Pro Bike Check: Michael van den Ham chases the gravel on his new giant revolt
While competing in more than a dozen gravel and mountain bike races might seem like a busy summer, it’s nothing compared to Michael van den Ham’s fall cyclocross schedule filled with race goals. national and international. But it’s business as usual for the long-time cyclist.
What East different is its narrower focus on gravel—pushing the limits of the updated Giant Revolt gravel bike before moving on to “cross.”
Although he had just finished the cyclocross season at the World Championships in Arkansas, van den Ham almost immediately turned to gravel – a change that required not only a change of bike, but a major change in strategy. coaching.
Michael’s season started March 12 at MidSouth in Oklahoma (where he finished 18th overall), before heading to Sea Otter and then returning to Canada for Paris in Ancaster, racing almost every weekend during summer. His schedule includes mountain bike racing in Canada, and while he enjoys racing on the trails, he’s also head mountain bike coach with DEVO – the youth branch of the Escape Velocity Cycling Club in Vancouver – for the coming year. Then it’s off to a full season of cyclocross.
“I’m really excited about gravel racing this season,” van den Ham says. “The new Revolt is noticeably lighter, feels a bit snappier without losing stability, has more tire clearance, gives me the option to run a dropper, and has mounts for just about anything I can imagine. It will be just as comfortable racing in MidSouth as riding the technical single track and big FSRs in my backyard in Chilliwack, BC.
“I used to try to set up all my gravel bikes to be as close to my cross bikes as possible, but lately I’ve started going in the complete opposite direction. From my perspective I already have a cross bike so I want my gravel bike to be about as far apart as possible to really expand my riding area with a dropper post, 50c tires and a double ring. It’s easy enough to go from a more gravity-packed gravel setup one weekend to a much more racy feel the next. Just flip the chip, put on 40c tires and you have a crisp-feeling gravel race bike.”
The other big difference this year is that he’s giving it his all as an athlete, opting for a private program that will allow him to focus on what matters most: running hard. With new representation through Inspire Athlete Management (IAM), the 29-year-old Canadian has big plans for the upcoming season. “Michael is exactly the kind of athlete we enjoy working with,” says IAM’s Simon Williams. “He is dedicated, focused and talented, and with the right program in place we believe he can do great things in cycling.”
Williams’ sentiments are echoed by Steve Devantier, Marketing Supervisor at Giant Canada: “Michael has always worn his heart on his sleeve, and it was his honesty and passion for cycling that first caught our attention. Having such a genuine athlete as Michael representing our brand has been incredible, and one of the main reasons we were thrilled to sign him for another two years. That, and he’s pretty quick on a bike.
“I’ve always run my own program. I’ve never been on any road teams, I’ve never been on a big cyclo-cross team – or at least when I was, that was the one I raced! But over the past couple of years, I’ve realized that I’m expending so much energy and effort trying to make all of these things happen, and the work of managing my own schedule is overwhelming me and affecting my ability. to train and run efficiently,” van den Ham explains. “I wanted to take it off my plate so I could focus on the real work I’m doing with racing. I feel like my whole career has been about realizing that I don’t know what I’m capable of until I commit to doing something all the way.
Giant, Easton, Garneau, Robert Axle Project and Challenge Tires are already on board for the 2022 season. a bigger endurance program ahead of his already extended cyclocross schedule,” says Easton Cycling’s Matt Hornland. “He continues to be the finest Canadian men’s cyclocross champion we have ever sponsored and he was instrumental in starting the Easton Overland team. We’re excited to support him again in 2022, alongside our friends at Giant.
As for where he may go in the sport, who knows? Even Van den Ham is not sure. “First I never thought I was going to be a professional cyclist. Then I never thought I was going to be a national champion. After that I never thought I was going to make a top 20 in a World Cup. he says. “I never thought about any of these things, but I kept working and, despite common sense, despite everything, it kept happening.”
The Giant Revolt by Michael van den Hams
Framework: Giant Revolt Pro Advanced 0 – Size M
Handlebar: Easton EC90 AX – 44cm
Handlebar tape: Easton Microfiber Tape
Stem: Easton EA90 SL – 90mm
Saddle stem : EA70 AX dropper post
Saddle: SL Giant Approach
Joysticks: Shimano GRX RX-815
Front derailleur: Shimano GRX RX-815
Rear derailleur: Shimano GRX RX-815
Cassette: Shimano 11×34
Cranks: Easton EC90 SL, 172.5mm with Easton AX 47/32 rings
Wheels: Easton EC90 AXIS
Tires: Gravel Grinder Challenge, Getaway or Strade Bianca
Michael van den Hams’ Spring/Summer schedule:
March 12 – MidSouth
- April 7-10 – Sea Otter
- April 24 – Paris to Ancaster
- April 30 – Belgian waffle ride
- May 14 – Vedder Classic (XC Marathon)
- May 21 – Rule of 3 Gravel (provisional)
- June 4 – Lost and Found
- June 17-19 – Canmore Canada Cup
- June 22-26 – Oregon Trails Gravel Chopper
- July 23 – Canadian XC Championships
- August 22-25 – Trans Rockies Gravel Royale
Follow Michael online: instagram.com/mvdhcx