you’re clipped in you really feel like you’re, you know, in,” Ortenblad said after riding them for 100 miles of Lost and Found gravel.
Continuing from years past is SRAM as a component sponsor, which supplied Zipp cockpit components, tubeless Zipp 303 carbon wheels and a Quarq power meter along with SRAM drivetrain components.
While Ortenblad will be using Force AXS components this fall, he chose to run a 1x Force mechanical group for Lost and Found. “I wanted to run 1x; it was just what was around,” he told Cyclocross Magazine. “For ’cross we’ll be on AXS.”
Ortenblad chose gearing after a pre-ride of the course. He initially intended to run a 46t chain ring with a 10-42t XD cassette, but after pre-riding, he dropped to a 44t ring as it allowed him to reduce cross-chaining in the extreme end of the cassette. “I felt like I was in the 42 [cog] a lot,” he said.
The final factor was the long, paved descent into the finish. “I kind of concluded that even if I had a 46×10, it was still faster to sit on your top tube and tuck than it was to try and spin it out.”
One thing we have seen Ortenblad do in the past is prepare for his ride by making note of the climbs and feed zones. He did the same again this year, putting a list on his top tube.
His bike also brought home a healthy dose of mud from the high Sierras ride.
For a closer look at Ortenblad’s new Stigmata, see the photo gallery and specs below.
For more from the Sierras, see all of our coverage of the 2019 Lost and Found Gravel Grinder.