Sarah Sturm is best known for her mountain biking and cyclocross racing—we saw her win Singlespeed Nationals in Louisville aboard her TenSpeed Hero Specialized CruX last December—but this summer, Sturm has been embracing the groad less traveled.
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Sturm rode a Roubaix road bike at BWR, but at Lost and Found, she went full gravel send on the company’s Diverge frameset. It wasn’t Sturm’s first groadeo on the Diverge—her Specialized x Rocket Espresso Gravel Team had her ride it at the Sea Otter Criterium, which she also won.
“Ha! Yeah, it’s funny, I do think about that sometimes. I mean when you have 100-plus miles, you think about a lot,” Sturm said about her crit experience. “It is a very capable bike, especially when you ride it in the context it was designed for, but it’s proven to hold its own in other settings now too.”
The Diverge proved Send-It Certified for Sturm once again, helping her to a second-place finish at the 2019 Lost and Found. We put on our sunglasses and looked at her hot pink bike after the race for this Lost and Found bike profile.
Sarah Sturm’s Lost and Found Specialized Diverge Gravel Bike
While the Tenspeed Hero paint is notably lacking, Sturm’s bike remained loud with a vibrant pink paint job. Although women’s models are available, Sturm rode an almost stock men’s Diverge Expert. With Sturm on a 48cm frame, the phrase “shrink it and pink it” applied to a men’s bike in this case.
Unlike the S-Works builds of Alison Tetrick and Olivia Dillon, Sturm’s Diverge is built using a more basic 9r carbon recipe, but it still features the same Open Road geometry and Future Shock found on the top shelf build.
Specialized has been at the forefront of adding compliance to its bikes, and in the case of the Future Shock, Sturm has found it to be a nice addition during Lost and Found.
“There was a moment around Mile 70 where my team manager and I were riding together and just in the hurt locker,” Sturm explained. “I looked over to him and all I said was, ‘Thank god for this Future Shock!’ We were both so throttled and everything was fatigued when you’ve been on dirt roads for that long and pushing yourself, so any bit of relief from the bumps and relentless chattering you’re stoked about.”
The Diverge Expert is built with a SRAM Force 1 transmission, which is right at home for Sturm, considering she used the same on her CruX for Elite Nationals in Louisville. Unlike her CruX, however, the Diverge features a Zayante Carbon crankset from Praxis, set up with the stock direct-mount 40t chain ring. As with her CruX, Sturm used Shimano M8000 SPD pedals.
“I’m used to it from mountain biking, and I like the simplicity of it,” Sturm said about her 1x setup. “It was perfect for the climbs, and I didn’t notice it holding me back on the descents until one of the last road sections where I was a bit spun out, but it wasn’t for very long. Plus, my legs needed the recovery.”
Wheels are Specialized’s own Roval C38, a new, tubeless-ready wheelset with a new rim design and DT Swiss 350 hubs, which come stock on the Diverge Expert. Sturm did change tires from the stock Sawtooth to Specialized’s new Pathfinder tire which features a smooth center line and the more aggressive shoulder lugs also found on the Tracer. Sturm opted for the 700c x 42mm width and ran the tires at 34psi in the front and 36psi in the rear.
“Tire choice was the question for the weeks leading up to the race,” Sturm said. “I knew I wanted the burly TPI of the Pathfinder—the course was rocky enough for flats to be an issue. I also really love the Pathfinder for the descents. That’s where you can really gain or lose the race, so I wanted the confidence in my tires going down those roads.”
“More than the question of the Pathfinder, I had some back and forward trying to decide between the 38s and the 42s,” Sturm continued. “I chatted with my teammate, Cody Kaiser, about it a lot and ultimately decided to go with the bigger tires for additional cush over the rocky 100 miles. Even though I was super nervous about the rear clearance. ”
The cockpit is where most of Sturm’s customization took place. Sturm swapped the 12-degree flared version of the Hover Bar for a more traditional Specialized Aerofly Carbon. “No flare for me!” Sturm exclaimed.
A new bar meant new tape, and Sturm selected a color-matched option from Supacaz.
To get the right fit, she installed an S-Works stem, which features Ti hardware. While she chose to keep the stock CG-R seatpost, she did install Specialized’s new Power Mimic saddle in place of the stock Phenom.
Accessories were present but limited. Sturm used Specialized Rib Cage II bottle cages and mounted the SWAT (Storage, Water, Air, Tools) Road Tool to allow for easy access to a multi-tool. She also installed a SWAT Road Bandit, a saddle-mounted spool which allows for storage of a tube, CO2 canister, regulator and a SWAT tire lever.
The only non-Specialized accessories were Sturm’s Garmin Edge 510, which was mounted with a pink anodized K-Edge out-front mount.
For more on Sturm’s pink Specialized Diverge, 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.