Cantu Wheels welcomes two Missouri riders onto the Cantu Gravel Ambassadorship

It never ceases to amaze us. There are some awesome people in the gravel world. We want to welcome aboard Don Buttram and Jim Phillips as Cantu Gravel Ambassadors. Much like our other gravel ambassadors, these guys have a knack for crushing gravel and bringing out the smiles, even on the toughest rides. Well known in the gravel community and both getting ready for their upcoming event, DKXL. Two of the 34-riders invited to take on the new 350-mile challenge created by the Dirty Kanza promoters. Don will be riding the Cantu Rebel wheels. Jim will be on the Cantu Rova wheels. We are honored to have them on board and look forward to their adventure at DKXL. Get to know a little bit about them below.

Don looking strong at the front of the pack at Gravel Worlds photo:  Gravel Guru

Don looking strong at the front of the pack at Gravel Worlds photo:  Gravel Guru

Don Buttram

Hometown: Lebanon, Missouri
Day Job:  Process Engineer / Project Manager
Bucket list Gravel Events and why?: Belgian Waffle Ride: Because it Looks Brutal! :-)
Top Race Results/Resume: 016 TransIowa Finisher / 5 Time DK200 Finisher / 5 Time Leadville Trail 100 MTB Finisher (Sub 9 hr Finish in 2017-Big Buckle) / Time Gravel Worlds Finisher
Upcoming Races: Bantam Classic (Petaluma CA) / Hairy Hundred (olumbia MO) / DKXL (Emporia KS) / Gravel Worlds (Lincoln NE)
Gravel Bike Setup: 017 Salsa WarBird

Jim looking chill and relaxed at Gravel Worlds photo:  Gravel Guru

Jim looking chill and relaxed at Gravel Worlds photo:  Gravel Guru

Jim Phillips

Hometown:  Springfield, Missouri
Day Job:   Legal Assistant
Bucket list Gravel Events and why?:  All of them.  I love riding new roads and having new experiences.
Top Race Results/Resume:   Placement is never my first goal.  I like to have fun and I like to finish.  When I finish I’m happy and when I don’t I’m sad.  
Upcoming Races:    DKXL, Gravel Worlds, Santa Fe Trail Race
Gravel Bike Setup:   Lauf True Grit Race

 

Give these guys a follow!
Jim's Instagram
Don's Instagram
 

Two new riders join the Cantu Gravel Ambassador Crew

We're excited to welcome aboard Thomas Adams and Gabbi Shelton as Cantu Gravel Ambassadors. Our gravel ambassador program is designed to support the working athlete who is enthusiastic and engaged within their cycling community, and have a great sense of adventure on two wheels.  We met Thomas and Gabbi first at Gravel Worlds in 2016 and quickly took note of their raw passion for gravel riding. Their excitement for the sport is contagious on and off the bike. On top of that, they leave everything they have out on the course when it comes to gravel events such as the Dirty Kanza, Land Run, and Gravel Worlds. We can't wait to see what adventures they take on the Cantu Gravel Wheels, the Rebel and the Rova. Representing the Mid-South gravel region out of Stillwater, Oklahoma, home to the Land Run 100, there is no doubt they will put our wheels to the the test in both training and racing. Get to know a little about them below:

2017 Gravel Worlds. photo:  Gravel Guru

Thomas Adams

Hometown:  Stillwater, Oklahoma

Day Job:  Product Manager with J.B. Camera Designs

Bucket List Gravel Events:   I would love to make it over to Reba's Private Idaho. I'm really interested in a Gravel Stage Race/Event, and plus it's Reba and in the mountains of Idaho. It just sounds like a weekend full of adventure, and I think somewhere during day 2 you really get down to what gravel is: finding out what you're made of.   

Upcoming Races:  This weekend! I'll be at the Epic 150 again. After that, I'll be racing the DK hoping to defend my 2nd place spot.. but always looking for more. We'll race Gravel Worlds in August, and maybe a hand full of smaller races that are closer.

Race Results:  
2015/16 Land Run 100 - 3rd SS on a fixed gear bicycle
2016 The Epic 150 - 3rd SS
2017 Maisie's Pride - 1st SS
2017 Dirty Kanza - 2nd SS & completing my comeback to gravel. It had all built up to that event. 

Bike Setup:  I ride a custom, hand built frame made by Scissortail Cycles in Norman, OK. 
TRP drillium SS levers/TRP HY/RD callipers
Frame is not SS specific, and can run gears.. but currently training at 44/17-19T
Thompson stem/ setback seat post. TRP Carbon Cross/Gravel fork
Tires: Bontrager LT2 Team issue- super flat resistant, and have made a thousand miles way easier with little maintenance. 
Wheels: CANTU ROVA baby!!! 

Thomas's Scissortail Cycles hand built frame sporting the hand built Cantu Rova wheelset.

Gravel Worlds 2017. photo:   Gravel Guru

Gravel Worlds 2017. photo:  Gravel Guru

Gabbi Shelton

Hometown:  Stillwater, Oklahoma

Day Job:  Stillwater Summit Co. - local gear shop

Bucket List Gravel Events:  Tour Divide, Grinduro, Rebecca’s Private Idaho stage race, TransIowa... there are so many bucket-list worthy gravel events nowadays.

Upcoming Races:  The Epic, The Dirty Kanza XL, Gravel Worlds

Race Results:  
2016  Land Run - 1st Women SS
2016 Gravel Worlds - 1st Women SS

2017 Barry-Roubaix - 3rd Women SS
2017 The Dirty Kanza 200 - 1st Women SS

2018 Land Run 100 - 2nd Women SS

Bike Setup:  All-City Cosmic Stallion w/ Cantu Rebels set up single speed with a Phil Wood eccentric bottom bracket. 

2018 Land Run 100. photo:   Gravel Guru

2018 Land Run 100. photo:  Gravel Guru

Give these guys a follow!
Gabbi's Instagram
Thomas's Instagram
We're fortunate to have them on board and we're looking forward to their experience our the Cantu Rebel and Rova! #UCantu #CantuAttitude

Athlete Spotlight: Bobby Thompson aka The Casual Cyclist

Gravel Worlds 2016. photo by Gravel Guru

This week we interview Bobby Thompson creator of the The Casual Cyclist blog and host for The Gravel Guru show "This is Gravel". Recently this year, we welcomed Bobby on as one of our gravel ambassadors. Hailing from Emporia, Kansas home to the Dirty Kanza 200, a 200 mile gravel grinder, Bobby has a playground of remote gravel roads intertwined within the locals' beloved Flint Hill region. He is out to finish his 5th Dirty Kanza next weekend on June 3rd. We talk to him about gravel riding, Dirty Kanza, and finish up with some of the fun, spontaneous questions in true Casual Cyclist fashion.


Cantu Wheels [CW]:  The Casual Cyclist, where did it all start?

Bobby Thompson [BT]:  Ha!  The Casual Cyclist.  I was worried that "Super Cool Old Dude Riding Bikes" would be really hard to fit on a t-shirt when I became famous. I was also afraid people would call me out on being "super cool".  I have a very casual take on cycling.  I only recently rediscovered my passion for being on a bike.  I know there are many more people like me who got caught up in the wave of "life" and forgot about bikes.  I wanted a way to spread my gravel cycling passion that was non aggressive.  Show me...don't tell me.  I love to show my passion for cycling through words and pictures.  I tend to be casual in this approach so it fits. When I'm at my best...cycling...working...being a dad...being a husband...I'm casual.  

CW:  What inspires you everyday to get on your bike?

BT:  When you ask about being inspired everyday then I have to think about my wife.  She's the foundation of our family.  No matter what drama is going on in the world around us...she keeps moving forward.  She keeps the family moving forward.  I've adopted this thinking in my life and the way I get through the dark times of an endurance ride.  Just keep moving forward...even if it's slowly at the time.  Move forward.

Bobby and his wife at the 2017 Dirty Reiver gravel grinder in England.

CW:  Describe a perfect day of riding in and around Emporia, Kansas?

BT:  Perfect riding around in Emporia.  Gotta have wind.  Wind gives you a sense of determination when you're fighting into it, a sense of accomplishment when you've made it to a turn around point and a sense of "I could be in the Tour De France" when you are racing with a Tailwind. 10-15 mph.  Sunny and 70's.  80's gets hot quick with a tailwind on that white gravel.  Dry and white hard pack when you wanna go fast and chill.  Bombing the Flint Hills chunky downhills when you want some thrills and are ready to focus.  Sunny with a few wandering clouds for the occasional shade.

CW:  Advice to people curious about or interested in gravel riding?

BT:  Stop thinking about it and just go ride.  Treat it as an adventure.  Explore.  Find out why it's a dead end road.  Is the bridge really out or can you walk across? Minimum maintenance road, travel at own risk?  Challenge accepted.  Go play.  Bring water.  Bring a snack.  Have an alternate way home if something breaks you can't fix.  Don't make that call for a pick up though unless you really need the help.  Challenge yourself a little.

CW:  Top 3 tips to tackle the Dirty Kanza 100-200?

 BT:  1.  Stay hydrated.  2.  Race it Checkpoint to Checkpoint instead of thinking about the whole day.  3.  Keep moving forward.  You are capable of so much more than your mind is telling you.

CW:  What has been your most memorable travel experience for a gravel event?

BT:  A hard one but I have to saying driving the 20+ hours the past two years to Rebecca's Private Idaho.  That's a long drive.  A lot of time spent with friends on the way there.  Not so much on the way home when you are exhausted but talking strategy, bikes, nutrition...on the way there is a blast.  

CW:  Favorite songs or playlist to listen to while training or warming up?

BT:  Soundtrack to Footloose.  Seriously.  How can you not wanna start running around jumping off the walls??  Long steady state intervals or climbing intervals...angry music.  Rage Against the Machine, Disturbed, Korn, Rob Zombie, Bodies by Drowning Pool.  My radio station is country, I grew up loving big hair rock and late 80'is hip/hop and rap.  Lol.  I'm all over the place.

CW:  What is something “If you would’ve known then what you know now?”

BT:  Can I say everything?  I mean my first endurance race was the Dirty Kanza 200.  I just jumped right in...and failed.  Maybe not though because the failures are what drives me to this day.  I do not like to fail.  So to make it a simpler focused answer...spinning up a hill because mashing. Using you gears.  Really understanding how gears can lengthen your day.

Bobby's Salsa Warbird equipped with a lauf fork and our Cantu Gravel Rebel Wheels.

CW:  What is your super power?

BT:  I'm the Casual Cyclist.  It's being "casual".  Okay, yeah that's just lame.  I never call myself the Casual Cyclist...except when I'm signing autographs.  No um, you know the superpower I wish I had is Wolverines regenerative power.  I'm getting old and the hills aren't getting any smaller. The superpower I actually have is the ability to adapt to a situation.  Don't judge my initial reaction.  Let me think and I'll adapt and figure it out.

CW:  How long would you last in a zombie apocalypse?

BT:  Oh dude I'd rock in a zombie apocalypse.  I'm not much of a fighter but I know I could run...or ride...circles around them.  Wait are we talking slow historical zombies or new age advanced zombies??  Let's go with the old school casual clumsy zombies...cause in the end...being casual is the best way to be.  

Bobby and his Co-host Lelan Dains on "This is Gravel"

Check out Bobby's adventures on Instagram, Facebook, The Casual Cyclist, or through The Gravel Guru. Be sure to connect with and follow us on Cantu Cycling Wheel's Facebook Instagram.