If you don't win the race, you win the fans and Roger Seaton has certainly done that.
After 1,200km of racing across Europe on a CHPT3 Brompton, Roger has had to scratch from the sixth edition of the Transcontinental race. Pushing his bike, body and equipment to the absolute limits, those limits were eventually found, frustratingly in the form of a non-standard Brompton part. The Alfine hub which was fitted in order to allow enough range of gearing to summit cols of this race failed, leaving Roger to ride his final 250km with drag equivalent to a brake being applied - not to mention a mind-numbing knocking sound.
Just attempting the Transcontinental race, in which riders race day and night, sleeping in hedges, traversing every terrain imaginable and fuelling their bodies with, in Roger's case, cold tinned pasta, is heroic. It's a race which few of us could even comprehend undertaking, yet Roger did and furthermore he wanted to do it on a CHPT3 Brompton.
So, a thank you and a huge heart-felt congratulations from the CHPT3 team for what you achieved. David's open letter below explains just what this adventure has meant to all of us...
First of all, you mustn’t be disappointed, mechanical failures happen - and I have a feeling that the Alfine hub's reliability trial never extended to a Transcontinental race - you said before you set off that the result was always going to be binary, unfortunately it was the wrong one of two. Yet I find it hard to define the binary options as success or failure: because this does not feel like failure.
The adventure started long before the start line, from the moment I got in touch with you in January to ask if you’d wear CHPT3 during the race as it offered the best possible testing ground for us, the extreme demands the TCR puts on rider and equipment alike could prove to the world that our technical apparel is the best in the business and not just some folie of an ex-pro racer who happens to like the occasional button. Then when you told me you were planning on doing it on a Brompton I thought all our Christmas’ had come at once. A rider in the TCR in CHPT3 apparel? On a CHPT3 Brompton? Surely, this is too good to be true? Granted I was probably more excited than anybody at the time; and this is where I see the success in all of this.
My excitement rubbed off on the rest of the CHPT3 team and before long we were all on board and believing in this mad adventure of yours, not just as an opportunity to sponsor you with equipment, but to genuinely support you. And this is where it gets interesting, we began to realise, all of us at CHPT3, that you were representing something we hadn’t been able to grasp, let alone share. Reading books, doing workshops, studying others, nothing was producing any clear answers on how we could transmit what we all felt and believed in and what gave us such confidence in our vision for CHPT3, because it’s not easy to build a brand: in our heads it is, but it’s no use in there, it has to be in other peoples heads and we didn’t know how to do that.
I suppose writing this is how I’m putting it down, probably not the most conventional way of transmitting a brand message, which is as good a place as any to start.
We don’t want to be conventional, we are, for better and worse, non-conformists.
We want to learn and use that knowledge to innovate.
We’re considered, while always daring.
We love technology.
Ultimately we’re friends who are proud of each other and share an ability to find serenity on the edge.
And it was while following you this past week and having the whole team cheering you on that finally all of those values came to light in the real world for the first time. We realised we weren’t in this for the destination, we were in it for the journey.
We’ve had our Factor bike ridden by Romain Bardet in the Tour de France, our base layer has been worn to the summit of Everest by Kenton Cool, yet it was your crazy Transbromptonental adventure that brought us altogether. So, thank you, Roger.
Now, what’s the next chapter? Because we’re in.