Paul Willerton and Bontrager in 1994
September 18, 2023 9:28am
I just stumbled across this 2019 interview
that PEZ Cycling did with Paul Willerton. Willerton was a successful US pro road cyclist who raced with Greg LeMond for several years, but he abruptly switched to mountain bike racing in 1994 and started riding Bontragers. I'd always wondered about this. I thought it was super cool at the time--I was working in a shop that sold Bontrager and had just bought a Bontrager Race. I thought they were the best and coolest race bikes you could buy. But why did Willerton switch to mtb?
PEZ: Why go to MTB?
I didn’t like what I was sensing in professional road racing. My teammates at Z were really confused at the new level being displayed by riders that had never been at that level. Then, at Subaru, I only saw a continuation of this. When you spend years and years competing, and beating, peers that you’ve known since juniors, and suddenly they exceed not only your level but go to the peak of the sport, it’s pretty baffling. What I was seeing was the early days of biotech and blood manipulation. What I was feeling, on the bike, was the discomfort that causes. Cycling is hard enough. I thought road racing wasn’t for me, so I naturally looked for another place to enjoy cycling. MTB was it, but it only lasted for one year, 1994. By 1995, I noticed the exact same things happening in World Cup MTB. Sure enough, from what we learned in subsequent years, it was.
Read the full article at Pez Cycling News
. There's a lot more interesting stuff in there!
I love the pic below. Note the Mag 21, cantis and one inch threaded headset! These were steep, fast, light and quick handling bikes!
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