Cyclocross

Gravel Bike: Tobin Ortenblad’s New Santa Cruz Stigmata from Lost and Found – Cyclocross Magazine

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.

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 2019 Lost and Found-winning Santa Cruz Stigmata. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

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.

Lots of mud and tire clearance on the new Stigmata. Tobin Ortenblad’s 2019 Lost and Found-winning Santa Cruz Stigmata. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

“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.”

The new Stigmata is designed with clearance for larger tires such as Ortenblad’s 42mm Gravel Grinders. Tobin Ortenblad’s 2019 Lost and Found-winning Santa Cruz Stigmata. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

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.”

Ortenblad used Challenge’s new 42mm Gravel Grinder TLR tubeless tire on Zipp 303 wheels. They appeared substantially larger than advertised. Tobin Ortenblad’s 2019 Lost and Found-winning Santa Cruz Stigmata. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

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.

Time pedals are new to Ortenblad as of last cyclocross season. He previously used Crankbrothers Candy pedals. Tobin Ortenblad’s 2019 Lost and Found-winning Santa Cruz Stigmata. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

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.

Zipp SL Speed helped steer Ortenblad to his third win. Tobin Ortenblad’s 2019 Lost and Found-winning Santa Cruz Stigmata. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

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 has been testing a 2x AXS eTap group but opted for a 1x mechanical on race day. Tobin Ortenblad’s 2019 Lost and Found-winning Santa Cruz Stigmata. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

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.”

Ortenblad obsessed over his chain ring size, but after a pre-ride, figured a 44t was better than a 46t to reduce cross-chaining. He also found tucking faster than pedaling on the descent. Tobin Ortenblad’s 2019 Lost and Found-winning Santa Cruz Stigmata. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

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.

Feeds are important on long races, a cue sheet let Ortenblad know when the next one was coming. He stopped at just two, but carried three bottles, leaving one empty until Feed #7. Tobin Ortenblad’s 2019 Lost and Found-winning Santa Cruz Stigmata. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

His bike also brought home a healthy dose of mud from the high Sierras ride.

Ortenblad carried a spare tube, which was caked in mud by the end of the race. Tobin Ortenblad’s 2019 Lost and Found-winning Santa Cruz Stigmata. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

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.

Photo Gallery: Tobin Ortenblad’s Lost and Found Santa Cruz Stigmata